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a full report
Scarborough - Sunday 19
Words to describe mud and rain are beginning to fail me but
here goes. Although the 'A' walk description mentioned words
such as 'teeing off' and 'meander' it seemed more like a cross-country
mud-skiing race as we hurtled from Scalby to Broxa to Hackness
to West Ayton, avoiding such pitfalls as wooden stumps, deep
pools and snaking brambles and tried to keep both the leader
and the backup in sight. 'B' party took to the coast. Starting
at Muston and trending towards Scarborough they soon encountered
not only steep slippery mud but wild crashing waves. Some
of the party took an alternative and shorter route back but
the majority stayed with it and landed safely back to enjoy
the fleshpots of Scarborough. 'C' party debussed with 'A'
party and took the Cleveland Way along the cliff top past
Scalby Ness. Turning away from the coast to make for Burniston
they then made their way to Peasholme Park. The weather did
improve throughout the day and the sun even made an appearance
just in time to set. Views were atmospheric rather than clear
and we certainly transferred quite a bit of East Coast mud
to West Yorkshire. Thanks to all the leaders and backups.
We don't hold the underfoot or overhead conditions against
Waddington - Sunday 16 February
After a dull start from Leeds, the sun was out by the time
the coach arrived at Waddington, near Clitheroe. All three
groups debussed and set off in different directions. The 'A'
group began with a very boggy lane, but having survived it,
were rewarded with very varied scenery and a good view from
Beacon Hill. While many lunched in the shelter of a wall,
others availed themselves of padded chairs!! Over Burbles
Hill, across Grindleton Fell and Herries before meandering
along the banks of the Ribble and back to Waddington. The
'B's had a firm road start but were soon confronted by a path
across four fields very recently sprayed with liquid fertiliser!!
Concern was expressed as to whether any boot soles would be
left by the time West Bradford (village) was reached. A steady
climb over field paths and open fell, passing the 'A' party
by Grindleton Wood, and then meeting the 'C' party, who appeared
to be doing the 'B' route in reverse! A very muddy lane, thankfully
slightly frozen, across the southern flank of Bradford Fell
and finally through Feazor Wood, back to Waddington. Convenient
steps down to the village stream simplified boot cleaning
before repairing to various refreshment establishments.Thanks
to all leaders and backups.
Tealby - Sunday 16 March 2003
The undulating wolds of Lincolnshire beckoned us this month
and a day of unprecedented March temperatures had many people
scrambling to remove tights, trousers, gaiters and other garments
at the first possible strip stop. 'A' and 'B' parties both
started at Caistor and both followed parts of the Viking Way.
Sunbathing was the order of the day whenever possible and
there was no mud! 'B' party went up the Nettleton valley working
their way up to the highest church in Lincolnshire at Normanby-le-Wold
and then working their way down to the Ramblers' church at
Walesby. 'A' party dodged on and off the Viking Way looping
round to Rothwell and Claxby to give a bit of variety. 'C'
party started the day by knocking up the café in Tealby
for a drink and a comfort stop. They then followed the Viking
Way for a while before teeing off to Pickard's Plantation
and back to the fleshpots of Tealby where all parties were
reunited. A wonderful day. Thanks to all leaders, backups
and their supporters.
Sutton Bank - Sunday 13 April
Another sunny day and a trip to North Yorkshire in view.
What could be better? All three parties poured from the coach
near the Sutton Bank visitors' centre and divided themselves
up. The 'B' party was suspiciously full of regular 'A' party
members. Never mind, the 9 who set off (3 women,6 men) were
not fazed and descended with enthusiasm to Lake Gormire. Boltby
was soon reached and High Paradise beckoned-high being the
operative word. A stroll to Gowerdale and several forest walks
led to Old Byland and Cold Kirby and thus to Sutton Bank.
'B' party, 28 strong, set off in the opposite direction, taking
in the magnificent views from Roulston scar before descending
through woods to the Kilburn area. Stripping seems to be the
order of the day on walks this year and one member flashed
more than his legs as he changed into shorts en route. A delightful
surprise awaited the party near Byland Abbey where, in the
nearby trees, stood a tiny church. Its history was told by
the son of its builder who died last year and a plaque was
dedicated to those from Ampleforth who had lost their lives
in the wars. A pleasant interlude in a very varied and interesting
'C' party initially kept to the tops before following 'A'
party down to Lake Gormire. A gentle contour of part of the
lake led them to the A170. Safely crossing this they made
for Hood Hill Plantation and shade from the sun. However,
reality soon struck. Having climbed down at the beginning
of the walk, the only way back was up. So up the White Horse
they went and arrived safely at the Hambleton Inn with everyone
A splendid day with beautiful views. Thanks to everyone who
made it possible.
Ruthin - Sunday 18 May 2003
The prospect was daunting and full rainwear was donned initially
only to be discarded shortly afterwards when the sun appeared
and stayed all day. No webbed feet today then. 'A' party climbed
up from the A494 to take the country way through Eryrys towards
Llanarmon where the local hostelry provided welcome refreshment.
