Wild Winds and the Wain Stones

wain stones 15

FOR many years I lived under the misguided impression that Ewan MacColl’s iconic mountain song The Manchester Rambler included a mention of the Wain Stones in the Cleveland Hills. Only recently did I discover there is another set of Wain Stones – on Bleaklow, in the Pennines above Manchester. And these are the ones he was singing about. Which just goes to show that you should never make assumptions . . . Continue reading

About these ads
Posted in Archaeology, Bronze Age, Cleveland Way, Climbing, Cup and ring carvings, Environment, Ewan MacColl, Footpaths, Hiking, History, Legends, Mountains, Teesside, Vikings, Walking | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

Days Like This, No 1: The Aonach Eagach Ridge

glencoe 6

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 at its head. The path follows the crest of the ridge – dipping into gullies and swooping up the polished rocks of obstructive buttresses. To the accomplished climber, the Aonach Eagach is a fine walk. To the accomplished walker, it is an experience that raises appreciation of the mountain environment to a new plateau, while throwing in a dusting of adventure and a few hairy moments. But you probably know this already. If you don’t, then that’s great . . . Continue reading

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

Blue Pie Thinking on Fremington Edge

Fremington 1

THERE’S a village in the hills above Reeth that is an absolute pleasure to visit because the only people who go there are the postman, the coalman, and the villagers themselves. Forgive me for sounding sexist. I know there are many postwomen in these rural areas. It’s just easier to say postman. I don’t know about coalwomen though . . . Continue reading

Posted in Climbing, Environment, Footpaths, Fray Bentos, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Mountains, Ruins, Running, Vikings, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Stamford Bridge: A Long Walk to the Last Battle

hardrada 35

IT’S early morning and the sun is rising behind the North York Moors. I’m standing on a frosty platform at Northallerton station, waiting for a train to York. Fields are deep in water from the recent floods, but the sky is clear and cold, the sun is a ball of fire, and all the indications point towards a memorable January day – perfect for stepping back in time and following in the footsteps of the Vikings . . . Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Beer, Footpaths, Hiking, History, Legends, Northern Echo, Railways, The Romans, Vikings, Walking, York | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

Arkengarthdale and the Hungry Hushes

hungry hushes 1

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 already flooded, the rivers swollen. High-sided vehicles have been banned from certain roads and bridges. So it’s a normal January day and I’m hungry for adventure . . . 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

Coniston old man 1

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 slopes, so that made it a bit more special. But that was in the days when teenagers smoked Consulate cigarettes, drank lager and lime at 18p a pint, and wore Budgie jackets and Sea Dog jeans. Things change . . . 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

Lowsy 1

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 couple of the more modern ones resemble holiday chalets, complete with double-glazing and wind-generated electricity.

I take a dog and a granddaughter and we plod across a railway line and around a bay to this smattering of huts at Lowsy Point. And we gaze across the waters of Walney Channel to the distant slagbanks of Barrow-in-Furness, and the grey blur of a town once dominated by shipyard cranes. This was where my working life began – in that grey smudge – back in September 1973. And I suddenly realise the irony of visiting this place today. Because at work last night, a hundred miles to the east on the other side of the Pennines, I was handed my notice of redundancy. That’s me gone full circle. Finished . . . Continue reading

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