Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 2

Orton to Kirkby Stephen - 22 km, 400 metres ascent, 8.1 hours. 

Brenda provided an excellent breakfast and told us how the old MF tractor outside was her son's first love. We needed to hasten a car to Kirkby Stephen, then drive to Orton to start our day's assault on the C2C route, so photography time was at a premium, and the tractor sadly missed out. Sorry Alan.

Anyway, despite the faffing with cars we managed to start walking by 9.30, on a 22 km stroll that would have taken Naismith about 5 hours. Our pace was rather slower. 

It was a lovely sunny day, as confirmed by the stinging bath water earlier tonight, and the red colouration of my arms and neck.

Despite the glorious weather, we saw nobody all morning and hardly anyone in the afternoon. There were a few rather cute Shetland ponies to say hello to - see top picture.

A short cut on good field paths proved a good means of returning to the C2C path from Orton. Further on we stopped for elevenses in view of Sunbiggin Tarn, which others failed to notice. They did however notice the proliferation of 'biggins' hereabouts. Apparently it means 'building' or 'dwelling', though I'm not sure how that relates to the tarn.

At the road near the tarn we turned right and followed the Dales High Way for a while, that being an easier and more scenic way of getting to Ewefell Mire. Meanwhile, a herd of cows leered at us from the heights of the extensive limestone pavements of the Asby Scars.

We enjoyed lunch beyond Bents Farm then headed past peewits and a dismantled railway line to Smardale Bridge (pictured), where Sue completed a Reverse Ice Bucket Challenge by jumping into the beck, which was full of fish. The local heron flew off in disgust. My camera is still in shock, so no photos I'm afraid. A video may come later.

Continuing soggily on, Sue was able to point out a magnificent viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway line. 

We then ambled gently on to reach Kirkby Stephen by 5.30, in time to see the last of some sheep being auctioned.

There followed another jolly evening with Andrew and Rosemary (still at the Black Swan) and Anna and Dale (still at Tranna Hill) at the Black Swan, where we have relocated to the 'Four Poster Suite'. Very nice it is too.

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 1

Shap to Orton - 14 km, 250 metres ascent, 4.5 hours. 

Early rain faded into a distant memory as Sue and I drove up the M6 in convoy with Anna and Dale. Orton was reached in time to enjoy a leisurely coffee, with cake and complimentary chocolate at Kennedy's café and chocolate factory. 

(The compliments worked - chocolate was purchased.)

A car was abandoned there, and we then drove to Shap to start our C2C taster at the one-third point of the entire route, outside the Kings Arms. 

The route to Orton soon crosses the west coast main line, and a footpath bridges the M6 motorway near the top of 'Shap'. Several other C2Cers were encountered hereabouts, remaining in sight for most of the day. 

The walled village of Oddendale was reached after an hour or so. Here we found a small stone circle, but we failed to find two such concentric circles a few minutes from the path a little further on. Lunch was taken in a cool breeze at this spot (pictured).

A pleasant afternoon stroll saw us return to Orton by around 4.30pm. The weather had been kind - a day for t-shirts, with sunny intervals.

Numerous flowers graced our route (list to follow), as well as buzzards and ravens and an impressively large flock of goldfinches. 

Several impressive limestone pavements were passed - one of these is pictured. Today we enjoyed rolling countryside with the higher reaches of the Howgills a constant impressive backdrop to our views ahead, and the Lake District summits of High Street and Saddleback lingering at our right elbows.

Tranna Hill B&B proved to be a good find, and the Black Swan provided an excellent meal, and company in the form of Andrew and Rosemary. 

Alan R would particularly like Tranna Hill. Brenda is a very jolly landlady, and there's a Massey Ferguson tractor in the back garden!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

31 August 2014 – Out and About with Dale and Anna


Soon after returning home from ‘Camping with Jacob’, an old friend from University, Anna, arrived at our house with Dale. Luckily their four children were not in tow. We’ve enjoyed their company for the weekend and are looking forward to a trip with them starting on Monday.

Today I set off on a bike ride with Dale and Anna. Anna soon turned round, frightened by Stumpy’s eccentricities, but Dale found Shogun manageable, and we enjoyed a ride along the canal towpath from Brooklands to Stretford and then around both Chorlton and Sale Water Parks.


Chorlton Water Park looked and felt very summery on the warm day.


Dale survived a few wobbles and stayed smiling.


The south bank of the Mersey near Jackson’s Boat is in the process of being repaired and re-seeded. The water level in the river seemed pretty low today.


Here’s our 18.5 km route, which at today’s modest pace took a shade under an hour and a half. On the return journey by the canal, we saw the lone lady mandarin duck who has now resided here for nearly two years. Several cormorants were rampaging around Sale Water Park.


After lunch we all went to Dunham Massey.


The deer were sunbathing.


Anna and Dale visited the gardens whilst Sue and I ambled. We reconvened by the Blackamoor that has graced the forecourt of the Hall since before 1750.


