Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Morley to Leeds (again) 26/05/14

Bank Holiday Monday rolls around and I'm back home again, eager for a stretch whilst the sun is out and the skies clear, a surprisingly good day after a sequence of four grotty ones, and yet I'm not feeling that well-disposed towards the world, no a particularly happy camper at all. There has been a shift in this nation that I do not approve of at all, one which marks a particularly unpleasant change that this country has happily avoided for several decades, and I get the feeling that the discourse is going to get rather more poisonous in the coming years, not a good places to be for sure. Not that this has anything to do with walking of course, but right now I'd really like to disappear far away from the world as it is to gather my thoughts and harden my resolve, but there's no option for a distant retreat as I need to work on Tuesday, instead taking a walk into the town again, happy that my city has retained a small amount of sanity in these testing times.

Morley to Leeds, via Middleton Park & Hunslet Dewsbury Road  6.3 miles

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Hadrian's Wall Path #3: Chesters to Steel Rigg 21/05/14

Self at Chesters
Moving on swiftly as the Spring weather still has no idea of how to be consistent, and since I travelled for holidays it has been a pattern of three good days and one misty one, to be followed by one more good day and two completely awful ones, so naturally hay has to be made whilst the sun is shining. I'm pretty sure that today is going to be pretty rough, I'm still feeling sore after putting down over 30 miles over the preceding three days and I'm certain that some part of my right leg is going to suffer badly, but I need to use the bright and clear weather as today sees the transition out of rural Northumberland and into the high lands. When I made my first steps on the Hadrian's Wall Path in 2011, it was a cold and glum day in July, and all my intentions after that were to travel into the most dramatic landscape of the path and onto the ridges of the Whin Sill when the sun was shining, and as Wednesday is looking like the only day that that will happen, let us make to the trail ASAP.

Hadrian's Wall Path #3: Chesters to Steel Rigg  12.1 miles

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Hadrian's Wall Path #2: Heddon on the Wall to Chesters 20/05/14

Self at Heddon on the Wall
A satisfyingly huge Sunday dinner, and legs that felt like they needed an extra day of rest meant that the superb weather of Monday was not put to walking use, and dropping a day like this one is always a pity, even if you can find other entertaining distractions to fill your day, so for the day off we took a visit to the Corbridge Roman town, named Coria or Corstopitum, or some other variant depending on who you listen to. Only half a mile outside the contemporary settlement at the crossing point of Dere Street and Stanegate, it's an excellent example of a Roman town growing out of a 1st century AD military encampment that predated Hadrian's Wall into a significant urban centre that lasted for three centuries, before retreating into the landscape to be rediscovered in the 20th. It also shows up the fact that regardless of how grand a settlement may have been, the fragments that remain will often be of the most mundane parts, like the granary cellars, the drainage and cistern, and the military strong room, giving a sense of the basic nuts and bolts of Roman living. Additionally, unearthed inscriptions illustrate the sheer range of peoples that travelled and worked with the Roman empire, with Coria having been built and operated by people from such remote corners as Syria, Algeria and Romania, which proves that movement of labour in Europe is an ancient and historical phenomenon, not something to be considered as a modern evil perpetrated by the EU. Seriously folks, getting a Sense of History will expand your mind, and decrease your prejudices.

Hadrian's Wall Path #2: Heddon on the Wall to Chesters  16.3 miles

Monday, 19 May 2014

Hadrian's Wall Path #1: Wallsend to Heddon on the Wall 18/05/14

Self at Segedunum, Wallsend
Spring Jollies arrive and that's a cue to travel far from my normal walking comfort zone, and to utilise the generosity of my parents for travelling and boarding purposes, and it's to Northumberland we head, basing ourselves in Corbridge for my first National Trail, as I should feature at least one before my initial three year odyssey ends, and that is going to be the Hadrian's Wall Path. Established as a National Trail in 2003 and 73 miles long, it follows the coast to coast route of the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site, and as a geographical and historical feature, it really should not need an introduction, but I will provide one in case you haven't been paying attention. Constructed on the orders of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD122, it was an 80 mile long defensive border and customs facility between Roman Britannia and the troublesome provinces of Caledonia (subject of two unsuccessful military campaigns in the preceding century), marking one of the first established frontiers anywhere in the world and of the beginning of the end of the centuries of expansion of the Roman Empire. Now it endures as a fascinating historical curiosity which has left a band of remnants across a broad stretch of Northern England, which should demand the attention of anyone who has an interest in the ancient history of these islands.

Hadrian's Wall Path #1: Wallsend to Heddon on the Wall  15.8 miles

Monday, 12 May 2014

Upper Rivington & Anglezarke Reservoirs 10/05/14

Even as a n adopted Yorkshireman, it seems a terrible and unnecessary cliche to perpetuate the theory that it always rains in Lancashire, because being on the windward side of the Pennines really should make so much difference, but the sad truth to me seems to be that I cannot coordinate a visit to my Sister and her family with an incidence of good weather. This has been a pretty decent year so far, no particularly rough weekends for weather, and mid May should manage to look decently clear, but the first rotten weekend of the year comes down to scupper my plan for a trip to Pendle Hill, and I'm already getting the feeling that this particular destination is going to prove somewhat difficult to obtain. Still, circumstances for my visit play against me, with my nieces having weekend morning activities which take them out of circulation, and they do enjoy their cycling and swimming trips, and my Sis and I aren't doing ourselves any favours when both mornings are needed to sleep off the drinks from the previous night, so the excursions plan for the weekend has to be scaled back, to fit in a stretch between the rain showers.

Upper Rivington & Anglezarke Reservoirs  7.5 miles

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

A Trail of Two Castles: Sandal & Pontefract 05/05/14

To make best use of the May Day bank holiday, I burned a day of annual leave to give me a four day weekend, thus giving me scope to make best use of the Monday, offering a much larger window of time and distance, so that i might get a nicely long walk in without having to return to work on sore calves and ankles. It's also about time that I started delving deep into Wakefield district as I've been keeping close to the upper right corner for the opening stretch of the season, and  I need to head somhere that is local and yet largely unknown, and also put E278 to use as it's still looking far too pristine for its age. Additionally, we'll be travelling back in time to long before the days of railways and industry for today's theme, and a promisingly warm day has me daring to head out with only my gilet for cover, and after Saturday's 7 hour debacle, it's a point of pride that I get this one down in 5 hours, so against the clock we go for 900+ years of history.

Sandal to Pontefract, via Walton, Crofton, Nostell Priory & Featherstone  13.7 miles

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Morley to Halifax 03/05/14

The month of May is finally here, my favourite month of the year, and even though I am not currently in the best of conditions right now (feeling far too many niggles and non-walking related pains), I'm hopeful for a good month and if all goes to plan I could get 9 (count 'em) walking excursions down over the coming 4 weeks. Long weekends and jollies will give me plenty of time to get busy with what I enjoy going most, and let's burn a day of annual leave to give me a 4 day break for May Day weekend, allowing me to have a couple of decently long excursions plus necessary rest and relaxation times between. My progress for the year is also going well, at a similar mileage rate to last year and also making good progress down my list of walking targets too, so I'm pleased that I'm on the edge of completing the first of major plans of the year, namely blazing a trail to the administrative centres of West Yorkshire, and I'd saved Halifax for last on the assumption that this trail would probably require a decently long day, as well as good weather if this is to be my only visit to Calderdale for the entire year.

Morley to Halifax, via Birstall, Gomersall, Cleckheaton & Brighouse  15.3 miles