Lake Pickering Circuit 4: Why are all the toilets closed? Back to THE bog, Stripping in the car park.

Post 293:  29 August 2018,

Hovingham to Slingsby Banks

We parked in the Hovingham village hall car park and soon found ourselves in Hovingham Park and a field of cows. But judging by the hall and green grass these were quite content cows and had no interest in us.P1130170
P1130171After Airyholme and Howthorpe Farms we headed to Wath Beck and crossed it over a footbridge. The immediately raised alarm bells as some years previously I had sunk up to my knees in the ONLY proper bog I have ever found in the Howardian Hills.

I have only ever been deep in bogs on three occasions (the other two were on the Inn Way, North York Moors last  winter, on a section of the  Lyke Wake Walk). Perhaps I need to go to Specsavers to spot them? No – just remembered I already go to Specsavers.

This bog was totally unexpected. On the Pennine Way or Lyke Wake Walk one expects them, but not here! The only way I could stop myself sinking below my knees was to sit down and distribute my weight more evenly. Sid the Yorkshireman thought it hilarious and, instead of giving me a hand to get out, just fumbled in his pocket for his mobile to take photos. You know who your friends are in a crisis. My trekking pole bent as I went down!




We knew we were back at the exact spot as the same tree can still be seen in the background. However, many plants have grown since and we have had one of the best and driest summers ever.  This time the bog had largely dried up.

P1130173We carried on to Terrington and sat on a bench at the public school with a view over the fairly new tennis courts.P1130174We then visited All Saints Church, Terrington, which dates from the Norman period. What struck us was the board with all the names of the Rectors going back to 1234! All the Kings and Queens are listed too. P1130177

P1130175P1130176What also hit us was the number of people who had sacrificed their lives in two World Wars, particularly the First World War, from such a small village and parish (the population in 2011 was only 459). Some families had up to 4 members lost. P1130179Rolling Yorkshire countryside beckoned us on. P1130180Until we got to Thurtle Wood and were surprised to find an abandoned camp. P1130182Geordie Caz thought it was very ‘convenient’ of them to leave some toilets for us, until she found they were all locked.

I eventually found one unlocked. Well I do have a talent when it comes to finding ‘bogs’ (for overseas readers this is also slang for toilets and hope it does not get lost in translation).

We then descended and ascended to Fryton East Wood and came across a sign at Fryton Lane. P1130187There was also a mosaic to commemorate the trail and millennium, with Castle Howard featuring strongly.  P1130186Sid the Yorkshireman found a sign on the floor and decided it might be a good idea to take the sign with him so as not to get lost. P1130194I think he had been on the mushrooms. P1130192

P1130193After Fryton West Wood we descended back to Hovingham. P1130196


All that remained was for us to take our boots off and drive home. This was a bit different to the occasion when I was covered in mud at which point I had to take my trousers off in the village hall car park, not realising that there was a ladies fitness class going on in the nearby village hall. Rumour has it that Hovingham ladies had never had such excitement……….. 

It is a pity that the ambitious plans in the 1830s to develop Hovingham Spa with hot and cold baths, mud baths and a cold plunge did not come to fruition.

Miles Walked 12

Calories Burnt 2,999

Steps Taken 27,037





Lake Pickering Circuit 3: A Walk of Churches.

Post 292: 21 August 2018, Slingsby to Coneysthorpe Banks 

Having survived over 5,000 miles to Greenland and back, including hitting an iceberg in the middle of the night (see previous blogs), it was back to beautiful Yorkshire and a ‘fill in’ walk pending starting a new project after the summer holidays. During the summer Sid the Yorkshireman and Geordie Caz had gone off to walk 100 miles more of the South-West coastal path, this time from Minehead to Westward Ho! It was reported that Geordie Caz had boot trouble (that is falling apart), but at the time of writing no further details are available…..

Returning from Greenland I have also had computer software problems and had to update from Yosemite to High Sierra. Despite it taking a long time to get up and running again Apple Support in Portugal, Ireland and the Philippines have been very helpful! Unfortunately, Adobe no longer support Photoshop Elements 13 and so I have abandoned use of that as I have been unable to ‘reconnect’ my photographs to their files. Not being an IT specialist, I find the Forums information not that easy to follow.

