MTL Jack Bridge to Callis Bridge 19/02/17

This short stretch packs a punch of height gain, 315m in just over 3km. I walked down to Callis Bridge and back from the New Delight, taking some delight in parking in their car park. It started off dry and then got gradually more drizzly and there was thick fog on the tops on the way home.

Stoodley Pike in the gloom
Stoodley Pike in the gloom

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Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Snow shoes Mercantour, February 2017

Fri 10th

It’s exactly 3 years since Chris and I took her last holiday to Finland where amongst lots of other things we went snow shoeing. She was so happy on that trip and we had a lovely quite magical time.
I’m still in bits and not really coping that well as yet.
I stayed last night in the Hilton at Liverpool airport and did actually sleep well. That’s something that’s slowly starting to improve as in I do sleep through sometimes now.
I’m writing this on the plane and just met my 3 companions for the week, Bridget, Pat and Graeme who are all in the row behind me.
A smooth painless flight with EasyJet. Only 2 hours. Arrived Nice at 10a.m. To be met by Mel who drove us to Berthemont which is an hour up the road.
Lovely to see him and Liz again. Pat and I are in the top gite and Bridget and Graeme in the bottom one.
Unpacked then baguette lunch with beer.
Mel showed us how to adjust the snow shoes to fit our boots and how to fit a Pogu mini crampon.
Bridget took us for a stroll round the village to warm us up. Nice in the sun.
Dinner with Mel and Liz. They showed us round the house.
Dinner – cheese twists with chilli, mozzarella salad, soup, daube (beef with orange) with polenta, roast spuds, broccoli and creamed mushrooms, custard and meringue pud. All amazingly good. Wine.

Sat 11th

My mum’s 100th birthday today.
Breakfast in the lower gite. Croissants coffee toast muesli yogurt.
Out to Le Boreon. Walked up to the Col de Salese at 2100m. Climb of about 600m. Hard work and felt v tired and out of breath as did others. Stunningly pretty and lovely.
Lunch – salad, cheese, ham, bread.
Back down with some practice at going down slopes. Dig heels in, back straight and knees bent!
About 6km or so.
Back to Berthemont. Rugby – Wales got beaten by England so Mel not a happy bunny.
Dinner – chilli popcorn, hummus, big cooked cheeses, gnocchi with fried cabbage and onion, cooked fruits with cream.

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Graeme and Pat
Graeme and Pat
Bridget and Mel
Bridget and Mel

Sun 12th

Drive south for 45 mins. Walk up to the Cime de Roccassiera then to the ruined village of Rocca-Sparviera, looked into little chapel right up the mountain which had Templar crosses inside. Back up to the col and back down to the van.
Lunch – pasta tuna salad, boiled egg, bread, cheese.
About 13 km of distance plus 1300m of up and down. I did this walk with Liz and Mel but without the old village last time I was here in 2008. Lovely walk.
Dinner – crispy pastry things with beany inside, French onion soup, couscous with meatballs and tomato fresh sauce, choc nut fruit cream dessert. Delicious.

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Pat having a little rest
Old village high up the mountain
From doorway of chapel
Genuine wolf poo

Mon 13th

Out in minibus to Rimplas near Valdeblore passing ski station. Maginot line fort. Walked to La Couletta and stopped for lunch at 1400m.
Lunch – potato salad, ham, cheese, peanuts and hot apple juice in effort to reduce my post lunch heartburn. No plantar fasciitis today as on feet for much shorter time. Only 600m of up and down today. Lovely walk. Stopped in St. Martin Vesubie for Pelforth lager and small shopping.
Dinner – tapenade on crispy toast, spinach tarte, fish stew with roast potatoes, oranges with lavender. Yum.


