Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Egerton to Ramsbottom (successful!) 28/09/14

I had imagined that the trip to Pendle Hill would have had a much greater mileage than it did, somewhere in the region of 6 miles, so only putting down 4 miles seems a bit low for the journey to the other side of the Pennines. So, we look to a bonus stroll for Sunday, to get some miles down quickly before I head homewards, and I'm not fancying any hills after yesterday's escapade and the girls would rather play with Lego or take a trip to the park rather than tag along again, and we have to get it in before lunchtime too, which means options are naturally limited. Rivington Park is the obvious port of call but we've done that too many times already, and my idea of walking down the valley into Bolton won't take us anywhere near Moss Bank park, so that doesn't wash either, and the third choice comes together eventually to keep everyone happy, Dr G takes the girls to Nuttall Park, whilst My Sister and I make another attempt to do Egerton to Ramsbottom in under 3 hours.

Egerton to Ramsbottom (successful)  7.3 miles

Monday, 29 September 2014

Pendle Hill 27/09/14

If I hadn't planned to head over into Lancashire for this weekend, I'd almost certainly have spent all of it in bed, as my activities last weekend left me feeling like my battery was almost completely flat after 5 days of work, and mix that in with far too many nights of restless sleep and agonising pains in my neck, and heading to Bolton for a weekend with My Sister's family seems like a very poor idea. However, September is Completion Month, and I had planned for this visit for nearly two months so such considerations need to be cast aside as this is the last opportunity for the weather to still look decent as I make for the hill that has been on my target list for all of the last two seasons, always proving an elusive goal. Younger Niece needs to get up a hill under her own power too, as Elder got out with us last year, and whilst they have both done more physical activity in the intervening time than I managed in my entire childhood, Younger is still to achieve a summit without being carried and she's now at a similar age to when Elder topped the Coniston Old Man. So cast aside the physical problems, gather yourself some fortitude and let's get on the shortest of trails for a Saturday afternoon, not walking a recognised long distance path for the first time since July, and that means the first trip in nine without the reader having to look at my grinning mug as they read of my exploits here.

Pendle Hill, from Barley  4.2 miles

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Kirklees Way #6: Hepworth to Marsden 20/09/14

Self at Hepworth
Moving into the third day of a head cold is not the way to be going when you have the last day of a major trail on your schedule, but I'm not feeling too bad all things considered, there's certainly no restriction being felt in my lungs, so I feel that I need to get a move on as this is notionally the last weekend of Summer, and this isn't something I need loitering on my schedule any further into Autumn. Indeed, i am otherwise occupied for two of the coming three weekends, and if this day doesn't get walked soon, it could still be on my un-walked as the third week of October rolls around and who knows how the weather or my physical condition might be holding up by then? Anyway, I'm dubbing September as Completion Month, as I aim to get this trail done and another major walking target off the slate before Autumn brings the short and cold days that do not inspire me to putting down the miles with alacrity. So take an early start and onwards, for the 100 minute ride by rail and road to Hepworth and its distant corner of Kirklees, beneath skies that don't suggest the slightest possibility of sunshine, but also carry a forecast of no rain, still feeling brave enough to don only the gilet and to see if my dodgy respiratory system can handle the moisture laden air that will be hanging heavy today.

Kirklees Way #6: Hepworth to Marsden  12.7 miles

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Kirklees Way #5: Clayton West to Hepworth 13/09/14

Self at Clayton West
As a brief post script to me Summer Jollies, I ought to mention that on the evening after my completion of the Hadrian's Wall Path, my Mum suffered a fall at our holiday home, injuring both her feet quite severely, so our last day was spent getting her checked out at Cumberland Royal Infirmary, and my Dad was compelled to do all 270 miles of driving homeward afterwards. I'm happy to report that she is going to be fine, though, having only suffered bruising and the slightest of breaks, with mostly swelling to endure in its wake, indeed she's off on a week of rail touring around Scotland right now, demonstrating that she still a trooper as she heads on into her 70s. Still, it makes me realise that I owe my parents a huge debt of gratitude for how they put themselves out for me so that I can tour remoter parts of the country, and I think I need to emphasise that and thank them here, because the truth is that, ultimately, none of this would have been possible without them. Still as the End of Summer comes on, it's back to West Yorkshire to get the Kirklees Way back on the schedule as the days of summer pass on, loading up to walk against the clock again, as it's going to be last Night of the Proms with my pals in Mytholmroyd in the evening, the clear indicator that the decline of the year has finally arrived. So the backpack is weighed down with a change of togs, the heaviest load I've taken on since striking out on the Dales Way and I've got a 5 and a half hour window to make my way around this distant corner of the county, largely because the shortest possible trip to my start line is on a 90 minute bus ride via Wakefield.

