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The Amigos

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The Amigos - Page Text Content

S: The Adventures of the Three (sometimes Four) Amigos

FC: + 1 | aka Tombraider | 2011 to 2015

1: + 1 | 1 | 2011 - 2015 - the adventures of the three (sometimes 4) amigos

2: The Amigos, the origins: Tim, Mike and Mick went to the same secondary school (King Edwards), joined Guardian in the 70's and retired within a few months of each other in 2010. We thought it a good idea to get some exercise in our retirement and started to go for shortish walks which soon became regular longish walks. We are all mad keen on sport so we also attended sporting events. In 2012 Adrian also retired and although he wasn't an ex Guardian employee we'd all known him for many years so we invited him along and on his first walk he brought the best weather we'd encountered so he was in. | 2011 - 2015 - the adventures of the three (sometimes 4) amigos - introduction | 2

3: . | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 27 | 28 | 26 | 33 | 32 | 31 | 29 | 30 | 34 | 2011 - 2015 - the adventures of the three (sometimes 4) amigos - places we visited | 3 | 35 | 37 | 36 | 38

4: 2013 | 4 | 2011 - 2015 - the adventures of the three (sometimes 4) amigos - contents

5: . | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 2011 - places we visited | 5

6: We (Mike, Mick and Tim) have many common interests so we decided to have a day out together not knowing at the time that this was to be the 1st of many. We went to Beacon Fell on a very murky, but not unpleasant day. After, we went to Barton Grange for a bite to eat and for some beer tasting. Above, at the top of the Fell, is a dial indicating the directions and distances to the places you can see on a clear day. | X | 2011 - beacon fell (1) | thu 10 february 6

7: Beacon Fell Country Park is one of the oldest parks in the country, having been designated in 1970. It is 10 miles outside Preston and consists of 271 acres of woodland, moorland and farmland, with a summit 873 feet above sea level offering spectacular views of the Forest of Bowland and Morecambe Bay. On a clear day it is even possible to see the Isle of Man. On the day we chose to go we could just about see each other. | The popular park boasts a visitor centre with café, picnic areas, six car parks, forest walks and viewpoints. There is apparently an abundance of wildlife to enjoy - ranging from rabbits and hares, to deer, stoats and weasels - not that we saw any. | 2011 - beacon fell (1) | 7 thu 10 february

8: On our 2nd day out we went to Grasmere on another cold and wet day. We were lucky though and managed to dodge most of the heavier showers. We ate in a Grasmere cafe and we bought some original Gingerbread from a shop Wordsworth used to frequent in the 19th century. On the way back Tim, who knows the area well took us by a couple of the most imposing peaks in The Lakes, The Langdales (see next page). | X | thu 10 march 8 | 2011 - grasmere (2)

9: 2011 - grasmere (2) | 9 thu 10 march

10: 2011 - grasmere (2) - the langdales | thu 10 march 10

11: 2011 - grasmere (2) - the langdales | 11 thu 10 march

12: X | 2011 - gisburn forest (3) | thu 31 march 12

13: For our next day out we chose Gisburn Forest which is in the Trough of Bowland. It was extremely windy and a bit bleak but for once we had no rain. We walked for about 2 hours partly round the Stocks reservoir (the full walk shown opposite is around 11 miles) and then through part of the forest following a dangerous looking mountain bike trail. We drove to Slaidburn and had a very tasty lunch at a local cafe and then came back via Clitheroe where we stopped off at D. Byrne's which is an award winning and very well stocked wine shop and cellar. | 2011 - gisburn forest (3) | 13 thu 31 march

14: thu 31 march 14 | 2011 - gisburn forest (3)

15: 15 | 15 thu 31 march | 2011 - gisburn forest (3)

16: We chose a gloriously sunny day for our next outing, this time to Ingleton in North Yorkshire and the trail round the many waterfalls there. The trail, some 4.5 miles long, and with a vertical rise of 169 m (554 feet) has some of the most spectacular waterfall and woodland scenery in the north of England. The trail opened on Good Friday, 11 April 1885 and takes walkers along the banks of the River Twiss, through Swilla Glenn with its coin embedded tree and on to Pecca Falls, Pecca Twin Falls, Holly Bush Spout and Thornton Force. A footbridge bridge crosses the Twiss and leads on to Twistleton Lane. Following Twistleton Lane down past Scar End Farm and Twistleton Hall the walk crosses Oddies Lane to Beezley's Farm. Past Beezley’s the trail starts its descent along the banks of the River Doe. This river emerges near God's Bridge close to the settlement of Chapel-le-Dale and flows gently until it reaches the waterfalls walk at Beezley's Falls Triple Spout with its three waterfalls side-by side. As the trail continues, you can look down 18 metres (59 feet) onto Rival Falls and then onto Baxenghyl Gorge, Snow Falls and finally walk through Twistleton Glenn and back to Ingleton. In Ingleton, the Twiss and the Doe meet to form the River Greta, which in turn flows into the River Lune. | X | 2011 - ingleton waterfalls trail (4) | thu 28 april 16

17: 2011 - ingleton waterfalls trail (4) | 17 thu 28 april

18: thu 28 april 18 | 2011 - ingleton waterfalls trail (4)

19: 19 | 19 thu 28 april | 2011 - ingleton waterfalls trail (4)

20: 2011 - ingleton waterfalls trail (4) | thu 28 april 20

21: 2011 - ingleton waterfalls trail (4) | 21 thu 28 april

22: 2011 - ingleton waterfalls trail (4) | thu 28 april 22

23: 2011 - ingleton waterfalls trail (4) | 23 thu 28 april

24: We went to the Liverpool CC ground to watch the 2nd day of the Lancashire Yorkshire match - a most enjoyable, relaxing day but our conclusion was that you definitely need good weather (which we had for the majority of the day) to spectate. As you would expect, Lancashire dominated the day establishing a 1st innings lead of almost 200 with a couple of wickets left and went on to win by 6 wickets. Footnote - obviously inspired by our (apart from Mike) support, Lancashire went on to win the County Championship for the first time since 1934. | thu 19 may 24 | 2011 - lancashire v yorkshire at liverpool cc ground

25: 2011 - lancashire v yorkshire at liverpool cc ground | 25 thu 19 may

26: 2011 - lancashire v yorkshire at liverpool cc ground | thu 19 may 26

27: 2011 - lancashire v yorkshire at liverpool cc ground | 27 thu 19 may

28: For our next venture we headed to North Yorkshire again this time to Malham and the surrounding area. We naively thought the weather might be better in summer but this was not the case and the rain was threatening the whole time. We were lucky that we mostly stayed dry but the rain did catch up with us when we were at our most exposed on the limestone steps at the top of Malham Cove. This made the rocks and the subsequent descent down 420 steps slippy and tricky but we all survived and again had a very enjoyable but tiring day out. Some of the views and sights were right up there with the best we had seen, especially the Gordale Scar. We did cheat though at the end (mainly because we were running out of time) and drove up rather than walked to see Malham Tarn. | X | 2011 - Malham (5) | tue 28 june 28

29: 2011 - Malham (5) | 29 tue 28 june

30: This spectacular walk is the southern Yorkshire Dales classic and probably the most popular of all walks in the National Park. And that includes the Three Peaks. The circular course crosses some of the best limestone scenery in the Dales and in turn visits Janet's Foss waterfall, awesome Gordale Scar, quiet Malham Tarn and finally the towering limestone scar at Malham Cove. The scenery alone is enough for the average walker to over sate oneself but there is much more to this walk. The walk is an abundance of opportunity for bird watchers for there are many water birds to be found at the tarn, moorland birds to be spotted on the higher ground and then there is the chance of spotting Peregrine Falcons at Malham Cove. | Our first stop was Janet's Foss which is a small waterfall in the middle of a very picturesque small wood. | What's a Foss? Foss is the old Norse word for a waterfall or force and Janet (or Jennet) was believed to be the queen of the local fairies who lives behind the the fall in a cave. | 2011 - Malham (5) - janet's foss | tue 23 june 30

31: The approach to Gordale Scar didn't give us any clues as to what was round the corner and we did wonder whether to carry on. So the spectacular sight that greeted us came as a complete surprise. | Gordale Scar is a dramatic limestone ravine that contains two waterfalls and has overhanging limestone cliffs over 100 metres high. The gorge was formed by water from melting glaciers. A right of way leads up the gorge, but requires some mild scrambling over tufa at the lower waterfall. | 2011 - Malham (5) - gordale scar | 31 tue 23 june

32: The walk along the top from Gordale Scar to Malham Cove was quite strenuous and we knew it was about to rain. People we met coming the other way said they had seen the breeding Peregrine Falcons (their nest was in in the Malham Cove rocks) but of course we didn't spot them. | By the time we reached Malham's Limestone Pavement, it was raining. The stones were treacherous and we were relieved to get from one side to the other without anyone getting hurt. | Limestone pavements can be found in many previously-glaciated limestone environments around the world with two of the most notable examples in the Yorkshire Dales in Northern England, such as those at Malham Cove and on the side of Ingleborough. | Conditions for limestone pavements are created when an advancing glacier scrapes away overburden and exposes horizontally-bedded limestone, with subsequent glacial retreat leaving behind a flat, bare surface. Limestone is slightly soluble in water and especially in acid rain, so corrosive drainage along joints and cracks in the limestone can produce slabs called clints isolated by deep fissures called grykes. If the grykes are fairly straight and the clints are uniform in size, the resemblance to man-made paving stones is striking. | Before arriving at the cove we had to cross the Malham's famous Limestone Pavement | 2011 - Malham (5) - limestone pavement | tue 23 june 32

33: In the film Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Harry & Hermione set up camp in a tent on the Limestone Pavement at the top of Malham Cove. Scenes from the film feature views across Malhamdale including the view to Cawden and down to Malham Village and Kirkby Malham. | Once we had negotiated the pavement we then had another precarious journey down over 400 irregular steps which took us 260 feet down to ground level where we could see Malham Cove. | 2011 - Malham (5) - limestone pavement | 33 tue 23 june

34: Standing some 80 metres high and 300 metres wide and north of the mid craven fault, Malham Cove is a curved crag of carboniferous limestone formed after the last ice age. Meltwater, particularly from Malham Tarn, cut back the cove as it fell over the edge as a waterfall. This erosion took place more actively at the lip of the fall rather than at the sides, hence the curved shape. | 2011 - Malham (5) - malham cove | tue 23 june 34

35: After seeing all the other sights of Malhamdale, we couldn't leave without seeing the one thing I was aware of before our trip, Malham Tarn. However this was wasn't within easy walking distance (well not now after we'd walked miles already) so it was back to the car and then a short drive to the tarn. | At 377 metres (1,237 ft) above sea level Malham Tarn is the highest lake in England. The lake is one of only eight upland alkaline lakes in Europe. It is 4.4 metres (14 ft) at its deepest, with an average depth of 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) and the surface area is 0.24 sq mi). It takes approximately 11 weeks for water to leave the lake after it has entered. The primary outflow is a small stream at the southern end of the lake. The outflow stream goes underground after approximately 500 metres (1,600 ft) before emerging downstream of Malham Cove as a source of the River Aire. | 35 tue 23 june | 2011 - Malham (5) - malham tarn

36: Next we went to the Blackpool Winter Gardens to watch 4 second round matches of the World Matchplay Darts. We had a good seat on the balcony right behind the players. | It was a long (6 hours) but fun night. Some of the favourites had been beaten in the previous round so we didn't see Gary Anderson and Colin Lloyd but the main man, Phil Taylor, was playing and there was impressive performances from Simon Whitlock and the local boy, Wes Newton. | 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens | thu 21 july 36

37: It was a difficult decision but we resisted the temptation to dress up as Mario characters or the Teletubbies. | 37 thu 21 july | 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens

38: 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens | thu 21 july 38

39: Whitlock plays really well and thrashes Ovens 13-1. Footnote - in the Quarter Finals, Whitlock loses 17-15 to Andy Hamilton after being 15-8 up and leaves the stage in tears. | 39 thu 21 july | 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens - simon whitlock v denis ovens

40: 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens | thu 21 july 40

41: Close game but Hamilton is always ahead and wins 13-11. | 2 011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens - andy hamilton v john henderson | 41 thu 21 july

42: 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens | thu 21 july 42

43: Taylor has a lot to prove as he's lost 4 out of 5 titles this year but he's on form and crushes Jones 13-7. Footnote - Taylor goes on to beat Wade 18-8 in the Final. | 43 thu 21 july | 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens - phil taylor v wayne jones

44: 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens | thu 21 july 44

45: Wes Newton is from Fleetwood and the crowd favourite, Justin Pipe is the slowest darts player ever. Newton wins easily 13-8. | 45 thu 21 july | 2011 - world matchplay darts at the winter gardens - wes newton v justin pipe

46: Today we had booked to walk across Morecambe Bay but our plans were scuppered by the weather which was cold, wet and windy (in other words a typical summer's day). As an alternative we chose to go to Dunsop Bridge in the Trough of Bowland where it was also cold, wet and windy but at least we we didn't run the risk of being swept out to sea although the rivers were raging. | X | 2011 - dunsop bridge (6) | tue 6 september 46

47: We didn't see a soul, which is unusual, but maybe they knew what the weather was going to do - it poured down and we had to take shelter in the doorway of a disused mini water tower where we had our lunch. It eased after about 20 minutes when we continued our walk. | 2011 - dunsop bridge (6) | 47 tue 6 september

48: Some local residents above and to the right a telephone box that has this claim to fame: In 1992, BT installed its 100,000th payphone at Dunsop Bridge and included a plaque to explain its significance - the plaque reads "You are calling from the BT payphone that marks the centre of Great Britain." The telephone box was unveiled by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. | tue 6 september 48 | 2011 - dunsop bridge (6)

49: 49 tue 6 september | 2011 - dunsop bridge (6)

50: Having enjoyed watching the Tour de France it came as a pleasant surprise to hear that one of the current sporting favourites, Mark Cavendish (up to this point he's won 20 Tour de France stages) was competing in the Tour of Britain. As the 2nd stage was starting in Kendal and finishing in Blackpool we (Tim, Jack and me) decided to watch the action in the country (at Caton just outside Lancaster) and then the sprint finish opposite Blackpool Tower. | Admittedly when we set off to Caton the weather looked a bit iffy as the area, particularly Blackpool, were being battered by 60 mph winds coming from the tail end of hurricane Katia. As a result the stage was cancelled because of the dangerous conditions, unluckily for us this was almost unprecedented and the 1st time it had happened in 30 years . Undaunted we made plans to catch the 3rd stage (88 miles) which was being raced around Stoke the next day. Setting off just after 8 we arrived in good time to see the race start at Trentham Gardens just outside Stoke. Cavendish had won the 1st stage so he was in the gold jersey and other ones to watch (that had done well in the Tour de France) included Geraint Thomas, Thor Hushovd and Mark Renshaw. | tue 13 september 50 | 2011 - the tour of britain at stoke and leek

51: The teams assembled in the grounds of Trentham Gardens where free access was given to the vehicles and riders. | There were a few strange sights (I don't mean the characters on the left) including a statue of Perseus carrying Medusa's head and the 9 ft policeman and his very large bike, which we never saw whether he could ride or not. | We then made our way to Leek where we watched a sprint before checking out the Category 1 climb, Gun Hill that the riders had negotiated earlier. We were interested to know how they blocked the roads to let the cyclists through and the results were quite spectacular - dozens of police bikes arrived at great speed in advance of the riders and positioned themselves at the various exits along the route creating a rolling road block. Once the cyclists had passed all the team cars sped by. It was an excellent day and we plan to see a stage again next year. Just for info, Thomas won our sprint (Jack recognised him) and Lars Boom won the stage pushing Cav back into 2nd place in the overall classification. | 51 tue 13 september | 2011 - the tour of britain - trentham gardens (stoke)

52: The organisation was very impressive and everyone got away at half ten with the 4 category leaders at the front. The white/rainbow jersey at the back is worn by the current world champion, Thor Hushovd. | 2011 - the tour of britain - trentham gardens (stoke) | tue 13 september 52

53: 53 tue 13 september | 2011 - the tour of britain - trentham gardens (stoke)

54: The build up at Leek was quite weird - we were on a busy road which gradually had less and less traffic on it as the police bike outriders blocked the road and the adjoining roads and entrances. Several minutes before the riders arrived a car with a tannoy gave an update on how the race was going (at Leek they were 56 miles into the stage). When the motor bikes were in place and the race approached there was an eerie silence everywhere as we waited for them to round the corner at the end of the road. | tue 13 september 54 | 2011 - the tour of britain - leek

55: 2011 - the tour of britain - leek | 55 tue 13 september

56: Eventually they came and went with everybody (motorbikes, bikes and cars) passing in a few minutes. Thomas won the sprint with Cav in close pursuit. | 2011 - the tour of britain - leek | tue 13 september 56

57: 2011 - the tour of britain - leek | 57 tue 13 september

58: It's another adventure for us as we venture into the unknown and arrive at our 1st ever cooking class - Mediterranean. We followed it up the next term with a Caribbean course and have great fun doing it and learning. | 2011 - mediterranean cooking course at preston college | mon 26 september 58

59: 2011 - mediterranean cooking course at preston college | 59 mon 26 september

60: Another superb day out - we paid to be Premier guests so we could go just about anywhere and saw 8 races - 4 over hurdles, 3 over fences and 1 on the flat. We all did OK and either broke even or made a slight profit. At least we thought we'd done well until we listened to a guy who on the last race had turned a stake of 200 pounds into 9 Grand. | thu 20 october 60 | 2011 - carlisle races

