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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Backpacking Food Planning

peebles hills

As we’re imminently to have a little jaunt or daunder over the hills of the Borders, I’ve just been planning my requirements for scoffing over the walk.

For those who haven’t been paying much attention, or newcomers to reading the tripe that I constantly churn out on this blerg – there’s a small bunch of people, including me, who are about to try to walk from Peebles to Moffat and an even smaller bunch (possibly down to trio levels) who are intent on walking back to Peebles after the fleshpots of Moffat. This will involve some wild camping and a bit of walking (about 73 miles)

So, I’ve just done what I usually do on these occasions – and that is, make a plan.

And this is it.

food for peebles to moffat

On Saturday we will gather in Moffat and then redistribute ourselves to Peebles after which we will (after lunch) walk a bit and then eat, poo and sleep.

I will, therefore, only need to carry my dinner on the Saturday. This could well be a packet soup with an oatcake and some smash in it, Katmandu Curry from Backpackers pantry plus a Mountain House apple and custard.

I will also have hot chocolate, tea and coffee available at all times.

And I’ll be carrying 50cl of very cheap whisky. I mustn’t drink more than half of this on the first night.

On Sunday, there’ll be breakfast -Hot cereal start from Pack n Go trail food – oatcakes, energy bars, cheese, chocolate) and Dinner – see above for soup, plus a Real Turmat Wolfish casserole and something for sweet (to be decided – prolly cake and custard) + coffee and the remaining scotch.

Monday breakfast – Breakfast bars and prunes, trail food as per Sunday and dinner in a pub in Moffat.

Tuesday – Breakfast and probably lunch in Moffat. Dinner soup (see above) Backpackers pantry Spaghetti and sauce, cake and custard, more scotch bought in Moffat

Wednesday – Breakfast – Porridge and sultanas by Pack n Go,

Trail food as above (or I may use some army biscuits brown plus chicken and herb pate) – and dinner at Tibbie Shiels Inn (backup supply of MX3 Chicken Columbo and rice

Thursday – Breakfast – breakfast bars and prunes (or Tibbie Shiels if they do breakfast or the late opening nearby cafe)

Trail food as above.

I’ll be home for dinner.

At least, I’ll be home for dinner if my car is still wherever I left it.

And that should be that

I must say, I don’t like the look of the new spring snow thats just been dumped in the Borders. It might melt. We’ll have to be brave…..

I’ll have to go to Durham for Gas and maps very shortly.

The cat, incidentally, who’s name is Trex (cooking fat – gettit..? fnarr fnarr) will not be coming.

Late Edit - More about this walk and some lovely maps on Orla Gogg's Blogg here http://alansloman.blogspot.com/2010/03/forthcoming-walkies-with-pieman.html

Monday, 29 March 2010

Fountains and Darnbrook Fells

penyghent from the patch of snow


Since I was in the area for John Manning’s exposition of his holiday snaps in Stainforth (see previous post) I thought I may as well do another Yorkshire dales 2000 foot tops ramble and this one looked specially handy and, what’s more, easy.


Fountains Fell has another couple of possible routes which are quite a bit longer than this, so I may well revisit the place in summer. This walk is a quick bag, to be honest, and shouldn’t take the erstwhile Dalesbagger more than a few hours.


on the way back from the south top


So after a late start during which I discovered that it was later than I thought, due to some idiot messing with the clocks – I turned up on the verge at the bottom of Fountains Fell. Some readers may well consider that I’ve been on the verge for some time. They may be right.


Today, though, I was dogless, companionless and, frankly, friendless as I trudged my weary way over the bleak, wind-blasted heaths of the tussocky Pennines. The wind howled mtrough my trousers mournfully..... I fancied I heard someone call the name "Heathcliffe...."


