Friday, 25 September 2015

Swainby on the North Yorks Moors,  Sept 25th(Obvious)
   I have had a lot of German readers this week, perhaps they are considering taking up walking and leaving their Volkswagens at home.
  We were planning to go to the lake district again but for several reasons had a change of mind and went to the Cleveland Hills, starting the walk from the village of Swainby, or pretty near it.
To get there from base take the A19 south and turn off at the A172 which brings you back to the pretty village of Swainby. South of Swainby a very minor road leads to the houses at Huthwaite Green where there is very limited parking.  A map is advisable, OS OL26, North Yorks moors, western area covers about 95% of the walk and the start is at NZ492007.
There are six of us out today, a two car5 job. John H, John C, Dave, Harry, Brian and me.
                            Limited parking at Huthwaite Green, but there is a post box.
    Behind the cars in the picture there is a gate asking you to leave room for negotiating horses, the walk starts through the gate. The path is on the Cleveland Way long distance footpath and so is signed with white acorns. Almost immediately there is a steep but stoned path that leads uphill onto Round Hill and then continues across Live Moor and Carlton Moor. The views are good if hazy, Teeside to the north east and the flat fertile plain to the north with a view of distant Roseberry Topping.
                                        Roseberry Topping ,top left.
                                 The path is good, in places it has been paved with 
                                     redundant flagstones from Yorkshire Mills.
   We met a couple of American couples from Montana who were walking the coast to coast, all qualified gadgies or gadgettes. They had got the impression it never rained in England as they had not had a single bad day on their walk from St Bees, through the Lakes and now in the Cleveland Hills. How lucky is that.
Beyond Carlton Bank the path goes downhill to a picnic area. We considered calling a Herbie Spot but John C made us walk on, uphill again past a trig point and a view point and down again at the head of Raisdale. We finally called a Herbie Spot and settled behind a wall to keep out of the wind.
                                           John H and Dave examine the trig point
                            Escarpment on the Cleveland Hills

                             Herbie Spot. Treats today; Fruesli bars, Yorkshire flapjacks, ginger parkin from ALDI, Snickers and home made lemon cake from Mrs A. (I weigh a mere 175 pounds American, !2 stone & 7 lb in UK)
Break over and back on our heads we followed the footpath through what is obviously a pheasant nursery rather than follow the footpath alongside the wall which was hemmed in by bracken. At the end of the pheasant nursery we followed the footpath downhill through thick bracken to High Clay House and Hall Garth. At Hall Garth a track took us through a wood where we saw a roe deer and then across a few fields until we came to a minor road. We turned left down the road for a few hundred yards before turning right to Raisdale Mill. If you follow this walk take care at Raisdale. Turn left after the first house and walk past the old mill itself to a very old narrow stony track that leads steeply uphill and back onto the moors. We followed the track until we came to a sign post which we ignored, it leads to Bilsdale West Moor. Instead we followed a stony track downhill to Scugdale Hall. The track turned into a metalled road passing Fog Close Farm and Sparrow Hall Farm and eventually brought us back to Huthwaite Green.
Changed we headed home by way of the A19. Bad move,not only was it going home time round Middlesborough but there had been an accident which also contributed to our slow progress home. For once we did not have a drink on the way home, possibly a record.

The Matrix MMXV UU
                                                                          steps                          miles
LIDL3D                                                           27156                         8.85 (I was 4'7" today)
Dave's LIDL3D                                               23042                         10.13
Dave's USB                                                     22261                          9.8
Etrex                                                                                                     9.9
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                 9.83
John C GPS                                                                                         10.3

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Once more unto the wall dear friends once more
Sept 22nd.(Hadrian's Wall)
 As Shakespeare almost said.
  An extra gadgie walk for Roman Wall spotters, from Housesteads to Chesters, two Roman forts along Hadrian's frontier. There are two of us out today, Dave and I, and we are making use of the AD122 bus that runs along the wall but only in the summer months. It finishes this year on September 27th and hopefully it will run again in 2016.
 We drove from base to Chollerford along the A69, turning right beyond Hexham and going through Acomb and Wall before turning left at the cross roads, over the bridge at The George and driving a few hundred yards up the B6320. There is a lay by capable of at least six cars. Booted we walked the quarter mile to Chesters on the B6318 and caught the bus to Housesteads. This walk is easy to follow as the Hadrians Wall path is very well signed but it is covered by OS OL 43 Hadrians Wall. Better still if you want detail of the turrets and Milecastles buy the English Heritage Archaeological Map of the wall, but they shoot anybody who reproduces it. The Ordnance Survey don't mind, provided you give them credit.
                                                    Look out for signs
                                                  Information Centre at Housesteads car park

