Thursday, 3 December 2020
"Sunday 14/12/03 - Bakewell and Monsal Head circuit
Sue and I spotted Andrew as we drove through Bakewell at 9:45 am. Our arrangement to meet in the centre of town just about worked, as everyone seemed to assemble ok, but a rendezvous at the old station at Castle Hill (SK223689) maybe better in future.
The main car park is over the bridge to the right on the east bank of the River Wye; that would do. Anyway, by 10:15, Sue, Andrew, Graham, Tove, Sue, Phil, Mike Coldwell and GS had joined me for this year's Christmas walk. I had chosen Bakewell as the start point after many years of doing the walk from Tideswell, and whilst our day out was fine, the Tideswell route is better.
We joined the Monsal Trail for a 3.5 mile stroll (flat) to the Monsal Head Hotel, stopping only for a leisurely coffee and shortcake break at the old station behind Thornbridge Hall, a magnificent building that dominated our view on the route back to Bakewell, but it is hidden from the railway.
Getting to the pub at 11:45 was good for some (except that it was shut!). Whilst Andrew, Sue and I wandered down to the viaduct (unspectacular cloudy views),
the others gained entry and were installed in a couple of stalls (this used to be a milking barn) by the time we arrived back.
We enjoyed an excellent lunch, as usual, in the soon overflowing room (early arrival is in fact essential!).
Soon after 1:30 we escaped, after a discussion of future events rather than the traditional planning session, to a dull afternoon stroll back to Bakewell via Lees Bottom (Monsal Dale), Sheldon and Dirtlow Farm.
The walk out of Lees Bottom was steep, generating a long wait for GS, who has a bad knee.
A cool breeze hurried us across the tops until we dipped down by some opencast workings and finished off our flask contents.
Then on to the finish by 4 pm, just as the sun was setting.
Christmas farewells and a slow drive home."
Our route - shown above, was 16 km with 450 metres ascent. I wonder how long it will be this year...?
Wednesday, 2 December 2020
After a pleasant stay in Struy with Ali O and a chap called Charles, I had a relatively low level day over An Leacainn to Dochgarroch, where I expected to find a campsite. That was a misjudgment. There was no campsite. However, there was lots of flat grass, and some friendly Air Force cadets kindly lent me a key to the nearby Waterways toilets.
During the evening, I nearly destroyed the new tent. I was lighting my gas stove using a new fire steel. After several attempts I managed to light the stove and knock it over, all in one action. This resulted in an inferno in the enclosed porch of the tent. It was a bit like a mini version of a broken F1 car catching fire. How I managed to open the door and chuck out the fireball with minimal damage will forever remain a mystery!
The fire steel soon found its way into the black bin pictured behind my tent...
Tuesday, 1 December 2020
I'm taking a break from time consuming blogging for a while due to a variety of constraints - not least my desire to keep out of Paul's way whilst he decorates our hall and landing etc (he starts tomorrow). So I won't have access to my usual blogging resources (eg computer) during the day.
I'll therefore try to find a picture from the archives every day, and I hope these will keep Dot happy!
Today's effort was taken on 3 January 2003, during a winter holiday near Roybridge.
Monday, 30 November 2020
At last week's funeral of Andrew's wife, Rosemary, there was a reading of a delightful 'prose poem' that gave a flavour of Rosemary's love of the North West Highlands:
Midsummer: inner sounds and outer colours.
Annie O’Garra Worsley.
Since the summer solstice sunshine and showers have been passing quickly across the croft, hills and sea. The bright warmth of recent weeks still clings to the North West Highlands and the air is filled with countless trillions of tiny water droplets; when the sun bursts from behind the clouds they sparkle and dazzle, so all the world seems to be filled with effervescing light.
Rainy days have come sharply and gone floodily, their showers soaking into the dry dusty ground and then releasing, in a shamanic sweep of aromas, the sap-green essences of growing and the black-peat juices of bog and hill. Breathe in and the mind fills with colour and scent, breathe out and the body releases its stress.
