Kentmere Round

1 June, 2016


Piggy and I had two fantastic days out last weekend, the first of which was around the Kentmere Horseshoe.

Lots of pics on Flickr here.

Exploring locally — Fabulous day!

15 May, 2016


On the approach to Great Coum

When Piglet and I walk locally with pals who are far more familiar than us with the local landscape I often point to lovely hills in the distance and ask what they are. An interesting hill just to the left (as we observe them) of Ingleborough and Whernside has often been identified as Leck Fell, and yesterday Piggly and I decided to go and take a look.

I was a little worried when I scouted out the walk on Quo because there were several references to This, That and The Other farm, and so I was concerned that we might meet packs of ravaging collies. I was also a little afraid that we might find our progress blocked by fields full of monstrous cows. Despite that, though, Piglet persuaded me to give it a go yesterday morning, and so we set off for Ireby with our hearts in our mouths. Mine, anyway…

The route

The route

Leck, Great Coum, Bullpot Details

The details

Happily, it turned out to be a walk of exceptional beauty, and we encountered no aggressive or unwelcoming creatures at any stage. We didn’t start until 11am, but even with lots of dawdling and photo-breaks we were finished by 6pm, with plenty of time for me to stop and buy a pizza on the way home.

Today we walked from home with our pals, and when we stopped and looked over towards the Dales I recognised Leck Fell and the route that we explored yesterday. It felt good, and I look forward to further expeditions in the direction of Barbondale.

I also took the opportunity to play with the new camera, of course, and managed to get a lovely piccy of a wee hoverfly homing in on a head of Bugle.

Hover Fly 2

Bugle with hoverfly

I love it when unexpected wee creatures show up on my piccies 🙂

There are lots of other photos here for anybody who might like to look at them.

Sunny woodland walk from home

8 May, 2016

Gorse and mayfly

Piggle and I had a fab walk in the woods today with our pals Linda, John and Poppy. The bluebells are out, and we went to see them.


A bluebell


Lots of bluebells!


Photographing bluebells


Poppy in the bluebells

There were lots of other lovely things in the woods as well.

Wood sorrell & bluebells

Wood sorrel


Lovely grasses

Gorse and mayfly

Wee mayfly rising to the beautiful gorse next to the river


Garlic, Horsetail and wee spider


Pretty thing


Lovely snail


More garlic

Piglet and Poppy both enjoyed a dip in the river.

Piglet cooling down

Piglet cooling off


Poppy swimming

And it was lovely to be able to sit in the first truly warm sunshine of the year.


Poppy, John and Linda

More pics here for anyone who’d like to see them.

Ingleborough Two Ways

25 April, 2016
The First Ascent

The First Ascent

The forecast was for a cloudy day, but it was raining as Piglet and I set off for Ingleton in the car 😦

Things soon looked up, though. By the time we reached the top of Ingleborough for the first time it was snowing, and as we crossed the plateau towards our first descent the wind was blowing a bit of a hoolie and the step was shrouded in low-lying cloud!

First descent

First descent

As we slipped down towards Nick Pot the sun began to make fleeting appearances, and the rain that I’d been concerned about didn’t return. Phew!

Piglet and I love the Dales. We like to do a hill or two, but we don’t want to walk the same route every time. This one was a variation on the one we walked two weeks ago with pals, but this time, at Clapham Bottoms, we turned right and climbed back up via what felt, by that time in the day, like the implausibly steep snout of Little Ingleborough. Quo tells me we walked a little over 12 miles, but yesterday I was tired and it felt much further.

The route

The route

The info

The info

When we reached the top again it was sunny but freezing, and we stopped for a welcome break at the shelter and shared a flapjack and a flask of coffee as we chatted with three young blokes who were boiling up a brew.

This was my first opportunity to properly try out my new Panasonic Lumix GX7 camera (whoohoo!). I plan to learn to use it properly — f stops and all that — but today we mainly used the IA setting and played with a few of the artistic filtery things.


