Zip Wiring in Bethesda, North Wales.

A couple of close associates decided at the New Year that their New Year Resolution for 2018 was “to do things that scare me” and so booked to go down the world’s longest zipwire based in Wales……..

So we spend the weekend in deepest Snowdonia to watch them throw themselves voluntary down a mountainside.

It look terrifying. Near the summit of the mountain in this picture above is a small building where you are launched and you whizz down the wires for over a mile.

We arrived early and looked in awe. They had two runs – a small run (you can see the wires for that one in the picture above) and if that doesn’t put you off, you are taken by truck to the main zipwire.

Here are some random people on the training run which looked quite sedate and despite my insistence of staying on terra firma, a brief thought passes through my brain – “that doesn’t look too bad, maybe I should of booked……….”

Some brilliant marketing guy obviously looked at this disused slate quarry and thought “Hey, let’s turn this into the worlds biggest zipwire and a huge tourist attraction” There were loads of people happily whizzing down. How do these people have such great ideas?

The water in the quarry was the most gorgeous coloured blue and the slate glittered in the sunshine. It was very beautiful despite it being an area of devastating industry. I bet it’s a different story when it’s lashing down with rain. I’ve spent time in atrocious Welsh weather and it’s not pretty, believe me.

I look at these people in awe and admire them. It does look great fun and amazing, but I am one of the world’s true wimps.

Some of the interesting facts about the zip wire. Not sure whether you should read this before you throw yourself off the edge of a mountain……….

Just about be launched……….

You put on a huge harness, and then you have to lay on the bench while they hook you up. Then the bench is lowered and you hang there, swinging gently. Safety is paramount, so you hang there for ages while final checks are made. Then 3,2,1 and you’re off whether you like it or not…….

A video of the run.

Coming into land.

We had to deal with two very bouncy, adrenaline fuelled humans who, if allowed to, would of gone again. I was starting to wish I had done it. It was a really great day out for everyone and a fantastic experience.

We drove back and stopped off at Swallow Falls below for something a little more sedate and calming. It was very beautiful in the sun.

Swallow Falls near Betws-y-coed, Wales. A pretty cascading waterfall off the main road. A small £1.50 entrance fee and a flight of steps lead to a viewing platform and further steps take you further upstream. A lovely little diversion for half an hour and it would be amazing in full flow after heavy rains.

Thoroughly recommend the zipwire if you’re mad enough to try and just to drive around this beautiful corner of North Wales is a bonus. Enjoy!

Jenny Brown’s Point, Silverdale

It was pouring with rain this morning. Stair rodding actually. Yesterday had been 20 degrees and wall to wall sunshine. In fact I was considering putting shorts on, it was that warm. Today it plummets 10 degrees, got a blanket of dull cloud limply hanging over us and I’m back in woolly jumpers, coat and wellies!

Despite the rain, The Dog and I headed west and by the time we reached Silverdale on the coast, it had stopped. Silverdale is between Hest Bank and Arnside and full of footpaths. There’s woodland and coastal paths to follow and it’s a case of follow your nose and see what you discover.

I parked up by Fleagarth Wood (isn’t that a great name?), in a little lay-by on the road and followed the path through a lovely woodland where suddenly you pop out onto this view. This is looking across down towards Hest Bank and Morecambe.

It opens up onto a flood plain which leads into Morecambe Bay. Here seaweed is snagged in fencing which is quite high up from the plain. It’s obviously been a very high tide………..

It’s riddled with muddy channels like this above and sheep graze on the grassland. This is part of the Lancashire Coastal Way.

We are coming up to the Bay here with the sands becoming more prevalent.

Trying to get a bit more arty with the photos. Actually remembered to bring the proper camera today!!!

This area is known as Jenny Brown’s Point. It is thought that a lady called Jenny Brown lived in the isolated cottage near to the chimney, back in the 18th century, but there’s little information to go on.

This building is a bit of a mystery. It could be a lime kiln, a type of beacon or the remnants of a copper smelting works. Believe it is Grade 2 listed and therefore protected. It stands alone on the edge at the end of Brown’s Point. Not a lot is known about this area, but there are volunteers delving into the history to find out more. Sadly this and the surrounding salt marshes are in danger of being eroded by the sea and there’s a desperate attempt to save this area.

These have been revealed recently due to the erosion of the area. There is a lot of old jetties and structures poking their way back after being buried for many years. There seems to be a lot of intervention by man here. Very interesting.

This looks like part of a pier or jetty that has collapsed years ago and slowly rotting in the sandy mud. Another example of man’s handprint.

Take care around this point.

This is apparently the remnants of an old sea wall, an ambitious project to reclaim Silverdale Sands from the sea, constructed in 1874. But it was abandoned after it became excessively expensive and ineffective. The sea kept pinching the sands back….

I like this photo – it’s A Path To Somewhere. Or maybe nowhere.