The route follows the Pennine Way towards Derbyshire and this takes the walker up what appears to be a sledway, probably the exit route for sleds full of coal from the ancient colliery on the summit of the Fell.


colliery building shaft


I crossed a patch of snow and appeared on the summit, which is extensive and full of holes, frankly. I headed South and found the actual summit cairn and then further south on a waymarked path to the South Top. This doesn’t have a cairn, so I went back to the summit again.


There, as a result of the abject loneliness, I met my imaginary friend Alf Wainwright-Bonnington. Pipes in hand, we marched over the bogs, Alf putting the world to rights and pontificating on whether or not being buggerred by the massed ranks of the Black and White Minstrels would be as enjoyable as it should be now that they’ve been banned for being racist. Or would the make-up rub off. He’s a strange one, is Alf.


Just a bit north of here is an area that has been well dug up. There are what appear to be bell pits and piles of gritstone spoil. There’s also a strange square building with a small entrance which would require crawling were it not fenced off.


I have been inside this building, back in 1972 when I first explored this top. It was dark but dry inside, and a good, efficient shelter. The keystone at the entrance appears to be breaking up, though. It may collapse, although I think its been in a collapsing state for a good thirty years or so. It needs some TLC. It needs restoration. It is a piece of heritage, even if we don’t really know what it is.


There are also open shafts on this moor – most of which are fenced off. There could well be some that aren’t fenced off, so keep your eyes peeled is my advice.


This may not be such a good area to wander about on in the middle of the night, even with peeled eyes.


darnbrook fell trig


Anyway, having done the Fountains Fell tour, I headed for Darnbrook Fell. The problem with Darnbrook fell is that its got lots of walls and fences. There is no need, though, to climb any walls. There are gates and hurdles at strategic spots and the fence close to the trig point has a small section which has no barbed wire. So, if you find yourself teetering over a totterring wall, you've gone wrong somewhere...


A gate near the Western edge leads on to an ATV track which descends to the track from Littondale. ATV’s cannot cross walls, so there is a gate at the bottom too.


strategic gate


The track gives easy walking with cracking views back to the road and, a little further on, to the parking spot. Under circumstances when there wasn’t a thirty mph headwind, it would be easy anyway. Damn cold that wind…. reached parts that….


track back to start


I repaired to Buckden for a cuppa and a toasted teacake before driving home.


This walk is around 7 miles with 1100 feet of uphill. Its easy, if a bit boggy in parts. Just Pennine stuff y’know. Usual slop.


fountains

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Pen y Ghent and Plover Hill with TGO/Bloggerites

phil tini and alan and egg

The little parish church in Stainforth was absolutely heaving for the occasion of John Manning’s illustrated talk about his 2700 mile walkies up the Pacific Crest Trail in America.

And afterwards, much to the delight of it’s landlord,so was the Craven Heifer. Many familiar TGO-type people and backpackers club types were present, including the redoubtable Alan Sloman and Lynnie , the undoubtable Phil Lambert and his lovely Mistress of the Lash, Tini. Somewhere around the umpteenth pint, we decided to go up Penyghent in the morning.

horton church and penyghent

As it happened, Lynnie made the wise decision to do something less energetic and went bird watching in Bowland, so it was just the four of us setting off from Horton church on Saturday morning.

Tini had no pack at all, whilst Phil was carrying a wardrobe wrapped up in nylon and Alan had what appeared to be a posing pouch containing, it turned out, a boiled egg and not what I first assumed…. He also had his new jacket on. It was green. Very green.

penyghents rocky bits

We scrambled up the rocky bits of Penyghent’s prow and snaffled the only four spaces at the summit shelter. A fatdog dog approached me and bit off and swallowed the elastoplast from my finger (recycling tin washing accident). There’s no accounting for taste. Unless you’re an accountant, then there’s a formula you can use. I hope the dog survives.

philantini on a rocky bit

We gave a lecture on trig points and their uses and I described the view, pointing out Pen y Fan, The Nile delta, Skipton castle and the Arnison Centre in Nelson.

We made off towards Plover Hill before anybody got a map out.

we made off...

