Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Saturday 6 June 2009 - Fair Weather Walkers

This final 'mobile' image is of the disused railway viaduct at Hewenden - one of many fine man-made structures in the area. It was taken yesterday shortly before I met Mick and Gayle and the weather changed.

The weather certainly did change, with 'winter gear' being deployed. We decided not to seek refuge at Mick's mum's house, as Mick wanted to test his new mattress - a Thermarest Neo-Air thingy. (He liked it!)

Jerusalem Farm campsite has good drainage. It needed it last night.

This morning we woke to the sound of a gargling magpie, got an early start as planned, and enjoyed a stroll by the river to Luddenden Foot. A pleasant walk by the canal (in the wrong direction for 'Manchester - 30 miles') was followed by a steep ascent to Sowerby. From there we dropped back to the Ryburn valley, down a steep cobbled path. Having already seen Mick test the braking power of his rucksack on some earlier cobbles, we were understandably very careful here - using the deep wet grass either side of the cobbles as much as we could.

"Nice weather for ducks" chirped the postman, as he delivered to posh houses on the east bank of the river beyond Triangle. Here the pleasant woodland and a disused railway led us eventually to the metropolis of Ripponden.

We'd been walking in the rain for nearly three hours. We were perhaps a little damp generally, but our feet (subject to Sealskinz/goretex socks) could justifiably be described as 'soggy'. Mine were soaking wet.

The café in Ripponden served excellent tea and bacon/egg butties. We lingered there.

Then Sue arrived. She showed me the choice of trainers and boots she had brought for me to change in to due to a sore ankle. The trainers would be a vast improvement over my Crocs, which aren't the premium footwear for slippery cobbles. She had thoughtfully packed some waterproof socks as well.

The rain thickened.

"Rain all weekend, is the forecast" said Sue.

"Let's go home!"

"What! How could we!"

The rain lashed down as we chauffered M + G on the short drive to Mick's mum's house, and it continued unabated as we sloshed back home to Manchester.

A hot bath, some nice meals, and a lazy weekend sorting the photos from a sunny 120+ mile walk. Better than a 40+ mile walk in the rain with a sore ankle from Ripponden to Timperley, via Crowden?

I thought so. That section can wait until its scenery can be enjoyed in the sun - today some of it was in Cold Cloud.

Readers are of course welcome to their own opinion, but hopefully by Monday I'll have uploaded some images from the 'Windermere to Ripponden' route to an on-line album for all to peruse.
Now done.

I'll put a link, and some summary information for this most enjoyable trip, on the next posting.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Friday 5 June 2009 - M & G Come For A Walk

What happens? Mick and Gayle arrive, and it rains - it had started to 'spot' when the previous posting was sent.

We had enjoyed some excellent fish 'n chips at our rendezvous point in Denholme, where the only pub opens at 2pm, and had 'provisioned' at the Co-op, but by the time we passed Thornton Moor Reservoir it had cooled considerably and the rain became persistent.

Good navigation and chatting don't always go together, we noted, as we wandered vaguely along the thin blue line I'd plotted to Jerusalem Camp Site near Booth.

The tea shop at Ogden Water provided a welcome break and an entertaining dialogue between Mick and the deaf attendant.
Mick: "Three teas, please?"
Lady: "We sell polos."
Mick: "Three teas, please?"
Lady: "We sell chocolate."
Mick: "Three teas, please?"
Lady: "Would you like to buy an ice cream?"
Mick: "Aha" - realises he is standing next to the tea machine.

After that the rain eased as we strolled onwards to the campsite and got our tents up in lighter rain than the current deluge.

It's a small site, but we are showered and I've washed some clothes - who knows when they will dry! All is well and we are cosy and cooking in our respective tents.

There's no photo with this, as no signal at camp and only a weak one up this hill.

So that's it for today?

Well - before M & G joined me......

I woke to two deep long belches. An insomniac sheep?

The tent shook.

"Yer not allowed to camp on moorland."

'Moron' I thought.

"Don't worry, I'll be away early."

