Northumberland October 2017

We had a week in Longframlington at the end of October. It was a bit hard because C wasn’t very well. So much so that we missed the first day of our holiday. We took the A19 because the A1 was at a standstill.

We spent an afternoon looking at old churches which was fun. There are only a very few that I find truly make me feel at peace. Went to Whalton, Meldon and Bolam. It was so dark in Bolam church we had to use torches to look round.

One day was a trip to Morpeth for a few shops and then a very short walk at Druridge Bay so we could see the sea in the twilight.

Another day we went to Bamburgh and Seahouses and Budle Bay, going home a long way round via Wooler.

Whilst Carol dialysed, I went to Rothbury and hiked on the hills to look at the pre WW1 training trenches. They are quite distinctive but were more shallow than I expected from the photo I’d seen. I navigated to a 6 fig grid reference which was fun.

The other dialysis day, we had a look into Felton church which almost appears not to have a roof as you walk up to it. I went to Darden Lough to complete a walk we’d failed to finish. It wasn’t that great, annoying underfoot, the path was little used and the heather sort of grabbed my trouser bottoms and twirled them until they were really tight on my calves!! But there was a gorgeous sunset to reward me for my efforts.

We had 2 meals out, at the Northumberland Arms in Felton. Both our main courses were too sweet. Mine was beef with a jus. We also ate at the Anglers’ Arms about 10 minutes from the cottage. Straightforward pub food but relaxing because a straightforward pub.

On the way home we stopped off at Corbridge. Then routed ourselves to Blanchland just because I like it there and wanted to see it again. I drove back on the A68 because I hadn’t been on it before.

Bolam at dusk
Lovely faces at Whalton
Druridge Bay
Some old duffer
Rothbury trenches
Rothbury trenches
I have no idea, made me think of toast
Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh with Lindisfarne in the background
Budle Bay
Darden Lough

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



Shropshire mini break 

Tuesday 8th August

There was a problem with dialysis so we were late leaving. Arrived in Ashton Bowdler just south of Ludlow about 7.15. Quickly got settled in to Orchard House B&B then out to the Charlton Arms at Ludford 5 minutes away. We both had beef carpaccio starters and I also had a cheese soufflé starter. We shared a bowl of chips. Not bad.

Wednesday 9th August

C had cooked breakfast and I had continental. Finally got out about 11. First to Richard’s Castle to look at the nice old church with a great deal of discrimination on seating. From cheap seats to a massive box. Also an interesting screw thread on a huge old beam which stops the building from falling down.

Then to Knighton where cash machine ate Carol’s card grrr. But the bank itself wasn’t open on a Wednesday. To Aardvark books at Brompton Bryan where we lingered and ate cake. Then to Haye Park Wood near Ludlow for a short walk. Back to Orchard House and out again to The Baker’s Arms 7 minutes away in Orleton. C had chicken and mushroom pie with chips and salad and I had nut roast of the day with chips and salad. Chips were better than the night before. Nice food but a bit slow to arrive.

The very grand seats
Falling wall
The cheap seats
Cider press type screw

Thursday 10th August

Both had continental breakfast today. Out to Knighton early to see if the card can be recovered but no the machine has not only eaten it, it has destroyed it. Then to Bucknell which has a nice old post office and onto Bromfield to the Food Centre which is a sort of giant farm shop like Tebay services. Got some bits for lunch and supper. To Church Stretton but the road we wanted was shut so a long way round to get to our walk on the Long Mynd. Set off, had picnic, very warm in sun. C not really up to walking back so sent her on to road 300m away. I walked just over 1k back to the car and drove round to pick her up. A long way and it took ages because the road was narrow and there was lots of driving onto verge and backing up. Some drivers find this so hard to do and are completely unable to reverse using their mirrors. I know I shouldn’t get cross but if I can do it why can’t they?! Finally collected Carol who was loitering with some wild horses. We had to go back down and round following the road mending lorries which were way too big for the road and went very slowly until steam was coming out of my ears. At last they went left and we went right. Back to Church Stretton along with some more numpties. It was hot, just like the last time we were there. Wandered about and then back to Orchard House. Had our snacks downstairs. Out to cross the railway line to see the church but it was shut. It’s right on the River Teme, beautiful spot and Ashford Bowdler is a cul de sac so very quiet despite being poised between railway line and the A49.

Ashford Bowdler church

From the Long Mynd
Carol’s pals

Ye olde poste office
Friday August 11th

We had a rough night but managed to get up and leave the B&B in good time. Had a quick look in the little church which was now open, very peaceful and in a lovely location. Having been brought up in the church, I still love churches even though as Carol says, I’m a complete heathen.

