Days Like This, No 13: Suddenly Night on A’ Ghlas-bheinn

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THE ground is white with frost and a sharp wind cuts along the glen from Loch Duich. Heavy clouds roll in from somewhere unknown. The weather forecast is far from encouraging. My wife drops me off at the head of Strath Croe. Then off she drives in a nice warm car. Off I walk into the east, following a grey river along Gleann Choinneachain towards a mountain called Beinn Fhada . . . Continue reading

Posted in Climbing, Footpaths, Hiking, Mountains, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Days Like This, No 12: Dawn on Dove Crag

Dove Crag 7

WALKING is a dangerous business. Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov has just been stabbed while walking over Waterloo Bridge. And get this: his assailant used an umbrella with a poisoned tip. We down another round of pints in the Brotherswater Inn and discuss the ramifications of the incident. I’m considered to be an expert in this field because I once witnessed two men fighting with brollies on a pavement in Ulverston. It was an ugly skirmish. Both brollies were seriously damaged. And now we’ve got to climb a mountain in the dark. Aren’t there enough dangers in the world without people wielding deadly umbrellas? Best have another pint first . . . Continue reading

Posted in Beer, Camping, Caving, Climbing, Hiking, History, Legends, Mountains, Traditions, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Days Like This, No 11: Above Clouds on A’ Chràlaig

A Chralaig 1

ABOVE the shores of Loch Cluani the slopes of A’ Chràlaig rise steeply and without respite to its 1,120m (3,674ft) summit. From the crest of its south ridge I expect to behold fine and uninterrupted views across the western Highlands to the Knoydart peninsula and north to Kintail and beyond. To the south I’ll see the Nevis range. God knows what lies to the east. For now, that’s an unknown country . . . Continue reading

Posted in Climbing, Footpaths, Hiking, History, Mountains, Politics, Walking | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

The 235 Steps

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DURHAM is a great place for walkers. Excellent paths follow a winding riverside and fork up into the traffic-free city centre, which because of its historical significance has held Unesco World Heritage Site status since 1986. The city has plenty of highlights – but the highlight of the highlights is a climb to the top of Durham Cathedral tower. It’s an adventure that is not for the fainthearted or the week-kneed . . . Continue reading

Posted in Durham Miners Gala, Footpaths, Hiking, History, John Buchan, Religion, Tyneside, Walking | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

It’s the Poor What Gets the Blame

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WE’RE going to try something different today. I’m off for a short run across the hills above Richmond, North Yorkshire, because it’s time I knocked myself back into a semblance of fitness – but this post is all about ethics and our place in the countryside. It concerns rights of way, highways and byways, rich and poor, perceptions and prejudices. I shall offer you a few multiple-choice questions as we proceed and include a scoreboard. It’s hard work because I’m running while I’m typing . . . Continue reading

Posted in Country Land and Business Association, Environment, Footpaths, Hiking, Hunting, Ranting, Running, Teesdale, Teesside, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

A Christmas Walk: With Ghosts on Baysdale Moor

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I AM wary of the North York Moors because they are more than a little bit sinister. They are wild and empty, peppered with the scratchings of forgotten people, laced with legends, and punctuated with the stumps of ancient crosses and boundary stones. There is a dark, Gothic atmosphere, which is intensified by the proximity of Whitby and its Bram Stoker connection. Wolves still inhabit the wilder corners and hags dwell in tumbled cottages, so some people say. It’s a marvellous place for a moor walk, but not necessarily a place in which to wander alone . . . Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Captain James Cook, Cleveland Way, Death, Environment, Footpaths, Ghosts, Hiking, History, Hunting, Industrial archaeology, Legends, Mountains, Politics, Ranting, Ruins, Teesside, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , , | 42 Comments

Almost Picture Perfect in the Coniston Fells

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THIS is such a promising start. The early-morning sky is dark and clear; frost cakes windscreens and grass verges; the Lakeland peaks stand pale and ghostly at the head of the Duddon estuary. It is the perfect day for climbing Wetherlam and traversing a frozen ridge to the summit cairn on Coniston Old Man. Nothing can go wrong . . . Continue reading

Posted in Climbing, Environment, Explosives, Footpaths, Hiking, Industrial archaeology, Mountains, Quarrying, Slate quarries, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments