Archive for the ‘Rambles’ Category

Tuesday walk, 20th February, 2018.

February 20, 2018

Walkers waiting directions from the leader

Our leader who guided us well

By special arrangement the walk started from the “Cock Inn” at Peatling Magna.  Twenty five walkers did the longer walk of nearly six miles.  The ground was saturated in places following overnight rain. Some slopes were slippery and good balance was necessary in places.  Fortunately there were no ploughed fields to cross.  There were at least fourteen stiles, some of which were in a bad state of repair.

The walk started  by joining the Leicestershire Round and walking towards Willoughby Waterleys.  Joining the Mere Road and continued in a southerly direction and then joining footpath Y20 taking us towards Bruntingthorpe.  It was on this footpath where difficult stiles were met.  Those in a dangerous condition will be notified to LCC.

All walkers made a safe return to Peatling Magna and enjoyed refreshment at the “Cock Inn”


Ken finding this stile challenging and unsafe


Makeney Hall Hotel – weekend

October 30, 2017

This can only be a snapshot of the weekend because I didn’t fully participate only joining the group to lead a walk on Saturday.

I did pop over on Friday evening to announce my walk which was planned to be the  middle distance of the three on offer. I invite the other leaders or a participant to submit a report from their walk.

Perhaps influenced by the filling meal the group had just taken the majority opted for the shortest walk so I’m grateful to those who agreed to join me on an adventurous bus walk.

On Saturday morning we set off to Milford and the bus stop, being a little early gave an opportunity to for a brief history tour of Milford. Today we could only see the building that houses the wonderful 1937 hydro electric generator (read more) but here’s what we missed.

MIlford Hydo-electric plant

We caught the bus to Belper the original plan being to stock up with lunch but all were fully provisioned so we used the bus to take us high above Belper then walked down Long Row to the East Mill having looked down on it over the rooftops. We also popped into the pleasant Riverside Gardens. Hundreds of birds were on the river and discussion took place as to their name. (Chris provided the answer – Black Headed Gull see RSPB website)

While waiting at the next bus stop who should we spy approaching but the long walk group. Well, when I say group it was leader and one follower. They had already done 4 miles and we were yet to start.

Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus

Our walk started at Cowers Lane half way along the Ecclesbourne Way a walk from Duffield to Wirksworth of 11 miles. It follows the river of that name and the Ecclesboure Valley Railway.  It was pretty wet underfoot but the rain held off as we headed up the valley. Late coffee or early lunch was taken at Idridgehay station where there is a seat. We were also pleased to see a passing train.


Idridgehay station

Idridgehay station

Because of heavy going and low cloud it was voted that we miss Alport Height. Little point in climbing to a viewpoint when we knew the views were hidden. Closer views were very much appreciated so no great loss. At Wirksworth station a loop around town paths was on offer but a tea shop and earlier return bus gained most votes. I believe that a beer festival at The Holly Bush in Makeney may also have been an influence.


Makeney Hall weekend – preview

October 3, 2017

The LFA away weekend at Makeney Hall Hotel is fast approaching so we offer a preview of one the walks that will be on offer.

The Ecclesboure Way has recently been created following, as the name suggests, the river Ecclesboure between Duffield and Wirksworth. At eleven miles it’s an ideal day walk with links by heritage railway or hourly bus providing a return for this linear walk. The only downside is the lack of refreshment opportunities along the way.

Duffield bridge over the River Ecclesbourne

Duffield bridge over the River Ecclesbourne

The route starts at Duffields railway stations. One on the Derby – Matlock line. The other serving the heritage line to Wirksworth this shares the valley so with luck we will see a tourist train sometime during the journey.

We initially share paths used by the Centenary Way keeping close and often crossing the river which on our visit was flowing fast after heavy rain over night. The ground was soft but rich pasture ensured our boots stayed clean.

