Tuesday, 24 May 2016

I do a Nick Crane

Anybody who walked for seventeen months non-stop across Europe from Cape Finistere to Istanbul, following the high ground, through all the seasons of the year, has my admiration. What's more is that Nick Crane  also writes well, and Clear Waters Rising is a classic.

My first acquaintance with Nick was on tv years ago when he did walks programmes, and I thought he was a bit of a fraud, with the posing umbrella, and possibly only doing a short part of the walk with the helicopter in the background ready to whisk him off to a luxury hotel. I then  read Clear Waters Rising and found out more about the mass of epic cycle rides and impressive outdoor activities he achieved as a boy and young man encouraged by an enthusiastic father. Well, Nick is entitled to as many helicopters as he wants with that pedigree - he writes about his father and his eccentricities in amusing anecdotes in his Two Degrees West, another minor classic. All that brings me to a particular eccentricity of Nick's that I have observed on his tv programmes when he frequently wades, unhesitatingly across rivers and just carries on walking with sodden boots and socks.

Today I wanted to walk another part of the Dalesway I have not covered before, and not long after the start I would cross the river Lune by Fisherman's Bridge (SD 628 944) to pick up the Dalesway on the other side. Leaving the road at SD 625 943 I was informed by a Yorkshire Dales National Park notice that the route was impassable a few hundred yards down the field where the footbridge  had been washed away by floods. I decided to investigate.

Ambitious to achieve my goal I surveyed the river and thought of Nick and a rude saying I can't include here: faint heart never...

In I launched and waded the knee-deep twenty yard crossing, and in stoic style continued the rest of my walk without bothering to stop and wring out socks etc.

This section of the Dalesway supported my opinion that it is one of the best country walks in England, a view I have substantiated on a previous post on this blog - I have done perhaps half of it in bits and pieces and in a way spoilt the possible enjoyment of doing it as a continuous walk, but I intend to fill in the other gaps on circular day walks whenever the opportunity arises.

PLEASE CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Down into the Lune valley - Howgills beyond. How did those eccentrically shaped fields evolve?

Pleasant walking on the way down to the Lune

Looking back at my river wading point



The Lune Viaduct on the now disused railway. The Dalesway goes underneath

Lincoln's Inn Bridge with reflections

Upstream from Killington New Bridge

A welcome lunch spot, or so I thought. The ground was eroded and my feet were dangling with circulation in my legs restricted - 'twas a bit uncomfortable, but this was not on the Dalesway so no marks lost

Clockwise. The river crossing is at the furthest point north

4 comments:

coastalwalker said...

I, too, love Nick Crane's books and have great respect for his achievements. But I'm a terrible coward when iit comes to wading. Modern boots have wonderful absorbent linings and seem to retain water all day. However, I have waded fords with the help of a pair of waterproof socks.

Sir Hugh said...

Coastal Walker - Hi Ruth. I was wearing trail shoes and shorts, so no wet trousers, and although my feet and socks were wet they did dry out to some extent on the rest of the walk, and anyway, my feet seemed no less comfortable than before. It would be different in winter when coldness may be an issue.

I particularly laughed at Nick's long and amusing anecdote about underpants and Marks and Spencer in Two Degrees West.

John J said...

I was pleased to be able to pick up a copy of 'Two Degrees West' in one of the cheapo 'remainder' bookshops for £2 - an extremely good deal for me but rather sad that it was deemed necessary to flog the book so cheaply.

Sir Hugh said...

John J. - I agree with your sentiments about the demise of authors' books in that way, but I reckon Nick will have done quite well out of his tv career.