‘That’s Huge’, A Death on Striding Edge, The Naming of the Underpant Trail

Post 122: The Staveley-Foxfield Horseshoe – The Underpant Trail

8 April 1995: Day 1 – Staveley to Windermere Youth Hostel – 9 miles

We proceeded along the lush green Kentmere Valley to reach the Garburn Pass, which we climbed in earnest. We then descended the Garburn Road, a track, to the bottom of Troutbeck where Windermere Youth Hostel was located.

In the evening we decided to walk to the pub only to discover it was a round trip of three miles; walkers are certainly dedicated, especially when, having got there, we couldn’t find a seat on which to rest our weary limbs.

9 April 1995: Day 2 – Windermere Youth Hostel to Patterdale Youth Hostel – 13 miles

In warm sunshine we left the hostel at 9.15am to ascend Yoke, Ill Bell, Frostick, and High Street, all covered in mist. There was quite a lot of snow on the northeast side of the ridge and one step too far and it would be a case of a rapid descent down a snow slope to eternity. Descending to Angle Tarn the mist cleared to reveal Patterdale below us, where we eventually arrived at 4.30pm.

The evening meal was excellent consisting of tomato soup, chicken casserole, spicy bread and butter pudding or fruit and apple pie. We were famished and had no trouble eating two helpings of each course. Living up to his reputation, Dan even begged some left over bread and butter pudding to supplement the next day’s packed lunch.

10 April 1995: Day 3 – Patterdale Youth Hostel to Keswick Youth Hostel – 13½ miles

In the morning, I went to the bathroom to find Dan was shaving.

‘What’s that?’ I said in astonishment. ‘It’s huge.’

‘Yes, it is a big one. It’s my shaving foam.’

Dan was immediately awarded booby prize in the equipment of the walk award. No one in their right mind brings a foot-long shaving foam container on a long-distance walk.

At breakfast we contemplated following the route over Striding Edge. However, someone at our table mentioned that a walker had died on the Edge during the previous week. This was not very encouraging, especially as we had heavy packs to carry and if we slipped or fell off we would drop like lead. The forecast was for sunshine and I enquired of the warden whether the Edge was clear of snow. He confirmed it was and we therefore decided to go along it. As we passed through Patterdale there seemed to be a considerable amount of cloud and snow towards the top of the Edge and Helvellyn; I started to get a bit anxious. Climbing towards the Hole-in-the-Wall, below Striding Edge, the mist cleared and we stopped for snacks to summon up enough courage to attempt the ridge. At the far end of the ridge there was a snowfield acting as a barrier to the ascent of Helvellyn.

The Edge offers two routes, one along the very crest and a second lower-level alternative just below the ridge; it was decision time. Alan immediately went for the crest route as, being an adrenalin junkie, he desperately wanted to experience the sense of exposure. Dan followed him thinking there would be a café on the top as there is on Snowdon. Archie thought twice about the high-level route as, firstly, he has difficulties in seeing where he is putting his feet, secondly, he is scared stiff of heights. I also decided to take the low-level route on the basis that I could get better photographs. Actually I am petrified of exposed ridges as well. Not for me heroics, I enjoy living and have no inclination to scare myself. Neither will you get me on Nemesis or Oblivion at Alton Towers or the Pepsi Max at Blackpool.

We pressed on over the Edge in perfect weather with stupendous views.

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the-big-50_6737_edited-1The route passed an iron monument, the Dixon Memorial, erected in 1858 to indicate the scene of a fatal fall during a fox-hunt; a sober reminder of the dangers of the ridge. Arriving at the snow line, my heart started to thump as, with the warm weather, I was convinced that with our weight on the snow it might avalanche. However, Dan appeared to have no fears and climbed up through it. I shot up next, so relieved to get out of the snow at the top without it giving way underneath me.

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Alan and Archie followed and we were home and dry.

The summit of Helvellyn was a disappointment after the excitement of Striding Edge; there were too many people and it is a rather broad plateau. There were even children up there which put our exploits into perspective, but perhaps they had come up by one of the easier routes.

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Striding Edge can be dangerous if the rock is slippery or the wind strong. In dry conditions it is fairly straightforward, other than for a little scrambling at the far end.

