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!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Sunday, 29 June 2014

Navenby to Marston

Conradicus Walks

This morning I was soon on the Tarmac version of Ermine Street. For my non UK followers Ermine Street is the still existing Roman road running from London to Lincoln and then York. Part of it is surfaced and used as a modern road, but other parts remain as they were in Roman times.

Walking along a straight road can be boring, but not so today. My imagination was stimulated with the Roman connection, and even more so when the surfaced road turned into Roman track. I was marching south and pictured myself as a legionnaire, perhaps heading home for some leave and greeting others going north on their way to garrisoning Hardknott Fort in a remote part of the Lake District ( a bleak prospect), or heading even further north to help build Hadrian's Wall.

This was Sunday morning and I could hear distant church bells making me think of the later period of medieval Britain and the predominance of tight knit village communities which continued into relatively modern times, but even though such communities still exist modern communication has eliminated the isolation, but the latter part of this trip has had me walking on the ancient footpaths connecting these places.

My several mile trip down Ermine Street ended at Bryard's Leap, a sort of pivotal crossroads with the rare event in this walk of a café - tea and almond tart. The name relates to a very long and boring legend about a witch; Google if you wish; I switched off after the first few lines

To say the Viking Way is a significant long distance path in England and today is weekend Sunday I have only met four or five dog walkers. The paths have been more overgrown on this section, but they are obviously regularly trampled - when do these mysterious walkers appear?

I arrived at The Thorgood Arms at Marston which thankfully does B and B. They don't usually do evening meals on a Sunday but the lady offered to do me a roast dinner which was excellent! They have also converted part of the pub into a shop specialising in local produce. One sister, Kim runs the pub and the other runs the shop. That is good news and let's hope there is more of this enterprising diversification to come - nearer home we have the Witherslack Community Shop and Storth Post Office/community shop.

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Lincoln to Navenby


Breakfast at The Duke William together with a more convivial attitude from the landlord helped to partly redeem the bleak description last night.

The descent down Steep Street was interesting with a strange collection of gifty shops and antiquarian bookshops, and eccentric second hand goods sellers amongst various other more interesting than usual retailers.

It took a long time to clear the rougher southern end of the city, but eventually I was on a high contouring path through woods on the left with huge expansive views back to Lincoln and the surrounding countryside.

I was in a relaxed frame of mind having overcome the short lived "black dog" affliction from last night.

The walking continued on elevated land with those massive views to the right all the way. I seemed to be walking on the ancient footpaths specifically connecting a string of villages contrasting with the many artificial paths round crop fields of the past days. The village buildings are yellow sandstone, with quaint old cottages and classic English gardens, all immaculately tended - what I imagine visitors from the USA would drool about, but probably rarely see, except on guided tours round almost artificial versions. These villages are genuine residences, albeit for commuters to the larger surrounding towns, rather than second home holiday cottages so often found in the Yorkshire Dales.

You were right Gayle. This part of the walk is certainly worthwhile.

The Kings Head does not provide accommodation but I am installed straight across the road at a B and B. The King's Head is quite up market and I have just had a lamb steak presented with well balanced accompaniments.

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Friday, 27 June 2014

Bardney to Lincoln

A pleasant start took me to King's Hill. This is marked on the map with apparent significance. It has a diameter of about eighty feet and rises no more than twenty feet above the surrounding crop fields, but in this landscape it Is a serious contender for the title of hill. I passed here on my Lowestoft Lakes walk and remember being amused. This time I fought through head high vegetation to the summit and was able to take a zoom shot of Lincoln Cathedral sixteen miles away, my destination for the day.

Thee was damp in the air and sporadic rain and I had the waterproof on and off several times.

The first fellow backpacker met so far approached from the opposite direction. His name was Tony Hewitt. I learned he was an active member of the LDWA (Long Distance Walking Association) and he took part in this year's TGO.

The last five miles into Lincoln are on a Tarmac converted railway line cycle/footpath. This Viking Way seems to be deteriorating. I have bad vibes about the remainder after Lincoln, I don't know why - experience perhaps? The steep ascent to the cathedral area was a bit unexpected in this Lincolnshire countryside. The cathedral is hugely imposing, and as always difficult to believe that the civil engineering skills were so competent so long ago, never mind the architecture.

Readers may wonder about photos. To send them I need a 3G signal and have not had one since the start. In the centre of Lincoln, an important tourist city in the UK the Vodafone signal is only at one or two bars; by now they should have all major locations covered with a decent signal. I reckon they are taking money under false pretences.

