Monthly Archives: August 2014

PASSPORT TO LIVERPOOL.

The lady on the Passport Office ‘helpline’  threw me into a panic when she said you need 3 months spare on your passport to fly abroad. I seem to remember this rule from years ago!  My passport runs out in October and I will be in France most of September so I hurriedly booked an appointment at the Liverpool office for a one day application. Yesterday a quick round from the PO with form to a photo booth in Azda to my neighbour for counter signing. All a trifle stressful to ensure accuracy. A subsequent phonecall to the French Embassy, they speak French!, informed me more accurately that for the EU you can travel up to the final day on your passport. Still I had an appointment for today so let’s get it done with. On an early Sunday morning the drive past the port to the Passport Office was easy. Last time the office was in the old India Building but has now been transfered to a shiny  block in a sea of tall glass buildings. All was very efficient, I had filled in the form correctly, Phew!    Just pay the fee and come back at 1PM for your treasured new passport.

Set off to walk up to the ‘cultural centre’ of the city passing some varied buildings and street sculptures.

The last time we were in Liverpool [see post –  https://bowlandclimber.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/a-busy-weekend-a-long-post-of-short-walks-art-and-restaurants/%5D we had ended up with a quick visit to the Walker Gallery to view some early Hockney paintings. I promised myself a return to sample the rest of their extensive collection, one of Europe’s finest, today was that day.

The Walker Gallery

The Walker Gallery

First a coffee in the ground floor cafe to unwind and then from Medieval to Modern, Holbein to Hockney, in 15 galleries. Along the way Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Millais, Monet, Cezanne, Matisse, Freud, Lowry and up to date with the John Moores 2014 Prize paintings.

John Moores Prizes.

John Moores Prizes.

In amongst all this was a delightful small exhibition of Edward Wadsworth ‘dazzle ship’ prints. This technique was used in the WW1 to confuse our ships to the enemy. Dazzle Ship. Some colouful arty videos of Mexico enabled me to sit down for a while.

Mexican videos.

Mexican videos.

Staggered out and down into the commercialism of Liverpool 1 which seemed to be populated with the dregs of last nights hen and stag parties, not a pretty sight.

Liverpool 1

Liverpool 1

Walked back past the iconic Liver building to collect my prize. So off to France clutching it next week. Au revoir.

CLEARING JUNK AND RELIVING MEMORIES.

Stormy outside today so decided to sort out my climbing/walking cupboard and the overflow in the spare bedroom. This proved a bigger task than I had imagined. Out went some old Karrimor rucksacks which I had cannibalised for repairs. ZCapture.JPGkarrimorOut went old meths stoves, old battered billy sets, lanterns and torches. Out went tattered gaiters, stop tous [remember them] and pocket hand warmers! Couldn’t part with my cotton Blacks Tinker tent bought for about £20 in the sixties. 4ld in weight, no groundsheet but room for two, just. Found a picture on the net….zCapture.JPGtent

Next came the climbing gear. Out went old slings and quick-draws, probably weak with age, and frayed wired nuts and heavy carabiners. But I couldn’t  send my Joe Brown helmet to the tip  nor my Whillan’s harness , strap on crampons nor wooden shafted ice axe.SAM_5699

 

Not doing very well with the junk?  But I’ve been privately immersed in  great memories of my past climbing and camping days, old friends many now no longer with us and all that evocative cotton and leather equipment.

And as for rock-boots eat your heart out Imelda Marcos….…sadly no PAs or EBs – wore them out!

PENDLE AT LAST.

If you have been following my last few posts you will know an ascent of Pendle Hill, 557m, has alluded me.  Luckily I phoned my walking cousin H this morning suggesting an outing, he was going to be in Clitheroe today so a hasty meeting was arranged. Would you believe it but his bus broke down and we were delayed in setting off from Downham. No problem as we only needed a short afternoon to climb Pendle.

Pendle from Downham.

                                         Pendle from Downham.

Today I had a purpose apart from said ascent, needed to meet up with H to arrange forthcoming trip to Le Chemin de R L Stevenson and needed to check out my new phone’s camera and ability to post from it. Trying to drag myself into this century’s technology!

Our walk up and down Pendle proved no problem.

Scout Cairn on the ascent of Pendle.

                     Scout Cairn on the ascent of Pendle.

We descended off the the Big End Of Pendle via a different track than usual taking us into the little valley down past Clay Farm and back to Downham.img_20140815_154841_731-e1408172512785Our arrangements proved more complicated and I’m not sure of the phone but if you are able to read this all must have worked. Actually I tweaked it a bit on the lap top. The pics were just OK but had difficulty inserting them into the post on the phone, will get that sorted.

ZCapture.JPGpen

 

 

WATER EVERYWHERE. INGLETON FALLS.

My 13yr old grandson has wanted to climb Ingleborough since he saw it full on, a couple of years ago, whilst caving in Chapel le Dale. He was staying with me this week but the weather seemed to have taken a nose dive [the back end of hurricane Bertha] We bravely set off in high winds and rain but at the base of Ingleborough itself could see an ascent today would be unwise and futile.

Ingleborough under cloud.

Ingleborough under cloud.

Plan B – Ingleton Waterfall Walk.zCapture.JPGfalls  I’ve not done this for years. The price of entry has certainly escalated [I’ll not comment further] though I seem to remember we used to sneak in above the  turnstiles without paying. Lots of families visiting today no doubt because of the weather, so there was a chatty, jolly atmosphere as we made our way around. You go up the River Twiss [the private part] and down the River Doe, both are impressive gorges. You walk through limestone, slates and sandstone so a good opportunity for a geology lesson. The bit in the middle connecting the two rivers over farm land usually boasts a mobile ice cream van parked in the green lane!  I don’t ever remember seeing the money tree before in Swilla Glen – an old tree completely studded with coins making it look like armadillo skin.After all the rain we have had every fall today was full of peaty rushing water – very impressive.

