Tag Archives: My left foot.


Crowshaw Quarry.

Crowshaw Quarry.

Since my last post I’ve survived a heavy week of birthday celebrations [21 again!] and a trip along the Silk Road in Uzbekistan [more of that later] but ‘mysteriously’ gained about 7 pounds in weight. I blame the latter on the Uzbek Plov, surely not the vodka!?  So with the arrival of all this beautiful warm sunny weather I had to get out and flex my muscles on the rock. Craig Y Longridge has had all the usual suspects training away – I struggled. The strong winds also had the unfortunate trick of blowing your mat away just when you were getting scared of the drop. So I found my way up to the recently developed Crowshaw Quarry for some new boulder problems on the cleaned low wall to the left. These were in perfect condition in the morning sunshine yesterday but unfortunately my soft skin, unused to climbing gritstone, soon produced a couple of finger flaps.Taping up always unravels for me and bleeding soon ensured leading to an early lunch – will be back.

Starting Tweeter and the Monkey Man.

Starting Tweeter and the Monkey Man.

But that was only bouldering. Because of my toe operation its over a year since I climbed with Rod, or did any routes. I could not let this warm April weather go by without getting out onto some proper climbs. Over the phone the choice was Giggleswick or Wallowbarrow. I went for the former to avoid the long drive, could have been a mistake. Today the sun was soon warming the limestone which I found to be far steeper and more polished than on my last visit. We had the whole of Giggleswick to ourselves, maybe everyone else had gone to Wallowbarrow.

Thanks to Rod’s leading I managed to second half a dozen 5’s – [memo for tonight – no food and definitely no vodka]. The day was superb and the heat built up as the afternoon progressed.

Over the garden wall.

Over the garden wall.

From the anchor chains I had time to appreciate the situation in the valley and had some superb views over to Pendle and up to Buck Haw Brow. The motor bikes were screaming past.

Golf course, Giggleswick and Pendle.

Golf course, Giggleswick and Pendle.

Buck How Hill.

Buck Haw Brow.

Could be stiff in the arms tomorrow.


I used to have a list of ever-increasingly harder, but modest climbs to do. Lead E2 on my 50th, E3 on my 60th etc etc….Looking back I’ve achieved an awful lot and can’t complain – so I’m not going to.  I’ve pushed my limited physique to enjoy a few good decades of climbing, first traditionally in Britain and many places abroad and more recently sports climbing in the latest hotspots. My well-documented problem with my left big toe and its associated pain have limited my climbing recently – but I still hobble up to Craigy for a short session. I was surprised therefore to find on my pinboard a list of to-dos  – without a single climb. The list had been concocted last year whilst I was recovering from a toe operation and hopeful of some easy rehabilitation and was entirely composed of straightforward walking routes. There must be a link here to my recent post on what motivates me.

As you can see I’ve already ticked off some of the list at the end of last year, most satisfying was the completion of the GR7 through Spain. This route has given me many weeks of superb walking and immersion into Spanish society that I’ll never forget. But onwards I go and now I find myself starting on the GR131, a linear walk recently discovered in the Canary Islands. One has to fit the season to the walk [or vice versa] and now is the optimum walking time out in the Canary Islands.

The other listed walks can wait for suitable times and companions. Maybe I’ll find mine…….

………….watch this space for more list ticking.


               A post about nothing but the need to get out, exercise and enjoy one’s locality.We are just on the edge of the severe gales this weekend but nonetheless it’s hardly fit to be out. Previously I would have headed to the warmth of the climbing wall, but being wary of the associated big toe pain I ventured outdoors for my afternoon exercise. For some perverse reason I chose an exposed Longridge Fell circuit, mainly for the dry road walking. I only had my phone with me for pictures. The little reservoir at the top of the village resembled the mid Atlantic.

The wind blew me up the fell road in no time and I couldn’t resist a diversion to visit the trig point. The Vale of Chipping below was flooded in many areas, sunlight came and went as the clouds blew rapidly through.