The ponds had ducks and weeds and geese (and, if you look at the top picture, an unidentified mystery object).


Before we left we saw this sign and felt it perhaps not quite the right day to upgrade to top of the range BMWs.


28 and 29 August 2014 – Jacob goes Camping


Kate needed to be on hand in the Yorkshire Dales in case any of her ‘D of E girls’ had a problem, as both the supervisor and their assessor were male and therefore barred from one to one contact with the girls. So if any of them had to give up, Kate would be available to provide transport.

The girls weren’t expected to give up and in fact they managed to complete their three day expedition in style.

All this presented the opportunity to take Jacob camping for the first time, as Kate had stationed herself in her new tent on Stainforth campsite. So I picked up Jacob from his dad on Thursday morning and by lunch time we were enjoying sandwiches with his mum at a playground in Giggleswick. He’d cycled there from Settle.


Then we checked that the girls were on course before heading to their destination for the night – Malham.

Jacob was fascinated by Malham Beck, in which he immersed himself for a good hour. We’d found an elephant’s dummy, so he spent a lot of time looking for the baby elephant of Beck Hall.


The chickens and the ducks were all very friendly.


Eventually we found our way onto the path to Malham Cove. It was a lovely afternoon. The elephant was still missing.


After finally giving up our quest to find the baby elephant, Jacob issued instructions to another friendly D of E group to keep an eye out for it, before heading off to the Victoria Inn at Kirkby Malham for good helpings of tasty dinner – steak and ale for me and Kate, and what looked suspiciously like a mixed grill for Jacob. Ceri and Dave joined us and a jolly time was had by all.

Jacob was desperate to see his accommodation, and on returning to the campsite at Stainforth he gave it the thumbs up before adjourning to the swings.


I went to visit John and Steph (and Sierra and Jack) in the village before returning to the tent in the dead of night. Everyone was fast asleep.

On Friday morning we all seemed to sleep in. Our family all appear to be adept at getting really good sleeps when in their tents.

Sadly, the tent had to come down, and we made our way to the youth hostel in Malham to join Ceri and Dave for breakfast after they’d checked that their girls were ok. I wasn’t expecting such a lavish fry up. Thanks gents, and Kate.

The girls were headed up to Janet’s Foss, so we went to meet them at the waterfall. They were all fine, if a little hungry.

By now, Jacob had mutated into Spiderman. He nearly crawled into Janet’s Foss.


After seeing the girls on their way, we drove round to Long Preston to say hello to Heather and Rowan. After a while Kate and Jacob returned to ‘girl duty’, and I went home to greet our visitors from Canada after enjoying a short stroll with Heather, Rowan, and a selection of sticks.

There’s a slideshow here.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Wednesday 27 August 2014 – An Evening Walk from Marton


After a visit to Alan R (thanks for the Scotch) and a leisurely dinner with Sue and a pleasant bottle of Chablis, I joined Sue and Andrew in the Davenport Arms, Marton, for a welcome beer before this easy stroll through a few of Deepest Cheshire’s electrically fenced fields.

We soon passed St James' and St Paul's Parish Church, part of the Church of England in the Diocese of Chester. The Church building is thought to be the oldest of its kind still in use in Europe. It was founded in 1343, and much of what was built then is still there, including Andrew.


After a few fields we found a suitable post for a self-timed picture. Thanks to Photoshop I’ve been able to straighten the image.


Sue found a friend who wouldn’t insult her, as is her habit, before reaching Sandpit Farm, from where a permissive footpath led pleasantly past Messuage Farm and onwards to arrive at the Black Swan in the Gleadsmoss district of Lower Withington.


We downed a couple of pints before deciding to try to catch up with Andrew, who had deserted us beyond Sandpit Farm and taken a shortcut, claiming “my leg is still broken”, though we suspect the fleshpots of Marton (namely the Davenport Arms) may have been the distraction.

It was dark as we returned on the northern leg of this 8 km circuit to reconvene in the bar of the Davenport Arms.

A pleasant route, blighted only by a few inconsiderately lively electric fences that may have triggered a few faux pas in this report….


Don’t ask me how we managed to drive home!

Wednesday 27 August 2014 – Plodders Visit The Hidden Valley


The motley crew of fourteen East Lancs LDWA Plodders left the cool and breezy layby opposite Owd Betts pub bang on time at 10.30. Hard luck, anyone who may have been a few minutes late!

We were soon in a more sheltered spot down by Lumb Bridge, in a valley where there used to be many water powered mills, none of which is currently operational.

We paused for Paul (out of picture – above) to take a self-timed photo that will appear elsewhere.

There are many remnants of these various mills.


We noted that the entire valley has a 'man-made' appearance, as we made our way to this chimney near Deep Moss.


After elevenses and cake here, our group of fourteen dashed off up the heathery slopes of Deep Moss. The ling was in full bloom.


Not everyone could keep up with Bernard's rapid pace. A series of ‘waits’ took place beside the foamy waters of Cheesden Brook.