The TIO in Lincoln directed me to The duke William a few hundred yards from the cathedral. It is a dump. Scruffy, no draught beers, dining with the doors wide open with cold and rain outside, no heating (so far) in the room, etc.

I have walked up the road to one notch better. Even here loud music blares, sky TV glares out while nobody watches, and EVERYBODY is shouting, but the food has been quite good.

Thanks to Gayle for a comprehensive Internet rundown on my forthcoming ports of call.

Strangely the signal is often good enough to post from Blogpress but not so for answering comments. I will attend to them when signal permits.

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Woodhall Spar to Bardney

An easy walk today following a previously trodden route from my Broads to The Lakes walk in 2009. That was not particularly on my mind until halfway up a quarter mile farm track a terrier dog appeared from the midway farmhouse and it was alarmingly aggressive, and then I remembered almost the same incident before, but different dogs that time. I say dogs because the terrier was joined by a Dalmatian and they both continued to harass me for a hundred yards or so. Last time I was actually bitten, and I think I was lucky to evade that today. I favour dogs and like to think I can handle them, but that was not the case today.

At the end of the track was the farm proper, but the footpath was almost hidden and I had to ask some illegal immigrant looking Chinese type workers. They summoned the aged farmer. His short path through the farm was overgrown, and there was a revolting slurry lake. All the signs were of a badly, if not semi-illegal, not moved with the times, decadent farm. I often wonder how they make a living.

I had intended to press on to Short Ferry where I camped before, but this involves going off route and back next morning. At Bardney about 1:00 pm I went to the Co-op. Their shelf of sandwiches was empty. The lady told me about the butcher a hundred yards up the road. I had a freshly made ham salad in a baguette that was as French-fresh as could have been in France. The lady also told me about The Black Horse across the road. This is like a pub converted into a bed and breakfast, the main indicator being an absence of any draught beer, but bottled Black Sheep was fine. I booked in and have just eaten a splendid meal. Evening meals are only provided for residents, and the menu as far as I understood is limited, but freshly prepared. I had a cream cheese roulade and walnut starter, then baked cod with an impressive array of perfectly cooked vegetables, and a comprehensive fruit salad, and a cafetière of excellent strong black coffee to finish.

The distance from Bardney to Lincoln for tomorrow is similar to that from Short Ferry and my memories of the latter are, although not specific, unfavourable, so this has been a good choice.

Logistics for shops and accommodation after Lincoln look challenging - we shall see.

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Goulceby to Woodhall Spa

This morning I was given a good breakfast by my B and B lady. Her husband apparently works a night shift and was expected home later in the morning. Mrs was rushing off on some errand and left me to finish breakfast alone in the house and to vacate without locking any doors. Goulceby is a posh pretty village with apparently trusting residents.

Pleasant walking mainly on well maintained footpaths and a few crop fields brought me to Horncastle around midday. I half decided to stay there. Woodhall Spa was another six miles. The café, a bacon bap, double tea and toasted Lincolnshire fruit cake put me in the mood to go for it. It was a toil nearly all the way on a loosely surfaced ex railway track, but the last mile through Woodhall Spa golf course ( "the home of English golf") was more interesting. I think you'd need a few bucks to play round there. There were not many players evident, but the course looked immaculate.

I have booked in at another B and B and am eating in The Lancaster, a so called brasserie. The name and interior decor confirm a connection with The Dam Busters, photos etc. When I asked the bar staff exactly what that connection was they had no idea, not even heard of a The Dam Busters, went off to consult management and came back to say nobody knew! So much for "we will never forget them". When I ordered I asked if the chicken dish was on the bone, they said no. Part of it was. The food was good including a surprise amuse bouche in consideration of time taken to cook the main. I reckon the chef here is the only one who is competent. Shame.

I passed on my comments to the manager before leaving.

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ludford to Goulceby

Going back to my first day on the VW I omitted to mention my ascent of the Marilyn, Normanby Top I think. There is no public right of way to this trig point and I diverted from a public footpath across the edges of crop fields and all the time there was intermittent blasts from 12 bore shotguns coming from most points of the compass. I arrived at a point where GPS told me I was within about thirty feet of the trig, but an eight foot high hedge barred the way. That hedge on my side led me back to the road and I decided to retreat in that direction. In my hot a bothered state with sweat running into my eyes I could easily have missed the trig point which appeared in my peripheral vision well nestled into the hedge and virtually concealed by undergrowth.