Fortunately, I had already transferred my photographs to Apple Photos and in the new upgrade it is much improved and so I am going to stick with that. Hopefully you will not notice any difference and the photographs will be at their usual standard (good or bad!).

We started walking in the village of Slingsby, which is north of Castle Howard. All Saints Church was first built in 1157 and rebuilt in 1869. It is quite large and has a fine chandelier.P1130160P1130162P1130161There is an interesting memorial to a master mariner. P1130164A plaque shows the rents in 1712 were a little less than now. P1130163Slingsby Castle is in need of some tlc.P1130159From Slingsby we headed to Barton-le-Street where the St Michaels’ Church was also rebuilt in 1871.

It has Norman stone carving from the original building. The porch and main entrance are impressive. P1130140P1130141Then we headed on to Appleton-le-Street, which has a population of approximately 117 (2001).

Further on Amotherby’s St Helen’s Church is hidden in trees and again was largely rebuilt in 1871. It still has its Norman south door and the 16th century tower as well as some Anglo-Danish carved stones from before 1066, in the porch. P1130149                                                                        The bench there made a good coffee and banana break overlooking the garden area.

The inscription reads:

The Kiss of the Sun for Pardon

The Song of the Birds for Mirth

One is nearer God’s heart in a Garden

Than anywhere else on Earth. 

July 1917.

P1130146We headed up towards Coneysthorpe Banks Wood, where there was some interesting flora. P1130153After having lunch we passed Castle Howard in the far distance. P1130154After Slingsby Banks Wood, we descended back towards Slingsby and a horse encounter. P1130158It had been a hot and humid day.

Miles Walked 11.5

Calories Burnt 3491

Steps 25,274


Walking in the Orkneys, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland – Part 16, Iceland – Reykjavik Continued, Passing the Old Man and through the Pentland Firth and A Big Birthday.

Post 291: 14th August 2018, Reykavik

Having left the scene of the rescue (see previous blog), we continued alongside the dock area.



P1130031Then we came to an interesting exhibition about the port and ships that visit it. The train was one of two which were used in 1913 to construct the port.

P1130032 It is situated in front of the Art Museum.P1130034Currently over 135 cruise liners visit the port each year with over 128,000 passengers. Cruise liners have been coming since 1906. P1130035Controversially, whaling ships have and still do use the port.P1130036Between 1915-1973 many passenger ships used the port.P1130037 Coastguard vessels have operated since 1926 to date P1130038There are a number of companies that run whale watching trips from this area, Elding being one of the main ones. P1130051


P1130052 A little further on there is the Maritime Museum P1130044There is also an area where ships are overhauled.


I have heard of chaining your bike up so it doesn’t get stolen, but this seems to be carrying it too far!P1130048 Fish and chips are available at a price – £13.80! P1130039

Cakes are available at 17 Sortir near the harbourside. Ice-cream, including two flavours of liquorice, is available next door! Despite yawning, I had no room for cake after my ice-cream.


However, the locals were starting to get a bit fiery and so it was time to return by the now 3 mile coastal walk to the ship! P1130041By  the end of the day I had done 10.5 miles in total, 22,019 steps and burnt 3,315 calories. 

Marco Polo departed Reykjavik at 20.00 hours.

15 August 2018

This was a sea day. There is lots to do on ships on such days, quizzes, craft and art classes, crosswords, cooking demonstrations, exercise classes (to try and lose the weight you have put on during the cruise), gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, knit and natter, table tennis, lectures, bingo, quoits, golf putting and other deck games.

I tend to avoid all those, apart from the lectures, and either read a good book, check through my photos and/or go for long walks around the deck. Marco Polo is particularly good for deck walking due to a timber promenade deck all around the ship and an alternative wider deck avoiding the bow if the weather is bad. P1130108However, we had signed up for a cocktail tasting at 16.00 hours – 6 cocktails for £6.99. The surprise was that the cocktails were not small tasting glasses, but large ones. We had bellini, pina colada, kamikaze (down in one), ruski, Long Island iced tea, mai-tai.IMG_E3056The result was that some passengers ended up being helped out of the bar at the end by the staff and I ended up as in the photograph below! IMG_E3059

