View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Walkies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Walkies. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

The Mawdesley Jubilee Trail, 17th June 2020

A Covid-19 expedition

This was two birds / one stone exercise – a drive to Leyland to pick up some bits to repair my (usually) trusty petrol hedge-trimmer, and a short, 8-ish mile walk around a pretty, but flat, area of central Lancashire with Jill – baker of rather excellent chocolate muffins, and triathlete of some fame.
Note to self: need to up my game, scones just don’t hack it against a baker of such expertise.
I collected my hedge-trimmer bits and headed down pleasant rural lanes to the village of Mawdesley, a few miles south of Leyland (home of Beryl the Peril).
The route was one I’d had my eye on for some time, but it was a long way to drive for such a short walk, so when the excuse to do it arose I grasped it with both hands.

There’s not a great deal to say about the route really – It flat, really quite pleasant, there were some waymarks, although not enough not to carry a map, and there’s a car park at the start at Mawdesley Village Hall. Oh, and a wind-farm.
I successfully navigated out of my paper bag the car park and headed out of the village on lovely dry paths. 

About the wind-farm:  well it was a bit little, just 3 wind turbines, planted on what was presumably the highest part of the area. In such a flat expanse the choice of site was, er, limited. Still, their presence shows some enthusiasm for green(ish) energy in the locale.
The day was hot and sticky. Cedar Farm’s goodies shop was out of stock of ice cream – a delivery of the cold stuff wasn’t due in until the following day. I considered waiting, but had second thoughts….

We scooted round the route in around 3½ hours, including an extended scone / chocolate muffin / coffee stop. I didn’t take many photos, no particular reason, I just didn’t

So that was it. Jill had to whizz off to do some swimming and I had to get home to mend my hedge-trimmer and join a Zoom meeting of musicians.
All in all it was an excellent day.
And my hedge-trimmer works again.

The Map:

My route

Viewranger route details.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

September 2018 Pt3

The end of the Camino – sort of.

Before leaving Santiago we decided to do the touristy thing: a day coach trip to Finisterre, or Fisterra, or The End of The Earth.

In Roman times Cape Finisterre was once believed to be the end of the known earth – hence it’s name, meaning the end of the earth.

For Norman (aged 80¼): Cape Finisterre lighthouse

About as close to the End of the Earth as you can get

This is a popular tourist spot – everyone wants to visit the End of the Earth!

The sun was beating down in all it’s gloriousness, drenching the azure sea with it’s rays. The weather just couldn’t have been better.

Rob in posing mode


A few more photos from our day trip to the seaside:

The Rio Xallas is the only European river that flows into the sea via a waterfall. This is that waterfall. Cool eh?

Typical Spanish Niche cemetery

The longest Hórreo in the world. Probably.

For Norman (aged 77¼): another lighthouse

Rumbles of disquiet in the ranks

So that was our trip to Spain, it was good – although not tough or challenging….apart from on the very hot days. We finished the Via de La Plate Camino which had been a lot of fun, very interesting, and quite uplifting in a funny, kind of way.

Many who do the Camino routes are pilgrims in the religious sense and they clearly get a lot out of completing the journey. I really is a religious experience for them.

I found many of the churches (when they were unlocked) to be beautiful inside. It wasn’t unusual to find a pilgrim on their knees, praying in one of the open churches on the route.

There are some who travel a Camino because it’s something that’s currently ‘in vogue’. These folks sometimes use baggage courier service to carry their heavy stuff from overnight stop to overnight stop.

We met loads of lovely people, saw some wonderful sights – both natural and man-made, drank loads of fizzy beer (or in Rob’s case, fizzy beer AND wine), and ate some wonderful food.

Like I said, it was good….although I’m undecided as to whether I’ll do another Camino – there a loads!

There are a few reasons for this indecision:

a) The walks aren’t particularly challenging – in fact there’s often significant amounts of tarmac.

b) They’re becoming commercialised – I noticed a significant  increase in the levels of commercialisation from when I started walking in Spain in 2014, to date.

c) Bloody Brexit. If BoJo and his band of followers get there way it’s going to make European travel messy, to say nothing of losing our entitlement to healthcare in Europe.

Also, nothing embarrasses me more, as an Englishman, when I have to explain the folly of ‘the will of the people’ to folks who think we’re quite barmy.

