Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Obsessions Alfred Wainwright Star trekker, Hitch Hiking to Holland, New York, The World Trade Centre and Canada on the Greyhound

Post 154:  28 June 1997

My fifteen-year old teenage daughter had, in a moment of rash enthusiasm, enrolled for the bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. As we arrived in Rosedale, on the North York Moors, at 9.00am the rain was pelting down on the car and the mist hung low over the ridge that my daughter and her friends were due to walk over. I lent my daughter my ‘guaranteed’ waterproof jacket and watched as her knees buckled under the weight of her pack. Two days later she arrived home wet, exhausted and far from happy.

‘Did you enjoy it?’ I said, ‘Character building weather wasn’t it?’

‘Dad!’ she shouted ‘it was awful, we got lost and it was frightening. It was stupid having to carry those packs and tents. I can’t understand how or why you do it for pleasure. Neither is your jacket waterproof.’

‘Never mind it was only the practice and perhaps the weather will be better in October,’ I said trying unsuccessfully to cheer her up. I wondered whether she would continue to finish her Duke of Edinburgh award and ever go walking in the country again. In many respects walking is not for teenagers, but once they have done other things they often come back to it in later life.

29 September 1997

My daughter had just returned from Duke of Edinburgh bronze award walk of some 20 miles over two days carrying tents. She hobbled from the car to the house

‘Did you enjoy the weekend?’ I said.

‘No I didn’t!’ came the tired, sharp and short answer. However, compared to the practice in June she was much more talkative and I was convinced that, once she had a good nights rest, she would be in a better frame of mind. This was confirmed a couple of days later when she and her friends said they were thinking of doing the silver Duke of Edinburgh award.

She also climbed Great Gable a few years later with me and enjoyed our beautiful countryside.

Looking towards Ennerdale

October 1997

In a newspaper article, Obsessions: Alfred Wainwright. Star trekker, Wainwright, the Guru of all walkers, has been elevated to Godfather of the men’s magazine Loaded, based on Wainwright’s stated delight at the prospect of ‘pretty girls, fish and chips, beer, and ice cream.’ In his coast to coast video, he declares that ‘fish and chips have been his staple diet for 80 years,’ then, at Kirkby Stephen, he was spotted by two elderly Wainwright fans, one male and one female, who exclaim: ‘Look dear, it’s Mr Wainwright!’ When Wainwright was asked to go on Desert Island Discs with Sue Lawley, he only agreed on condition the trip to the studios in Manchester included a visit to Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip shop.

31 January 1997

I had booked my accommodation for my planned Easter walk around the Land’s End peninunsula. None of my walking colleagues could make the walk. The excuses were mostly pretty feeble, can’t afford it I’m buying a new car, I’m off to India for a holiday, I am rowing at Henley Regatta, I’m getting married and emigrating to Australia. For the first time in eight years it would be a solo walk. This added a new dimension to long-distance walking. Would it intensify the experience? Would it add to the excitement with the increased risks if I had an accident?

I hadn’t really gone off on my own for any length of time since I had hitch-hiked to Holland in 1970 at the age of eighteen and then in 1972, at the age of 20 lived in New York for 6 weeks and then toured Canada for a week on a Greyhound bus. A bit of a diversion but as the photographs are ‘historical’  thought I would show a few below.

My guide to New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The World Trade Centre, which was just being finished.


The top of the Empire State.


Reflections Central Park


The Queen Mary 2, which I managed to get on board with a little bit of ‘persuasion’.


Fun in New York


This car didn’t keep left!


Niagara Falls –  Canada side.

Then in 1973 I married and solo travel became a distant but exciting memory. The experiences had been unforgettable and it would be interesting to compare a ‘solo’ holiday at the age of forty-six.

I had recently purchased, from a dusty second-hand bookshop in York, a book called Silent Traveller in Lakeland by Chian Yee. The book, published in 1937, fascinated me because it was about a Chinese artist who went to the Lake District on 31st July 1936. He felt it was better to travel alone and ‘to be dumb’; for him silence was particularly important if he was to observe the scenery closely. In the 1990’s, silence is hard to find and it made me wonder how I would react to the hours of silence and my own company on the Land’s End peninsula.

April 1998

On Foot to Land’s End: The Penwith Way

4 April 1998

One week remained until my solo walk around the Land’s End peninsula. As ever before a long-distance walk there was a level of anxiety, would it all work out okay, what would the weather be like, etc? I had just finished reading Nick Crane’s book Clear Waters Rising recording his journey on foot across the chain of mountains from Cape Finistere to Instanbul. All I was going to do was walk for one week on my own around the Land’s End peninsula, so no worries.

I felt as this journey was a sort of pilgrimage back to my younger days of seeking adventure. People begin pilgrimages for many reasons – curiosity, the beauty of the route, spirituality, or religion. Often the reason at the start has nothing in common with the final reason because the journey changes people. It is so rich living in harmony with nature from sunrise to sunset. It changes people from the inside and also on the outside. Part of my route would involve the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim route from St Ives to Penzance, which continues after crossing the English Channel in France and then through Spain.  

The Land’s End peninsula is a delight to walk round – hope you will join me in the next blog…………………….

September 2008 102

Penwith Way_7056_edited-1

Roman Delights. Pennine Way Groupies. 130 Miles Completed. The End.

Post 153: 13 April 1997: Day 9 Acomb Youth Hostel to Once Brewed Youth Hostel – 15½ Miles

Today was the highlight of the walk as we reached, then walked along the finest section of the Wall. As we passed through the fields and lanes, we had time to reflect on what it must have been like for the Roman Legions marching towards the Wall. We started to feel a sense of excitement as the wall, situated on some of the highest land in the area, drew closer. We arrived at Wall, a forgotten village, described in few, if any, guide books and yet having a delightful church, a fine aspect above the River North Tyne, two spacious village greens and a close proximity to Hadrian’s Wall. Its very name excites whoever walks this way to the Roman Wall, as it signals the arrival is imminent.

At last we reached Brunton Turret 26B – the Roman Wall. This was a place to rest awhile for, not only had we reached Hadrian’s Wall after 114 miles of walking, we had reached the highest stretch of the Broad Wall to be seen and perhaps the best preserved turret on the Wall. To the west of the turret, the Wall was constructed in its broad gauge 10ft (3m) wide, whilst on the eastern side the Wall was in its narrow form of 8ft (2.4m) wide. The turrets rear wall of eleven courses stands some 8ft (2.4m) high. The Roman Wall stretches from coast to coast, a distance of 80 Roman miles or approximately 75 miles. The only other people there were a mother and child and I asked her if she could take a photograph of us on this special arrival ‘on foot.’ She duly obliged wondering what all the fuss was about.

The big 50_6764

We continued to Cilvrnvm (Chesters) Roman Fort to see the substantial remains of a Roman bathhouse and bridge and a museum displaying many artifacts, from the locality, portraying Roman life. This large bridgehead fort guarded the location where the wall crosses the River North Tyne. The best preserved example of a Roman cavalry fort in the country, at any one time it would have accommodated four to five hundred troops. The museum houses important Roman sculptures, altars and inscriptions, including a bronze tablet, similar to the one found at Ravenglass beach, recording that the ordinary Roman soldier had to serve for twenty-five years before being awarded Roman citizenship. Outside the fort is a bathhouse, this being one of the best preserved buildings of Roman Britain and across the river were extensive remains of the eastern abutment of the Roman bridge. The fort is in the care of English Heritage who provided us with an excellent cream tea.

For the next six miles, it was necessary to use the modern road overlaid on the Roman Wall, although there was much to see and visit to take our minds off the ‘tarmac’ pounding, including the remains of turrets, milecastles, the Vallum, the Ditch, the Military Way, as well as the temple to the god Mithras.

Milecastles were built every Roman mile to protect gateways through the wall, allowing the local population to pass through on payment of a toll in money or goods. Spaced between each milecastle were two turrets, which were used as watch-towers from which soldiers could view the surrounding countryside.

To the south of the B6318, running parallel with it, is the Vallum which is a continuous 36 metre (118 feet) wide earthwork with a central 3 metre (10 feet) deep ditch and flanking mounds. It is thought that it provided a defensive boundary along the rear of the wall.

Just off the road, Brocilitia (Carrawburgh) Roman Fort remains in the form of a raised grassed area in private ownership; however, English Heritage look after an area around it, which includes the fascinating temple to the god Mithras (mithraeum). The temple has a small ante-chapel, screen, and nave, flanked by benches leading to a temple sanctuary containing three altars; the altars are replicas, the originals being in the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle. Conventina’s Well is situated to the west of the fort.

On leaving the road, near Sewing Shields, we reached the highlight of the walk as we followed the line of the wall, giving panoramic views of what in Roman times would have been the ‘land of the barbarians’, but is now the Northumberland National Park.

The lake of Bromlee Lough came into view, then soon after we visited Vercovicium (Housesteads) Roman Fort, which boasts some of the finest Roman remains. This is a substantially excavated fort on the dramatic crest of the great Whin Sill, overlooking the Northumberland National Park. It is spread over 5 acres (2 hectares) and, within the confines of the four walls, contains the only visible example of a Roman hospital in Britain and well preserved Roman latrines with a flush system. The granary base is in evidence, especially the pillars that once supported the wooden floors, as well as the ruins of the barracks and headquarters. To the south west of the fort is a museum, which has an interesting collection of finds from the area.

Superb walking above Housestead Crags, Hotbank Crags, Crag Lough, Highshields Crags and Peel Crags eventually led to a quiet lane and the modern, purpose built, Once Brewed Youth Hostel and the National Park information centre. We had retained a ‘little’ energy for the evening visit to the Twice Brewed Inn, conveniently situated only a couple of hundred yards away. A plaque on a windowsill states:

‘In 1745 General Wade (later Field Marshal) passed this way with his army marching to cut off Bonnie Prince Charlie who was advancing on Carlisle. This General stopped at this Inn but found the beer too weak. He had the publican taken away and forced him to brew again.’

We were able to swap stories with walkers doing the Pennine Way, they having completed two hundred and seven miles of their two hundred and seventy mile marathon. One such walker in the hostel was clearly in a state known as ‘The Pennine Trance’, as he didn’t talk to anyone at the evening meal, but sat alone staring into space. After so many miles of barren walking, the condition tends to occur frequently in this vicinity, being confirmed when he failed to arrive at the pub, never to be seen again.

We also met an Australian ‘doing’ Europe in two days. Well actually two weeks. His itinary included Scotland, the Lake District, Wales, the South West of England and Hadrian’s Wall. It is doubtful whether his feet ever touched the ground.

I had read in other walking books that there are Pennine Way groupies in the vicinity of Hadrian’s Wall. These are women, who hang about the campsites and hostels on the path, pick up chaps who are walking the Pennine Way. Such groupies could prove a distraction from the wall; such are the dangers long-distance walkers must encounter. Would the groupies be attracted to Hadrian’s Way walkers? I imagined that this pub could be a regular pick up point, but it must have been their night off as fortunately we didn’t see any!

14 April 1997: Day 10 Once Brewed Youth Hostel to Haltwhistle – 3 miles

The last day was three miles to the official end of the walk but, walking to the railway station at Haltwhistle, a further two and a half miles were added. If catching a train in the afternoon or on the next day then a detour of three and a half miles to Vindolanda Roman Fort is strongly recommended. Vindolanda is one of, if not the most interesting, Roman forts on the Wall and the nearby Chesterholme museum reputably has the best remains of Roman occupation in the old Roman Empire. It houses private Roman documents and correspondence, including descriptions of ‘the wretched Brits’, games, military records, clothing, arms, coins and ornaments. There is also a coffee shop, bookshop and, set in gardens, are full sized reconstructions of a Roman temple, shop, house and a Northumberland croft. To the north of the fort and museum is a Roman milestone, which is the only remaining one in the country at its original height.

A memorable end to a memorable walk!