61: Mike's the expert as he's always followed horse racing and he guided me and Tim on what was happening and how to place bets. The Form Guide was very good and vital in helping us make our selections. Mike got off to a winning start in the 1st 2 races but then Tim and I started getting the hang of it - i.e. stick with the favourites and/or A. P.McCoy. | 2011 - carlisle races | 61 thu 20 october

62: The horses are paraded before the jockeys come out from the weighing room and mount up. The horses vary a lot in size and looks but this doesn't seem to have any bearing at all on how they can run. | 2011 - carlisle races | thu 20 october 62

63: There were many vantage points and I think we tried them all. It was also good to keep an eye on the odds offered by the online bookies because these sometimes varied significantly. It was quite hectic (wandering around, studying form, placing bets, picking up winnings, having a pint or two) and the time went really quickly. | 2011 - carlisle races | 63 thu 20 october

64: 2011 - carlisle races | thu 20 october 64

65: It's always good to see the best and we were lucky that AP McCoy was riding : Anthony Peter McCoy OBE (born 4 May 1974), commonly known as A. P. McCoy or Tony McCoy, is a Northern Irish horse racing jockey. Having recorded his first win at age 17 in 1992, to date he has ridden well over 3,000 winners and been named British jump racing Champion Jockey every year since 1995/6. His winners include the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, King George VI Chase and the 2010 Grand National, riding Don't Push It on his 15th attempt. He has ridden over 13,000 races (equivalent of 31,000 miles or 1.25 times around the earth). In addition, McCoy was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2010, becoming the first jockey to win the award. He travels in style and arrived by helicopter. | 2011 - carlisle races | 65 thu 20 october

66: We chose well, a bright, dry, mild day for our visit to Grizedale Forest which is situated between Coniston and Hawkshead. There are several walks to choose from and we chose the moderate one of 4 miles which passes Grizedale Tarn. Dotted around the forest are 90 sculptures and clockwork trees where you turn the key and music plays. | X | tue 17 november 66 | 2011 - grizedale forest (7)

67: 2011 - grizedale forest (7) | 67 thu 17 november

68: 2011 - grizedale forest (7) | tue 17 november 68

69: 2011 - grizedale forest (7) | 69 thu 17 november

70: Who'd have thought it - us attending a pensioners function at the Chadwick Hotel - where's the time gone! Anyway it was a good meal (melon, turkey and profiteroles) and it was also good to see lots of familiar faces although there were many faces we didn't know. Alan Dearing presided over the proceedings and told quite a few long winded jokes. | 2011 - gre pensioners lunch at the chadwick hotel | thu 24 november 70

71: 71 thu 24 november | 2011 - gre pensioners lunch at the chadwick hotel

72: Inspired by the programme we used to watch in the 70's we had an afternoon playing snooker and darts at Lytham Ex-Serviceman's club before having a meal in Boscos and a few pints in the Taps - the day was excellent which is more than I can say for the standard of the snooker and darts. | fri 9 december 72 | 2011 - indoor league at lytham ex-servicemans club

73: Mike won the snooker and Tim the darts, the highlights being Mike's break of 3 consecutive balls and Tim's 180 which was to say the least, unexpected after a succession of scores in the 20s and 30s. | 2011 - indoor league at lytham ex-servicemans club | 73 fri 9 december

74: . | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 13 | 2012 - places we visited | 74

75: Go through a series of wall and fence crossings... ...enjoying the views that the area is acclaimed for, and keeping the river and the railway line on your left. | Park in the only Car Park in Langcliffe. Set off, keeping the school on your right, and the church behind you, take the small lane between the houses. Go 50 yards forward and turn right up this lane, passing Hope Hill Farm on your right, then walk for about 200 yards. | Once you have seen all you want of the kiln...both inside and out... continue the walk keeping to the path left of the kiln and walk over this small single track bridge, and follow it's trail, up and over the rise. | There are several picturesque stiles and crossings along the way. | Take this stone stepped stile on your left for Stainforth. (pictured) It is just past another single gate you will be returning by. | Through this gate, or it's adjoining stile on the left, which will eventually lead you to a small road. | Cross the road, and up the track ahead of you. On reaching the top, follow the track forward all the way keeping the railway line on your left until you reach the disused depot, and eventually the massive Hoffman Kiln. | There is a trail to help you explore all of the site along with plenty of information boards | Once you have seen all you want of the kiln...both inside and out... continue the walk keeping to the path left of the kiln and walk over this small single track bridge, and follow it's trail, up and over the rise. | Make your way to this board, and cross right to left, into the field via the adjoining stile. Follow the pathway through this field. | Eventually you end up here at this stone stile, and, once over it, you should turn right, heading towards Stainforth, with the roadside on your left. | Just beyond the Old School House over on the left is a narrow road. Cross the main road, and turn left down here following this steep byway downhill towards the Stainforth Packhorse Bridge, which was built by Samuel Watson, a Quaker, in 1670. | Turn right and go over the bridge, but near the end of it, go over to your left, and cross into the field through a small gap in the wall. (seen here) From now on your way back is accompanied by the delightful River Ribble on your left. You have scenery, wildlife, and tranquility. | Pure Yorkshire Luxury...a choice of two types of stile, both at the same wall. | Continue walking along this trail, keeping the river always on your left. | You will arrive at the weir, and I must warn you that if the stones here are wet, it may be treacherous and slippy. The smooth rocks are on a slope, and it can be difficult to walk across them. Turn left and cross this bridge. | Once over the bridge turn left and if you have time, keep an eye out for leaping salmon and trout by the fish ladder, pictured here; mid right. Go up the lane to the main road. | Cross over the road, and then a footbridge. Enter Pike Lane on your left, just past the rail bridge.. After 50 yards, turn right through a gate and walk uphill to a small gate. Turn right into the lane you started on and return to Langcliffe. | For our 1st outing of the new year, Mike found an interesting walk at Langcliffe which is next to Settle in the North Yorkshire Moors. | 75 thu 19 january | 2012 - langcliffe (8)

76: After crossing over a number of stone walls we came across a disused Hoffman Kiln - never having heard of a Hoffman Kiln we were amazed at the scale of it and how well preserved it was (top right is what they looked like when operational). The Hoffmann kiln is a series of batch process kilns and are the most common kiln used in the production of bricks and some other ceramic products. Patented by German Friedrich Hoffmann for brickmaking in 1858, it was later used for lime-burning, It consists of a main fire passage surrounded on each side by several small rooms. Each room contains a pallet of bricks. In the main fire passage there is a fire wagon, that holds a fire that burns continuously. Each room is fired for a specific time, until the bricks are vitrified properly, and thereafter the fire wagon is rolled to the next room to be fired. Each room is connected to the next room by a passageway carrying hot gases from the fire. In this way, the hottest gases are directed into the room that is currently being fired. As the gases pass through the kiln circuit, they gradually cool as they transfer heat to the brick as it is preheated and dried. In a classic Hoffmann kiln, the fire may burn continuously for years, even decades. | We were really lucky with the weather and despite the threat of rain we enjoyed quite a lot of sunshine, which is unusual for us. The walk was about 4 miles long and took us nearly 3 hours to complete although we did struggle at first to find its start (confused looks left when there was a big hint on the post). There were many interesting things to see en route and the only negative was that on the 2nd half of the walk, walking by the river the ground became very muddy and slippy. If it had been raining it would have been treacherous especially on the stones that we had to cross to get by the weir. | 2012 - langcliffe (8) | thu 19 january 76

77: 2012 - langcliffe (8) | 77 thu 19 january

78: 2012 - langcliffe (8) | thu 19 january 78

79: Passing by the Kiln is the Settle to Carlisle railway. The Settle-Carlisle is a 72 mile long main railway line. It is a part of the National Rail network and was constructed in the 1870s. The line runs through remote regions of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines and is considered to be the most scenic railway in England. The line was built by over 6,000 navvies, who worked in remote locations, enduring harsh weather conditions. Large camps were established to house the navvies, most of them Irish, with many becoming complete townships with post offices and schools. They were named Inkerman, Sebastapol and Jericho. The remains of one camp—Batty Green—where over 2,000 navvies lived and worked, can be seen near Ribblehead. The Midland Railway helped pay for scripture readers to counteract the effect of drunken violence in these isolated communities. A plaque in the church at Chapel-le-Dale records the workers who died—both from disease and accidents—building the railway. The death toll is unknown but 80 people died at Batty Green alone following a smallpox epidemic. | 2012 - langcliffe (8) | 79 thu 19 january

80: Just above Stainforth Force a former monastic road crosses the Ribble on a bridge that was built in 1675 by Samuel Watson, owner of Knight Stainforth Hall. To preserve the bridge for the future, it was given to the National Trust in 1931. | 2012 - langcliffe (8) | thu 19 january 80

81: 2012 - langcliffe (8) | 81 thu 19 january

82: There were a few tricky crossings and we had to be careful. At one point Tim did come a cropper hence the mud stains . | 2012 - langcliffe (8) | thu 19 january 82

83: 2012 - langcliffe (8) | 83 thu 19 january

84: Bolton-by-Bowland is a pretty working village that nestles in the hills and dales of the Ribble Valley, some 5 miles north-east of Clitheroe and 14 miles west of Skipton. Arguably the most attractive village in the Ribble Valley, Bolton-by-Bowland was first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1087 as ‘Bodeton’, a derivative of bothl-tun which is Old English meaning an enclosure with dwellings; in other words a hamlet. The village’s next claim to fame arose in 1464 when Henry VI sought shelter with Ralph Pudsey at Bolton Hall after his defeat by the Yorkists at the battle of Hexham during the ‘War of the Roses’. A somewhat strange haven, for Henry was a Lancastrian and in 1464 Bolton-by-Bowland was in the Craven District of Yorkshire! | X | thu 1 march 84 | 2012 - bolton-by-bowland (9)

85: Another enjoyable peaceful day out and for a change the weather was kind to us. Not as strenuous as some of our previous walks we strolled over the fields catching sight of lots of sheep, deer, Pendle hill, the Ribble and a sulpher spring that we were directed to by 1 of the villagers whose family had lived there for over 100 years and had a rare dovecote built in over their porch. On the way back we stopped off at the nearby village of Sawley to see the ruins of its 12th century abbey. | 2012 - bolton-by-bowland (9) | 85 thu 1 march

86: 2012 - bolton-by-bowland (9) | thu 1 march 86

87: 2012 - bolton-by-bowland (9) | 87 thu 1 march

88: Haydock Park Racecourse is a racecourse in Haydock, Merseyside, England. The track is a mostly flat left-handed oval of around 1 mile 5 furlongs with a slight rise on the run-in. There are courses for flat racing and National Hunt racing. | For our next venture it was off to the races again, this time a little closer to home at Haydock Park which is a little grander than Carlisle but on the downside it was less intimate and we couldn't get as close to the action. A.P. McCoy was there but didn't feature. Mike was the most successful but the betting was very close and it was difficult to identify the favourites and adopt a winning strategy. Having said that, apart from one horse (Star in Flight in the 1st race) we would have won on the 6 horse accumulator. | Tim looked the part as he sported a very smart tweed cap. | 2012 - haydock park races | wed 21 march 88

89: 2012 - haydock park races | 89 wed 21 march

90: 2012 - haydock park races - the course | wed 21 march 90

91: 2012 - haydock park races - the parade ring | 91 wed 21 march

92: 2012 - haydock park races - the racing | wed 21 march 92

93: 2012 - haydock park races - the racing | 93 wed 21 march

94: 2012 - haydock park races - the winners | wed 21 march 94

95: 95 wed 21 march | 2012 - haydock park races - the cap

96: X | 2012 - ribblehead viaduct (10) | tue 27 march 96

97: It's a big welcome to Adrian as he joins us for the 1st time and he brought with him some fabulous weather with the temperatures touching 27 C in a place that can be one of the coldest and bleakest in the country. We enjoyed a leisurely 5 mile walk on a mainly flat, and remarkably for us, dry track that meandered through farmland and circled the very impressive viaduct. Once again Tim's headgear caused quite a stir. | The viaduct is the largest 1 of 18 that supports the 72 miles of the Carlisle to Settle railway. It has 24 arches and is 104 ft high and 440 yards long. It is a Grade II listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument with the first stone was laid on 12 October 1870 and the last in 1874. One thousand Navvies building the viaduct established shanty towns on the moors for themselves and their families. There were smallpox epidemics and deaths from industrial accidents; meaning that the church graveyard at Chapel-le-Dale had to be extended. One hundred navvies were killed during the construction of the viaduct. | 97 tue 27 march | 2012 - ribblehead viaduct (10)

98: tue 27 march 98 | 2012 - ribblehead viaduct (10)

99: 99 tue 27 march | 2012 - ribblehead viaduct (10)

100: In 1964, several brand new cars being carried on a freight train that was crossing the viaduct were blown off the wagons they were being carried on and landed on the ground by the viaduct. It is the longest and most famous viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. Ribblehead railway station is located less than half a mile to the south of the viaduct. Just to the north of the viaduct is the Blea Moor Tunnel, which at 2629 yards is the longest tunnel on the line. It is located near the foot of the mountain at Whernside which is the highest of the North Yorkshire 3 peaks at 2415 ft. The viaduct is curved, and so can be seen by passengers on the train. British Rail attempted to close the line in the !980s citing that the viaduct was unsafe and be too expensive to repair. A partial solution was to single the line across the viaduct in 1985 thus preventing two trains crossing simultaneously. The closure proposals generated tremendous protest and were eventually retracted. The viaduct, along with the rest of the line, was repaired and there are no longer any plans to close it. | 100 | tue 27 march 100 | 2012 - ribblehead viaduct (10)

101: Not surprisingly most of the photos we took showed the viaduct somewhere. What was surprising though was the number of changes of clothes that Adrian went through, Everytime we looked at him he seemed to be dressed differently starting off in white polo shirt and jeans and through various stages of change ending up in black vest and shorts. Definitely something for us all to consider for future trips. | 101 tue 27 march | 2012 - ribblehead viaduct (10)

102: Aintree was buzzing on the 1st of the 3 day Grand National meeting. There was a chilly wind blowing but this seemed to have little effect on how the Liverpool Ladies dressed which was rather skimpily. | 2012 - aintree races | thu 12 april 102

103: The trip to Aintree has established itself as an annual event and as well as The Amigos some familiar faces from yesteryear (i.e AXA) such as Neil, Kenny, Ash and Steve also make the trip for the wagering and the odd pint or three. | 2012 - aintree races | 103 thu 12 april

104: 2012 - aintree races | thu 12 april 104

105: 105 thu 12 april | 2012 - aintree races

106: The Chair is the most famous fence in front of the grandstands. Its height is 5 ft 2in, preceded by a 6 ft wide ditch compared with Bechers which is 5 ft, with the landing side 6in to 10in lower than the takeoff side. | 2012 - aintree races | thu 12 april 106

107: 107 thu 12 april | 2012 - aintree races

108: On a chilly, damp night we went to Belle Vue to see the Belle Vue Aces take on Eastbourne Eagles in the Elite Speedway League. We had no idea what to expect and we were greeted by a bit of a dilapidated stadium (well past its sell by date) and a very soggy track that they were desperately trying to get fit for racing - there was added pressure because Sky TV were there and a number of their previous fixtures had already been called off. After a bit of a delay, the first race started, they took the 1st corner, 3 riders came off and the meeting was abandoned. Our tickets remain valid so we'll probably go back later in the year, pity because we were looking forward to it. | mon 23 april 108 | 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces v eastbourne eagles (abandoned)

109: 109 mon 23 april | 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces v eastbourne eagles (abandoned)

110: X | Just north of Ambleside, Elterwater is one of the smaller of the Lakeland lakes and lies in the Great Langdale Valley in full view of the Langdale Pikes. We risked it because the forecast was very poor but we were lucky and it didn't rain and the 5 mile walk we did was relatively dry with little or no mud. However, it was chilly and certainly in stark contrast to our last walk round Ribblehead. Our walk took us out to Loughrigg Tarn, through Skelwith Bridge (which is the town name as well as a bridge) and then back to Elterwater. | There were an usually large number of black lambs around | 110 | 2012 - elterwater and loughrigg tarn (11) | thu 26 april 110

111: The principal valleys are Dunnerdale, Eskdale, Wasdale, Ennerdale, Lorton Vale and the Buttermere Valley, the Derwent Valley and Borrowdale, the valleys containing Ullswater and Haweswater, Longsleddale, the Kentmere Valley and those radiating from the head of Windermere including Great Langdale. The valleys serve to break the mountains up into separate blocks. | The four highest mountains in the Lake District include Scafell Pike, at 3.210ft, Scafell at 3,162 ft, Helvellyn at 3,118ft and Skiddaw at 3,054 ft. The Northern Fells are a defined range of hills situated between Keswick and Caldbeck, culminating in the 3,054 ft peak, Skiddaw. Other notable peaks are those of Blencathra and Carrock Fell. | Only one of the lakes in the Lake District has the word lake in its name – Bassenthwaite Lake. All the others are meres or waters such as Windermere, Thirlmere, Coniston Water and Derwent Water. | The location of the Lake District on the north west coast of England, and its mountainous geography, make it the wettest part of England. Average annual precipitation is more than 80 inches. The region receives well above average rainfall, but there is a big difference between the amount of rainfall in the western and eastern lakes. Seathwaite in Borrowdale is the wettest inhabited place in England with an average of 130 inches of rain per year. Keswick by contrast receives 60 inches of rain per year and Penrith, just outside the Lake District, just 30 inches per year. | The Lake District is one of the few remaining places in England where red squirrels still have a sizeable population, and the region is home to an huge number of wildlife species. It is estimated that around 140,000 red squirrels live in the UK and approximately 2.5 million grey squirrels. | The Lake District is also home to a range of bird species, and the RSPB maintain a reserve in Haweswater. The only nesting pair of Golden Eagles in the UK can be found in the Lake District and although the female has not been spotted since 2004, the male still remains. Experts believe he is the only resident golden eagle in England. | Three rare and endangered species of fish live in the Lake District, and these include the Vendace which can only be found in Derwent Water, the Schelly which can be found iin Buttermere, Coniston Water, Ennerdale Water, Haweswater, Loweswater, Thirlmere, Wast Water and Windermere and the Arctic Charr. | 111 thu 26 april | 2012 - elterwater and loughrigg tarn (11) - a few facts about the lake district

