A Century of Posts, Viking or Not? The Last Blog? Does Kildale Exist? Two Missing Aeroplanes, Walk like a Mountain Goat.

Post 100: 17 January 2017. Cleveland Circles 13. 

It is with some surprise that this is my 100th blog in The  Secret Diaries of a Long-distance Walker. When I started blogging in August 2015 I hadn’t a clue where it would lead; a bit like a long-distance walk. It is heartening to know that I am currently getting over 1,000 views of the blog each week.

I would like to particularly thank those whose showed encouragement in the early days and I think they know who they are. Secret Diaries will now take a rest for two to three weeks but will return in early February. By the time I return I will know after my big birthday on the 21st whether I am Viking, Anglo-Saxon, Irish or whatever, having had a DNA test.

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My walking companion ‘Sid the Yorkshireman’ thinks the test may show that I am a criminal and may be put away. If he is correct then it could well be my last blog. Having said that, it might be possible to blog from prison, but I might get short of walking material. There is nothing like good friends to keep you grounded.

However, lets live in hope that I am not a criminal and in two to three weeks I will be back on the North York Moors and blogging again.

So leaving home at the ridiculous time of 7.30am in fairly thick mist and fog we headed out after trying to put Kildale, our destination, into my new Sat Nav. Now according to my Sat Nav it didn’t show up and therefore presumably doesn’t exist. I then remembered that I had been there a couple of times before, not least on The Samaratan Way.

So abandoning all this high tech support we decided to use our memories to find our way to Kildale, not helped by thick fog. However, as our motto is Adventure not Dementia we eventually arrived at Kildale just before 9.00am.

Starting walking at 9.15am we took a detour to the Church of St Cuthberts and St Gregory, Gregory being the Pope in Rome who sent in the first missionaries to England in 597 AD.

When the Vikings invaded in 793, Lindisfarne Monastery was sacked and again in 875 when it was abandoned. The surviving monks carried the coffin of Cuthbert to Yorkshire and wherever they stayed they erected a small chapel, including  one at Kildale. Eventually St Cuthbert was interned in a vault beneath the newly built Durham Cathedral.

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We were greeted by a couple of strange characters above the porch.

And then by some strange tombstones. When the church was being rebuilt in 1867-8 the floor was lifted to reveal a number of Danish (Viking) Burial artefacts, including a Viking sword, axe, and weighing scales. This pagan burial on a Christian site was very unusual.

An enthralling television series I have been following is The Last Kingdom, based on Bernard Cornwell’s book of the same name. It follows the Viking invasion of what is now the United Kingdom and the battles with King Alfred of Wessex.

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Fortunately, the great stone grave slabs survived and commemorate the Percy family with the Percy Arms. They are now in the porch. The one with an inscribed cross and sword suggests it is a Crusader’s tomb.

A book was on display in the church giving more information, and copies can be obtained from Mary Cook, 1 Station Road on the left just up from the church. When buying a copy of the book (buying good and interesting books is an incurable addiction of mine) I forgot to ask the lady whether she was a relative of Captain Cook!

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After dropping the book back at the car, the serious walking began with a climb past Bankside Farm with fine views.

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Then we came across a poster indicating the first lost aeroplane.

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After a climb to Captain Cook’s Monument (to be described in the next blog) we stopped for our banana break and coffee in thick mist.

Descending towards Borough Green Farm we passed a gatepost dated 1668 (formerly a boundary stone), inscribed at the time when Charles II was King!

Then we came across the strangest mushroom I have ever seen. p1050585

Followed by Easeby Hall and Church

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A lovely cloud effect then appeared over the edge of the Moors.

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And Captain Cook’s Monument appeared in the distance.

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And Roseberry Topping continued to peep at us in the distance.

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We were pleased to arrive at Battersby Junction Station for lunch with its water tower of 1907 still proudly standing.

After crossing a charming bridge, which looked like something from the land of Hobbits and which led into Battersby,

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the serious hill climbing started and instead of advising Carol and Sid to walk like Penguins, as per on ice and mud in previous weeks, they were advised to climb like mountain goats.

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The views from the top could have been better as the mist was starting to descend again and eventually turned to rain.

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Back on the Cleveland Way we came across our second missing plane. How sad and what a terrible passing of young lives. We will remember them.

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Miles Walked 12.53

Calories Burnt 1,400

Steps 27,508

Average Pace 18.53 Minutes Per Mile

Fatest Pace 17.09 Minute Per Mile between 10-12 Miles

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Walk Like A Penguin, But Don’t Stub your Toe.