16 August 2018

This was another sea day but this was a special day as it was Celia’s birthday.P1060087Before the real celebrations began we had to go through the Pentland Firth between Hoy and John O’Groats. It is notorious for strong tidal currents, but fortunately was relatively calm. P1060089


P1060104The top of The Old Man of Hoy can just be seen peering over the top of the cliffs to the left. P1060106

P1060109Viking Sun passed by. P1130077The lighthouse near John O’Groat’s could just be picked out in the mist and diminishing light. P1060114It was interesting that Saga brought along one of their ships, Saga Pearl II especially for Celia’s birthday. That is forwarded, targeted marketing!  P1060097 Now I know you should never reveal a ladies age and it would be more than my life’s worth to do so. So I will just show the card I brought out at the formal farewell dinner in the evening. Just after the cruise it would be our 45th wedding anniversary and we have known each for  47 years. I must be doing something right!

P1130204It was a great menu for the meal and birthday celebrations. P1130205


P1130080Our waiter Iqbal had been superb throughout the cruise. P1130084The Gala Dinner was later followed by the Gala Buffet, not that we had room for any more food!


17th August 2018 

After a reasonable sunrise on another sea day, little happened. It was a lazy day reading and chatting and reflecting on the holiday.


18 August 2018

This was the departure day.

There was one last opportunity to capture a sunrise between 5.30 and 6.15am.  We arrived at Harwich at 9.00am.  P1130107





P1130125We then caught a coach to Hull and on arrival had a 2 hour delay as the taxi firm had sent a car instead of people carrier for 4 of us with full luggage! It was good to be back in England!IMG_3082It was a deja vu moment as when I got back to Manchester Airport from Bavaria in May it was the first day of the new train timetables and chaos reigned supreme!

We had travelled over 5900 miles (5,127 nautical miles) with hardly a hitch, apart from the odd iceberg hitting us.


All in all it had been a fabulous, exciting, informative and most memorable trip.

Would I go again?  Definitely, basing myself around the Nuuk area and perhaps exploring further north.  

I hope you have enjoyed my blog as much as I have enjoyed the trip. 











Walking in the Orkneys, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland – Part 15, Iceland – Reykjavik – The Sculpture and Shore Walk, Smallpox and Leprosy, a Rescue from the Sea.

Post 290: 14th August 2014, Reykjavik

We were due in Reykjavik, the world’s most northerly capital, at 8am.  I was awake well before that and watched the pilot boat arrive at 7am. P1060037A container ship from St John’s in Eastern Canada was just leaving. P1060047We passed the Hallgrimskirka Church, which I had been to before in 2015 and which is the tallest building in central Reykjavik, its tower shaped to give the impression of basalt.  P1060048The coastguard was in dock, no doubt looking for smugglers. I do know someone who smuggled gin onto our ship! P1060050

P1060053We passed Videy Island where, on 9th October 2007, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon inaugurated the ‘Imagine Peace Tower’ (Icelandic: Frioarsulan meaning ‘the peace column’) on John Lennon’s birthday.  The ‘Imagine Peace Tower’ was relighted on December 21st, winter solstice, and beamed until New Years Eve 2007.

It is a laser beam which Yoko Ono plans to have lit everyday on his birthday and penetrates the sky until December 8th, the date he was shot.

It may also be lit on other major occasions. P1060051We were therefore docked ‘near the Reykavik sign’ on the far top right shown on the map below. The city has one of the highest standards of living in the world, possibly paid for by the shuttle bus fares of £18 return per person from our dock to the city centre! P1130207We decided to walk along the Sculpture and Shore Walk to the main dock area; it is about 2.5 miles to the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre.  In 2015 we had already seen much of the city centre. It was a bit dank but is a pleasant walk with a proper tarmac footpath. A guide said that this year was the worst weather in Iceland for over 100 years. Even in a good year the weather is very changeable as Arctic Polar and Atlantic fronts do battle over Iceland. P1120993There is a lot of interest to be seen in the Laugarnes area. P1120995

P1120996A leprosy hospital existed here and two French seamen died of smallpox! P1120997The hospital and military huts are no longer there. P1130010The skyline of Reykjavik soon came into view. P1120999There are angelica plants growing wild which, once crystallised, are used in cakes. P1130001There are good views across the Vioyjarsund to the mountains.P1130002

P1130003There are some unusual homes and gardens in the area! P1130004


P1130006P1130008P1130007A little further along there was a sculpture from 1991.