Monochrome Tree


Sepia Sheep

When I saw the rain as we were about to set off I almost turned round and went back into the house. As we ambled happily along the beautiful little green lane between Long Scar and Trow Gill, though, I was horrified to think that we nearly hadn’t been there. It was an excellent walk on a gorgeous day of enormous contrasts.

Green lane

Green lane

It’s become a bit of a tradition, now, for Piglet to eat a tub of scrummy wet dog food mixed up with her kribble when we return from a good day out, and as she settled to her rawhide chew in front of the fire I tucked away an enormous pizza.

More piccies here for anybody who would like to look.


Epic day out in Forest of Bowland

18 April, 2016
Looking back towards the Dales

Looking back towards the Dales

Unsure of what to expect of the weather, Piglet and I decided to stay a little more local on Saturday, and we set out to explore some places we haven’t visited before.

The route

The route

The details

The details

In the end we had an epic day of varied scenery, and the only blots on the weather-related horizon were two short hail showers: one near the start and the second when we were almost finished. Neither was any kind of a problem, and in fact the hail looked very pretty against the background of wintery/spring sunshine.

It was a tremendous route, but the whole experience was rather blighted for me by the knowledge that at the finish we were likely to have to pass through a farmyard, adjacent to our parking point, inhabited by a rather savage-looking collie. When I asked the (very friendly) farmer as we prepared to park whether his dog would be okay with a Border Terrier he looked thoughtful, and eventually said, “I’m not sure…” I therefore spent the next 8 hours wondering how it might be possible to take a different route at the conclusion of the walk in order to return to the car without passing through the farmyard.

I hadn’t realised before Piglet came to live with me just how stressful it would be to have a small dog nervous of larger dogs. I’ve always been nervous myself of encountering aggressive farm dogs, but a barky little terrier is a bit of a magnet in that situation and so I now try, as far as possible, to avoid passing through farms. Living in the middle of farming country, though, that isn’t easy if we’re to walk from anywhere near home. Having had a terrier killed by farm dogs when I was a teenager, this is an anxiety I’m never able to entirely shake off.

In the end we didn’t meet any dogs, but in the closing hours of the walk we did encounter my second-worst walking-related nightmare, which is a public footpath running through a field full of cows with calves. Aaagh 😦

Coos on the public footpath

Coos on the public footpath

I managed to take a detour, which involved careful negotiation of a barbed wire fence and much passing backwards and forwards over a sparkling little stream. The process added more than an hour to the day, but I’m glad to know that the detour exists in case we decide to take the route again.

The high spot of the day, in territorial terms, was our first visit to Ward’s Stone, which is the highest hill in the Forest of Bowland. From there we had magnificent views down to the coast and across to Littledale…

View from Ward's Stone

View from Ward’s Stone

…and we stopped to share a tuna mayonnaise sandwich and a flask of coffee.

Piglet and I share a sandwich

Piglet and I share a sandwich

We did manage to avoid the farm collie in the end by walking off the footpath and approaching the car over the side of the moor, which was a relief!

Later, tucked up in front of the fire, I realised that I’d left my lovely and semi-ancient Ortlieb map case on the ground near the parking point, but I drove back up at first light the following morning and found it where I’d left it, covered in a thick layer of rime.

I plan to get out and do more walking in the Forest of Bowland, but now that cow time is upon us again I may have to defer the farmland walks until later in the year.

If anybody would like to see them, there are lots and lots of photos here.



Fab walk up Ingleborough & round by Clapham Bottoms

11 April, 2016
Blog pic

Snowy Pen-y-ghent in distance

Piglet and I had a fab walk up Ingleborough and round by Clapham Bottoms yesterday.

Ingleborough Clapham Bottoms_route

The route

Ingleborough Clapham Bottoms_summary

Distances etc

It was a brilliant snowy morning, but by the time we’d finished almost all the snow had gone.

Lots of pictures here.

Fantastic Day! Pen-y-ghent & Ingleborough

1 April, 2016
On Pen-y-ghent

Piglet and Mummy on Pen-y-ghent

Piglet and I have been watching the weather apps throughout the holidays in the hope of breaks in the weather, and they all predicted at some point that yesterday was going to be a good day.