Even when storm clouds and showers gathered across the Minch and Inner Sound hiding the horizon with dark, thunderous banks of cloud, the sea waters have glowed and pulsed with energy, eye-aching in their formidable beauty. As clouds and showers drifted north west they covered Skye and the Hebrides in drapery of mauve, indigo, and grey as if voile curtains were being pulled gently across by unseen hands, perhaps to shield the islands from the coruscating light.
There is much magic in this elemental place; crystal-bright light is seeping into every living cell while myrtle-scented and resinous breezes swish around us all like balm. Land, sea and air are suffused with enchantment; it is hard not to become infused oneself and laugh with sheer pleasure of it all.
The romance of midsummer will pass. This beautiful edgeland, where sky meets sea meets land in a maelstrom of inner sounds and outer colours, will quieten and soften. Although the nights will be high and white for a while longer, change is on the way; the days have begun to shorten and in a few short months these moonstone, mother-of-pearl and turquoise days will have diminished and I will rely on memory, photographs and paintings to bring them back.
It turns out that this prose was part of a blog entry from Annie's excellent blog, Red River Croft. Well worth a read.
Sue and I also love this part of the world, though in recent years we haven't got as far north as we would like. I have many memories of the area, including numerous sightings of sea otters.
The picture at the head of this posting is of Dave Oliver on Quinag, looking down to the Lochinver road on 22 March 2005. A picture of John Clark in the same spot in better light won me a photographic competition (and a shiny new Zenith camera) about 30 years earlier. That was on slide film that I must get around to scanning!
The picture below is of another favourite view of mountains lined up on the horizon - Canisp, Suilven, Cul Mor and Cul Beag, with Stac Pollaidh just out of view to the right..
What a wonderful part of the world...
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Saturday, 28 November 2020
Graeme joined me on a dull morning for this excellent 11.5 km circuit from the small car park at Lindow Common in Wilmslow. Our route was very similar to the one that Paul and I enjoyed on 5 November, the detailed record of which is here.
We walked down to Twinnies Bridge, where the car park was overflowing, then beside the Bollin on the good path to Styal Mill, pictured above.
The owner's house has recently been restored, but I have yet to go round it. The Greg family lived right next to their mill, built in 1784 in the days when it's not a surprise to learn that other members of the family were involved in the slave trade. Samuel Greg's brother-in-law owned a slave ship, and his father and brother part owned sugar plantations in Dominica - one of which employed 139 slaves.
We enjoyed a pleasant interlude with Ash - a friend of Graeme who used to be an expert pediatric surgeon - and his dog. Beyond the woods, with seasonal Cheshire mud underfoot, we took the path to the runway tunnel, beyond which mainly field paths led us back to our car park.
For more information, check the links in my 5 November posting. There's not much more to add here, apart from recording a pleasant, chatty morning in Graeme's good company that enabled the world to be put to rights.
Friday, 27 November 2020
The Strathfarrar Munro ridge was my target today, but poor weather scuppered that. I made do with going over the 693 metre summit of Beinn na Muice, from Monar Lodge, before setting up camp on not so welcoming ground near a waterfall at NH 234 401.
As can be seen from the picture below, taken at 8.30 the following morning, it had snowed overnight as far down as my spot at 350 metres.
Thursday, 26 November 2020
This was a sad day as it was dominated by Andrew's wife Rosemary's funeral.
The service was lovely, with a reading from 'Midsummer', by Annie O'Garra Worsley, and 'An Evening Hour' by Pearlyn, all interspersed with lovely music.
Goodbye, Rosemary, you leave us with fond memories.
The willow trees in de Quincy Park were weeping.
The study carpet is down, some files have been shelved, and I've managed by some miracle to reassemble the desk. But that's enough for one day, the computer is still languishing in a bedroom ..... resting.
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
It was a carpet and curtain fitting day today, before which a (not)parkrun in the rain, featuring an unusually quiet towpath - pictured above.
In between fittings we managed a delivery of Chardonnay chicken to Mike and Sarah in Didsbury, by which time the weather in Fletcher Moss Park had decidedly improved, though the bikes needed a good hose down once we got back.