On the other side of the road is the house where in 1986 the Reagan-Gorbachev summit took place, where the superpower leaders of the USA and Russia met to discuss nuclear disarmament. Although the talks eventually stalled, they were symbolic of a breakthrough in East-West negotiations and stood as markers of the beginning of the end of the Cold War. P1130011Some of the rocks acting as storm defences showed evidence of previous volcanic activity.P1130014

P1130015 Some made a good sculpture. P1130016We then passed the beautiful Suncraft (Solfar) designed by Jon Guunar Arnason and installed in its present location in 1990, a year after his deathThe sun ship symbolizes the promise of new, undiscovered territory. It is not a Viking ship as thought by many. Jon argued that Sun Voyager should be seen as a vessel that transports souls to the realm of death. It was envisaged as a dreamboat, an ode to the sun symbolising light and hope.  P1130017

P1130020We then reached the Harpa and went in to watch a complete 360 degree sound and visual 15 minute film about Iceland, the volcanoes, landscapes, waterfalls and mountains. It was quite stunning and well worth the highish cost (£15). Also there are free toilets in the building, which gives a discount in Iceland as some toilets cost between £1-£2 in Iceland – credit cards can be used!


Having relaxed and restored some energy we continued to the dock area only for Celia to shout out to me that someone had gone into the sea.

Celia then shouted to the man to keep calm and not flap about, although whether he spoke English we will never know. Fortunately, a young man ran to get a lifebuoy from a Security Office, threw it out and the man was able to get it round his waist. P1130024An indredibly brave security guard then jumped in and swam towards him, holding him until a rescue boat arrived. It was very concerning as the water would have been very cold. Eventually he was hauled into the boat by the three strong young men and not long after an ambulance arrived.



It was distressing to watch and we had to get our composure back before continuing our walk to the rest of the dock area to be continued in the next blog……..





Walking in the Orkneys, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland – Part 14 Greenland, Walking in Qaqortoq

Post 289: 11 August 2018, Qaqortoq

Qaqortoq, formerly Julianehab, is the fourth largest town in Greenland and the most populated town in Southern Greenland, with approximately 3229 people. Quartortoq means ‘White Palace’, presumably relating to how it looks in winter rather than in August. P1120978It is located on the Qaqortoq Fjord alongside the Labrador Sea.P1130199There are a number of walks in the area and Cumbria Man and myself decided to walk to the far end of Tasersuaq Lake, again leaving the ladies to browse around the townThe walks are not signed. IMG_E3027

The ship arrived at 12.30 and we had to tender into the town. We had until 18.00 hours to catch the last tender back.

Qaqortoq is a seaport and trading station. Fish and shrimp processing, tanning, fur production and ship maintenance and repair are important, but the economy is based primarily on educational and administrative services.

Tourism also plays a part in the economy of the town. The coloured houses and arts and culture appeal to tourists, approximately two thirds of whom come from Denmark.

The area has been occupied since prehistoric times, beginning with the Saqqaq culture  approximately 4,300 years ago, then the Dorset people around 2,800 years ago. The Norse arrived in the 10th century and stayed until the 15th century.

The present town was founded in in 1774 by the Dano-Norwegian trader Anders Olsen, on behalf of the General Trading Company. The current layout and facilities are as below.  There is even a youth hostel with wifi! IMG_3029IMG_E3028The Tourist Office and souvenir shop seemed a good place to start our walk. P1120953Just along from there is the Church of Our Saviour..

It has the traditional ship hanging from the ceiling P1120980Near the church is the oldest fountain in Greenland, Mindebronden, which was finished in 1932. It was the only fountain in Greenland until another was built in Sisimiut.P1120954The oldest standing building is a black tarred log building from 1797.

Following the stream past the church,P1120955we soon came across some of the rock art which is part of the Stone and Man project. From 1993 to 1994 Qaqortoq artist Aka Hoegh presided over the project, which involved 18 artists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland carving 24 sculptures into the rock faces and boulders in town. Today there are over 40 sculptures.P1060013

P1060011 There are some interesting street names!