This morning my B and B lady, Anne at Tealby generously ran me back to the White Harte where I had finished my walking last night. That B and B was excellent set in a beautiful garden with various thoughtful touches and a characterful Old English Sheep Dog called Beau.

Walking down the Wolds has again been a delight and I have not had to hurry. I arrived here at a B and B where Sarah and Paddy were just setting off to the garden centre. They let me wait an hour or so in the summer house in the garden, and after walking all day I became quite cold. When they returned I showered and put on all the clothing I had and still lay on the bed shivering whereupon Paddy arrived with apologies for having no heating on which he attended to, but I was still shivering an hour later as I marched down to the pub to eat. The Three a Horseshoes provided good food and a friendly welcome. I had a long conversation with a German guy touring the UK on a motor bike, then a local couple who had done a number of long distance walks providing mutually interesting conversation.

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Replies to comments

Replies to comments.

I can only make replies when I have a good enough signal, but I can post a blog from the iPad even with a poor signal, that is without photos which demand full 3G, so in order to catch up I will reply here.

Gimmer - I do not know what a C21 is and can't get on the Internet at the moment to search. All I can say is that I seem to be managing without one.

Afoot - thanks for the update on the SMC.

Gayle - that café must have been the garden centre one I walked past on the main road. I reckon between us, and especially you and Mick we have laid down a spiders web of walks all over the country. It's hard to devise new routes that don't coincide with old ones.

JJ - well, then I may have been tempted.

The Crow - a more sympathetic and realistic reply than that of my bro.

RR - it's all very well laying down the law like that, but I bet you'd have been off a lot quicker than me.


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I am now meeting a few casual walkers on the VW, whereas earlier I met few, but one sticks in the mind that I forgot to mention.

A one hundred yard path joined two roads, gates at either end. As I set off I saw a guy waving and shouting at the other side of the far gate. I thought I was being warned off, but I knew beyond doubt I was on a public footpath and was prepared to stand my ground. On arrival I couldn't make out what this gangly bespectacled thirty year old was saying, then I interpreted "I've put it on the latch for you", referring to some of that horrid hairy orange string used by farmers to tie up all and sundry which he had altered in some way, supposedly for my benefit. He went on to say (forgotten the name), x had shown him how to do this, "but he's no teeth, and I wouldn't try and have a long conversation with him".

I then saw that this strange guy had a family tent erected to the side of the path about twenty yards from the road which looked like a wild camp to me. He wanted me to stop and help him finish off some lentil soup, then started jabbering about birds he had seen, "those little black ones with a white patch underneath", and continued to tell me about laying a trail of biscuits and crisps to attract them nearer his tent, then questioning whether that was wise, "but I suppose if they are too salty they will spit them out?" Various other subjects came into his monologue which I can't remember now, and all this within an encounter that only lasted about two minutes, and as I hurriedly moved on I heard his final exhortation to share the lentil soup again, this time with some other delicacy thrown in that also now evades my memory - it was all a lot to take in.

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Caister to Ludford

Up till now the walk has been a means to an end. At Caister I joined the Viking Way. I had a splendid room and warm reception last night from an unadvertised B and B just across the road from the White Harte.

Walking today on the VW was a massive improvement on all the walking so far. This route follows the high ground of the Lincolnshire Wolds with panoramic views rivalling the Lakes for distance. Even crop field paths are well managed and the rolling countryside is fresh green and appealing to the eye.

As is so often I had been assured of "no problem " at the White Harte at Ludford for accommodation - they turned out to be closed on Mondays!

However the landlord took pity on me and telephoned a B and B in Tealby, a village 5km to the north I had already walked through, and then drove me back there. Anne, with a very appealing Old English Sheepdog, has a fabulous B and B set up with a proper tea pot and cake as a welcome, and she has agreed to drive me back south to where I left the V W this afternoon.

I am now eating in The Old Barn, Tealby. Excellent fish cakes and all the rest. I'm not a fan of Musak but they have Eva Cassidy going at just the right level to enjoy without being intrusive, and free wi-fi, so this post should go now at 7:10 pm.

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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Scotter to Caistor

Forgot to mention last night, and just to keep my record straight, the lady at the full up b & b who was so helpful, brought me a glass of water and asked me if I wanted to use the toilet before embarking on her task of finding me somewhere to stay.

More mixed road and bucolic paths. Lincolnshire Council seem to have their footpaths organised - wide swathes cut through crop fields making for easy going, except for one. That was about quarter of a mile of knee high jungle.

Everybody had assured me there would be no problem with accommodation at The White Hart in Caister. On arrival I was told they were having all their rooms refurbished. In view of that I thought the likeliehood of a room at a b & b just across the road would be remote, but I was in luck. A warm welcome and a huge room with a bath in the en suite. I spent about twenty minutes trying to remove all the grass seeds from my socks before washing them but I fear it was not a comprehensive job and I will buy a new pair at the first chance, but looking at my route that may not happen soon.

Having arrived at Caister I now intend to follow The Viking Way south. I did part of it on my Broads to The a Lakes walk a few years ago including the bit north from here to the Humber Bridge, hence my strange route engineered to avoid repeating that. I will still be repeating tomorrow but it is a special section traversing part of the Lincolnshire Wolds, AND INCLUDING A MARILYN!

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Saturday, 21 June 2014

Garthorpe to Scotter/Blyton

Despite the pics on my last post there was no ménage-a-trois last night.

Departed in baking sunshine even at 8:30 am. Met a guy called Des on the Trent embankment with two dogs. He was a rock climber and outdoor enthusiast. He lived in Amcotts on my route and we walked the half mile back to his house where he took me in for (yes Gayle ) tea. Also biscuits and much like minded chat, then his wife arrived and offered me all sorts to carry - I would have been a walking village shop, but I ended up with apricot and and banana. These are the events that make these trips worthwhile and memorable. I plodded on mainly on roads ( I don't think this would be a trip for you Gayle). I thought I could walk on the elevated river banks, but although grass had been cut it was still hard going.

At Althorpe Station I crossed the Trent and went into a very Yorkshire tap roomy pub and had all the usual backchat with the few local football fanatics, and I dared to order tea and a bacon sandwich, and then a second cup of tea. I was able to revert to my inherent Yorkshire accent which helped to make things flow a bit. Half an hour later Des from tea at Amcott stopped alongside in his car on the way to work and wished me well again.

Further on at Susworth well down the eastern side of the Trent I was very hot and sweaty, and I called at another pub for a pint of orange and lemonade. I was carrying drinks, but there is nothing like having a full scale glug at a full pint without having to think about saving some for later. Back outside and just round the corner a guy was repairing his roof and asked me what I was about. Again he wanted to invite me in for tea, but time was pressing and I needed to get to Scotter in time to find accommodation - he made do with shaking my hand, but so far kindness and generosity is proving similar to my walk round Wales.

At Scotter Ivy House B and B was full. The lady made many telephone calls for me establishing the same story and things were not looking good, then the lady had inspiration and found me a pine lodge b and b at Blyton Ponds about five miles to the south, then drove me there. When I offered her something in return she said it would go to a charity. There is a massive contrast between facing a bleak accommodation situation, and just a few minutes later finding youself in a comfortable room and luxury for the evening.

Blyton Ponds is a static caravan, fishery, holiday complex privately owned by a very enterprising lady. She was providing a chicken roast dinner for three other residents, but said she would make it stretch to me as well - ever more kindness and help. I had arrived at 5:10 and the meal was at 5:30. I have just returned to my lodge after the excellent meal and there is a bath in the en-suite so that's where I'm heading now.

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Ps to last post. My two lady friends

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Friday, 20 June 2014

Howden to Garthorpe SE 854 190

A hot day largely on roads. I thought I was going to be able to walk the leve from Goole, but it was hopelessly overgrown. I was heading for this village where there is a pub but internet searching led me to believe it had closed so I stocked up with sandwich making food in Goole.

In the later afternoon I was plodding in baking sunshine down a long featureless road looking for somewhere to stop and lunch. A track led off on a sharp bend and it turned out to be RSPB Blactoft Sands. There were picnic tables in the shade - that is like winning the lottery on a trip like this.

The pub was closed and I had nowhere to stay. A local lady was very kind and told me about Rob the bus driver who was due in five minutes, and who also had a caravan site down the road. Rob arrived and gave me a lift to his fabulous site with his own built version of Fountains Abbey ( he had been a stone mason/builder). Despite needing to rush off for an appointment, which he phoned to reschedule for my sake, he made me tea (yes another cup of tea Gayle) and a very friendly welcome, and then went off leaving me the sole occupant of the site. There is a retired touring caravan next to my tent full of tourist info. And providing a comfortable sitting room - what luxury. On entering the caravan I got a great shock seeing a very attractive female standing inside the door, and another down the van with legs crossed up in the seat in a very appealing pose. They turned out to be shop window manikins!