After our gratifying conquest of Ingleborough and Whernside last week we were both very keen to put the Ingleborough/Pen-y-ghent plan into action, and so when on Wednesday evening the apps were still predicting significantly more sun than rain for Thursday we made the butties, packed the rucksack and went to bed in a near frenzy of excited anticipation.

After a rather broken night’s sleep I woke early to… a nasty-looking grey day…


Oh noes!

…so I downloaded the paper and read it for half an hour, or so, in the hopes that things might look up. They didn’t. I checked the weather apps again, though, and they were still showing sunshine, so I decided it might be the sort of horrible grey that might just burn off and got up.

A little later than I’d intended, but still pretty early for us, Piglet and I were soon en route for Ribblehead by car, as I’d decided to park there and go up Ingleborough first via Park Fell. Quo had informed me that our proposed route was just over 16 miles, with about 1,100m of ascent, and I was hoping that a steep start to the day would feel worthwhile later as we descended gradually towards the starting point.

Our route, starting with an ascent of Park Fell

Our route, starting with an ascent of Park Fell

Ingleborough Pen-y-ghent summary

All the ups and downs

Things began to look up in weather-related terms as we approached Ribblehead. There was some thick mist in places, but it was clearly mist, rather than general grottiness, and as we locked the car and set off along the road towards the bridge that crosses the railway line things were already looking gorgeous.

Barn in early morning mist

Barn in early morning mist

We got to the crossing point and then struck right to meet the wall that leads up to Park Fell. Mist was burning off quickly now, and lovely sights began to hove into view above and around us.

Park Fell

Park Fell rising above us

Looking over to Whernside

Looking over to Whernside

It was a very steep pull up first thing in the morning, especially in the gathering heat, but the beautiful views and promise of endless beauty to come made up for everything. We stopped for a moment to look back down to the bottom.

Looking down the hill

Looking down the hill

Eventually we arrived at the stile in the wall that marks the point at which it’s possible to go left and actually over Park Fell to continue towards Ingleborough. There we met a couple of friendly volunteers out with a collie and a quad bike, and stopped for a brief chat. I decided to stick with the route we’d walked last week, though, as I was keen not to lose time by getting lost early in the day, and so we pressed on.

Volunteers on Park Fell

Volunteers on Park Fell

The views towards Whernside  beside us…

07 Whernside and Ribblesdale


…and Ingleborough ahead…

06 Ingleborough

Approaching Ingleborough

…were simply breathtaking!

Piglet contemplating Ingleborough

Piglet contemplating Ingleborough

A little further along the path we met a bloke with what I thought was the biggest backback I’ve seen in recent years, but it turned out that he was carrying a paraglider and waiting for a pal to join him before setting off for a flight. Exciting!

Dennis Marsden - Paraglider

Dennis Marsden – Paraglider

Soon after that, and as we traversed the lovely little ridge along the side of Souther Scales Fell, we met a bloke descending from Ingleborough who’d parked near us but a couple of hours earlier in the day. He’d seen a fantastic inversion. I was envious and wished I’d got out of bed earlier!

Early walker, already on his way home

Early walker, already on his way home

There’s a bit of a pull up from the end of the little ridge towards the top of Ingleborough, but most of those aiming for Pen-y-ghent will turn left before they reach the top.

Nearing the top of Ingleborough

Nearing the top of Ingleborough

Piglet and I initially overshot, but I soon realised we’d gone wrong and it took only a couple of minutes to nip back down again.

From there we began the long descent to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. Early on we stopped for a chat with a man and his dog, a working collie. They’d both been out early that morning working sheep on their farm, and now they were having a quick 10-12 mile bimble before nipping back to do some more work. Eep!

Farmer and dog

Farmer and dog

Pen-y-ghent was visible on the skyline virtually all the way…

The walk over to Pen-y-ghent

The view over to Pen-y-ghent

…and with the exception of a rather boggy bit in the area of the limestone pavements it was pretty easy underfoot, and the views continued to be stupendous.

