Category Archives: History

Rivers and Rocks, Tracks and Tunnels

DAWN in a river valley. Ink-blue shadows beneath tall mountains. A chill in air that is perfectly still. Smell of piny trees and the sound of rushing water. Pin-pricks of red lights as a truck crosses the Seven-Eye Bridge. Day … Continue reading

Posted in Caving, Climbing, Environment, Footpaths, Geology, Hiking, History, Mountains, Rivers, Spanish Civil War, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Of Mice, Men, Mountains and Motors

AS the celebrated Scottish poet Rabbie Burns scribbled in the year 1785: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley/an’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain for promis’d joy.” How true. In early July, amid the heat … Continue reading

Posted in Camping, Climbing, Hiking, History, Mountains, Poetry, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

In the Valley of the Toril

PATHS. They begin at our door and run through our lives. They rise and buckle and lead us to unknown places. They appear in all guises: woodland paths; coastal paths; moorland paths; paths of righteousness; paths of destiny. Sometimes they … Continue reading

Posted in Climbing, Environment, Footpaths, Gerald Brenan, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Mountains, Rivers, Ruins, Spanish Civil War, Threshing floors, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

The High and Mighty Mines of Lújar

A hard slog to the ancient mines on Sierra de Lújar, in southern Spain . . . Continue reading

Posted in Caving, Climbing, Environment, Footpaths, Geology, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Mountains, Potholing, Quarrying, Ruins, Slate quarries, The Romans, Walking, Weather, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Forgive Them Their Trespasses?

IT’S a perfect spring morning in 1982. Arkengarthdale slumbers green and shadowy beneath a blue sky as we sit in damp grass and drink tea from tartan Thermos flasks. Nothing moves except the wind in the heather and the birds … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Caving, Climbing, Country Land and Business Association, Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Environment, Footpaths, Highland Clearances, Hiking, History, Hunting, Industrial archaeology, Mountains, Politics, Potholing, Ranting, Rivers, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Days like This, No 22: An August Bank Holiday Secret

I HAVE resolved to leave my hiking boots in the back of the Mini Estate this August Bank Holiday and avoid the Lake District fells. The reason is simple. The roads will be crammed with Vauxhall Vivas, Morris 1300s, and … Continue reading

Posted in Butterflies, Childhood, Climbing, English language, Footpaths, Hiking, History, Life, Mountains, Traditions, Walking, Weather, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Days Like This, No 21: Eternity in Borrowdale

THE closest thing to eternity is a cold night in a tent. Hope dies while hours limp slowly past. Supernovae fade and constellations shift as time distorts and clocks refuse to tick. Body heat is sucked into the ungrateful ground. … Continue reading

Posted in Camping, Climbing, Footpaths, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Mountains, Quarrying, Ruins, Slate quarries, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , , | 43 Comments