Maginot fort
Roof in Rimplas
Roof in Rimplas

Tues 14th

To Le Boreon. Snow shoed up to Le Refuge Cougarde at 2100m. 1200m of up and down. Lunch inside refuge which was shut. Beany artichoke salad.
Graeme lost a snow shoe on way back down however Mel located it and fixed it back on.
Got a bit better at the snow shoe shuffle and the heels down descent techniques. Used the heel lifts to go uphill and the rear clips so as not to trip on steep descent.
Saw a chamois and some wolves in the wolf park just their tales.
Songs in my head
Climie Fisher – Love Changes Everything
Be Good Tanyas – Lakes of Pontchartrain
Dinner with Liz and Mel in their house – heart shaped pastry puffs, beetroot and goats cheese, pasta and sauce with beef strips, creamy fruity pudding. All fab.


Bridget, Graeme, JR and Pat


The big courgette
The big courgette

Weds 15th

Mel took us to the Tinee valley, another very steep sided valley about an hour and a quarter away. Up and up and up to Col de la Couillole at 1680m. Snow shoes to Sommet de Countent at  1990m.
Saw a black squirrel.
Back down, very hot and sunny, sloppy snow.
Tip: put pole through hole in snow basket in order to keep poles joined together and easier to use when needed comme ca.
Stopped at La Colmiane ski station at Valdeblore for Leffe beer for Mel, Graeme and me and hot choc for Bridget and Pat.
Dinner – dips, chard soup, butter chicken, basmati rice, chana dhal, lentil and potato curry with pitta. Home made coconut ice cream with melon liqueur. Yum yum.
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Thurs 16th

Utelle. Gorgeous walk up to the Sanctuaire de la Madone d’Utelle. 380m up. Quite steep on last 150m to reach plateau.
Went round the church. No quality control re the art in the cloister. Heard some singing/chanting.
Stopped in Lantosque for a St. Thomas beer. Good beer.
Back at the ranch, Bridget went for a horse ride with Liz.
Final meal upstairs with Liz and Mel.
Blue cheese and walnut (their own) on toast. Pasta with truffles. Big salad with eggs, ham a la Nicoise. Pineapples with booze on. Freixenet. Stayed up late with Liz and Mel.
Band of travellers

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The bells of Utelle
Lintel in Utelle


Door in Utelle
Door in Utelle

Fri 17th

Up at 6.30. Breakfast at 7. Left at 7.45. Had to take mountain route diversion because of landslide on main road. It was very high with vertiginous drops, OMG! Then raced along the motorway to the airport. Seemed fast after a week of pootling along.
Easy flight. Slow on motorway getting home.
How lovely it was not driving or cooking and being in a beautiful and dry place with good company!
Videos from the trip.
The holiday was run by Mel and Liz from SpaceBetween.
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


MTL Widdop to Jack Bridge 04 and 05/02/17

Widdop to Jack Bridge

A) Sat 4th Feb 2017, Widdop to Gorple

Felt very tired so only walked from Widdop to Gorple reservoir and back round. I didn’t have enough light to go further plus I’d arranged to do the rest with Babs the next day. Chris and I have walked and cycled here many times. Back to weeping all the time.

Cludders Stack


Gorple reservoir

B) Sun 5th Feb 2017, Gorple to Jack Bridge

We set off from the Pack Horse pub and walked to the New Delight pub and back. The New Delight name always makes me think of the Pure Drop pub in Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

This is a lovely stretch of the walk, we climbed up to 380m which is quite high for this part of the world. Just as we got sight of the New Delight and started thinking about grub, the Mary Towneley Way whisked us away from it and took us a roundabout way to reach it. The pub itself was a bit of a let down and we had to wait ages for a bowl of soup and when it came it was disappointing, plus the staff were borderline rude. So no Delight to be had, won’t be going there again.

We returned via a quicker route. We didn’t get much sun as the day before but at least it didn’t rain on us. 8.4 miles, 13.5km.

Gorple reservoir
Sadly this isn’t Pisser Rough but I so wish it was. That’s just a few metres up the road.



Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.



Walk log late 2015 to early 2017

This is just a post to catch up for myself on walks I was unable to record at the time because more pressing things were going on. Keeping up with walking helped me to cope with the stresses of Chris’s illness, and she encouraged me to keep at it. Some of these walks I can barely remember, even with the photos as aide memoire.