112: 2012 - elterwater and loughrigg tarn (11) - loughrigg tarn | thu 26 april 112

113: 2012 - elterwater and loughrigg tarn (11) - skelwith bridge and falls | 113 thu 26 april

114: 2012 - elterwater and loughrigg tarn (11) - elterwater | thu 26 april 114

115: 2012 - elterwater and loughrigg tarn (11) | 115 thu 26 april

116: X | We picked a superb day for our next outing, this time to Kirkby Lonsdale. The walk was surprisingly strenuous and although only 5 miles in length (with a few wrong turns it was nearer to 6) took us 4 hours to complete although we didn't actually rush. Kirkby Lonsdale is noted for the Devil's Bridge over the River Lune. | Considered by Jervoise (whoever he is) to be “by far the finest bridge in the north of England”, the Devil's Bridge over the River Lune is supposed to have been built by the monks of St. Mary’s Abbey, York, some time around the year 1365. Its three, almost semi-circular arches measure 16.7m, 16.7m and 8.5m in span, and the bridge's height from river to parapet is 13.7m. The section of river underneath Devil's Bridge is also popular with scuba divers, because of the relatively easy access and egress, deep rock pools (about 5 metres during a low swell) and good visibility. Despite warning signs it also tempts people to jump off it and over the years there have been a number of serious injuries and even deaths | thu 22 may 116 | 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12)

117: We set off by walking past a very large tree - maybe the next course we go on is a tree identification course as we're pretty hopeless in recognising them - is it an oak?. | We had to negotiate a series of tricky little gates which weren't easy for Tim because of the size of his ginormous (and heavy) backpack. After a stiffish climb we were treated to some spectacular views that looked even better in the warm sunshine. | 117 thu 22 may | 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12)

118: The next part of our walk was like an adventure course as we went through a tunnel of greenery that lasted for about a mile. Finally we emerged to more gates and stiles and green fields although we did have a bit of a scary moment when our path took us through a field which had a Beware of the Bull sign on it and we were close to a farmyard where a Great Dane dog looked like it was eying us up for lunch - the cows didn't give us any trouble. | 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12) | tue 22 may 118

119: 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12) | 119 tue 22 may

120: 2 miles from Kirkby Lonsdale lies the village of Whittington and our walk took us past the church there: Whittington Church stands on an ancient site of a motte and bailey castle. It is believed there has been a church on this site since the year 1200. In the churchyard many old stones can be seen dating back to Norman times. The tower is the oldest part, built in the 15th Century and the height is fifty feet. Fragments of stones in the doorway are reputed to go back to the time of William the Conqueror. Apart from the Tower, the external appearance of the church is Gothic, and this is due to the fact that major restoration took place in 1875. The church has registers dating back to 1538, the year Thomas Cromwell ordered them to be started. They are bound in calf skin and immaculately written in copper plate. | 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12) | tue 22 may 120

121: It's a good job it's been dry recently | Whittington is the setting for The Vale of Lune point to point races that first took place at in 1936 and now happen at Easter each year. The interesting thing from our point of view is that the fences they use are set into the hedgerows bordering the fields and meadows. | 121 tue 22 may | 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12)

122: We then turned back and walked alongside the River Lune back to Kirkby Lonsdale. The striking thing was how clear the water was - despite seeing 2 men fishing we saw no evidence of fish but with our record of spotting wildlife this was no surprise. | tue 22 may 122 | 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12)

123: 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12) | 123 tue 22 may

124: So eventually it's back to where we started and the end of another interesting and enjoyable walk. A few motor bikes are now in the Car Park but this is nothing to weekends in high season when Devil's Bridge is the meeting place for hundreds of bikers. It's not the safest place to get to though and 2 out of the top 3 most dangerous roads in Britain lead to the Bridge as the motorcyclists mix speed with farm traffic, caravans and tourist traffic and often come off worse. | tue 22 may 124 | 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12)

125: 125 tue 22 may | 2012 - kirkby lonsdale (12)

126: This is more like it - after our last visit when it was cold and wet this was a glorious hot evening and we were able to experience a full night of racing even though the competition was over very quickly as Swindon thrashed Belle Vue. We made sure we checked out every vantage point to see the action from different angles. The stadium is well past its best but next year the team are moving to a new one which, who knows, may attract some better riders to a team that has a reputation and record that's as good as anyones in the country. We did try and get in the pit area but you were only allowed in if you had a pass. There were one or two tumbles (the riders not us) but nothing too serious. | 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces 33 - 60 swindon robins | mon 28 may 126

127: 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces 33 - 60 swindon robins | 127 mon 28 may

128: A speedway bike has a clutch but no gears, no brakes and no rear suspension - it can accelerate as fast as a Formula 1 racing car reaching 60mph in less than 3 seconds, on the straight the riders reach 70 mph and can corner anything up to 80 mph The bikes run on methanol and at full racing speed a bike will do no more than 5 miles per gallon The bikes race in an counter-clockwise direction around the track, the tracks vary in length and are between 260 to 425 metres long, it takes approximately 1 minute to complete four laps on an average track A standard British speedway league meeting, involves two teams of 7 riders, who race each other over 15 heats - there are four riders in every heat. The Elite League (EL) and Premier League (PL) are the top 2 leagues. At the end of the season the EL team finishing last faces the PL play-off winner over two legs with the aggregate winner taking the EL spot in the following season. Three points are scored for first place, two points for second place and one point for third place and accumulate over the competition. Teams can use a tactical substitute rule once in a meeting. If that team is eight or more points in arrears, they may bring in a different rider in their team lineup, to race in any heat except for heat 15. If they are ten or more points behind, a rider with a scheduled ride may go out for double points, in which the riders points will be doubled. Any rider taking a tactical substitute ride or double points ride is denoted by a black and white helmet colour. If that rider remains unbeaten by either opposition rider his scored points are doubled and also count towards the rider's Calculated Match Average (CMA). Calculated Match Averages (CMA) are issued or assessed periodically by the British Speedway Promoters' Association (BSPA) and are used to determine the riders averages for team building. For both the Elite League and Premier League there is a points limit in place for team building purposes. This points limit is created to prevent teams becoming too powerful, therefore creating a competitive league. All Elite League teams must declare 7 riders before the start of the season and the combined averages of the 7 riders must not exceed 39.9. At the start of a season, a rider retains their last recorded CMA (or assessed CMA if they have never previously established one) until they have competed in six home and six away matches. A new CMA is then issued that comes into effect seven days later. Belle Vue's triple British League triumph from 1970 to 1972 is the only straight title hat-trick in speedway history. Belle Vue riders have won nine world titles (Ivan Mauger 3, Peter Craven 2, Jason Crump 2, Ove Fundin and Peter Collins). | 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces 33 - 60 swindon robins | mon 28 may 128

129: 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces 33 - 60 swindon robins | 129 mon 28 may

130: 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces 33 - 60 swindon robins | mon 28 may 130

131: 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces 33 - 60 swindon robins | 131 mon 28 may

132: 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces 33 - 60 swindon robins | mon 28 may 132

133: 2012 - speedway at belle vue - belle vue aces 33 - 60 swindon robins | 133 mon 28 may

134: X | Off to North Yorkshire, once again, for our next day out this time to Grassington. The weather was coolish to start with but once the sun came out it turned out to be very pleasant. | 2012 - grassington (13) | thu 14 june 134

135: One of the features was the number of stone walls, arranged in rows that bordered the fields. | The walk was about 5 miles which is a bit longer than we are used to but it was varied with lots of contrasting views. We started by walking through the town and then to Grass Wood past a few abandoned stone barns and an interesting looking cave. | 2012 - grassington (13) | 135 thu 14 june

136: The predominant colour in the wood was not surprisingly green. Before we went in, we were discussing how little wildlife we'd seen on our travels when lo and behold Tim spotted we had company as a deer walked alongside us. | 2012 - grassington (13) | thu 14 june 136

137: 137 thu 14 june | 2012 - grassington (13)

138: We stopped for our lunch at Fort Gregory, an Iron Age settlement, in the middle of the wood before emerging to some breathtaking scenery before making our way to the Wharfedale valley and river. | 2012 - grassington (13) | thu 14 june 138

139: 139 thu 14 june | 2012 - grassington (13)

140: 2012 - grassington (13) | thu 14 june 140

141: 141 thu 14 june | 2012 - grassington (13)

142: Ghaistrill's Strid - A Strid is where the broad River Wharfe becomes suddenly narrow and the water rushes with great force. The Strid was formed by the wearing away of softer rock by the circular motion of small stones in hollows, forming a series of potholes which in time linked together to form a deep, water filled chasm. | 2012 - grassington (13) | thu 14 june 142

143: As we head back to Grassington we can clearly see Grass Wood in the distance. A few more bits and pieces about Grassington: - Lying in spectacular Wharfedale, one of the loveliest of the Yorkshire Dales its stone houses and cobbled streets attracting visitors from all over the world. - It is surrounded by limestone scenery and nearby villages include Bolton Abbey, Linton, Threshfield, Hebden, Conistone and Kilnsey. - Grassington Festival is a two-week long annual event encompassing music, performance, and visual arts. | 143 thu 14 june | 2012 - grassington (13)

144: The Morecambe Bay walks led by experienced guide Alan Sledmore cross the sands by following the old coach routes. From Hest Bank they are of nine miles in length to Grange-over-Sands and six miles to Silverdale. The walks cross several estuary channels, some of which may be fast running and only those of reasonable fitness should attempt the walk. | We finally made it to Hest Bank, which is between Morecambe and Carnforth for our walk across the bay. Our previous attempt back in Sept 2011 was cancelled because of bad weather. This time the weather could have been better but at least it was warm. | The busy main London - Scotland railway passes by with the crossing more shut than it is open and this is the only time on it's journey it travels along the coast. | Morecambe Bay was born in the last ice age, when retreating glaciers dumped soft sediments which formed expanses of sand which are now up to 80m deep. Sea levels rose and the area was flooded. The bay is now broad and shallow, with a tidal range of up to 10.5m at spring tides and an ebbing tide that can retreat as far as 12km. This means not much of the bay stays the same for very long. | X | Morecambe Bay is a treacherous place. The combination of fast tides, quicksands, draining rivers, shifting channels and sheer unpredictability has trapped the unwary for centuries. Horses, carts, tractors and trailers, plus the odd quad bike and transit van, have sunk slowly into the sands and never been recovered. | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | wed 27 june 144

145: Alan Sledmore did accompany us on the walk on a quad bike and Jack, above, was our main guide. Alan and Jack always check the route beforehand and they informed us early on because, as a result of ridiculous amount of rain that had fallen over the previous weekend, The River Kent was swollen and the channels it flows into were impassable. As a result we would be walking to Silverdale rather than Grange. Jack was very interesting and pointed out how the landscape was ever changing. He also stressed how dangerous the bay was and the different horrible deaths that awaited you if you don't take the appropriate care. We were told in advance to dress appropriately (windproofs and old trainers) and that we would get wet. On reflection, it was quite funny that as we first went on to the beach, just before half 10, we tried our best to avoid getting our feet wet - little did we know what was to come. | The rivers Leven, Kent, Keer, Lune and Wyre drain into the Bay, with their various estuaries making a number of peninsulas within the bay, such as Humphrey Head. Much of the land around the bay is reclaimed, forming salt marshes used in agriculture. Morecambe Bay is also an important wildlife site, with abundant bird life and varied marine habitats | The bay is dangerous because it is dynamic, ever changing as sands shift and channels swerve. "The bay's broad funnel-like shape and shallow depth affects the tidal ebb and flow, creating strong currents. Tidal bores can roar over the sands at speeds of nine knots. These powerful tidal currents mould the soft sediments, piling them into sand banks, gouging out deep muddy channels and scooping out deep, dangerous holes that fill with quicksands whose positions can change daily." | Quicksand is created when water saturates an area of loose sand and the ordinary sand is agitated. When the trapped water can't escape, it creates liquefied sand that can no longer support weight. If you ever find yourself in a pit of quicksand, don't worry -- it's not going to swallow you whole, and it's not as hard to escape from as you might think. With quicksand, the more you struggle the faster you will sink. If you relax, your body will float in it because your body is less dense than the quicksand. It may be possible to drown in quicksand if you were to fall in over your head and couldn't get your head back above the surface, although it's rare for quicksand to be that deep | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (13) | 145 wed 27 june

146: The first part of the walk was straightforward enough as we just headed straight out to sea along very flat sand and mudflats. Jack always went in advance checking for areas of quicksand which can occur anywhere. | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | wed 27 june 146

147: When we were about 2 and a half miles out, Jack calmly comforted us by telling us if we went back the way we'd come there was a good chance we wouldn't make it back alive because if you weren't beyond a certain point 3 hours (longer if it's a high tide and/or a strong westerly wind) before the high tide you wouldn't be able to cross the channels. Jack prodded and poked at the sand before we advanced. There were about 30 in our party and it was evident that we all completely trusted Jack to deliver us safely even though we'd only known him for an hour or so. Looking back we seemed a long way out but the whole experience of flirting with death was becoming strangely exhilarating despite the less than ideal weather conditions as frequent squally showers soaked us (the weird thing was though we couldn't see the rain because there was no contrasting backdrop so we couldn't tell how hard it was falling). | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | 147 wed 27 june

148: It was now time for the next stage of our journey and we all fearlessly advanced towards the channels we had to cross if we were to eventually reach our destination. It was just like being a kid again as we paddled and splashed our way across. Our shoes acted like a wet suit once they were soaking and our feet felt pleasantly warm very quickly. The rain continued to pelt down. | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | wed 27 june 148

149: We stopped for some lunch at about half way and Jack gave us some insight into how much the bay had changed even in the last 6 months - where we were standing was a deep channel 6 months ago and the 20 foot sandbank we could see between us and the shore didn't exist. At this point Alan offered to take those who were interested for a ride on his quad bike, this was an offer we couldn't refuse and had a fun and pretty quick ride. | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | 149 wed 27 june

150: After a leisurely walk along the sandbank its time to look for an exit route. For the uninitiated the obvious way would be to head to the nearest land point - see below. This, as Jack was keen to point out, would be a mistake leading to almost certain death because between here and land are a whole host of dangers, as well as the unsavoury mud, there are channels up to 20 feet in height which are hidden by the sandbanks. | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | wed 27 june 150

151: 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | 151 wed 27 june

152: So instead we cross the River Kent twice to avoid the dangers before finding some drier land and yet more quicksand. | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | wed 27 june 152

153: After about 3 and a half hours we scramble ashore at Silverdale to get our bus back. What we didn't realise was how far we'd come and how far it was to travel back by road which took us about half an hour. Anyway a great experience and I think we're all game to do the full walk to Flookburgh (about 12 miles) on a nicer day when we even may be able to see the Lakeland Hills. | 2012 - morecambe bay walk (14) | 153 wed 27 june

154: Stage 4 Carlisle to Blackpool | 0.0 km 24.4 km 43.0 km 51.8 km 66.7 km 79.9 km 81.2 km 86.3 km 98.9 km 106.4 km 114.0 km 131.6 km 138.4 km 144.1 km 156.0 km | START: City Centre, Carlisle Penrith Yodel Sprint, Shap (outside Primary School) SKODA KoM, Shap Fell (Cat. 2) Yodel Sprint, Kendal (outside rugby club) SKODA KoM, Old Hutton (Cat.2) Feed Zone, Old Town Kirkby Lonsdale Hornby Yodel Sprint, Caton SKODA KoM, Quernmore (Cat. 3) Pilling Stalmine Singleton FINISH: The Tower, Blackpool Promenade | 11:00 11:46 12:10 12:21 12:40 12:57 12:59 13:05 13:22 13:31 13:41 14:04 14:12 14:20 14:35 | wed 12 september 154 | 2012 - tour of britain - stage 4 - carlisle to blackpool

155: Last year the stage to Blackpool was cancelled because of high winds and this year aren't much better. The wind was strong again but this time there was heavy rain as well. We got there nice and early and settled in a spot about 200 m from the finish where we could hear the on course commentary. The crowds were out in force because Bradley Wiggins (soon to become Sir) and Mark Cavendish were both in the field. So there we were, cameras poised, listening to the countdown on how far they were away 30km, 22km, 16km, 9km, 3km, 1km then whoooosh they'd gone past us and we'd missed them - about 3 riders in front of those below was Cav racing to victory. | 2012 - tour of britain - stage 4 - carlisle to blackpool | 155 wed 12 september

156: wed 12 september 156 | 2012 - tour of britain - stage 4 - carlisle to blackpool

157: It was mayhem at the end and we couldn't get near to the presentation so headed to the Sky bus along with everyone else trying to get a glimpse of Wiggo. | 2012 - tour of britain - stage 4 - carlisle to blackpool | 157 wed 12 september