Neil was valiantly trying to keep his disparate group together.


We passed an interesting 'barn conversion in progress' near Cleggs Wood, after which the spires of Heywood beckoned as we loped down to the lowest point of the walk.

After that, beside Naden Brook, it was all uphill, which proved a bit much for Carol, but a breeze for most of us.


A facsimile of Norman's skeleton had been pinned to the cliff face opposite.. "he upset the landowner", explained Neil. In deference to elderly sub-elite Plodders like Norman, I’ve excluded the photo.

Beside Naden Brook, the 'Hidden Valley' was a riot of foliage that concealed the brook, man made waterfalls, tunnels, mill buildings and groups of picnickers in this haven of industrial archaeology.


We crossed a bridge near the Owl Sanctuary that led shortly to a café, which sadly was shut, so no respite there… so we meandered slowly back up to Owd Betts, from where a mercy mission to rescue Carol was launched.

Here's our route - 15km, 300 metres ascent, in 4.5 hours. A really excellent and interesting route. Thanks, Neil.


There’s a slideshow here. I hope the link works; Google seems to have disabled the links to all my old slideshows as they bully me into using Google+ rather than the version I’ve been happy with for years. To view the slideshow you need to click on the first image then either manually use the arrows and note the captions to the right, or click on ‘slideshow’ to view the full screen images at your leisure.

Here’s Neil’s report:

Fourteen Plodders and a dog ventured into the Hidden Valleys of Rochdale on a dry but breezy Wednesday.

The circular walk took them through Cheesden Valley, Deeply Dale, Ashworth Valley and Naden Valley, passing long forgotten old industrial sites with stone remains, lodges, bridges, chimneys and mill streams.

The walkers were warned at the off that gaiters were recommended as some of the paths where prone to mud at the best of times, but some managed to keep reasonably clean even without them.

The Cheesden Brook provided power for over fourteen mills during the nineteenth century and work for over two thousand people. Walking through the valleys now it is difficult to imagine them all fitting into such a confined space.

The Haweswater water system that feeds Manchester passes through the valley and between 1976-79 Deeply Vale was the site of a free music festival. The festival managed to overcome bad publicity and its soggy debut to become the major event in the free festival scene in the late seventies.

It's amazing how nature can reclaim the land after such interference by man but the old mills and lodges now add to the character of the valleys.

Passing a scout campsite on the opposite side of Ashworth Valley, the walkers crossed Ashworth Road and walked through a residential caravan site, the party entered the Naden Valley passing the old Carr Wood Tea rooms and more old mill sites. The route passed Millcroft Gardens Tearooms, which, unfortunately doesn't open midweek. It was steadily up hill from then on to reach Edenfield Road and the Owd Betts public house beside which the cars where parked.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Jacob at Malham Cove

On a lovely camping trip with Kate and Grandad. (Jacob's first camping experience.)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Wednesday 20 August 2014 – Historic Marple


Last Wednesday’s walk with SWOG has been sitting in my ‘in tray’ for too long. I’d hoped to find time to convey some of the historic detail provided so eloquently by Jack during the course of the walk, but the enemy (time) has intervened.

Congregating outside the Navigation pub, about 35 of us embarked on this 6.5km wander, with frequent interruptions from Jack to explain a little of Marple’s rich history.

We went up to the junction where the Peak Forest Canal is joined by the Macclesfield Canal at the top of Marple’s long flight of locks.


It’s a nice view down to what used to be a large boatyard on the edge of the Peak District.


Retracing our steps, a narrow path led us over the railway line, but not before we had admired the arches under some houses. Here in the past an arm of the canal ran along to some lime kilns that have now been mostly demolished for ‘safety reasons’.


The path brought us out on a familiar track to Roman Lakes. We crossed the River Goyt and admired the remnants of the once magnificent Mellor Mill.


A short diversion led us the the Wellington Wheelpit. This recently excavated gem of industrial history housed a giant wheel 22 feet in diameter and 17 feet wide.


Jack was in his element.


Continuing along Low Lea Road into Marple Bridge, we re-joined the Goyt. The waterfall is probably one of many weirs hereabouts, dating from the days of the Industrial Revolution. One of the weirs near here is a folly, as the builder of the weir ran out of money before he could built the accompanying mill.


The Midland seems recently to have been refurbished. Our evening walk on 9 September starts from here.


We crossed into Brabyns Park and passed this pond, which was no doubt part of the mill system.


Dusk fell as 35 people bumbled along beside the River Goyt until we reached a rather overly engineered refurbished bridge next to a talking post. You may have heard about the talking statues in Manchester. This talking post (too dark to photograph) wouldn’t shut up, rather weirdly chatting to passing strangers in the dark.


And it was properly dark by the time we got back to The Navigation and its helpful and friendly landlord, after a short walk along the canal and through a park, where Jack gave further explanations on all that is Marple.


6.5 km, with not much ascent, in less than 2 hours.

Thanks go to Jack for making this walk interesting and informative. I wish I could remember more of the detail!