Housesteads car park
  After a pleasant chat with Carol in the information centre who told us all about the cuts that were happening in the National Park, two members of the First Mikedavinius Legion set off to walk east along the wall from Vercovicium to Cilurnum.
We walked up to the fort which was being prepared for the day's visitors, round the west side and through the gate onto the wall path, turned and marched east on a warm but cloudy day with the wind on our backs.  The first few miles of the walk are high on the Whin Sill affording glorious views to the north and south.
                                   West gate in the fort at Vercovicium (Housesteads)
  This short section is the only part of today's walk which has any climbing, even then it is easy going and we ticked off several turrets and a milecastle before coming to a gate in the wall, the King's Wicket.
                                                    Gate in the wall, but not Roman.
 Soon we reached Sewingshields Crags and the farm at Sewing Shields. Nothing to do with stitchcraft it comes fro Old English Sigewine's shiels, the shelter of one Sigewine, the local boss.
Although we had been walking for only an hour it was noon and we called a Herbie Spot at Turret 35A, overlooking Broomlee Lough to the west and the medieval fish ponds (dry) to the north. To the north there is also a ring and bailey, plainly visible.

                                                     Turret 35A, excellent dining room on a sunny day.
                                                        Milecastle 35

                                          Ditch, north of the wall.
  Lunch over we continued the march, probably much slower than any Roman Legion, spotting bits of wall, turrets, some of which have completely vanished though, and mile castles along the way.
Just beyond Carraw we crossed the road and walked down to the Mithraum at Brocolitia. Mithras was an eastern god adopted by the Romans, particularly soldiers, and there are several temples in England. This one has three altars, one of which had 67p on it. We also looked for Coventina's Well in the area but presumably it has been covered up after excavation. We also looked at the remains of the fort. One of the information boards referred to Procolitia, I need to check that out.
                       One of the few Information Boards on the wall that is legible. Some have vanished,
shame on you English Heritage.

                                      Mithraum at Brocolitia. The altars are reproduction, the real ones are in the museum in Newcastle.
  Back on the Hadrian's Wall path we walked across fields, some containing short stretches of the wall. At "Limestone Corner" we paused to look at the large stone the Romans had failed to break up, for whatever reason. The corner is incorrectly named, the rock is dolerite on the Whin Sill.

                                                The cuts were made at an early stage of the breaking of the stone to go into the construction of the wall. For some reason it was left.
                                                           Part of the wall
                           Turret. The groove in the stone left of centre allowed the door pivots to be inserted
                                              or removed.

                  The footpath goes round the settlement of Walwick and then down the road to Chesters, a Roman Fort (Cilurnum). We returned to the car and headed for the Wetherspoons in Hexham, marching is thirsty work.
If you want to walk the wall this part is probably the easiest, not having the ups and downs west of Housesteads. We met a good number of people who were walking the length of the frontier (74 miles), mostly Canadians and Germans, but all enjoying the experience.

The Matrix MMXV  TT

                                                                   steps                             miles
LIDL3D                                                      26752                            9.53
Dave's LIDL3D                                          23369                             10.98
Dave's USB                                                 22722                             10.75
eTrex GPS                                                                                         10.69

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2015

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Into the Valley of the Deer walked the five gadgies..................Sept18th.(Lake District)
  Having been promised a fine September day five gadgies, Brian, Dave, John H, Harry and I decided to head for the Lake District again. This time we planned a walk from Hartsop, a hamlet at the south end of Ullswater. To get there from base; A69 west, M6 south, A66 west and just after Rheged turn down the A592, drive the length of Ullswater, through Patterdale and look for the sign on the left that directs to Hartsop. It is a narrow track, be prepared to back up if you meet anything, particularly a John Deere. At the end of the track is a car park for about twelve vehicles. It is free but a box has a note on it requesting contributions to the local school;. Government cuts bite deep.
Hartsop means the Valley of the Deer. Once the property of the Earl of Lonsdale the village hall is now run by the National Trust. Once there was some lead mining in the area and several of the beautiful stone built cottages still have "spinning galleries" for wool I guess.
The walk starts from the car park and it is covered by OS OL5 The English Lakes, North East Section.
This week's car park

