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October 2001

 

7 October

Out pre-walking. It's three weeks to my next Ramblers outing but I don't think that I've got the chance to walk it again before then. The route is basically the one I did in January around Kinver and Enville so I won't repeat it. I had to find better parking (fortunately I went straight to a lay-by that I'd remembered on the route and this saves doing one section twice. I've also got the distance down to just over 10 miles which will be better as the clocks will have gone back and it will get dark earlier.

I really enjoyed the walk. Far more than I expected to because I don't really enjoy repeats. I varied the route in a couple of places and this meant I had to think about route finding. However the main thing was that I got views. It had been misty on the previous walk and I couldn't see for any great distance. Visibility today was good and this is lovely rolling countryside.  The weather was a real bonus as rain was forecast. It was lovely and sunny early on and, whilst a cold front past over on Kinver Edge and a light drizzle started, it just about held off for the mile or so back to the car and I didn't need to get out the waterproof.

I've also found out more about the Bodenham Estate. It is actually an arboretum and as I suspected is open to the public. Click here to see its web site. 

I wasn't rushing but it took me just on 4 hours so I was pleased with that. The route was also drier than the last time I did it. I just hope that we don't have a wet October.

13 October

A very galling day.

It was the Ramblers Weekend in Kirkby Lonsdale. It was originally scheduled for April but was postponed because of Foot-and-Mouth. Even now most of the feels are closed. However Ingleborough was the one real hill open and it was the obvious target for the Saturday A walk. The weather however was miserable. Low cloud and little visibility all day. Bad enough in itself but made to seem worse because Friday (when Beryl and I had to work) was a glorious day. 

We set off from Clapham aware that the cloud was on the top but full of hope that it would clear. We walked up Clapham Beck past the Ingleton Show Cave (high spot: the bottom of the waterfall that descends into Gaping Gill). We climbed out through the gorge at Trow Gill and entered the cloud just before we reached Gaping Gill. It soon became very thick as we made the sharp ascent on to Little Ingleborough. From there it is an easy walk to the summit.

By now there was less than 20 yards visibility and in a major navigational error totally missed the path to Simon Fell. Instead we found ourselves returning the way we had come. We opted for safety and carried on back down. The cloud had cleared enough at Gaping Gill for us to try a faint path to the north of Clapham Beck. Being out of the valley we did get some view of the hill.

Soon after we got a much better view. Unfortunately this was after we started driving back to the hotel. Bright sunshine and the top of Ingleborough revealed.

Sunday was even worse. All thoughts of walking abandoned and Beryl and I went down White Scar Caves (which was good)

Map                Photos

21 October

Beryl and I were spending the weekend in Lincoln and the aim was to walk the highest section of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The morning was not at all promising however; heavy rain and mist. The rain subsided as we drove to the start but the mist was with us all day, so that we saw very little.

We parked at Nettleton near Caister and walked out along the Viking Way climbing alongside Nettleton Beck. The route was very damp however. We left the Way as it joined the bridleway at the head of the valley. We went eastwards for a couple of field boundaries. Then came the trespassing. The high point of the Wolds, and indeed of Lincolnshire, is one field to the south. Well here's the advantage of mist, I thought, at least we'll get there without anyone seeing us. We climbed over a gate and immediately a Land Rover appeared behind us. I decided to be polite and went to speak to the farmer. Would he mind if we walked up to the trig station at the top of the field because it was the highest point in the County if I promised to come straight back. He said yes, provided I walked on the far side of the fence from where he was going to work. There are three possible explanations for this:

1.  

kindness.

2.  

the fact that I knew that there was a trig station persuaded him that I wasn't a lout and I was worth taking a chance on.

3.  

he was convinced that I was a lunatic for wanting to walk up this meaningless field and he thought it was safer to get a hedge between him and me.

  

  

So we walked to the top of the field and truly meaningless it was. Even the trig station was cowering in the hedge. Ann Bowker, in her descriptions of the English Marilyns says that there is a super view to the north and west - the hedge gets in the way in other directions - but it wasn't evident to us. The place doesn't even have a name; it is just referred to as the Wolds in the lists. It is only 168m high (and there are lots of other tops in the Wold that exceed the 160m contour line.

20011021b woldtop.jpg (153760 bytes)

Beryl took a photo of me to show how meaningless it is. You can see the mist.

Back to the footpath and then we followed a good bit of headland back to the B1225 (called High Street and traversing the tops (where have I heard that before?). We took the good path through Rothwell Top Farm down to Rothwell village. A pint of Bateman's in the Nickerson Arms listening to a trad jazz band playing life. A pleasant half hour. The way back was through empty scenery initially north of the road to Nettleton and then back south before rejoining the Viking Way nearly back at the car and retracing the start of the walk.

Not an exciting day but at least way stayed dry and we did walk 11 miles.

