For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!


Thursday, 24 May 2018


Last night I watched one of my favourite tv presenters:

Waldemar Januszczak, Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made in the USA 1/2 - BBC 4

Waldemar has a forceful presence and a style all his own which relates to no other I know of. He is pleasantly tubby and bouncy with a tendency to waddle, and pops up all over in bizarre locations. Some may say his visage is ugly, but no, he is such a likeable guy it is all character. He talks to you without condescension, and thankfully without academic gobbledygook.

He often underlines weaknesses  in paintings and artists and does a bit of debunking, but then builds them back up with compliments, anecdotes and a sort of satirical humour.

Last night Waldemar was tracing the history of American art starting with ancient Indian cave paintings and then moving on to the Wild West where he focused on the famous Charles Remington bronze: Coming Through the Rye. Waldemar contrasts this to Greek classical sculpture based on learned myths and calssical philosophy, whereas the cowboys are whooping into town after some perhaps dubious foray and on their way to the saloon for more high jinks.

That artwork is for me the most desirable and energetic I think I have ever seen, even though only through the medium of TV and the photo below. I imagine taking renewed pleasure viewing it every day, but sadly it was recently sold to someone else for $11m.

Waldemar progresses to the moderns and makes a brave attempt to relate Jackson Pollock's splashes, dashes and dribbles to the cave art introduced at the beginning, but although I have some respect for the Pollock works I am not convinced about that connection.

I am looking forward to the next episode.


Tuesday, 22 May 2018


Bronte Way, Day 2 - Thursden to near Haworth - Sunday 20th May 2018

A couple of hours driving from Longridge to the other side of Ponden reservoir near Haworth, and then back to Thursden where we left off yesterday evening had us walking by 9:55am.

Within a few hundred yards we had lost the path climbing up a steep, nettly, scrubby hillside and then straddling a barbed wire fence (small tear on my shorts) to gain the tarmac road, and then the old drovers road over Boulsworth Moor.

We came across a strange stone arch just off the track with little other evidence of the rest of the building for which it must have provided an imposing entrance. Googling later from home I found the following from a blog by Jimmy Lenman - you might like to browse his blog and website from the link below.  Jimmy is a serious academic - it's interesting how one thing leads to another:



Ethics, Metaethics, Philosophy of Action


Epistemology, Political Philosophy, History of Philosophy – Early Modern, Plato

The arch is apparently The Doorway to Pendle - see my photo in the slideshow (link below) and this extract from Jimmy's blog:
"On the way here the track passes the strange arch known as the Doorway to Pendle which consists of the doorway, and only the doorway, of an old farmhouse built in 1672 and now, saving only the doorway, quite vanished..."

We were now being passed by occasional mountain bikers. The sun was hotter than yesterday and I was perspiring profusely with sweat running into my eyes, but the scenery was stunning with expansive moorland views with curlews and lapwings calling.

We saw a group of imposing boulders high up on our left, Deerstones I think. BC had to be restrained from romping up there.

I have never visited Wycoller and BC was keen for me to do so and we diverted accordingly. It was certainly worthwhile. Wycoller Hall, now ruined is the main feature. This village was allowed to crumble into obscurity, but has been restored in recent times; it is not accessible by car, but it still attracts many people and certainly worth a visit. There is lots of history and information which would make this post far too long, but Google as you wish. 

Walking up the the sun dappled, tree lined lane out of Wycoller we spied crags high up on the left and Foster's Leap, another of BC's bouldering venues. 

I culled a bit of info, from this blog:

"It is believed that in 1714 Foster Cunliffe made the daring leap from the cliff to the top of the rocky outcrop. "

It looks suicidal to me. See the photos in the slideshow (link below.)

At Water Sheddles reservoir (OS spells it as two words on 1:50 and one on 1:25) we rested and had our second snack which was just as well.

After the reservoir the Bronte Way descended into a delightful steep sided ravine running parallel with the road, but completely belying the existence of anything man made anywhere near. Although it was a magical spot from here to Old Snap farm the going was hard on a rocky narrow up and own path, partly on the steep banking and then descending to and ascending from the stream.