Post 99: 15 January 2017 1,000 Mile Walk Challenge

After a week away it was back to my ‘bread and butter’ walk through the village with one or two extras, including collecting The Sunday Times, which would take me a week to read! The Yorkshire Wolds could not be seen in the mist.

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I soon discovered  that the paths were covered in water from light rain, but underneath there was black ice. I had not put spikes on or taken my trekking pole. So the only solution was to walk like a Penguin. This advice I only heard recently, which shows that after 60 years of walking there are still new things you can learn. You basically take smaller steps and sort of waddle a little, keeping your arms fairly close to your side. It does actually work and reduce the risk of a fall. Penguins have evolved over millions of years and are experts on ice and thats how they get about. Occasionally they slide on their front, but I wouldn’t recommend that.

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Another thing I learned is that if you stop and chat to people it increases the mileage measured by the app Mapmywalk. Presumably you don’t stand completely still and so it adds miles.

Miles Walked 4.02

Calories 457

8,200 Steps

Average Pace 18.37 Minutes Per Mile

Elevation Gain 51.5 feet

Minimum Elevation 36.4

Maximum Elevation 84.5

Now to go back to how I am getting on with walking the Cumberland Way in 1994. This was before mapmywalk apps were invented.

31 March 1994: The Cumberland Way, Day 5 – Dockray to Eamont Bridge – 16 miles                

After a huge breakfast, we set off in drizzle to the impressive Aira Force, formed as a result of Aira Beck being confined to a narrow gorge. The path then skirted Gowbarrow Fell giving fine views of the head of Ullswater far below, with the Helvellyn range of mountains forming a backdrop. Here there are fine views of Ullswater.

However, you will have to make do with a photograph taken from a boat on Ullswater, which I took more recently.

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and a slideshow:

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The remainder of the day was spent in gentle descent, to eventually follow the River Eamont to the small village of Eamont Bridge. Here Alan left us, reputably to return to work, or was it just a coincidence we had now left the mountainous region?

Eamont Bridge has two prehistoric henge monuments, Arthur’s Round Table and the Mayburgh monument. The former was used for religious purposes and was probably of the early Bronze Age period, about 1800BC. The latter was of late Neolithic period, about 2000BC, again having religious origins.

Having walked 62 miles, unscathed, through some of England’s most mountainous area, Dan then proceeded to stub his toe on a step leading to his bedroom. I burst out laughing as he let out an almighty yelp and hopped around on one foot. It was not funny as he lost a toe nail and gangrene could have set in? Then of course leg amputation which would have spoilt the walk.

What was worse, there was some doubt that evening as to whether he could walk to the pub. Grimacing, he overcame the agony, hobbling to the village until we eventually found an inn with the following sign:

In this Hive we are all Alive

Good Liquor makes us Funny

If you be dry step in and try

The Virtue of our Honey

With such an invitation how could we resist?

The End of Week Two with the Biggest BANG in the UK!

Post 98, 14 January 2017, 1,000 Mike Walk Challenge 2017, week two. 

After a week of attending a birthday celebration for my 94 year old mother and baby sitting for my 3 year old and 11 month old grandsons I decided to have a final walk (it could have been literarily my final ever walk)  in the Midlands to return to Yorkshire with a big bang. I had managed a few short walks in the week and they were posted directly to my Facebook Page: The Secret Diaries of a Long-distance Walker. 

Arriving at the Staffordshire County Council Car park just below the village of Hanbury, I ascended the edge of what looked like the rim of a volcano. My walk to the Fauld Crater began proper at the Cock Inn. We have had some very good ‘home cooked’ meals there.

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I thought this would be a fairly easy walk and only had approach shoes on. It was quite a muddy, tricky and steep descent into the bottom of a big hole on a Public Right of Way. Given that this is the site of the largest explosion ever in the UK I couldn’t help but wonder if there are still one or two unexploded bombs under my feet? There are signs advising of DANGER UNEXPLODED BOMBS, STRICTLY NO ADMITTANCE, WARNING SUDDEN DROP but I assumed these were not where I was walking! However, one or two public footpath direction pointers were missing off a sign in the bottom of the crater I was in!

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The RAF Fauld Explosion was a military accident which occurred at 11.11am on Monday, 27 November 1944 at the RAF Fauld underground munitions storage depot. It was one of the largest non-nuclear exposions in history and the largest on UK soil. One fifth of the force of Hiroshima. 