4th September

Stoodley Pike circuit.

11th September

Temple Newsam circuit with Carol who was having a 6 week stay in Jimmy’s in Leeds.

18th September

And another one round Temple Newsam. Chris was also having a 6 week stay in Morriston, Swansea during this time and I was driving down there as well as to Leeds and going to work.

1st November

Widdop reccy with Cath.


19th March

Cath and I did a reccy for a walk we led in Barnton. A learning to navigate walk in an industrial landscape which we did in conjunction with Saltscape.

25th March

Walsden circuit including Quaker graveyard at Shoebroad Lane, with Babs.

10th July

Barnton reccy with Cath.


30th July

Cath and I did a day showing people how to navigate using a map and compass. The day was organised by Saltscape and we had a good turnout.

We walked from Barnton along the Weaver in a circuit.

15th August

After work I did a quick walk to reccy this for my Brontes by Dark walk. I was attacked by flying ants, and it turned out so was the rest of the entire population of the UK. 9km

21st August

Babs and I did this as part of my preparation for my Wuthering Heights (Brontes by Dark) night walk. Good day out with my dear friend.

27th and 28th August

Good two days with lovely group of volunteer walkers from Bury. The weather held off and we had a grand time sending people off to their destinations and retrieving them once they’d arrived.

10th September

The Brontes by night with my 3 participants. We had a fun time drinking mead in the so called Wuthering Heights.

11th September

A Heptonstall walk with Babs, lovely weather.

20th September

Social media workshop in Hathersage run by MTA.

25th September

Reccy for an Edale walk which I handed over to a ML I met at the MTA do.

5th November

NNAS (National Navigation Awards Scheme) update training in Brocton. This was a very weird day in between Chris’s death and the funeral. Cath and I had to do the training because it’s a requirement to continue to deliver the scheme. The first person I saw when I walked in was a guy who Chris and I did a winter skills weekend with in the Cairngorms. This was in 2009 and I wasn’t blogging much then. We had a great few days up there.


16th December

Blackstone Edge circuit.


18th December

Todmorden circuit.

27th December

Withins Clough circuit.


28th December

Blackstone Edge, up Roman Road.

31st December

Hollingworth Lake with Babs.


2nd January

Hebden Bridge circuit with Cath and pals.

14th January

Littleborough with Babs, frozen ground. She made me go to the pub!


22nd January

Stoodley Pike circuit.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Shropshire December 2016

This trip was booked back at the beginning of the year. We didn’t then know that it would be such a necessary time away.

Mon 5th
We were late setting off from home which meant we had quite a chunk of driving along the M6 in the dark and then Google Maps took us along lots of country roads, all gradually getting smaller and smaller.
Bush Cottage is down the end of a mile of rough track. We had to stop several times to get out and clear branches that had fallen down, then we came to the ford which luckily was low enough for us to drive across.
It’s a lovely little Landmark Trust property, tucked away and feels very remote, although in actual fact the nearest neighbours are less than half a kilometre away, and they sell logs and kindling. The ground was frozen so these may well be needed.
We unpacked quickly and then had a Spanish omelette prepared by yours truly.
Sat drinking wine next to the open fire.

Tues 6th
Got up slowly and decided to walk from the cottage to Kinlet church, about 2 and a bit kilometres away through woodland and across fields. It took a little over an hour to reach the church in the fog. A very dull day, the fog barely lifting.
We explored the church and its wildly ornate Tudor effigies. Then we had our sandwiches in the church near the organ with the heater on! We left some money for the electricity.
Returned on the same route, collecting some wood for the fire although we’re not supposed to do this. I really can’t think a small bag of old windfall wood is going to be noticed. I drove about 200m to the farm next door and bought a bag of dry logs for £4, money in the honesty box.
Later we drove up the track in thick fog and through very very thick sloppy mud to The Pheasant at Neenton. In places the fog was so thick I could only just see the road.
I had a very good tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and peas. Carol had a big beef pie with chips and veg. We sampled some local pale ales.
Back through the fog and then a slide down the muddy track. Mud has been a big feature on trips this year.

