Category Archives: Life

Days Like This, No 3: Sunset on Caw

ONCE in a while I stand still and look around and think: at this precise moment I am truly alive; I am as much a part of this earth as a root raising its knuckle from the turf or a … Continue reading

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Posted in Climbing, Environment, Hiking, HMS Invincible, Life, Mountains, Walking | Tagged , , , | 35 Comments

Blog on the Tyne

A walk down the Tyne to Tynemouth – and back . . . Continue reading

Posted in History, Life, Rivers, Ruins, Tyneside, Walking | Tagged , | 28 Comments

Days Like This, No 1: The Aonach Eagach Ridge

THE Aonach Eagach is one of the most exhilarating high-level walks on the British mainland. The ridge forms the northern wall of Glencoe and stretches in a line of imposing crags from the foot of the glen to the pass … Continue reading

Posted in Beer, Camping, Climbing, Environment, Glencoe, Hiking, History, Life, Mountains, Walking | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

Arkengarthdale and the Hungry Hushes

IT’S midday and a storm warning has been issued by the Met Office. I’ve just set off across the northern spur of Reeth High Moor and can expect gale-force winds and up to 40mm of rain. The valley fields are … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Climbing, Environment, Geology, Hiking, History, horse gins, Industrial archaeology, Knut Hamsun, Life, Mountains, Patrick Kavanagh, Politics, Quarrying, Ranting, Ruins, Unemployment, Walking, Writing | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

Coniston Old Man – Backwards and Forwards

WHEN I was a teenager I made a pledge to climb Coniston Old Man at least once every year because it was the first mountain I climbed and it was special. I also grew up within sight of its familiar … Continue reading

Posted in Allotments, Caving, Childhood, Climbing, Environment, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Life, Mountains, Newsquest, Northern Echo, Politics, Potholing, Redundancy, The Romans, Unemployment, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

On the Tide Line – But Not Quite Washed Up

THERE’S a special place on the Furness peninsula where people live in huts for much of the year. Some of the huts are made from old boats, others from scraps of wood, door frames and bits of recycled houses; a … Continue reading

Posted in Childhood, Environment, Hiking, History, Life, Mountains, Newsquest, Northern Echo, Politics, Ranting, Redundancy, Shipping Forecast, Unemployment, Walking | Tagged , , , , , | 53 Comments

Untold Stories of High Haciendas

THE mountains are full of places where people lived, raised families and died. Their children and their children’s children have moved on. All that remains are stones and walls and the imagined echoes of humanity . . .

Posted in Archaeology, Death, Environment, Hiking, History, Life, Mountains, Ruins, Spanish Civil War | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Blaenavon – How Serene is My Valley

TODAY unfolds back to front. It begins with ancient history, progresses to sausages, peas and chips with gravy, and terminates in a breezy walk in the mist. That isn’t how it was planned. The original intention was an exhilarating ramble … Continue reading

Posted in Belfast sinks, Environment, Food, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Life, Mountains, Offa's Dyke, Politics, Railway goods wagons, Railways, Ranting, Recycling, Walking | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Starry, Starry Night

IT’S turned midnight and stars are burning. There’s a smell of autumn in the grass and draughts stir the flysheet. The summer isn’t quite dead but it’s fading. In the deep shades of night, lying still as a stone in … Continue reading

Posted in Beowulf, Camping, Death, Environment, Hiking, Life, Norfolk Broads, Seamus Heaney, Shipping Forecast, Walking, Writing | Tagged | 22 Comments

Green Remembered Woods

WANDERING through hay meadows. See twisted hawthorn trunks and rusted metal gates hanging from stone stoops; fields swooping down towards an estuary and distant Lakeland fells. Smell hay and damp fields after rain, the rich aroma of cattle and clover. … Continue reading

Posted in Childhood, Environment, Footpaths, History, Industrial archaeology, Life, Vikings, Walking, Writing | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

East of Ullswater – An Inland Voyage

THE steamer Lady Wakefield chugs down the lake with its cargo of day-trippers. This is the way to embark on a walk. Throb-throb of engines; white light shimmering on water; the scent of fresh-cut hay and its reminders of childhood; … Continue reading

Posted in Camping, Climbing, Environment, Hiking, History, Life, Mountains, Ranting, Walking, William Wordsworth | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments

London 5: Butchers, Saints and Sinners

BLOWN on a thin wind around a corner from the Barbican tube station past a private park surrounded by private railings to a place where knights once jousted on a meadow called the Smooth Field – which was situated just … Continue reading

Posted in Beer, Cookery, Death, Environment, Food, History, Life, Pigeons, Politics, Religion, Walking, Writing | Tagged | 14 Comments