Drove into Ludlow, parked up and wandered around. C got the card sorted out. Drove to the Green Cafe as unlikely that C would get back up the hill very easily. C had an omelette and I had pasta with tomato sauce. Simple dishes done very well.

Stopped at the Food Centre after leaving Ludlow and then headed for home which took a very long time indeed.

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.


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.



Northumberland week October 2015

Friday 9th October
Just over 3 hours to reach Elyhaugh in Longframlington and be welcomed by Sandra with really good cake, eggs and milk in fridge.
Our barn is very clean. So nice not to have to wash the cutlery and plates before we use them. We each have a big en suite room at either end of the barn. The middle is an open kitchen, sitting and eating space. There is a dishwasher to my delight! which explains the clean pots and pans.
Made an omelette for our supper. No wireless and the phone signal is limited to a small spot in the yard.

Saturday 10th October
Walked round Rothbury. Parked a little up from Cragside and did a 6 or 7 km circuit through Armstrong land passing a hill fort site and a standing stone. Not much to see of either. Pleasant walk. Weather a bit misty but we could see where we were going.

Stopped to look at Angler’s Arms and Carol bought me a beer!
Green chicken curry and rice.
Watched DVD of The Cazalets.


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Sunday 11th October
Intended to amble round Amble but it looked horrible so we ambled round Warkworth instead.
Then to Boulmer to walk north along coast for a few km and back. Dull day but no rain.
To the Angler’s Arms to eat. C had steak and ale pie and I had a carrot and cashew loaf with salad. Good hearty portions with beer.
More of The Cazalets.
Our barn
Our barn
This is very uncomfortable, please take photo quickly!
This is very uncomfortable, please take photo quickly!


From the barn
From the barn
Promising not to get dashed into the waves
Promising not to get dashed into the waves
Sea light
Sea light
Dunstanburgh castle
Dunstanburgh castle
Monday 12th October
From Harbottle up to the Drake stone which is an enormous chunk of sandstone perched on the hill. Legend has it that children passed over it will be cured of their ailments. The stone is so huge they will likely acquire some further ailments in the attempt. Sort of upward keel hauling comes to mind.
On to Harbottle lake then across the forest avoiding the red flag zone. We heard distant explosions most of the day. Back down to cross the River Coquet. Up and around Harbottle crossing back over the Coquet, through the village and up to the castle. Great views from here.
Lovely walk, it stayed dry and then did a massive downpour as we stopped in Rothbury for C to get provisions. Home to shepherd’s pie.
The Drake Stone
The Drake Stone


Harbottle Lake


Harbottle Lake
Roe deer tracks


Ye olde lime kiln
Harbottle castle
The Drake Stone from Harbottle
Tuesday 13th October
Felton to look at old church and a little walk along St Oswald’s way. Looked at a gallery and an artisan bakery charging artisan prices for bread and biscuits.
Dropped C off at industrial estate for dialysis.
Decided not to try the Cheviot as the big hills had big clouds on their tops. Tried to get to the hill forts west of Wooler but the road was closed so I went to Ingram for a 7 km hill fort walk which took 2 and a half hours. The sign said it would take 3-4 hours!
Collected C and home for more shepherd’s pie.
From a hill fort
From a hill fort
On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk
Loved the colours
Loved the colours
Evidence of a dig
Evidence of a dig
On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk
Felton church looks like it hasn't got a roof but it is there really
Felton church looks like it hasn’t got a roof but it is there really
Felton church
Felton church
Wednesday 14th October
We started off a circular walk to Darden Lough however C wasn’t keen on the bog and unevenness of the path so we headed back to the car.
Drove to Otterburn for PC then Rochester for Roman fort. The fort now has 2 houses in it but you can see clearly where it was. Then we looked in at Otterburn Mill shop which is similar to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and has the same weird CDs and DVDs you can’t imagine anybody wanting.
Home and then out to the Cook and Barker in Newton on the Moor. I had beetroot and goat’s cheese followed by sirloin strips with veg and a small bucket of chips. It didn’t seem a lot but I was stuffed. C had a salmon and muffin thing which looked nice. The food was good and well presented. A bit more pricey that I expected. Good beer. C had Pagan Queen and I had something else maybe a London brew.
Back for the last of the Cazalets which was slightly disappointing.


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Thursday 15th October
To Alnwick for a pootle round. Delivered C to the renal unit on the industrial estate.
Drove just south of Rothbury to park up. Walked to Simonside summit. Practically all on paved path. Great views.
Picked up C. Home to pack. Lovely holiday but I struggled without the wireless and mobile connections.
Pavement up Simonside
Pavement up Simonside
Little cannon
Little cannon
On Simonside
On Simonside
Made me think of Henry Moore
Made me think of Henry Moore
Friday 16th
Stopped in Wetherby on the way home and wandered round the shops. I found some Old Amsterdam cheese in a cheese shop which sold bread at even more inflated prices than the artisan bread shop!
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Bannerdale Crags, Mungrisdale Common and Souther Fell, 26th July 2015

Today’s walk plan was to knock off some Wainwrights at the back of Blencathra.