Another ascent brought them to the slopes of Moel y Plas and
Offa's Dyke but nearly blew them away in the process. Those
with higher ambitions raced over the tops and survived. It
was with relief then that they descended from Moel Eithinen,
hair blown but still intact, to stroll into Ruthin.
'B' party debussed first at Loggerheads Country Park ready
to ascend the foothills of Ffirth Mountain. The going was
good until the wind round the Jubilee Tower threatened to
make them airborne. Trending towards Moel Elthinen they noticed
a wild waving party up ahead but decided to ignore them. 'It's
only the 'A' party. The sun's gone to their heads as usual'
they said and continued on their way to Gyrn and the end of
the walk at Ruthin.
'C' party thought they were going for a pleasant walk through
fields, meadows and villages. Nature thought differently,
however, and as they neared the end of the walk baileybridge
building skills were brought into play when the river proved
to be an almost uncrossable feature. A small group which had
diverted from the main party encountered a similar obstacle
and had to retrace their steps. Despite this everyone arrived
back safely after a beautiful day in the soft rolling countryside
of Wales. Thanks to all leaders and backups.
Coniston - Sunday 15 June 2003
At last a day when shorts could be donned with confidence
and no clouds threatened us even if we were going to the Lake
District. 'A' party headed for the hills and found refreshing,
not to say chilly winds on the ridge going round to Coniston
Old Man. An undulating walk to Swirl How and Wetherlam gave
them the most magnificent 360' views before they descended
to Coniston through Copper Mines Valley. An attempted sheep
rescue proved too difficult but at least the proper authorities
'B' party came to look at Coniston Old Man but remained at
a safe distance before sliding round the back of Torver .
Being at a lower level they suffered more from the heat and
when the lake came into view and there were still four miles
to go, the thought of a gentle ride on a ferry was tempting
- until they discovered the next one was scheduled for Monday.
'C' party independently started at Shepherd's Bridge and wisely
chose the cover of trees as they made their way to High Tilberthwaite
and Stang End before returning to Shepherd's Bridge. History
was all around them on this walk and what a pleasant day to
enjoy it on. The walk finally led them to the Cumbria Way
and the delights of Coniston were spread before them.
An excellent day and the weather was just heaven-sent. Thanks
to all leaders and backups and the coach driver, of course.
Kettlewell - Sunday 20 July
All parties debussed at Kettlewell in fine, sunny weather.
'A' party disappeared to walk through the fields parallel
to the road up to Buckden with a brief descent to the road
at Starbotton. Birks Fell and Firth Fell strained the calf
muscles but the river walk from Litton to Arncliffe gave some
respite before the haul up Old Cote Little Moor and the slide
back into Kettlewell.
'B' party opted to set off in the opposite direction making
for Mossdale and trying to avoid various shake holes and disused
mines. The summit of the climb revealed beautiful views and
hot weather to boot. Descending to Mossdale Scar and Conistone
Pie they made their way to the Dalesway and back to Kettlewell.
'C' party began with coffee and then took the other side of
the river to Starbotton. They climbed to Moor End farm to
enjoy the wonderful views of Upper Wharfedale and then cantered
to Starbotton before reversing the hillside walk 'A' party
had done earlier.
There was ample time to enjoy the delights of Kettlewell before
clambering back ob to the coach and heading for Leeds. Thanks
to all leaders and backups.
Matlock - Sunday 17 August 2003
'A' party flew over the Duke of Devonshire's domain from
Baslow, pausing only for a bit of bracken bashing on the way.
Two pubs were passed unvisited even though the offer was made.
(Do we believe this?) Switching between limestone and gritstone
scenery and passing through a hippie colony, they came to
the delights of Winster before the plod over the hills and
down to Matlock.
'B' party chose to start from Matlock. They were promised
a surprise at coffee and got it in the shape of a cave! No
wonder they were asked to bring a torch. It was well worth
the climb though. Splendid views of the countryside delighted
them and the not so usual sight of a flock?/herd? of ostriches
fascinated them. The walk back along the river to Matlock
was cooling and a welcome relief from the heat.
'C' party embarked on an undulating route after initial visits
to Snitterton and Wensley. A steep climb brought them to Upper
Town but not to their knees. Undaunted, they clambered down
into Bonsall and then up and out again. The final steep descent
into Matlock was rewarded with a welcome drink and a rest.
Some members lamented the fact that they could have been drinking
the cheapest beer in the land all day instead of wearing out
their boot leather. Still, you can't have everything and we
all had splendid walks. Save the beer for another time!
Thanks to all leaders and backups.