158: 0.0 km 7.3 km 22.5 km 29.2 km 37.5 km 58.5 km 67.4 km 71.8 km 84.0 km 84.8 km 99.1 km 116.8 km 126.3 km 139.2 km 147.0 km | START: Trentham Gardens Yodel Sprint, Stone (Lichfield Road) Baswick SKODA KoM, Glacial Boulder, Cannock Chase (Cat. 2) Rugeley Yodel Sprint, Uttoxeter (outside Plough PH) Yodel Sprint, Rocester (outside JCB) Alton SKODA KoM, Oakamoor (Cat. 2) Feed Zone, Ellastone Road Warslow SKODA KoM, Gun Hill (Cat. 1) Biddulph Moor Stockton Brook FINISH: Old Hall Street | thu 13 september 158 | 2012 - tour of britain - stage 5 - stoke to stoke

159: We (Mick, Tim and Jack, Mike declined) repeated our 2011 trip and went to Trentham Gardens just outside Stoke to see the riders off and guessed there were twice as many there as the previous year and that was all down to the appearance of Bradley Wiggins after his stunning victories in the Tour de France and the Olympics and of course Mark Cavendish who was in the leader's gold jersey. | 159 thu 13 september | 2012 - tour of britain - stage 5 - stoke to stoke

160: After watching the cyclists depart we headed off to Gun Hill to see them tackle a Category 1 climb. We were dead lucky because we got the last parking space just over the brow of the hill otherwise we'd have had to park the car a mile or so away and would have had a long walk up the hill to see the action. It was a great atmosphere but Cav disappointed because he was well off the pace by the time he got to us and Wiggo had stayed behind to see if he could help him catch up. | thu 13 september 160 | 2012 - tour of britain - stage 5 - stoke to stoke

161: Once again we were captured on TV as is obvious from the above picture. Top left is the eventual winner of the Tour, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke but it was a tarnished victory because he was later caught for taking drugs and stripped of the title. | 2012 - tour of britain - stage 5 - stoke to stoke - gun hill | 161 thu 13 september

162: This trip has been planned for ages but because of the weather and other commitments we have to postpone it several times. Although it rained for about 10 minutes this was nothing compared to previous days when it has been torrential for hours on end and once again the country has been suffering from widespread flooding. | 2012 - coniston (15) | thu 4 october 162

163: Coniston Water is the third largest lake in the English Lake District. It is five miles long, half a mile wide and has a maximum depth of 184 feet. It is 143 feet above sea level. and drains to the sea via the River Crake. | X | 2012 - coniston (15) | 163 thu 4 october

164: 2012 - coniston (15) | thu 4 october 164

165: 2012 - coniston (15) | 165 thu 4 october

166: 2012 - coniston (15) | thu 4 october 166

167: It turned out to be 1 of the more strenuous walks we have done because after Coniston we walked uphill for what seemed ages (about 450 ft) and we all struggled at times in the very pleasant spring like weather. It was worth it though because at the top, Tarn Hows looked fantastic. | 2012 - coniston (15) | 167 thu 4 october

168: It was back to the area of a couple of our earlier walks when we tackled the climb from Grasmere to the heights of Loughrigg Terrace on our first trip to Grasmere we looked in awe at the people scrambling up to the top of the ridge and now we are part of that group - progress indeed. It was possibly our most strenuous walk (we always seem to be saying that but this was tough) as the slopes up and down were quite steep and we were walking almost without a break for 4 hours. | X | thu 26 october 168 | 2012 - loughrigg terrace (16)

169: 2012 - loughrigg terrace (16) | 169 thu 26 october

170: It was very busy with lots of people of all ages out and about either walking or working on the paths The weather was kind though and the views when we got to the top, at Trig Point, the views were spectacular. Looking round it was easy to spot, as well as Grasmere, Elterwater, Windermere, Coniston and Rydal Water - best vantage point we've found so far. | thu 26 october 170 | 2012 - loughrigg terrace (16)

171: 2012 - loughrigg terrace (16) | 171 thu 26 october

172: The descent route was a little less clear as there were more options and we did get separated on occasion but eventually we made it to the flat again and passed by Rydal water on our way back to our start point. | thu 26 october 172 | 2012 - loughrigg terrace (16)

173: 2012 - loughrigg terrace (16) | 173 thu 26 october

174: . | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 2013 - places we visited | 174

175: The Amigos are back, fresh and looking forward to another year of adventures - for our 1st outing, on a cold and frosty (snowy) morning, we went to Chipping. | The village is known to be at least 1,000 years old and is mentioned in Domesday. It lies on the south-western edge of the ancient Forest of Bowland abutting the civil parish of Bowland-with-Leagram. Leagram Park, the site of one of the medieval deer parks of the Forest, is a short drive from the village. Chipping thrived during the Industrial Revolution when there were seven mills located along Chipping Brook. The last survivor was the chair making factory of HJ Berry, but in 2010 the company went into administration and the factory closed. | X | 175 Thu 24 January | 2013 - chipping (17)

176: 2013 - chipping (17) | thu 24 january 176

177: It was one of our quieter walks as we hardly saw anyone. However the few people we did meet were interesting. First we wandered into a local dairy so now we know all about making cheese and the local poet, Michael Neary, introduced himself to Tim and Adrian and recited a poem to them which was nice. The woman in the cheese making place did ask if we were retired from the SAS which was also nice. | 2013 - chipping (17) | 177 Thu 24 January

178: This little dairy was the first place Lancashire cheese was made commercially. Set in beautiful countryside in the picturesque village of Chipping, Leagram Organic Dairy produces award-winning cheese. Products range from native Lancashire - creamy, crumbly and tasty- to a mild cheddar, a buttery Double Gloucester, a smooth Red Leicester and finally a creamy, unique sheep's cheese, using local sheep's milk from a nearby farm. All county varieties are produced under organic standards to the highest quality but are still made in the traditional way - by hand and all of them are waxed. As this dairy is small, different varieties can be created. Its newest creation is a Lancashire soft cheese, similar to feta but sweeter. With 30 years experience Robert Kitching has also created a dairy for visitors to see how cheese is made today and a museum to see how cheese used to be made. | 2013 - chipping (17) | thu 24 january 178

179: Adrian's has by far the best technique, no wonder he can hit a golf ball so far. | 2013 - chipping (17) | 179 Thu 24 January

180: 2013 - chipping (17) | thu 24 january 180

181: My name is William Michael Neary and I write and perform my poems which are mainly lyrical and about nature, people, Christianity and with a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. I published 200 copies of a small booklet entitled 'My Way Home to Chipping' in 2010 which sold out. Many of my poems have been set to music one of which, "A Land for your Dreams" can be viewed on YouTube I get a great deal of satisfaction working with musicians and other talented people who put my words to music etc. I enjoy performing at spoken word events and often randomly recite my poems to hikers and locals in and around Chipping, Lancashire. | Here is the man himself, Michael Neary, who needless to say we researched and found to be quite famous and well known in the local area. The poem he recited, Tim and Adrian thought was excellent. We reckoned it was better him being a poet than the local axe murderer because he looked tough enough to take us all on, SAS or no SAS. | 2013 - chipping (17) | 181 Thu 24 January

182: Back to North Yorkshire (or is it Cumbria, there's a bit of a dispute going on) for our March march. Not the best of days but at least it stayed dry - the walk was just under 6 miles starting with a pretty steep climb for 3/4 of a mile which left us puffing a bit. The rest of the walk was through rolling hillsides and the odd farm and we completed it all in just over 3 hours. For the first time we can remember we didn't see another soul en route not even a wandering poet. | X | 182 | 2013 - dent (18) | thu 7 march 182

183: Route: 6 Miles / 2 - 3 Hours / Moderate Start and Finish: Dent Parish Council Car Park at SD 703871 on the OS Explorer OL2 map. | This delightful circular scenic walk takes you up fascinating Flintergill and out onto the Occupation Road where, on a clear day, there are glorious panoramas along the dale and beyond. Passing beneath dramatic Combe Scar, winding back through the hamlet of Gawthrop and finishing along the River Dee. A walk for all tastes! (1) From the car park pass to the left of The Memorial Hall, up Dragon Croft, straight on past the Meditation Centre and some pretty cottages until the road becomes a track and Flintergill proper begins. | This is a steady climb, of about three quarters of a mile, through a wooded limestone ravine. The famously forthright Alfred Wainwright in his little book ‘Walks in Limestone Country’ reckons that any walker is “...too far gone if they cannot manage this, and even further gone if they cannot enjoy every yard of it”. Today this part of the walk is also a Nature Trail, which passes Dancing Flags, A Wishing Tree, High Ground Farmstead and a restored Lime Kiln. Be careful not to miss the final treat as the walled track opens out through a third wooden gate onto the open fell. Immediately to the right of the gate, about 50 yards or so up on a small ridge is a recently erected topograph which points out many of the viewing delights to come. The first of these, a splendid panorama of the Howgill Fells, Rise Hill and Great Knoutberry can be enjoyed from a superbly positioned bench a hundred yards further on at the very top of Flintergill. | 183 Thu 7 march | 2013 - dent (18)

184: (2) Passing through a final wooden gate you have now reached The Occupation Road. This old hill track or ‘green road’, connecting Barbondale and Kingsdale, dates back to the Enclosure Acts of the 1850's, giving landowners access to their increased land holdings on the previously common open fell sides. Known locally as ‘The Occy’, parts of this wide, well-worn track provide a convenient section of a number of walks. For this walk, it is necessary to turn right and follow the gently undulating way to the West. More dramatic vistas begin to unfold as the lovely ridge of Barbondale, with its highest point Calf Top (609 metres) comes into view. On your right, a large, well preserved lime kiln is clearly visible with a limestone outcrop ‘Stone Rigg’ beyond. (3) Turn right onto the quiet and extremely scenic Barbondale Road for a few hundred yards until a finger-post on your left directs you to Underwood. Passing through a gate onto a lovely grassy track which winds behind Stone Rigg, you soon reach a ladder stile, then some rather rough, boggy ground. The best route through, sticks to the remains of a stone wall on your left until you come to a tumbling little stream. Don't cross it, but bear right and keep to a stony track. Don't take a left fork up the fell, but stick to the stony track which soon becomes a lovely grassy promenade contouring around the fell as glorious vistas of Upper Dentdale unfold on your right. (4) Through a metal gate your way becomes a walled track, passing beneath the brooding bulk of Combe Scar, where, those fortunate enough, may glimpse Peregrine Falcons. The next section of the walk passes beside two old farmhouses and their outbuildings, which until recently were crumbling and deserted. It says a great deal about the foresight and energy of their new owners that both have now been lovingly and sensitively restored and re-inhabited. | 2013 - dent (18) | thu 7 march 184

185: From the splendid, isolated Combe House follow the new concrete track down, looking out for a way mark, indicating that the path forks left through rough, marshy ground down to a line of trees. Cross a beck over a narrow footbridge and climb the opposite bank up to pass through the yard of Tofts, with its pretty walled garden on your left. The track continues downhill, through a series of gates and past Bower Bank and its enterprising Ecobarn. Eventually the track reaches a narrow lane and a right turn past working farm buildings. (5) The pretty hamlet of Gawthrop enjoys an elevated position on the side of Dentdale and used to boast a shop and a café. The lane passes farmhouses and cottages fronted by colourful gardens and over a bridge at the bottom of the road descending from Barbondale. After a turn to the left and downhill, look out for a finger post on the left directing you around Mill Dam Farm, through a metal gate and alongside a beck down to the main road and a few yards of road walking to the left. (6) At Barth Bridge, squeeze through a gap on the right, down the steps and onto the Dales Way beside the River Dee. At Hippins, the path rejoins the road for a few yards and weary walkers may be tempted to shorten the finish by staying on the road straight into the village. To enjoy the walk to its full, however, rejoin the riverside path, until, just after a wooden bench and a stile with integral dog gate, a 90 degree turn right takes you along a stone wall, through a kissing gate and then another gate at the corner of the campsite. Follow the wall side and through the narrowest of little gates onto the road, where a left turn will quickly take you back to the car park. | 2013 - dent (18) | 185 Thu 7 march

186: 2013 - dent (18) | thu 7 march 186

187: 2013 - dent (18) | 187 Thu 7 march

188: As we tucked into our well earned butties we agreed that Dent was a good place for a walk but it's not the kind of place you'd want to get lost in because it was a bit bleak. | 2013 - dent (18) | thu 7 march 188

189: 2013 - dent (18) | 189 Thu 7 march

190: 190 | 2013 - dent (18) | thu 7 march 190

191: 2013 - dent (18) | 191 Thu 7 march

192: 2013 - austwick (19) | thu 18 march 192

193: 2013 - austwick (19) | 193 Thu 18 march

194: Back to North Yorkshire for another toughie (well for us) but we made good progress finishing the walk in around 3 hours despite an extremely strong, cold, gusty wind that blew straight through the valleys and across the hill tops. | 2013 - austwick (19) | thu 18 march 194

195: 195 | 2013 - austwick (19) | 195 Thu 18 march

196: 2013 - austwick (19) | thu 18 march 196

197: This was an eerie place and it seemed appropriate somehow that the wind was howling and it was cold. Most places look better in the sunshine but the harshness of the landscape looked right with a grey cloudy backdrop. | 2013 - austwick (19) | 197 Thu 18 march

198: 2013 - austwick (19) | thu 18 march 198

199: After braving the elements to mingle with the Norber Erratics we found a spot to eat our lunch (left) that was a bit precarious but at least it was out of the wind - even crossing the stream (right) was a bit hairy because of the gusts but we all made it across although pictures were taken just in case an accident happened and a photo opportunity presented itself ... | 199 | 2013 - austwick (19) | 199 Thu 18 march

200: Despite it being May, the weather was still not very good as we set off to the Lakes (well nearly) for our next walk to a little place called Kentmere. We'd already postponed the walk from the previous week because of the cold, wind and heavy rain but we picked a better day this time although we still wrapped up well. Kentmere is a cul-de-sac for traffic with only a handful of parking places available. | The walk was through the River Kent valley to and from the Kentmere reservoir past some very craggy and slatey landscape. The walk there was good because it was mainly on dry roads but coming back it was a bit more messy as we crossed over the river and spent a lot of time stepping very carefully through muddy, wet and boggy land. It took us just over 3 and a quarter hours to complete the 6.8 miles and we were all ready for a sit down and our by now customary cake and drink at a local cafe. | X | 2013 - kentmere (20) | tue 14 may 200

201: We're back to 4 as Adrian rejoins us and does the driving - we're lucky as we grab the last parking spot (there's only 5 in the whole village) just opposite the local church. And so we set off taking in the slate buildings, the craggy hilltops and the amazingly flat valley. Apart from one hailstorm lasting about 5 minutes (just when we were about to have lunch) the weather was kind to us. | 2013 - kentmere (20) | 201 Tue 14 may

202: 2013 - kentmere (20) | tue 14 may 202

203: 2013 - kentmere (20) | 203 Tue 14 may

204: 2013 - kentmere (20) | tue 14 may 204

205: 2013 - kentmere (20) | 205 Tue 14 may

206: We find a perfect spot to eat our lunch just by the Kentmere reservoir and the rain just about holds off. Despite our best attention we fail to spot any of the wildlife that reputedly inhabit these parts and include Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Buzzards and Red Grouse. Mike sports his newish gaiters which look very fetching - soon we'll all be wearing them no doubt. | 2013 - kentmere (20) | tue 14 may 206

207: Kentmere Round | Kentmere Reservoir is located 10.5 km north-northeast of Windermere and is fed by streams which form the headwaters of the River Kent. It was built in 1848 after the local mill owners decided they needed a regular and regulated supply of water to drive their water wheels and is in an area of volcanic and low-grade metamorphic (slatey) rocks overlain by a wide tract of Silurian rocks comprising slates and grits which make the very old “basement beds” effectively impermeable. It covers an area of 19.5 hectares and holds 1020,000,000 litres of water. It has a 200 metre long dam wall with a stepped weir type overflow at the western end, and an outlet for the River Kent in the middle. It is surrounded by the fells of Yoke, Froswick, Ill Bell, Thornthwaite Crag, Harter Fell, Mardale Ill Bell and Kentmere Pike which are known as the Kentmere Horseshoe - the full walk around the horseshoe is 12 miles and is one of Wainwright's featured walks. | 2013 - kentmere (20) | 207 Tue 14 may

208: 2013 - kentmere (20) | tue 14 may 208

209: Daffodils flowering in the middle of May and no leaves on the trees - a typically unpredictably British Spring weatherwise. | Nothing doing in Kentmere so we went just down the road to Staveley to find ourselves a cake shop which was unusual because it was at the back of a furniture and art shop - still the scones, toasted tea cakes and cakes were very good and just what we needed to put some energy back into our aching muscles. | 2013 - kentmere (20) | 209 Tue 14 may

210: Once again it was will it rain or won't it and fortunately for us it was won't it for our amble around the very green countryside near to Parbold in West Lancashire. It was another varied walk, excellently selected by Mike, that took us through fields and woods, over bridges, past cows and sheep, alongside the Leeds-Liverpool canal and finally into a magical little spot that you wouldn't expect to find around there called Fairy Glen. | X | thu 13 june 210 | 2013 - parbold (21)

211: 2013 - parbold (21) | 211 Thu 13 june

212: It doesn't seem very fair that we're still having to put full wet gear on in the middle of June - surely the weather must get better soon. | thu 13 june 212 | 2013 - parbold (21)

213: The significance of the level crossing is that if it hadn't been for Tim we'd have probably still been there as we were all waiting for it to open when Tim spotted it wasn't going to because it was locked up despite it being an active line travelling from Manchester to Southport. | By now we consider ourselves pretty experienced walkers but I don't think any of us are particularly comfortable around cows (or any animals really) - this group looked particularly intimidating and I'm sure they were eyeballing us as soon as we came into view. In the interests of the Amigos' wellbeing we did some research and the results are scary because several innocent walkers a year a killed by cows when they turn nasty which occasionally happens if they are protecting their calves - in other words we have every right to be wary of these potential killers. | 213 Thu 13 june | 2013 - parbold (21)

