#77 – A Witch, a Slippery Peak and a Black Dog!

Pen Llithrig y Wrach from the south

When I first visited Wales, many years ago, I found the Welsh language to be confusing to say the least, with most of the words looking like a bad game of scrabble.   It started to make more sense when I started walking with Chris, who grew up in North Wales, and she soon started to correct my typically bad ‘English’ pronunciation of Welsh words.

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Posted in 5. North Wales | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

#76 – “Are you playing on the computer AGAIN?!!

The author having a good time in a ‘snowy’ Snowdonia

A few months back a friend asked me about my outdoor writing, along the lines of “But what do you DO?”  I explained it something like this – “I go for a walk, I write about it, people throw money at me”.   (Only in my dreams, that last bit!)  In reality it’s nothing like as simple as that, and the walking part takes only a fraction of the total time.

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Posted in 1. Scotland, 2. Lake District, 3. Yorkshire Dales, 4. Northern England, 5. North Wales, 6. Mid and South Wales, 7. Everywhere Else!, General Interest | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

#75 – Access to the hills and The Mass Trespass of 1932

The plaque at Bowden Bridge Quarry, commemorating the Mass Trespass

 For those who missed it, 24th April was the 80th anniversary of the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932.  The Trespass was part of a working class movement in the first half of the 20th Century to secure the right for the public to walk on the hills and moors of Northern England (This right has always existed in Scotland).  These areas were used by the landowners for shooting game birds, and anyone attempting to walk there would be turned back by aggressive gamekeepers.  It was a situation that could not continue without being challenged

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Posted in 4. Northern England, General Interest | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

#74 – A challenging day? Or a piece of pie!

Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) above the frozen lake of Glaslyn

Sometimes a day in the mountains turns out to be more challenging than expected.  The weather changes unexpectedly or the rock on a scramble turns out to be wet and greasy.  The mist is more of a problem than expected, and the GPS that could have saved time is in the wrong rucksack, 250 miles away.  The path that is usually ice-free this time of year isn’t (ice-free, that is!)  Etc.

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Posted in 3. Yorkshire Dales | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

#73 – “I bought a mountain”

Glyder Fach (on the left) – The mountain bought by Thomas Firbank, with Tryfan on the right

Only a madman would buy a Welsh hill-farm on a whim, to become a sheep farmer without having any previous farming experience – that madman was called Thomas Firbank, and his fascinating book “I bought a mountain” was published in 1940.  One reason that the book remains compulsive reading is that Firbank wrote about real people and real places, and it is still possible to identify the locations he wrote about.

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Posted in 5. North Wales | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

#72 – “It looked like a canny way down….”

Gloomy weather moving in – Buttermere in the Lake District

After twenty five years, I can still remember those words being spoken as if it was yesterday –  “It looked like a canny way down….”   The person speaking was the survivor from a mountain accident that I became involved with.  Two walkers had been caught by a storm on a Lake District mountain, and had been benighted as a result.  Early the next morning, tired and cold, they tried to find the way down ….

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Posted in General Interest, Mountain Safety | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

#71 – Buckden Pike (with dry feet!)

On the way up to Buckden Pike, looking back towards Cray

After plundering other great blogs for inspiration for walks, I thought it was time to come up with an original idea – less easy when you only have a short walking day and have walked all the obvious local routes, as we have by now.  If more time had been available we could have been in the Lake District or Peak District, but it would have to be Yorkshire this week – but where?

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Posted in 3. Yorkshire Dales | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments