Early on a Thursday morning I met with another photographer friend near Stroud for an early morning sunrise shoot on Crawley Hill. This is his neck of the woods so he chose the locations and led me round the places to see. I think it was a success, but that’s down to you the viewers really to decide, let me know what you think.
The hill itself is an old hill fort, and walking around the summit you can see why it was chosen, with great views all around, I can imagine in its day, with the trees cleared and possibly a wooden palisade surrounding it, it would be very imposing.
From the high view here we dropped down to the canalside, the quintessential English view as we strolled along after breakfast, thanks Keith :-). That’s where we’ll go next on our trip, so keep watching. And remember to enjoy the sights as the season turns to Autumn and the days shorten towards winter, my favourite time of year.
Happy New Year everyone. That time when we make promises to ourselves, get ready for the new and drop off the ragged overcoat of the old year. I stood in the back garden as usual this year to welcome in 2016, to pause for thought on what has come and gone in 2015, and salute the stars who, as usual where ignoring everything below. It was clear, cold and quiet, the fireworks had finished and people had gone back to doing what they had been doing for the hours leading up to midnight. What will the New Year hold, good or bad? We can only wait now and see how it all turns out. With that in mind, I hope it is a good one for all of you. That your dreams are made reality by your work and commitment and that fate touches you gently.
For our first outing this year our merry troupe hit the Mendips, starting from Kings Wood, along Wavering Down to Crook Peak. Dropping into the valley for the return before climbing through the woods to the trig point and a little zig-zag back to the car. The weather was good and windy, not too many people about, and reasonable views. A short trip and easy return for lunch at home with family dropping in to say hello. Very nice start to 2016 for me.
There is always time for a coffee.
Mike, waiting for directions.
I’ve been working on my own Lyrical Ballad this month, it’s not going well. I think I need to burn the book this is in and try something different.
Fragments – Rainfall
Hard farm life is lost in the scale
that gives us beauty from the land below.
We know the toil is there, we pass it more often
than we admit, and looking away see the sublime
in the rain…
Enjoy the year, embrace the change, live every moment.
Last year I was asked to take part in a Tough Mudder event. And in a moment of weakness I agreed. There followed a period of training, running and the like, life happens. A body not used to moving faster than a brisk walk dragged to a moderate shamble, pull-ups elude me even now after an injury, but I got some work in. Then travel and building and selling a house and family and a calf injury slowed everything down. Strange how quickly a date comes round when you ignore it.
Our team of nine became five during the preceding months, but the day and the start time arrived with clear skies and healthy fear. We all did it, helping each other, and others. It was as advertised good fun, and no-one minds if you walk, shamble run or crawl around the course.
There are twenty-three obstacles, over the eleven mile course and we made it in just over four hours. A fun way to spend a Saturday, maybe next year I can be better prepared. What? Again? Do you know some people do multiple circuits on the same day, astounding. Hats off to them, not something I fancy.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with one last picture, just for the fun of it.
Remembering how it is, when you visit friends or they visit us. Sitting out in the garden on a summer evening, and there is just some moments that stay forever. This is for all the good times shared with all of you. I’m catching up on some notes, but have finished my notebook on this trip so I need to find another. Just a small Moleskine to use for now.
An Easy Time Evening.
when the sun has gone but the warmth remains,
when the coffee comes and the stars turn,
and silence and words tell the same story.
The night-time animals take over
the wildlife noises, and the moon hints
at being around for a while,
clear sky lifts the spirits and we all
look up and away from real life
to dwell somewhere in our thoughts.
The words come, and we break away
back to our world, smiling and laughing
quietly as we climb into cars,
waving away the evening
the silence of the sky and the stars,
the moon and the moment.
It’s very hot here at the moment, so I’ve been out early to clear some land. Now we are hiding from the oven like heat and drinking iced water to help cope. Still travelling but having fun, although we head back soon to the real world.
Blencathra, Saddleback, whichever name you choose it is one great mountain, and the fact that Sharp Edge is one way up adds to its pull. It is a lump of a hill, sitting next to Skiddaw and there are many delicious ways to explore the ridges valleys and tops that make up the massif. For me, Sharp Edge has been calling for a while, it was a target for the week, and it produced a great climb, walk and with the weather sitting pretty we had great views Southwards over the entire Lake District, North to Scotland and over the lumps and bumps of Skiddaw.
We were heading over Bannerdale, to slide quietly alongside Foule Crag, to the base Sharp Edge and climb this challenging narrow ridge. a short scramble that leads to Atkinson Pike and then to Hallsfell Top, the summit of Blencathra.
To save losing to much height we skirted under Foule Crag and came up over Brunt Knott, Scales Tarn below and the Edge above, time to strap everything down and get on up. It’s a great climb, I thoroughly enjoyed clambering along, leading the way for our small group. Seeing the world drop away around you as you get higher up the ridge. Until the last section, which is a clamber up a gully to the final path to Atkinson Pike and then on towards Blencathra itself. Fantastic views, Scales Tarn below, the mountain, the people and the weather. One of the best days for me I think. I love these short, sharp (sorry) little climbs, standing on an edge and the fall of the mountain all around, sliding down to the tarn on one side and crags on the other.
Pete, Kath and Mike, were trusting me to find a good line, so we stayed as close to the top of the ridge as I could get, well done to them for following and trusting to it. It would have been too easy though guys to take a lower line, I know you agree with me. 🙂 Everyone was happy to have completed the climb and to come out at the top as the paths level and join the other slightly more level ways to Hallsfell Top.
These climbs are some of the best in the UK, no ropes needed, just a head for heights and a bit of enthusiasm. The scenery is second to none, Wainwright stayed here most of his life, with good reason, there is so much here, for all levels, from novice to mountaineer.
To be out on this kind of day is such luxury, taking in the scenery, the nod of hello to passing strangers on the hill. The week was a mix of weather and friends, regrouping in the evenings to catch up on a day of walking or visiting. Life going slow and savouring all the little bits, so good to be part of it.
Pete, contemplating life and the boiling of water for coffee, always a good idea.
After lunch, we headed into the valleys and a parting of the ways, I fancied a stroll along the river and the others chose to head up for a look out from Souther Fell before we met up again at the pub for a post walk drink.
Cold and fresh and lovely on the feet, I love to have a little dip if the chance comes up. I think I got the best of the deal with the others staying high and in the heat of the afternoon, a great finish to the day.
And of course, since we had climbed Sharp Edge, I was entitled to a pint of Sharp Edge Bitter in the pub before we headed away.
We had a drink at the Mill Inn, Mungrisdale. Very nice, definitely would recommend it. Another great day on the Fells of the Lake District, Sharp Edge was great fun, and as always it is made better by the company.
I’m still catching up on all these posts so stay with me, there’s more to come. In the mean time, enjoy the summer, and enjoy the journey, you spend more time getting there than being there.