"Mek shore y'are" came the response.

A distant clock chimed midnight.

'Moron' I thought.

I slept well, and soon after the crack of dawn I was being led by a strolling curlew up to Ilkley Crags on a fine but cool morning.

Mist lay in the valleys and smoke rose lazily from a distant power station. The 12 apostles (an ancient stone circle) were soon passed, after which an easy amble past curlew and plovers took me beyond the cotton grass zone to Otley Road, where frantic commuters tore past 'Dick Hudsons' pub as they rushed to work.

My pace was slower. I was soon back in the 'bluebell zone', with narrow paths weaving between the posh estates of the horsey and famous of Yorkshire.

I passed 'Woodpecker Man', his cameras focused on a hole in a tree a few metres away, in lovely woodland where red campion fought for space with greater stitchwort and marsh marigolds lined the banks of a brook.

It was a lovely, varied route. I was proud of my hastily devised blue line on the map. I made lots of notes today on a number of points of interest, but they'll just have to wait for an editing session, as it's going dark here and sleep is needed.

Goodnight.

Decided no further edit needed - just a link (here) to Mick and Gayle's report.

Mick + Gayle Arrive

It starts to rain!

Urban Arteries

I'm now sitting on a grassy bank under a main road at (wrong - this was a new road overhead, waypoint 53 still being some way off!) waypoint number 53, imaginatively named 'A650 road'. The roads, rivers, canals and railways hereabouts vie for space with each other, and with ancient ways like the walled one shown, that I'm following through lovely woods.

Back on the Dales Way

After pleasant South Pennine moorland from Ilkley, with curlews and plovers in plenty, the cotton grass has been replaced by the buttercup fields through which this 'Bradford to Ilkley Link' section of the Dales Way passes.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Thursday 4 June 2009 - The Dales Way

I've not walked the Dales Way before, though I've covered most of it in day walks. I didn't walk it all this time, but it's fair to say this trip has covered most of the route.

It is a fine excursion - low level but very scenic, passing through some of the best of English countryside.

You may think I rushed it. I didn't. I've just taken advantage of, and enjoyed, some of those long summer days that seem to pass all too quickly.

I commend the Dales Way, but you should plan it according to your own preferences. For example, the Racehorses Hotel in Kettlewell doesn't serve breakfast until 9am. Not much use for me, but perhaps ideal for some.

Today, roughly chronologically:

Dew - midges - sock washing - noisy crows and oyster catchers at camp - overcast - not a breath of wind - peewits, gulls - curlews huffing and chuffing - 150 year old lime kiln with resident ferret - breakfast number 2 - Shop on the Green at Burnsall (resisted temptation) - delicious looking mushrooms - peaty coloured river - chatty fly fisherman (he hooked one, it got away 'six today, all about 2 pounds, they all go back' he said) - dipper - ornamental bridges in the Bolton Estate - Strid Wood (SSSI - rare plants + fungi, and Sessile Oaks) - wild garlic - 'The Bodger's Workshop' - the Strid Restaurant (if only I'd known!) - Bolton Abbey - wearing Crocs, I brave the stepping stones (fun) - mallard families - weirs - converted mills - leave Dales Way - join Millennium Way - Swastika Stone (in the wrong place?) - Dog Walkers of Ilkley - White Wells - quiet - camp - noisy sheep - the Fit Workers of Ilkley - joggers - mountain bikers - nice meal - chuffing magpies - spots of rain - hot chocolate - all quiet....

White Wells

This place must have some history that I'll research when I get home. Here's a link.

It's deserted, apart from the Dog Walkers of Ilkley. About half a km short of Ilkley Crags, but equipped with a toilet and a flat patch of grass.

A 'no brainer'. I hope nobody turfs me off!

Wrong! This is The Swastika Stone!

Curious?

The Swastika Stone (I think)...

All Good Things Come To An End

Wharfedale is an English Gem.

Here's a final snapshot of the river before I leave it in search of The Swastika Stone.