3500 to 4500 tonnes of ordnance exploded including 500 million rounds of rifle ammunition. The crater formed is 100 feet deep and 250 yards wide.

A nearby reservoir containing 450,000 cubic metres ( 6 million gallons) of water was destroyed along with buildings and a farm.

It is believed that about 70 people died and 18 bodies were never recovered. 200 cattle were killed by the explosion.

It is believed that use of a brass rather than a wooden chisel to remove a detonator from a live bomb may have caused the explosion.

More details and recent pictures of the underground storage facilities can be seen at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3699468/Forbidden-remains-Britain-s-biggest-explosion.html

I was relieved to get back to the nearby Hanbury road.

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Without an explosion blowing me to smithereens! This explosive picture WAS taken today!

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Miles Walked 2

Steps 4,400, non of which were on an unexploded bomb

Calories Burnt 239

Average Pace 20 minutes per mile (I said it was tricky!)

Elevation Gain 116.9 feet

Min Elevation 314.4 feet

Max elevation 486.3 feet (unless you step on an unexploded bomb in which case it will be much higher).

 CUMULATIVE Mileage After Two Weeks 51.25

 

 

Morning or Afternoon walking? Bread and Butter Walking, Decomposed Brains.

Post 97:  5 January 2017,  1,000 Mile Challenge

As I had a few jobs this morning, not least trying to get my car hooked up to the internet (cars are getting very high tech), I left walking until late afternoon. The car already has a DVD so I can watch my favourite singer Katherine Jenkins, when the car is stopped or listen to it only when the car is moving. No distractions when driving!!!!

This walk is meant to be one of my ‘bread and butter’ walks from home, which are useful for the 1,000 mile challenge. It is not always possible to go off in the car to the Yorkshire Moors, Dales or Wolds. I soon came across this fine lone tree.

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The last time I photographed this tree was on the 6 February 2012, when it looked somewhat different.

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One thing I came across, which always distresses me, was dog poo left in a plastic bag as per the photograph. It will never decompose. The people that do this have decomposed brains.

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Walking further on and calming down a little, the sun peeped out as it dropped in the sky.

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I suddenly thought that I must get to high ground, despite the fact there isn’t really high ground in the village. Eventually getting to 93.1 feet above sea level, the views I had hoped for developed.

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A good end to the day…..

Miles Walked 2.7

Calories Burnt 306

Steps taken 5,500

Average Pace 1.15 minutes per mile

Fastest mile split at 2 miles 17.27 minutes per mile

Elevation gain 51.5 feet.

Minimum Elevation 36.1 feet

Maximum Elevation 93.1 feet. 

 

 

Global Warming.

Post 96: 4 January 2017, 1,000 Mile Challenge

After my rather energetic 11 mile walk to the top of the North York Moors yesterday, today was meant to be a relaxing day. After going to bed at 11pm last night I had one of those sleeps where you seem to go to heaven and into a sleep so deep you wake up wondering what world you are in.

This was at 4am and I found myself so awake I got up to make a cup of tea and caught up on various administrative things. Breakfast was at 6am and as we had friends coming round for dinner in the evening there were lots of chores to do, house cleaning etc etc which took me until 11am. The sun was shining outside and I had to walk to the Post Office  a quarter of a mile away to post a copy of my coast to coast guide book to a walker who I had just entered into correspondence with. I decided to take my small radio with headphones as I find music gives me an energy boost when walking.

It was such a nice day that a bit like Forest Gump I just carried on walking.  To my surprise it seemed like summer and the Yorkshire Wolds looked wonderful in the distance. The sun really was quite warm on my face. A vitamin D boost.

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I suddenly recalled that this was early January not the summer and previous January’s didn’t seem like this. Where was the frost, snow, ice and cold winds? Yes on the top of the North York Moors you could get that yesterday, but in previous years you got those also in my low lying village.

I decided to look back at photographs from previous years and came across these taken around my village on 7th January 2010, only 3 days later than todays date. We couldn’t go out in the cars due to the road conditions.

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Once the roads improved, these were taken in 2010 between 8th and 13th January, only 4 to 9 days later than today.

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St Michael le Belfry Church from York Minster.
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On 5 feet of snow on Sutton Bank, North York Moors

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Lake Gormire frozen over

I note that in December just past, Norway had some of its highest temperatures ever. 18 degrees. Bearing in mind it is the land of Frozen, the film, this suggests global warming is indeed happening.