Blanchland – The White Land, The Oldest Gravestone in Northumbria, A Naked Briton, The Old Gaol, Four Horses replaced by Thirty-Six Hostellers.

Post 152:  12 April 1997: Day 8 Edmundbyers Youth Hostel to Acomb Youth Hotel – 19 miles

We left the small village of Edmundbyers, to pass over Edmundbyers Common and Buckshot Fell with expansive views of the previous day’s walk. We had a delightful descent of the upper reaches of the Derwent Valley, crossed a bridge over the River Derwent to leave County Durham and enter the County of Northumberland, then entered the village of Blanchland.

This small, isolated, picturesque village was a joy to behold as we stepped back into medieval times. It is believed that Blanchland, which means ‘White Land’, is named after the white habits of the premonstatensian monks who settled here in the 12th century and founded Blanchland Abbey. In the centre is a large courtyard and the row of cottages dating from the rebuilding of the village by the Lord Crewe Trustees in the 18th century. We stopped for an icecream in bright sunshine to savour this delightful spot. The small stone building in the centre once covered the village’s water supply. The Lord Crewe Arms Hotel was built as the Abbott’s lodge, guesthouse and abbey kitchens. The imposing medieval gatehouse was once the entrance for lay workers into the Abbey’s precinct; it now occupied by the post office, with a Victorian post box. The church was built in 1752, using those parts of the old abbey church, which had survived and has a number of interesting features including some notable medieval tombstones on the transept floor. These are carved with croziers (the bishop’s hooked staff) and a chalice, while two other tombstones show bows and arrows, swords and the hunting horns of foresters. Within the churchyard there is a medieval cross and the grave of Robert Snowball who was murdered at his farm near Hunstanworth.

The schoolhouse was built in 1851, but closed in 1981 when there were only eight pupils. The two entrances have unusual stone posts, which once supported the winding engine at the Ramshaw lead mine.

We left Blanchland with regret, but Hadrian’s Wall beckoned and there followed a steep climb from the village to the wide-open expanses of Blanchland Moor. Here panoramic views over Tynedale and the Vale of Hexham opened up before us towards the low hills beyond, where our ultimate goal, Hadrian’s Wall, was located. After passing through Slaley Wood, we descended to the village of Slaley. The village is a classic ribbon development along a minor lane. Apart from the international golfing centre at Slaley Hall, its other notable feature is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. The present church was built in 1832, although there has been a church on the site since the 13th century. Of particular interest is the gravestone of Richard Teasdaill, to the left of the porch, which is reputably the oldest outdoor gravestone in Northumbria, dated 1 March 1635.

Quiet fields and lanes led to the busy B6306, which we then followed to the historic town of Hexham, where Alan had to leave us to return to his wife, job, or both. This is a flourishing market town and centre for commerce, local government and church activities. As well as a good stopping place for travellers, it is now a major centre for tourists, particularly for anyone wishing to explore Hadrian’s Wall.

Hexham is dominated by the superb abbey, much of which dates from the 12th century. Within the abbey a splendid crypt is all that remains of a church completed in AD 674. In the roof of the Pilgrims’ passage is the Geta Stone of A.D. 208. After Antonius murdered his brother and joint emperor Geta, he ordered the name of Geta to be erased from every stone in the Roman Empire; he did not succeed in Hexham. A Saxon throne, or frith stool, in the chancel marks the centre of what used to be circle of medieval sanctuary. Also of note is the Roman Officer’s tombstone in the south transept. This was found in the Abbey but would have first been erected towards the end of the 1st century to commemorate the death of Flavinus, a Roman standard-bearer, killed at the age of 25. A naked Briton crouches below his rearing horse, dagger in hand, ready to dispatch the young soldier. However, in the cold north, I shouldn’t think the naked Briton lived much longer. In the same part of the church are the ‘night stairs’ down which the Canons walked in procession from the dormitory to attend the midnight and five o’clock services. The Abbey was open daily.

A pleasant place for a rest and refreshments is in the delightful public park next to the Abbey, The Seal, where monks once meditated.