As we descended from Helvellyn, one of the most memorable sights was of a snow corrie adjacent to Low Man with layer upon layer of snow exposed at the top in distinctive lines. A fine ridge walk to Whiteside, Raise and Sticks Pass was followed by a steep descent to St John’s in The Vale

the-big-50_6738_edited-2and that little church; the one where Dan on a previous walk had scoffed loads of hard boiled eggs? On this occasion, not finding a source of food, we scurried onto Keswick to arrive at 5.00pm, with prospects of pubs, grub and fish and chip shops.

However, essential chores had to be carried out; with only three pairs of pants it was essential to do some washing.

‘When are you going to wash your Y-fronts?’ I asked Dan.

‘Oh, I don’t bother,’ he replied.

‘Don’t bother? Don’t they smell if you don’t wash them?’ I said somewhat surprised.

‘I bring my old ones and just throw them away once they are dirty.’

‘In that case we’ll have to call this walk the Underpant Trail,’ I said having visions of underpants strewn along the route.

How to get better Mobile Reception using your Hat, A Visit to the Mortuary, The Valley of Iron, 200 of the 1,000 Mile Challenge 2017 completed.

Post 121: 22 February 2017, Cleveland Circles 17

It was a ‘full house’ today as Sid the Yorkshireman, Carol,  Alf and myself headed out for walk 17 of Cleveland Circles starting at 9.00am at Skelton.

A local soon directed us in completely the wrong direction for the Cleveland Way but fortunately we checked her directions and found the correct route. One thing I have learnt is never trust the directions of locals or anyone else. Try and work it out yourself.

We came to the impressive Skelton Viaduct over Skelton Beck, which was originally part of the Whitby, Redcar and Middlesborough Union Railway, which opened in 1872. The passenger line closed in 1958 and now carries goods trains to the Boulby Potash Mine.

I soon noticed that Sid was on his mobile phone and had adopted a revolutionary way of improving mobile phone reception in the valley, using his infamous hat, which he lost and recovered on a previous walk fairly recently. He just had to raise a flap!

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We were very impressed with the various signs and benches in Rifts Wood, within the Saltburn Valley,

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On a bench it says:

So close no matter how far

Couldn’t be much more from the heart

Forever trust in who we are

and nothing else matters.

Note the spider

This delightful leafed bench had a cricket bat.

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The First and Second World War Memorial was particularly memorable. We will not forget them.

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And the Victorian family were a delight.

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We then discovered a pedestrian bridge would have spanned the valley in the late 1800s.

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The existing Bandstand has an interesting mosaic.

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We then reached Saltburn-by-the-Sea, the first planned seaside resort in England.

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It seemed rather odd to have a mortuary there!

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After our coffee and ‘banana’ break we began ascending the Cleveland Way coastal path

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The pier is the only pleasure pier on the whole of the Northeast England and Yorkshire coast.

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The views forward were impressive,

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and also the views back.

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Eventually we found some evidence of the Roman occupation.

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And then some modern steel sculptures called the New Milestones made by Richard Farrington at the Skinningrove steelworks.

We then followed the railway line,

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to the best sculpture, the steel circle which has models of a Cleveland Bay Horse, Thor’s hammer for metal working, a belemnite fossil, a mermaid’s purse from the seashore and a cat. Carol completed the circle, getting in the process nearly blown over the cliff in the now high winds.

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My attempt on my knees failed miserably, even in black and white. p1060391

The final pose was more conventional.

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We then came across one of the fanhouses that serviced the mines.

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We then got a glimpse of a possible lunch-time stop at the end of Cattersty Sands below.

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After lunch we walked through Skinningrove to pass a traditional fishing coble.

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Followed by a statue to the popular Homing Society for pigeons.

We then followed the Skinningrove Valley Trail,

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past a school with a Merman mosaic.

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and a helicopter rescue mosaic, both beautifully created.

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We were now in the Valley of Iron where the first of Cleveland’s ironstone mines, Loftus, is now the Tom Leonard Mining Museum.

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Finally, Sinningrove steelworks were passed. They are now involved in specialised steel products.

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A 3-4 mile walk through fields and wind turbines led back to our car at Skelton.

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Miles Walked 11.7

Steps 24,335

Calories Burnt 1,300

Average Pace 18.42 Minutes per Mile

I had now completed 201 miles of the 1,000 Walk Challenge 2017. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Fools Day, The End of the Cumberland Way, The beginning of the Underpant Trail, A Hen Do….

Post 120:  1 April 1994: Day 6 – The Cumberland Way – Eamont Bridge to Appleby – 18 miles.

