Saturday, October 28, 2017

Winter Droving 2017

Penrith, Cumbria. Saturday 28-October-2017.

Last year we enjoyed The Winter Droving 2016 so much that it was the trigger for this whole week's visit. After four days walking, Saturday arrived. A little cooler than last year, we wandered around for a few hours but there didn't seem to be as much street entertainment as last time. So we watched a couple of bands then retreated into the warmth of Dockray Hall for beer.

We emerged from the pub for the main event: the procession of giant illuminated figures, fancy dress and marching bands.

The ram lead the parade, of course, as The Winter Droving is about the sheep, but the wolf got a look in as well.

All participants are encouraged to wear masks.

After the parade it was back to Dockray Hall for more beer and victuals. The food was excellent as was the company.

The next morning we had time before our train home to visit two ancient monuments within minutes walking of our B & B. First up King Arthur's Round Table, a Neolithic earthwork henge, dating from about 2000 BC, but much later believed to be King Arthur's jousting arena.

Just 0.2 miles away is Mayburgh Henge is a large and impressive Neolithic henge. Its banks stand up to three metres high, constructed of pebbles collected from the nearby river.

Then it was time to pack up and taxi back to the station and train home for a rest.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Walking in the Lake District 2017 - Day 4

Penrith, Cumbria.

Friday 27-October-2017: Great Langdale.

This day we were joined by our co-host, Kate, who was able to get the day off work. A walk that she and Nigel had been wanting to do for some while.

The best weather of the week. Look at that sky. Walking weather doesn't get much better.

I insist on tucking my trews into my socks and carrying a map case. The former looks a bit naff but keeps my trouser hems clean. The latter is prudently essential on any walk - I love OS maps..

None of the route was particularly strenuous. Just as well as I am not the gung-ho mountaineering type.

This stream was crystal clear. A joy to see and a contrast to the River Wandle, my local, urban river.

More beautiful sky, typical bridge and crystal waters. Truly lovely.

Stats: 3:44 hr 12.9 km.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Walking in the Lake District 2017 - Day 3

Penrith, Cumbria.

Thursday 26-October-2017: Saint John's in the Vale

A pleasant circular walk, neither too strenuous nor too long and more clement weather than the day before.

The cute church of Saint John's in the Vale was our start point.

The clouds were lowering overhead but brighter over Thirlmere reservoir in the distance.

We saw free-range goats...

... and goats in a paddock. We were not sure if they were friendly and hoping we were bringing food or being territorial and seeing us off the premises. Either way we didn't hang around to find out.

Eli the dog led the way for most of the walk. We reckon Nigel was cheating by being canine assisted.

Stats: 2:46 hr and 8.4 km.

Walking in the Lake District 2017 - Day 2

Penrith, Cumbria.

Wednesday 25-October-2017: Threlkeld to Blencathra via Blease Fell.

This time we went for height rather than distance. We were joined by our friend Nigel and dog Eli, a Husky-Malamute cross.

Bit of a gloomy day with sunshine trying to illume the far valley

A fellow walker took this photo of us at the very windy apex.

On the way down the effort was less but the wind chill factor was a killer! Steep and muddy paths made for interesting walking including some unintentional backwards grass surfing

More "operator error". Checking the Garmin on the way up I accidentally turned it off so lost the first part of the track from the car park to Blencathra. Luckily I noted the time and distance so know the full walk stats as 14 km and 5:04 hr.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Walking in the Lake District 2017 - Day 1

Penrith, Cumbria.

We were visiting friends in Penrith for the Winter Droving festival and decided to go up early for a few days walking.

Tuesday 24-October-2017: Eamont Bridge to Askham and back via Brougham Castle.

The aim was to visit a potter in Askham where we bough a teapot last year. Unfortunately he was closed, recuperating from a lengthy operation so maybe next visit.

Weird looking tree with high level shoots. Maybe an effect of animal grazing?

Typical Lake District bridge.

The River Lowther at Askham Bridge

Great lunch at The Punchbowl in Askham plus a paddle of beers for tasting.

The impressive Lowther viaduct.

Brougham Castle - using our English Heritage membership for the first time.

Wordsworth looked out this very window and was inspired to write:

“... That river and those mouldering towers
Have seen us side by side, when, having clomb
The dark some windings of a broken stair,
And crept along a ridge of fractured wall,
Not without trembling, we in safety looked
Forth, through some Gothic window’s open space,
And gathered with one mind a rich reward
From the far-stretching landscape...”

Brougham Hall was an extra stumbled upon by chance.

A fascinating and ambitious restoration.

The Garmin battery died so I only have the plot for the outbound leg which was 12km in 2:35. We walked about twice that in the day so we'll call it 24km then.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Emeli Sande at the O2 Arena

London. Wednesday 18-October-2017.

We flew back from Italy for this concert (and to visit Mary's Mum for her birthday) and well worth the trip. It was an excellent concert considering we only knew the one song from the Olympics closing ceremony back in 2012.

The support act was Calum Scott who seemed genuinely amazed and thankful to be there and perform before such a huge crowd thanks to Emeli.

Emeli herself was brilliant. I have to say big thanks are due to the sound engineers. We could hear every word she sang which really helps when you don't know the songs. At many concerts the audience is full of the faithful who know every line of every song.

Chloe Hubbard at The Independent called it "Powerful and captivating". I'd go with that. Full review here: Emeli Sandé at the O2 Arena, London.

As luck would have it, on our return from Mary's Mum, we saw a cheap copy of Emeli's first album in Glasgow airport so we snapped it up and have been listening to it regularly since with great pleasure.