We again lost the path above Ponden reservoir, and although only briefly lost, it involved an incredibly steep grass ascent to get back on again and I was pretty whacked at that point with the heat of the day being a major factor, but it was not far now to where we had parked the car.

At the start of Day 1 I said it would interesting to see how I coped with two successive days of nine miles. Both days involved a lot of ascent and some hard going, and in high temperatures particularly on Day 2. I felt fine at the end of Day 1, but was very tired at the end of Day 2 and it is obvious to me that I need more training before embarking on multi-day walks again. Having said this the Bronte Way, so far, has been an excellent and varied walk, and the weather was kind but a bit too warm on Day 2. The company was superb.

Apologies for poor map quality - best I could do.

CLICK HERE for slideshow


Monday, 21 May 2018

Bronte Way 1

BRONTE WAY. DAY 1 - Saturday 19th May 2018

This joint intention between me and Bowland Climber (BC, who comments here and is a long standing friend) has for various reasons been put on hold for some time, not least because of my replacement knee op. number 2  last November.

I have been building up to longer walks since Knee2, but always with a day or more rest in between, so when BC suggested we take advantage of the current good weather with a two day assault on the first half of the Bronte Way I welcomed that as an opportunity to find out what two continuous days of longer walks would prove.

We used two cars, one at each end of the day's walk, and I stayed overnight on Saturday at BC's.

The walking was varied on tracks, a few farmers cow trodden fields, canal towpath, and riverside tracks. Mud was never an issue.

We snacked on a bench in a kind of park on the edge of the River Brun north-east of Burnley. There were a number of Muslim families passing by and we said our hellos and sympathised at their imposition of Ramadan which at this time of year has the longest period between dawn and dusk. Part of the time we were also following the Burnley Way which BC had previously walked.

Ascending from Swinden Bridge we came across two old time farmers burning the remains of a wooden building that had obviously collapsed in a heap suffering from chronic and terminal wood-rot. The chatty one informed us about our walking releasing endorphins and afterwards we wondered how much further his knowledge extended on that subject (mine is pretty shaky.)

Our final approach to the parked car down the pretty Thursden Valley was a highlight to this nine mile day. We had done the equivalent of a day's Munroing in ascent, BC will I guess be more specific, but I felt about as tired as one would expect and perhaps a bit more so in view of the wall to wall sunshine and high temperature all day - 'twas a fine day's walk.

Our destination, Thursden, hardly even qualifies to be called a village, but it is a delightful spot and it has a surprising amount of unusual history - have a look at this website and scroll down a bit  until you see the heading Thursden



Grange-over-Sands - The Prom

Thursday walk with Pete - 17th May 2018

A  stroll down the prom at Grange-over-Sands at this time of year on a sunny day is a good choice - on the landward side the local authority, years ago, established an attractive bed of flowering shrubs stretching about a kilometre, and now so well established and maintained it is sheer delight, especially with Morecambe Bay on the other side, so all in all a worthwhile trip today.



Balloon Pig


Was doing a bit of browsing regarding tents the other day - came across the expression "unisex tents" - what's that all about?


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Orton and the old Roman road

Monday 14th May 2018 - Orton and old Roman road - 9 miles

I have been gradually increasing walking distance since my first meaningful walk of 1.9 miles on 26th January after the knee operation on 29th November. Today I pushed it to nine miles over mixed terrain, including a bit of rough going (unintentionally.)

In view of the distance I set off from home quite early and was walking by 8:40 in glorious sunshine, and warmth. It was the first time this year that I have been able to have a whole walk without wearing gloves, and for most of the walk I wore only a base layer and a shirt, and if I had not been too lazy I would have removed the base layer.

An ancient lane led out of Orton eventually lined with gnarly hawthorn - I always imagine the old packhorse parties plodding along on these byways. 

