Thursday, 17 July 2014

This should be fun. I've been nominated for a Liebster Award; thanks to Lee - Walking the Peak for the nomination.

The Rules

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)
OK, so I've dealt with rule 1 and 2, and 7. Now rule number 3

11 Questions from Lee
  1. What's the most unusual, or funny, name of a place you've visited?  I walked through Dirty Piece in Swaledale not so long ago, does that count?
  2. If there was a hole in the bottom of your rucksack and something fell out, what would you hope it wouldn't be, and why?  My spare glasses. EVERYONE is in serious trouble if I break the ones on my face and don't have a spare pair, I can't even see where to put my feet! 
  3. What is your least favourite area for walking, and why is this?  Town Centres. They are full of people, hard on the feet and don't provide any decent views.
  4. Walking poles; help or hindrance?  Getting across a stream on some dodgy stepping stones... Help.  Coming down a really steep slippery slope... Help. The rest of the time.... Hindrance cos I'm carrying them.
  5. What are your preferred weather conditions for walking?  Sun and wind. I love the wind. And not toooo hot.
  6. What was your most embarrassing moment when out walking?  Slipping over in Fell Beck just above Gaping Gill. I wet me knickers. I got me knickers wet.
  7. How often do you think the Ordnance Survey map is wrong?  What? The Ordnance Survey map can be wrong? No wonder I can't find the paths
  8. Do you combine your walking with any other hobby, such as photography, public presentations, blogging [of course], or maybe first aid?  Blogging came from walking. And taking pictures came from blogging. 
  9. For those of you who regularly walk in the Peak District; White Peak or Dark Peak?  Sorry, I don't fit into this one. I have no idea. 
  10. Do you go walking to escape from your everday life, or do you go to participate in something different, and better?  I just like being up on a hill in the wind and the sun.
  11. What's your walking bugbear; what really annoys you?  Intolerance. Some walkers think the hills belong to only the fit and experienced folk with all the gear. Not true, the overweight, uneducated and ill prepared are just as likely to enjoy the experience, if not more so. We all have to start somewhere, how else can we become fit and experienced with all the gear?

11 Random facts about myself.
  1. I don't like advocados, olives, fried eggs or beer. There's not much else I won't eat or drink.
  2. All my younger years I dyed my hair. Now it's going grey, I don't bother.
  3. In my twenties I learnt to gut fish like a professional. (My then husband used to come home from sea fishing trips with bin bags full for the freezer).
  4. I love to dance
  5. I love Science Fiction and Fantasy. 
  6. I play four suit Spider Solitaire - and win
  7. Not including walking boots/shoes - I have 23 pairs of shoes and 3 pairs of boots. Quite conservative for a woman I think.
  8. I was a top long distance runner in my secondary school.......... Nope! I got that wrong. I was a top long distance runner in my dreams. I did run though for the school though...... slowly.
  9. I once put my car keys in the fridge. I've also put empty loo rolls in the fridge, set the hoover on fire, let the toaster fill the kitchen with smoke and cooked eggs so long they exploded.
    This is why I'm known as a bit of a ditz.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  10. Despite everything in random fact 10, I can bake and cook quite well. I just need supervision.
  11. My ultimately aim is to live a long, happy and fulfilled life. I plan to grow old absolutely disgracefully.

Blogs I nominate for the award.

Well........  I'm not one for forcing stuff on other people, especially this sort of chain thing, so I'm looking for volunteers.

11 questions I would have asked Liebster Award bloggers.
  1. Which is the scariest path/route you've ended up on, (either on purpose or not).
  2. What it the weirdest thing you've seen whilst out walking. 
  3. Do you have a favourite mountain or hill? What or where is it?
  4. What was your most embarrassing moment whilst out on a walk?
  5. What's your favourite piece of outdoor equipment?
  6. What's your favourite food whilst out walking?
  7. Which country outside the UK would you most like the opportunity to walk?
  8. When you're in an outdoor shop which section do you make a beeline for?
  9. Who is the person you'd most like to go on a long walk with?
  10. Who is the person you'd least like to go on a long walk with?
  11. Where will your next walk be?

And that's it.  I don't quite qualify for the award cos I didn't nominate anyone else.  I'm claiming it anyway though. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Clapham to Ingleborough

Todays walk was a meet up with a few guys from the Walking Forum.  I’ve met The Very Knowledgeable Kev and John before, but Peter and his lovely dog Scally were new aquaintances.

We were to meet at the Yorkshire Dales Park car park in Clapham.  The gents parked in the laybys outside the car park to save money and I parked in a bay inside the car park to save money.......  (I’d only end up putting me car insurance up if I tried to park anywhere else...................)

So, after feeding the meter all me pennies, I said Hi to the guys, and we set off on our merry way.

It was a good walk. The sun shone, there were loads of quirky features to catch the eye, and the hills weren’t so steep that I couldn’t breathe when I got to the top.  I also had a personal target of getting to the summit of Ingleborough without the attractions of  “wet” and “miserable”.  This was achieved, but I think I should have added “or freezing wind!”  We found a bit of shelter whilst we where up there for our little rest stop, but we really could’ve done without the extra strong doses of cold fresh air.