214: thu 13 june 214 | 2013 - parbold (21)

215: 215 Thu 13 june | 2013 - parbold (21)

216: It was by no means the end of our day and after a quick stop at a cake shop in Parbold it was back on the M6 for the short journey to Haydock Park. We arrived in plenty of time and were able to study form while having some tea. It was quite quiet and so it was easy to get around and get to the places we wanted to be. It was all flat racing and some of the horses had never even run before so it was a case of looking at their pedigree (The Kid for instance was a descendant of the Derby winner, High Chaparral). The impressive winner of the top race of the evening was Washaar so it might be worth keeping an eye on it for next season. The races although shorter in distance were still exciting and although no-one came out on top we all had a couple of winners at least. | thu 13 june 216 | 2013 - haydock park races

217: 217 Thu 13 june | 2013 - haydock park races

218: 2013 - haydock park races | thu 13 june 218

219: IA surprisingly cheerful bookie considering the win came to all of 4 pounds 10p from a stake of 1 pound each way placed on Henry The Aviator | 2013 - haydock park races | 219 Thu 13 june

220: 2013 - haydock park races | thu 13 june 220

221: 2013 - haydock park races | 221 Thu 13 june

222: thu 11 july 222 | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22)

223: We're in the middle of a heatwave (where did that come from) so we knew the weather was going to be superb and it was, it was glorious. What we didn't expect was the severity of the walk which was gruelling. The overall distance was just over 5 miles but with the gradients, especially the descent, it was probably more like 8. Coming down was quite tricky and overall the walk took us nearly 4 hours. However, the views of Windermere from Wansfell were worth it and it didn't take us long to recover in a cafe on the water's edge at Ambleside. | X | 223 Thu 11 july | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22)

224: Where do we go now - surely we can't have missed that little stone bridge back down the track that we should have crossed over. | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | thu 11 july 224

225: 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | 225 Thu 11 july

226: Our bit for nature - we stopped for lunch at an idyllic spot. What we didn't realise until a little later, when lumps and trickles of blood started to appear on our person, was that as were eating we were also providing lunch for the local population of small, flesh eating blood sucking flying and crawling beasts. | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | thu 11 july 226

227: An hour and three quarters in and we hadn't really stopped going up. Ahead of us were fields with no obvious path which prompted the question "Where do we go now - surely it can't be up there." but of course it was! | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | 227 Thu 11 july

228: The rest of the ascent was quite steep and tough, especially in the heat, and couldn't be rushed although Mike and Tim were a little less rushed than Adrian and Mick. | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | thu 11 july 228

229: But the effort was definitely worth it as were greeted by fabulous views of Windermere and Ambleside from Wansfell Pike. Kirkstone Pass was also clearly visible but it was well below us. | We were a little unnerved as we approached the top by some oversized crows and wondered whether they were waiting to pick on the weak. | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | 229 Thu 11 july

230: As predicted, the descent was really tough and we all suffered in slightly different ways including wobbly knee syndrome, rheumatic knees, fear of sliding down and needing lots of rests. | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | thu 11 july 230

231: At last a resting place and more importantly it was in the shade. Time to get our bearings for the final push. | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | 231 Thu 11 july

232: We made it back to civilisation and enjoyed the last bit of the walk through the cooler leafy glade. | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | thu 11 july 232

233: We then went for some very welcome local tea and cake refreshment in a café by Windermere. | 2013 - ambleside to wansfell and back (22) | 233 Thu 11 july

234: Considering the forecast was for rain all day we set off for our latest walk with a certain amount of trepidation. There was never a doubt we wouldn't risk it and it turned out to be a lovely day. We went not too far beyond Longridge to Hurst Green which is better known for being the village next to Stonyhurst College. Stonyhurst was apparently where Tolkien was inspired to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings so despite our dismal record of spotting wildlife we kept our eyes open in case any hobbits happened to be pottering about - not surprisingly we made no positive sightings. | X | thu 15 august 234 | 2013 - hurst green (23)

235: 235 Thu 15 august | 2013 - hurst green (23)

236: Our walk guide directed us to a cricket pavilion which threw us for a while because we were looking for some rundown little building not a building that wouldn't have looked out of place at Lords (below). | 2013 - hurst green (23) | thu 15 august 236

237: The walk had a lot of variety - unusually there were long stretches of flat ground as we wandered along the Ribble Valley but there were also steep sections, woods as well as walking alongside the river(s). | 2013 - hurst green (23) | 237 Thu 15 august

238: As usual we saw a variety of bridges on our travels including the remains of Cromwell Bridge (above) which dates back to 1561 and was named after Oliver Cromwell who crossed it with his 8000 strong army the day before the Battle of Preston where he routed the Royalists. | 2013 - hurst green (23) | thu 15 august 238

239: Today we saw more creatures than usual - a heron, some very aggressive looking sheep and some brown sheep. | 2013 - hurst green (23) | 239 Thu 15 august

240: And then it was the highlight of the trip as we saw three rivers (the Hodder, Ribble and Calder) become one through 2 confluences that were within 1 km of each other. The first where the Hodder and Ribble was an ideal spot for lunch especially as some kind person had left a bench for us to sit on. | 2013 - hurst green (23) | thu 15 august 240

241: So, after taking a time out at the Hodder/Ribble confluence we were at the Ribble/Calder confluence before we knew it with Hacking Hall present in the distance. Below are the Jumbles Rocks. | 2013 - hurst green (23) | 241 Thu 15 august

242: 2013 - hurst green (23) | thu 15 august 242

243: After a steepish climb to finish the walk we ended up replacing the calories we had expended with tasty offerings from Millie's - eating cakes at the end of our walk has now been established as a definite must do. Adrian and Mike looked particular at home as they did a very good impression of Siamese twins. | 2013 - hurst green (23) | 243 Thu 15 august

244: The first part of this walk passes through an industrial estate which will seem to be the very antithesis of country walking. Indeed with the close proximity of the M66 and densely populated metropolitan Manchester on the doorstep the chances of a decent walk may seem remote. Yet we have no difficulty in asserting that this is one of Lancashire's best walks. Not only does it pass by numerous sites of historical significance, but traverses a landscape that is constantly changing. | Fact file: Distance: 13k 8 miles Time: 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hours Summary: The walk starts with a riverside stroll. Then there is a gentle ascent through a wooded clough up to the foot of the moor. This is followed by a more demanding moorland yomp. On descending from Peel Tower the route passes through a residential area before returning to the starting point along the river. | X | 2013 - ramsbottom (24) | mon 2 september 244

245: 2013 - ramsbottom (24) | 245 mon 2 september

246: The weather wasn't in the script (especially this summer), the forecast was for grey skies but with little chance of rain. They were right with the grey skies but it rained heavily for a couple of hours. It was a different start as we made our way through an industrial estate before seeing the River Irlam for the 1st time and then suddenly we were in the countryside. | Next it was through Buckden Wood, which did protect us from the rain, before emerging to a view over Holcombe Moor. | 2013 - ramsbottom (24) | mon 2 september 246

247: After a steepish climb we came to the Military Firing Range which wasn't being used (we'd checked in advance). The next part of the walk was to go over Holcombe Moor but with the mist rolling and looking dense and Tim not feeling 100% we descended and took the path instead of risking it by going over the moor. The rain had all but stopped now as we headed to Peel Tower. | 2013 - ramsbottom (24) | 247 mon 2 september

248: The memorial tower to Sir Robert Peel high above Ramsbottom was planned and erected at the same time as Bury was preparing its statue to the then recently deceased statesman who was born in Bury. The tower occupies a prominent position on Holcombe Hill 1100 feet above sea level. The stone for the tower was obtained from the hillside and the Tower was opened in September 1852. Inside the entrance to the tower is an extract from Peel's speech to the House of Commons in 1846. The tower is 128 feet (39 m) high and is opened to the public 4 times a year. | 2013 - ramsbottom (24) | mon 2 september 248

249: Before we knew it (only kidding, it was a tough and long descent) we were looking back at the tower in the distance. Next thing we're in the middle of town. Next thing we're back in the middle of the countryside again. This is definitely a walk of contrasts. | 2013 - ramsbottom (24) | 249 mon 2 september

250: The animals we came across seemed either totally laid back (Shetland ponies and relaxed cows) or wishing to do us harm (cows with attitude and a couple of boxer dogs that behaved like they wanted our blood). | 2013 - ramsbottom (24) | mon 2 september 250

251: So after a marathon 8 and a half miles taking over 4 and a half hours (our longest walk to date) our immediate priority was to eat. The cafes were lined up down the main street but the one boasting the largest tea cakes in Ramsbottom caught our eye. When they came (Mike didn't indulge) we weren't going to question their claim, in fact it would be interesting to know where you could get bigger ones anywhere. | 2013 - ramsbottom (24) | 251 mon 2 september

252: It's September, it's wet, it's cold, there's lots of cyclists about, it's got to be The Tour of Britain - this time we're going to do a first and watch a 10 mile time trial around and about Prescot. | 2013 - tour of britain - stage 3 - knowsley individual time trial | tue 17 september 252

253: What a miserable day which is probably why the crowds were down. It did brighten up eventually in time for the named riders to start. | 253 mon 2 september | 2013 - tour of britain - stage 3 - knowsley individual time trial

254: 2013 - tour of britain - stage 3 - knowsley individual time trial | tue 17 september 254

255: There were lots of good riders on show but the one man most people had come to see was Wiggo who hadn't had the best of seasons but was determined to do well in the Tour of Britain this year. He looked to be going faster than the others from the off and so it proved because by the time he came back into the Park he was well up on the field - despite the rain he had had 2 practice rides in the morning to see just how fast he could safely go on the trickier bits of the course. And of course he delivered winning the race by 36 secs and taking over the gold jersey which he kept to the end of the race. | 2013 - tour of britain - stage 3 - knowsley individual time trial | 255 mon 2 september

256: thu 17 october 256 | 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25)

257: 257 thu 17 october | 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25)

258: Length 6.5 miles / 10.6 km Ascent 1550 feet / 470 metres Grade easy/moderate This was just one of those days when it all came together - the walk, the weather, the views, the visibility were all superb and I would put this day out as one of the best we've had so far. | The walk starts from the large car park near the landing stages on Derwentwater. Keeping the lake on your right continue towards Friar's Crag from where the view south into the 'Jaws of Borrowdale' is first seen. The path diverts inland as far as Calfclose Bay where the main Borrowdale road is met, cross over this road into Great Wood. Follow the path lover a bridge spanning Car Gill continue straight ahead. The path gradually climbs below the crags of Brown Knotts to reach Ashness Bridge. Having enjoyed the view retrace your steps a short way as far as the wall and take the right hand path. This path leads uphill with a couple of short sections where you might need hands. The view improves as you get higher with an excellent panorama south, which on a clear day, will include Scafell Pike (England' highest mountain). Eventually the grade eases and ahead you will see the top of Walla Crag, which is located on the other side of the stone wall. After enjoying the view continue along the path for a short way before crossing the wall into open country once more. The onward route continues north with the wall to your left on a broad easy to follow path. Ahead the views are towards Blencathra. The path descends quite steeply at times to reach a lane at Rakefoot and then continues back down into Keswick. | X | There were some beautiful views all along the route and this was one of them from Ashness Bridge which was an ideal spot for a picnic. | Just fantastic views all round from Walla Crag - yachts and the ferry were specks in the distance on Derwentwater. A tornado even flew through the valley and we were able to look down on it. As usual we (well Adrian and Mick with Tim and Mike a little after) returned to the car park just before our time ran out. After the customary tea and cake we made it back just after 5 with Adrian providing the final piece of entertainment as he attempted to clean his windscreen with water from a bottle but with a twist, the car was moving at the time. | 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | thu 17 october 258

259: 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | 259 thu 17 october

260: 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | thu 17 october 260

261: 261 thu 17 october | 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25)

262: 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | thu 17 october 262

263: 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | 263 thu 17 october

264: 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | thu 17 october 264

265: 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | 265 thu 17 october

266: 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | thu 17 october 266

267: 2013 - keswick to walla crag (25) | 267 thu 17 october

268: X | A visit to Grange-over-Sands is the perfect way to combine a leisurely stroll around a sleepy Victorian seaside town with a small hike over a striking, but low, fell. Although Hampsfell stands only 220m high it boasts some of the finest views of any fell in the Lake District. Take the track through Eggerslack Woods and after climbing the final stile and emerging from the woods follow the path leading directly away from the wall. As you gain height the Kent Estuary, Morecambe Bay, the Kent Viaduct, Arnside Knott and, on a clear day, the iconic flat summit of Ingleborough come into view. On the top of Hampsfell is the Hospice. This solid stone shelter was built in 1846 by the vicar of Cartmel and is the ideal place to shelter if the weather is less than perfect. The Hospice is surrounded by a low chain but this is to keep out the animals not humans, so hop over and take advantage of the stone seats and protection from the elements. Above the door is a Greek inscription which apparently reads “Rosy-fingered dawn” and seems to puzzle many people but the theory is that it faces East and, therefore, directly into the rising sun. Inside the Hospice are several other inscribed panels telling you more about the history of the site. Climb the rickety steps up onto the roof of the Hospice and you’ll be rewarded with views up to Skiddaw on a clear day. You can also make use of the Victorian viewfinder to identify the many different fells and dales along the horizon. Once you’ve had your fill of the views make your way back down into Grange and enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the many wonderful cafes, hotels or bistros. | 2013 - grange-over-sands (26) | thu 14 november 268

269: 2013 - grange-over-sands (26) | 269 thu 14 november

270: 2013 - grange-over-sands (26) | thu 14 november 270

271: 2013 - grange-over-sands (26) | 271 thu 14 november

272: thu 14 november 272 | 2013 - grange-over-sands (26)

273: 2013 - grange-over-sands (26) | 273 thu 14 november

274: thu 14 november 274 | 2013 - grange-over-sands (26)

275: 2013 - grange-over-sands (26) | 275 thu 14 november

276: thu 14 november 276 | 2013 - grange-over-sands (26)

277: 2013 - grange-over-sands (26) | 277 thu 14 november

278: It's back to the green baize at Lytham Ex-Servicemans for our pre-Christmas sporting extravaganza. As usual we approach the event with extreme optimism thinking that this time will be the time the high snooker break (is it 11 or even less) will be broken and this will be the time the high finish at darts will be more than 40. As usual by the end of the afternoon we realise our optimism is unfounded and the only thing we're really good at is consuming large amounts of alcohol. | fri 6 december 278 | 2013 - indoor league at lytham ex-serviceman's club

279: 2013 - indoor league at lytham ex-serviceman's club | 279 fri 6 december

280: The format of the day was that we played doubles, swapping partners after each match. In 4 hours we managed to complete just 3 games of snooker and 3 best of 3 games of 501 - nothing to add to that. Tim ended up as this year's champion, we'll all be after his crown next time. Then it was off to Java for some tea before finishing the day off at The Taps where we bumped into some more faces from the past - Leaf (Phil Leaver), Frank, Stan and Dennis. We tire much quicker nowadays so it was a walk home around 9. | Considering Tim and Mick probably have more than 50 years experience of playing League Darts, the standard was appalling and in 8 games no-one even scored a ton and most games inevitably finished on double 1. | 2013 - indoor league at lytham ex-serviceman's club | fri 6 december 280

281: 2013 - indoor league at lytham ex-serviceman's club | 281 fri 6 december

282: . | 21 | 24 | 28 | 27 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 282 | 2014/5 - places we visited | 35 | 36 | 38 | 37

283: Settle was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. It is located in Ribblesdale, at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, within a few miles of the Three Peaks. Immediately overlooking the town is Castlebergh, a 300 feet (91 m) limestone crag, and to the east is Malham which was in the former Settle Rural District. The River Ribble provided power for Settle's former cotton mills, and is now being harnessed by Settle Hydro, a micro hydroelectric scheme, to provide 50 kW of power to the National Grid. | Another Amigos season beckons and on a very mild for the time of year day in January we return to North Yorkshire. There was a mood of quiet self-confidence within the team, after all this was our 4th year and over the time we had built up our fitness and developed and fine-tuned our orienteering skills. The walk itself was a mere 6 and a half miles and the conditions were set fair - what could possibly go wrong??? The answer to that is that the walk instructions weren't as easy to follow as we thought and somewhere (although we don't know where) we must have missed a turn because we got stuck in what was like a giant enclosure with no obvious exit points. The result of this was that we didn't locate most of the features mentioned in the walk (next page) and cut short our walk by 2 miles. Despite this we all came back absolutely shattered - this was partly due to the trickiness of the terrain which consisted almost totally of upslopes, downslopes and hardest of all to negotiate sideslopes plus we concluded the after effects of Christmas had hit our supreme fitness hard - nevertheless it was good to get out, the views were tremendous and surely we'll all realise the benefits of all that fresh air in the morning. | 2014 - settle (27) | 283 thu 16 january

284: This North Yorkshire walk explores the magnificent limestone scenery that is found is this part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The start is the small market town of Settle, which is worthy of further exploration either before you start the walk or at the end. Like all market towns of this size, Settle has an assortment of shops, cafés and pubs together with a Tourist Information Centre. After parking, walk towards the town centre and locate the Market Place. Take Constitution Hill which climbs steeply and turns sharp left. Just after this bend take the track on the right. Follow this track as climbs further up the hillside. The path starts to level off and you reach a path junction. Turn right here and continue the climb soon entering a very interesting limestone landscape with Sugar Loaf Hill rising on your right. The path descends to reach a cross path. From here you can walk ahead and visit Attermire Cave, which is visible ahead, or more likely turn left and follow the path north through the limestone of Attermire Scar to pass below Victoria Cave, which again can be visited by taking a short diversion. A short way ahead you join a track coming in from the left and pass the twin entrances to Jubilee Caves. These can be explored but do be careful. To continue retrace you steps a short way and cross the stile passed a short while ago that leads onto a path heading northwest. This path crosses another stile into a field and then exits onto a road by a cattle grid. Turn right along this road. Ignore the access drive to Winskill and continue to the next track on your left. Take this track and follow it down hill. Bear right at the bottom ( and continue a short way further to reach a signed footpath on your right. This leads down to Catrigg Force. Retrace you steps up the path to the track. Turn left and then turn right towards Upper Winskill. Do not turn into Upper Winskill but continue on the track towards Lower Winskill. Before reaching the latter, take the signed footpath on your right to Langcliffe. This leads downhill through fields to join a walled lane that takes you into the centre of Langcliffe Village. Bear right onto the main lane leading through the village and go past the church. Turn right off this lane onto a signed bridleway to Settle. Initially you climb steeply. After making a right turn the way ahead levels off as you contour across the hillside towards Settle. Passing the path you used earlier in the day, the track descends into Settle. Continue down Constitution Hill to Settle Market Place and the end of the walk. | 2014 - settle (27) | thu 16 january 284

285: Very quickly (well not that quickly as it took us 1 and a half hours to cover the first 2 miles) we were looking down on Settle and the adjoining village of Langcliffe which we had previously visited 2 years ago. A lot of rain had fallen in the last few weeks so the ground was muddy but not too bad, there was also a lot of stone which we crossed very carefully. | 2014 - settle (27) | 285 thu 16 january

286: It was like we'd never had our mid-winter break as we effortlessly started as we'd left off with Adrian and Mick acting as scouts and forging ahead with no clear idea of where they were heading and Mike and Tim bringing up the rear about 100 yards behind studying the maps trying to work if the scouts were going in the right direction. One thing we knew for sure was that we were getting higher and higher, Settle was getting further and further away and the views were getting more and more spectacular. | 2014 - settle (27) | thu 16 january 286

287: 2014 - settle (27) | 287 thu 16 january

288: At times it felt like we were in an open prison because the stone walls were so high and protected by barbed wire and the gates and stiles that allowed us to get into the next field just blended in and were hard to spot. Adrian did his best to spot these elusive escape routes but even when we found one the next field just looked like the one we'd come from. | 2014 - settle (27) | thu 16 january 288

289: After a spot of lunch and photoshoot it was decision time, continue with the walk in the hope we would be able to complete it or head back and find a friendly cake shop where we could indulge in our by now customary fix of cakes and drinks. Having spent the best part of half a second thinking about it we headed back. | 2014 - settle (27) | 289 thu 16 january

290: We thought we were taking the easy way back by using the road but it turned out to be tough on the legs because it was so long and steep. | 2014 - settle (27) | thu 16 january 290

291: We're on the lookout for more creatures this year but we didn't get off to the best of starts because these 2 fellows were just about it leaving us wondering why the stone walls had been built so high. | Finally we make it back and get replenished in Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe | 291 | 2014 - settle (27) | 291 thu 16 january

292: X | We were due to go to Arnside but chose Formby instead because of the weather and the storm damage we might have encountered as Britain had been battered by extremely strong winds and heavy rain and was in serious danger of sinking altogether. | The day and night before had been particularly severe and there were bits of trees of varying sizes littered the ground. Our path to the start of our walk, Formby Point, was supposedly closed but once we saw one or two people ignore the sign we did as well as we concluding it was valid for yesterday but probably still didn't apply for today. Mike was convinced he spotted a squirrel (this is one of the few places in the country where red squirrels still roam) walking but we weren't quick enough with our cameras to obtain photographic evidence. | 2014 - formby (28) | thu 13 february 292

293: We wandered through the pine wood to Formby Point before crossing open ground on our way to the beach. It was still windy, but not ridiculously so, and although cool conditions were good for walking and the other good thing about the walk, in complete contrast to all our other walks, it was flat. | 2014 - formby (28) | 293 thu 13 february

294: It was a bit bleak and we seemed to walk along way across wasteland first then boardwalks before sighting the beach and sea. | 2014 - formby (28) | thu 13 february 294

295: Time for a break before going for the final push. Not surprisingly the steps down to the beach had taken a battering and were quite badly damaged. The beach and sea though looked pristine and stretched for miles in either direction (it runs from the Mersey estuary to Southport, a distance of 15 miles). | 2014 - formby (28) | 295 thu 13 february

296: The deserted beaches, the noise of the sea and the freshness of the air make the whole experience exhilarating.... | 2014 - formby (28) | thu 13 february 296

297: ...and the perfectly formed sand dunes provided a spectacular and dramatic backdrop - great experience! | 2014 - formby (28) | 297 thu 13 february

298: We do have company after all (apart from the birds) as we spot a couple ambling along the beach. | 2014 - formby (28) | thu 13 february 298

299: Reluctantly we left the beach and moved inland, we had only walked 4 and a half miles (and it was on the flat) but we'd all worked up an appetite and went into Formby and treated ourselves to chocolate and orange scones with cream and jam which were just as good as they sound. | 2014 - formby (28) | 299 thu 13 february

300: X | In sharp contrast to our last outing we were greeted by murk and mud lots of both. Below is the view we had from the top of Arnside Knott and on the facing page is the view we should have had. | 2014 - arnside - arnside knott - river kent round (29) | thu 6 march 300

301: Arnside a beautiful and peaceful village, south of The Lake District in Cumbria, is situated on the boarder of Lancashire and faces the estuary of the River Kent on the north eastern corner of Morecambe Bay. Arnside and nearby Silverdale both lie within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The railway line crossing the River Kent Estuary by an impressive viaduct opened in 1857 and connects Arnside to Barrow-in-Furness, Ulverston, Grange-over-Sands, Carnforth and Lancaster. Up until the 19th century Arnside was used as a local port but the building of the viaduct caused the estuary to silt up. | The viaduct, which stands on 50 piers and is 522 yards long, was rebuilt in 1915 and in July of 2011 underwent major structural improvements to provide passengers with a smoother quieter and faster ride - the work to the viaduct took sixteen weeks costing 12 million. Arnside is very popular with tourists and holiday makers and the thriving active community makes this village an appealing retirement haven. There are also many local and interesting walks around Arnside Knott and along the shoreline. The Cross Bay Walks across the sands of Morecambe Bay are held several times a year but due to fast flowing tides, ever changing channels and quicksand’s it is a dangerous place to walk without the help of the Queen’s Guide. With each high tide Arnside is subject to a fast rising tide caused by a combination of the large area of Morecambe Bay narrowing rapidly at Arnside and the second highest tidal range at Barrow-in-Furness these give rise to a tidal bore up to a height of 12 inches. Arnside Knott is a hill that rises out of the estuary and stands at 522 feet and the views from the summit across the Kent Estuary, Morecambe Bay and the fells of the Lake District are outstanding. The area is owned by the National Trust and is one of Britain’s best sites for butterflies. The River Kent originates at Hall Cove in the hills above Kentmere and flows for 20 miles into the north of Morecambe Bay. The river is a designated Special Area of Conservation and home to many types of wildlife and wading birds it also an important habitat for the endangered White-clawed Crayfish. Morecambe Bay is the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the UK and reveals 310 square kilometres of sand when the tide goes out. The bay has rich cockle beds that have been fished by locals for generations. Twenty-three Chinese cockle pickers drowned on the 5th February 2004 after being cut off by tides that travel as fast as a galloping horse. | 301 thu 6 march | 2014 - arnside - arnside knott - river kent round (29)

302: Turn left at The Albion pub and follow Silverdale Road steeply uphill and then turn right at the sign for Arnside Knott and Red Hills Road. At the next junction to the left walk forward through the gate opposite sign posted public footpath Dobshall Wood and Knott Lane. Follow the track by the side of the field until you come to a gate. Go through the gate and turn left and then take the left fork and follow the narrow tarmac road. Just before the car park take the footpath on the left next to a bench sign posted Arnside Knott Wood and walk uphill following the path. Aim for the wood in front of you and then turn left and follow the wall which bears round to the right to a gate. Walk forward on the path for a short way and detour left to the Arnside Knott summit pillar. Then turn right and head forward to rejoin the path next to a bench supported with two stone stacks. Carry on forward on the path through Arnside Wood passing a bench on the left over looking Morecambe Bay. The path then drops down to two benches on the right. Bear left and follow the main path downhill to a wall with a gate and a footpath sign in front. Go through the gate and follow the path to Far Arnside. At Hollins Farm turn left on the right hand side of the farm and then turn left over a stile in the wall. Head forward to the small road and then turn right to Far Arnside and the caravan park. Walk into the caravan park and bear to the right and when the road splits take the right fork sign posted White Creek. Pass a place called Pebble Row on the left and then at a sharp bend to the left at the end of the park take the path opposite into the trees between some large stones. Follow the path through the trees and when the path splits again take the left path towards the bay. Just keep following the path along the edge of the cliff passing a bench on the left before reaching another caravan park. Walk through the park and then turn right following the concrete road round to the left following the tree line on the right which leads to the foreshore. Walk along the foreshore and round the head land and arrive back at Arnside . | 2014 - arnside - arnside knott - river kent round (29) | thu 6 march 302

303: Arnside Knott is a hill with a summit elevation of 159 metres (522 ft), near Arnside, Cumbria, England. Although it is in South Lakeland district it is not in the Lake District National Park, lying south of the River Kent which forms the south eastern boundary of the national park. It is within the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is National Trust property. Arnside Knott is the lowest Marilyn (i.e. a hill with over 150 m of topographic prominence) in England. It was not included in Alan Dawson's The Relative Hills of Britain (1992) ISBN 1-85284-068-4 which was the first listing of Marilyns, but was added to the list in 2004-05.[2] The National Trust grazes Highland cattle on Arnside Knott. | It was like visiting a zoo, the number of animals we came across. Begs the question, would we have seen as many if visibility had been better. Only one dodgy moment (top right) when our path was blocked by some kind of muscle bound beast that looked like it had been on steroids. | 2014 - arnside - arnside knott - river kent round (29) | 303 thu 6 march

304: As we descended the day started to improve and we could just about make things out in the distance. We had a quick look round the stony, shingly beach but we'd been spoilt by Formby so it didn't impress us that much. However we were impressed by the quality of the stone walls which looked like they'd only been laid very recently. And the daffodil picture is there because in 2013 we took a similar picture but in May showing how the weather has varied over the two years - so far this year 2 mornings of frost if that and no snow. | 2014 - arnside - arnside knott - river kent round (29) | thu 6 march 304

305: The coastal trail was very wet and far more treacherous than any of us would have wished. We were very careful and there were no slips because a fall to the rocks below would have hurt a lot. | 2014 - arnside - arnside knott - river kent round (29) | 305 thu 6 march

306: The mud we picked up on our boots as we walked back to Arnside was no ordinary mud, it was some kind of super mud that was impossible to clean off - Tim was dead impressed as we chucked our stuff in the car because he was using his new car (Kia 4x4) for the first time and when he picked us up in it looked like it had just come out a showroom. | 2014 - arnside - arnside knott - river kent round (29) | thu 6 march 306

307: It was quite quiet around Arnside and then we discovered why, everyone was in The Bakehouse Cafe. When we came out the gloom had finally lifted and the was starting to get a little warmer, what will our next adventure have in stall for us, can't wait... | 2014 - arnside - arnside knott - river kent round (29) | 307 thu 6 march

308: X | Back to familiar ground just north of Ambleside where we took a different route starting in Elterwater around the Langdale Valley. Conditions were a little murky but it stayed dry. It was the first time we'd walked during the school holidays and the route was much more crowded than we are used to. | 2014 - little langdale (30) | thu 17 april 308

309: Langdale is a valley in the Lake District and is the collective name for Great Langdale and Little Langdale which are separated by Lingmoor Fell. Great Langdale is best known for the Langdale Pikes which are a group of peaks on the northern side of the dale. The area is popular with hikers, climbers and fell runners who are attracted to the many fells at the head of the valley and Scafell Pike, which is England’s highest mountain, can also be climbed from here. The valley is U-shaped formed by glaciers and its mouth is located at Skelwith Bridge. The valley houses two villages Chapel Stile and Elterwater and these were the centres of the Lakeland slate industry. The workings at Elterwater Quarry and Spout Cragg Quarry are still working now using modern methods and both are operated by the Burlington Stone Company but many other mines have now fallen into disuse. Little Langdale valley is a hanging valley and has been heavily mined for copper and slate for the last few hundred years but today only the evidence remains. Little Langdale was in earlier days at the intersection of packhorse routes and Slaters Bridge which crosses the River Brathay at Little Langdale Tarn is a fine example. The bridge built of slate is of 17th century and crosses the river in three spans supported by a large mid stream boulder and stone causeways. Little Langdale Tarn which is a natural tarn set in a marshy area of the valley was several times larger at the end of the last ice age. The tarn, which has no public access, and a large area around the tarn has been designated an SSSI and is managed by the National Trust who also maintains many of the scattered farms in the valley. Little Langdale village is a small hamlet consisting of a few stone houses and a pub, the Three Shires Inn it was named this because it was only two miles from where each of three old boundaries of the counties of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland met. Chapel Stile is a small village located at the foot of Great Langdale on the banks of the River Brathay and is quite distinctive with its 19th century green slate houses which were built to house the quarrymen. During the same period a gunpowder works was also established to supply the slate quarry mines. The village church, built in 1857, sits on the hillside overlooking the village and has a few interesting stained glass windows. Skelwith Bridge is another small village situated by the River Brathay near Wrynose Pass and the slate that was quarried in the area in the 19th century was mainly used for roofing but was also used for lintels, tombstones, signs and paving. The village houses a pub the Skelwith Bridge Hotel, the Kirkstone Galleries which is a converted Bobbin Mill selling home products and has a cafe and Chesters shop, bakery and cafe. Skelwith Force situated on the River Brathay is only a few minutes walk from Skelwith Bridge. The force is low in height but is very impressive after heavy rainfall. Colwith Force which is further down on the River Brathay drops about forty feet in several stages is also very impressive after heavy rain. Elterwater the lake, situated at the entrance of Great Langdale, is the smallest of sixteen lakes being only half a mile long. The lake is fed by water from both Great Langdale and Little Langdale and the River Brathay provides the outflow from the lake. Elterwater means Swan Lake, Elter being the Norse word for swan and the lake is a haven for a large variety of wildlife especially the swans that migrate to the lake in the winter. Elterwater the village which was a farming and quarrying community now depends on tourism because only a quarter of its houses are permanently occupied the rest are holiday cottages, there is also a youth hostel and the Britannia Inn which is a former 17th century farmhouse. The village first prospered with the quarrying of slate at Kirkstone Green. In 1824 a gunpowder manufacturing business brought workers to Elterwater. Coppiced juniper wood was turned into charcoal, saltpetre was imported to Windermere by train and then transported to the village and sulphur was also imported. These three ingredients were mixed and ground to produce the gunpowder and six water wheels turned by the River Brathay provided an economic means of power. Production ceased in the early 1930’s and today the building is a holiday complex. | 309 thu 17 april | 2014 - little langdale (30)

310: Cross the footbridge, turn right and walk between the wall and the River Brathay and keep following the path through the Burlington slate quarry. After passing a building on the right, turn right and take the path and head uphill through the wood. Cross straight over the next track and keep heading uphill on the path still going through the wood. At the end of the wood, turn right and follow the track and the footpath sign to Little Langdale Tarn. Pass through Dale End farm and follow the tarmac track to a road. Turn left onto the road then immediately right and follow the track to Little Langdale Tarn and cross over Slater Bridge (footbridge) and up the other side and then turn left onto the track. Follow the track and turn right just after a bridge and take the path on the left sign posted Coniston 4 miles via Hodge Close. Follow the track round to the left which becomes a tarmac track and cross over a little bridge then keep going uphill, bearing left again at Stang End (an old farm) and follow the footpath sign for Colwith and Skelwith. Keep following the tarmac track and at a building end (High Peak) go through the gate on the left and walk between the buildings on the bridle way and go through another gate into the field and follow the well marked path. Then at a sign post take the left fork downhill to Colwith Force. After admiring the force keep heading forwards on the path to the road and bridge. Cross over the stile and turn right along the road for a short way and then after another small bridge turn left and follow the path keeping the river on the left. After a short way head up some rather steep steps and then start to leave the river. Walk through the buildings of Elterwater guest house and Park Farm and keep following the track to the right of Park House. Keep following the track and then take a left fork. At a sign post turn right to Skelwith Bridge on cycle route 37 and go over the river and through a gate to the road and then turn left to go over Skelwith Bridge. (Optional: Just before the bridge take a path on the left to Skelwith Force on the left side of the river and then return back to Skelwith Bridge). After crossing Skelwith Bridge turn left and follow the path slightly to the right past Edna’s Holiday Cottages and by Kirkstone Galleries on the right. Then turn off left to view Skelwith Force on the other side. Then go back to the track and head forwards through the open fields with the river on our left. Follow the river round to the left to Elterwater and keep following the track going through a wood until to Elterwater village. At the National Trust car park turn left over a little bridge and then immediately right and follow the tarmac track with the river and Elterwater village to the right. Keep heading uphill until to the quarry entrance on the left and take the footpath opposite and follow the footpath sign back to Chapel Stile 1/3 of a mile. Walk back over the bridge to the parked car. | 2014 - little langdale (30) | thu 17 april 310

