Sunday, 23 September 2018

Addingham to Harrogate 22/09/18

17.5 miles, via West Hall, Low Moor, Langbar Moor, Middleton Moor Enclosure, 
 Gawk Hall Gate, Blubberhouses Moor, Gill Becks plantation, Beecroft Moor plantation, 
  Fewston Dam, Wydra, Penny Pot Lane, Knabs Ridge, Uniacke & Hildebrand Barracks, 
   Oakdale, and Low Harrogate. 

Now that Summer 2018 is consigned to history, and Autumn is underway, it's time to get back on the trail as I've got five walks that I definitely want to get done before this year's walking season runs out, and getting them fitted into eight weekends could be a challenge if the weather persists with its run of mediocrity and my wavering will to walk continues. I'd brought two walks to this weekend's plan, either traversing or transiting the Washburn Valley, and I'm going with the latter of those as the traverse requires a Sunday trip and the meteorological projection gave us a severe weather warning for it (which definitively hasn't come to pass, I might add), and thus we set course for the transit, as I'd noted a blank spot that ought to have been covered in my Wharfe to Nidd trips, and needs to be done this year as I'm not planning to walk again in this Lower Wharfedale company again for a while. So the X84 bus is ridden out to the top left corner of West Yorkshire for a not too early start from Addingham, disembarking at the Memorial Hall at 10.15am, hopeful that a later jump off might give the clouds a chance to dispiate to give us the sunny spells sort of day that we'd been promised, but all looks grey as we trace steps among the suburbia that has grown and blended in one of the county's most desireable dormitories, soon passing off Main Street and away from the shadow of Rombald's Moor, and joining Church Street and Bark Lane to pass through the oldest and prettiest corner of the village. Soon find the steep and angled path that leads down the wooded riverbank to pass over the suspension bridge over the Wharfe, and then head northwards across the riverside meadow under the shade of trees and beside the channel of the descending beck as we roll up on the complex of farm buildings and cottages at West Hall, finally breaking off from the path we've previously walked up to Beamsley Beacon when we meet the road, hitting an angled rise across the fields at the start of a 150m ascent up to the moorlands. The cows in the lower fields keep their distance but the sheep in the plots beyond get overly startled as I seek the path through the wooded cleft that contains the suggestion of another descending beck, and then it's on, uphill though the tree cover and into the rough pasture beyond, aiming uphill to a field corner to meet the enclosed green track that rises up from Nesfield, a path that's harder to find than you'd expect, despite its prominence on the map. We can look back to see Addingham spread out below at Wharfedale's angle, and up to the Beacon as it looms over the valley as we rise on, but the route to the moor is well concealed as we go, only becoming apparent as we enter the open fields of livestock below Moorcroft Farm, home to a lot more sheep that we will have to shoo away as we join the track and driveway around it to meet the lowest portion of the Low Moor.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Rumination: The End of Summer

Again, the Following is For Reference Only.

Remember Summer? and that hot blast of weather that lasted all the way from the top of the year to the end of July? when it felt like we might have lasting high temperatures and drought conditions previously unseen in our lifetimes? which made our working environments hellish but still provided days inspiring enough to head out to walk distant trails despite the risks of moorland fire and induced dehydration? Those days seem hopelessly far away now as we roll on to The End of Summer, which I had once considered my second favourite time of the year after the glorious days of May, which has lately come to be regarded as the time of the year when my inspiration levels fall off and I have to start revising my plans for the late season as I begin to run out of available weekends to use as the legs and brain feel the appeal of walking waning badly. My na├»ve and much younger walking self of six years ago was ready to use this weekend to start on five legs of the Calderdale Way, which seems a bizarre choice when regarded at this remove, while my contemporary, and supposedly more organised, self is looking at how to fill the remaining weeks of the year before my will to walk falls away or the weather gets too poor for me to want to be outside at all. It's all been a bit of a rough turn since August rolled around, as it feel like I've had a whole bunch of rum walking days as the weather turned to a more familiar atmosphere of constant inconsistency, though the continually unacknowledged truth of the matter is that across the period  I've had four good days out against three mediocre-to-poor ones. I guess that the inconsistent weather has left me with the feeling of it being cold and dull over the last seven weeks, when the reality has been that it has been wholly average, and my mood has been hampered more by my failures to get organised, by changing my walking plans for August which caused the delay and then cancellation of plans for six trips of traipsing around in Malhamdale. Still, you find me in particularly glum mood as the last weekend of Summer comes around, feeling ground down by the external pressures that have descnded during the last season, and not finding much in my personal, family or working lives that have brought me much joy, or will do in the immediate futrure, and when wedded to the aspects of the wider world, it gets me feeling anxious, that if I feel this bad now, how on Earth am I going to feel when I've got to face a three month traverse through The Dark Season?

