Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Thursday 25 September 2008

Thursday 25 September 2008 - The Romans in Manchester

I had occasion to pop in to town today. 

Ellis Brigham's shop in Castlefield seemed to have loads of staff and no customers, so I swelled their coffers by £7 by purchasing new tips for my Leki walking poles.  The Makalu Classics - abused for over 12 years now - simply refuse to wear out.  These are their 4th set of tips.

Next to EB's emporium is this, The North Gate:2501gate
By the middle of the second century AD the Roman fort of Mamucium was rectangular, with a gateway on each side.  This north gate of the fort was on the Roman road that crossed the fort's outer defences and ran into the heart of the civilian settlement.

The reconstruction shows how the defences may have looked around AD200.  Whilst this site was excavated in the 1980's, the Roman inscription above the gate is based on fragments found in the 18th century.  It commemorates a detachment of Raetians and Noricans, known to have been stationed in Manchester.  It also commemorates the Roman Emperor Severus and his sons, who are thought to have commissioned the building of the stone defences.

Here's another view, showing the footprints of some buildings inside the fort.2502romans The sheep arrived in 1986, and seem to have worn quite well!2503sheep My textbook, 'Old England - A Pictorial Museum' (somewhat elderly itself) does not mention the Mamucium fort but it includes the following observation on Roman architecture:

'It is easy to understand how the Roman architecture of Britain should not have been in the best taste.  When the island was permanently settled under Roman dominion, the arts had greatly declined in Rome itself.  In architecture, especially, the introduction of incongruous members, in combination with the general forms derived from the Greeks, produced a corruption which was rapidly advancing in the third century, and which continued to spread till Roman architecture had lost nearly all its original distinctive characters.  The models which the Romans left in Britain, to a people harassed with continual invasion and internal dissension, were no doubt chiefly of this debased character.'

I wonder whether future generations may apply similar comments in relation to 'the west's' modern day constructions in certain far away places.2504hilton 

Just around the corner is this, the Beetham Tower, at 171 metres currently the tallest building outside London.


I have no desire to enter it, or really to do anything other than scurry quickly away.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Tuesday 23 September 2008 - Lake District - a stroll from Mardale Head

By Adam Seat above Haweswater Reservoir

Today's excursion with Andrew (aka Notchy) comprised a high level round from Mardale Head, up beside Gatesgarth Beck, past Adam Seat to Harter Fell, then down to Nan Bield Pass before rising again to Mardale Ill Bell for lunch, then along the superbly renovated path to reach High Street at the Racecourse Hill cairn.

A short stroll north took us to The Knott, with great views across to the west, and north towards Ullswater.  Then it was across to Rampsgill Head, and on to our sixth and final Wainwright of the day, Kidsty Pike, before descending pleasantly over Kidsty Howe and down to the car park at the head of Haweswater Reservoir.

Here's the route - 14 km, with 950 metres ascent, taking from 10.30 to 3.45 including breaks of about an hour.2301route Here's the view back down Haweswater Reservoir, before setting off.2302mardale




This rather complicated sign gave us three options.


We selected 'Gatesgarth Pass'.  The path is very nicely graded.  Here's Andrew on the ascent.2304gbeck
Up at  Harter Fell, we paused to admire the view along the Reservoir and beyond to the Pennines.2306harter Sunlit Lakeland summits lined up on the western horizon.2307view 
The Kentmere hills provided a fine foreground to the view across Morecambe Bay.2308mbay 
The path rose gently up to High Street.  It has recently been rebuilt and is in superb condition, as are many Lakeland paths these days.  It's just as well really, given the large number of people we saw in this comparatively obscure corner of the District.  We encountered 50-80 people on the hills today, probably as many as Sue and I were seeing each week in the Alps.2309aschs 
The Knott revealed sunny vistas to the north, with Ullswater just visible.  Ravens circled above.2310uls 
The picture below shows Andrew on the thin path up to Rampsgill Head, with The Knott behind him and Helvellyn and its neighbours behind that.2311knott 
These mountain bikers may have been enjoying a great 22 mile  route from Patterdale that passes this way.2312cycle 
We paused at Kidsty Pike to finish our provisions and admire three fine looking stags far below us in Riggindale.  A large female red deer studied us intently from a couple of hundred metres away.  We must have stood out very clearly on her horizon.  Sadly they were all far too distant to be captured on camera, and the kestrel that flew around well within range was just too quick!