After connecting with the Orton to Shap road for a hundred yards or so it was out onto open moorland marked as "Roman Road (course of)" on the OS map. which was fine and pleasant walking, mainly on cropped turf. Arriving at a large  modern hut the paths parted and I attempted to follow the one shown on my map below by the green highlight I had appended. Despite using compass, and GPS, which was telling me that I was actually on the footpath shown on the OS map there was no distinct path to follow, and I had a bit of a struggle through shin high heather and the like before getting back onto the route again. Looking at the map now it would have been better to continue on the more substantial path to the point marked "ford" on the map (NY 599 117) then to branch right.

Emerging on the road south of Crosby Ravensworth there was a convenient bench where I sandwiched and drank coffee from my flask, but with some disappointment at not using my new sitting device, but it was a tranquil and peaceful spot leading almost to meditation and a welcome rest.

The walk back south to Orton followed the Lyvennet Beck for a while, a name out of character with this location, and then climbing away through sheep pastures and through a magic trough of moorland to a high point then the descent over more fields and several awkward stone stiles, but all in all a most enjoyable and varied walk ending in the Orton Scar Café with tea and lemon drizzle cake.


Leaving Orton

Old lane out of Orton

Old packhorse lane

Onto the Old roman road from the Orton/Shap road

Parting of the ways. Northern Pennines on skyline

Later: after I had found the path again

What my daughter refers to as "in-coming" when we are on a walk together

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Merlin Rocket - "Impala" (for Alan Rayner)

Alan Rayner - posted recently about Hollingworth Lake. I replied saying I used to crew for my brother racing a Merlin Rocket at that venue back in the 60s. Alan requested a photo. I only have two and tried to put a link to Dropbox on my comment, but Dropbox, which I have used for years, was having tantrums, so here are the two photos for Alan.

This was taken at Hollingworth, my brother helming with a friend at the club - Ian Midgley, his family had the VW dealership in Keighley

This was on a holiday at Salcombe, brother helming with his wife Anne, both sadly no longer with us.

Ours was a beautiful wooden clinker built racing dinghy, Impala, but only a Mk6. Members at the club were racing Mk16s, and one was an ex-national champion. We were hopelessly uncompetitive, but we had a lot of fun.

Friday, 11 May 2018

TV documentaries

what the heck is going on!?

Several documentaries, two for certain: Back to the Land with Kate Humble (BBC 2) and  Great  Art - David Hockney (David Hockney (ITV) have introduced a most irritating feature. In addition to the programne’s normal narrator every so often a soppy male voice, the same on both those programmes, interrupts with banal descriptive comment. “ Kate approaches a farm gate” or “green trees with bright green leaves and a purple path.” As these occur on both BBC and ITV it is not exclusive.  I have to say that it is the most irritating intrusion on documentaries ever, going beyond inappropriate music which I have ranted about before.

Kentmere 2

Thursday 10th May 2018 - Thursday walk with Pete

Once past the second bridge over the River Kent our road was peaceful, with varied wild flowers, enviable country residences well spaced, and with interesting gardens and shrubs, and all the time  expansive views up Kentmere. This was all delight and no less so for it being a there and back linear walk.

River Kent at the second bridge

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Swindale and Gowther Crag

Saturday 5th May - Swindale and Gowther Crag

I walked part of this route with Bowland Climber in April 2016,

My objective today was to explore for a path running under Gowther Crag on the south-eastern side of Swindale that somebody, not sure who now, had told me about. It isn't marked on the map.

From the starting point the rising path to arrive at the col before descending into Swindale was pretty wet and boggy, but I managed to keep feet dry only wearing trail shoes. Descending I met a lady fell runner with two dogs for a brief chat.

Just before Swindale Foot a climber's path with BMC permitted access sign for Gowther Crag branches south, and turning the corner of a wall the path is then periodically signed by the RSPB all the way to Dry Grove Gill, and continues to meet the path that goes over into Mosedale After that I lost the path for a bit but found my way back across the river - the map shows a foot bridge, but it turned out to be just a pile of large rocks crossing the water, but no great problem to traverse. The walk under the crag through old woodland was delightful and a welcome change from the several times I have walked up or down Swindale on the road. My return journey had to be up the road, but there is no traffic and this is one of the most attractive valleys in the Lake District. I was able to get a closer look at the now landscaped and finished elaborate fish ladder structure that was still under construction when I was there with BC in 2016. It has moulded in to some extent, but it is a surprisingly complex affair intruding on the wild nature of this valley.


