Monday, 30 July 2012

Cordwell Valley (Circular) – Derbyshire – 28/07/12 – 9 Miles (approx) – Helen (Molly)

A perfect summer’s day found us out and about on an almost local walk (taken from the August 2009 issue of Country Walking), which began for us at Barlow church. Thus the scenery throughout the day showcased for me what I like most about walking, but juxtaposed with this were problems with the route directions and the occasional cattle gauntlet, reminding me what I like least. So having found our way to Barlow Ponds, we walked along on a parallel path in the woods above them, before our first confusing instruction halted us at a lane. However after eventually working that one out we soon arrived at a long series of fields full of young male cattle that the instructions told us to go through, rather than use the bridleway that ran alongside it. This seemed totally silly to me (somewhat influenced by my dislike of all things bovine) so I carried on walking along the bridleway until I had outflanked them, and then joined Helen and Molly in the field. Time was also moving on at this point, so we briefly stopped to have our lunch. Having emerged in Cartledge, and picked up the sign to Unthank we crossed over three stiles and three fields, running the gauntlet of some more cattle (who always hang around stiles) as well as admire some large round straw type things that seem to appear this time of year. Somewhere in all this Helen lost Molly’s lead and so we had to improvise with a few bits of string that were lying about. Picking up a lane that was also signed Unthank I led us into a field (full of this time docile cattle) as I thought the instructions told us to do this on the sharp bend, whereas in fact the words were ‘after the sharp bend’. Everything seemed fine and dandy for a bit, but by the time we ended up by a brook (where Molly had a refreshing drink) we realised we were off course again. However with two great minds on the case, we were able to find an alternative route to Moorhall where our route was scheduled to continue. Once there however I struggled to pick up the instructions again, wasting time wandering about, whilst Helen had already figured it out. Back on track again we followed a walled track to Barlow Grange, before giving way to a tractor and beginning a long bridleway descent to Oxton Rakes. This was the highlight of the day for me, with fantastic views to Sheffield on our left and (more importantly) Chesterfield with its crooked Spire on our right. Once at the bottom however it all turned pear shaped again thanks to the rubbish instructions. Thus having taken three different options to try and make sense of it, with the compass also telling us we were going in the wrong direction, I was ready to throw my toys out of the pram. However Helen took charge with her OS map and eventually found us a path to take to Newgate (including crossing more dodgy cattle), which then took us on our way back to Barlow church. Walks since last blog entry: Kew Bridge – Richmond Park – Syon Park – Grand Union Canal – 13 Miles (approx)

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Kildale (Circular) – North Yorkshire – 27/06/12 – 6.5 Miles (approx) – Helen (Molly)

Having slightly missed our intended start point, due to a gate we weren’t sure about going through, we eventually parked somewhere in upper Kildale. This turned out to be perfect as it took us on a nice gentle climb up to Captain Cook’s Monument. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t sure what it’s intentions for the day were, so on a couple of occasions on the climb we put the waterproofs on and off. Once at the monument the weather decided it was raining after all. So it was agreed that this was as good a place as any to have an early lunch, due to the monument giving us some bit of shelter. From there the view of our later objective, Rosebury Topping, came in and out of the mist. Once eaten we descended towards it and arrived at a car park at Cribdale Gate. A short climb later and we found outselves on a long trek towards Rosebury Topping with a wall on our left. Here the rain decided to chuck it down a bit harder, however by the time we passed through a gate, meeting another couple who seemed a bit off-route, the weather dried up. . The climb to the summit was actually shorter then it looked but quite sharp with it. Once up there and sitting on the edge we looked towards what we assumed was Middlesborough, whilst not looking down too much lest it induced vertigo. Having descended, and met and mutually ignored a group of ramblers at our earlier gate, we turned left picking up the Cleveland Way again. During the course of which we were buzzed by a low level fighter. Then an elderly walker with his black lab gave us some directions, at yet another Pillar box (Germans in North of England invasion horror). . A long and muddy descent towards a farm followed by a very steep climb up a road which took us back to the car. The weather meanwhile was improving all the time, thus by the time we drove over to Saltburn for a run about on the beach, it was a beautiful summer afternoon.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Ravenscar (Circular) – North Yorkshire – 25/06/12 – 8 Miles (approx) – Helen (Molly)

Following a brief look into the National Trust information centre at Ravenscar we picked up the Cleveland Way with our half way destination, Robin Hoods Bay, clearly visible. The path was somewhat muddy/slippy at this point but: the view was breathtaking, the sounds of the Sea and Gulls soothing, and the air was a fresh and salty tonic. After passing some sort of Pillar box (will those Germans ever give it up) we eventually worked ourselves down onto the beach. Molly was having a whale of a time, whilst not entirely sure what to make of it. There was also a certain amount of slippy stones to navigate, so we didn’t end up separated from the beach by more inland water. . Presently we found ourselves at Robin Hoods Bay (you know, the one where Wainwrights Coast to Coast starts or finishes). Here the priority was to get lunch, but found a lot of what might be on offer was shut due to it being a weekday (in June ?). Anyway we eventually picked a cafĂ© where we had two x fish and chips and one glass of apple juice, which was 40p short of twenty quid (staycation anyone). What made matters worse was that it looked like one portion of chips had been shared between the two meals. So following an ice cream from the van on the beach we set off back towards Ravenscar again. My energy levels had severly dipped at this point, either due to dehydration or the recent exertions on the Brecon Beacons. Anyway soon after lunch I needed a twenty minute kip on a bench. That didn’t necessarily revive me, and I did struggle along our return. This was exclusively on a disused rail track, taking us all the way back to the car. Along the way Helen bought some Thyme from the honesty box at an adjacent farm, and I got upset with my GPS after it appeared to switch itself off for no reason

Monday, 2 July 2012

Houlsyke (Circular) – North Yorkshire – 23/06/12 – 8.1 Miles – Helen (Molly)

Our first full day in North Yorkshire found us doing an afternoon door to door walk from our rented cottage. The idea being to circumnavigate the great big hill/mound (apparently known as Head) that was in the valley below us. This involved a certain amount of road walking, passing Little Fryup and Great Fryup before picking up a path by/through Crag Wood and Danby Crag, on what was an unsettled and variable day. This was not a walk without incident. Thus we found ourselves being hassled/intimidated by two separate groups of cows. Also: Molly bashed her head chasing a rabbit, Helen lost her coat and had to retrace her steps to find it, and we ended up having to do a ridiculous scramble when a OS marked path failed to materialise.