The actual summit of Plover Hill was barricaded off by a big stone wall, but at least there were plover in evidence (“peep”) Tini was underwhelmed by the lack of access to the little cairn almost on the highest point, but with a fine view of Littondale.

penyghent summit with hill fog

We left again and tiptoed down a steep bit with some scary crags underneath. Phil took out his frustration on Alan using a hammer he’d found at the back of his wardrobe. We achieved the bridleway at the bottom It was 3 and a bit miles to Horton. Tini blasphemed and , no doubt, Phil would pay for this by being chained up in the coalshed. If only the Lamberts had a coalshed.

alan gets ammerred

tiptoeing

On the way back to the Golden Lion in Horton, we paid a brief visit to Hull Pot – a dirty great hole in the ground with waterfalls in it. Nobody fell in, which was a bonus.

hull pot not kingston rovers

Quite soon later, we managed to find the Golden Lion and then it was time for home. In my case, this was a lonely tent in a field in Stainforth. I repaired to the Craven Heifer to cheer meself up. This worked. Its great when a plan comes together (BA Barracus)

We did about 8 miles and 1800 feet up uphill. This may well have been a bit of a shock for the flatlanders.

Incidentally, I’m counting this as one of the Yorkshire dales 2000 foot tops walks. I’m not going back to do it again for a while.

Thewre's also a bit about this walk here http://alansloman.blogspot.com/2010/03/ingles-on-ingleborough.html

Late edit: and some bonus holiday snaps at http://alansloman.blogspot.com/2010/03/yorkshire-dales-snaps-from-weekend.html

penyghent

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Teesdale – Monks Moor with a new lead

bruno and the last patch of snow


Readers will no doubt be relieved to hear that Bruno’s recent MOT at the Vet’s in Bishop Auckland resulted in no treatment or advice beyond the usual flea and worm treatment. He proved that his bowels were in perfect working order by delivering an enormous steaming pile in the waiting room (he was just trying to embarrass me) and I had to inform the Vet that he weighed 21.5 kg. At least, thats what he weighed when he came in. he was significantly lighter on the way out.


So we bought a new lead and determined to have a bit of a walk to try it out, which is what we did today.


cairn on monks moor


I drove to Middleton in Teesdale – round about 20 miles or so from here, which ensured an early start. The walk was also a bit of TGO Challenge distance training, which is why it was a bit long….


We progressed up to Snaisgill by road, for speed, you understand – and up on to Monk’s Moor. A bit of Monk’s Moor, incidentally has a little isthmus of access land, attached to a much bigger lump of access land, which is only access land in September. The sign which says so, says so in a very roundabout civil-service type of way, but thats what it means. seems a bit pointless to me….. specially as it has a public footpath running through it which is, of course, open all the time. The rare ground nesting birds will be just as disturbed as ever, I would have thought. Whats the point of having access land thats only access land for one month each year, though? Eh?


monks currick


Anyway, we sploshed on over the moor. Bruno was pleased to see a bit of snow behind the wall, which he stamped in then ate, then a bigger patch a bit higher up which was too big to eat. The ground is now soggy but still frozen in patches. But spring was springing. I heard a couple of curlew and a bunch of golden plover and some larks – and one, just the one meadow pipit. But despite the sun, the wind was still nithering and quite a bit “refreshing”.


great eggleshope beck mineworkings


We dropped down to Great Eggleshope Beck mineworkings and then used a trespass path (for the dog who wasn’t allowed off the ROW) to get to the mines dam and then to Little Eggleshope beck for access to the Sharnberry glacial overflow which leads into Hamsterley Forest. [Incidentally, I notice that in this part of Teesdale, there are “becks”, whereas over the hill in Weardale, we have “burns”. It would seem that the Yorkshire Danes dindn’t really get as far as Weardale…]


mines dam


Once in Hamsterley Forest, there were frogs – many frogs having a bit of a party in various ponds. very noisy, they were. I took a video. Its not specially good, but if I got any closer, they stopped what they were doing.