Anyway, the walk went like this.  

We headed out of Clapham along Thwaite Lane.  There's a bit of a slope to start off with, but it eases out to a steady walk until we reached gate where we turned off and headed for Robin Proctor's Scar. 
Looking over to Ingleborough from the gate in Thwaite Lane. 
Through the gate and then we headed towards Robin Proctor's Scar. There are a few stories telling how the cliff got it's name, such as this The story of Robin Proctoror this text from a book 'Ingleborough Landscape and History':

"Robin, so the story goes, was a well-established yeoman farmer from somewhere south of Ingleborough. One day he was returning to his home, taking the direct line over Thwaite Scars rather than sticking to the safer but longer track, when he was caught put in thick fog. Sadly he lost his bearings and tumbled with his steed over the edge of the cliffs, being dashed to pieces on the rocks below. Its a nice story but has at least one major pitfall: the ground up there is so rough and rocky that no one would knowingly ride a horse across it. On the other hand there is an entry in the Clapham Burial Register, dated 12 August 1677, recording the death of Robin Procter of Hazle Hall farm (now near Clapham Station) 'falling frrm a cliff at Norber."

Many thanks to the Very Knowledgable Kev for providing the stories.

Robin Proctor's Scar.  We are heading up to the left of it.  
Up near RP's scar is Norber Brow and the Norber Erratics.  These great lumps of rock were left behind by the glaciers of the last ice age, which I think makes them around 15000 yrs old.
One of many boulders that don't belong.  The erratics make for an interesting landscape though.
Norber is an area of limestone which means it has a habit of dissolving away - creating wonderful limestone pavement scenery above ground, loads of caves underground and then eventually shakeholes which may hopefully connect the two.
The local caving community got the idea that this shakehole may be another way into the cave system,  They've even used explosive to clear away the rubble apparently.............   It doesn't look like they got very far!  
So we carried on our walk along the slope of Crummack Dale until we reached Crummack Farm.
Loving the countryside.  That's Pen-y-Ghent in the distance. 
We walked on past Crummack Farm, through what used to be a settlement, according to the OS Map and on to Beggar's Stile - which is a bit like scaling a wall when you come at it from Crummack Dale.   From there we crossed the amazing limestone pavement to reach Thieves Moss.
The Limestone Pavement of Moughton Scars.  
 Time for a sit down, lunch and a photo
Moughton Scars........  Amazing landscape
Onwards and upwards after lunch, we went through Sulber Gate and started along the clear path heading for Ingleborough summit.  It was along here that Scally demonstrated her love of water when she discovered a small pool.  She was in and swimming round and round before we knew it.
But the summit beckoned, and on we went, up the Swine Tail heading for the top.  Thing is, so was everybody else.  It seemed as if a couple of busloads of families had decided to make their way up the Swine Tail at the same time as us.  We were surrounded by little people, of varying sizes and noise levels.  A very busy summit.
Ribbleshead Viaduct from Ingleborough
Time for another little break to enjoy the views......  When we found somewhere out of the wind that is!
Whernside just  over the way.
As always, once you've got up, you have to get down.  I was sorry to leave the views, but definitely happy to get out of the wind.  Easier said than done as it happens, the wind stayed with us for a fair part of the descent towards Little Ingleborough.

Next it was Gaping Gill - a gaping hole in the ground into which Fell Beck normally disappears. Except Fell Beck was nearly dry today, so it trickled over the edge.  I like Gaping Gill, Peter and I have visited a couple of times before,  both visits have had a certain amount of adventure about them:  Descending into Gaping Gill and Ingleborough and the slippery Fell Beck.
Gaping Gill
Our last highlight was Trow Gill, quite a feature to be honest.  I would have got more pictures, but for some reason, walkers kept appearing and getting in the way, honestly, you'd think they'd be a bit more considerate!  

<<<  Trow Gill

Actually, Trow Gill wasn't quite our last highlight.  The route meets up with Clapham Beck and follows it down past Ingleborough Cave (Ice creams!), and then on to "The Lake" of Ingleborough Hall.  This part of the walk is actually very lovely

The lake is also very lovely.  So lovely in fact, that Scally decided that once she'd got in, she wouldn't get out.  
She swam the distance that we walked alongside, spending a fair bit of time chasing ducks.  She really is a water baby!
One very happy dog
And that was it, the end of another wonderful day.  Thank you to Kev, John and Peter for the company.  12 miles and tired legs.  Awesome!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

I love my new camera. Coniston Water, Castlerigg Circle and Brougham Castle

Click on any picture to get a bigger version.