The Dog loves it here as she’s able to run with abandon. It’s very flat and she gallops across the gloop with ease. There’s me, sinking gently and having to pull each welly out with each step. Then she’s on the rocks, leaping effortlessly like a gazelle, while her mistress is wobbling, slipping, sliding, being very indecisive and threatening to fall over in a heap. She gives me such looks – “you useless bipedal creature”and I have to agree with her. Oh for 4 paw drive.

We head up from the beach and come across the National Trust land of Jack Scout. I can’t find out why it’s called Jack Scout.

The sun had been fighting with the cloud and kept making brief, weak appearances. This is one occasion – a quick photo before the clouds swallowed it again. The temperature suddenly shot up too.

The paths in Jack Scout can take you to the edge of the cliffs here. The Dog takes in the view of the Lake District and the Bay.

You have been warned! In the far distance is the Power Station at Heysham.

The lime kiln at Jack Scout. A shame about the fencing around it. Read the links below to find out more about lime kilns.

An information board next door giving more information about the Jack Scout limekiln. Needs a little TLC, but from the picture you can see what it looked like in its heyday.

We left the National Trust land and walked along the single track road that runs between Jenny Brown’s Point and Gibraltar Farm. Here we found the Wolf House Gallery and cafe for a welcome cuppa and a sausage sarnie. The Dog sits staring at me, looking neglected, pathetic and underfed. Finally I give in to the boring eyes and slip her a couple of bits of sausage. She looked very happy.

Suitably refresh, we retraced our steps the way we came.

I took these photos of these items which were in and around the Wolf House Gallery. I just love the chicken and the old milk urns sitting on a wall.

We walk back through the woods which are full of wild garlic, covering every inch of floor space. The smell is gorgeous, but they’re not quite ready to flower. Another couple of weeks and it will be a carpet of white flowers. This past week, the trees and bushes have finally woken up and their leaves are that bright verdant green which I absolutely love. It’s so fresh and new – spring is well under way!

This photo should of been at the beginning of the blog rather than the end. It’s where I’ve parked the car and the start of the walk for me and The Dog.

This is a lovely walk – a real mixture of woodland, flood plains, coastal and National Trust with the added incentive of a cafe at the half way point. Not too long, but make sure you wear sturdy shoes as some parts of the walk are a little tricky to negotiate. Enjoy.

River Wenning, Bentham

Just a short post today. The Dog and I found the footpath from Low Bentham and High Bentham that runs alongside the River Wenning. A beautiful stretch of waterway, with sheep and their lambs across the field and views across to Ingleborough.

It’s a really pretty river that gurgles across rocks and boulders, with some deep pools of water so The Dog can either have a paddle or swim after a stick. She thoroughly enjoyed herself for over an hour jumping into the water.

By the weir, we saw this chappie fishing for his tea. We thought he might fly off and he thought about it, as he bent down as if he was going to take off. But the lure of a fish supper saw him stay, so I got my photo. He stayed quite close by considering I was throwing a stick into the water and The Dog was barking impatiently at me to throw back it in almost immediately. He seemed to be quite successful as every time I looked at him, he was glugging a fish in his mouth.

I also cursed as I missed two fantastic photos. A railway line runs close to the footpath and I heard a train coming. Looking up, there was smoke, so I galloped up the riverbank to catch the sight of a beautiful dark green steam locomotive pulling a single carriage along the track. Fumbling for my phone camera, by the time I got it to camera mode, I had missed a golden opportunity.

Then half an hour later, there was a low rumble. Again I looked up and a huge military transport plane was banking and flying extremely low. I was fascinated as it lumbered across the sky. Then I realised I needed a photo of this. My fingers were hopelessly useless at stabbing at the correct buttons and all I got was it’s rear end on the horizon. As my family would say – fail.

Apparently the train and military aircraft are regular visitors to this area, so I will keep my eyes peeled and try and get a picture. Enjoy.

Soapbox Corner

This is one of my Room 101 subjects. Bad parking.

I went to park the car and found the parking area full. So I exited and did another circle. This is when I realised that some people cannot park their vehicles if their lives depended on it just because there are no white lines drawn for them.

There had been white lines painted on the ground, signifying a neat and spacious rectangle to leave your vehicle within while you perused the local shops, but over the years, the paint had parted company with the tarmac and now parking was a bit of a free for all. But it is despairing when someone who’s a little bit precious about their box of metal, parks about six foot or more from the car next door (though sometimes that’s a bonus – I have numerous dints from carelessly flung opened doors on my car’s bodywork). Then successive motorists follow suit so you end up with gaps that aren’t quite big enough to get your car in. So you end up cussing these inconsiderate parkers noting that if they all shifted up left, you could get another 10 cars in the car park. It’s just one of my bugbears in life. You just feel that you want to leave a large note on the windscreen, telling them how bad their parking is. (My trouble is, that I constantly fail to stock the car with a ream of A4 paper and numerous felt tip pens for such an event).

On the other hand, you then get the opposite parker, who parks so close that you need a flipping can opener to get into your own car……….

Roundhay Park, Leeds

The Dog needed a walk and the weather was foul. Overcast and rainy for most of the day so I bit the bullet and dragged her out.