We lunched in a suntrap in the forest. Bruno ate some sticks.


I had a chicken and pickle sandwich.


We batterred our way up the hill back out of the forest and on to Eggleston Common – an expanse of grouse moor – and along a bridleway on which pack horse trains used to carry lead ore for smelting at Copley. In fact, we passed the saddle house – a small stone hut once used for storing spare saddles for the packhorses.


teesdale way


Our walk then took us along the Teesdale Way, which runs in a green and pleasant kind of way alongside the River Tees back to Middleton. Its a popular walk. There was plenty of company here. My advice, if you do this walk, is to empty your bladder on Eggleston Common as there’ll be nowhere to do it in private down here.


riverside path teesdale


Then it started raining, so we went home.


The total distance today was just over 16 miles and with a surprising total of 2750 feet of climbing uphill (some of which was a bit of a pain, to be honest…)


That’ll do for now. More miles in April.


Incidentally - The video is below the map - that is to say underneath it. I mean if you scroll down, you can look at the video. Its not very good. Its got frogs.


monks moor



Friday, 19 March 2010

Peebles to Moffat to Peebles

hart fell from ettrick

I thought it might be useful for those taking part in this walk, and those possibly taking part, including anybody who hasn’t answered recent emails who may or may not becoming - (gasp!) – to sum up the arrangements for the walk.

Anybody who isn’t included in the above who may want to give it a bash is welcome to send me an email and let me know… but you might want to consider the details before committing yourself. It may well be, in fact, that many of the participants will wish they’d been committed instead.

In any event, there's a few definates and a bunch of possibles, and a partly probable, so there'll be a small party at least.

upper glen sax

The details:

Saturday 3 April – Meet in the main P&D car park in Moffat between 10:30 and 11:00 am.

Leaving a car or two in Moffat – proceed by car to Peebles and abandon the cars. The police have been asked to advise on safe parking in Moffat.

Have some drinkies in Peebles

Walk from mid to late afternoon

Sunday 4 April – Walk to Megget Stone area

Monday 5 April – Walk to Moffat – evening in Moffat

Note that due to the uncertain nature of who is definately attending, its not been possible to arrange a dinner. We can either play this by ear (ears will be disinfected for this purpose) – or we can try to arrange something before leaving Moffat on the 3rd.

Tuesday 6 April – Walk half a day towards Ettrick

Wednesday 7 April – Possibly camp at Tibbie Shiels Inn

Thursday 8 April – Stagger back to Peebles.

It will be seen from this plan that it will be possible for people to do either Peebles to Moffat or Moffat to Peebles or Peebles to Moffat to Peebles – and, even Tibbie Shiels to Peebles if only one day can be spared (8 April). So its very flexible and leaving cars at both ends of the walk will mean that return transport ought not to be a problem.

A safe(ish) and free parking spot in Peebles has been identified.

The total distance is around 73 miles and the route is fairly high level. The pace will not be blistering.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Ae Fond Kiss



This is a spectacularly beautiful song, sung spectacularly beautifully by Eddie Reader. Poor Nancy , eh? Fair brings a lump, it does.....

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Skiddaw by Ullock Pike

starting the slope up to skiddaw

This was another of Martin Banfield’s collection of Bill Birkett’s Great British Ridge Walks, in this case number 20, Skiddaw by Ullock Pike and descent by Birkett’s Edge.

And what a fine spring morning if a bit fractious on the roads and a bit mizzly and misty at first. But as we (me, Bruno, Graham and Martin) climbed up on to Ullock Pike, the cloud top over Skiddaw gradually cleared and there were sunny patches in the fields below.

skiddaw from ullock pike

Edit: Can you see Jimmy Hendrix in the Skiddaw Screes in the picture above? He's in the snow just above the scree and right in the middle in the top third..... He may have melted by now...

We bagged Carl Side, which Bill Birkett seems to have ignored for some reason, although it does have a very fine view of Keswick and Derwentwater.