For walkers in this country it is generally a bonus as the walking year is generally extended, although last year floods prevented much walking particularly in the York area.

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But the downside is I miss the dramatic snow scenes…………..

Mileage 4.02

Calories 456

Average Pace 18.0 1 minute per mile 

Fastest Split at 1 mile 15.23 minutes per mile

Maxumum Pace 7.47 minutes per mile

Steps 8,100

 

A Wild Ox, Siberia, Food for a Walk, Britain’s Greatest Climber, Notes Under a Rock

Post 95: 3 January 2017 Cleveland Circles 12.

With slightly warmer weather today, we arrived at Ingleby Greenhow just below the North York Moors to enable us to start walking at 9.10am. The car was parked opposite St Andrew’s Church, which during renovations in 1905 revealed the remains of Bos Torus, the extinct wild ox.

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Our route would lead to Incline Top as shown which used to have wagons of ironstone going up and down it from 1861 until a fire in the Brake Drum House in 1869.

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We soon passed the local ‘Stonehenge’ at Low farm, whilst shooting parties headed out onto the grouse moors. .

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Little did the grouse suspect what was coming their way, but we soon heard shots.

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In its defence the grouse shooting is a huge employer, income generator and finances the management of the moors. I personally would not want to do it but there are arguments in its favour.

The height gain we would need to do soon came into view.

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In my view Alan Hinkes, from nearby Northallerton, is Britain’s greatest climber, being the only Briton to have climbed all fourteen of the World’s highest peaks over 8,000 metres. Many have died attempting such a feat. He has proper crampons!

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He used to train (and may still do so) on the North York Moors hereabouts in Winter and in the dark with a torch! Such dedication is required to climb Himalayan Peaks, including Everest, K2 and Makalu, shown in the photograph above.

I followed his climbs in awe from the early days. His book is an exciting read and summary of his climbs. He has true ‘Yorkshire Grit’.

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Back to more routine matters we had to negotiate some icy lanes. No problem for me as I had my new Kahtoola Microspikes which, later on, at £50 were to prove a bargain for what was to come. Without them Carol and Sid had to try and keep to the grass edges.  p1050439

Roesberry Topping was peeping at us again.

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The impending height gain was getting nearer.

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Fortunately, what appears to be our path through the main white snow wasn’t it!

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There was a sideways view of the rail incline with Postman Pat on his rounds in the foreground.

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The path steepened and more snow and ice appeared.

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My microspikes came into their own as I could ascend much quicker.

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At last we reached a reasonably sheltered spot for a banana and muesli bar break, and coffee (with honey) stop.

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The sheep were hungry and interested to see what food we had got.

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They weren’t impressed with my microspikes, having adapted much better to these harsh conditions than us. Did they know we were wearing New Zealand Merino wool base layers, the best for insulation?

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It is at this point I started to think whether I could improve my food intake for more energy.

For breakfast I had grapefruit, porridge with blueberries and cinnamon, Bergen soya and linseed bread (recommended by my son who is a personnel trainer in Derby) with marmalade, but no butter, and tea.

Lunch would consist of a home made multigrain roll with apricot jam (for instant energy), low fat crisps (for salt), low fat yoghurt, Mary Berry’s home made fruit cake and an apple, tea made fresh with coffee mate and honey.

The above has served me well for many years, but if anyone knows better (e.g. Alan Hinkes) please let me know!

Ascending a little further, we came to The Cleveland Way and Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route, which is the equivalent of the North York Moors M6.

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Just like some of the roads these days it hadn’t been gritted! Carol looks a bit worried here don’t you think? At one point on the ice I had to grab her arm and steady her like I do with my 93 year old mother and 94 yrs old mother in law!

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However, we eventually came to Round Hill on Urra Moor, the highest point of the North York Moors at 454 metres, 1489 feet. We had been climbing for exactly four miles.

Here we could view much of the largest expense of heather moorland in England. Britain is thought to have almost 75% of the World’s remaining heather moorland and much of it was in view before us.

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Not surprisingly the path got even more icy, but is was beautiful with the sun shining on us. We were somewhat surprised to see a mountain bike with ‘fat’ tyres pass us.

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Even the standing stones seemed to have faces laughing at us. This one is mentioned in 1642 as the ‘bounder called Faceston’. They are believed to be late Bronze Age or early Iron Age.