And so we continued, on down the gently sloping ridge to the edge of the Reservoir and thence back to the car.2313hw




On the way we encountered a superb, ancient looking, path, with upright stones carefully positioned at regular intervals on either side.




2315sheep And this very clean (I believe it has rained here recently) sheep peered at us across a bed of tormentil.



Britain at its Best.  A fine walk in the best of company on a lovely late summer's day.  Thank you Andrew for suggesting this day out and acting as chauffeur.

Monday 22 September 2008

Monday 22 September 2008 - A Brush with the C2C

As you may have gathered, I had the pleasure today of meeting up with Mick and Gayle who are walking Wainwright's Coast to Coast route.

Assisted by my faithful steed, I managed to join them at the excellent Pennine View camp site in Kirkby Stephen by 8.30, in plenty of time to set off with them at 9 o'clock on their comparatively short day to Keld, via Nine Standards Rigg.

I promised M&G that I would find out how the cairns got there. The above link to Wikipedia doesn't really help, but other explanations could be:

  • they were constructed by the Roman army to look like troops from a distance and were possibly marked on 18th century maps, or
  • they were built when the border reivers came south from the border country to help scare them off before they rustled all the local cattle, or
  • maybe they were put up by Victorian hoodwinkers.

Anyway, after admiring the small flock of parakeets that flew over the camp site, M&G were soon at the local Spar shop, stocking up their impressively small and light rucksacks (my day sac was nearly as heavy) and trying to spot the dog.2202spar Then it was up to the 4 metre high cairns of Nine Standards Rigg, which were just above the mist line.2203nsr Beyond here quite a few (over a dozen) C2C'ers were encountered as we negotiated the bogs, peat hags and holes in a bid to reach Whitsundale Beck (below), which provided a scenic lunch stop.2203zwb Then it was more peat and bog and holes - be very careful of the holes, Mick's freshly laundered trousers soon showed evidence of his inability to stay on his feet - to the haven of Ravenseat, which sported an enticing advertisement for teas. 2204cafe These were served by a sooty Amazon with a small baby.
Apparently she had just quelled a chimney fire.
Once we had escaped from a very local fly zone, it was very pleasant here in the sunshine. 2206tea But eventually we felt obliged to move on and we soon reached the road on the outskirts of Keld, whence M&G proceeded happily on their way and I returned to locate my car at Black Howe.

Nearly every field around here seems to have an old stone barn in it. They come in all shapes and sizes and states of dilapidation. Here is one of the more impressive ones.2207barn Here's the plan of our route - well, M&G went on to Keld, whilst I finished at Black Howe. It was about 21 km, 830 metres of ascent, and took 7 hours including a couple of hours' breaks.

Gayle, Mick, thank you for your excellent company today, it was really good to meet up for the day. Enjoy the rest of your trip, and hope to see you again soon.
Click here for Gayle's posting for today.


Here we are on the way to Keld, feeling sorry for all those people who are sitting behind their desks at work.

Not really gloating over them as I rather carelessly wrote in the original posting (was it Mick, or Gayle who dictated it? perhaps neither...)

It's a good way to spend a Monday.

As a bonus, the sun is shining.

(Edited following Alan's comment from behind his desk at work.)



Here they are, all fresh and ready to go after a good night's kip.

Their challenge for today is putting up with me, though I do have some goodies to reward them from time to time......

Sunday 21 September 2008

An Italian Border Route incorporating part of the Grande Traversata delle Alpi (GTA)


I have added daily photos and created an index for the postings from our recent two month trip to the Alps, should anyone wish to revisit those entries, or indeed visit them for the first time.

Click here to go to the Index.