This last day gave us few memories as the terrain was relatively flat and much of the time involved long stretches of tarmac walking. Only the impressive Brougham Castle provided a highlight for the day. This was one of the castles restored by Lady Anne Clifford in the 17th century, being one of the most interesting castle ruins in the north of England. Lady Anne was certainly an influential person in these parts and there is even a long-distance walk, The Lady Anne Clifford Way named after her.

Arriving at Appleby in Westmorland, the end of the walk, we celebrated in a very mute style as we had a train to catch, this being my fifth long-distance walk successfully completed. Age shall not weary them……..but my eyes look as though they are about to close.

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Where next?

1 May 1994: On Foot from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall – Hadrian’s Way – the planning. 

Having completed writing, On Foot From Coast to Coast – The North of England Way (not to be published until 1997), I had thoroughly enjoyed planning and checking the route, drawing the maps, walking the complete 200 miles, and photographing wonderful views along the way, but I now needed a new challenge.

Wainwright’s writings in his descriptive book (not a guide book), A Pennine Journey, describing a walk he did in 1938, inspired me to devise and write a detailed guide to a comparable walk from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall. I was very keen to see and record any changes from 1938 to 1994. One main difference was that the Second World War was not about to start!

I began the walk on 1 May 1994 at the age of 42, and it was with a sense of ‘boyhood’ excitement that I arrived at York station to catch the 8.07am train to Settle, on the famous Settle – Carlisle railway line. There was not a finer day to start with bright clear sunshine, a ‘spring freshness’ in the air and an excellent forecast for the day. It felt good to be alive and good to be starting a new journey with the prospect of unknown adventures ahead, beautiful countryside to explore and the historical attractions of Hadrian’s Wall to look forward to. I was not to be disappointed and, indeed, nearly three years later, I was able to walk the one hundred and twenty-nine mile route in its entirety, experiencing a tremendous ‘high’ on reaching and walking along Hadrian’s Wall (see later).

April 1995 – The Foxfield-Staveley Horseshoe – The high-level underpant trail, aged 43

I was due a rest from organising walks and fortunately Alan decided to plan a route and arrange all the accommodation. The walk started at Staveley, to the west of Kendal, in the quiet countryside of the Kentmere Valley, then entered the dramatic scenery of the Lakeland fells, which are traversed in a horseshoe shape, first heading north over High Street and Helvellyn as far as Keswick, then southwards through Borrowdale, Wasdale and Eskdale. On the final day it passed through the softer fells to the south of Coniston, then reached Foxfield, the end of the walk.

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Alan is not called Everest Trekker for nothing and I knew, weather permitting, he would try to do as many high-level routes as possible. This is not difficult for the young, the very fit, or those who don’t sit at a desk all day; but for a desk-bound forty-three-year-old, carrying a 30lb pack, it was quite a challenge. I therefore decided to do some ‘special’ training and just after Christmas, when I was fully bloated with Christmas turkey, pudding, mince pies, trifle, cream, sherry, whisky, port, etc, etc…., whilst taking the dog for his early morning walk, I started putting my son’s weights into a small rucksack. At least it was dark and I would not be seen by too many people. I got the idea from watching Brian Blessed on television when he was training for his various attempts on Everest, running with a large rucksack containing his dog. My biggest worry was that I might be arrested by the police as a suspicious character. Gradually, over the three month period up until April, I increased the weights by five pound intervals, until I reached thirty pounds. This training was to make a dramatic effect when I climbed Pillar as a ‘New Man’. I have since used this training technique on several occasions.

8 April 1995: A hen do!

I left York at 9.48am. At Leeds, a large group of ladies entered my carriage, completely surrounding me. I desperately tried to recall what sort of deodorant I had put on that morning. Perhaps the television adverts were true and it was to be my lucky day?

Reality is always different from the adverts; a mother was taking three daughters, one of whom was shortly to be married, and friends to Blackpool for a hen party. Their plans involved karaoke, lots of alcohol and for some members of the group, men. The mother was a keen camper, walker and countryside lover and, while her daughters and friends read women’s magazines about how to ‘catch your man’, live a life of sexual bliss, and have illicit affairs, we had an enjoyable conversation about our common interest in the countryside.

The train arrived at Preston at 11.56am and, having been given a unique insight into the ‘excitement’ prior to a hen party, I was tempted to continue to Blackpool. However, being a dedicated walker, I bade farewell to the females and left the train for a connection to Oxenholme, where I had lunch sitting in the sun, until Dan, Alan and Archie arrived. Comparing three middle-aged male walkers to a flock of hens I did wonder whether I had made the right decision?