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We were now able to increase our pace along the old railway line to Bloworth Crossing.

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What was amazing was that ‘Snow Sleepers’ (my term) had formed based on the old sleepers that had been removed, after closure in 1929. The rate of thawing of the snow as related to where the sleepers had compressed the ground under them. Awesome.

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We arrived at Bloworth Crossing

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But the last train had departed a bit before us.

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We could only find about four sleepers.

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It is not a place to linger.

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We proceeded to Siberia, which is at Incline Top and was even colder. It was so called by the ironstone railway workers. Wagons full of iron ore went down the incline under gravity and this allowed empty wagons to be pulled back up at the same time.

In the past there were buildings there including the Brake Drum House.

p1050517 It was incredibly windy and cold and I have posted separately on Facebook a video I took there.

There are some remains of the buildings.

A little further on we came across Jenny Bradley’s Cross. It is not known who she is. Next to it is a boundary stone marking the Ingleby Estate.

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There were also grouse butts hereabouts. No escape for our poor little grouse we saw earlier.

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Middlesborough suddenly appeared in the distance lit by the fading sun, with some delightful cloud effects above it.

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We were somewhat surprised to see four wheel drive vehicles pass us.

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Another standing stone appeared.

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Below the small stone on the top was the following message. I wouldn’t want to find it in mist alone on the Moors!

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The stone dates from 1757 according to the inscription on the side.

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We then started to descend with splendid skies behind us. It is always a good to keep looking behind you on a walk as you might miss something. Or the man might come to take you to the gallows.

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The side view wasn’t bad too. I do like winter walking!

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We finally dipped our boots in the stream at 3.15pm next to the car and church in order to clean them.  What a splendid walk!

Miles Walk 11.06

Calories Burnt 1,300

Steps taken 24,722

Average Pace 19.389 minutes per mile

Fastest mile split at 10 to 11 miles 18.20 minutes per mile 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Facebook Crashed, Cars Crashed! Winter is Getting a Grip.

Post 94: 2 January 2016, 1,000 Mile Challenge

First of all apologies for those who tried to access my Facebook this afternoon.  This is the second post of the day! My earlier post, started at 4.00am and finished by 6.00am; ‘How to walk four times around the World’ led to Facebook closing my Facebook account due to unusual activity!  I had such a lot of kind comments about the blog and photographs perhaps that may be ‘unusual’ for Facebook. Having only got the ideas for the blog at 4.00am I was overwhelmed by the response to it. I often do my best blogs at 4.00am when there are no distractions!

Thank you for all the kind words and encouragement.

I was nearly brought  to tears by Beata Dobrogoszcz, who said about the blog ‘..this is more than encouragement – this is LIFE’.

She is of course correct – walking has been my life, with other things thrown in such as Love, Marriage, Children, Grandchildren, Work, Retirement, Ups, Downs, Fun, Laughter, Tears, Hard Work, Giving 100%, Trying to be Kind, Trying to Keep Calm. Walking has been very much a constant – where when all else fails go for a walk and if it doesn’t fail still go for a walk. It never ceases to amaze me that each walk can seem as fresh and vibrant as one 20 years ago. So yes I will keep walking and blogging. It has led to so many surprises and no doubt there will be more around the corner, or the next path, or the next hill, or the next river. 

The last blog said I was just going out for a 3 mile walk from home. I got as far as 3 yards and turned back to put my spikes (not my new Microspikes which will be for the more serious stuff on the Moors tomorrow) on and get my trekking poll as it was very, very icy. I noticed the roads were particularly icy and hadn’t been gritted. This was confirmed later on in the day when a Facebook friend’s car slid into a ditch on a quiet country lane. I am not sure whether he has winter tyres on but I would strongly recommend them. Fortunately he was okay. Another friend in the village said that even with winter tyres on he had a slight slip.

Again the cold night was confirmed as our local pond was frozen over.

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The light is interesting first thing in the morning. It was difficult to reduce the sun here.

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I love lines for perspective. Note it is very flat around my village.

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Two of my favourite photographic topics are reflections

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and big skies. You can just see the Yorkshire Wolds in the background.

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Oh and pleasant ladies on horses add to an enjoyable morning walk!

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My mileage using a different route than planned, due to the delightful but cold weather, was:

5.83 Miles

Calories Burnt 662

Steps Taken 11,800

Average Pace 18.21 Minutes per Mile

Fastest Mile Split at 1 mile 17.5 Minutes per mile