Archive for December, 2010

I didn’t pick a very good time to start a ‘Saturday Walk’ blog did I? They don’t seem to happen on Saturdays any more. This week my main walk took place on a Wednesday (30th December)! I’d also walked to town earlier in the week, with John T, Carol and Sharon and that was nice, but it was a very steady walk because of all the ice we had to traverse. We had a few drinks in town and then came back here for a chilli.

Both John (Rousell) and I had had some domestic problems over the last week. The weather had been so cold that we had both experienced pipe blockages and I’d also had a pipe burst in the garage. What’s more, my car had broken down on Christmas Eve, with what turned out to be a broken spring. This awaits the new year to get fixed and as a result John came to Wellhouse, from where be begun our walk.

We set off in thick fog, down the road and up towards Golcar Church, before turning left on Small Lane and across the fields to Bolster Moor. We tracked across Bolster Moor towards Waller Clough Road and then around the top edge of Slaithwaite, along Crimea Lane to Pole Moor. As far as possible, we then kept to the fields as we dropped into Slaithwaite and along the end of the still frozen reservoir. All the way we were accompanied by fog and mist and although we expected to come out of it as we got higher up the hill, it was only down on the reservoir that we actually saw the tops of hills around the lake. The frozen water seemed to be dragging the mist down to it.

Slaithwaite itself seemed to be damp and dour in the mist induced greyness and we carried straight on through and along the canal as far as Linthwaite, where we turned left and up Lowestwood Lane. Lowestwood lane is a fairly bust road, used by locals and those wanting a short cut to the M62. It starts quite steep as it approached the railway arch and then gets a bit steeper until the bend halfway up the road. Then it gets steeper still – until the top! Hard work.

It was nice to get out today and nicer still to get some exercise and have a proper chat.


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I know that it’s not Saturday yet but I can’t see us getting out for anything like a decent walk tomorrow. Sharon and I set off for Wales on Wednesday, fully aware of the impending Snowmageddon – but the weather people have been wrong before. Not this time!

We stopped off at Karen and Dave’s on the way. This is always a pleasure and this week’s stay was no different. We ate out at the Poacher’s Pocket, just up the road from Karen’s and then joined the pub quiz down at ‘The Trap’ just on the Welsh – English border. Sadly the quiz master was a little slower than he could have been and subsequently, more alcohol was consumed than would have been good for me to drive the following day. Whoops. Anyway, Sharon had been good – and she drove the rest of the way. We had lunch in Aberaeron, where the wind was bitterly cold. We ate in a cafe above Ambassador’s gift shop and surprisingly, the food was good. I experienced my first Welsh RED Mustard during this meal. Now there’s different.

And today we woke up to real snow. It was worse at home in late November – early December, but we are staying at Steven and Rosie’s, which is one and a half miles away from the main coastal road, as it passes from Aberystwyth on its way to Cardigan. The road is single track and steep! We’re going nowhere today and probably not tomorrow either – although there is (apparently) a craft and Christmas Fayre in Aberystwyth on Saturday.

The snow has brought out all the birds though. Today we have seen Red Kites and Buzzards up above us and smaller birds all around the feeding bags hung on trees. We’ve been visited by Great Tits, Blue Tits, Green Finches, Sparrows, a Robin that looks extremely put out that his territory is being invaded by such a swarm, by a pair of Chaffinch who seem to prefer hunting on the ground below the nut bags, a hugely puffed out Jay and even a Woodpecker. It’s fun for us to watch, but not for them to live in. Even the chickens have stayed in their Ark!

Finally, I bought Liar Liar by Captain Ska, the other day (79p @ http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/liar-liar-single/id408050972?ign-mpt=uo%3D4) it’s the only form of anarchy I can manage from my armchair – but something I thought well worth spending 70p on. Give it a go – don’t them them get away with it. Even if it only affects their conscience, it’s worth 79p.

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Subtitle: The state of the nation

Today, John and I were joined on our walk by our friend Nick Jeans (@njeans) who had driven over from Sheffield to join us in Denby Dale, today’s starting point. I’ve tried mapping our route via Google Maps, as I usually do, but found it very difficult this week as we were mainly off the road and following no ‘Googled’ footway. Come on Google – get those cameras strapped to your backs and get walking the highways and byways so that I can illustrate exactly where we’ve walked to others.

