Sunday, 24 September 2017

Harrogate to Apperley Bridge 23/09/17

15 miles, via The Stray, Oatlands, Fulwith, Pannal, Huby, Riffa, Pool (Bridge & Bank),
 Old Bramhope, Leeds & Bradford Airport, Yeadon, and Rawdon.

Boots #6 (!) are ready to roll.
Well, it's definitely been a while since I last got on the trail, inactivity and no big mileage gain in September certainly doesn't feel right, especially as the End of Summer is usually one of my favourite times of the year, and so we start to focus on the late season trails and just how many more days we can get out on the trail before the walking season becomes too difficult to maintain, through factors internal and external. A few word of explanation for this unduly long break before we get going again, as My Parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary needed several days of celebration whilst I was down in Leicestershire, both before and after my last trek, and it was an absolute delight to get the family and friends together to give them a celebration which had looked like a bit of a tenuous proposition for a while, but we all made it and good times were had, of which more will be said when my 2017 summation comes around. Also this period coincided with one of those headcolds that lingers in your throat and sinuses for a solid 8 days without ever taking a firm grip that forces you to take time out, but ensures that trying to work through it will be especially tough, not what you need when you know that the work pile at the hospital will have probably grown in your absence. So when the next walking day comes around, the will to walk was there, waking with the alarm and pondering how long of a lie-in could be had before having to travel, before the body decided that it would be more useful to stay in bed to see if any more sleep could be had, and 5 hours later an answer to that thought could be found. Now we're ready to go again, and with new boots, pair #6 (!), to be broken in on the trail, as pair #5 have approached their expiration date and have been left behind in Leicester so I don't have to take a pair with me every time I travel down country, and so let's get the late season underway, hopeful that these Mountain Warehouse Breacons will do me right as we symbolically move out of the High Season fields of North Yorkshire and back to the more familiar territories of West Yorkshire as the Summer comes to an end.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Leicester to Loughborough 06/09/17

16.1 miles, via Frog Island, Abbey, Stocking Farm, Leicester North, Mowmacre Hill,
 Thurcaston, Rothley, Swithland, Woodhouse, Quorn, Woodthorpe, & Charnwood Water.

No Late Summer Jollies away this year, as we are instead Down Country to celebrate My Parents' Golden Wedding Anniversary, and after the exertions of the last walking weekend and a frankly harsh four day week, I could be forgiven for not wanting to walk at all when my nine day break comes around, but that would be a foolish choice to make, with 3,000 miles on the immediate horizon, and so we fit in one day to wander at the mid point of the week, tidily accommodated amongst everything else that's going on. I do seem to have spent a lot of my blogging life lamenting the industry and the railways that we have lost over the last half century and more, and so to make a change, we will today take a more positive approach and go in search of the Great Central Railway, both former and preserved, between Leicester and Loughborough, because as of this very week, exciting developments are afoot, and probably demand my immediate attention while I have another landmark to attain in my walking career. To the Town then, bussing it out to give the Parental Taxi another break, starting out, as so many days used to in Leicester, from the Clock Tower at 9.05am, with our long and meandering path setting off down High Street, rapidly away from the shops that haven't even opened yet, to the High Cross, and on to St Nicholas's Church on the far side of the Inner Ring road, a location that seems to always turn up on my city walks regardless of where I'm headed. Detour to Great Central Street to start the railway exploration proper, at the site of Leicester Central station, active from 1899 to 1969, it's still largely intact, probably because it would be too hard to demolish, and we keep on hearing of the redevelopment plans for it, but for now it still hosts light industrial units within and upon, high above street level. Press north to meet the A50 across the canal and Frog Island, still a largely industrial quarter, taking the turn onto Slater Street to catch the sole section of viaduct that endures, standing tall in blue bricks up to the edge of the River Soar, and it hurts my mind to think that there used to be so much more of it, having not been demolished along with its many bridges until 1980, on measure, one of those sights that I'm really glad I didn't witness in person.