The Old Gaol was built on the orders of the Archbishop in 1330 and was then supplied two years later with chains, manacles and a gaoler. It now houses the Tourist Information Centre and the Border History Museum, the latter recording the turbulent history of the Borders. Of particular interest is the dungeon, still in place today, consisting of a room below ground with no light or sanitation. Relatives had to bring food and it was quite common for prisoners to die of hypothermia, starvation or illness.

Determined that we would not suffer a similar fate, we raided every food shop in Hexham to obtain provisions for the next day, until we could carry no more. As Acomb Youth Hostel, two miles further on, is self-catering, we also had a huge meal in a fish and chip shop. Wainwright would have been proud of us.

On leaving Hexham, we crossed the River Tyne to quiet lanes and paths, which led to the village of Acomb and the youth hostel. There are hostels and there are basic hostels. This was the latter so that to get to the toilets and shower it is necessary to go outside. It was converted stables, but little conversion seemed to have taken place. Whereas it might have once accommodated four horses it now accommodated thirty-six hostellers, although there were only six of us in tonight. These sorts of hostels always encourage a certain companionship amongst the guests, a sort of camaraderie in adverse conditions. It was not long after I stayed here that I wrote to the Youth Hostels Association, not to complain, but to ask that rumoured proposals to close it were thrown out. It was after all an excellent staging post on my walk to Hadrian’s Wall; how dare they contemplate closing it! In addition, it had a homely log fire and there was a choice for the evening of two inns. Dick and myself were quite excited at the prospect that the Wall would be reached next day.

However, Acomb didn’t seem to share our excitement as we walked to the inns along the main street, looking like a set from the film ‘High Noon.’ We had expected the mayor to come out and greet us, tiller girls to cheer our every step, the band to play, perhaps even a ticker-tape parade. All we got was a soggy piece of chocolate cake, the worst I had ever tasted.

Next stop Hadrian’s Wall!

The big 50_6763_edited-1


A Mum in a Million, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Name Changing in World War II, Spot the Chick, Hotter than Barcelona.

Post 151: 19 June 2017, Ripon Rowel Circles 3

With the prospect of very hot weather we decided to leave home very early at 6.45am with a view to getting as much mileage done as possible before the midday sun.

We arrived at Studley Royal Park at about 8.00am. It was already pleasantly warm.


We passed the very ornate St Mary’s Church,

And the Choristers House


Not sure what a Mum in a Million was doing outside someone’s house as it was Father’s Day the day before.


At Sawley we stopped under a tree for shade and for water and a very early banana break. Nearby a building, Sawley Parish Room, had its name erased during World War II.


Shortly afterwards at Hollin Hill Farm we passed an impressive large garage with a clock on its roof.


We reached the secluded Eavestone Lake, the trees around it providing some shade from the increasingly hot sun.

I don’t know how the peacock coped with the heat with its wonderful feathers.


We left the cover of trees to more open and hence hotter ground.


Before dropping down to a stream in woods, which provided some shade for a very early lunch at 11.00am!

Just after High Skelding and before Skelding Grange we came across a sign which was in completely the wrong place. The Nidderdale Way goes nowhere near here heading to Ripley much farther south!


Spot the chick!


It is rare to come across National Coal Board equipment on a walk


Or 3 Volvo tractors, two of which had given up.

The last 3 miles had been very hard going in temperatures of 32 degrees, hotter than Barcelona, Ibiza and Benidorm.

Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.  And one English lady. 

We finished walking at about 2.30pm.

Miles Walked 13.2

Calories Burnt 1500

Steps 27,300

Average Pace 18.55 Minutes per mile

Fastest Split between 0-2 miles 17.38 Minutes per Mile, then the temperature increased and we slowed down. . 

Low Expectations, Hockney Country, A Medieval Village, ‘Doing a Theresa’ but this time past the fields of Wheat not through them.