The Strid - a Gorge 30 feet deep, in Magnificent Wharfedale

Grassington - The Escape Route (Luge)

A Second Breakfast in Grassington

A trip to the local Spar shop has provisioned me for the (last fine - according to the Spar lady) day.

It's good strolling weather for this meander south, mainly along the scenic Dales Way today.

Thanks for all your comments. I should reach the Ilkley area tonight, Gayle, though I did suffer an overnight setback with my gammy leg. A bit of exploratory surgery revealed a foot problem, so I spent some time using my trusty Swiss army knife as a saw. This means I no longer have to carry the crutches, which have been pressed into Essential Service.

And I have a pie for lunch (hang on, we had no pies yesterday!?) so should make it to the afternoon.

Saxifrage - ah, of course, which variety?

Louise - my long gone English teacher has been grinning in his grave!

Alan - I think Mike's fleece was stuffed full of pies, but he didn't proffer one. It was all I could do to keep up with him. I've learnt from Peter and Barbara - carry lots of Mars Bars!

Now, how do I escape from Grassington?

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Home for Tonight - Fold Farm, Kettlewell

Wednesday 3 June 2009 - A Visit From The Pie Man

I'm here in the Racehorses Hotel in Kettlewell, waiting for food (lamb shank - very nice), enjoying a pint of Timothy Taylors, and considering my options. It seems there is no campsite here, so I may have to carry on a little.

Today started past deer and crowing cocks, by hedgerows laden with ramsons, and air full of early morning bird song. As Whernside was steadily mounted on the well graded path, plovers, skylarks and other mountain birds dominated the air.

I saw nobody until an American jogger appeared as I descended Whernside. It was cooler, and the crane-flies I encountered in droves yesterday were absent.

I waited for a train (photo to follow) at Ribblehead before a short road section where Mike Knipe and Bruno, his faithful 'Superdawg', tracked me down and provided excellent company for a few hours before having to turn to circle over a Marilyn and back to their car in order to avoid dropping off their map.

Mike is a 9 times TGO Challenger and an irreverent blogger ('Northern Pies'), who is also reaping the benefits of early retirement. Thanks again for making the effort, Mike.

We'd been talking about butterwort coming into flower. Immediately Mike and Bruno left me, what did I see in proliferation? Also a number of 'alpines' in the limestone pavements that now dominated the landscape.

The stroll beside the River Wharfe to Kettlewell was delightful, as always, with the sun now bright and warm after its slow start. A lovely afternoon.

New Friends!

Elizabeth, Nigel and Jenny, from near Leeds, outside The George.

Hello, a shame it was such a brief encounter - I could have chatted the afternoon away.

Have fun!

PS We met again! Hope you had a nice drive home.

A welcome beer at The George, Hubberholme

Lunch at Beckermonds

The Pie Man and Superdawg have to leave us here - to avoid walking off the edge of their map...

The Pie Man Cometh

He seeks refuge from BT!

Whernside Summit - 736 metres - High Point of this trip

"Come, follow me" trilled the pied wagtail of Dent, as it trotted up the road ahead of me.

I did. But nobody else was enticed - I haven't seen a soul today.

I'm just above the cloud base here. It's cooler today - excellent for walking - but a bit cloudy.

Good Morning from Team Phreerunner!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Tuesday 2 June 2009 - More Summer

You're probably saturated by my interim entries, so I'll try to keep this short, whilst the fumes from my hot chocolate waft across the campsite.

I didn't see anyone (except in distant cars) until lunch time. Where was everyone? It's not as if I had a lie in.

The Naked Rambler would certainly have enjoyed this quiet route in the hot weather. He would not have been grumpy at all.

It was another perfect summer's day, and a lovely route to this (High Laning) campsite in Dent. Hardly any tarmac, and those firm surfaces I did find were hardly swamped by traffic.

There were no insects so the tent remained open all night. Hot air balloonists had enjoyed the views from above. As no doubt did the trilling curlew and the distant cuckoo that woke me from a deep sleep this morning.

