Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 5

Reeth to Richmond - 20 km, 500 metres ascent, 6.6 hours. 

(A and D - 13 km)

There were lots more people on the paths today, and yesterday in particular, on two wonderfully sunny days. 

Sue and I were dropped off in Reeth, then A and D gave themselves a 5 km start by driving to Marrick.

It was a beautiful walk along the riverside (pictured) to Marrick Priory, an ancient place now converted to an outdoor education centre. From there, a perfectly formed sunken lane headed up the Nuns' Steps to the nondescript hamlet of Marrick. Then the path to Marske undulated over high ground with views towards the tall spike of Hutton's Monument. A lovely stroll.

Once in Marske, accidentally reached via the road rather than by the footpath through Clints, we discovered Anna mooching around St Edmund's church. An interesting place with boxed pews. Meanwhile, Dale enjoyed a snooze in the shade of a wall next to a horse mounting whatdoyoucallit.

The full C2C team then proceeded to romp into Richmond along delightful paths through fields with barns (pictured) and lanes through pleasant woodland overlooking the town. 

Lunch was taken in the shade of one of the many yew trees that grace Applegarth Scar, after Dale had fallen awkwardly on his ankle. He managed to stumble valiantly on to reach Richmond by 4pm, where we enjoyed celebratory tea and cake at the end of this five day C2C taster.

Well done to both Anna and Dale, neither of whom had done anything like this before, for reaching the objective. The ramparts of Richmond are pictured high above the easily fordable river from Richmond Bridge, over which I crossed to collect our car from the other side of a caravan park via the excellent path along the south bank.

All in all an excellent trip in the best of company. Thanks go to all the participants and 'occasional visitors', as well as Brenda, Robert and Sheila at the B&Bs.

Finally, as promised, here's a list of some of the flowers we think we saw:

Autumn Crocus
Bell Heather
Bramble
Buttercup (various)
Chickweed
Common Nettle
Daisy
Enchanters Nightshade
Eyebright (Common and Dwarf)
Field Scabious
Forgetmenot (various)
Great Burnet
Great Willowherb
Groundsel
Harebell
Hawkweed (various)
Herb Robert
Himalayan Balsam
Knapweed
Lady's Mantle
Lesser Stitchwort
Ling
Marsh Marigold
Meadow Cranesbill
Monkey Flower
Pale Persicaria
Pineappleweed
Ragwort (Common)
Red Campion
Red Clover
Redshank
Ribwort Plantain
Rosebay Willowherb
Salad Burnet
Self heal
Silverweed
Spurge (Sun?)
Thistle (Meadow)
Thyme
Tormentil
Umbellifers (various)
Water Mint
White Clover
Yarrow
Yellow Corydalis

Field mushrooms (found on the path to Marrick and in the church yard at Marske) and a variety of Ceps. The former were taken home and enjoyed for supper.

A slideshow should follow in due course. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 4

Keld to Reeth - 22 km, 300 metres ascent, 6.2 hours. 

(A and D - 14 km)

Car logistics were easier today. It was a simple case of driving up Swaledale, dropping off A and D at Muker and continuing to the campsite beyond Keld to leave our car for the day. 

The walking was picturesque and simple:

● head down to Keld then Muker then Gunnerside then Healaugh then Reeth, keeping as close as possible to the north bank of the River Swale;

● humour Sue as she tries to head off in the wrong direction on a borrowed tractor,  yelling "AlanR where are you";

● enjoy the lovely scenery between Keld and Muker, including a number of waterfalls; 

● catch up with A and D near Gunnerside, before coffee and cake outside the local café - really excellent parsnip cake;

● continue on this glorious day after early fog, to a fine lunch spot before reaching an ancient bridge;

● leave A and D to enjoy their 14 km amble to Healaugh whilst speeding on to collect car number two from Reeth; 

● pause in Healaugh to finish flask of tea and admire the 'wasp man' Rob digging out wasps nests, from which the grubs will be used as bait for trout fishing;

● still in Healaugh, admire the rows of rabbits in 'Ron the Rabbit's' car, proudly guarded by a couple of ferrets - "£1.30 each" said Ron;

● admire during the course of the day - heron, mallards, dippers, wrens, starlings, willow warblers, kestrels, and swallows getting ready to migrate;

● tea and cake at Cambridge House, courtesy of Robert and Sheila - an immaculate B&B;

● dinner at the Buck (thank you A and D) and an amusing confusion between mustard and custard on the part of one of the Polish staff who suggested Dale might like mustard on his chocolate tart;

● Anna's bemused look when she thought she was being referred to as a chocolate tart.

Enough of this rubbish. Tomorrow is another busy day, so my report may be delayed...

Thursday, 4 September 2014

A Taste of the C2C Path - Shap to Richmond - Day 3

Kirkby Stephen to Keld - 22 km, 600 metres ascent, 7.0 hours. 
(A and D - 14km)

Andrew repaid a favour by helping me to deposit our car in Keld before breakfast. 

Anna and Dale headed up to Hartley Quarries.  Sue and I waited in Kirkby Stephen. Heather, Carmen and Rowan eventually appeared from a noisy campsite beside the main road.

A and D's 3km and half hour start saw them up at Nine Standards Rigg a few minutes before the rest of us. We took a riverside path then ascended by Ewbank Scar to gain the C2C path beyond Hartley Quarries.

A red squirrel had made a brief appearance at Ladthwaite.

We lingered at the summit (pictured) on the fine but grey day with flat light, before continuing along the ridge and descending via the 'blue' route, allocated to 'August to November'. 

Lunch was enjoyed in a sheltered spot, after which A and D were left to amble on to Ravenseat at their own pace.

The rest of us continued merrily on, pausing to empty our flasks at Ravenseat, where the chickens (pictured) tucked in to any ground nestling cup of tea and seemed quite happy to be handled. Then we continued past the beaters for a grouse shoot, and some giant 'cep' like mushrooms that Heather couldn't identify.

A and D were retrieved from Ravenseat, Heather and co were deposited back at their campsite, A and D's car was recovered, Sue was recovered from a tea shop in Keld, and the four of us got to Cambridge House in Reeth at 6.30. A quick turnaround saw us enjoying the Buck Inn's culinary delights a little after that.

Quite a full day it was, with insufficient time for more than this rather hasty entry.

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

3109pond2

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.

3101bikes

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

3102ChorltonWaterPark

Dale survived a few wobbles and stayed smiling.

3103Dale

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.

3104Mersey

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.

3199route

After lunch we all went to Dunham Massey.

3105Dunham

The deer were sunbathing.

3106FallowDeer

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.

3107DunhamMoor

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

3110pond33111pond4

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

3113sign

28 and 29 August 2014 – Jacob goes Camping

2904JanetsFoss3

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.

2803Jacob2

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.

2807Jacob3

The chickens and the ducks were all very friendly.

2812chickens3

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

2817MalhamCove3

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.

2824Stainforth1

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.

2903JanetsFoss2

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.