Post 150: 13th June 2017 – A Wolds Way and Centenary Way Interlude

The forecast for the morning was poor and we needed to get back to York for appointments fairly early in the afternoon. We therefore decided to set out at 7.30am and do a fairly local walk starting at Thixendale, which is on the Wolds Way and the Centenary Way.  I had completed the former in 2002 and the latter in 2004.

We started off with low expectations, expecting to only walk about 8 miles return to the deserted Medieval village of Wharram Percy. I was recovering from a virus and sore throat the previous weekend and so this would suit me.

A bit like the recent election, as for any Labour supporter, the low expectations were exceeded.

We climbed the hill on the Wolds Way from Thixendale to view what has now become known ‘Hockney Country’. The now world renown painter David Hockney has frequently painted in this area and captures the feel and atmosphere of the Wolds in his unique style.


The Wolds Way runs 79 miles from Hessle near Hull to Filey and is one of the quietest, if not the quietest, National Trails in the country. On this day we were to see no other walkers.

However, skylarks, lapwings and house martins kept us company.

We arrived at Wharram Percy where there used to be a medieval village.


The pond is still there and there are more recent church remains. In recent years a bench has been added, which makes it a delightful spot for a coffee and banana break.


As there was no sign of rain we decided to pick up the Centenary Way for our return journey and continue to North Grimston and Birdsall,  before climbing after lunch to Birdsall Brow.


Then it was past the fields of wheat not like Theresa May who recently confessed to running through them, albeit as a child.


We were soon passing potato crops of very neat and artistic lines.


Before getting back to ‘Hockney Country’.


Thixen Dale


To finish back at the village of Thixendale.


Miles Walked 15

Calories Burnt 1,700

Average Pace 18.52 Minutes per Mile

Fatest Split between 4-6 miles 17.47 Minutes per Mile.  




A Ghost at the Youth Hostel and the Nearest I ever came to Dying, Two Seats in the Shower, Sailors Ahoy.

Post 149: 11 April 1997: Day 7 Langdon Beck Youth Hostel to Edmundbyers Youth Hostel – 19 miles

After an 800 foot ascent from the Langdon Beck Youth Hostel, the highest point of the day’s walk, Swinhope Head was reached at 2,001 feet; from here there were views to the west of the hills of Dora’s Seat, adorned with ski-tows on the northern slopes. Instead of snowing it started to rain.

A descent to Westgate and Weardale enabled us to join ‘The Weardale Way’ and follow it to Rookhope; this 78 mile long-distance walk follows the River Wear from Monkwearmouth at the North Sea to the head of Weardale, Cowshill, finishing with a circuit to Allendale. The expanses of Weardale came into view, an area that contains over forty per cent of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The valley is broad, not as beautiful as Teesdale, but with many landmarks that depict the industrial heritage of the dale. The only remaining mining in the area is fluorspar. We entered Westgate which has traditionally been a quarrying and mining area and therefore unaccustomed to visitors. However, in recent years it has become more popular, boasting a caravan park, but still has a spartan character about it, accentuated by the fact that we had refreshments on a bench in the cold and wet.

A valley railway was constructed as far as Westgate. A more difficult line was built by the Weardale Iron Company from Westgate to Rookhope, part of which we followed. As we climbed out of Westgate, ascending Peat Hill, we were made aware of the steep inclines the trains had to overcome.

The area around Westgate was used as a hunting forest by the Prince Bishops of Durham but eventually became enclosed with increasing agricultural and industrial use. It is believed that prehistoric and Roman inhabitants also hunted in the area.

It was cool when we arrived at Rookhope for another refreshment stop, this austere village once having a history of border fights and raids, but is now a quiet backwater. Historically a mining town, there are still working mines further up the dale; a borehole proved the existence of Weardale granite below ground. The remains of Rookhope Chimney are still there, approximately a mile from Rookhope, and the course of the flue can be followed up the hillside (indicated on the Ordnance Survey map). The chimneys great length provided the draft necessary to keep the smelters going and also served as a depository for the valuable particles of lead and silver swept out of the mill by the draught. On leaving Rookhope we again followed a dismantled line in an area steeped in industrial mining heritage.