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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Cawood to Howden (North of Goole)

The garden centre round the corner from the Castle obliged by doing breakfast (bacon butty,tea and carrot cake) before they opened at 9:00am.

Roads, tracks through fields and later many kilometres on the leve of the River Ouse were the order of the day. Two problems. First a three hundred yard thrash ON A PUBLIC FOOTPATH through a crop of peas (I think) at chest height with two tractor ruts beneath intermittently filled with water.The crop was very nearly impenetrable, and it took me over half am hour.

Second, I walked over a mile up the wrong leve (elevated river bank) and had to retrace. I arrived in Barmby-on-the-Marsh at about 4:30. There was nowhere to stay. I found a resident, Bill who confirmed that. He took me into his splendid garden, gave me much needed tea and researched phone numbers for the two pubs in Howden 4 miles up the road and we phoned and reserved a room at the Wellington. I was whacked and didn't relish another 4 miles walking at that time, but Bill offered to drive me there. His village is a dead end and there is virtually no traffic on the road so hitching would have had unlikely success. That made up for the two downers during the day. I am not walking a named route so don't see this as cheating - anything goes on this trip.

The Wellington is well and tastefully appointed and the food well above average. I had lamb steak on a bed of olive smashed potato surrounded by a selection of freshly cooked veg.

Tomorrow's route seems to end in wilderness and I will have to try and get some information in Goole before launching off into the unknown. Not having brought any cooking equipment any food I decide to carry will need to be of the none cook variety.

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Wetherby to Cawood (South east of Tadcaster)


thenuttyduckI wanted to make the Castle Inn here, they have a camping and caravan site. I departed Wetherby at 10:15 to do 17 plus miles. A bit tight for an old gent like me. I eventfully arrived at 6:15pm. A good site and I was only charged £5 when they found out I hadn't brought all my domestic appliances with me.

The walk had been a mixture of riverbank leve, Tarmac and farm tracks - generally pleasant and enjoyable. Stopped off in Tadcaster for tea and toasted tea cake.

Earlier I had a moment of panic. The IPad mini Memory Map was only showing in an unreadable dark purple until I realised I was trying to view through my newly acquired Polaroid clip-ons.

Why is the last two miles on these trips often a problem? I came into Cawood on a series of confusing farm tracks and then a very difficult to find footpath, but I staggered in eventually. For the first time I can remember I fell asleep in a pub - that was between main course and pudding. I was woken by a friendly Staffordshire bull terrier who was very interested in where my socks had been and then wanted to play ball.

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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Arnside to Wetherby

Wednesday -18th June.

I am on the train!

Departed Arnside 6:06am. Changed at Manchester for Leeds. From there I bus to Wetherby where I will resume my walk that was interrupted a week or two ago when I returned to help Daughter with her redundancy problem.

As far as Wetherby the walk has passed through more or less familiar territory, but from Wetherby I feel I will be going more into the unknown and I am looking forward to that.

This is a day by day trip so I am not disclosing a destination or predicting how long I will be taking.

More later.

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Friday, 13 June 2014

Running out of road

It is eighteen months ago that we completed the final leg of the  Lancaster Preston canal. Since then I have devised endless circular walks of between four and seven miles all at less than half an hour's drive from home for my Thursday walks with Pete.

I have recently been finding it difficult to avoid covering previously trodden ground without going further afield, and this Thursday I had to accept a one kilometre overlap with a previous route, but we still walked on new found grass-in-the-middle lanes and decent footpaths around Winster, a region of characterful little green hills, abundant wild flowers, and all at peace with the world.

Quarter of a mile from return to the car we came to Winster Holy Trinity Church (C of E), a modest but attractive building using local Lakeland slate. The interior was immaculate and obviously well maintained. We sat outside on a welcome bench for quarter of an hour in peaceful contemplation as a huge group of ramblers filed past shouting down the line to each other warning of an approaching car - they were making their way back to their awaiting coach close to where we had parked. Our church visit was relevant to the most recent post on The Two Blonde's blog and I repeat the comment I made there: Say what you will about religion, but there is a palpable atmosphere in these places which seems to relax the soul and sooth the mind.

Our route is the thin red line. Part of a previous route in pink with blue waymarks encroaches.
Winster Church is marked by the cross just south of Howe Farm

Gilpin Mill. From here on I had a smudge on my lens. Thankfully I have been able to clean it.

Pete has a thorough knowledge of botany including all the Latin names but he didn't recognise this one- detail shot below. Any offers?

Northern Marsh Orchid... I think?