A further train took us to Staveley to arrive at 2.00pm.

An Area Steeped in Mining History, Antartica Explorers, Sid the Yorkshireman on the Broken Bridge, England’s Smallest Church, The Earth is Flat!

Post 119: 19 February 2017, Cleveland Circles 16

With an excellent weather forecast we headed out from York on a Sunday at 7.30am with the added bonus that at that time the traffic was incredibly light. We were able to start walking from Slapewath at just after 9am with an immediate climb and good views. The yellow gorse reminded me of my days of living on the Land’s End Peninusula 1975-1979 where such gorse was abundant. It was also a reminder that spring is not far away.

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We compared our view with one from a book in the late 1800s, when ironstone mining and works were in their heyday. Interestingly the gorse was growing then!

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The Margrove Valley hereabouts has been an area of mining since alum was first mined from the Rockhole Quarry in Slapewath in 1603/1604. When the alum mining ceased there was a switch to jet mining. Ironstone mining than started in the Margrove Valley in 1863 until, after economic difficulties in the 19020/30s, the last mine closed in 1954, ten years before mining stopped altogether in Cleveland.

Ironstone is a rock containing iron ore and on the discovery of ironstone at Loftus in 1848 mining of iron ore began in Cleveland. The ore was sent to blast furnaces on Teeside and Tyneside. Later on this walk we had views of the steelworks at Redcar.

After going through Skelton Green we had views towards Skelton and Saltburn in the distance.

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As well as Skelton Castle we could see the Redcar Wind Farm 1.5 kilometres offshore with its 27 Turbines. This was a good location for a coffee and banana break.

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Descending to Skelton, we were surprised to come across a lovely garden with a plaque and statue dedicated to “Frank” Wild, who came from here and was Ernest Shackleton’s right hand man on his famous Antartica expeditions.

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We passed the memorial square in Skelton in bright warm sunshine.

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To arrive at the All Saints (Old) Church which was constructed in 1785 and where pirates graves are found.

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A couple of graves really struck home as all the children had died before their parents. I can only assume that some disease or illnesses had killed the children but the parents had survived. What a tragedy and how things have changed for the better since with our much improved health care system and the National Health Service.

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Skelton Castle, built in 1790 and still occupied, could be seen from the churchyard.

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We then continued to cross Skelton Beck but from the appearances of the collapsed bridge it looks like Sid needs to go on a stricter diet!

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We then arrived at reputably the smallest church in the country at 18 x 15 feet!

It was locked but I managed to get a picture of the sparse interior through the door bars.

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We then went through the village of Upleatham to Errington Wood and fine views towards the coast.

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And our lunch spot.

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A trig pillar confirmed that The Earth is Flat 

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The steelworks at Redcar were quite visible. It is sad that these were closed in 2015 after many years of production and there seems no hope of them re-opening. The Teeside Steelworks were founded in 1917 by Dorman Long, the steel being used to build structures such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Tyne Bridge and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

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One wonders what will if anything replace these heavy manufacturing industries?

Dropping back down to Errington Wood we came across some of the local wildlife.

Towards the end of the walk we walked to the bottom of the viaduct at Slapewath.

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And as a final reminder of the massive industry that took place here in the late 1800s and early 1900s came across a blocked off mine adit,

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And a gunpowder store.

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One can’t help but admire the industry and hard work carried out in these parts, which made a massive contribution to the Industrial Revolution and the wealth of this nation.

Miles Walked 13.6

Average Pace 19.38 Minutes per Mile

Calories Burnt 1600

Steps 28,348

 

 

 

 

 

The Norwegian Finale – Molde to Southampton, Via Bergen

Post 118: 31st January to 4th February 2017, 1,000 Mile Walk Challenge

During the last five days of my Norwegian trip, I was only able to add four miles ‘proper’ walking to my 1,000 mile walk challenge, so I will just highlight some of the places visited. One of the limits on walking was that it included 2 full sea days and during this time we encountered Force 10 gusting to 11 storms (Hurricane is 12).

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Before leaving Molde, we did an excursion to the Atlantic Road through some beautiful scenery.

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The Atlantic Road

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Followed by the Bergtatt Caves on a boat! This marble quarry  has been run by the Naas family since 1938. There are 40 kilometres of mines on 11 levels.

Arriving back at the ship just before we left for Bergen, there was a lovely sunset.