Pecca Falls.

Pecca Falls.

Hollybush Spout.

Hollybush Spout.

Thornton Force.

Thornton Force.

Beezley Falls.

Beezley Falls and Triple Spout.

Rival Falls.

Rival Falls.

Baxenghyll Gorge.

Baxenghyll Gorge.

And last but not least ….

Snow Falls.

Snow Falls.

My grandson thoroughly enjoyed the walk, and the ice cream, so the day was a success and Ingleborough can wait for a better day.  If you haven’t been round this trail before or have in the mists of time pick a day to visit after heavy rain – you will appreciate. A little Switzerland.

DEJA VU ON LONGRIDGE FELL.

I didn’t make it to Pendle as planned. On Saturday morning a good friend phoned to say he was in the area and fancied a short walk in the afternoon. We caught up over a light lunch and debated our destination. He had never been to the top of Longridge Fell despite knowing the climbing crags dotted over the fell. So decision made. We parked near Cardwell House exactly as I had done yesterday and I took him on an extended version of the same walk. The weather today was perfect and the views much clearer so I got some better shots of Chipping Vale, the Bowland Fells and the Three Peaks. The scenery, especially with the heather mentioned yesterday, was stunning and he seemed very impressed with our short tour of the fell and forest.

A clearer view of Chipping Vale.

A clearer view of Chipping Vale.

The Trough hidden in the Bowland Fells.

The Trough hidden in the Bowland Fells.

Despite him being a philosopher our talk drifted to past climbing days which we have shared, both being out of action at present. In general climbers have a vivid memory of routes done probably because of the intensity of the moment and a little reminiscing does no harm. I have been able to find an old photo of him climbing a problem on Bullstones which I’m emailing to him.

Mark at Bullstones.   ?2008

Mark at Bullstones. [2003]

Whilst up there I had time to show him Crowshaw Quarry where there has been some recent bouldering activity. It was good to be out enjoying the company and the sunny weather as tomorrow we are going to get the ‘back-end’ of Hurricane Bertha. Shame because one of my grandsons is in Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100mile event.

IN PRAISE OF HEATHER.

 “And fragrant hills of purple heather”        Bonnie Auld Scotland      G. Bennett. 

I should have been going up Pendle this morning but as I set off the forecast changed, possible heavy rain by mid day. I must admit the sky looked black out to the west. So I quickly diverted to the parking at the west end of Longridge Fell. I traversed what I call the balcony path with views, today murky, into Chipping Vale, Morecambe Bay and the Bowland Hills. Then it was upwards through the new heather towards the trig point. Have done this walk hundreds of times but today the heather seemed to take prominence colour wise, there was an additional fragrance and lots of busy bees. The fell is transformed at the end of summer by the heather. The summit views were a little muted with the oncoming storm. Found a new path south off the summit, probably initiated by mountain bikers judging from the built up jumps. Over the many years that I have been coming up here more and more of these paths have appeared amongst the trees, so there is still a sense of exploration following them.I was soon back on the main circular descent but made an arduous detour to the small metalled fenced area on the western part of the fell. Have never known what this was for, there is nothing inside it. The OS map indicates stone circles on this part of the fell but I can never find them.   http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=27144

zCapture.JPGlong

I was back at the car just as the first heavy raindrop landed. Maybe Purple Pendle tomorrow?

BREAKING THE 50 MILE BARRIER.

Despite being rather disparaging about my cycling exploits in a recent post  [Irwell Valley 1]  I’ve been out for shorter rides [20 – 25 miles] mainly around, rather than over, Longridge Fell. All of a sudden I feel some fitness returning, that toe is not complaining too much and I’m enjoying the weather. Why at my age do I still feel the need to get fitter? Of course I know the answer – I want to keep active as long as possible exploring the outdoors at home or abroad. So my fate is sealed. After my cycle through ‘The Trough’ the other day I muttered about doing 50 miles next. Today I had in mind to cycle through the Trough again but in the reverse direction which I reckoned would be harder.

The doorbell rang at 9am and there was Al in cycling mode. Are you going through the Trough?  I enquired.  No, I’ve just been,  he replied!    He’s always been known for his early starts, today he’d left Preston at 6am and was hoping to be working by 10. But first cups of tea and catch ups.

No excuse now. Pedaled away up past Chipping and into the Hodder Valley, feeling rather sluggish I was dawdling along towards Whitewell in my own thoughts.  Alongside came a fit looking cyclist and rather than speed past as most do he slowed down for a chat. He gently mocked my ancient gear changing leavers [Campag!] – any gear will do scenario. He’d already cycled from Bolton and was in for a long day. This was nothing for him as he’d just returned from cycling in the Alps including an ascent of Alpe d’hues. I felt my pace quickening  to keep up.  I relaxed when he turned off to Slaidburn.Uplifted by our meeting I sped along Langden valley but was soon struggling on the steeper Trough itself.  OK – I walked the last few hundred feet admiring the purple heather which has just bloomed. It is harder from this side!

I came back to life on the descent and was soon through Dolphinhome and across the A6. Here I decided to make a longer loop home so I ended up in Cockerham where I hoped to find a cafe – nothing. Made a mistake of going out towards Knott End and not able to find a road going south towards St. Michaels, the lane I chose meandered me back to Cockerham!  Down the road however I was saved by a cafe/ice cream parlour, The Pudding House. Most people were queuing for massive ice creams….…. but I was happier with a pot of tea and a lifesaving date slice – thank you.

Knew my way from there via Garstang and Inglewhite and arrived home rather weak legged – 52miles!  Had also climbed 2500ft, so it turned out a hillier 50 than I had intended.