Weds 7th
Drove across to Ludlow in a weak wintry sun but actually much warmer today, double figures and very little mist.
We spent a good time checking out all the nice shops and had lunch at The Green Cafe which is near to the hydro electric bit of the River Neme. It’s named for the green and isn’t an eco cafe. Carol had beef brisket with watercress, cauliflower piccalilli and mustard mayo. The bits I tried were very good. I had butternut squash gnocchi with deep fried sage leaves and taleggio cheese and leeks. This was simply excellent and good value too.


Thurs 8th
A driving around day. First to Claverley which has 3 pubs, quite a lot for the size of the place but only one operative, to look at the church which has some ancient wall paintings. And effigies of a chap with 2 wives.
Then to Cleobury Mortimer for a look but not much happening there although the ironmongers was good. Then to Bewdley for not a lot but nice clean loos in the Medical Centre which is right by the car park, if you were in need of a hairdo then this is the place to come as you will be spoilt for choice. Home to Bush Cottage via Highly which is a long sprawly village.
It’s chicken pasta chez nous tonight.

House near the church in Claverley

Fri 9th

Home again.

Bush Cottage


Bush Cottage
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.




Northumberland October 2016

Carol and I had a week in Northumberland in early October. We were anxious about going away and going so far east and being so far from Chris in the far west. It wasn’t a great trip really but we’d had it booked in for ages.
Fri 7th
Drove up. Spoke to Chris on the way, she was not in a great place but still wished us a good time. Arrived to cake.
Sat 8th
Holystone circuit. Forest car park, Roman road, forest, then onto a very busy single track road. It was busy because the Alwinton show was on, Carol tripped over and a nice man in a huge car stopped to help. We managed to avoid some inquisitive cows by nipping up the far side of a hedge. Looked at a Roman Holy Well. Went to the Granby Inn in Longframlington. I had chicken with risotto and veg. C had fish and chips. Food was nice but the service was slow.
Little Ted likes red squirrels
Sun 9th
To Bamburgh to look at the sea, to Seahouses to look at the shops, to Craster to walk to Dunstanburgh. Chicken and pasta dinner in the barn/cottage.
Mon 10th
C to dialysis. I started a circuit of Simonside at 8.30. It was nice to be out so early. Picked up C and we ate our lunch in the car in a nice field! Revisited Chillingham Castle, bit nippy in there and the cafe was pants but the place itself it an interesting old junkyard.
Chillingham castle
Another log pile


Tues 11th
Drove to the Temple of Mithras. I wanted Carol to see it because I’d been excited when I walked Hadrian’s Wall the year before and realised I’d been there 50 years ago. Then a short visit to Corbridge Roman town, a longer one to Corbridge non Roman town. I had a hot chocolate  in the car. There was an exceptionally nice deli. Lots of gin! I don’t like gin but if you did…! Back along lots of  quiet straight roads. Went to the Cook and Barker at Newton in the Moor. I had asparagus and spinach risotto and C had a giant burger. Huge portions. I tried to get online to get a ticket to see Bruce promoting his book in London on the following Monday but failed. Probably just as well.


Roman pusscat
Weds 12th
To Edlingham church and castle in the rain. C to dialysis. Me to Cragside. I looked at the Pump House, the Power House and the visitor centre. Had a hot chocolate and a large piece of NT shortbread in the Still Room which was lots quieter than the Tea Room. Picked up C. Popped into Barter Books. Home for Welsh Dragon sausages with potatoes, broccoli and baked beans. Watched Spectre although I dropped off during the torture scene. Another one to add to the list of movies I’ve slept through.
Edlingham castle
Thurs 13th
No record of what we did this day.
Near the cottage
Fri 14th
Home to find we’d been burgled. Scumbags.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.