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On arriving at Bergen we went on a stunning excursion to an ice-bound Osterfjord, a deep fjord with waterfalls, sheer mountains and powerful currents. We went through Modalen, which is the second smallest municipality with about 380 residents.

We nudged up to a waterfall to catch a bucket of ice-cold mountain water for tasting on board our boat. It was touch and go whether we could fully enter the fjord due to the ice. Strangely Bergen was ice free and it was pouring down with rain!

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Back at a wet Bergen.

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And after a light lunch! see slideshow:

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And after passing Portsmouth

It was back to Southampton somewhat delayed by the storms (3.30pm arrival instead of early morning) !

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Total Miles Walked during the 15 nights holiday  – 35

A Walk Around Molde – 222 Snow-clad Peaks

Post 117: 31st January 2017, 1,000 Mile Challenge Walk

We arrived at Molde at 6.42am and somehow I got on deck, despite not getting to bed until after 2.00am the night before.

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I enjoyed watching the crew throw the line over the side – the first main step in berthing a ship. See slideshow:

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After breakfast I planned to go for a morning walk along the waterfront as I had no excursions booked until 11.10am.

It was as beautiful crisp morning. Sunrise was at 9.04am and before I got off the ship the ‘commuter’ ferries were leaving port,

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and the ‘commuter’ aeroplanes landing.

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The sun was beginning to rise behind the mountains

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The church and town nestled below the snow clad mountians.

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The scene was interrupted by a scene of broken glass and it turned out that, when the night before the ship turned off the lights on the top deck to better see the Northern Lights, someone on a scooter for the disabled had gone too fast into the glass wind shield.

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As I got off the ship another plane landed.

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And the sun continued to rise.

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See slideshow:

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As I walked along the waterfront the view constantly changed.

There are 222 snow-clad peaks which make up the splendid Molde Panorama.

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Until the main hotel, in the shape of a sail, came into view.

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I then headed back into the town as my time was limited. The drain covers were interesting, this one featuring a whale.

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Molde is known for its annual jazz festival; there is a statue which acts as a reminder.

A small delightful fishing boat was passed before returning to my somewhat larger ship.

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A delightful refreshing morning walk.

Miles walked 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Baby-Faced Assassin. Scenic Cruising and not much Walking – other than to the Bar. Why I love cruising in Norway.

Post 116: 29th January 2017, 1,000 Mile Challenge. 

At about 1pm the ship left Tromso for Molde (not Mould!), known in the UK as the place from where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was transferred to Manchester United for £1.5 million, before returning, after an illustrious career with Manchester United, to manage Molde FK.  Known as the super sub for scoring great goals after coming on as a substitute, he also had the nickname The Baby-Faced Assassin for his gentle looks, but lethal finish.

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The sea was at force 5 rising to force 7 so walks on deck were out of the question and I was tired after my morning exertions in Tromso. So it was an opportunity to relax, attend the Grand Tea Dance, enjoy the evening meal, attend the British Invasion Show  and put back all the calories lost whilst walking around Tromso. There was then other entertainment up to about mid-night.

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I was on deck next morning at about 8.00am waiting to pass the Arctic Circle again. I was pleased to see Hurtigruten’s oldest ship Lofoten pass. With no stabilisers my heart and sympathy went out to them.

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Our ship was running late and we passed the Arctic Circle about an hour later than forecast.

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We then passed the Seven Sisters Mountain Range near Sandnessjoen. See slideshow

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One of the things I love about cruising in Norway is seeing magnificent views and mountains from the comfort of a warm comfortable ship. I must be getting old!

The views just kept coming.

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And coming

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And coming. This is Torghatten the Mountain with the Hole.

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And coming

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All viewed from the comfort of the Marquee Bar where coffees and alcohol were on tap. No wonder I didn’t do much walking around the deck.

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Completely isolated houses on little islands are passed. Many are used as summer houses and can only be got to by boat.

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Salmon farms are passed.

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Fabulous bridges encountered as the light fades after the 2.17pm sunset.

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Until darkness arrives and the lights go on.

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And the Northern Lights appeared after 11pm (see post 101 for more photographs).

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For Scenic Cruising it doesn’t get much better than this……

I finally got to bed at just after 2pm……..

Miles Walked: Non Recorded! Too many distractions. 

Weather: Cloudy Skies

Air Temp: 6 degrees C/41 degrees F

Sea Temp: 7 degrees C/45 degrees F

Wind: Force 7