Saturday 28 February 2015. I met with Jacqui today for a 6.9 mile walk from Settle with a total ascent of just over 1,500ft. As with most walks from Settle, this started with a steep climb out of the town centre. Thankfully, I was fortified with a coffee and bacon sandwich in the Naked man cafe before we started out.
The going underfoot was muddy for most of this walk and greasy too. It was only a matter of time before one of us took a fall. We managed to stay upright until half a mile from the end when I slipped on a muddy grassy slope, bringing me down to one knee and supporting myself by my hands to avoid a full-length sprawl.
Back to the walk, having gained height, we soon lost most of this as we descended to the village of Langcliffe and then climbed back again up to the top of Stainforth Scar. The roller-coaster continued as we descended to the top of Catgill Force and then down again to the bottom of the chasm the has been created by the water flowing down Stainforth Beck. Although we had to climb again to regain the lost height, it was a well worthwhile diversion.
A short section of road walking followed before we climbed again up to Victoria Cave, although this only added 100ft or so of ascent, the path both up and down was extremely slippery with a combination of polished limestone rocks and more mud.
The final section of the walk took us around the foot of Attamire Scar before climbing up and then down again on the way back to Settle. It was on this last leg that I almost came a cropper but survived to tell the tale.
Wednesday 25 February 2015. I was bored with exercising in the gym so I took advantage of a fine day for a 6.7 mile walk from Elton taking in Fotheringhay and Warmington.
My arrival in Fotheringhay coincided with the meeting of the Fitzwilliam Hunt who’s hounds are kenneled in Milton Park, near Ferry Meadows: an area in which I often walk. They were just having the traditional “stirrup cup” before setting off for the day. Interestingly, they had a large bird of prey with them as it is legal for the hounds to flush any wild mammal from cover so that it can be hunted by the bird of prey. I have a fairly neutral stance towards hunting but using a bird of prey is, to my mind, something of a loophole as animals could just as easily be flushed from their cover by a team of beaters as used when Pheasant or Grouse shooting.
There was a good flow of water in the River Nene as can be seen from the pictures taken near Warmington mill.
Sunday 15 February 2015. 15 walkers turned out for today’s walk: 13 from the Fenland Group plus Ann & Barry from the Peterborough Group. This 7.87 mile walk started from the very popular Forestry Commission’s “Top Lodge” visitor centre which although it is pay & display (£3), it has the advantage of toilets and a cafe for a post-walk tea.
We walked back down the access road and across the A43 into Wakerley Great Wood. By now, the early morning mist had burnt off and it developed into a warm and sunny day. Leaving the woods, we stopped for coffee overlooking Laxton Hall, which, through the wonder of the internet, I discover in now a residential care home. A short walk through the Hall’s grounds brought us back to another crossing of the A43 and into the area near the remains of Fineshade Abbey. The more modern house that has been built on the hill was recently on the market at the staggering price of £2.5M.
The main climb of the day, all of 130ft, took us from the valley bottom up to Lynn Wood. A nice but sometimes boggy walk took us through the woods to emerge onto a large sunlit field where we stopped for lunch. We joined Wood Lane, on the outskirts of King’s Cliffe, before following the Jurassic Way back through Westhay Wood to Top Lodge. It was nice to finish the walk with group refreshments in the very busy cafe.
Top Lodge Walk
Sunday 1 February 2015. The weather forecast of strong northerly winds and snow showers put most members off walking today so it was just Linda and me. The weather on the drive to Cley included a band of sleet snow just around the Rudhams and even more prolonged wintery showers on the drive home around Fakenham. Fortunately, the worst of the weather seemed to be inland and it was much better on the coast.
We took a new route from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust‘s vistor centre at Cley on the way to Salthouse. Originally, I had planned to walk out to the beach on the way to Salthouse but this was too difficult to walk on and was more exposed to the weather. Instead, we skirted around the back of Walsey Hills to arrive at Salthouse church just as a brief hail shower started. By the time that we had had coffee it had brightened up and we then headed uphill to Salthouse Heath. The place has an interesting history which you can read for yourself at the link. A minor navigational error meant that we didn’t take our planned route across the Heath but this didn’t really matter as our more southerly route proved to be just as interesting and allowed us to explore a little more of this AONB.
Regaining our planned route, we walked west along Hurdle Lane before turning north over Lavender Hill to Cley church for lunch. We had a five minute shower of rain whilst walking this leg of the route and it briefly started to rain again during our lunch break. By now we had walked 6.5 miles and a further mile and a half saw us back at the cars including a visit to Cley Windmill along the way.
It was a pity that more of the group didn’t turn out for this most enjoyable walk as the 10 minutes or so of rain proved to be no real deterrent.
Cley next the Sea route