They’re right, of course – but I try hard to point out that I only have half a dozen or so friends who voted ‘Leave’….or at least admit to voting that way, and that our electorate was so blatantly lied to by ….well, I won’t go on, I’ll just get a headache.

Let’s just say there are a lot of gullibles out there….although there are some (two friends in particular) who have a perfectly valid reasons for wanting to leave – and that is absolutely fine. 


Then we went to Portugal, but that’s in the next posting.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

September 2018 Pt1

Via de la Plata from Ourense to The End
We left Ourense in the not-very-early(ish) morning, the day was forecast to be very hot so we wanted to get a move on.

Ourense is known for it’s knockers
We breakfasted on coffee and a bocadillo each at a roadside cafe, after which we followed footpaths and very quiet country lanes for a good few miles. And even more kilometers.
A tired hórreo
No idea
To Cea….and a most magnificent lunch:
 …at a very odd but very welcoming eatery that not only served excellent food, but also Scalextric sets, and quite a lot of other stuff that you’d not expect to see in a restaurant!
Leaving the restaurant behind was something of a struggle, we more than full which made for even slower walking.
We were now heading to our bed for the night at the Cistercian monastary at Oseira.
The monastary was very large and very old, it dates back to the 12th Century. Sadly it only housed 11 monks – I wonder how long it can continue with such low numbers. In days gone by I expect it would have been home to 100+.
On approach to the monastary

The monastary albergue:

Our digs for the night – it would easily sleep 60+
The dorm had showers and a washing machine. It felt damp and was unheated – it wouldn’t have been much fun in the winter. In busy periods it wouldn’t have been particularly restful, every burp and fart echoed around the cavernous hall.
We attended Vespers in the evening – a quiet affair with maybe 20 – 25 in attendance.
A few more photographs of the monastary:

Rob leaving the monastary and looking for breakfast
There was nowhere near for breakfast next morning, so we were away for around 7am and so began a search for food….and coffee.
Anyway, enough of this drivel, here’s some photos from this next section of our walk into Santiago de Compostela:

For Alan R:
Our bedroom in the albergue that night:

More to follow in Pt2

Monday, 1 April 2019

Walking with(out) Wainwright 8th March 2019

What the LDWA website says:
'Wainwright's Way is a journey on foot through Alfred Wainwright's life from Lancashire to the Lakes. This walking guide charts a 126 mile long-distance route linking the place where he was born - a Victorian terraced house in Audley Range, Blackburn - with his final resting place on Haystacks, his heavenly corner of Lakeland.'

What the Long Suffering Rick said:
'Fancy a walk?'

The answer was obvious, so at 7.30am on a gloomy Friday morning Rick and I headed north to Whalley to meet up with Bella, Stuart and Pete. We five jumped on the train to Blackburn and then walked back to Whalley to where we'd left our cars. 

It took a bit of mucking about with maps and things to find our way out of Blackburn train station to get to Alf's house but we eventually managed it.

This first bit of the walk was very disappointing. The town was filthy, rubbish and excess apostrophe's were littered all over the place. 'Mucky' doesn't come close.

We stopped outside Alf's old house for a quick photo-shoot but Bella was a bit camera-shy.

 L>R: Pete, Long Suffering, Bella, Stuart

Examples of Blackburn's muckiness:

 Interesting use (or lack of use) of Blackburns apostrophe's:


After a couple of miles of walking the streets of Blackburn we escaped the muckiness and headed north-ish along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath. The path led us past old and new industries: dilapidated mills and modern offices - probably call-centres.

Bella...with part of a tree:

Leaving the towpath around Rishton, we continued north-ishly, following a mix of muddy paths, muddier farm tracks and bits of tarmac.

I spotted this sign on the side of a large farm shed, it brought back memories of my G2CSR and G3 Matchlesses from years ago.

Up until now we'd managed to walk without waterproofs but darkening skies and mizzling rain (the sort that soaks you through) had us digging out our overtrousers.    

 On the Lancashire Way, close to Dean Clough Reservoir

A few lumpy bits of ground presented themselves, some through woodland, others on tarmac.

Descending to cross the River Calder, we were soon back amongst the busy-ness of modern life.

The River Calder

 The weather and the lack of anywhere to sit meant that we were back in Whalley having not eaten. We wandered through the town and the churchyard, searching in vain for shelter.

