Blog on the Tyne

Tyne 1 WE have a favourite walk, my wife and I. If we have visitors, and they are new to the North-East, we shepherd them along this walk because it cuts through the social, industrial and cultural layers of the region like a knife slices through a little fishy on a dishy. And it fuses earth, water, sky, chips, tea and cakes into a day to cherish. It’s a walk of only three or four miles, with two rides on the Shields ferry thrown in, but we really enjoy it . . . Continue reading

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

Wild Winds and the Wain Stones

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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