Blog

North Yorkshire September 2018

Tuesday 11th

Carol and I had a few days away, staying at Cundall Lodge Farm B&B. This was a lovely place and Caroline welcomed us with Victoria sponge and tea.

On our first evening we ate at The Oak Tree pub in Helperby, just minutes down the road. Carol had leek tartlets and I had a burger and beer without a bun. Food was fine.

Wednesday 12th

We went to Thirsk and Carol gave her new walking device a good pavement test. Cobbles, paving slabs and bumpy bits to assist blind people at road crossings are not great for it, but tarmac is fine. Despite these obstacles, C moved around well and covered much bigger distances than just using the walking stick. As we went back to the car, 2 women drove their cars into each other. Weirdly a police incident van saw it all happen and was definitely in the right place at the right time to sort it all out. Fortunately the drivers knew each other and it was all relatively friendly. I managed to get my car out of the way of it all.

In the afternoon we went to Shandy Hall in Coxwold, this was fairly bonkers. We thought we might be the only visitors to such a niche place of interest but there were nearly 30 people plus all their cars, for which there isn’t sufficient room. I ended up parking half on and half off the pavement which did not please me at all but I was asked to do this by the curator. The curator of the Laurence Sterne trust also lives in the hall which is named after the character in the book. He clearly loves Sterne a great deal and he gave us a good performance. I looked him up and he was once an actor. Laurence Sterne seemed really irritating and I have no wish at all to read the blasted book. But I still enjoyed looking round the house which was lovely. We both like going to places that aren’t sanitised. Speaking of which they had an outside loo which took me back to my childhood!

After the hall, we went in the church of which the adulterous Sterne had been the incumbent. It has an octagonal tower which was fab. Then, in a new move for us, we sent straight to the Fauconberg Arms for an early dinner (rather than going back to the B&B and out again which is what we usually do). This works much better for me as I don’t like eating late on. Carol had a half portion of fish and chips which still looked pretty big and I had chicken in a hunter sauce. Both fine.

IMG_20180912_162547_0
Laurence Sterne’s outside loo
IMG_20180912_172038_4
Coxwold church

Thursday 13th

In the morning we went to Helmsley, this was much better for Carol moving around with the walking machine because the pavements are made of tarmac.

The afternoon took us to Mount Grace Priory which is operated by English Heritage but owned by the National Trust. It’s a Carthusian priory and the monks had individual cells. In my head I thought this meant something of the size of a prison cell so small, cramped and not very nice but actually it means a house. Each monk had a bedroom, study, sitting room, huge workroom upstairs bigger than my sitting room, a garden and an outside loo.

As I walked down the very narrow, oddly pitched, weird riser height and somewhat polished wooden stairs, complete with a notice saying to go down backwards which I had wilfully ignored, I slipped and in the moment of trying not to fall, managed to hurt my leg, thumb and big toe. The leg and thumb recovered quickly but the big toe, which bent over on itself, is now black and blue.

The manor house was originally the monastery’s guest house but was done up 100 years ago or so in the Arts and Crafts style. There are only a few rooms to see and they’ve been restored very recently so don’t expect too much here.

We then headed to the Angel in Topcliffe, just minutes from the B&B, for our dinner. C had tomato soup and I had goat’s cheese and mediterranean veg tart. OK but not the best pub food.

IMG_20180913_164458_3
Mount Grace priory
IMG_20180913_164555_3
Reconstructed monk’s cell
IMG_20180913_164909_6
Enormous work room for the monk
IMG_20180913_165117_6
Monk’s outside loo
IMG_20180913_165834_6
Manor house

Lofoten Islands Part 3

Monday 27th

Today we got on the bus with our nice driver to go to Fiskebol. Drove onto the ferry for the half hour trip to Melbu on Hadseloya.

A good walk on a different island. Slowly going up to a lake which had cabins that seemed only accessible by boat but maybe there was a hidden track up there. Then the rain arrived just as we stopped for lunch. The first rain that landed on me so far this trip despite this being a very rainy place.

We went up to a small summit for some great 360 views. Then on a wet boggy soggy path back down to Melbu.

Bus, ferry to hotel. I turned up the bathroom floor heating to 40. Hot feet! The hotel is totally unprepared for walkers, so all drying is done in the rooms. All the rooms are the same size so I’m fine but this must be very tight for those who are sharing, especially with lots of wet gear.

No plug in the washbasin, I didn’t bring mine, thinking Norway, plug, no don’t be ridiculous. Wrong. Making do with the top of my deodorant. We have sensor controlled taps which are also most annoying when you are trying to fill the basin.