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Leicestershire Round #7 - Sutton Cheney to Newtown Linford 05/09/18

17.1 miles, via Bosworth Park, Market Bosworth, Carlton, Shackerstone (station),  Odstone, 
 Nailstone, Bagworth, Thornton (Mill & Reservoir), Markfield, and John's Lee Wood.

Long Distance Trail means 
Selfies! #7 at the Hercules 
Revived, Sutton Cheney.
A relatively chilled couple of days drop in between my trekking days, with nothing more active than having My Sister and her family drop by for lunch while passing through on a cross country jaunt, and getting My Parents over to the church dinner club the following day, knowing that the gardening exploits are due once my walking days are finished, so I feel decently recharged once my second 17 mile jaunt of my Down Country break comes around. Unfortunately, after six clear runs to my start points on the Round, the seventh and final one is the longest trip of all, which forces us through Leicester's morning rush hour traffic, preventing a very early start and meaning that we don't get our jump off in Sutton Cheney until 9.05am, with the skies suggesting coming blueness in the west, but general grey pudding hanging over the rest of the county. Depart from the Hercules Revived public house (a name I really can't get enough of), and roll up Main Street, through a village that would surely glow red on a sunnier day thanks to all it construction in brick, passing the Old Hall that is plainly the most impressive structure in the village, running up as far as the Royal Arms Hotel, the other village pub that has a sideline as an actual hotel complex, and our route passes through its car park and into the fields beyond. Trace a bunch of boundaries as we tack to the northwest, which will be our trajectory for the next 5 miles, noting that we are passing though enclosures that were growing beans, judging by the quantity still on the ground post-harvest, rising towards Spring Wood and Woodhouse farm whilst feeling a light regret that the Round doesn't pass through Cadeby, a mile or so inside its path, where the Reverend Teddy Boston used to famously operate a narrow gauge railway in the Rectory Garden. The path leads us into Bosworth Park, once the extensive parklands of Bosworth Hall, seat of local benefactors, and general oddballs, the Dixie family, where we follow a tree lined avenue that leads among the open meadows and small spinneys, still looking the same as the would've a century ago,  for a solid half mile before we arrive in the public park at the top end. Meet the local exercisers and strollers here as our route tracks around the shaded memorial garden and the Bow Pool before meeting the open parklands as we run in towards Rectory Lane, with both Bosworth Hall and St Peter's church just beyond the passage of the Round path as we enter Market Bosworth.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Leicestershire Round #6 - Frolesworth to Sutton Cheney 02/09/18

17.2 miles, via Claybrooke Magna, Claybrooke Parva, High Cross, Fosse Way, 
 Fosse Meadows, Sharnford, Aston Flamville, Burbage (Wood & Common), Barwell, 
  Odd House, Ashby Canal, Sutton Wharf, Ambion Wood, and Bosworth Battlefield.

Long Distance Trail means Selfies!
#6 at St Nicholas's, Frolesworth.
After my long weekend away in Wharfedale and a gratifyingly short week back in work, we can set our sights on the last holiday of the Summer, heading Down Country once more with August already receding into memory and all intentions set on getting the Leicestershire Round completed, with the two longest and most distant days still to go, trips that I had worried might prove to be logistically unfeasible due to the travel durations necessary to get to my start lines. We need not have worried though, as My Dad can be left to nap of a morning without great risk, and maximum flexibility can be gained from starting out as early as possible, not that I'm entirely sure that My Mum is entirely enamoured with having to get the Parental Taxi fired up for a departure from home at 7.15am, so that the trail might be joined again at St Nicholas's church in Frolesworth at 7.55am, which is easily the earliest I've started out, and the day's sunshine has already come on, for which I'm immensely grateful after last Sunday's damp debacle. Away on Main Street we go, past the gates of the Rectory to the corned by the now absent Royal Oak inn, taking a southerly track as we set course for the Heart of Roman England, down a grassy track that leads onto a field walk, seeing the village recede rapidly, but making sure to note the Dutch Barn at Manor Farm, a modern office building that looks exactly like an open barn stacked with straw bales, the sort of modern design that should be replicated in every rural redevelopment. Our path rises, gently, up towards Hill Farm, aside plots of corn and across the recently harvested wheat fields, before cresting by the equestrian grounds and then declining through open plots before shifting into rougher fields, where I'm greeted along the way by a farm worker and her enthusiastically yappy dogs, and I continue to enjoy the warm morning sun as we field walk to Frolesworth Lane and then hot foot it over to Claybrooke Mill, secluded away in its own little spinney. Trailing around the West Riding moorlands can make you unprepared for regularly rural Midlands landscapes, with its many stiles, ditches and plank bridges, and they will become the testing features of the day as we progress, across recently ploughed fields and enclosures full of docile cows, as we lead over to Claybrooke Magna, one of a Leicestershire pair which seems to have the majority of the modern suburban houses in it, apt to it's 'large' name, which our track only sees a corner of, on Bell Street.