Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Tingley Viaduct & Ardsley Reservoir 27/04/14

Taking the whole department out for drinks could have been an expensive business if all 26 staff had turned out, but thanks to shifts patterns, absences and unavailability, a wholly more manageable 8 folk turned out which ensured that a drinks order could be made without recourse to writing things down, but I'm still baffled as to how many people thought they were celebrating my 40th birthday already. Maybe my choice of words on the e-mail invite, notably 'in a spirit of egalitarianism in my 40th year', was a bit confusing, but no matter because a seven pint session went on with a whole lot of nonsense talked and laughter echoed around, plus a couple of old faces rejoining the crew and everyone getting off for their last ride home. So predictably, Saturday is scrubbed with a hangover and no real awareness of what the day is doing until late afternoon, but even with it being a notional weekend off, I could use the stretch to work off the beer, and to make some space for the epic post-hangover bacon sandwich, so Sunday morning demands a supposedly short stroll to find a couple of the hidden highlights of the borough.

Tingley Viaduct & Ardsley Reservoir  8.6 miles

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Woodlesford to Cross Gates 21/04/14

I know that a Bank Holiday cannot be wasted on R'n'R when the weather promises to be good, but I have learned that it is wise to not throw yourself into a major excursion when you have to work the following day, because your legs are not gong to thank you when you need to do the things that keep you in bread, which my colleague who went up Ingleborough found out to her cost. So I need something of less than 7 miles to keep me interested and not exhausted, and the missing miles from the original route of my day from Stanley Ferry to Rothwell looks to fit that particular bill, because why shouldn't I spend my Easter Monday like so many other citizens of Leeds, by taking a walk in Temple Newsam Park?

Woodlesford to Cross Gates via Temple Newsam Park  5.8 miles

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Morley to Huddersfield 19/04/14

The walking year so far has not really had me exerting myself in my choice of trails, starting off at a steady pace of short walks for the colder part of the season and having largely avoided treks that would be all-day ventures. Nearly 100 miles into the 2014 season and I still haven't topped 12 miles in a single day, so it's time to make a break from such modest excursions, and as we've a long weekend of Easter break afoot, I can allow myself an extra day of relaxation before hitting the trail on Saturday. So, to the heart of Kirklees we look, finally cutting a path from home to the Calder valley and the south west (having failed to do so in my first 1,000 miles), to see if Huddersfield is a long way away or not, for I dwell under the idea that it isn't that far away at all, only 30 minutes distant by train, but we all know that travel time is deceptive as almost everywhere else in West Yorkshire is around an hour distant, and that line on the map is what tells the true story.

Morley to Huddersfield, via Batley, Dewsbury, Thornhill Lees, Whitley & Kirkheaton 
   16.1 miles

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Castleford to Knottingley 12/04/14

With the 1,000 miles before I'm 40 target achieved, and three more 1,000 mile targets set, this is not the time to rest on my laurels, as there are new paths to be traced, and this journey through my mind has me thinking of a view from my childhood that I have never forgotten, and I want to go see if it's still there, and still the awesome sight that my 7-10 year old brain thought it was. It will also allow me to complete an error from my 2012 season, having bragged about walking from one side of West Yorkshire to the other, when in reality I had actually come up a few miles short, plus it's in a corner of the county that hasn't been visited yet, and it allows me to get in another stretch of Canal Walking after being forgotten during 2012's exercise, as well as earning a Better Late then Never tag, as you might have noticed that the power stations down the Aire valley have kept popping up in my commentaries, but have remained at a studied distance.

Castleford to Knottingley, via Fairburn Ings and the Aire & Calder Navigation.  10 miles

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Rumination: 1,000 Miles Achieved!

Self, at Temple Mill, Holbeck, & at 1,000 miles
 763 days after starting out and by way of 97 separate walking excursions, my 1,000 mile target has been attained, with 7 whole months to spare before my 40th birthday. It seemed like a lot of miles when first planned in 2012, but now in 2014, it can stand as my proudest achievement since graduating from University, after I have blazed trails across the North country (and the Midlands), seeing this land in all its varied aspects and having taken an unexpected journey into my own psyche as I have gone on my way. I have taken paths through geology, geography and history, and now it's time to celebrate my achievement before the trail recalls me.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The 1,000th Mile: Morley to Leeds 05/04/14

The final straight awaits, and I feel like it was only a few weeks ago that I embarked on this walking scheme, and I can't believe the target is within sight at the end of only the shortest of ambles, and I've already stated my case for avoiding a dynamic finish, as I feel that my achievement needs to be engaged socially, but I also think that there is a good case for doing something really mundane. That thought needs some explanation, as travelling from home in Morley to Leeds City Centre is a route that has been engaged thousands of times but has only been walked twice, and I have never walked Chrurwell Hill in either direction, so going along the main road, shadowing the route of the #51 bus, will give me an opportunity to pay close attention to a landscape that I have passed so many times. There's a fascination in the everyday surroundings that many people will never notice, but it is something to get me excited and intrigued, a journey through the present to the past and to a goal that I would never have thought was so easily attainable, so it might not be the nicest day of the Spring, but it is the first weekend of the season when glumness does not bring the feeling that winter is still lingering.

The 1,000 Mile: Morley to Leeds, via Churwell and Holbeck  5.8 miles