Monday 15 December 2014

Scratchings & Squeakings From An Ill-lit Corner

It’s now mid-December 2014, some two months since my last scribblings (a half-baked rant about energy and wind farms) and even longer since a proper report about walking-related matters has appeared – a short commentary on a long weekend walking bits of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.  

Stormy skies above Grasswood from the Dales Way near Grassington

So it’s been a quiet time in this dimly-lit corner of the blogosphere, with nary a sound to be heard but for the odd scratch or squeak every once in a while.

Negotiating Conistone Dib

I must confess that time and motivation for posting to the blog has been in short supply of late, something that has been true for much of the year (and which has also affected the reading of and contributions to other blogs, as well). There have been some notable exceptions – Norfolk, the Peaks of the Balkans and the Camino posts, for example. But, by-and-large, contributions to the blog have been much reduced – around half the number of posts of previous years – and what momentum there was seems to have been lost.

Watching the Wharfe go by

However, a lack of online activity does not equate to a lack of walking or enthusiasm for it: we have been slowly racking up mileage throughout the autumn, and it looks as if we will top last year’s total and post a new best-year-ever figure come December 31st

Weir near Linton Falls

But apart from a couple of weekends away (more of which in a moment) most of this mileage has been accumulated during shorter walks on familiar local circuits – a couple of hours grabbed here and there – and these haven’t really offered enough in the way of new paths, high drama, great photography or worthwhile distance to warrant individual blog entries.

Two weekend trips do stand out, though. Firstly, a budget hotel deal afforded us the opportunity for a brief trip up to the Yorkshire Dales, during which time we walked from Grassington and Bolton Abbey (and photos of which are included in the post). Over the course of the weekend we remained largely dry, inadvertently improved on an established circuit, caught some beautiful autumn colours in the sunshine, and wiped away a tear (not the result of a chill wind but from being relieved of an eye-watering £8 for parking by one of the richest men in the UK).

This information, posted on the gate accessing the path to the Valley of Desolation, did
not appear to be in evidence in the car park. I would have been more than "desolate" if
I'd paid £8 parking only to find there was no access on the moors that day 

The second was a weekend in the White Peak built around a Saturday-night gig in Youlgreave by Whalebone, an entertaining evening of “high energy acoustic music” from talented musicians Steve, Char and Sarah that draws on traditional folk, classic rock and their own compositions for inspiration. If you fancy catching them live or simply want to find out more about the band and their music, further information can be found here:

Descending from Simon's Seat

My plan for 2015 is to gradually get back into the swing of things, and hopefully be a bit more active on the blogging scene. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, but it does seem to have been a quieter year all round, with many contributors seeming to have posted a little less frequently.

Dales Way path beside the river

Some of the biggest subjects have been controversial, too, which made for higher traffic volumes but a less harmonious online outdoor community – important principles to be defended, perhaps, for those involved (and I would probably do the same in similar circumstances) but a slightly unedifying experience for those watching-on from the outside. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, I suspect this is, in part, a consequence of the time of year: as winter is not yet upon us and Christmas approaches, there are simply fewer interesting topics and trip reports to peruse. Hopefully, all will soon be forgotten as next year progresses and the winter walking season gathers pace.

Finally, because it was a lovely afternoon, I'll finish with a few more photos from our Yorkshire Dales weekend - beautiful autumn colours near The Strid.

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