Kirklees Way #5: Clayton West to Hepworth  12.4 miles

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hadrian's Wall Path #6: Eden Bridge to Bowness on Solway 04/09/14

Self at Eden Bridge
As a brief aside from the Wall Path, I feel it my responsibility to report that Scotland is open for business, having last come this close to the Scottish Border back in 2010 and visited Coldstream, a military town that you might expect to have a low hum of activity vibrating around it, only to find it mostly closed with only the pub and the memorial gardens having about half a dozen total people in them. So it's with some joy to report that Gretna positively buzzes with activity, at least the Outlet Village and the tourist trap around the Gretna Green Smithy do, as when you are that close to a venue for reduced cost clothing and entertaining local produce, it demands that you pay a visit, though I'm sure it's only there to tempt English tourists' pounds into the Scottish Economy. It does make you wonder how this sort of thing might work out in the wake of Scottish independence, which side of the border would be good for the cheap goods and which side would be dealing the moneyed tourists? Crossing over also gives you a chance to see how the architecture changes, visualising the differences that make it all feel actually Scottish, demonstrating that a line on the ground can effect building styles just as much as it would accents, but there's surely some cross-pollination to the styles on both side of the Solway Firth, and there are indeed, especially those low square windows closer to the wall angle than the central door, the long, low one-storeyed cottages, and that taste for whitewash with black window frames and details. Anyway, I digress again, the last day on the trail beckons, through a landscape quite dissimilar to that encountered in all my travels, heading for an end that seemed such a long ways away when in Wallsend last May.

Hadrian's Wall Path: Eden Bridge to Bowness on Solway  14.8 miles

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Hadrian's Wall Path #5: Banks Turret to Eden Bridge 02/09/14

Self at Banks Turret
The End of Summer has definitely been delayed, judging by the harsh reddening that the left side of my face and neck has suffered, and whilst that should be the primary source of my moans, the reality of my situation has me wondering just how we managed to live in the 20th Century. Sure it wasn't really that different from now, but once you have gotten used to having mobile communications and wi-fi you start to forget what it is like to live without them, and I'm hardly one who is umbilically attached to my mobile device, but things do certainly get a bit more complicated when sending a message when out on the trail becomes a task in itself. Similarly, having no wi-fi means getting an accurate weather forecast requires a trip to the nearest available coffee shop to piggy-back on their free service, and any query about facilities in the locality or the accessibility of sites in Carlisle has you rooting through leaflets and maps in your holiday house. Such are the risks of staying in a location as mobile unfriendly as the Eden Valley, I suppose, and it's a real shame because I got myself a laptop for the purpose of live blogging when away from home and haven't managed to get it done on either of trips away this year, and I'm in the writing form of my life too, hammering out the paragraphs at the clip, when shorn of distractions my writing can proceed at a pace, it seems, so maybe that's a reason to not want wi-fi?

Hadrian's Wall Path #5: Banks Turret to Eden Bridge  14.6 miles

Monday, 1 September 2014

Hadrian's Wall Path #4: Steel Rigg to Banks Turret 31/08/14

Self at Steel Rigg
Five hours on the trail without feeling any need for sunblock last weekend, followed by an August bank holiday Monday that is regarded as having been the coldest and wettest in over 50 years suggest that the End of Summer is upon us and that is the surely the cue for me to go on my late summer jollies. So it's time to get Kirklees out of my system for a week and refocus my attention to the far north once again, time to get the services of my Parental taxi service and head out for seven days staying in Cumwhinton, at the top of the Eden Valley, just shy of Carlisle, to make my attempt on the last three legs of the Hadrian's Wall Path, resuming in the high lands atop the Whin Sill and heading for the Irish Sea coast. So cast away from your mind the environs of Huddersfield and Dewsbury, and the views across to the Colne valley and the Emley Moor transmitter, and return your view to the sights from May time, and say Hello again to the A69 and the Military Road, Hello to Northunbria National park and the escarpments of Dolerite, and Hello once more to tramping through 2,000 years of history, in the footsteps of the Romans, and Britons of all ages.

Hadrian's Wall Path #4: Steel Rigg to Banks Turret  13.1 miles