Shap - Sunday 21 September 2003
'A' and 'B' parties were hoping that Wet Sleddale would not
live up to its name as they set off in tandem. Soon 'A' party
veered off to clamber up and over to Mosdale where the weather
was not quite so sunny. Swindale beckoned and a puzzling encounter
with four Vikings striding up the valley left them wondering
which century they were in. Tailbert and Rayside were reached
at such a speed that the leaders decided to go for the full
Monty and take in Rosgill as well. And there was still plenty
of time for drinking once Shap was reached.
Once 'B' party had left the 'A's they made their way to Wet
Sleddale reservoir for coffee and then up to Sleddale Hall.
Contouring round they came to Tailbert and followed the same
path as the 'A's, coming across a very sad cow mourning its
dead calf on the way. Looping round Rosgill, they then strode
out for Shap Abbey before the final assault on Shap itself.
'C' party, being of independent mind, started their walk at
Shap. Trending the opposite way to the others they approached
Rosgill from the south east. Moving further north westward
they came to Brampton and then made their way back south to
Shap Abbey before joining the 'A's in a triumphal return to
We were luckier with the weather than we thought we would
be and the fish and chip shop did us proud. Pity about the
West Kirby - Sunday 19 October
'A' party zipped off from West Kirby at a rate of knots and
soon came to Caldy Hill and a delightful view over the estuary.
Undulating countryside led them through country parks, visitor
centres, very posh houses and many encounters with dogs and
proper toilets. Once West Kirby was reached and the marine
lake had been circled, the majority cried for more and visited
the Red Rocks nature reserve as well.
'B' party debussed at Arrowe Country Park and strode out for
Royden Park preparing themselves for the ascent of Thurstaston
Hill, from where excellent views were enjoyed of the Dee Estuary
and the North Wales coastline. Passing the marine lake they
made a pilgrimage across the sands to the Hilbre Islands,
hoping that they would not get cut off by the tide. They didn't,
and, bidding farewell to the welcoming seals, they re-crossed
the sands to West Kirby. The walk was so lovely there were
no complaints! Is this a first?
'C' party took the sea air from Wallasey to West Kirby and
found that it was a longer walk than they had bargained for.
No wonder some of them were on their knees by the time they
reached the pub. However, they enjoyed the sea breeze and
the views of the Hilbre Islands from afar and they didn't
get their feet wet either.
There may not have been any mountains but there were plenty
of interesting things to look at and enjoy. Thanks to all
leaders and backups.
Barnard Castle - Sunday
16 November 2003
'A's debussed first, already excited at the thought of the
yomping and erratic descent to come. They were not disappointed.
So good to feel mud beneath the boots again! Running concurrently
with the walk was a male hat fashion parade. This did not,
however, detract from the beautiful scenery or interfere with
the enjoyment of the varied and interesting walk.
The 'B's debussed at Bowes and were soon striding out along
the River Greta on the first leg of a walk which turned out
to be a little more than the ten miles advertised. Nevertheless,
the weather was beautiful and the views were magnificent.
From farm to farm they went, ending up in Barnard Castle leg-weary
but happy in the knowledge that they had had a good walk.
The 'C's chose to start their walk at Barnard Castle on the
Teesdale Way. Fortified with coffee they took in the historical
delights of the disused railway line near Lartington before
making their way down to West Pasture and thus along Deepdale
Beck back to Barnard Castle.
The longest walk for some people was finding the coach at
the end of the day but all arrived safe and sound eventually,
as we knew they would. Thanks to all leaders and backups.
Pickering - Sunday 21 December
Wine, mince pies, mud and the adventures of the first Queen's
Scout. Read on. The weather forecast for Sunday was dire,
gale-force winds and driving snow. We set off wearing more
layers than a mille feuille pastry and were very pleasantly
surprised by the warm sunshine which greeted us.
'C' party debussed first in Pickering and started the day
with coffee before making their way to Howldale, wine and
mince pies included. They then crossed the A169 and swayed
on to Newbridge and Pickering where more festive food and
drink was enjoyed.
'A' party, having picked up car travellers in Pickering, were
driven to Eller Beck where they alighted and started their
15 mile flight to Pickering via Newton Dale, Hole of Horcum
and Farwath. The pace was feisty and the mud slippery but
all managed to stay upright and most people even caught sight
of the leader now and again. A few snow showers merely hastened
everyone's footsteps and a tour of Pickering Castle was included
in the delights of the day.
'B' party were lucky enough to have a free tour of Pickering
and the North Yorks Moors before being taken to Thornton-le-Dale
where they started their walk. All was well until just after
Dalby Forest when, unbeknown to the rest, one of the party
(the first Queen's Scout) began an adventure of his own. Luckily
he had a map and was endowed with good tracking skills and
managed to find the A169 which took him safely back to Pickering.
The remainder of the party, having searched for him in vain,
crossed the A169 and made their way through Lockton and Farwath
back to Newbridge and Pickering, where all were reunited.
An unexpectedly good weather day and rather less mudful than
we had feared. Thanks to the leaders and backups.
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