We think this is an owl’s feather
On Barheia

Svolvaer

Tuesday 28th

We walked about 10 minutes to the ferry to take us to Skrova. About a 25 minute journey from Svolvaer. My friend Inger tells me her great great grandmother came from Skrova. It’s a very lovely island and a working island dedicated to the fish, although that work has finished now for the season.

We walked first to a jetty and looked out to sea, then to a beach with jellyfish, I hadn’t seen any before, they are most odd and look so harmless. While we were there a pair of sea eagles did several fly pasts.

Next to a small viewpoint so we could get a good 360 view from the island, magnificent.

Then to another amazing spot for lunch, looking at sea and rocks.

We went to the tunnels to see a photographic exhibition of island life. Finished up with a hot chocolate (this one nice) in a cafe at the harbour while we waited for the ferry back.

A woman passed us on a bicycle holding a bunch of flowers, she stopped and offered them to us to smell. Honeysuckle and a deep blue lavender. Such a lovely thing to do.

Packing.

Dinner, and prolonged farewells. I am very glad to have met Penny and John, they helped me to have a lovely holiday.

IMG_20180828_082730_6

IMG_20180828_091757_9
Skrova
IMG_20180828_104338_3
Looking back to Svolvaer

IMG_20180828_104803_6IMG_20180828_115400_4IMG_20180828_121750_0

IMG_20180828_131834_9
Cat man, why so many cats?

IMG_20180828_132006_7

 

 

Wednesday 29th

Up at 5 and horribly conscious that this will be 4 later on. On bus at 6. Linda helped me to get my bag down the stairs. Breakfast boxes to take on the bus. I opted for veggie but this seems to be simply carrots, radish, cucumber, apple. Did a swop of orange for cheese. Boxes then supplemented with further boxes of bread and jam. Coffee to take out.

  • Coach 2.5 hours to Evenes airport
  • Plane 1.5 hours to Oslo
  • Plane 2 hours to Heathrow
  • Tube 1 hour to King’s Cross
  • Train 2.25 hours to Leeds
  • Train 1 hour to Sowerby Bridge
  • Taxi 15 mins home

A long day and cream crackered, but fantastic that in 15.5 hours I can get from above the Arctic circle to home. Arrived just after 8.30.

IMG_20180829_075013_2
From the bus

 

Lofoten Islands Part 2

Friday 24th

This day started well with sunshine over the water. Looked stunning.

On the bus for an hour and a bit to Haukland beach. White sands. We’d dropped off the people doing the harder walk. We walked up and over a col to reach the white sands beach on the other side at Utakleiv. We had lunch on picnic benches. Some of the easier group were continuing to walk along the beach and some of us got back onto the coach to go to the Viking museum. This was very good. A Viking longhouse had been uncovered and a replica created. After watching the rubbishy film and looking at the artefacts, I went for a boat trip in a Viking boat which was fun. George was with me, a nice young chap. I looked after a boy whose mother could not come because they only allowed 12 at a time. Then George and I did some archery and some axe throwing. We walked back up to the museum.

I was chatting with Penny and John when very suddenly felt very ill. Went to the loo, massive sweat, almost spraying out of me. And then I collapsed, passed out completely. Luckily there was someone in the loos who got help. I came to and managed to get decent and open the door. Very very wobbly so they put me in a wheelchair. Wheeled back to where we’d been sitting. Someone said the word “sick” and I promptly obliged making a horrible puddle on the museum floor.

The bus took us back to the hotel and I went straight to bed although shivered violently for an hour. Still out of it, brushed my teeth with moisturizer just to make a terrible time even worse! Felt weak. I was sick twice more and then slept till morning. The poison is all out of my body but I banged my elbow (same one as I injured in June) and have hurt my ribs, I think from the fall, very painful, hard bending, getting out of bed.

img_20180824_110501_51981478132.jpg
Haukland beach
img_20180824_143040_41171157103.jpg
Irritating Viking woman who asked me if I made my own soap!
img_20180824_143244_0226109899.jpg
Viking longhouse
img_20180824_115046_5167698391.jpg
Utakleiv beach
img_20180824_151746_21679646669.jpg
Real Viking boat!
img_20180824_153341_2263802613.jpg
Real Viking

img_20180824_152708_01190349635.jpg

img_20180824_160258_714183524.jpg
Axe throwing

 

Saturday 25th

Managed to shower. Had some melon and yoghurt. Rang the doctor re my ribs pain and he said take combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen. He said it would hurt for a lot of days!

Had a crispbread and a tiny bit of slightly sweet cream cheese. Also a pancake and raspberry jam.

The view of yesterday’s drama is that it was something in my lunch. I had bread, cheese, salami, tomato and some nuts. All except the nuts, prepackaged. So I think they were the culprit.

Little walk to do some shopping. Feeling sleepy.

Slept some more. Out again to the shops.

Dinner of salads, pork and veg and mashed potato and apple pie.

Out to look at the Hurtigruten Lofoten ship which I will be on in March. Then the war museum which is a huge private collection from the Nazi occupation. Includes an enigma machine and some paintings supposedly by Hitler.

img_20180825_113859_12084735331.jpg
This lights up after dark
img_20180825_171230_0241661761.jpg
Rorbuer near hotel
img_20180825_171913_31036364456.jpg
House made from fishing racks?
img_20180825_211547_11197966609.jpg
Hurtigruten Lofoten boat
img_20180825_213740_02030368320.jpg
NSU motorbike, my first and most useless car was an NSU (I paid £60 for it)

Sunday 26th

Today we walked from Apnes to Stamsund. This was a great walk with fabulous views all round.

I had a hot chocolate in the bar at Stamsund which wasn’t very nice.

Dinner of salads, beef goulash and desserts.

Short walk to Svinvoya to look at rorbuer and bust of Gunnar Berg.

 

Cloudberry, delicious
This will become an emperor moth

So windy I’m holding onto the cairn so as not to be blown away

Trump and Kim Jong Un in car
Svolvaer
Svolvaer

The Lofoten Islands August 2018 Part 1

This is another trip that Chris and I had hoped to do together. It’s fitting that I’m flying out on what would have been her 65th birthday.

Tuesday 21st

My journey to Heathrow was easy, all to plan. I spent my senior Railcard and split ticket savings on a first class seat from Leeds. Very comfortable, complementary food and drinks. I had orange juice, pasta salad, crisps and shortbread. The air con was too powerful and I ended up with my hood up I was so cold. Lovely and warm in London. After the tube to the airport I got on a free red bus to the Radisson on Bath Road. Very nice hotel, decent sized room. I had my M&S salads, went for a lager and watched Allo Allo (never seen it before but so silly, made me laugh) and Die Another Day (not seen this one either, how did I miss it?) on the telly.

Wednesday 22nd

The travel all went well but boy oh boy what a long day, it was easier getting to Canada. Left hotel at 7.45, straight to T2 for breakfast. Heathrow to Oslo 2 hours. Oslo to Harstad Narvik Evenes airport 1.5 hours. For an airport with so many names, ours was the only plane there. Then there were lots of people in the terminal. Maybe it’s the happening place. Off quickly on a big bus for 2.5 hours. Lovely scenery. A bit of rain and cool. Arrived Svolvaer 8.20. Buffet dinner, salads, chicken, potato and veg, various yummy puddings. Introduction talk from Howard and Feli. Lager in memory of Chris and because I like lager. Jeg elsker pils. Unpacking took ages. And then whiskey – a half plastic bottle of Grouse which was very reasonable from Oslo duty free, for medicinal purposes!

Harstad Narvik Evenes airport
Airport

Thursday 23rd

Breakfast buffet was a bit bonkers with no set route around the different stations. I had salami and cheese on rye with sweet gherkins. I made up a crispbread and pate sandwich with gherkins and tomatoes for lunch.

Howard took us for a 15 minute tour of the town to show us the cash point, bakery, post office and supermarkets.

Set off with Feli for the hard walk. Out the town then up a steep climb to Tjeldberg-tinden at 367m. Very windy on ridge. Option to go up a gully with a rope. I walked round with some others. Lunch overlooking islands. Steep down and then lots of boggy bits. Into village of Kabelvag and to Storvagan. Got bus from Kabelvag back to Svolvaer.

To supermarket to get lager at half price of hotel.

Buffet dinner. Lamb for me, very tender. Small plate of desserts this evening.

Storvagan
Storvagan
Hill we climbed and some of our group
From the bridge that goes to our hotel
Svolvaer

Lakes August 2018

Weds 15th

I got to Monk Coniston early enough to settle in to my room in the cottage and plan my walk for the next day.

HF had sent me a voucher for a free bottle of wine so I made a start on it. Dinner of chicken with Parma ham, a bit tough and then ice cream.

The HF inter house quiz was on and the team I was in won in this house. We each got a cloth bag prize!

Thurs 16th

Breakfast of poached egg and sausage and a croissant.

I drove to the end of Langdale and parked off the road. Rain was on and off. Walked up to Pike of Blisco. Some short scrambling sections. Very windy at the top. Started to go to Cold Pike but retreated because the weather was so unpleasant I wasn’t enjoying myself and it was a long detour. Down via Oxendale, last walked with Chris when we did the ruddy Crinkle Crags.