From here, the next bit looked tricky. Some people, high up on the slope up to Skiddaw, seemed to be having some difficulty with the steep snow, and a couple with a dog seemed to have turned back. A brief committee meeting was held and it was unanimously agreed in a unanimous kind of way that we’d go for the zig-zag path to the right of where the people were struggling because the snowline was higher, so there’d be less of the slippery stuff. Martin lent me a walking pole and orf we jolly well went. It wasn’t all that difficult, really. The snow was grippy enough and steps didn’t really need to be kicked. Bruno ate much of the snow anyway – so , soon we were on the sunny and snowy summit of Skiddaw.

martin climbing the snow slope

derwentwater below

The snow was thawing quite quickly and it won’t be very long till its retreated just to the edges and the gullies. There were a few small bare patches on the summit.

It was much too cold for sitting around up there, so, we had a break a little down the North side in the sun.

graham at skiddaw trig point

Bakestall and Birketts Edge followed where the supply of snow ran out. In trying to get superdawg to walk to heel instead of pulling me all over the place in search of snowballs and kicked-up snow, we broke our retractable lead. It was a bit old anyway, and so, it looks like Bruno will be getting a new lead and harness for his birthday, whenever we find out what his birthday is. His harness is a bit old and frayed too. We’ll make no mention of the old and frayed nature of the bloke holding the other end of the lead.

skiddaw retrospective

We only got lost a little bit on the way back to the car and I shouldn’t really mention it, so I won’t – and soon, we were back at the car and battling once again with others on the A66.

According to the book, the walk is 13km and 1030 feet of ascent. I could only make it 930 metres though.

Cracking walk – Thanks to Martin once again for the idea and Graham and Martin for the company and thanks a bunch to Bruno for the broken lead.

Stop Press Late Edyte and all that kinda thing.... Martin;s version of this walk can be read here http://phreerunner.blogspot.com/2010/03/tuesday-16-march-2010-great-british.html complete with bonus photo album and a bloke smoking a swiss roll

skiddaw

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Famiss Lakes Potes #3

I wandered lonely as a bee

English Language Prep  (homework) in the Wordsworth household.

Scene 1 Up in William’s bedroom just after tea.

William: I wandered lonely as an apricot

I wandered lonely…as a bee.

I wandered lonely as …a cloud

I wandered….lonely as a…. an eagle

I wandered lonely as a ….frog…..”

Dave “Justamminnit, Bill. Go back a bit..”

William: “ I wandered lonely as a bee?”

Dave": “Yeah, you’re right. What’s this got to do with feckin daffodils anyway?”

William “It has to be in tomorrow”

Dave “Do it on the bus. Top of the Pops is on in a minute”

 

Monday, 15 March 2010

Surveying Heights of British Hills

cymru4  tryfan and nant y benlog

And other hillwalking subjects featured on Youtube……..

Below is the text of an email I just received, forwarded to me by Bill Gallon. The subject is British Hills on Youtube, in particular the surveys on heights of hills recently carried out by John Barnard and Graham Jackson. The text is written by Myrddyn Phillips and, I suppose, its a kind of viral methid of passing on the message. In particular, there’s a link to a Myrddyn Phillips Youtube video about the proposed surveying of the height of Tryfan, which may or may not be above 3000 feet. Or not.

Anyway – without more ado (as they say…) – here’s the message:

Four months ago I set up a YouTube channel dedicated towards various things associated with the British hills.  Many people involved with the Hillwalkers Register may have accessed the uploaded clips already, for those who haven't, they can be found by inputting 'Myrddyn Phillips' in the YouTube search window.  I hope some of the clips you find are of interest.