Winster Holy Trinity Church
I forgot to take my own pic and cribbed this poor effort from the church's website. The seat we relaxed on can just be made out in the corner to the right of the door.


Jill update

 A satisfactory settlement has been agreed

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Not funny

I do not like practical jokes and wind-ups.

Yesterday I called at my local newsagent/postoffice to get cash and a sandwich before I set off on the seventeen mile walk round The Bay (Arnside to Grange-over-Sands) and return by train across the viaduct.

Ian, the proprietor is a fellow outdoor enthusiast and we chatted. I was telling him about the osprey nesting on the other side of the bay at Foulshaw Moss. A middle-aged, middle class guy in his chinos and multi pocketed gilet was listening; later as  I was enjoying my round the bay walk, I fantasised about him being the kind of guy who would be a stalwart at one of those golf clubs that don’t allow lady members. A couple of other customers were also listening as Mr Chino addressed me saying, “Somebody shot it out of its nest yesterday” .

I was of course shocked and upset at that news until I detected that this had been a wind-up as he followed up with, “I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It’s only a bird”.

I was now angry at being tricked - the best I could do was reply, “You’ve no heart”, and I observed nods of approval from the others as I turned and departed.

That sort of thing is not clever and annoys me beyond measure.

                                                     Worth a click to enlarge

Ignore other blue routes. The "rocky promontory" is the same place I referred to on my geocache trip to Foulshaw Moss, "An Objective Demoted", 13th May. I stopped and munched my sandwich here - a remote and delightful venue.
Arnside railway viaduct from Arnside
Arnside railway viaduct - my route of return from Grange-over-Sands across the bay

Looking north up the bay (Kent estuary) towards The Howgills. My route goes all the way round

Dallam Bridge
Dallam weir and bridge - River Bela

The rocky promontory where I stopped for my sandwich

Arnside Knott
On the promontory. I like the colours of the lichens on the rocks here. Arnside Knott in the background

Friday, 6 June 2014

On a lighter note

My regular Thursday walk with Pete took place on Wednesday this week because of the business meeting referred to in my previous post.

Once again we found ourselves walking on a peaceful country lane not far from home that neither of us, despite my now fourteen years in Arnside, had previously trodden. Spring was in full bloom and roadside flowers  at their best. A slight drizzle prevailed throughout, but even so the dull lighting supported some half decent photos.

There were seven geocaches on the route - we only found four. The geocache counter on the sidebar of my blog is now creeping towards 300.

Sorry snail - I chopped your horn off. These modern viewing screens are useless.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

conradwalks goes .com

The Nutty Duck

The only correlation I can identify between long distance walking and setting up a business is a voyage of discovery.

Since returning from Arnside to Wherever, (aborted at Wetherby), I have been embroiled in spreadsheets, business plans and the surprising complexity of setting up a viable website with links to eBay, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and others. Most of that has been done by daughter Jill with tenacious application, but I have watched four hours of video from an Australian SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) expert, David Murray and made my contributions.

SEO covers, multi-faceted, mysterious procedures involved in persuading Google (and other search engines) to favour your website producing it on the first page when keywords are used by web browsing shoppers. Our keywords are things like, children’s clothing Cumbria, kids clothes S. Lakes, etc.

SEO is not difficult using Wordpress which incorporates HTML language in the background through text boxes and plug-ins, but it is time consuming and not for the faint-hearted. Many people will fail to  hack their way through this jungle. Others with deep pockets pay web-designers £3000, but when the website is handed over they will have little understanding of the continual maintenance and updating required. Murray emphasises that YOU are the best person to optimise your website.

We have identified a retail shop but are not sure yet about obtaining the lease - if not we will concentrate wholly on the on-line store for the moment

Our website’s design and stock content is still in embryo, but the hard won framework is in place albeit not apparent to the casual viewer. If you enter The Nutty Duck into the Google search box it now appears on the first page, as well a link to this blog because I previously used the name. The blog page we are including in The Nutty Duck site also appears separately. We have also focused on first pageing with keyword searches, but even after optimising as much as possible it takes Google time to digest.

This exercise, although interesting and absorbing is not an acceptable substitute for my long walk this summer, but I am proud of being able to take on board and enjoy new ideas and modern technology at the age of 74. Maybe I will get back to the walk for a week or ten days before the summer is out?

The Nutty duck original artwork
This is our original artwork - it may yet be modified.
If you hover over the pic. you will get a title.
 There is also hidden text which Google picks up and uses in optimisation of the site
Toby Tiger flowered skirt on Nutty duck
A bit of Photoshop fun from me