Windleyhill Farm on the Ecclesbourne Way

Windleyhill Farm on the Ecclesbourne Way

After a couple of miles the route climbs to Windleyhill Farm where a confusing layout of paths meet among the disused farm buildings. From here the views across and down the valley provide a change of scene and show how delightful this neglected area can be.

Crossing the Ecclesbourne approaching Turnditch

Crossing the Ecclesbourne approaching Turnditch

After the tiny village of Windley we drop back to the river meeting the railway near Shottle Station. The hamlet of that name is two miles distant while Turnditch and it’s Inn is just 300 metres to the left along the Asbourne road.

A heritage railcar approaches Idridgehay station

A heritage railcar approaches Idridgehay station

We considered sitting by the river for our lunch. Wet grass and older legs encouraged us to press on to Idridgehay where a bench on the station platform offered a comfortable stop. Our pause was enhanced by the arrival of the 13.30 heritage railcar to Duffield which had to pause while the third man operated the crossing gates.

A Peak and Northern Footpath Society sign shows the low route avoiding Alport Height

A Peak and Northern Footpath Society sign shows the low route avoiding Alport Height

Over half way, but, it’s now a climb of nearly seven hundred feet to Alport Height but wow was it worth it. It is said that the Shropshire Wrekin can be seen from here so we scanned around as we headed for the eight masts which mark the hill top. Ratcliffe on Soar power station was clear in the sunshine and, not so clear, five cooling towers, all that remains of the former Willington site . It is said that a pair of nesting Peregrine Falcons saved the towers from demolition in 1999. New plans were passed for demolition of these landmarks early this year…….but they are still there late September 2017.

Alport Height

Alport Height

We anticipated downhill from here and so it was to the outskirts of Wirksworth at Gorsey Bank. A sigh from weary walkers as the route turned right, uphill so close to the end. This deviation rewards the traveller with a fine view over our destination so route planners were forgiven. The walk ends at Wirksworth station but with a bus in five minutes half of the party gave that a miss.

The view over Wirksworth near the end of the walk

The view over Wirksworth near the end of the walk

A surprisingly good walk and excellent weather when the days either side were both wet. It was good to see that a number of new gates had been installed along the route, some by volunteers from the local RA group. Well done to all for opening up a very pleasant valley that has been long neglected by walkers.

Walk end - Wirksworth station.

Walk end – Wirksworth station.

Thanks to  Walking John’s Blog for some of the pictures used here..



Leicestershire Round (& Hound) Event

May 19, 2017

Two local charities, Leicester Animal Aid and PROST aid, combined to organise a fund raising event based on walking the Leicestershire Round. It was not only for raising money but to promote walking for health.  The idea was to break the ‘Round’ into eleven reasonably equal sections and entrants to get sponsorship to walk one section of their choice with or without their dog. Thus the event title of Round and Hound.

We , the L.F.A. who created the ‘Round’, were approached for our advice and possible help in leading the walks. Cindy West our Secretary and others, liaised with the two charities over a period of time, culminating in a well organised event on Sunday May 14th. The event was publicised on Radio Leicester and gave our President, Brian Jenkinson, the opportunity to promote the L.F.A. in general and the new ‘Round’ book in particular. The charities also featured and thanked the L.F.A. in their literature

On the day the weather was mostly sunny but for the Foxton to Bruntingthorpe group at least, a short hailstorm near the end could have been done without. I think drowned rats was mentioned.  Organisers, Leaders and participants  are to be congratulated on a job well done. Who knows ,it may be repeated.


A Group at Bradgate

The Start From Foxton including  Dave  Daines ,Jenny Thompson and Rick Satchwell of LFA

We wish to thank all our volunteers for  their time and effort which was not just on the day. So thanks to Tom Brooks & Anne Constable, Robert Hancock & Pete Chaplin, Nigel Bedford & John Millward, Dave Williams & Bob Wade, Rick Satchwell & Dave Daines. If anyone has been missed please accept our apologies. One L.F.A. member, Jenny Thompson, entered and raised over £200  but we don’t know the total for the event yet.


Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

May 3, 2017
Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

The Wednesday short walk on the 19th April  organised by Pete C started at Peatling Magna  and included Shearsby and Bruntingthorpe. The weather was perfect, the spring  flowers were out, lambs in the fields and the meadows were lush green. Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory! The photo shows the group enjoying a refreshment break underneath an isolated and spectacular tree (GR SP62038 90702) in a field on the Leicestershire Round  just outside Shearsby.

Thanks to Nigel B for words and picture.

Summer evening walks

May 1, 2017
The old rail line at Leire

The old rail line at Leire

Monday evening walks start on Monday 8th May and continue until 7th August.  The start times are missing from the paper programme and this is 7.00pm.  Join us for an evening walk of 4 to 5 miles and an optional drink in a pub afterwards.

The first walk starts from Leire church members and visitors all welcome.

Rhubarb Island – Melton Mowbray

December 30, 2016

When I started exploring paths around Melton Mowbray I well remember that approaching Eye Kettleby Mill on footpath E13 we had to hang onto the railway boundary fence while using a narrow path alongside the River Wreake. This was because a bridge was missing to take the path onto Rhubarb Island between the natural course of the river and the old lock cut.

I was walking down there only recently while exploring the ORPA across Sysonby Grange and noted that the bridge is looking to be in need and repainting. Had I discovered this and others pictures before my visit I could have sought the plaque that appears in another picture and then perhaps, if it hasn’t been vandalised, have told you the date.

This picture shows the late Duke of Rutland and a man with a Chain of Office plus others having their picture taken at the official opening.

Rhubarb Island bridge - Melton Mowbray

Rhubarb Island bridge – Melton Mowbray

The two pound lunch

December 27, 2016

Remember the days………

Roast lamb lunch £2.00

Roast lamb lunch £2.00

Coast to Coast with LOROS (day 15 to 29)

December 11, 2016

Coast to Coast and back again: nearly 400 miles in 29 days (days 15 – 29)

By Cindy West

The East to West crossing: Day 15 to 29

We were joined by four new companions at Robin Hoods Bay for the journey back to St Bees and were stocked up with lovely cakes made by them and our families to keep us fortified along our way.

Our route back almost mirrored our outward journey. There were just a couple of days when we did slightly more or less mileage dependent on our accommodation or terrain. We had more rain than sunshine over these two weeks but still enjoyed it all. Footpaths that were dry on our way west to east were muddier, streams fuller with stepping stones sometimes only just visible, waterfalls more spectacular as greater amounts of water flowed off the hillsides and rocks and stone pathways more slippery. We needed all our awareness to be on placing our feet firmly and following each others footsteps closely as we picked our way onto tussocks and stones through the, now even more, boggy bits. Helping hands were required as we jumped from stone to stone across streams that now seemed much wider and deeper.

Falling Foss

Falling Foss

37s-glaisdale-to-low-hawkser-day-14But you’re going the wrong way” was the very common comment we got from walkers we passed enroute. We came across many more walking this way than we did on our outward trip, not surprising as most people walk the route as described by Wainwright. We seemed to be the only ones walking into the prevailing winds, up the hills most come down and down the ones usually climbed up. There were no built in passing bays so care was needed when we met folks on the sometimes narrow rocky pathways as we were all encumbered with back packs and poles, that is apart from those amazing people who were actually running up and down the fellsides. We had lots of opportunity to cement Anglo – Canadian and Anglo- Antipodean relationships as our paths crossed.

The Lion Inn

The Lion Inn

It was great to walk down the long steep hill into Grosmont this time around but I had forgotten that there was another one the other side that we had breezed down two days earlier. The Lion Inn once more gave us lunchtime warmth on a cold and overcast day halfway through our twenty one mile stint from Glaisdale to Clay Bank Top on day seventeen.