As of Monday the 15th of March, a second YouTube channel has been created, this is dedicated towards the surveying activities of John Barnard, Graham Jackson and myself.  Many of our recent surveys have resulted in reclassifications within some of the major listings of British hills, including some represented in the Hillwalkers Register.  This second YouTube channel can be accessed directly via http://www.youtube.com/user/GandJSurveys#p/a/u/0/hs0MSxa3zuQ or by inputting 'GandJSurveys' in the YouTube search window.  This second channels introduction deals with our next surveying project, this concerns one of the most iconic mountains in Britain, which may not be all that its current map height suggests.

For more information on this project please access 'GandJSurveys' on YouTube and / or tune into the BBC regional Welsh news programme 'Wales Today' between 6.30pm - 7.00pm this evening, Monday the 15th of March.  All will then be revealed.

Kind regards and many thanks to Andrew for sending this email on my behalf.

Myrddyn Phillips.

 

So there you are. Is Tryfan a 3000 foot top or not? 

Is my face bovvered?

Click the link – You know you want to, really….

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Kinder Edge and Chinley Churn

walkers climbing up to kinder

On the occasion of the English version of the TGO Challenge Annual gathering at The Snake Inn in Derbyshire during which I camped in the Akto on some tilted soggy stuff and skilfully avoided the walk arranged by the Arranger Alan Hardy. His idea of a 14 mile walk through the Pennine Tussocks And Bogs plus thawing snow in 6 hours put me off a bit, and, in the event, proved optimistic.

So, I wandered off lonely as a cloud, not seeing any yellow flowers at all – and followed Fair Brook (which could have been Lairig Fairbrook according to the rocky/snowy/misty conditions) – up on to Kinder Edge, which I followed Westwards till it met the Pennine Way.

lairig fair brook the edge 1

the edge 2 the edge 3

There was hill fog and a cold wind and lots of snow. The mist eventually lifted to reveal the usual drab Pennine moorland stuff and, as this is the Derbyshire Peak, there was no shortage at all of other walkers. Quite a bunch, in fact, on the Pennine Way.

The Pennine Way, which is normally a line of paving slabs, was, just then, a line of frozen slush – impossible to walk on with any kind of dignity. Any attempt at increasing the pace on this potentially easier going just resulted in cartoon-like revolving feet and a graceful exit left into the snowy bog.

pennine way mill hill blocked path

As planned, I cut down Doctor’s gate into Lady Clough and followed this past the piles of debris from cars on the main road that had come to grief, into the woods, which were blocked by landslipped fallen trees at a few points.

It must be said, that the standard of driving on The Snake road must be pretty poor to result in this amount of car carnage. there are bumpers and dashboards and windscreens all over the place. Maybe its for the best. Weed out the weakest links – that sort of thing. It is just Nature, after all.

In the forest I met Martin and Sue Banfield coming nthe other way. they fed me briefly on Caramel Shortcake and did their best to cheer me up, but I was soon back at the Snake where a couple of pints of Guiness put me in the mood for a pre-dinner snooze in the tent. I made sure not to empty the bladder before retiring, just to ensure an early wake-up call to avoid missing any of the festivities…..

Which were grand. There were many other TGO/bloggers there who, no doubt will be reporting on the bash – and so, I will gloss over it ..with some gloss. Be soothed, though, with the thought that there was, in fact, plenty of scoff to be had, enough booze and various TGO-type-gossip-type-tall tales.

And then it was Sunday.

chinley churn to kinder

I had a quick visit to Chinley Churn – a smallish quarried edge with a cracking view of Kinder, just above the unremarkable village of Chinley. Its a nice, short walk with plenty of company again. The actual summit is difficult to get to, though and some combined tactics involving a wobbly wall with wire netting, barbed wire and an electric fence before the view from the trig can be enjoyed. The map is grossly inaccurate here and shows a footpath crossing and recrossing the wall. Hah! Nothing of the sort. Its a figleaf of the Ordnance Survey Office Friday night pre-Christmas, just finish the bugger off so we can all go home thing.

chinley churn quarried scarp

Then I went home.

There are no maps of these adventures because I can’t find the CD with the Midlands on it, and these walks are in the Midlands.

But I did 10 miles and 1500 feet on the first walk and 3 miles and 500 feet on the second one.

Thanks to Alan hardy for organising the “do” and its a “hello” to all the TGO challenger-types who were there. I won’t do a list.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Chance Meetings Up The Deerness

Time to let bygones be bygones and put all thoughts of timber extraction and disposal into the past as so much water under the bridge – and go for a walk.

Today’s trundle was pretty much decided by the fact that the knipemobile has no petrol in it and the pension isn’t paid into my account till Friday (Don;t worry, though, I’ll “borrow” a bit for tomorrow night’s quiz at the King’s which, if past performance is anything to go by will be substantially funded by our winnings)

Speaking of Winnings – It was, in fact, Esh Winning which was one of the objects of our desires today.

distant snows - crook co durham

And so, in bright spring sunshine, I saddled up the dog and wandered off up the Deerness Valley line, taking pretty much the same route to Willington as I did on the previous walk I had to Bishop Auckland in the snow. In fact, it was exactly the same route.

crook aka blogtown

The hills were green again, or, at least, brown, but in the distance, I could see snow on the Pennines and, in fact, I could make out a very white Killhope Law today – right over on the Cumbrian border.

lambs

In Willington, we turned our toes towards Durham and joined the Bishop-Brandon railway walk which starts just by the Co-op. fast progress ought to be had on this walk as its very easy underfoot and there’s not much in the way of hills. But, its very popular with dog walkers, plump girls trying to get fit discretely and cyclists, and Durham being Durham, a fair proportion of these are up for a brief chat. Even cyclists on occasion would dismount to expound on what nice weather it is and could they borrow the dog to pull the bike.

deerness valley

A collie pup submitted to Bruno and wriggled around in the self-effacing way that only collies do very well – and it’s owner apologised for the entanglement of leads – and we had a chat.

Another dog walker exclaimed that Bruno looked the spitting image of a dog called Candy wot lived in her village. And so, you can see, that progress wasn’t quite as quick as expected.

Luckily, as we drew closer to Durham city where there were lunchtime joggers, the passers-by grew relatively more surly and didn’t want to talk. But after lunch, when we turned our attentions in the direction of Esh Winning, we were back in chatland.

waterhouses

And then I saw a figure approaching – gesticulating in a kind of Papal kind of way. It was Alan – the chap I last walked with on our Licking of The Tongue – back in the dim past – an early blog entry for this blogger.

So we had a long chat. A very long chat. he was walking from Crook to Durham. We resolved to have another walk soon…

This is perhaps not so unlikely in County Durham, as it happens. There aren’t as many as six degrees of separation in Durham. Its more like two or three…

But anyway, after half an hour or so, we pressed on in our respective directions and , after a few more chats, I arrived at Waterhouses and began the long climb over the hill to Crook.

brown fields and trees

What I did find slightly odd was a pile of, apparently, recently washed clothes – shirts, jeans, a furry jacket – dumped in the forest above Waterhouses. I mean ter say – its an effort bringing a bag of clothes out into a fairly remote spot and chucking it into the woods. Why not just put them in the bin for the binmen to collect? Peculiar….

dumped clothes

This walk is, perhaps, not the most interesting. The countryside is pretty enough, and in Deerness Valley, where it’s well wooded, it can be beautiful. The interest lies more in the people using the pathways. Otherwise, it can be a plod. When it gets to plod time, the best we can do is to let our thoughts wander. Bruno employed his brain cells in locating and carrying sticks – occasionally chewing one up before finding another.

bruno has a stick

I was trying to think of Beatles song titles in social networking new speak or new spell – but the only one I could come up with was “I should of known better”

So – A competition. Beatles song titles in internet newspeak.

Happiness is a warm gun (IMHO)

I’ll try to think of a prize…. a pet log, perhaps…

I ought to of done better, really.

Anyway, the walk was 18 miles and 1300 feet of uphill.

deerness