Wednesday 29 July 2020

Rights of way......

My wonderful partner is currently surveying Public Rights of Way, making sure they're still accessible and all stiles and crossing points still exist so that walkers may pass unhindered.,  It's one of her duties as a Yorkshire Dales National Park volunteer Ranger.  
In mixed weather and lowering skies we set out to do two of these paths.  Judging by their appearance neither had been used for some time though one, from Yarnbury to Hebden Ghyll, had been a favourite of mine in racing days.  The urge to run it again was irresistible.   So I did...
avoiding the reeds
Good stile, poor lambing gate
Getting a bit of speed up
Easy running
Not many runners round here...
Crossing a culvert
Running - with what looks like a tree on my back! 
Sheep thinking "What the hell are they up to?"
The joy of movement
Wait for me...
By heck, I'm enjoying this...a  final sprint as my old body seemed to have taken on a new lease of life.    Just for the day.
That was the end of the first footpath survey.  As anyone can see, it doesn't look much like a right of way but it exists on the map so has to be kept open.

Next day we did the other one, from High Lane to Low Garnshaw, this time as an enjoyable walk for my rickety legs said they'd done enough running.  Occasionally I listen to my body!
Dilapidated building, wall and stile
A bit tight, but accessible 
A muddy cripple 'ole for sheep
View across the Wharfe valley
Continuing, map in hand, along the invisible path
Roe Deer sculpture, a well in the field and we've almost reached the finish. At last, I know where I am.
I'd have run this very pleasant path before but, like many more people, I never knew it existed. Now that it's been surveyed the National Parks people will probably produce a descriptive leaflet to hand out, or sell, to prospective walkers.  I hope not.  
Some places should remain sacred.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Catch up.....

I should re-name this blog "The Occasional  Diary of an ex-runner.    I don't get out very much now, mainly because of failing eyesight, fear of falling and drooping energy levels.    Also because of deteriorating sight, it takes me ages to type, edit and correct what I have to say.  So not much blogging either.
St Michaels & All Angels, Hubberholme   (Click to enlarge)
Shortly after lockdown was eased we made the mistake of motoring to Hubberholme.  On a Sunday!   The world and his wife had turned out too so it was hard work driving along the narrow Dales roads.  We parked by the Norman Church, beloved of J.B.Priestley, and noted for Robert Thomson's trademark mouse carvings on the oak pews. 
 A cacophony of recently separated sheep and lambs  filled the air as we set off following the River Wharfe towards Yockenthwaite.     My wonderful partner, an avid botanist, was in search of a rare Butterfly Orchid that had been known to grow in the vicinity.  
Butterfly Orchid and betony
I'd got some distance ahead when I was shouted back.  From the air of excitement in her voice I suspected she'd found what she was looking for.  I was right.   Growing among the bedstraw, betony and rock roses was a perfect specimen.
I'd spotted a strange pillow of wild thyme I thought would be a wonderful place to rest my head while the botanist went in search of further specimens.  I declined, thinking it might be an ant-hill.   Besides, it was almost time to return and face the ever increasing number of cars and motor cycles on our way home through Buckden, Kettlewell and Conistone.
Some days later I did something that hadn't been possible for quite some time.  My podiatrist agreed to tackle my grossly overgrown toenails which. I said, might easily be used as crampons had I still been a snow and ice climber.  After a 15 minute soak she set about the onerous task using all her strength to cut through the thick growth that had accumulated over the last 6 months.  She did an excellent job.
I felt great afterwards and almost danced home.
Felling almost human again
Next day I tripped lightly down to a new barber's shop in the village, aptly called 'The Gent's Room' on account of it being the site of an old Gent's toilet!  Sticking my head round the door I enquired in true Yorkshire fashion
"How much is it for a pensioner?"
 "£5" was his curt reply.  
That'd do for me, especially as it appeared the most luxurious barber's shop I'd ever set foot inside.   He was an Asian fellow so we didn't have much conversation but he cut my hair exactly as I told him to.   He also cleaned out my hairy ears, trimmed  my eyebrows and sent me home smelling like a bunch of flowers.    The embarrassment I felt about his stated £5, and the time he spent tidying up my dishevelled head,  prompted  me to pay rather more!
I'd a visitor when I got home, a grey squirrel which regularly comes to the bird feeders and tries to steal the nuts.  Not very successfully but he's a tenacious little beggar.
If at first you don't suck seed, try, try again
I've also seen him, or her, paying attention to the Niger seed feeder which seems to empty rather quickly nowadays.  Surely, he's not sucking seeds through those tiny holes?