I parked up in Mungrisdale on the road verge after an easy journey of 2.5 hours without stopping for coffee. Set off at 10 a.m. Pleasant and easy walk to the top of the crags along a wide path. It was dry but blowy at the top.

From Bannerdale Crags looking back to Mungrisdale village and beyond
Heading up to Bannerdale Crags

Down a little to a col which joins the Crags with a spur off Blencathra. At this point I veered off and headed due west to Mungrisdale Common. Wainwright must have been having a joke here, his description starts off with “To add to its other failings …..”, continues with “has no more pretension to elegance than a pudding that has been sat on” and “There is little on these extensive grass slopes to provide even a passing interest for an ordinary walker, and nothing at all to encourage a visit.” So why the bloody hell did he bother to put it in, it’s not even a summit as such. There is a suggestion that it was put in to provide some filler for the book on the Northern Fells. The common is a large, flat stretch of featureless bog. And very tedious because the bog got boggier and boggier as I went along, reminiscent of the bogs on the Isle of Jura. It started to rain so once I’d been and found the “summit”, I squelched my way back stopping for lunch on the way after I’d got off the bog. Not a soul in sight on the common.

I’m on a road to nowhere
A helpful navigational aid, just where it needed to be

Back at the col, I went down the River Glendaramackin to reach  a footbridge. Over this and then quickly up onto Souther Fell. The rain was coming in fast over Blencathra by this time. There was a path marked on the map which would take me directly to my car so I aimed off but crossed it without noticing (probably because too faint). So I headed back up a little (I’d overshot the distance) and then located the path in the bracken.

Blencathra disappearing
Why it’s called Sharp Edge
Top of Glenderamackin River

This now brings my total of Wainwrights to 74 which is properly over one third of them done. Five and a half hours of walking. Home by 6 p.m.


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


Long Lakeland Weekend

Friday 19th June
After I’d done half a day of work and Carol simultaneously had done dialysis, we set off for the Duddon Valley and arrived at our designated parking spot in gloomy grey weather but not actually raining.
We walked the half mile to Devoke Water and found that a large school party had already taken up camping residence ahead of us. We hadn’t anticipated this so we retreated around the corner from them and set up below a small rocky hill but still overlooking the lake.
Just as we were getting settled and comfortable the first bunch of teenagers ascended the hill and larked about noisily for ages. They eventually descended and we breathed a sigh of relief. So much for a quiet wild camp to relax in. I cooked up our dinner in my Jetboil (excellent fast cooker), we had chilli con carne and rice.
Then the next bunch of noisy teenagers went up the hill. This was too much so Carol went and asked their minders to deal with them which they did, they actually went down as Carol went off to remonstrance. However this was all a bit stressful and not what either of us wanted. The noise was carrying very clearly as it was a still evening. The first time I went to Devoke Water as a reccy for wild camping, it was lashing down, the second time we both checked it out and it was blowing a gale so very noisy on both those occasions.
At last we were able to get snug in the tent, I drank a mini flask of rum.
Neither of us slept very well, C kept sliding down the tent, she also had restless legs. Not a good mixture! It rained on and off most of the night.

Devoke Water
Devoke Water
Southern fells
Southern fells

The tent

Saturday 20th June

We got up, brewed up (one tea, one filter coffee) and packed up during an interval without rain. Back at the car we drove away from the teachers and parked up on the moor near some large black cows. I made porridge for Carol (instant pot) and brewed up some more hot drinks. Carol has now decided that perhaps wild camping and rotten kidneys don’t really go together so well. However this means that I have to become brave enough to do it on my own, we’ll see…

Into Broughton in Furness to look at the Clocktower Gallery, the bakery and the greengrocers (sells bunches of wild mushrooms, fresh figs and fresh herbs). The rain had just about stopped.

We drove a short distance along the A595 to Broadgate where we parked up. Then a nice trot up a quiet lane to Sunkenkirk stone circle also known as Swinside. We had a picnic on the way in the warm sun, lovely. The stone circle is fairly intact but only accessible on foot as it’s on permitted land on Swinside farm, thus very few visitors. We were the only ones there and we met only one other party on the track.