Despite being back on the road progress was slow against the 30-40 mph gale coming straight at me, would not have liked to be any higher. A passing motorist even stopped to enquire whether I needed Help.  A forest area next to the road has been cleared of trees since I was last up here and was almost unrecognisable, the previously hidden ‘Sweden’ quarry, a large hole, was now laid bare on the hillside. There used to be some bouldering here but the rock reverted to vegetation through lack of traffic, maybe things could change.

The golf course was deserted, with the flags straining on the greens. This must be one of the most exposed golf courses in the country, running along the fell top.

In fact I saw only one other person, he was running around the road circuit. He is well know for running in his bare feet and true to form despite the cold and wet was not wearing shoes today!!!  I have hidden his identity / insanity on the photo.

Felt a touch of insanity myself as I battled against the wind and cold towards home, a welcome bath and the last of the mince pies. Probably do something similar tomorrow.

GR7 in Northern Catalunya – waiting for a miracle.

El Miracle Monastery.

El Miracle Monastery

Su – El Miracle – Solsona.

Yet another beautiful day in prospect, how long can this weather last.

Keep plastering my troublesome, left, little toe up each morning to alleviate the pain, it has never really recovered from my GR70 trip a couple of weeks ago. Still not suitable for public viewing in the raw. Have butchered my insole to try and give it more space. Hoping for a miracle cure – maybe today?

JpegStruggled with the ploughed fields and scambly thickets to get back on route again, don’t know why I retraced last nights mistake. Head high brambles claimed my glasses at one point. I think my concentration was disturbed and I looked for a  track off the road on the left whilst it had been on the right I found out later.

Passing stone crosses on the way  I arrived in El Miracle. This a large sanctuary dating from the 16th century. There is a grand monastery for 5 silent monks, an old church with the most amazing Baroque altar and lots of other religious buildings. Unfortunately the cafe was closed. I spent some time wandering about the place and marveling  at its past grandeur. It is perched on an escarpment with wonderful views of  that Serra de Cadi range.

The walking improved in the afternoon, on small paths through oak woods, past old farms, across ploughed fields and over little brooks. A couple of hours past unnoticed, I was enjoying myself so much. A great stretch downhill on heathland with views to the extensive town of Solsona. Then I got temporarily lost at a worn stone riverbed.  The route through the outskirts of town was not well way marked and I found myself  walking up a busy ring road. Things were safer in the historic centre. The whole place has gone mushroom mad this weekend with displays, markets and fungi inspired menus in all the bars.

My hotel turns out to be an impressive Modernist building on the tourist trail, with prices to match.

Can’t believe this weather, very hot and sunny for October the locals tell me. And it’s set to continue.

Oh and by the way – no miracle toe cure is apparent yet.


Recuperated  from the French GR70 trip, my blistered little toe is on the mend, the garden back in some sort of shape and the family checked over.  So what next?   It doesn’t take long to get restless.

The weather has been good and dry until now and I have been tempted to go bouldering again. Started off with an easy hour up at Kemple End one misty morning doing the usual traverses. On arrival in the quarry I often disturb deer but today it was a pair of Barn Owls swooping between the trees like white silhouettes.

A misty Kemple Quarry

A misty Kemple Quarry

Another morning was spent in Crowshaw quarry on a low wall to the left of the main face. Some good problems are emerging here but I need a spotter for my best project.

A sunny Crowshaw Quarry.

A sunny Crowshaw Quarry.

I recently received a video from Robin Mueller highlighting some of the harder problems on that main face, quite an artistic effort.


A couple of visits to Craig Y had me feeling fitter and the big left toe didn’t feel too painful. I caught up with the chat and felt more positive about further climbing. Of course the weather has now taken a turn for the worse, heavy rain most days and Dianne’s forecast is not good…

So out come the sunny Spanish maps and a little planning sees me booked on a flight to Barcelona to hopefully complete my marathon, 2000k, GR7 walk up to Andorra before the snows arrive. I’ve only about 10 more days of walking and I’ve spent a lot of time this last couple of days trying to break them down so that I should have accommodation every night, as I want to avoid carrying camping gear. It’s not been easy as Catalan is the language of this area and my simple Spanish doesn’t seem to get me far over the phone, thank heavens for email and booking.com!  I shall see how successful I’ve been once on the trail. There look to be some interesting Catalan villages and some fairly high mountainous passes to cross. Watch this space.