What I did find were some doors that Rob might find interesting:

Rob has a thing about doors. He's famous for his photographs of them. Really.

All of this wasn't helping us find somewhere to eat.

A bus shelter, with those horrible seats that have you sliding off, was the only shelter we could find - it had to suffice. Butties and fresh scones (made that morning) were scoffed, all washed down with coffee. Fortunately no buses came by.

Unusually, we didn't bother with a pub stop. It was Friday afternoon and the traffic would be quite daft so we (damply) headed off home.

It had been a pleasant day of gentle walking. It was very sad to see the poor state of Blackburn - it certainly didn't encourage you to tarry.

Whalley, on the other hand, just up the road, is a charming village, filled with historic buildings, characterful shops and lovely cafes and restaurants. And pubs. Obv.

Chalk and cheese. Such a shame.

Where we went (south to north):

Around 11 miles. It was good. Apart from Blackburn. and not going to the pub.

We're now plotting the next section, it's looks like it's going to be a long-ish one.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Thor's and other caves, Sunday 3rd March 2019

A very, very nice bunch of outdoorsy-types had issued an invitation to join them on a gentle bimble in the Derbyshire Dales. Well, it might have been considered rude not to join them...

Many of the group had camped out the previous night and were suffering, ever so slightly, from the effects of a rather late night - and maybe one too many lime & sodas.

At 10am the group, ably led by Ally,  headed north up Dovedale, visiting some of the more accessible caves in the valley. Some of the less hung-over members of the group managed to squeeze into orifices that really weren't designed to be squeezed into.

Reports may well appear on Trip Adviser...'these caves are too small.....we weren't warned....there were no was too wet...there wasn't a cafe' etc.

Whatever, this being limestone country, AND it had been raining, the ground was often very slippy. I was the only walker with poles....and probably the only walker with a mud-free backside at the end of the day.

Our merry band swooped on Milldale's purveyor of pies, pasties, sausage rolls and coffee - it did a roaring trade as we attempted to buy up anything that was edible.

Suitably fortified, and many of the group looking decidedly less green, we wandered off westwards, towards our designated lunchtime rehydration stop.

The Royal Oak in Wetton provided warmth, dryness, beer and much sitting-down-ness. This was a Good Thing, giving many of the group the chance to get to know one another a little better.
It was good.

Whilst in the pub the heavens decided to do what heavens often seem to do best. Fortunately we were all well prepared for the wetness. Whilst it was wet it certainly wasn't cold.

Next stop was the declared object of the expedition: Thor's Cave. The entrance to the cave was very wet, very bare polished slippy-slidy limestone. I've explored the caves previously and didn't feel the need to risk life and limb on the ice-rink-like ground. I sat outside, ate my butties and had a hot drink

The group's exit from the cave was hilarious - many bums were bruised and muddied in vain attempts to retain some level of dignity and verticalness. Bum-sliding ended up being the most popular method of getting out. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough with my camera to catch the most spectacular exits!

We returned to Wetton and then headed a bit east of south, following the general course of the rather beautiful Manifold Valley, back to Ilam. The grassy ground was often quite slippy-slidy too, more walkers found themselves skating around on the muddy ground....adding to the muddy-bum numbers.

Some had muddy faces too! 


 A blurry Thorpe Cloud

Back in Ilam, the Izaak Walton Hotel was designated as the final refreshment stop of the walk - not for me though, I needed to get back home.

I managed to wash the mud from my boots and gaiters by sloshing around in the shallows of the river running adjacent to the car-park. After a quick cuppa in the car I headed for home, getting back just after 7pm.

A cracking day out with great, fun company - rather reminiscent of the old Outdoors Magic meets. I loo forward to the next one.

Thanks to Ally for organising, Amanda for getting muddier than most (I have the photos but I simply DAREN'T publish them!) and everyone else for their good company...and all the laughs of course :-)

Where we went (anticlockwise):

Around 22km with (according to Memory Map) 700m of ascent....I'm not too sure about the accuracy of that last figure though.  

More photographs here

Photos taken using either an old and weatherproof Olympus mju400 (when it was raining) and a Lumix TZ70....when it wasn't.

Socially distanced music session. 24th June 2020

…with cake! Ed kindly offered the use of his back garden to sit and play music whilst maintaining a safe and sensible distance from one...