I’d seen reference to the possibility of showers in the weather forecast, but as the day wore on and early afternoon arrived it seemed clear that there was little prospect of anything other than unbroken and increasingly warm sunshine ahead.

All was well until we’d almost reached the point of descending to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, but at that point I spotted something scary on the ground.

Coo poo

Coo poo – Eeek!

A closer look ahead revealed that there were cows on the path.


Cows on the path :-(

Cows on the path 😦

I don’t take Piglet through cow fields (see here for why) and so we had to take a little detour. That was easy enough, though, and some half an hour or so later we’d descended, crossed the railway line, made our way through the village and begun the ascent of Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbottom. (So that I can remember if I do this again I’m making a note that on passing through the gate onto the fell from the lane it’s a sharp left turn up the hill beside the wall, and not straight on along the path. The correct bearing seemed to bisect the two obvious options.)

By then it was genuinely hot, and since we’d not stopped for anything to eat I gave in to Piglet’s request for a sandwich. The first of our tuna mayonnaise butties slipped quickly down, and I drank the first of my coffee.

Quick break on the initial ascent towards Pen-y-ghent

Quick break on the initial ascent towards Pen-y-ghent

I took Piglet’s little harness off too, as she was beginning to look sweaty and kept stopping to roll on the grass. She also mentioned that a couple of other dogs had laughed at her, but of course I disregarded that.

Almost at Pen-y-ghent

Almost at Pen-y-ghent

Thereafter it was plain sailing to the top, and even the awkward step that terrified me when I first encountered it on the Pennine Way didn’t pose any kind of a problem. I’m not absolutely sure I actually identified it properly, but unless the front of Pen-y-ghent has been remodelled since 2004 I think it must have been this bit.

17 Awkward Step

The Awkward Step?

Kind people took a piccy of us at the trig point, and then Piglet and I shared two more tuna mayo sandwiches and I drank most of my remaining coffee. Piglet smoked a cigarette.

Trig point on Pen-y-ghent

Trig point on Pen-y-ghent

We didn’t sit around for long — maybe 20 minutes or so — because there was still quite a lot of walking ahead of us, though most of the climbing had by then been done. The route back towards Ribblehead could be clearly seen on the ground (to the right of the little water feature in the picture below).

The way back to the car

The way back to the car

It was a lovely walk in the golden evening sunshine, marred only slightly by my accidental near submersion in a bog at one point…

Wet to my knee, but I managed to save my boot

Wet to my knee, but I managed to save my boot

…and even though I later realised that I’d sadly lost my backpacking sunglasses, almost certainly at this point, I did realise it could have been worse…

Another wee creature had not been so lucky...

Another wee creature had not been so lucky…

When I realised they were gone I went back to search for my sunglasses. They’ve been with me to the Pyrenees and Corsica, as well as across Scotland several times and along the Pennine Way and sundry other walks. I even re-negotiated the boggy bits, but sadly I couldn’t find them. It’s a shame, as I’ve grown attached to those bits of my kit that I’ve been using for years and years 😦

Anyway… the walk continued to be easy underfoot, and for once I didn’t commit any major navigational errors.

The fantastic weather meant that there was time to stop and play with the camera a bit as interesting or particularly lovely things appeared around us. Neither of us was in any hurry to finish.

25 Lost collar

Lost dog collar

24 Hull Pot Beck

Hull Pot Beck, I think

23 Interesting grass

Interesting grass

22 Wee stream

Piglet’s eye view of a little stream

Eventually we left the moors behind, and began the walk along tracks and past some buildings in order to re-join the road. As we made our way through a farmyard and passed a sheep trailer what sounded like about 20 collies–fortunately secured inside it–went absolutely beserk! There was so much barking and snarling, and what sounded like deep-seated hatred and desire to kill us, that both Piglet and I wanted to break into a trot, and we almost walked straight into another collie which had cunningly concealed itself at the side of the yard in the shade of a tractor.



I spotted it just in time, though, and we took a rapid detour through a field. I’m not sure whether it was tied up or not, but it didn’t follow us. Phew!