This little chap woke me up this morning with his cheerful chirping. Time to get going.               As part of my rehabilitation, sorry to bore you again, yesterday I managed 5 miles in the boggy fields around Goosnargh and today met up with a mate to walk 8 miles on The Reelers Trail. The location was a convenient half way meeting point between us. This is one of four varied circular walks in Lancashire on The Witton Weavers Way – a 32mile route around Blackburn using historic tracks and visiting many industrial sites and period settlements.

Look for your self at — http://www.blackburn.gov.uk/Pages/Witton-Weavers-Way.aspx

The mist was just clearing as we left Abbey Village on a lane down to the Roddlesworth Reservoirs.


It was relatively early due to the clocks leaping forward. a calm section through woods led to a steep field path up towards the picturesque village of Tockholes with many 17th century buildings. We passed several listed buildings of this period including Higher Hill Farm, a small room jutting out of the first floor was the en-suite toilet of the age.




Apparently the track we were on was a Saxon bridleway connecting Rossendale to Preston.  One interesting site was an old intact parish pinfold  [pound] for stray animals.

Many of the cottages we passed were old hand weavers’ dwellings, now in great demand for semi-rural living. One small holding was using a llama to guard the poultry. Unusual sight in these parts!

Before long we were walking in close to proximity to the M65 motorway and into urban housing estates in Feniscowles.



The sun was out and the day took on a more friendly nature with leisurely canal-side walking, along with family cycling groups,



A steep climb up towards Stanworth Farm and then we ducked back down under the rumbling motorway bridge.


From here we entered a  deep incut, almost secret, valley clothed in ancient woodland, rich in wild life. Soon we were in a different world to the motorway.

This valley, which seems to be tributary of the River Darwen, is a delight to follow and eventually brought us back to Abbey Village, the Hare and Hounds pub and a welcome pint outside in the warm Spring sunshine.

Simple short day but satisfying with lots of chat and not too much of a problem with the foot. Though I think I’ll be back on the bike this week!





                                                                  LONGRIDGE FELL FROM THE NW.

The weeks are slipping by, not sure whether we are into Spring or not yet. I have a deadline at the end of April to walk the St. Cuthbert’s Way with my old school mate, we get out every year. Have been getting fitter on the bike but need to put some mileage into the recovering foot.  My daily trips to the shops, all of half a mile, have felt painful but I’m trying not to walk with a limp [read wimp]. So decided to get back up onto Longridge Fell [350m] for the first time this year. Fortified with Brufen, other painkillers are available, parked up in the usual lay by.

Whats new up here?  The first thing that struck me was the amount of damage caused by the storms of last month, lots of trees down.

  Good to be walking in the countryside again even though I was mainly on forest tracks. We are so lucky to have this on our doorstep.

  The weather varied from sun to hail and was exhilarating along the ridge with views down both flanks of the fell.. Clouds flashing by with rainbows following.

                             Storm brewing, Pendle in the distance.

Sudden hail storm.


Great views down into the valley with the hamlet of Walker Fold prominent below.

                                            Diminutive Walker Fold.

I must have walked this route a hundred times but always find something different, today it was a Red Kite looping effortlessly over the cleared forestry. No photo!

Next I met a young man from Estonia planting Sitka Spruce saplings into the ground recently harvested. He can plant 3000 a day on good open ground but here he is only managing 1000. Looks hard work to me. I also wonder why he bothers as young trees germinate all over the area, maybe they are not in straight lines. Shall have to find the answer to this.

                                                Hard Work Planting.

Nature's Way of Planting.

                                           Nature’s Way of Planting.

Out of the trees and down through a favourite little dell full of light and back to the car before the next shower.

  Only four and a half miles, but an  enjoyable tramp and such good exercise for my foot and my mind.