Monthly Archives: April 2011

Longshaw Estate – Peak District

Bea, her husband Terry, Amanda and I made the long 260 mile round trip yesterday for a 7?? mile walk with 1,440ft of ascent based on the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate and the nearby Burbage Moor/Higger Tor/Carl Wark. The drive up was fairly uneventful although we had our closest ever view of a Red Kite when one swooped down in front of us on the A1 near Stamford – a near miss. When we arrived at the NT car park at about 10:00 it was already fairly full as they were staging an Easter egg hunt for children and face painting – we didn’t take part! We soon set off to escape the worst of the crowds and do the first leg of what was to be a figure-of-eight walk, returning to the vistor centre/caf?? for lunch/toilets just before noon. We thought we might avoid the queues but it remained busy throughout the day. The bird picture (later confirmed as Siskins) was taken of the feeders just outside the caf??. Like us, they too had to queue to get a meal with only 6 perches available and many birds waiting their turn in the branches.

Suitably refreshed, we set off for perhaps the more enjoyable leg of the walk out onto Burbage Edge, returning via Higger Tor (an interesting scramble on the descent) and Carl Wark (iron age fort). Bea wanted to explore so we diverted from the planned route around Carl Wark to go over it instead – a minor climb up and down the other side.

Returning to the caf??, we enjoyed tea & cake/scones before setting off at about 4:00pm for the drive home. The weather wasn’t a great as recently and was largely grey/misty in parts but at least the sun broke through whilst we were having afternoon tea.

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Bluebells

The weather was too good to stay indoors today, so I took myself off to do what is becoming one of my favourite local walks from Wittering, through Thornhaugh & the outskirts of Wansford. It is about 7 miles with 550ft of ascent. I must like it as I did it twice in one week: once with the Thursday Strollers and again with the Peterborough Younger Walkers. I wasn’t really expecting the wonderful display of bluebells, but couldn’t resist sharing a picture or two. They seem to be at their best just now and I wonder what they will be like on 8 May when I lead our own “Bluebells Walk” at Mannington? I hope that they haven’t finished by then. Another surprise was to hear my first Cuckoo of the season. This bird is often heard but seldom seen so I’ve added a picture taken from the internet.

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Broadway Reflections

Broadway

Well, I’m back from the first holiday of the season based at Broadway in the Cotwolds. 11 consecutive days walking totalling just short of 85 miles with 12,500 of ascent. Not bad for a first outing, but I’ll need to more than double this with just an extra 6 days when I do the Coast to Coast in June. I can’t say that I ever felt too tired even with 4 days of 9 mile+ walking. Stepping it up to an average of over 11 miles per day with a few 14 mile legs should be within my capabilities. I’ll find out all too soon.

It was good to have the company of Karen & Barry during the first week when the weather developed into something akin to summer. The walk from Ilmington was just about as perfect as one could wish for and lunch at Hidcote Manor only added to the enjoyment. As Karen & Barry left, I was then joined by Stewart Wylie from the Peterborough Thursday Strollers. It was at this point that the stakes were raised and we undertook a series of more challenging walks, both in length and ascent. The circuit of Cleeve Common was a walk that I had done before, in part, but as became the norm, we added a few extra miles for good measure. The highlight of the holiday was the bacon sandwich at the mid-point on the slog up and down the Malvern Hills. The weather, for April, was exceptional and I doubt very much that my other holidays planned throughout the summer will be quite as dry or sunny.

Ramblers General Council

I moved of Friday from Broadway to Burford to be nearer (20 miles) to the Ramblers General Council (national AGM) being held this weekend at Keeble College, Oxford.

The new caravan site is packed in the run up to Easter and is overrun with kids – damn them!  General Council wasn’t a lively as last year, but nonetheless, there was an interesting range of motions up for debate which will ultimately influence future RA policy. We had a most interesting presentation from the CEO of the Scouts who had undergone a fall in membership throughout the 1990’s but they had a complete re-think about there organisation in order to make it more relevant to today’s youngsters and their parents/volunteers. This has arrested the decline and they have grown their membership numbers in each of the last 3 years. I think that the RA has some lessons to learn, particularly the need to appear relevant to our target membership.

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Stanton & Snowshill

For my last walk on this holiday, I thought that I would select something a little easier at 6¼ miles. Little did I know that this would involve 1,380ft of ascent? Starting from Stanton, there was a short sharp shock climbing almost 600ft in the first mile. From here there was a gradual decent along the Cotswold Way before climbing again to Snowshill where I stopped for lunch before continuing another more gradual climb of 500ft. Thankfully, the last mile was all downhill back to Stanton. You will see from the picture that I came across some rather unusually coloured sheep. I’m sure that they are still there!

 

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Broadway – without the rain

The overnight weather forecast wasn’t very good so I decided to adopt a flexible approach and, if I went walking, then it would be based on the Caravan Site in Broadway. The promised rain didn’t materialise so I decided to go off for a short local stroll taking in the villages of Childswickham and Buckland. Travelling light, without backpack or camera, I felt quite liberated walking on my own, at my own pace and without the need for a stop. When I got back, I plotted the walk which turned out to be 6¾ miles with 480ft of ascent, most of this on a single climb. As I didn’t take any of my own pictures, those attached to this blog have been downloaded from Google Images. As I write this entry, in the early afternoon, the sun has broken through and it is quite a pleasant day.

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Seven Springs

The route of today’s walk was scheduled to be only 5?? miles but we decided that this was too short, given the continuing good weather, and we made an unplanned extension. It was only when we had completed the walk that we discovered that the revised route was 9?? miles with 1,340ft of ascent.

The walk started at Seven Springs just south of Cheltenham. This is the source of the River Churn, a tributary of the Thames. Our route took us past Cowley Manor and included sections of the Gloucestershire Way and the Cotswold Way from where we had great views over Cheltenham & Cleeve Hill. 

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