311: 2014 - little langdale (30) | 311 thu 17 april

312: The tops of the Langdales when they finally came into view were shrouded in misty cloud. We then passed by Langdale Tarn and crossed a bridge that looked like one of those bridges you'd half expect a troll to be living underneath. Sheeps and lambs were numbered so the farmer knew who belonged to who - brilliant but simple idea. | 2014 - little langdale (30) | thu 17 april 312

313: 313 | 2014 - little langdale (30) | 313 thu 17 april

314: Then it was over another bridge to a flooded stream/road that cars were allowed to cross with caution. | 2014 - little langdale (30) | thu 17 april 314

315: 2014 - little langdale (30) | 315 thu 17 april

316: 2014 - little langdale (30) | thu 17 april 316

317: We had our lunch perched on not the most comfortable rocks overlooking the Colwith Forth where one slip would have led to a very painful and wet fall. As always we had to have a few calories at the local café after our 6 and a half mile walk. | 2014 - little langdale (30) | 317 thu 17 april

318: We've had our fair share of major events in the last few years and this one is right up there - the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire, who would have thought it. After considering our options we (Tim and Mick) decided to go by train and head for the start (Le Grand Depart) at Leeds before moving on to Harrogate to catch the finish. An early start saw us catch the 7:18 from Kirkham and the 7:37 from Preston which arrived in Leeds at 10ish. It was reminiscent of the Olympics as loads of volunteers were all too happy to give us advice on how we could best see the race. | sat 5 july 318 | 2014 - tour de france - stage 1 - leeds to harrogate

319: It was a glorious day and an it was estimated that an incredible 2 and half million lined the 190 km route with the majority probably in Leeds. After we arrived we had to walk out a mile or so before we got to a spot where we could see. We waited about 50 minutes before the cyclists arrived. | 2014 - tour de france - stage 1 - leeds to harrogate | 319 sat 5 july

320: It's hard to explain the appeal in watching a cycle race - you wait a long time before the riders flash by and that's it really, it's like going to a football match and seeing the teams kick off and then leaving - nevertheless there is something about just being there and this was no exception - the crowds were friendly and the atmosphere fantastic. For us though this was just the beginning as we headed back to the station to catch a train to Harrogate which seemed a much quicker and easier option than cycling there on the route planned for Le Tour. However getting to and back from Harrogate was not going to be straightforward. | 2014 - tour de france - stage 1 - leeds to harrogate | sat 5 july 320

321: As we walked to the station it was apparent that most of the huge crowd were heading the same way. When we arrived at the station it was a little chaotic complicated even further because the powers that be at the station decided to play mind games with the travellers by not letting on which platform the train(s) to Harrogate were departing from. This resulted in rumours, speculation and guesswork but we got lucky because when the platform was announced we were right by it and got on without problem. Others were less fortunate and were left on a platform that didn't have a train. As we left Leeds we saw a long line of people queuing to get in the station. At the time we thought this could be ominous for the trip back and how right we were. | 2014 - tour de france - stage 1 - leeds to harrogate | 321 sat 5 july

322: We arrived in Harrogate about 12:15 and decided on our plan of action - a look round Harrogate and the facilities that were on offer and then find a welcoming public house where we could top up our liquid level - it was a hot day and we were very conscious that we did not want to become dehydrated. After that we would travel along the route so we could hopefully get a good view as the cyclists arrived around 4:30 Yorkshire had put a lot of time and effort into preparing for Le Tour and Harrogate was definitely no exception with reminders being everywhere you looked. We got a glimpse of the finishing line but that was very much reserved for ticket holders and royalty, Kate, Wills and Harry were there. | 2014 - tour de france - stage 1 - leeds to harrogate | sat 5 july 322

323: There were a lot of people in Harrogate and the numbers were growing by the minute as more and more trains arrived and unloaded their passengers. We stuck to our plan and had a good look round at the town, the big screen area and the evidence that Le Tour was on its way. The pubs close to the finish were just too busy so we headed back into the town centre where the pubs, although busy were not as busy. We then spent a very pleasant couple of hours reliquifying our bodies while watching the Tour's progress on the numerous TVs dotted around. Then it was a quick burger before fighting the crowds to get the best vantage point. | 2014 - tour de france - stage 1 - leeds to harrogate | 323 sat 5 july

324: The route was heaving and all vantage points taken up until the 1km markers and beyond, we just kept walking until the crowds thinned out a little and waited for the riders to arrive. | 2014 - tour de france - stage 1 - leeds to harrogate | sat 5 july 324

325: And so it was over with only the stragglers left. Further up the course towards the finish Cav crashed out of the race much to the disappointment of the waiting fans. We started making our way back the 2 miles or so to the train station along with everyone else and there were a lot of people in everyone else. At this point it was good to reflect how kind the weather had been, the day before had been horrendous and if that had continued it would not have been any fun. So the walk back in the pleasant evening fun amongst the excited fans created a great atmosphere to be part of. | A few people did catch buses but most had train tickets. Having not moved in the longest queue I've ever been in for half an hour somebody gave us a lifeline by telling us there was another queue for stopping trains between Harrogate and Leeds. Despite being in that queue for another 45 minutes we did get on a train - if we hadn't have done we would have been in Harrogate or Leeds for the night because we would have missed the last train back to Preston but we didn't and finally arrived hope at 10:30 - what a great day despite the fact we'd been away for over 15 hours and seen cyclists for probably a couple of minutes | 2014 - tour de france - stage 1 - leeds to harrogate | 325 sat 5 july

326: It's been a while but The Amigos are back - walks are off the agenda for the time being while Mike sorts out a slight health scare which means we can look for alternative ventures starting with a nice, relaxing, stress free barge trip down the Leeds Liverpool canal starting from Skipton. | X | The Leeds and Liverpool Canal was the first of the Trans-Pennine canals to be started and the last to be completed. The length and the complexity of the route meant that the canal took 46 years to build at a cost of five times the original budget. The canal originates from a proposal in 1765 to construct a canal from Preston to Leeds to carry woollen goods from Leeds and Bradford and limestone from Skipton. Prospective backers in Lancashire argued for the canal to start from Liverpool. The Canal Act passed in 1770 was for a route from Liverpool to Leeds via Parbold, Walton-le-Dale (just south of Preston), Colne and Skipton, with a branch from Burscough towards the River Ribble, a branch from Parbold to Wigan, a great aqueduct at Whalley and a branch from Shipley to Bradford. In 1773, the first part to open was the lock-free section from Skipton to Bingley. In 1777, the canal was open between Liverpool, Parbold and Gathurst, near Wigan, and from Leeds to Gargrave, including the branch to Bradford. However, at this point all the funds had been spent and work came to a halt. By 1781 enough money was found to complete the branch to Wigan and the branch to Rufford. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 326

327: It was ten years later, in 1791, that work re-started on building the canal west from Gargrave. In 1794 a new Act was passed, changing the route to run via Burnley and Blackburn instead of Whalley and Walton-le-Dale. Foulridge Tunnel was opened in 1796 making the canal navigable from Leeds to Burnley. The section from Burnley to Blackburn took a further 14 years to construct and the missing link west of Blackburn to the Lancaster Canal at Johnson's Hillock was not complete until six years later in 1816. The plan to continue the canal as planned from Johnson's Hillock to Parbold was abandoned through lack of money. An arrangement was made to use the section of the Lancaster Canal between Johnson's Hillock and Wigan, and to incorporate that and the Wigan "branch" into the main line of the canal. In 1820 the new branch was opened between Wigan and Bridgewater Canal at Leigh, linking with the rest of the canal system. In 1864 the Leeds and Liverpool Canal took over the southern section of the Lancaster Canal. The engineering of the canal is very different from other Trans-Pennine canals. Most of the locks are concentrated in groups with long level sections between. Tunnels and cuttings are avoided where possible with the canal following the contours round bends and loops. In some sections the distance between points by canal is twice the shortest distance. The earliest locks, between Leeds and Bingley, are often grouped together to form staircases of two or three locks. The most spectacular feature of the canal is the five rise lock staircase at Bingley. | An inspiring bronze statue of cricket legend Fred Trueman greeted us on our arrival at the Skipton barge quayside - Fred had lived in Skipton for many years before his death in 2006. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 327 thu 14 august

328: So here's our home for the next 5 or 6 hours - possibly not the most imposing of the crafts that were on view but nevertheless we were eager to get aboard. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 328

329: All aboard without mishap but wait where's Mike? - oh there he is so it's definitely all aboard without mishap. | After we have been given our potentially life saving instructions (in about 2 minutes we were taught the canal highway code, how to steer, how to move it forwards and reverse it, how to get on and off, how to moor, how to open and close bridges, how to clear the propeller, what to do in an emergency etc. ) we were off and very soon at top speed and the passing countryside becomes a blur as we speed past it at 4 mph. Every group needs a leader but not every group gets a natural leader - we were fortunate because it was obvious from outset that amongst us we had such a person in Adrian or Captain Cross as he liked to be addressed. He took us confidently out of port and was soon passing instructions out and delegating responsibilities to us crew members. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 329 thu 14 august

330: The accommodation was adequate but basic. It's worth mentioning at this point that as the trip unfolded a number of events occurred which as well as enriching the experience at the time also provided pointers of some of the dangers of barging of which we were blissfully unaware when we set off. These are summarised as do's and don'ts of barging at the end of the section and they are referred to when pictorial evidence backs any of them up. | Do's and Don'ts 2: Don't distract the driver especially on a smallish barge which is not designed to have more than 1 person working the tiller As you can see from the photo left and above there is very little room at the back of a small barge for 2 people and the risk is 1) man going overboard if the tiller is moved suddenly and quickly and 2) general distraction causing the driver to lose concentration see also Do's and Don'ts 3, 5 and 10 | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 330

331: Our first incident happened when we spotted a heron on the bank. Mike was steering but was distracted when we tried to get up close to take a picture, the result being we hit the bank which, although we didn't know it at the time, was a warning of things to come. | We knew we weren't going to have to negotiate any locks but had been aware of swing bridges that we would have to open as we went along. The bridges were either going to be manual swing bridges, automatic swing bridges or automatic/manual swing bridges. The first one on our route was a manual swing bridge which required the technique of unlocking it and pushing it open in a controlled way - not too fast as as it would bounce and start closing itself again. We were fortunate with this one because the bargees from a barge coming in the opposite direction opened it for us which meant we didn't have to practice our stopping the barge in the right place and dismounting and remounting the barge techniques at least for the time being, re: Do's and Don'ts 1, 9, 11, 13 and 14 | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 331 thu 14 august

332: Very soon we had a bridge of our own to open and this was a fully automated one - we had remembered the instructions for this one which were don't release the button until the barriers and bridge are fully open because if you release the button prematurely the mechanism stops and you have to re-press the button to start the mechanism again. If you do this more than once the bridge locks which means worst case scenario barges can't get through and cars can't cross the canal - in other words chaos ensues. Who would be stupid enough not to remember these instructions, the answer not us surprisingly but the people on our return journey who did just this and blocked the road, it unbelievably takes an hour and a half to sort out. Up until this point in our journey we had seen very few other barges but they seemed to appear from everywhere once the bridge was open and they also seemed very keen to get through first in contrary to Do's and Don'ts 20. This meant the bridge was open longer than anticipated and I got very little response to my wave and smile from the impatient drivers who had been waiting when they were finally able to cross. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 332

333: 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 333 thu 14 august

334: And so it was time for lunch and the time had flown to this point. Mooring points were dotted along the towpath put we were also able to improvise as the barge had on board a mallet and 2 large spikes to wrap the mooring ropes round. The mooring and lunch went without a hitch, it was only when we tried to set off we realised we had a problem because our barge was stuck. Fortunately a couple of passers by were on hand to shift us although it wasn't easy and we had to utilise the barge pole in a way that it wasn't designed for , i.e you can use it for pushing but not levering. We were also advised from a passing bargee on how we should be releasing ourselves but the instructions were a bit complicated and delivered by someone who probably thought the canals should be reserved for people who knew what they were doing - we concluded we were a long way off being proficient enough to steer using the tiller wedged in our bottom technique as he comfortably (or maybe that should be uncomfortably) was demonstrating., re: Do's and Don'ts 7 and 8 | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 334

335: The wildlife consisted mainly of ducks and swans who were completely indifferent to our presence. and glided effortlessly out of our way as we approached (aimed at) them. | Things settled down for a while after this and we enjoyed the magnificent surrounding scenery and the calmness of the whole area but the drama was far from over. | We were wising up quickly and although it was fun to open the bridges it was a lot easier to let somebody else do it so we didn't race anyone (not that Rosie would have been up to it anyway) if they were keen to get there before us, re: Do's and Don'ts 16. It was important to gauge our speed so they got far enough ahead to open the bridge so we didn't have to stop but not far enough ahead to give them time to open and close the bridge before we got there. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 335 thu 14 august

336: Generally it was Captain Cross and Mick who attended to the bridges. This was the obvious choice because of their superior agility and strength (or so they like to think). This left Mike and Tim in charge of Rosie, a task in the main they performed admirably but there were a couple of incidents like when they failed to heed Do's and Donts 13 and Rosie drifted to a broadside position. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 336

337: It wasn't all stress and strain and we were able to relax at times - our Captain, as well as being the most able sailor was also very good at looking relaxed. | We're not quite sure how Mike managed to take this photo as it looks like he must be hovering above the canal. All credit to him though because it is a perfect example of what happens when Do's and Donts 4 is ignored and weight is incorrectly distributed. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 337 thu 14 august

338: As we turned back for home Captain Cross volunteered for the first stint on the tiller but it was either too much for him or just too boring because he was soon looking for a replacement. Mick jumped at the opportunity and thus begun 1 of the longest half hours of his life. Everything started smoothly enough as we cruised along although his dubious steering ability meant he had to keep ducking as low hanging branches impeded our progress on the right side of the canal especially when having to pull over even further to avoid a too wide barge coming in the opposite direction. | The swing bridge was negotiated without problem and Mick looked to be enjoying himself as we approached the next hazard (a bridge) which was the start of his undoing. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 338

339: The sequence of events were as follows: He was lining up our barge to go under the bridge when suddenly a barge appeared out of nowhere coming in the opposite direction. He reduced the power and started to slow down to allow the other barge to pass With the loss of power came a loss of control and the barge started to drift towards the bridge itself He was unable to correct the situation and we bounced sideways off the side of the bridge then across to the other side of the canal where we hit the bank which straightened us up to emerge on the other side - It was likened to a snooker ball bouncing in off the cushion, re Do's and donts 18. | The rest of the crew were obviously shaken by the experience and Captain Cross, by his own admission not the most tolerant of men, was rapidly losing faith in his steersman's ability to steer. Generously (or is that foolishly) he allowed Mick to continue. | We passed a number of impressive barges some of which resembled floating houses rather than boats. | No incidents had happened for at least for a couple of minutes as we passed the moored barges on probably the widest part of the canal and all was going well until: - there was a barge to the front of us and one moored to the side - the one in front was doing some kind of 3 point turn but more importantly blocking our path. The next 30 seconds went something like this: - Mick did what he did best and panicked but at least had the gumption to ease off the power - We starting drifting towards the moored barge - Realising the hit was inevitable Mick banged it into reverse but a bit like Titanic trying to avoid the iceberg this had no immediate effect - The crew to a man cushioned the blow with their arms as we collided - We started reversing and the occupants of the moored barge didn't react so we'd got away with it except we were one man (one man capable of steering) down as Mick was clearly traumatised and it was back to the bridge opening/closing duties for him. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 339 thu 14 august

340: Back to what he does best Mick looks a lot happier on dry ground. Soon after this and just before we reached the next bridge it began to rain rather heavily. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 340

341: Do's and donts 12 advises take the right gear because of the changing weather conditions - however there can be an advantage if you don't have the right gear if it suddenly starts to rain because this means the only person who can take the tiller is the person who is most suitably attired, i.e. Tim who can be relied upon to be suitably attired whatever the occasion or weather conditions - result, we stayed nice and warm inside while Tim got wet. The rain didn't last long and stopped at exactly the same time Captain Cross volunteered to take us back into port. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 341 thu 14 august

342: 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | thu 14 august 342

343: And so we made it back virtually unscathed and raring to do it again. There was a wide choice of coffee houses to choose from and unusually for us we chose a duff one this time where the clientele were very iffy and the teacakes not up to our usual standard. | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) | 343 thu 14 august

344: 1. Listen to the instructions before setting off very carefully - even if none of them make much sense at the time they will become more relevant as the trip unfolds 2. Don't distract the driver especially on a smallish barge which is not designed to have more than one person working the tiller 3. When steering, be wary of observing the countryside and wildlife as a momentary lapse of concentration can cause accidents 4. Distribute your weight properly, i.e don't all favour 1 side of the barge especially if the barge is on the small side as it makes it look ridiculous to other bargees 5. When steering, anticipate the dangers ahead and plan your route accordingly 6. Have a confident but not cocky approach to steering 7. Enjoy the comradery and friendship of the other waterway users but be beware of the single bargee especially if he has an extremely big barge and steers it with his bottom as these people are likely to be dangerous 8. Be cheery to those walking along the towpath, you never know when you may need their help 9, Follow the instructions on how to open and close bridges very carefully in order to avoid personal physical injury and creating traffic chaos in the local community 10. Remember if you step back you will probably fall into the water | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) - do's and don'ts when barging | thu 14 august 344