P1120981Our lake destination soon appeared and there is some colourful flora in the areaP1120959



P1120960Although the temperature was only about 10C degrees (50F) children were swimming in the lake.P1120961 There were a few mosquitos around further along the lake and so we needed our nets on our heads.P1120966 Soon after passing some local joggers we got to the far end of the lake.P1120970In view of the limited time we decided to return the way we had come along the lake. P1120975

P1120964Before diverting past the football pitchP1120976 To the busy residential part of town. P1120963

P1120977We had walked just over 8 miles.

Back on ship, we left Greenland with some regrets but with some amazing memories.

We had two days at sea before reaching Reykjavik the capital of Iceland where we were to encounter a rescue at sea……………..








Walking in the Orkneys, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland – Part 13 Greenland, Nuuk (Godthab) , Mummies and Inuit Boats.

Post 288: 10 August 2018, Walking around Nuuk

We arrived at the port of Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, at 9.30am and were able to dock rather than tender. There are some fine mountains and fjords surrounding the capital.P1120885Interestingly there are water taxis.P1050906



P1050925There was a short shuttle bus journey to the city centre. We only had until 14.30 when our ship was due to depart. However, it is possible to walk around the city which, although the largest in Greenland and its Capital, is quite small. The population is only 17,316 (2016), although it is expanding as people migrate to the city from poorer more remote regions of Greenland. A third of Greenland’s population live in Nuuk. It has a cosmopolitan feel about it. There seems to be a lot of new building work taking place, P1050940 although it still only has 62 miles (100km) of road, the latter the most advanced road network in Greenland.

Temperatures range from minus -31.5C (-26.5F) in January to 26.3C (79.3F) in July but more normally are 10C (50F) in July. We had a warm August day. P1130197After alighting from the bus we visited the Tourist Information Office and I purchased a fabulous, stunning, photographic book (their last one). I highly recommend it although I am not sure it is readily available in the UK. It covers Greenland, Svabard, Iceland and Eastern Canada.  The author and photographer Uri Golman has a web-site:


IMG_3126We then walked to the older colonial harbour of Nuuk where the cathedral and the National Museum (no. 29 on map) are situated along a lovely waterfront. On occasions whales can be seen from the waterfront as well as icebergs/flows.

P1120887Nuuk Cathedral, the Church of Our Saviour, is a wooden Lutheran cathedral with a clock tower and steeple. P1050908Behind and to the left of the cathedral on a small hill is a statue of Hans Egede. It commemorates the Dano-Norwegian Lutheran missionary Hans Egede who founded Nuuk in 1728.  His house, built in 1721, is the oldest building in Greenland and is found near the harbour and is used for government receptions. P1050919 It is quite colourful near the harbour with many buttercups and other flowers. P1050918

P1050914There are number of arts and crafts shops where it is possible to purchase local products, some carved from reindeer antlers or stone. P1130198Whilst Celia was making purchases and I waited ‘patiently’ outside the second shop, a local school passed and one of teacher’s heralded from Manchester – a small world. P1050916There are some attractive houses and views in this waterfront area overlooking a fjord. P1120932

P1050923Below the houses is the National Museum, which is excellent. It was inaugurated in the mid-1960s and has many artifacts relating to Greenland’s archaeology, history, art and handicrafts. However, most striking are the Qilakitsog Mummies.







There is much else in the museum including these handcrafted pieces.

Many traditional clothes

Inuit boats


Language information

There were many other items and other information.


P1120899Leaving the museum we headed back to the city centre. Time was pressing. Near the bus stop was the cultural centre for concerts, cinema and exhibitions. P1120935Nearby a couple off our ship were playing instruments, which the local Greenlanders enjoyed. P1120934This commemorated the Arctic Winter Games 2016P1050924Back at the ship we were quickly back to ‘our culture’ with the sail away party at 14.30. P1050934

As a helicopter passed overhead in the opposite direction. P1050927

P1050946P1050945To be followed with an exquisite sunset….P1050992



















































































































































Walking in the Orkneys, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland – Part 12 Greenland, Kangerlussuaq, a UNESCO World Heritage site – Russell Glacier.