We headed to Roundhay Park, one of the biggest municipal parks in Europe. The Dog watched me patiently as I donned wellies, hat, scarf, waterproof coat. She gives me a look of “hurry up you stupid human. I need my walk. Why do you need so much clothing?” I look back at her and sigh in agreement. Roll on springtime when the outdoor clothing gets stashed away though I feel the wellies need to be on standby.

We walked through woodland to let my squirrel obsessed dog to pointlessly run around and get pent up energy out of her system. I discovered a patch of hardy miniature daffodils and felt impelled to take a photo to brighten up my day. It was quite cold too. Spring is just around the corner, but reluctant to make a full blown appearance.

We followed the path, slipping and sliding through muddy paths. The beck below is in full flow, high from melt waters and today’s rain.

How do these trees cling onto such steep slopes and not slip down. It’s looks so precarious.

Just love this natural artwork. It looks like the tree has caught something in its spiny gnarled fingers and now devouring it. It’s so beautiful and what wonderful stories you could tell to scare children with!

Just love this – one of those pointless buildings that rich Victorians build, because they can. A castle folly overlooking Waterloo Lake at Roundhay. Waterloo Lake itself is a disused quarry and disguised by the owner at the time.

Walking through the woodland, on this dismal, wet, dank, dark morning, the bright vivid green of the moss on the dry stone wall caught my eye. A bit of colour in the brown landscape.

In many Leeds parks, you find relics from their industrial past or the former residences and outbuildings. This huge slab is most likely a stone gatepost, now lying forlornly on its side.

Oh for a beautiful sunny day for photography today, but hey, we’re stuck with it. It gives a spooky resonance to this photo of the fallen tree, lying half submerged in Waterloo Lake. Look closely and try and spot the vulture, I mean, the crow sitting on the end of the branch. Reminds me of the Jungle Book and the vultures shrugging their shoulders and saying to each other “what are we going to do now?”.

Just a selection of other photos I took throughout the park. Leeds City Council bought the estate in 1871 for the princely sum of £139,000 for the people of Leeds. It would never happen today.

One day, I will get to grips with the intricacies of my new blog and present it a lot better. Sorry!

The little absurdities of life…..

I kid you not…….

I believe this is one of our council workers in Breary Marsh, which is a small woodland. He has a leaf blower and he’s using it to blow leaves off the footpath in the middle of the wood. I could get it if it was late autumn and we were knee deep in leaves and they posed a “health and safety risk” (We like a bit of health and safety, us Brits) but it’s spring and I can categorically testify that there were no leaves (or one or two rogue ones at least) on the path. So why was he there………?

Answers on a postcard please.

Fewston Reservoir

Well, I’m back in Yorkshire (phew) after a few days in deepest Essex and glad to be back!

A couple of critics, namely my own family, have said they’re not sure of the walk information at the beginning of the blog, so I’m missing it out and waiting for the outcry!

Spring has decided to stay – these last couple of days have been warm and sunny. So wanting to stretch my legs after too many cuppas and too many hours on relative’s sofas, The Dog and I headed to Fewston Reservoir.

The gorse is out which is great to see!

It’s right next to Swinsty Reservoir that I walked around a few weeks back, with just a road atop of the dam splitting the two. I think it’s slightly longer and there’s too many places for The Dog to swim after sticks, so I lose track of time!

We came across the dry stone wall partially collapsed onto the path. Hopefully it will be repaired before any more damage is done. These walls can stand for centuries and without any cement to hold them together. Many years ago I had a go at building one (well, all two foot of it – it takes hours). Very interesting. Basically it’s an A shape, so thickest at the bottom and build up both sides and infill the gap with smaller stones. Then at the top, just cap it with stones. The structure is self supporting and it lets wind blow through the gaps, so it doesn’t get blown over! Just a brilliant design.

A bit of useful information! Shows you the route The Dog and I did today. We park in the Swinsty car park which is marked with a P in bottom right hand corner which serves both reservoirs. Toilets are available and the ice cream van was parked there today as well.

The Dog with stick in mouth running along the path. It’s very flat and accessible to everyone, though in parts there were some big puddles to negotiate. The Dog was in heaven as I was chucking said stick in the reservoir and she was happily swimming. By now it had got a little overcast, but still pleasant.

At the far end of the reservoir where you turn around and make the journey back, on the other side, is this little church poking its nose up over the hill. It’s St Andrews at Blubberhouses (isn’t that just a great name for a village?). Really pretty and can be seen from the busy A59 Harrogate to Skipton Road.

Saw these trees and the trunk and bark were of a lovely brown and greens that really caught my eye. But the photo was a real disappointment and despite fiddling with the colour (sorry been photoshopping) I just can’t replicate what I saw.

This is a nice gentle walk of about 2 hours though I do dilly dally, play with The Dog and get distracted with all sorts, so don’t go by me. But about 2/2.5 hours should do it. Take a picnic as there are a few places to stop and eat and take in the view. Enjoy!