Tuesday 16 January 2018. I’ve been suffering with a tight/sore chest and minor breathlessness for the last couple of weeks. This was first noticed when out walking on New Year’s day on what was only a minor incline. It eased when on the level and I didn’t really think anything more of it. I put it down to the cold weather but this can’t be the real cause as a visit to the gym had to be curtailed after only 10 minutes brisk walking on the treadmill. The problem recurred on the last two Fenland Group walks and is now becoming something of a concern. So much so that I’ve booked to see my GP on 24 Jan to get it checked out.
Rather ambitiously, I set out today to walk over Loughrigg (1,100ft), down to the tarn and on into Ambleside; catching the bus back to Grasmere. I knew that I was in trouble after just half a mile, having to stop for a breather at regular intervals. I pressed on to the foot of Loughrigg on the Terrace and decided to give it best. I’d climbed 400ft or so and still had another 700ft to the top of Loughrigg. Given my current state of health, it would have been unwise to press on with the planned walk so, instead, I decided to head back to the hotel. I had been walking through frequent snow showers and it would only have been worse at a higher level. The walk was just 3.6 miles.
I think that I’ve resigned myself to being on “the easy list” until I’ve seen my GP next week and will just have to look at the hills from afar.
The Grand at Grasmere is a fine hotel despite only having a 3 star rating and provides a level of luxury way above anything on offer by HF Holidays. My only criticism would be the relatively expensive and unchanging dinner menu. I had Burger and Chips (£15) last night and might have considered Beef Stew (£16) but this isn’t served with new potatoes which are and extra £5. I guess that this is the price to pay for staying in a more upmarket hotel. I’m not keen on eating in the evening, preferring to have my main meal at lunchtime and have decided to eat-out for the rest of my stay.
Breakfast was fine. Porridge followed by 2 fried eggs, bacon, Cumberland sausage and tomatoes. I struggled to finish this.
I was back in the hotel by late morning and decided to catch the bus into Ambleside for a late lunch; jacket potatoe and cheese followed by a look around the shops. I didn’t buy anything but tried on a couple of coats that took my fancy,
There is more snow forecast overnight so tomorrow will probably be a short walk past Allen Bank to the end of Easedale Road. If I’m feeling good then this could be extended to include Easedale Tarn, a place that I’ve yet to visit.
Loughrigg Terrace – walk route
Monday 15 January 2018. Much of the day was taken up with the 250 mile drive to Grasmere, stopping off on the way in Keswick. I had a quick look around the shops but resisted buying anything.
I arrived at my hotel, The Grand at Grasmere, at about 2:30pm and settled in for the afternoon. There was already a chill wind outside and it seems as if it is set to get worse with a dire weather forecast for the next few days. I wanted snow but it seems as if you should be careful what you wish for! With gales forecast for the tops, I’ll probably be confined to lower levels and even that may be difficult. I’ll see what the morning brings?
Sunday 14 January 2018. 12 Fenland Ramblers plus one guest walker met for today’s walk lead by Linda W. It was decided that we would do the coastal section of the walk first leaving the extra couple of miles to the end as an optional loop. We set off down Lady Anne’s Drive. At the end we turned into the woodland/dunes which run inland, a few hundred metres from the beach itself. Coffee was taken after a couple of miles at a bird hide opposite Burrow Gap.
It had been relatively mild in inland but this came to an abrupt end as we turned east to make our way along the beach. We were now walking head-on into a fresh (very cold breeze). Rather than walking all the way to Holkham Gap, we turned off just after Meale House for lunch in and around a large bird hide. Only David and I took advantage of the seating in the hide; somewhat disturbing a very knowledgeable group of “twitchers”.
We then retraced our steps back to the cars in the village car park. I decided to call it a day at this point as I was suffering from a very tight chest and breathing difficulties. This is something that I’ve had since New Year’s day and hope that it goes soon. The remainder of the group went off to do a couple of extra miles in the grounds of Holkham Hall in the hope of seeing the resident deer heard. My walk was 6.7 miles which was more than enough for me.
Holkham – walk route
Sunday 7 January 2018. There were just 8 of us on today’s walk including 3 guests from local groups. We set of in bright sunshine but with a chilly breeze, heading through Wakerley Great Wood, stopping for coffee after about 3 miles with views across to Laxton Hall. I was asked a number of questions on this walk about local landmarks etc. As I didn’t have definitive answers, I’ve done some research and information on Laxton Hall can be found here.
After coffee, we made our way through the remainder of the woods, exiting near Spanhoe Airfield. There was a muddy field to be crossed. It really wasn’t too bad and I crossed it alone while the remainder of the group walked around the grassy field edge. Further mud was to be encountered later in the walk. Linda and 6 of her followers made a short detour to visit the Spanhoe Airfield Memorial (here) while I tried to revive the battery in my smart phone which had died in the cold. This is the third time that my phone has died of cold in recent weeks and proves that technology can’t always be relied upon as a navigational aid. The problem was over come by connecting to a small powerpack that I carry with me at all times.