Having enjoyed the rock scrambling through the Wainstones I looked forward to tackling them from the other direction. The climb up to them was shorter and steeper this time around and they didn’t disappoint me when I got there. They were perhaps a little harder to negotiate this way as my legs just didn’t seem long enough to reach the ground as I clamboured down from the rocks. There were times that it was easier to sit on the rock and dangle a leg over to slide to the ground below. It reminded me that, that’s how my neighbour’s children come down my stairs, it was good fun to be a child again.

The Wainstones

The Wainstones

The stiles through the stone walls separating the fields in Swaledale were interesting obstacles that lent themselves more easily to walkers of a different stature to me. They were narrower at the bottom than the top and I seemed to have trouble getting me and my back pack through the openings that just didn’t seem wide enough at the height I went through them. I often ended up with my hands on the top of the wall to lift myself up to swing through the gap as if exercising on parallel bars. Some had steps in the side of the walls up to and over the top that seemed like ledges only wide enough to put feet on sideways. Poles had to be dispensed with as I hauled myself up and over but used to steady my descent on the other side. It was tricky sometimes but lots of fun.

The Swale and Richmond Castle

The Swale and Richmond Castle

The route alongside the Swale, near to Gunnerside gave us an interesting walk along a stone wall about three feet wide and about ten feet high, a bit of a vertiginous challenge for some if you looked down to the field below.


Our climb up to Nine Standards Rigg on day twenty two, from Keld to Kirkby Stephen seemed easier than the opposite way, perhaps it was just that it was earlier in the day this time around and we had fresher legs, or were we just that bit fitter having walked around three hundred miles now or around a hundred for our east to westers? The challenges of Lake District, soon to come would be the test.

Coffee and lunch stops were always welcome respites and to find a shepherds hut on the way was a bonus. On just such an occasion we met the minibus for lunch which was parked up off the road close to the shepherd hut. Lunch eaten we continued on our way to Kirkby Stephen expecting to meet our driver with the bus again at journeys end. But there was no bus when we got there, where was it? Yes it was stuck in the mud back at the hut, no phone signal and not a soul in sight. We will be forever indebted to our driver, Dave, who walked 6 miles along the road to call for help, flagged down passing motorists to pass on messages when the breakdown truck hadn’t arrived 3 hours later, tried digging the bus out whilst waiting for a tow and eventually arriving at Kirkby Stephen muddy from head to toe, cut and bruised but piloting our much treasured transporter and vowing never to park off road again.


Day twenty four was a long, sixteen and a half mile, haul from Shap to Patterdale. A grey, overcast day greeted us as we set out to once again master Kidsty Pike, everyone hoping that we would make it to the top this time around. Fields and pastures led us towards the tower of Shap Abbey draped in plastic sheeting and scaffolding as work is carried out to preserve this ancient monument now owned by English Heritage. On through fields and up passed Haweswater Dam and beyond into Lakeland proper. Walking on, the visa opens up as we ascend the fellside and reveals our biggest challenge of the day. This ascent to Kidsty Pike is shorter and steeper than the west to east approach, and, whilst still tough on lungs and legs, it seemed much easier this way round. The summit reached, we took advantage of a quick photo opportunity as it was too cold to hang around and lots of cloud unfortunately hid some of the undoubtedly magnificent views, and we started our long descent of open fellside. Although this part of the walk is an overall descent there were still some ups and downs to negotiate as we passed Angle Tarn, now for our third time, having seen it, disappointingly, twice on our first crossing. Our path continued down and into Patterdale at the end of a long day of walking that started at 8.15 am and finished at 6.35pm.


Ups and downs along fells and through valleys on a very damp day, took us through from Patterdale to Grasmere a mere hop of nine and a half miles with an early finish that allowed us a bit of retail therapy time in the lovely village.

Our route from Grasmere to Honister took us up and over Greenup Edge, a high pass, around 2000ft, linking two valleys. The day was wet and dismal, great care was needed underfoot particularly down the rocky path from the pass which was harder going down than it was up on our previous leg. This was one of the very few places that one of our companions fell, spread-eagled, face down, along a narrow rocky decent almost knocking over several others. Fortunately no one was injured. Day twenty six finished and three hundred and sixty miles completed.