After crossing open moorland, which can be very bleak in bad weather, we followed a clear track for the final 4 miles to Edmundbyers, where the ‘The Burnside Tearooms’ offered welcome refreshment and, if the hostel is full, good accommodation.

The youth hostel is an interesting place to stay being formerly Low House Inn, dating from 1600, when it was well situated for trade from Tynedale, Weardale and Allendale.

Volvo 360

Legend has it that the hostel was haunted by the ghost of the former landlord who died of exposure while searching the moors for his wife who had gone missing. Although alcohol is no longer served, it is only a short walk to the nearby Punchbowl Inn!

It was when staying at the youth hostel on another occasion that I came nearest I ever have to dying. My walking companion had cooked steak for dinner with a steak sauce. We had each brought a bottle of red wine. I had not realised that the steak under the sauce had some fat still attached and found that the fat slithered the wrong way down my throat to my air passage. I immediately realised I was choking. The only way to clear it was to head to the toilets asap and put fingers down my throat. Fortunately, it cleared the blockage. I have never been so frightened.

We were not to find out if the ghost was in residence as we were booked into ‘The Burnside Tearooms.’ My three companions were accommodated in adjacent chalet accommodation and I was accommodated in the main house. After a welcome cup of tea, malted bread and Wensleydale cheese I was shown to my accommodation. The bathroom was a large as my living room, the bath three times the size of mine, and the shower had two seats. As I lounged in the huge bath for about three blissful hours, I couldn’t help but ponder on the use of two seats in a shower?

This attractive village is ideally situated for exploring the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  St. Edmund’s Church has some fine interior woodwork from churches elsewhere in the country. The altar is of a single slab of stone, forbidden in 1571 when it was removed. It wasn’t destroyed; then, after being buried, it was restored in 1855 to its former use. Some of the church stonework may be Saxon and some is definitely Norman.

We decided to visit the nearby Punch Bowl Inn for a meal and well-earned liquid refreshment. Archie, Dick and Alan left the Burneside Tearooms, ahead of me as I was attending to a blister. As I left, a car pulled up offering me a lift to the inn.

‘Thanks very much,’ I said, ‘are you walking in the area?’

‘No sailing,’ he replied.

‘Sailing? I didn’t know that went on in this area?’

‘Yes, there is a large competition at the nearby Derwent reservoir.’

I had previously come across mountain bikers in Edmundbyers as it is on the coast to coast cycle route, but never sailors. As we entered the inn the place was full of them with bleached hair, ruddy complexions, bright stripey T-shirts, white plimsolls, and Guernsey pullovers. The conversation, was for once not about walking, drinks flowed and were consumed so quickly, it felt as though it was last orders on the Titanic. As we left the inn we had developed ‘sea legs’, not arriving back at the tea-rooms until well after closing time. As I entered the house, I bumped into a very pretty young lady about to have a supper who, like me, had a passion for geography. We chatted about our passion. However, I was tired and it was too late to talk at length about passions.

Ancient Bridges, a Paddling Pool, A World Heritage Site, Hugging a Tree, A Dog Left in a Hot Car.

Post 148: 3 June 2017,  Ripon Rowel Circulars 2

We started the walk from near Ripon Cathedral and followed the River Skell past a number of bridges.


Some of which were built in Victorian times.


A very tempting paddling pool was passed.


We then passed through the village of Studley Royal and past a main entrance of Studley Royal Park.


Using rights of way path we eventually entered Studley Royal Park, which was developed around the ruins of the Cistercian Fountains Abbey. The National Trust has owned the estate since 1983. It was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1986.


Carol then hugged a tree.




We stopped by the lake for coffee.


And were entertained by the coots.


We passed the church


and some twisted trees.

Arriving back towards Ripon, we came across a poor dog left in a car suffering from searing heat. Never leave a dog in a hot car. 


Miles Walked 9.3

Steps 18,900

Calories Burnt 1,100 (to maximise the benefits of this we entered a pact not to have any ice creams until the end of July, except if we finish all of the  12 Ripon Rowel Circulars  before then)

Average Pace 18.22 Minutes Per Mile