Post 287: 9 August 2018, Kangerlussuaq

Having left Sisimiut at 18.00 hours and reached our most northerly point, including being above the Arctic Circle, we were now heading south and were due to arrive in Kangerlussuaq at 7am. P1120878Kangerlussuaq is the only inland town in Greenland and is located at the end of the 106 mile (170km) Kangerlussuaq fjord, which is the longest in western Greenland.  We crossed back below the Arctic Circle halfway along the fjordThere is only a population of 499 in Kangerlussuaq.

It would be necessary to tender from the ship. Due to mud flats and a low tide only 25 passengers could go in each tender as opposed to the normal 70.  However, most Britains are good at queuing, even at temperatures that turned out to be up to 22 degrees.

The big landing platform was a wreck from the military occupation of the area in the Second World War. P1120867 The ship Ocean Diamond (Quark Expeditions) was also in the fjord. It only has a tonnage of 8,282 and 207 passengers and is for discovery-minded participants who enjoy a comfortable travel environment. P1050893As we approached the land in tender boats it occurred to me that these World War II landing craft might have been useful to increase the number of passengers that could be landed!P1050804It also reflected how Kangerlussuaq came into being due to the war. The town was founded in 1941 when it was opened as a US Air Force Base. The Americans remained here until 1992.

There is a lot of writing on the rocks at the small dock. The earliest I could identify was 1959.

The air base briefly came under Danish control in 1950 but, following mounting concerns about the Cold War threat, a new agreement saw the U.S. re-open Bluie-West-8 under the name of Sondrestrom Air Base in 1951.P1120866


P1120864After lunch we had an excursion booked to the Russell Glacier on partially off-road 4 wheel drive adapted vehicles. P1120835The bus was an interesting adaptation! Larger tyres? They were needed because it was a 16 mile (25km) drive along a track that in many parts was just sand. P1120836On the way out we passed a few ‘hikers’P1050819



P1120815We passed some unusual rock art and trees.P1120809

P1120812 The area is home to Greenland’s most diverse fauna including muskoxen, caribou, arctic hare and gyrfalcons. From the coach we saw the first two but from a moving bumpy coach at distance they were almost impossible to photograph. The muskoxen were very large – we had earlier seen knitting yarn made from gathered muskoxen fleece for sale at £60 a ball! P1050888We also saw the site where a Lochheed T-33 Shooting Star and two other planes had crashed in a blizzard in 1968. All pilots are believed to have ejected safely.

We followed the dusty track along the river Qinnguata Kuussua alluvial valley.P1120863


P1120861Before reaching the glacier we stopped at an incredible UNESCO World Heritage viewpoint .P1050824






P1120834Flora was all around us.P1120853

We then drove past some locals who are not allowed to hunt in this UNESCO World Heritage area, but do go further afield to hunt muskoxen and caribou.P1120837 The glacier, which descends from the ice-cap, came into viewP1050832Finally, we reached it. P1050892

P1050874It was very impressive.P1120839P1120844P1120845The vertical walls reach as high as 131 feet (40metres)


P1050856There has been a biological darkening of glaciers due to cryoconite build-up. This is powdery windblown dust made of a combination of small rock particles, soot and bacteria. It is spread by wind and rain. It absorbs heat more quickly than white snow and ice and speeds up the melting of glaciers. Human influences such as emissions from cars, coal fired power stations and soot from fires play a part in its production as does rock particles from volcanic eruptions and mineral dust from warmer regions. P1050857


P1050859A dramatic end to a stunning day. Again the weather had been kind to us when it mattered and we felt very blessed.P1050863It is easy to forget that the locals, who are not wealthy, have to go and hunt for their food. As we arrived back at the tender dock, a father and his son were just going hunting. P1120868

P1120869There was about an hours delay in getting some passengers back onto the tender boats and one or two passengers did complain. However, if you wish to go to these remote stunning places you must be prepared to adjust to the local conditions, tides and weather. Otherwise don’t bother!

The ship was due to depart at 16.00 hours but actually departed at 18.30pm. No problem. We were able to sunbathe on deck in Greenland – in shorts. Unbelievable! Global warming is here and now with all the implications of melting ice-caps and glaciers.