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
Monday, 23 November 2020
Sunday, 22 November 2020
This is an entry that will bring back a few memories. For that reason I've included most of the weekend's pictures, though many are of inferior quality. Click on any of them for a better version/slideshow.
It's 17 years ago. How time flies! I was coming to the end of my days as an employee of Grant Thornton and was only working part time, but I was still too busy to write up this trip until I found myself on my own in a restaurant in Cambridge over a week later. Here's my contemporaneous report. I do remember taking my notebook into the restaurant.
"It's now 16 December
and we are again behind with diary entries. I am unexpectedly alone in the Varsity
Back to 5 December. Sue and I got a sensibly early 3:15 start from Tesco's in Wythenshawe, and had a very easy run compared with Sue's recent effort to get to the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Reached Helvellyn Youth Hostel at 5:15 to find Andrew already installed. After a very leisurely brew, we got installed in our twin room (not en-suite, but only £10.50 a night each).
Then - getting
on for 7 pm and still no other arrivals - we strolled down to the pub. Here, an
excellent meal was served in very cosy surroundings. Promise of a good weekend.
After a while Don and Liz turned up, then Maryvic, then
Saturday 6 December
Though up leisurely, Sue and I were ahead of most people. We joined Andrew as the only people to eat a hostel breakfast. We were ready well before 10 am, and Mary and others set off.
The summit was reached spot on as planned,
at 1 pm. There were over 20 of us including Dave and
Luckily, Mary and co were still there; they spent an hour on the top and it wasn't warm.
The champagne was opened...
On the ascent I had noticed Liz being very laden and a little pensive. She blamed the champagne in her rucksack. I had champagne also but I was not pensive. Liz was lying!
Glasses (plastic beakers) in hand, we all supped merrily. Then Liz ('The Boss') called everyone to attention. About 50 people turned to face her. The 20 or so in our party then received her address:
"You thought you were here to celebrate Don and my Century Birthday" (they were both 50 in November - she rambled on about the dates) "but we are also here for another purpose - to celebrate our marriage last Monday." She then explained that they had got married on 1st of December, about 16 days after Don's divorce came through.
And with that weight off her mind, Liz produced the extra weight (that had been masquerading as champagne) out of her rucksack - a wedding cake.
Mouths gaped as we ate our lunches and drank our champagne and ate cake. The party continued unabated.
people started to drift off. It was cold. Most went down Swirral Edge, but Sue,
Dave, Linda and Andrew joined me to descend via Raise and
Back down before dark, we encountered the search and rescue dogs that had apparently fully booked Patterdale YH. And so to an enjoyable and leisurely evening in good company with a nice meal - produced by the hostel for £8.50.
Sunday 7 December
A lovely day for a walk from the east of Scales up Mousthwaite Comb, with a break on the edge of Scales Fell and another below Brunt Knott, in bright sunshine, before scrambling up Sharp Edge and onto the summit of Blencathra. Descent by Knowe Crags and a late afternoon stroll along the foot of the fell past Threlkeld.
On the walk were me, Sue, Dave, Linda, Andrew, Dave, Barry (71), Don and Liz.
The highlights were:
· lounging in the sun below Brunt Knott;
· that was after a very, very leisurely start - 11 am before we started walking, with superb views from the road over the top, partly behind a very fast vintage Bentley sports car;
· Linda's ascent of Sharp Edge. Unfortunately she followed Sue up the last section, which brought her to tears as she had promised her paranoid daughter to 'take care'. She was very quick!
· lingering on the summit in the warm sunshine.
After Andrew, Don and Liz had taken the short direct route down, the rest of us ambled gently, with a full moon rising from around the edge of Blencathra as the sun set behind us. We finished as it was getting dark, then Sue and I went into Keswick to meet Don and Liz at the Lemon and Lime cafe, which would also be good for an evening meal. They eschewed fish and chips, so we at them in the car before returning home after the traffic had cleared."
Here's our approximate route - 12 km with 850 metres ascent. (The same as the previous day.)