We’d left Ribblehead at 0945, and we got back to the car 10 hours later. We could have gone faster, but it’s nice to stop and take piccies 🙂

Piglet looked almost as fresh when we finished as she had at the start of the day, and I stopped on the way home and bought her a tub of that extra-yummy wet dog food to stir into her kibble at home. After she’d had her tea I gave her a shower and dried her off, and after a shower of my own I made scampi and spuds for tea as Piglet settled down with a nice rawhide chew.

I was wearing my new Salomon X Ultra Mids, and they were very comfy. They’re a little bit big, and so I wore a second pair of socks to take up some space around my toes to avoid friction, and that seemed to work pretty well. My feet were warm, but I don’t mind that, and I was pretty glad to avoid trench foot after stepping so comprehensively into the bog.

I took billions of photos, and anyone who would like to see them can find them in an album if they click here.

Roll on the next dry and sunny day!

Sunny walk on the moor

30 March, 2016

Piglet leading the way

Piggle and I had a lovely late afternoon walk on the moor this afternoon, practising (we hope) for a return to the Dales tomorrow. Fingers crossed for the weather!

Wet walk from home

29 March, 2016


The crappy weather is very frustrating, but Piglet and I went out for a bit of a walk this afternoon.

We’d hoped to get up onto the moor, but as we climbed the road towards it a hail shower began, and by the time at which we had to decide whether to climb to the moor or descend through woods and fields there was no obvious sign that the weather was going to clear.

We therefore took the easier and shorter option–we were caught out in freezing rain earlier this week, and neither of us was keen to repeat the experience unnecessarily. Soon afterwards, though, things did begin to clear a little, and then the sun came out.

When we were almost back at the village it began to look as though the rain had passed, and we ran into friends. We then spent a happy hour in a pal’s garden in bright sunshine catching up on news over coffee before strolling home to light the fire and think about settling down for the evening.

These holiday things are hard work 🙂


Kudos to Mapyx (Quo)

29 March, 2016

Mappyx Quo

I’ve had so many different PC-based mapping systems over the years that I must have bought the entire OS calendar several times over, and therefore I was reluctant to do so again when installing a mapping system on my new Win10 desktop over the Christmas holidays.

My most recent purchase (other than Viewranger, which I use on my iPhone) was Quo, which I’ve had since 2009. I found it a bit unwieldy when I first began to use it, but then I could say that of each of the systems I’ve used. When I put in a bit of time to get my head around it I began to really like it.

Prior to last Christmas I’d not used it in anger for quite a long time, and my spirit quailed a little at the idea of trying to extract the data from the old PC and somehow transfer it to the new one.



I dug around on the Mapyx website, though, and found instructions, and duly carried them out.

Despite my efforts, I couldn’t quite work out how to get all of my old map data loaded. I knew I’d bought the 1:25k Lakes at some point, but no amount of scrolling could get it to come up. I emailed Mapyx and they replied as soon as the holiday was over, confirming that they’d now merged my two accounts under what’s now my email address and sending download links for all the old data.

By that time, though, the Christmas holidays were over, and I’d moved on mentally to new things. It wasn’t until last week, in the hope that I’d be able to get out and do some interesting walks over the Easter holiday, that I took another look in my Inbox and ran all the installation files.

I still couldn’t get the 1:25s up and running, but extensive past PC-trauma-related experience had taught me to suspect User Error, and indeed so it turned out to be. I’ve just come off the phone from Mapyx, and in the space of less than 60 seconds they had my Lakes 1:25s up and running again. I’d simply forgotten to load them. Doh… They also happily rang me back to solve the problem, as calls to their number from my phone cost almost 10p per minute.

Unfortunately it’s still foul outside–not only very wet but also bloody freezing, which always feels like cheating to me–so Piglet and I won’t be embarking on any ambitious project today. I think, though, that I might just nip over to the Mapyx site and purchase some nice 1:25k Yorkshire Dales tiles to go with my existing collection, as I’m nurturing a ‘Three Peaks’ plan but without an indication of where the walls lie I’m always hovering on the brink of lost…