Map

23 October

I'd booked the day off work and, after the disappointments of the weekends in Kirkby Lonsdale and Lincoln, I decided to have another try at a good days walking. 

I parked at Llangynog. We often stop there as a toilet break on the way to Bala and it had been a long-felt aim to do a walk from there. The problem had been the lack of a map but I picked up one cheaply in a closing down sale at the start of the summer. The signs were not good; the weather forecast on the radio was discouraging, the cloud was right down and as I started climbing up Cwm Glan-hafon it started pouring down. This more or less coincided with finding a difference between the map and the ground. According to the map there should have been a path across to the opposite side of the stream. Sorry guys; no sign of it here. The good news was that I found a spot where I could jump across the stream!

Fortunately the rain didn't last long and by the time I reached the col at the top of the climb it had stopped, the cloud had cleared (mostly) and the sun even came out for a while. I turned north-westwards at the top and had to cross largely pathless moorland hacking through heather, bilberry and bog. I really would not have fancied the navigation if the cloud had still been down. There is over a mile of this to get to Post Gwyn: as I went along I was thinking that, if this were the Lakes, there would be a great, wide path all the way (I blame that guy Wainwright for making he Lakes so popular whereas I didn't see a soul all day)

 Post Gwyn is a pleasant enough summit - grassy with a small cairn and a bit of rocky outcrop. The view of the high ridge of the Berwyns was spoilt unfortunately because it was under cloud.

I walked on northwards again on indistinct path that was hard work. The weather at this stage could have done anything. It was lovely whilst the sun was out but it often went in usually to be replaced by rain. I was heading for a concessionary path which runs from the Llangynog-Bala road (at the head of Cwm Rhiwarth) to Moel Sych and the high Berwyns. I reached it in good time and instead of making for the road I decided to explore the path upwards.

Now the Berwyns are renowned for being wet underfoot and after a lot of rain in recent days that could have been a slog. However someone has been putting in a lot of boarding to make the going easier. I went up the first hill (unnamed but with a good shelter on top). It was also the highest point of the day because it is slightly higher than Post Gwyn and a combination of rain/black sky and the end of the boarding persuaded me to turn back.

It was easy walking from there. I made good time on the boarding and then had a short walk on the road before picking up a good path down the centre of Cwm Rhiwarth. I got a good view of the waterfalls that you see only fleetingly from the road (and not at all if you're driving because you need your wits about you on that section) The only down-side to the return was that you have to do the last 2 mile on the road, although there was only one vehicle came past me. 

Map                Photos

28 October

What a wonderful change; superb weather for my walk with the Ramblers. The morning started with that lovely mixture of sunshine and mist and (apart from one section of more serious mist towards the end of the drive to Kinver) it got better all day.

I'd been telling everyone that the walk was just over ten miles. There were protests about this at the end of the walk as we had taken nearly 6 hours over walking it. Beryl made me measure it again. Now I knew that I'd taken the longer of two alternative routes at one point and this had perhaps added 1/2 mile to the journey; nevertheless I was really surprised when it measured 12 miles on the review.

I was showing off in one respect. The detail of the walk was fresh in my mind so I didn't bother having the map out. However I did think that I'd put it in my rucksack in case of problems. It was only when I wanted it over lunch to show Rowley the route that I realised I'd left it in the car. Fortunately I didn't need it to check the route.

It had been damp over night so there was moisture on the ground. Add the sunshine to that and the countryside was really sparkling and the light enhanced the autumn colours of the trees (and there are a lot of trees on the walk). We had good spots for coffee and lunch offering a combination of a good place to sit, height and a clear view. The first was at the top of the climb after crossing the Wilderness and the second just after joining the Worcestershire Way looking down on Kinver Edge and across to the Clent Hills. We also had a brief stop near the top of Kinver Edge which was busier (of course) but still had good views.

Bodenham Arboretum was also looking really good in the sunshine; the pools were especially good. I would have liked to wander round there but, as they charge admission, I thought it was a bit off to leave the public footpath. The path does cross the Five Pools Walk there and that was very pretty. We passed a strawberry tree, which is named after the colour of the bark; it was a pity that the setting didn't lend itself to a photo.

The route: start where the Staffordshire Way crosses the minor road to Compton. Walk northwards to Enville Hall and then cut back crossing the edge of the Sheepwalks.

  Cross the Wilderness and climb the hill beyond to enter Shatterford Wood. Turn left at the end, down to the footbridge and then up again on to the Bodenham estate.

  Pick up the Worcestershire Way. You could continue all the way to the end (where it meets the Staffordshire Way but I did a little detour near the end to walk the final section of the North Worcestershire Way instead. This ends at the point where the Staffs Way and Worcestershire Way meet and we returned to the cars along the Staffordshire Way.    

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