Looking down into Swindale from the col

Zoom from same col - Truss Gap Farm bottom right

Pleasant walking on the descent into Swindale

The fish ladder - photos from the road on other side below
Gowther Crag - it was largely in shadow but better photos later in day below

The pile of rocks across the river marked as footbridge on map

View up the end of Swindale from my lunching spot, now back on the northern side of the river

Gowther Crag - click to enlarge and climbers can be seen, and on photo below.

I was not aware of them until I saw these photos enlarged.

The old stepping stones above the fish ladder

The new footbridge

Fish ladder

Putting in fence posts. Contractors are Hanafins from Milnthorpe where I have bought lots of tanalised timber etc. for my various decking projects.

Kentmere road walk

Thursday walk with Pete -  3rd May - Kentmere road walk

For the last few months I have been planning Pete walks on level ground in view of his advancing years and rheumatoid arthritis, but we do live in a generally hilly area and I am running out of options. I thought if we got the steep bit out of the way on this walk at the start it could be ok. I was pleasantly surprised to see Pete tackle that with no difficulty, albeit we do walk fairly steadily. All that is a tribute to the  medical treatment Pete receives. But anyway, these walks are as much a social occasion and enjoyable company rather than walking for the sake of it.

Stands well

The walk was in attractive countryside, but as so often views are spoiled by ramshackle grossly untidy farms, more apparent to the eye than this photo suggests.

This was a full zoom from the road into a field. CLICK TO ENLARGE. Pete's knowledge of plants is formidable - he told me what this is but I've forgotten

One for Alan R - looks a bit different (to me)

Long zoom - wood anemone

River Kent bridge north of Staveley - start/finish of walk

Skeggles Water

Monday 30th April

As I write I am three walking blog posts behind. I have had this circuit on my mind since walking part of it back in 2016 during the Outlying Fells campaign, and I quote from my post on that occasion

W. refers of course to the old curmudgeon Alfred Wainwright.

W. gives the option of a detour to Skeggles Water, only a few hundred yards each way, and I opted out of this. But I was a bit taken aback with W's dismissive comments...

"Skeggles Water, lying in a vast bowl of heather, is conveniently visited on this walk but is an uninviting place with attractions mainly for bird watchers and anglers."

... almost as if those two  pass-times were the lowest of the low. I think he must have walked this one in a narky mood. He may have had a wake-up if he'd asked some bird watchers or anglers about their opinions of fell walkers.

My walk started in Long Sleddale where there are very few opportunities to park, and the drive in is long and harassing on single track road with few passing places. Fortunately there is a car park at the church with an honesty box only a few hundred yards from where I wanted to launch onto my route.

At the house/farm marked Hollin Root on the map I was searching for the continuation of the path which doubles back up the hillside here when I suddenly heard crazy screechy, frenetic shouting from somewhere near the house, but I was looking into the sun and couldn't source the exact spot, but presumed from tone and noise that I was being told off. Then I saw a crazy looking old lady leaning out of an upper window and I headed back towards the house with the intention of placating this harridan, but she had now disappeared and I saw nor heard no more of her as I got myself back onto the proper track. 

The rest of the walk was on an old lane, and then established cropped turf bridleway, pleasant enough, but badly rutted therefore preventing walking with any kind of rhythm.

I deployed the new seat two thirds of the way round. I am finding that I need it to be on a slope or with a wall behind so I have something to push on when I want to arise, but I am certainly finding it a useful piece of kit.

Looking north up Long Sleddale

A short steep spell up this rocky lane led out onto level open moorland and rutted track

The outflow from Skeggles Water - at the point marked "Green Quarter Fell" on the map below

South to Skeggles Water from the slopes of Cocklaw Fell