Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Rumination: Pausing for Breath

Back at the start of this walking season, I said I'd be taking a few more weekends out of my schedule to allow for some recuperation and to prevent myself burning out from too many days on the trail, but as the weeks have progressed and I have found myself intent on hitting the byways on every weekend. Having to catch up on the delayed stretches of the Dales Way and having to catch up on them before Spring Jollies was the major factor behind the activity, as was the need to use as much available Spring as possible after that never-ending blast of Winter, but I also need to relax, as the last few major walks had all proved quite mentally taxing, so I needed a good reason to get off the trail, preferably one that didn't involve a lot of booze...

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Dales Way #3: Buckden to Far Gearstones 04/05/13

Self, at Election Bridge
near Buckden
These long days which feature as much travelling/waiting around as they do actual walking are starting to frustrate me somewhat, as a good 5/6 hour walk should not be accompanied by a 5/6 hour journey. This is especially frustrating with the Dales Way as I had wanted to actually get the feeling of starting up in one place and then winding up in a far distant place three days on, but travelling to each start point by train and bus might absorb a lot of time, but it makes it feel that much closer together, and the feeling of  the many miles traversed and of escaping from the trappings of civilisation for a while is almost completely lost. Plus, today's outward journey was something of an ordeal, as the train up to Skipton is ridiculously busy with folks hitting the Dales for the Ride2Stride festival, and many, many kids are on board, filling half a carriage with baggage and loud voices, and it's then a 35 minute wait for the bus to Buckden, which bounces and dawdles its way up Wharfedale as I start to check my watch anxiously as I know I'll be going against the clock again on my remotest solo Dales walk so far, and I've forgotten to leave notice of my travels on my Facebook page...

Walking to Windermere: The Dales Way #3:
  Buckden to Far Gearstones (& Ribblehead).  14 miles.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Hawes to Horton-in-Ribblesdale 27/04/13

The abiding image I have in my mind of walking the Pennine Way comes from my distant childhood and an episode of 'Go With Noakes' in which John Noakes took on the path in foul weather and extremely muddy conditions whilst wearing quite the most hilarious pair of 1970s flares. I recall thinking 'That looks no fun at all' and that impression still hasn't changed in 30+ years, as the Pennine Way resides somewhere near the bottom of my list of walking priorities, but the truth is that it is a trail that ultimately remains unavoidable when walking in the North Country. Indeed in all of my walking exploits since 2002, I have walked nine different sections of it, ranging from a few hundred metres to several miles between Stoodley Pike in the south and Hadrian's Wall in the north, so let's meet up with the FOSCL group and have day 10 on this trail and my longest single excursion on it to boot, and maybe I should start tagging my walks with 'Not Walking the Pennine Way'.

Hawes to Horton-in-Ribblesdale: 14 miles