Back to a hot shower and a local produce dinner. More wine (same bottle). A vegetable soup, a mini Cumberland sausage, salt marsh lamb, very tender, with creamed potato and half a parsnip, a dessert trio of sticky toffee pudding, cold, not my favourite at best of times, Kendal mint cake cheesecake which was nicer than it sounded and a lemon torte which was delicious and which I wished had been my entire dessert.

Chatted with Sally while we nibbled cheese and biscuits.

Went to bed early and fell asleep straight away.

Coniston
This woman is in the garden at Monk Coniston and I had to keep walking past her. Something seems to have slipped a bit…

Fri 17th

Breakfast, surprisingly hungry. Fruit, yoghurt and granola, hash browns, poached egg and beans and toast.

Parked up on road in Coniston. Had no change or inclination to pay £7 in car park.

2.5 hours to reach the summit of Old Man of Coniston. This is another hill I’d done with Chris. Stayed mainly dry on the way up but hideous weather at the top. V poor visibility. Went to Brim Fell but abandoned the idea of a circuit because I couldn’t see enough. Returned to the Old Man for a bit of shelter and met Sally and her 2 friends. They decided to return the way I and they had come up so I tagged along.

Not far down Jenny twisted her knee. She kept going but very slowly. One of the HF groups passed us and advised that we call Mountain Rescue. Sally and I were reaching that view also. I rang 999 and asked for Police Mountain Rescue, a very calm woman took our grid reference and description of where we were. We kept going. After a while the Coniston MR team rang us and said they were on the way, another calm chap who said they could drive up quite a way and they would ring from Crowberry Haws. We kept on. Then hooray, heard a siren. Before long the team of 8 arrived and stretchered Jenny down to their Land Rovers. Sally, Abi and I walked to the Land Rovers. Once the team arrived with Jenny, they unstrapped her and got her into the warm van. Then they all pitched in did fiddly weaving with all the stretcher straps. The team gave the 3 of us a lift down a very bumpy mine track. It was all done extremely efficiently and kindly. An ambulance was waiting for Jenny on arrival at the MR base in Coniston, she was whizzed off for x-rays at Barrow in Furness hospital. Abi went to her home in Coniston. Sally and I were given hot drinks and Mars bars in the MR base.

The weather had deteriorated from about midday. Certainly all my gear (summer showers rating only) was soaked by the time we got back so there had been a real risk of hypothermia at the speed we were going. Fab HF drying room sorting out the wet gear.

Finished off my bottle of wine. Dinner of fresh tomato soup, home made pizza with potato wedges and coleslaw, raspberry creme brulé. I’d originally asked for small portions but after our adventures I was very hungry. I had a half of beer watching a game of skittles! Yes indeed!! I did 10 pin bowling when I was 16 but was terrible at it then so didn’t even try it.

Mine workings

Low Water, not visible at all on our way back down
Cairn on Brim Fell
Hats off to these people

Sat 18th

Sally updated me that Jenny had no broken bones or torn ligaments, muscle damage so that should heal more quickly. She also got a lift home with the doctor who treated her!

After breakfast I went to Windermere and looked at an exhibition about the Windermere Boys (and girls) who were housed briefly in Windermere after leaving the Nazi concentration camps as orphans. An impressive exhibition in the library.

The rain had dropped off and I did think about walking up Lingmoor Fell but decided to go home.

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

Welsh weekend

Friday 29th June

Managed to leave at a sensible time and avoid the worst of the traffic. Stopped at the Welsh food centre farm shop, lovely place, quiet. Had coffee and ice cream in the steamy heat. Arrived Craflwyn Hall at 2.30.

Room in the stables very comfortable with bath robe, slippers and tin of Kendal mint cake. Cut finger on door bolt. Tea and scones at 4, then local walk at 5 to Llyn Dinas. Got chatting to nice family from Canada and USA.

Lager. Listened to walks talk then dinner. More lager. I had roast beef with roast potatoes, veg and Yorkshire pudding. The spuds needed more roasting. Caramel cheesecake pudding was a bit odd but ice cream helped.

Early to bed.

Snowdon horseshoe
Llyn Dinas
At Craflwyn Hall

At Craflwyn Hall
Above the stables

Saturday 30th June

Woke early. I can’t sleep past 5.30 at the moment. Heat and light. Granola, yoghurt and berries, mini croissants, hash brown, beans and poached egg and toast.

Arrived Siabod cafe in Capel Curig to meet Paul, Chris and Rich. Basically out all day practicing navigation skills and Paul said I was fine which is good. He was my ML assessor. Lots of contours.