Anyway, we pretty much walked around the Deffer Wood and Cannon Hall area seen below. Denby Dale is just off the map. It’s been a really pleasant morning. The sun was shining; last week’s snow has pretty much gone completely now and apart from the mud we had no trouble at all. It’s an interesting time of year to be out walking; you see the birds scuttling around looking for food and defending their territory, you see what nature has left for the wildlife to eat, such as the rose hips seen here and you often see much further as there is no or little foliage to obstruct your view. At one point we could see Barnsley in the distance and at another, the main road into Wakefield.

And we get to talk on our walks. We talked a lot and about a whole range of things, but one of things that exercised my mind was this week’s student protests. [These are my views]. I remarked that the police used some pretty uncalled for tactics whilst dealing with the rowdy crowds this week and the horse charge down Whitehall seemed particularly uncalled for. Those riders and horses are well trained to control crowds and there is no need to drive straight into such a human mass at speed. Although I wasn’t there and am only fed a diet of what the television shows me, I didn’t see an awful lot of thought going into the way in which the student crowd was dealt with. I know that, as always, there were ‘criminal’ and disruptive elements active there and there abouts but these were, again as always, in a minority. It didn’t look to me that there was much discrimination between who was beaten with police batons and who was not.

And why all this fuss? Because the Tory government (this time hiding behind the skirts of their Lib-Dem puppets) want to put up the cost of attending university. For me this is just the thin edge of a long wedge. It can only be a matter of time – if you follow the Tory doctrine that these students will earn a lot of money in later life – before these students are older and demanding a much higher wage to pay off their university debts and to secure mortgages etc.  How long will it be before even more public services are lost as such services become privatised so that these increased wage demands can be paid? What future the NHS?

I really don’t ‘get’ the idea that “these students” should pay more for their education as “they are the ones who benefit” from it. I must be pretty obtuse! I’ve always been of the believe that Education benefits the whole of society.

Society needs many layers of people in its make up. It needs higher level education to teach and train doctors, lawyers and the like; vocational education to teach and train engineers, plumbers, electricians and the like and schools, to prepare these learners for their adult working life. Yet, vocational education is treated like a leper whilst higher education learners are now being made to pay through the nose. And, at the same time schools remain indoctrinated with a curriculum that has little relevance to the real life young people will live.

Having said all that – our walk was unaffected and we talked of many other things too. 🙂

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Saturday Walks

I really should have started doing this much much earlier.

I’ve been out walking on a Saturday for many many years. At first it used to be that I was out for most of the day but for the last five or so years, it’s been limited to Saturday mornings. My walking companion is usually John Rousell, and for all of those many years (possibly 15 or 16) we have walked and talked most of the greater Huddersfield/Kirklees area and often further abroad too. In 1999 we also cycled from Barmouth in Wales to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk – just because we could and because it is just about the widest part of the country to do a coast to coast cycle ride! See: http://www.village-e-learning.co.uk/cycleride/cycleride.htm

However, for this first dedicated post my walking partner was Tony Tighe from Calderdale Training. Tony and I have known each other for over 20 years have have become great friends. We’d planned to go to Reeth, in Swaledale with Sharon and Tony’s wife Gill this weekend John hadn’t expected to be out walking with me this week. However, we were thwarted by the awful weather. The keys to the cottage we’d booked in Reeth have still not arrived (we’ve had no post for the best part of a week), but we postponed anyway because the weather in North Yorkshire seemed to be atrocious.

Nevertheless, we’d made some preparations and decided that we’d still have the planned meal at our house, exactly as we’d planned to have in Reeth. So, we had a Baked Camembert with crudités and locally baked bread (Gill brought a loaf she’d baked too); Beef Bourguignonne – a favourite; Sharon’s take on Bertei’s Bomb (ice cream, home made toffee, meringue and whisky – she usually uses Baileys but I got a good draft of Glenmorangie in there this time). We had a great evening.

Then on Saturday, Tony and I took a walk around Bolster Moor and on towards Pole Moor. There is still a lot of snow about following a week where the weather has been worse than at any time before my birthday (next week) than I can remember since being a child. We walked through drifts and along snow covered back-roads and had a thoroughly enjoyable few hours. The sun was bright, the views were superb and we were both wrapped up warm.

What a cracking morning’s walk.

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