                  Cottage with outdoor stairs and a "spinning gallery"
We went through the gate at the back of the car park and followed the gravelled path. At the fork you can choose to go right along Pasture Bottom or go left up the hill alongside Hayeswater Gill as we did. After three quarters of a mile of ascent there is a footpath on the right. It is not posted and is a bit difficult to spot, nor is it marked on the map as an official route, but it leads very steeply for gadgies uphill for about a half mile to the top of Gray Crag. We arrived, exhausted. However from here on the walk is fairly level up to the downhill bit at the end. From Grey Crag we walked approximately two miles to Thornthwaite Crag and its beacon where we called a Herbie Spot. Today's treats were ALDI ginger parkins, Hobnob Medley bars, Tracker flapjacks and some cracking sweet mincemeat cake from Mrs A. The other treat was a Chelsea supporter who was teased.
                              Thornthwaite Beacon, a "Columnar Cairn".
                       Brothers Water, centre right
                                          View from Thornthwaite. Like the walk last week the views are worth the effort. From The beacon we could see hills around us, distant Ingleborough, Morecambe Bay and the nuclear power stations at Heysham. I would have waved to my mum a year ago.
                    Looking down on Hayeswater
                        A glimpse of Ullswater

Human interest for Kathy from Goole and Sue from Forest Hall. (Sorry about the South Shields bit, not that I have anything against South Shields, great curry houses)

having rested and eaten we turned north east onto High Street, so called because it has a Roman Road. The road went from Ambleside to Penrith but some feel it was  not really Roman. What do I know?
                     Who else would build it? Sinister, dexter, sinister dexter you can hear!
  Once upon a time though  horse races and a fair were held up here, hence the name Racecourse Hill. Leaving the Roman Road we continued on a good path to the Knott, all the time looking down on Hayeswater and Haweswater to the east. Haweswater is a reservoir, for years a golden eagle lived nearby but it died, presumably as it hasn't been seen for some time.

                                           Hayeswater and Hummocky Doldrums
From the Knott the path turns north west passes Saturna Crag and rounds Angle Tarn.
Angle Tarn. Note the island has trees. This is because deer can't swim.
The footpath wanders through Angletarn Pike and starts the downhill section of the walk. Not too steep but the gravelled path can be a bit tricky, sometimes the stones act like marbles underfoot. At a flat open piece of ground, very suitable for camping, the path turns through 180degrees and heads downhill to Dubhow where it joins a farm track.
                                   Waterfall near Dubhow.
The track leads back to the narrow road to Hartsop, car park, shoes and a rest. We drove all the way back to Carts Bog in near Hexham for a drink. More restaurant than pub we were made welcome and enjoyed Corby Blonde and /or Corby Ale from the Cumberland brewery.
Harry won the chip shop challenge, he's very good at it, perhaps he has a silent mobile phone and calls ahead.

The Matrix MMXV   SS
                                                                            steps                          miles
LIDL3D                                                               28556                       8.21
Dave's LIDL3D                                                   25694                       10.02
Dave's USB                                                         24353                        9.60
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                  9.99
         Contains OS Data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2015

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Wandering, but not lonely and no daffodils...... Sept 11th(Lake District)
 It's a while since we have been to the Lake District and the days are getting shorter, well daylight hours are if you are a pedant. Today, four of us are off to walk from Rosthwaite to Grasmere, once the home of William Wordsworth one time official distributor of stamps in the county of Westmorland* and writer of poetry, most famous for wittering on about daffodils on the shores of Ullswater.
This walk needs good timing and bus passes. We drove from Newcastle to Keswick by way of the A69, M6, A66 and caught a bus to Rosthwaite several miles down Borrowdale.
The walk has been designed by the Ordnance Survey to boost sales as it covers all four of the Lakes Maps, Outdoor Leisures numbers 4, 5 , 6 and 7 the English Lakes.
There are four of us out today, Brian, John C, Dave and me and we did have time to call in for breakfast at the Coffee Lounge in Keswick for bacon sandwiches and tea, (Five flitch bacon sandwich).
 After breakfast we caught the 77 bus which goes down leafy Borrowdale, (B5289) alighting at Rosthwaite to start the walk. The buses are open topped and upstairs passengers are occasionally in danger of being hit by twigs, the road is narrow and the driver often has to pull in close to the verge.
                             Rosthwaite Village in Borrowdale
The walk:
 . Just before you get into the village there is a bridge across the Stonethwaite Beck, this is the start.
                                            Stonethwaite Beck.
   Once over the troll free bridge we turned right along the footpath on the east side of the beck. The path is stony but starts off quite level, passing Stonethwaite village on the opposite bank, before beginning to climb. There is one fork in the trail, we took the right hand path and continued to climb steadily, admiring the views and the waterfalls.
                                                    Eagle Crag, eagle free probably
                                 One of several waterfalls on Greenup Gill
  The last section of the climb up the gill is quite steep but it is cairned and easy to follow. At the end of this climb, Lining Crag, we called a Herbie Spot, well three of us did, John  soldiered on for a while, refusing to return in spite of our shouts.
 Mrs A, having returned from holiday sent us a top class pineapple and walnut cake and we had carrot cake slices and, in Ben's absence, some ginger parkin biscuits from Aldi. Quite spicy but not what I call parkin, which is a soft cake. From our lunch spot we looked back down the valley we had walked up and, donning the patched jacket, looked at the Hummock Morraines. I thought they were called dunlins or doldrums or drumlins but Dave assured us that the name Hummocky Morraine is now in common, if not very scientific, usage. They are formed when the rocks and soil at the underside of a melting glacier deposit them.
                                             Looking back down the footpath
                                 Hummocky Morraine.
Lunch over we continued on our way to Greenup Edge and across the boggy ground to High Raise. The panoramic views from High Raise make the whole walk worth the effort. This point is in the centre of the Lake District, surrounded by the familiar peaks we have climbed on other days.

                                  As seen from High Raise and Sargeant Man. Note the not very lonely clouds.
               From High Raise we followed the path to Sargeant Man and then turned roughly east on a well marked path that took us downhill and all the way to Grasmere. The path is steep in places, it has stone "stairways to heaven" occasionally. (Large stones built as a stair, partly to prevent erosion by the thousands of feet that come this way)
The path took us past Coddale and  Easedale Tarns before reaching the village where Wordsworth once lived at Dove Cottage. I went round it once, all I remember is a pen that may have been used by the poet. At least Chekov had his roses.
                                     For Kathy in Goole and Sue in North Shields
                                                               Easdale Tarn 
                                     Cumbria's Matterhorn
                                                           Easdale Tarn
                                               Waterfall in Easdale
           Fortunately we were in time to catch the 555 bus that runs between Lancaster and Keswick and soon we were back in the the latter. Debooted, or completely changed in some cases, we headed for the Keswick Wetherspoons, This  pub is another Wetherspoons conversion, formerly the police sation and magistrates court it is now the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. The courtroom has been preserved complete with magistrates bench and prisoner's dock and the cells have been turned into mini dining areas. Not surprising in Keswick it is a busy pub and service was slow. Abbot Ale, Doombar, Emmerdale, Hawkshead beers were on offer. Sadly I was driving
This is a terrific walk, quite tough for gadgies who are getting on a bit, but the scenery must be about as good as it gets in the lakes. The weather was not as sunny as the wee jock had promised but it was warm and windy. Had we known how strong the southerly wind was going to be we would have walked it the other way round.
I have been asked to include a gadgie game; The fish shop championship
If we travel west we pass a fish and chip shop on the way home. Gormans at Cowgate it has been renamed The Fenham Fish Bar and reportedly sells quality take away food.
The rules of the game are simple, you have to guess how many people will be in the shop or waiting outside. However you may not choose within three of the last person so if I start and say 9 then the next person must go for 6 or less or 12 or more and so on. As we pass the shop it is the job of the non drivers to estimate as accurately as possible the number of customers and then a winner is declared.
One day my wife, daughter and I were passing the shop so I explained the rules and offered a game. For some reason they both thought the game and the rules were pretty stupid.
Dave won this week.

The Matrix  MMXV SS
                                                                          steps                               miles
LIDL3D                                                             30148                            9.25 (to compensate for slope
                                                                                                                            I am 3' 7" now)
Dave's LIDL3D                                                 24240                            9.45
Dave's USB                                                       22704                            8.95
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                     9.19
etrex 20                                                                                                    9.56
John C                                                                                                      9.66

* Westmoreland was one of the old English shire counties. It was eaten in reorganisation in 1974 and became part of Cumbria and Yorkshire. The inhabitants were not happy.
                      Blencathra, or Saddleback as it is known, from the bus