Monday, 26 August 2013

Earl Crag & Airedale's Neglected Hills 18/08/13

Reading walking literature about the lands south of the Dales seems to have largely ignored on quarter of Airedale, namely the southern side below Skipton and above Keighley, for some reason it does not feature as a desirable destination despite many hills rising above the 300m mark and by having the Pennine Way running right through the middle of it. Maybe its lack of a distinctive name and identity has cost it, or maybe it's just that much less appealing when placed against its loftier and bleaker neighbours, but having taken a look at Earl Crag from afar and knowing that ridge is the one known feature of the area has me putting it on the walking slate for immediate attention and hoping that the area might bring other rewards as I once again venture into the completely unknown. Also, I'll be doing this all on a Sunday, and I know that's not a good plan when work looms the following day, but Saturday was mostly a washout, and I do need to make hay whilst the sun still shines!

Earl Crag & Airedale's Neglected Hills: Steeton to Skipton  12.6 miles

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Skipton Moor: Ilkley to Skipton 10/08/13

Back to the North Country then, and it's now time to start thinking about walking somewhere that isn't Wharfedale, because of 24 up-country walks so far this year, 11 of them have featured in this most lovable of dales. I admit that I've fallen for it pretty hard and made a previously unexplored region one of my absolute favourites, but with more than half the year gone, I'd have thought that I'd be well into the Aire & Calder moors by now. So return to Ilkley, which has seen me so many times this year that I might start considering it a second home, and set course for the last remaining unexplored moor that borders Lower Wharfedale and to make a symbolic break away from my new favourite walking country.

Skipton Moor: Ilkley to Skipton  10.3 miles

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Lost Villages of East Leicestershire 03/08/13

Plans for 2nd August fell away after the intense heat of the previous day, and no walking took place as I awoke with legs reluctant to move all that much, not coming right until the late afternoon, and the the only part of the day's plan was taking my Parents to dinner at the White House, an under-performing restaurant that has since found its way as a branch of Wetherspoon's. So my walking plan has to be pruned slightly to fit it in on Saturday, losing a couple of miles from a loop and re-directing to a new finish point and my target for the day is the rural landscape of East Leicestershire,  the side of the county that I considered home for over 20 years, to seek out some of the villages lost to history in the late Medieval period, swept away by enclosure and the change from arable farming to livestock. One side of the Explorer 233 plate shows at least a dozen of them, and a fascinating account of these by the antiquarian WG Hoskins should be read for a bit of background, before I set out in search of six of them, taking an early start in some much more hospitable weather.

The Lost Villages of East Leicestershire:
 Hamilton, Baggrave, Lowesby, Cold Newton, Quenby & Ingarsby   12 miles

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Peaks of Charnwood Forest 01/08/13

No walking career was ever conceived in the county of Leicestershire, I grew up in the county and can count on my fingers the number of walking excursions made during my first 18 years, it simply does not have the drama of Landscape and the scale of terrain that can be found in most parts of the country outside of the Midlands. Plainly expressed, the majority of Leicestershire is gently rolling countryside which can prove interesting on the smaller scale, does not offer the changing vistas and viewpoints of the higher lands which would appeal to the walking soul. There are a couple of notable exceptions however, and one of these is Charnwood Forest, an area largely covered in the remains of ancient woodlands and sited atop the remnants of even more ancient volcanoes, at over 560millon years old forming some of the oldest rocks in England. So when the time comes for a week away from home and absorbing my parents' hospitality, my first walking destination in the Old Country has to be in the heart of North-West Leicestershire's Granite Country.

The Peaks of Charnwood Forest: Old John, Beacon Hill & Bardon Hill.   13.8 miles