Honister youth hostel, our overnight accommodation, is next to the only slate mine still operating in England. With only a short walk of six miles to Ennerdale planned some of our group took the opportunity to do a very interesting tour of the slate mine in the morning. A wise decision for us all as it happened, because the heavy rain slowed to a drizzle later in the morning and the sun pierced the clouds as we started our trek up from the mine and down some steep valley sides towards the lonely, isolated Black Sail Hut, now a sought after youth hostel. Surrounded by the magnificent peaks of Great Gable, High Crag and Haystacks, names that many of us know, this tiny haven for walkers and hill climbers, has been carefully restored and slightly extended but retains much of the charm and appearance of it’s original use as a shepherd’s bothy. An easy walk down to Ennerdale youth hostel at the eastern end of Ennerdale Water completed our days walk.


I woke the following morning excited at the prospect of once again skirting the edge of Ennerdale Water with its challenging rock scrambles, however not all my companions shared my enthusiasm for this quite tough twelve miles. It didn’t disappoint, it was, I think, more difficult on this leg as we clambered down slippery rocks trying to find firm footholds and using our hands to steady us on our descent. Still to come was an ascent up and down Dent Hill, our first real challenge twenty eight days ago. We took it in our stride, fitter now than we were, with much higher peaks successfully bagged over the last month.

Our last day dawned bright and sunny, like our first had been. Just six and a half miles to our journeys end and a lovely coastal section down to St. Bees awaited us. The sight of the beach at St Bees as we descended from the high cliff coastal path was a joy tinted with sadness as soon our journey would be complete.

St Bees start or end of Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk 183 miles

St Bees start or end of Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk 183 miles

Poles and rucksacks discarded in the minivan, we gleefully headed for the beach with our treasured stones to once more, and finally, dip our boots in the Irish Sea at the end of our wonderful journey. Laughter, hugs and kisses were joyously exchanged as we hurled our stones back from whence they came. Sparklers were lit and champagne was drunk to mark the end of our journey.

A journey of nearly four hundred miles up fells, through valleys, across streams and verdant pastures. A journey that had taken us through the peaks and troughs of landscape and emotion as we faced and met the challenges presented by our lovely country and our own psyche and fitness.

So? Was I mad? …….. Absolutely not!!


I spent twenty nine days with wonderful people who will always be special to me. Their courage, commitment and tenacity was inspiring and their friendship precious. Thank you all.

Friends and family: For the lovely cakes, your support, travelling up to Yorkshire to spur us on, your patience especially when you didn’t hear from us when phone signals were non existent. Your love.

Adrian: For your leadership, organisation, photographer, story teller roles

Tony : For your leadership, guide and guardian, pacemaker, Helping Hands, coffee maker, photographer roles

Dave: For your skills as a driver, comedian, mender of all things broken from rucksacks to minibus.

LFA friends who sponsored me and gave donations: I raised around £1,670.00

The whole team raised around £15, 000

Go to start of Coast to Coast report Coast to Coast days 1-7

Coast to Coast with LOROS (days 12-15)

December 8, 2016

Coast to Coast and back again: nearly 400 miles in 29 days (days 12-15)

By Cindy West

Over the North York Moors: Day 12 to 15

Coast to Coast joins Cleveland Way

Coast to Coast joins Cleveland Way

Day twelve and a twelve mile stint in beautiful sunshine from Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top commenced our journey through heathered moorland, up significant gradations as we climbed and descended the peaks, plateau and valleys of this ancient landscape first populated significantly by our Viking invaders. The Lyke Wake Walk and the Cleveland Way both intersect with the Coast to Coast, indeed our coastal crossing follows both of these in part. After Osmotherley, walkers need to be mindful of following the Cleveland Way signs to keep on the right track. We came across fellow walkers who started their day at Osmotherley and, if it had not been for Tony, would have followed the coast to coast signs back to where they had started from. Whilst only 12 miles, this section takes in six fell tops and we found it a challenging walk in the very hot weather. The need to stop for frequent rests and water accompanied by a fair few expletives, unmentionable in polite company, gave us lots of opportunity to admire the panoramic views. The Wainstones, a large outcrop of rocks dominate the landscape and presented us with some puzzles as to how to use both hands to climb up rocks and through rock passages whilst still holding on to walking poles. Being a little “undertall” there were times when my feet needed to be placed higher than my knees, a feat of physical contortion rarely practiced before. It was great fun and made me almost wish I still went rock climbing.