I was happily cool for all of ten minutes before the sun crept up. It probably soon woke a swan and a heron that were snoozing next to each other by a small lake.

A light mist hung over distant Kendal as I passed one of the four boundary stones of Low Taggleshaw - a four acre tranche of land awarded in perpetuity to the local parishes by the Enclosures Act of 1838, 'for recreation and exercise'. I should have camped there.

I saw quite a few deer, and the land of buttercups is being invaded by clover, umbellifers, ribwort plantain, greater stitchwort, meadow cranesbill, and many more.

Sedbergh is 'nice but strange' - dominated by its public school. It must be a great place for village cricket. I counted at least five pitches.

Dent, where we arrived from pretty paths like the one on the left of the picture above, is quiet. I'm resisting the temptation to join two bikers for a drink. They look tired - wouldn't want them falling asleep on one, would we?

ZzzzzzzzzzzZ

PS Re location tomorrow

Mike - if you are still 'on' I should be on Whernside summit around 9am, and down the other side (Ribblehead) by 10.30, feeling happy to go slowly!

Lots of superb disused viaducts today...

Sebergh and the Howgills, from the high path to Dent

Just in case there's no signal in Dent - I should be on the camp site there tonight.

I hope it has a shower.

It's been another hot, humid day, temp up to 31C. Now clouding over a bit (hence crap photo).

Thanks for your encouragement, Alan, though there's no way I can make these jottings worthy of mature Talisker, I'm afraid!

Sedbergh - Time for Tea and Cake!

Grayrigg Forest (a hill) - 494 metres

Could this be a Birkett, or was it too much of a thrutch for that?

Goodbye Lake District - the Langdales are fading from view in the heat haze.

Hello Dales - The Howgills will soon be passed by, but Whernside beckons.

Stage 2 - Borrowdale

This is Borrowdale, where after a 100 metre skirmish with the A6, I left that artery for good.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Monday 1 June 2009 - Summer!

• Solihull - 8.18 to Brum - a quiet commuter train. I'm the only lucky person not going to work. Disappointed not to encounter any former colleagues going to work. They were probably already behind their desks.

• Great Western loco 2885 at Moor Street - still on the rails after 70 years, but a lonely sight.

• The phone bleeps - have I left anything else behind? (The water filter is on the kitchen table in Timperley.) No, it's Gayle and Mick - hoping to join me on Friday. Great.

• Cloudless over New Street as we set off towards Glasgow. A fabulous day.

• Field after field of buttercups and verdant crops.

• Change from a now crowded train at Lancaster, to the Windermere line.

• We pass Arnside, after gaining the distinctive views towards the Langdale peaks. Then we skirt around Kendal, with the eastern summits of the Lakes on view. But I'm not going there. For a change, today's route heads to the start of the Dales Way and follows that east to Staveley.

• But first, provisioning and lunch in the handily placed Booths shop, before briefly enjoying the shores of Windermere.

• A delightful walk to Waypoint 8 - Potter Tarn - where the Phreerunner goes up - porch in the shade - and tomato soup is soon in the mug. After all, it's over an hour since I left Wilf's Cafe in Staveley.

• Basically it was the Dales Way today to Staveley before dodging up here, but I missed the start and went up Post Knott by mistake (nice views) - and the little tarn pictured above is also off route. It has got up to 32C - a bit sweaty - people, sheep and cattle all sheltering under trees - lucky retired folk taking advantage of the nice weather - tree surgeons and window cleaners sweating under the sun - everyone seems in a good mood - bistort and buttercups jockey for position with herb robert, tormentil, herb bennet and many more meadow flowers.

• Here at camp, sheep and cows in nearby enclosures are making themselves known - a couple of joggers have trotted past - it's a splendid place to exercise after a deskbound day in Kendal - oyster catchers blurt out their warnings as they pass overhead - and the smoked salmon parcels - are delicious.

• I'll get my spork!

Home for the Night

The Phreerunner makes a rare appearance below Potters Tarn, with views towards Kendal.

Bowness-on-Windermere

The start of a journey