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Friday, 16 April 2010

Walk with Park Ranger

This proved to be an excellent walk. We set off from Steel Rigg and walked east until we met the Pennine Way. This is one of the best bits of the Wall trail - lots of  ups and downs, but the views are stunning.

It was very dry today, but the Pennine Way always manages to be boggy in places.

We walked north until we came to Greenlee Lough, then turned west to walk along the north shore, returning south on the new boardwalk. There were bumblebees on the pussy willow. Lots of plants are very late. It's a 7 + mile walk and a good, varied one. I think I'll offer a version of it for the Wednesday walkers soon.
This was my third day of walking in a row. Tomorrow I'm north of this space.

Walk with Park Ranger

It's a glorious morning, cold but very sunny.  Today's pre-walk is with Sally the park ranger. We start at Steel Rigg and go to Greenlee Lough to hear about the changes made there in order to preserve the environment. Must remember binoculars for the birds.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Singing walk

Carol and I set off this morning to do the recce for the singing walk.  It was a grey and cold morning so we set a good pace in order to keep warm. We are a bit concerned in case we have slow walkers on the day; it will be no problem in good weather, but rather difficult if it is cold or raining. (I don't want to think about raining really........) We went up the Haltwhistle Burn and found some good places to sing. The landslide is problematic because it is uneven and muddy. (On the way back we met Eric who told us that someone has the contract to clear the landslide away, staring tomorrow, so we should be OK for our walk.  Good news indeed.)
We thought about singing at the quarry opposite the Milecastle but would need to use the stile there so crossed that off the list. There is a lovely path to Cawfields off the road, but it is a bit steep in places. We've decided to assess the walkers' ability as they go up the Burn. Cawfields is our site for lunch, toilets and more songs. I think the walk will be fine. An article about it should be in the Newcastle Journal any day now.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

SFP, journalists, Photo Club

An action packed day. Spent the morning transcribing Ye Banks and Braes for the Singing for Pleasure group. Had long conversation with  Tony Henderson from The Journal. I hope he will have a good article on the Festival in Thursday's paper.  He was very interested in the Singing Walk, Bachhan-ale walk and the Bumblebees (now sadly cancelled).
The choir sang very well. It is still very hard work because of the booming acoustic and the number who are deaf. The acoustic makes life impossible for many of us, but the hall is big and we don't pay extra for it......
I did a big supermarket shop at Aldi and Tesco and was very tired when I got home. Quick evening meal and then we were both off out: Mum to NADFAS and me to Photo Club. I saw the prints from Istanbul - what a high standard they achieved. Scary. Always a good sociable night out.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Monday: committees, walking, tree surgeon

Glorious weather today. Spent the morning at the walking festival committee meeting, finalising plans. My Botany and Bee walks have not booked well, but we are still going to run them and cut our losses. We're also trying to boost the numbers for the Vindolanda visit so that we have the talk from the archaeologist - he will speak only if we have at least 15 bodies there (so to speak).
Extra Challenge bookings came in today, probably the result of leafleting at the Allendale Challenge. Colin says they had 800 walkers and 200 runners for their event last Saturday.  Mind boggling. We'll do well if we get to 200 I reckon, but the numbers are creeping up slowly.
Thought I'd do a recce this pm but got embroiled in editing photos. Then went for a short walk down the village in my new boots. They feel very odd because they are higher around my ankles than previous boots. Fingers (and toes) crossed (not that I am in any way superstitious).

Sunday, 11 April 2010

End of the day

I did go out walking, but it was a bit of a muddle. First of all I could not find the new permissive car park I was looking for, and I drove around the roads near Steel Rigg twice.  I gave up and decided to put my car in a layby and walk on a new permissive path. Then I realised I'd left the maps at home - so I had to rely on my shaky mental map of the area. Then I was too hot/too blown about.  I nearly gave up.  Glad I didn't. I eventually found the car park (on foot by now of course) and the path to Greenlee Lough. Two fields along and I saw a ewe who had just given birth to twins. One lamb was on its feet and being cleaned up. It was trying to suckle. The ewe was ignoring the other lamb who sat crying pitifully but could not make it upright.  Both lambs were bright yellow so I assume that one had passed meconium in utero.  I took a few photos on the long lens - too far away but I didn't want to upset any bonding. I walked on towards the Lough, ran out of time, and on my return was delighted to see the second lamb take its very first steps towards Mum. The ewe still looked rather disinterested but both lambs were working hard to find the spot to feed so I think they would be fine.
Suddenly very tired and glad to have company on return along tarmac to car. Walked with the man who looks after the A69.  I would never have guessed his occupation.  He might come to the festival......

Quiet Sunday?

I need to "break eggs with sticks" today, but hope to do it quietly and with enjoyment. I've started to put the furniture back into Mum's bedroom -it's newly decorated, looks lovely. Also need to get a lot of belated pruning done in the garden, where life is kicking into the borders with a vengeance.  Must split some perennials this year.
Then I want to do a pre-walk of the walk I'm leading on Wednesday (courtesy of Tony who has broken a toe - he is a stalwart of the festival and we will miss him sorely on the walks). So why am I sitting typing this?  I'm enjoying a cup of coffee and Bowlby is enjoying a cuddle in her usual position - I've had to learn to type with a cat's head resting on my left forearm. I have to type evenly and without much movement, otherwise she objects strongly.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Walk around and above Dodd Hill

Went on Shepherd's Walk from South Middleton today. Arrived in good time to find the first arrivals watching frogs in the pond. Already sunny and mild. 7 of us plus our leader, Richard, set out after a discussion about bee keeping. We were in sun and a light breeze all day, so I didn't realise how sunburnt I was getting!

Onwards and upwards, with a stop eventually for an early lunch. (Actually we stopped lots of times to hear about the landscape, the geology, the influence of ancient and modern farming techniques.)

There were plenty of sheep watching the only walkers of the day - we must seem quite exotic to them, because there won't be many people to see in this area.  On the top we saw an old Larsen trap and had an interesting discussion about how crows, magpies, jays, etc should be managed.  This trap made us all feel uncomfortable.

After a leisurely lunch we set off again, had the regulatory group photo (and for once I'm in it!)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Not up to blogging

It's just like all those years when I tried to write a diary - managed a few entries in Jan and then tailed off by Easter. Failed again!
Have been on holiday for most of March though.  First had 10 days in Keswick on a photo holiday and then at the Literary Festival. Both excellent in their own way. Home for 10 days then a brilliant week in Morocco. Another photo holiday with a company called Authentic Adventures. I can highly recommend them - excellent organisationally and the holiday they organised was superb. That's enough superlatives for one night I think
We're full steam ahead for the Haltwhistle Walking Festival, but T has broken a toe and so can't lead or back up on walks. One of our stalwarts too. Guess we will soon have his jobs reallocated.
Bed time.