345: 11. Be careful when dismounting, it has been known for people to occasionally fall over when making the transition from barge to land 12. Take the right clothes and equipment as it's difficult to get warm and/or dry on a barge if the weather changes 13. Take care when mooring, it sounds simple enough but it's easy to lose one end or the other of the barge and end up broadside across the canal 14. Make sure at least 1 person remains on the boat at all times, it sounds obvious but the consequences of not doing this could be a little embarrassing and even life-threatening - re the film Adrift 15. Don't panic if you're on course to hit anything, you can rely on your crew members to come to your rescue 16. Let other barges overtake you, if they're first to the next bridge they will open it for you and you can just sail through merrily 17. Don't get stuck or run aground 18. Don't hit bridges 19. Don't hit other barges 19. Obey the highway code of the canals, i.e. drive on the right unless the bargees coming towards you obviously doesn't know that rule and generally give way to bigger barges which in our case was all of them 20. Respect and listen to the Captain at all times unless of course you think he's losing the plot | 345 thu 14 august | 2014 - skipton - canal trip on a barge called rosie (31) - do's and don'ts when barging

346: Tim, Mick and guest Amigo Jack (who had just returned from Australia) went to Liverpool for the day to watch the first stage of this year's Tour of Britain. We knew we were going to be there all day so good weather was important and luckily we got it. | 2014 - tour of britain - stage 1 - liverpool | sun 7 september 346

347: We had time to see the attractions on the Liverpool waterfront including a statue of Billy Fury. We missed a trick by not getting on ITV4's preview show with Ned Boulting. Also, we couldn't believe the Ferry crossing the Mersey was blasting out the song Ferry across the Mersey as it docked. | 347 sun 7 september | 2014 - tour of britain - stage 1 - liverpool

348: Although the crowds were big they were nothing like the Tour de France ones and we got ourselves into a great position for the build up right by the finish line and in the perfect spot to see the riders presented to the crowd. The main attractions were Wiggins, Cavendish and Cav's main sprint rival on the world stage, Marcel Kittel from Germany. | 2014 - tour of britain - stage 1 - liverpool | sun 7 september 348

349: The race consisted of 8 13 km laps which the cyclists were due to complete in about 2 and a quarter hours. Inevitably there was a breakaway (4 riders) and inevitably they were caught before the end. In the sun it was lovely but there was a coolish breeze so we moved around quite a bit to get different vantage points. It was Cav's comeback tour after his crash in the Tour de France so he was always going to struggle against an in-form Kittel especially as he had another incident/collision which forced him to stop and adjust his footwear in the early stages of the race. Kittel just clinched it on the line with Cav 3rd. | 2014 - tour of britain - stage 1 - liverpool | 349 sun 7 september

350: X | What a bonus - the summer extends into October and it's perfect for our first walk for several months. As Mike is easing his way back into the fold (he's had a few heart scares) he chooses a flat and shortish walk near Clitheroe. What we didn't anticipate was getting lost (even though it came as no great surprise) and turning a 4 mile walk into a six and a half mile walk. | 2014 - edisford bridge (32) | thu 2 october 350

351: To be fair, everything started well and the walk along the river was straightforward with no dramas. | 351 thu 2 october | 2014 - edisford bridge (32)

352: River to the right of us and animals grazing to the left of us - idyllic | thu 2 october 352 | 2014 - edisford bridge (32)

353: Everything was going smoothly and we had no qualms about going 'off road' (will we ever learn?). But as happens all too often (especially to us) the instructions were vague and more like a cryptic treasure hunt set of clues compiled by a Jeremy Beadle-like prankster instead of a clear followable guide. | 353 thu 2 october | 2014 - edisford bridge (32)

354: So after hopping over a few fences and passing a rather serious looking cow we ended up in a featureless grassy bowl with cows, sheep, lively frolicking horses and a fox for company. | Not the best picture of a fox ever taken but it is in there somewhere | thu 2 october 354 | 2014 - edisford bridge (32)

355: We walked round the field for some time looking for a cross that supposedly indicated the way out but we never found it. Instead, we stopped for lunch and during our continued search luckily came across the Standen Hey Community Woodland which thankfully was on our map and enabled us to find our bearings which seemed like they'd been lost for ages. | 355 thu 2 october | 2014 - edisford bridge (32)

356: We're back on track and pick up the pace to arrive back at Edisford Bridge with time in hand to drive on to Longridge and enjoy a little light refreshment at The Ginger Baker | thu 2 october 356 | 2014 - edisford bridge (32)

357: 357 thu 2 october | 2014 - edisford bridge (32)

358: It's been 5 months since our last walk (not strictly accurate because Mike and Tim did the same walk last month but Mick cried off with a bad back and Adrian couldn't make it either). There is a valid reason for this and that is our ailments which have now superseded all our other topics of conversation such as sport (in particular football), family, holidays and putting the world to rights to become our number one most discussed subject. At this moment in time Mike is waiting for a pacemaker to be fitted, Tim has had 2 operational procedures to settle his heartrate which has been known to shoot up to over 200 bpm, Adrian is recovering from an operation on his foot and Mick has just been diagnosed with arthritis in his hip. We're all determined to make a full recovery and having regular walks can only do us good - special respect to Tim though who is getting back to his former glories and on the 2 days prior to the walk cycled an incredible 60 miles on each. Mike declined this trip because of his pending operation, let's hope we see him next time. | X | For our comeback we chose a leisurely stroll on the North Yorkshire moors starting from Conistone which is a small village not far from Grassington the scene of one or more memorable walks back in 2012. | The early signs weren't good as Tim's wing mirror got bashed on the way and we had to drive through thick fog for most of the journey. However when we arrived the mist and cloud had gone and the sun was out - perfect. | 2015 - conistone (33) | thu 19 march 358

359: Off we go then as take the road out of Conistone which quickly becomes a stony path which further degenerates into loose rocks that we scramble up. We then squeeze through mini high-sided limestone gorges (resembling small scale Norwegian fjords without the water) on our way up the slope. | 359 thu 19 march | 2015 - conistone (33)

360: We leave the gorges behind to find a sun-drenched limestone littered landscape but we know we still have a fair bit of climbing to do to get to the top. There's the odd cairn dotted about with hundreds if not thousands of molehills guiding us upwards. | 2015 - conistone (33) | thu 19 march 360

361: The conditions are bright and warm as we join up with the Dales Way (the Dales Way starts at Ilkley (West Yorkshire) and ends at Bowness (The Lakes) a distance of 76 miles passing through a number of towns and villages we have visited on our travels) but we were keeping an eye on the weather because Dales Way or no Dales Way you wouldn't want to be stuck up here if the fog rolled in. | 2015 - conistone (33) | 361 thu 19 march

362: Instruction 1 for building a lime kiln: find the most isolated, desolate, hard to get to place and build it there - that's probably not true in every case but in this case it definitely was. | 2015 - conistone (33) | thu 19 march 362

363: Tim proves he can detach himself from the rest of the group either with or without Mike. | Above is one of the many limestone shaped features and below under the cloud cover is Grassington. | 2015 - conistone (33) | 363 thu 19 march

364: Time for lunch and what better place to have it - custom built rocks shaped like comfy chairs, a warm, fresh breeze and picturesque views all round. The descent back into Conistone along the side of steep slopes of Dib Beck had to be approached with care and would have been treacherous in the wet but we all made it ok. There were no eating establishments in Conistone so we made the short journey to Grassington for toasted tea cakes, flapjacks and beverages, it's good to be back on the road again and the April date is already in the diary. | 2015 - conistone (33) | thu 19 march 364

365: 2015 - conistone (33) | 365 thu 19 march

366: X | Gummer's How is a hill in the southern part of the Lake District, on the eastern shore of Windermere, near its southern end. How, derived from the Old Norse word haugr, is a common local term for a hill or mound. Although a relatively small hill (321 metres above sea level) by the standards of the Lake District, it is the highest of the foothills in the area, and commands excellent views, particularly along Windermere, but also across to the Coniston fells and the central fells, as well as the broad panorama of Morecambe Bay. There is an OS trig point on the summit. | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | thu 16 april 366

367: Mike was still absent for our April excursion but hopes to be back with us for the next one. The weather was set fair and we found our start point without problem. In order to reach the car park we had to drive up a very steep hill which seemed to go on for miles but in reality probably wasn't that far. Anyway we were all relieved that we were driving up it rather than walking up it. This relief was very temporary though because our first direction was to walk back down the hill proving our original assessment that it was miles correct. However the glimpses of views over Windermere that we could already see made it worthwhile. | 367 thu 16 april | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how

368: We turned off the road into a world of green as vivid green moss covered trees, the ground and rock faces before we advanced through the tall and impressive pine trees. | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | thu 16 april 368

369: So far so good we are on the right route, all we have to do is turn left at the telephone box in the small village beyond the wood and follow the path through the Steep Forest to remain on the right route. | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | 369 thu 16 april

370: Small (very small) village found without problem, telephone box found without problem and tricky path supposedly taking us through the Steep Forest found without problem | After nearly an hour and nearly 2 miles we reached a hole in the wall with a road beyond giving us iconic glimpses of views over Windermere - problem. This was the steep road we'd come down and shouldn't see again until we were driving down it after we'd finished our walk. New plan, let's go to the summit of our walk objective, Gummers How, and see how we feel after that. | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | thu 16 april 370

371: The road was steeper than it looked and it looked very steep so after another 20 minutes or so we arrived leg weary back at our start point with Gummer's How looming in the background. we say looming but perhaps Wainwright's description puts it into perspective: He describes it as "an old man's mountain", and says of it: "And when ancient legs can no longer climb it know ye that the sad day has come to hung up the boots for ever and take to slippers". | So up we went, about 75% of the ascent was along a pretty good path but then we had to decide whether to scramble or walk round to the summit. Despite the fact kids as young as 6 in plimsolls were negotiating the scrambly path easily we chose the sensible way round. Had we known that we would that we would have had to negotiate the menacing stare and threatening behaviour of the Luing cattle we may have chosen differently | 371 thu 16 april | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how

372: Although we were teased by the sun because it was bathing the hilltops a few miles from us but never broke the cloud cover over us it was mild and once we'd found shelter from the coolish breeze we couldn't imagine a better spot for our lunchtime picnic. Tim demonstrating his hidden talent of being able to morph into a cairn (left) was a trick we hadn't seen before. | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | thu 16 april 372

373: Old Man's mountain or not the views towards Newby Bridge and Lakeside in one direction and the full length of Windermere in the other were spectacular. | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | 373 thu 16 april

374: Having watched the Windermere ferry gracefully glide past us many feet below, fed, watered and refreshed we move on to tackle the descent. | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | thu 16 april 374

375: 375 thu 16 april | 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how

376: 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | thu 16 april 376 | One last look then off we went sidestepping the cattle and then down the rocky path. We still had some time to spare so we tried to re-trace the way we should have come. We did to some extent but there was little to see apart from a rather large tree root that looked like it had been blown over not that long before.

377: 2015 - gummer's how and cartmel (34) - gummer's how | 377 thu 16 april | For our apres walk refreshment we headed somewhere to Cartmel which boasts a race course, world famous restaurant (L'Enclume - Simon Rogan), mini brewery and a superbly preserved priory. Despite no toasted teacakes the food was excellent in the cafe.

378: 2015 - kettlewell (35) | The 4 of us are together again for the first time in a while as we head to North Yorkshire to the little village of Kettlewell as our starting point. Everything is good except the weather which has been decidedly rubbish so far this year - I'm sure May was always sunny and warm when we were boys. | We were a few days late for the annual duck race which contrary to what we were thinking was a race between plastic ducks not the real thing which would have probably been more fun but a lot harder to control. | So we're off and almost inevitably it's a climb to start with as we walk up a windy stony road leaving the village of Kettlewell in our wake. We don't know whether it's our age, the fact that we aren't walking as regularly or it was just steep but we were all puffing and panting by the time we reached the top of the ridge. | thu 28 may 378 | X

379: 2015 - kettlewell (35) | 379 thu 28 may | Once at the top we had superb views over one of my favourite places that we visit, the Wharfe valley. However as we travelled furher we were looking down on a murky mix of mist and cloudy rain below us.

380: It caught us and we had to seek shelter behind one of the many stone walls. Fortunately the rain didn't last long and we were able to advance along the ridge. | 2015 - kettlewell (35) | thu 28 may 380

381: What goes up must come down and that's what we had to as we scrambled and stumbled along a treacherous (especially after the recent rain) path through a very picturesque and very green wood to the valley below. | 2015 - kettlewell (35) | Flat land again, at last, and everyone's still standing | 381 thu 28 may

382: 2015 - kettlewell (35) | thu 28 may 382 | Sandwiched between a telephone box and a road under repair sign we find a welcome bench at the back of the local Post Office in the little village of Starbotton and eat our sandwiches. It's then back along the valley floor to Kettlewell with the ridge we walked along looking a long way away.

383: 2015 - kettlewell (35) | 383 thu 28 may | Having taken on our inevitable refreshment we head home and on the way pass the village of Kilnsey whose most notable feature is the Kilnsey Crag: The crag is a large limestone cliff that overlooks the road and the River Wharfe and is an impressive 170 feet high with an overhang of 40 feet.

384: 2015 - ings (36) | thu 27 august 384 | X | Long time no Amigos but we're not done yet and for our summer walk we're back to the Lakes to the village of Ings as our start point on a typical summer's day (well for this summer anyway), cold, windy and with the constant threat of rain.

385: 2015 - ings (36) | 385 thu 27 august

386: Another peak conquered and our reward is a glimpse of Lake Windermere which is about 2 miles away. | 2015 - ings (36) | thu 27 august 386

387: 2015 - ings (36) | 387 thu 27 august

388: Our roles haven't changed since we started our walks, Mike follows the guide, Tim uses the OS map, Adrian uses his instinct and Mick just follows on knowing eventually we'll find where we're looking for. However we're not too proud to ask for directions and when a willing jogger appeared from nowhere he was kind enough to put us back on track. This signpost caused us a little confusion, we're all right when the sign post points straight ahead but we're not as good when we have a choice. | In all the excitement we'd forgotten to eat and it was half twelve - this is unheard of us as the sandwiches are usually polished off well before midday - we can't leave it too late because then we might struggle to eat our afternoon tea at the end of the walk. Anyway we could hardly believe our luck when we came across this picnic bench in the middle of nowhere. | We made light work of the repairs to the bench and after a swift stop we were off on the road again. | thu 27 august 388 | 2015 - ings (36)

389: 389 thu 27 august | 2015 - ings (36) | We were soon back at our start point, the old rickety bridge, which amazingly was strong enough to support a train. | There were no cafes in Ings so it was down the road to Staveley to Wilfs which was very smart and pretty busy - the prices were reasonable and cakes and teacakes good so spirits were high as we drove home.

390: 2015 - grizedale forest (37) - carron crag trail | thu 5 november 390 | Situated between the lakes of Coniston and Windermere Grizedale is an ideal place to go walking. Grizedale Duathlon With views of the lakes and mountains, the shelter of the trees and sculptures in the forest. Grizedale offers everyone a walk they will enjoy and want to come back to. Climbing to Carron Crag, the highest point in Grizedale at 314 metres, this circular trail offers fine panoramic views to the Lakeland Fells, the Howgills and Morecambe Bay - in reality we were presented with a shrouded, mysterious and almost ghostly backdrop as we heade upwards via an old river bed that was overlooked by imposing, silent, shapely trees. | It was a bit damp to start off with as we headed upwards. It was still incredibly mild though just like its been for the past couple of months. We could see the mist on the other side of the valley so we knew we would be walking into it. The signposts though (see right) were the best we've come across as they were plentiful and easy to follow - for once Mike and Tim's head scratching moments were limited to how do we find the start in the car park. | X

391: 391 thu 27 august | 2015 - grizedale forest (37) - carron crag trail

392: 2015 - grizedale forest (37) - carron crag trail | thu 5 november 392 | We saw lots of trees but for a while swapped our tree lined route with a log lined route.

393: 2015 - grizedale forest (37) - carron crag trail | 393 thu 5 november | And here it is, Carron Crag with spectacular views albeit for only about 50 yards. Mick tried to get to the top but had to give up half way up because it was too treacherous unfortunately. | And this is what the view would have looked like on a brighter day

394: 2015 - grizedale forest (37) - carron crag trail | thu 5 november 394 | Time to descend and we come across one of the many curious sculptures that populate the forest before going through a dense, dark wood where we picked up a ghostly orb on the way.

395: 2015 - grizedale forest (37) - carron crag trail | Time to relax and reflect on another well planned and executed walk | 395 thu 5 november

396: 2015 - hebden bridge and sowerby bridge (38) | tue 8 december 396 | For our end of season bash we caught the train to Hebden Bridge after polishing off bacon butties in Preston - Hebden Bridge wasn't our 1st choice but the Lakes, where we planned to go, was flooded as ironically Hebden Bridge was a few weeks later. | X

397: 2015 - hebden bridge and sowerby bridge (38) | 397 tue 8 december | A quick train journey and we're down the road at Sowerby Bridge where most of the pubs were shut but after a bite to eat our instincts led us to one of the few that was open | In the distance is Wainhouse Tower a 275' Folly built between 1871 and 1875

398: 2015 - hebden bridge and sowerby bridge (38) | tue 8 december 398 | It's back to Hebden Bridge for a few drinks before heading back to Preston where we found a dart board - below is Hebden Bridge on Boxing Day where torrents of water swept through the town, Sowerby Bridge was also badly affected.

399: 2015 - hebden bridge and sowerby bridge (38) | 399 tue 8 december | Our darts scoring was typically rubbish but the finishing in the 2 games was something else with both games being finished first dart with the Adrian/Mike checking out 136 in 4 darts, 134 double 1. Mick struck lucky when he fluked a 50 pound win on the station fruit machine which led to more beer (Tim excepted who got off the train at Moss Side) being consumed in Lytham - an excellent day and end to another fabulous Amigos' year.

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  • Title: The Amigos
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  • Started: over 5 years ago
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