Then back to the car and off to find our B&B. Wheelgate is in Little Arrow just after Torver on the road to Coniston. Met by Steve and Linda. We were in Derwent which was roomy and quiet despite being near the main road. After we’d got in, scrubbed up and generally stopped looking like tramps, we set off for Broughton Mills and the Blacksmith’s Arms. This was a great find, lovely uneven flagstone floor and black timbers. Also good food and a wonderful local draught lager. Carol had chicken and I had a pea and parmesan risotto. Both meals were great. Recommended!

On moor road near Torver
On moor road near Torver
On moor road
On moor road
Moor road
Moor road

Back at Wheelgate, in the honesty bar, I had a measure of Bowmore. Yum.

Slept very well in comfy bed.


Sunkenkirk/Swinside stone circle
Sunkenkirk/Swinside stone circle

Sunday 21st June, the longest day

Big breakfasts for both of us. Carol had everything and I had a bit less.

We set off fairly promptly for a jam packed day. First to Corney to look at a tiny little church which has the sea one way and a big fell the other. We looked over and could see the peaks on the Isle of Man.

Then to Ravenglass to see the Roman bath house. It was a bit too open air so I decided not to bother and there wasn’t anywhere to put my towel apart from a niche but Carol said the niche was for a statue and not for my towel.

Onwards to Eskdale where we had our lunch by the side of the road. We then started up the Hardknott pass and came to a pub where an old chap waved us to stop. He needed a lift up the pass as his car had 2 blow outs and was in a passing place on the pass with his wife and one friend in it. He’d left another friend at the pub but wanted to take sandwiches and supplies up to the two women in the car who were waiting for the breakdown vehicle. We took him up to his car which was beyond where we were planning to park ours at Hardknott fort. So I did a 3 point turn on the Hardknott pass (Carol stayed relatively calm during this procedure) and took the car back to our park spot. For anyone who has not driven the Hardknott and/or Wrynose pass/es, it/they are not for the faint hearted. Many moments where you cannot actually see where to point the car because of the extreme drops. We then walked back up past our new pals and up to the top of the pass to find the “pile of stones”. Then we tackled Hardknott fell. Carol did this very well. I was slightly anxious as Wainwright had intimated that it had an indistinct ridge, that it was hard to get back down and made mention of a scree slope. Well it wasn’t and didn’t have any of those things. This is my 71st Wainwright so I’ve very nearly done one third of the 214. As we got back to the road, it started to rain heavily so we togged up. Back down the road, our pals had gone so I’m glad they were rescued, they were in the midst of clearing an elderly relation’s house and their 2 friends had come over for the weekend to give them some down time and then they’d had the breakdown so it had all been a bit tough for them.

Before heading for home, we had a quick look at the fort and trotted round the outside. Also looked at the bath house. This one has cold, medium and hot rooms plus a round sauna. Again, I decided not to as it was a bit nippy and we had to get back for our supper.

We went back to Eskdale Green and up over the moor passing where we had parked for Devoke Water. Managed to get back in good time for some non Roman showering. Steve and Linda provide complimentary sherry for guests so I had a very good dry one, lovely.

Then just down the road to the Wilson’s Arms in Torver. This was ok but Carol wasn’t really needing a huge meal and there wasn’t much she fancied. She ended up with a small portion of gammon with lots of grilled things but even so it still looked like an enormous portion. Thankfully it came at a smaller price. I had risotto balls. So yes risotto two nights running but I like risotto and these were very good. Beer was called Barngate Cracker. Ok but not as nice as that draught lager which I foolishly didn’t make a note of.

Aberlour from the honesty bar, such a fab idea, also a great little room with beaten copper topped tables. Still light at 10.50, wow!

From Hardknott looking east
From Hardknott looking east
Weather coming in fast
Weather coming in fast
On top of Hardknott fell
On top of Hardknott fell
Ravenglass Roman bath house
Ravenglass Roman bath house
View to fells from Corney church
View to fells from Corney church
Church at Corney
Church at Corney


Roman sauna at Hardknott fort
Roman sauna at Hardknott fort
On top of Hardknott fell
On top of Hardknott fell, new hat. I lost the not very old one when out working.

Monday 22nd June

Carol enjoyed another large breakfast but I just had muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt and a poached egg on toast. We packed up and headed off after a nice chat with Laurie, a fellow guest from Essex. Wheelgate is a great B&B and we are both hoping to go back there. They also have a single room in the main house plus a single in a separate building at the back.

We looked into the Deli attached to the Wilson’s Arms but it seemed to have reduced its stock since I last went in about a year ago so we didn’t linger. Into Coniston for a quick look round and then back home via the Windermere ferry. Back by 2.30 to get all the gear sorted and Carol on the machine.

On the ferry
On the ferry
Mining wagon
Mining wagon
On Windermere looking south
On Windermere looking south
Looking north
Looking north


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