Our next destination was Harringworth where we stopped at the church for lunch. However, before we could get there we came across a gate leading into the village of Shotley which couldn’t be opened as the latch mechanism was obstructed by a protruding bolt. We had no option but to climb over it. This problem has been reported to Northants CC in the hope that they will fix it.
The last 3 miles after lunch became something of a slog as we were walking head-on into a very strong and chilly breeze. Another one of the questions was asked of me as we crossed the oddly named Turtle Bridge. This has Scandinavian origins and further information can be found here. A little further along and two brick towers came into sight raising yet more questions for which I didn’t have an answer. These towers are in fact kilns and further information can be found here.
The last bit of this 10.2 mile work was made even harder as we had to crossed two extremely muddy ploughed fields just before returning to Barrowden. It was a real struggle to pick my feet up as I crossed these fields and I was left exhausted at the end. So much so that I called into the village pub for a lager shandy before driving home.
Barrowden – walk route
Thursday 4 January 2018. If, like me, you are a lover of the Lake District, you will be appalled by the proposal to install 8 zip wires across Thirlmere. I’ve been following this story for a while on Twitter with interested parties submitting objections and signing a petition to stop this ludicrous idea.
Things came to a head earlier this week with Ramblers Central Office failing to respond to mine and other tweets on the subject. All that we needed was for them to take a stand against the proposals and to make their position known to the wider public. I emailed the Lake District Ramblers Area secretary to find out what they had done. It transpired that the Area and some of the groups had submitted objections but as none of them use social media, this had gone unnoticed.
In response to my email and tweets from other concerned parties, Ramblers Central Office issued the following statement:
As Ramblers, we value our countryside for its natural beauty, sense of peace and tranquility and wildlife, as well as its vital role in promoting wellbeing and sustainable economic growth. We believe that development should work harmoniously with the countryside and that our landscapes need to be developed sensitively, so that the communities living in them can benefit from the services and infrastructure they require in order to have a sustainable future. Thousands of our volunteers work actively across the country, applying their expert and local knowledge of their landscape, walking environment, community and economy to evaluate and respond to planning and landscape issues in their local areas and we fully support the work they do. In this instance, we are pleased to support the decision that the local Ramblers areas, together with some of our members in their personal capacity, have taken to object to the Zip Wire proposals, which they consider will adversely affect the landscape character, tranquillity and visual amenity of the area.
If you would like to make your views known on this planning application, the consultation is open until 12 January and you can submit your comments by writing to the Local Planning Authority. The Friends of the Lake District have provided more information about how to do this on their website:
One final note. This has all been picked up by The Great Outdoors website on which I receive an honourable mention. You can read it here. Please feel free to join me in this campaign to stop the Thirlmere Zip Wire.
Sunday 31 January 2017. There were 10 of us on this last walk of 2017 led by Hilary. There was a stiff breeze blowing as we met in the Snettisham beach car park but at least it was fairly mild at 10 degrees. The wind was on our backs to start with so we did the beach walking section first as the return leg, which would be head on into the breeze, gave us some shelter.
The sand on the beach was firm, making for easy and, at times, brisk walking. We came across the carcass of a young seal which, rather oddly had been decapitated although the were some neck bones on show. The beach walk was just over 2 miles and ended at the cafe/toilets in Heacham where we stopped for coffee.
The return leg was largely on the grassy bank of the old sea wall. About half way along here we dropped down a few feet into the shelter of the dip between the old and new sea defences. The walk was only 5.3 miles but was a nice sociable way to end the year. Hilary offered to take us on a short extension but most of agreed that we’d done enough for today.
Snettisham – walk route
Sunday 17 December 2017. It was a frosty and foggy drive to Gooderstone with the temperature gauge on my car registering zero degrees. 10 brave souls, including our leader Karen, set off in the arctic conditions on what for some (me) was a familiar 6.3 mile walk with just 240ft of ascent. Dodging the icy stretches on a rutted bridleway and then a tarmac road we made our way to Caldecote Farm where we stopped for coffee in a small quarry.
The next section of the walk was perhaps the best as we crossed through woodland to pick up the road into Oxburgh. It was along this path that we encountered an unusually high stile which has been reported to Norfolk CC in the hope that an additional lower step can be installed.
We stopped for lunch at the partly ruined church in Oxburgh. Sadly the lead has been stolen from the roof which now leaks; hence the orange buckets to collect the rain water. Talking of rain, it stated to come down during the last section of the walk from Oxburgh back to Gooderstone. To cheer us all up, Karen invited us back to hers for hot drinks, mulled wine and mince pies. Seasons greetings to all readers.
Godderstone – walk route