Near the end of the day I slipped while crossing a very small bit of stream only inches wider than me,  in addition to getting muddy and wet which was ok because so hot, I banged and cut my elbow which is very sore and needs sorting out a bit. Lucky that Rich was an A&E doctor. He and Paul were properly equipped with first aid. I need to update my kit a bit to cater for things of this nature requiring a large dressing.

After we finished I went to Betws y Coed and got ibuprofen from the Spar shop and various dressings from a nice woman in Cotswold Outdoor who raided their first aid kit. I drove straight back to Craflwyn and assembled my supplies including my quite big car first aid box.

Showered and tried to clean the cut which was still dropping blood on the floor fairly copiously but not done well with the cleaning so will need to see a nurse. It hurts and I was a bit in shock when it happened. It doesn’t look much but very sore.

Lager. Sea bass and veg, then ice cream. More lager. Watched people playing games. Elbow still leaking. Have nasty bruise on my hip. And no arnica.

This clumsiness and injury very unlike me. I am rattled by the compulsory redundancies announced by my employer on Thursday less than a year since I was last restructured. Angry too that they have allowed this to happen. Maybe my eye is off the ball.

 

Llynau Mymbyr
Craflwyn Hall

At Craflwyn Hall

Sunday 1st July

Not a great sleep, too hot and all one sided, no thrashing around. Went for a wee in the night and found no water in the taps. Same on waking, it turns out the whole village has no water. I got every bottle I had and it came to 2 litres. Staff managed breakfast and produced tea and coffee from bottled water. No tooth brushing this morning for anyone! Breakfast of granola, berries and yogurt, mini croissant and then haddock with a poached egg on toast.

I drove to Croesor, passed the man mending the water pump at Beddgelert. Set off up Cnicht. Stopped at about 540m as it was getting more scrambly, I was too hot and had lost a bit of confidence after yesterday, I also banged the elbow again and it was very sore . Happy with getting to where I did. Headed back down. Went to cafe in Croesor for ice cream and coffee. Drove off vaguely thinking of ibuprofen gel and arnica and passed a sign saying Minor Injuries Unit. There were about 6 cars in the car park and only 2 people waiting ahead of me. I got seen and puncture wound dressed in under an hour. Got told off for not going yesterday but hard to do that if you don’t know it’s there. Surely I must be too old now to be told off?!

Back to Craflwyn. All water back in action. Shower with cling film over new dressing. Lager x 2. Dinner of lamb kebab, a bit dry, then chicken with mashed spud and veg, ice cream. We had a music quiz in the garden and the team I was in won. We had to identify instruments, then song intros, then film themes and composers. Quite hard. Thunderflies attack. Talked to Henry and Damian about leading for HF over a glass of Penderyn.

Cnicht

View to the sea from Cnicht
Ow!

Monday 2nd July

After a light breakfast I said farewell to my new Canadian/American friends. Stopped a few times to take some photos and then again at Bodnant to pick up some goodies. Very slow journey back home. Straight to the GP which Carol had sorted for me. Got a new waterproof dressing and some strong antibiotics within half an hour. 4 days later I haven’t dared to inspect it….

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

MAPandCOMPASS

Stones above Todmorden 24th June 2018

I decided to do another of the AA Walks, this one from Lydgate to the Whirlaw Stones, the Bride Stones, the Hawk Stones and the Orchan Stones. I’ve done some of this with Cath and also most of it with Chris who loved it.

The AA description is a bit out of date. I’ve sent them some amendments so hopefully they will update it on the web, they make a lot of reference to the Sportsmans pub which is long shut. The first hurdle was a very overgrown path in Lydgate but I reported this to the Ramblers via the Pathwatch app which sends the Ramblers a grid reference and a photo which they then send to the relevant local council.

It was pretty hot but the first section is nice and shady, the path is no longer sunken but a concrete track and very steep. Into the sun and then yet another dead sheep, this one very smelly and with lots of flies. I walked under the Whirlaw Rocks and sat on a bench to eat my lunch. Then up a bit more, past Windy Harbour and the stone head, past a new build called Mast Farm but no mast in sight and definitely not where the map was saying it was. Up onto the Bride Stones where someone was drumming in a cleft in the rocks. Across to the non pub and along the road passing the Hawk Stones on the right. Down Mount Road, past a very ancient stone cross that I don’t remember seeing before but maybe I just wasn’t looking. Along a section that the AA needed to explain in a bit more detail. Then down past the Orchan Rocks and back down another shady wide track to Lydgate.

Under the railway at Lydgate
At Windy Harbour
Stoodley Pike from the Bride Stones
Bride Stones
Mount Cross
Orchan Stones
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

MAPandCOMPASS