Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Pen-y-ghent (& Plover Hill) 05/10/13

Having my walking season finale on a high hill seems like a great idea when viewed at a distance, but becomes a much less appealing prospect once you have felt the Autumn bearing down on you bringing mist, rain, falling temperatures and high winds above the 400m contour. It's the wind that's the killer, and the last trip I made has me feeling like I don't want to know what the winds of November might be like when the ones of late September were no fun, so the finale gets brought forward, spoiling the symmetry of the season, but that is less important then comfort, surely? Anyway, 3rd October marked my 20th anniversary since coming north to attend the University of Leeds, and what better way to celebrate that marker than to listen to every album that I bought in 1993? Or perhaps to also return to the scene of my first solo walk, some 11 years ago, and to partially retrace my original steps and to add Pen-y-ghent to the list of summits achieved in my official wandering career? Anyway, to the last excursion to the Dales for a while whilst the day still manages to promise a six hour window with minimal risk of precipitation!

Pen-y-ghent & Plover Hill  10.4 miles

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Marsden to Hebden Bridge 28/09/13

With the end of the walking season approaching fast, it becomes important to get the long excursions off the slate as quickly as possible as a long walking day needs a guarantee of decent weather and sufficient daylight to get to the finish line before being surrounded in gloom. So late September is the last point in the year to make an attempt of 16+ miles, and that's the fourth time that I'll be topping that figure this year, the magic number that says 'this is a long way', and I do wonder why I have left it so late in the year to go from Colne to Calder, and how I've not been to Marsden in a whole year when I still have an all-areas Metrocard. You'd never imagine just how difficult it is fitting in all your walking targets, even when you go for the whole summer without taking any time out from the schedule, so it looks like I'm not going to fit in more than a couple of walks in this area before my right to 'free' travel expires, and next year I'll have to return to travelling with cash in my pocket, or learning the dark art of rural bus travel. Onwards, anyway, as I've got a weather projection of clear skies, prolonged sunshine and minimal risk of rain, so hopefully it's only the wind coming from the north-east that will provide the only climatic challenge of the day.

Marsden to Hebden Bridge, via Close Moss, White Hill, Blackstone Edge, Warland Moor 
                                                 & Stoodley Pike   16.5 miles

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Saltaire to Otley 21/09/13

Autumn is upon us and as is the tradition, a ferocious head cold descends on me, only a 48 hour virus and one that I choose to work through to demonstrate what a trooper I am, but that means that the tank is going to be running low as the weekend comes around and the long walk from Marsden to Hebden Bridge isn't going to happen. Walking after a respiratory ailment is not a good idea, as recalled by leg #3 of the Calderdale way when a trek of less than 10 miles took more than 6 hours, so walking from Colne to Calder is going to have to wait, and as the last phase of the walking season is upon us, I think I can allow myself a short excursion to get in three high points between Aire and Wharfe.

Saltaire to Otley, via Baildon Moor, Hawksworth Cliff and Otley Chevin  9.8 miles