What can I say.  The Pier Cottage Caravan Park was, for us anyway, idyllic.  Facilities are relatively basic, but the welcome was warm and friendly, and the site was set out brilliantly.  At night we were able to stand by the water and watch the bats flit round our heads. Waking up in the morning was a delight.  Once I'd left the camper van to visit the facilities, I wouldn't get back in again, I was so in love with the surroundings.  Some early morning photographs:
A Goosander mom waking the chicks.  "Quick, there's a dog on the way"
"Into the water, hurry hurry!" 
The second morning.  The sky was so blue and clear..,,,,,,,,  And so was the water. 
Puts me in a reflective mood. 
Mother duck bought her new babies over to see me.  I think this must be a second brood of chicks.  
I'm loving the zoom and the quality of the pictures on the new camera.  This little chap came and sat with us for breakfast.
The steam ferry getting ready for a busy day's ferrying 
 After a brilliant walk yesterday, we decided to take it easy today.  A leisurely breakfast, and then a drive into Ambleside for a potter round the shops.  Then it was on to Castlerigg Stone Circle.
A busy place, it was impossible to get a picture of the circle without anyone in it.   This site is around 4500 yrs old.  Amazing when you think about it.  
The Sanctuary, an inner ring of the circle, with the might of Blencathra in the background
After a wander around ancient history, (and an icecream), we carried on our way home, with a quick look at Brougham Castle.  We'd driven past it so many times, we thought today would be a good day to pop in and have a mosey around.
The thing that struck me about this place was the red brick.  It's unusual to see it on a castle, and sort of makes it look modern.
To be honest, from certain angles, it would be easy to mistake this place for an old factory or prison perhaps. Interesting in a way. 
And that was the end of a brilliant weekend.

I do love my new camera.  

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Coniston Old Man and Swirl How

Click on any picture to get a bigger version.

The Old Man of Coniston.  Sounds like a hermit mebbe?  Grey, grubby and bearded, hiding in a cave somewhere?  I love the name and the images it conjures up.  Love of the name is a good enough reason to go see what's at the top as far as I'm concerned, and that's one of the reasons why we were here this weekend.

The other reason was Le Tour d' France.  Fantastic event that it is, it threatened to completely scupper our weekend by making it impossible to drive anywhere in the Dales.  We did think about going to the Peak District, and then realised that all the cycling (nuts) enthusiasts would be heading south after the first leg, so we decided to get out of the way and go west.

And like all brilliant ideas, this one was mine.
The view from just outside our caravan site.  How gorgeous is that?
Peter has moments of brilliance too, and finding the caravan site was his.  Pier Cottage Caravan Park was idyllic and perfect for us with our little camping van.  Each pitch is separated by loose hedges and trees and the site is right on the edge of Coniston Water.  We were worried about midges, but even they weren't a problem.  It was gorgeous. 

So we arrived Friday night, and Saturday morning we set off on a beautiful morning on a date with the Old Man of Coniston.  Our route up was dotted with wonderful sights that no photograph can ever show properly.
Church Beck has so many waterfalls, most of them you can only hear, not being able to get close enough to to admire.  This one is right alongside the path though. 
One of my favourite points of the walk.  This is the Miners Bridge across Church Beck.  Just beautiful. 
Further along the path we start to climb towards Crowberry Haws (another wonderful name). The foxgloves were just begging to be photographed.  How could you not with a back drop like that?
As we reached Crowberry Haws, we were joined by what Peter described as a motorway of people traffic.  They had parked just above Heathwaite and walked up Big Hill to join the path.   
Onwards and upwards.  Along with the hordes, we climbed Stubthwaite and Colt Crags respectively.  (Not literally, there is a nice steep, rocky and windy path around them).  We then reached the old abandoned quarries and levels.
As so often happens, the leftovers of man's destruction take on a beauty of their own. 
Next stop, Low Water, which isn't very low at all at 1795ft.  A lovely place for a snack stop. 
Going up and looking down.  That's Low Water below us.  The highest point of the hill in the near distance (I didn't really just type that did I?), is Wetherlam.  
Top of the world.  Or in this case, the top of The Old Man of Coniston. 
Our route to Swirl How.  It's a nice walk.  Most of the people who'd reached the summit of Coniston Old Man turned to go back the way they'd come.  Now the path got quieter, and all you could hear was the wind..........   And  by 'eck it was flamin' loud......!  And cold!  Hats, gloves, extra layers and coats....  we had everything on! 
We paused at Levers Hawse for a drink, enjoying the view of Levers Water and Coniston Water in the distance.  So blue. 
Still a little way to go to get to the summit of Swirl How though. 
Nearly there.  Aren't the views fantastic?  That's Black Sails to the right, and the ridge behind leading to Wetherlam.  I loved the luminescent green lichen on the rocks up here too, it added so much character to the place.  I think I like Swirl How.
Swirl How summit cairn. 
OK.  So we've done the up, and now we're going down.  It's warmer in the shelter of the mountains.  Our path took us under Black Sails down to Levers Water.  
From Levers Water the path is clear easy to follow over Kennel Crag and Tongue Brow.  

As we continued downhill, the sunlight played on the old coppermines.  It looks lovely doesn't it.  These are crepuscular rays apparently.  Peter teaches people how to paint them in his classes. 
After the coppermines we reached the Miners Bridge and followed our footsteps back through Coniston to our caravan site.  10 miles and nearly 3000 ft of up and down.  Not an easy walk but worth it.

Here's a map.