A twenty one miler across the moors from Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale was relatively easy walking but mizzle and rain didn’t allow us much of a view and wet us to our underwear. Lunch at the Lion Inn isolated high up on the moors, viewable long before it was actually reached, gave us opportunity to dry out, restore our inner selves with wholesome soup, and prepared us for our descent towards the valley of Eskdale. On the way down, just along the roadside we made an obligatory stop to feed “Fat Betty” a white mediaeval cross, looking just like a very rounded matriarch, one of a number of waymarkers for travellers across the Moors. There are many stories attached to Fat Betty but the one we paid attention to was that which tells us that our journey across the moors would be safe if a gift of food was left for her. We hoped our offerings of jelly babies, sugar, or anything else edible we had in our pockets left with many others gifts, would satisfy her and keep wrath at bay.


Our penultimate day for our west to east crossing took us from Glaisdale to Low Hawkser and moved us on from the bleakness of the moors into natural woodland that covered the hillsides and presented us with rough hewn paths or worn stone steps. Our lunch that day was taken at Grosmont station, a steam railway enthusiast’s heaven. Thanks to the North Yorks Moors Railway Society magnificent steam locos still plough their way through this lovely landscape and provide the thrill of steam travel for all age groups. The road from Grosmont starts with a very challenging steep hill that seemed to just go on for ever and brought us out once more to moorland. On, along the moorland road, passed prehistoric stone circles we walked and, low and behold, a glimpse of the sea, where we would, eventually dip our feet. But not yet, there was still a valley, trees, streams and the lovely Falling Fosse waterfall to see as we wended our way towards our goal.

Throwing the precious stones into the sea at Robin Hoods Bay

Throwing the precious stones into the sea at Robin Hoods Bay

Day fifteen was both our last and first day as we ended our west to east traverse and started our east to west one. The day was beautifully sunny and warm and our spirits were high as we set out from Low Hawkser to walk the last five miles into Robin Hoods Bay. Through the village we went, disregarding the quick route via a former railway track, that would be cheating, to take the scenic route along the coastal path. We were soon rewarded with views of the coastal cliffs and great expanse of the North Sea as we walked along the edge of cliffs looking down to the waves pummelling the rocks below, accompanied by the screeching sounds of Seagulls. Discarding our packs into the minibus in the top car park we were met by the east to west team and friends and relatives who had made the journey up to welcome us, some of us at journeys end and some looking forward to the exciting challenge of another hundred and ninety two miles. Clutching our precious stones that we had carried across the whole of the country we walked jubilantly down to the sea. Smiles, laughter and stories of our adventure were exchanged as we paddled at the waters edge in boots that had been through water, bogs, and over rocks on feet that had delivered on their promise to walk in Wainwrights footsteps across our beautiful isle.

44s-champagne-celebration-at-robin-hoods-bay-day-15Stones were hurled into the sea or dipped for the journey back to their home shore and others collected for their long traverse in the pockets of our new west to east travelling companions. Time for champagne, lunch and purchase of T-shirts before farewells and starting our return trip. For three of our team it was journeys end, for all of us, it was time for hugs and tears as we said goodbye to our companions. We were firm friends who had shared in joy and adversity, sang together, cursed together, shared and overcome moments of doubt and fatigue, always supporting each other and now determined to maintain friendships.

View report of the return trip Coast to Coast days 15 to 29

Go to the first report Coast to Coast days 1-7