28 July 2015

Allcock Tarn and Nab Scar - a Lake District National Park guided walk - 3 July 2015

Hi there dear blog reader.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog - It's been a while since I put pen to paper, metaphorically speaking, but I'm raring to go again.  

The reason for the absence is due to losing my camera while on a walk the day after this one but as you can probably guess, the camera has turned up. This is great because it means I now have the photographs I'd taken and can get on and show you them.  It's not so great because I'd already splashed out on a new camera which couldn't be returned as I'd used it, but hey ho, you can never have too many cameras and it means the Hubster can take one with him when he's at work in Suriname and hopefully be a guest poster on here sometime.  

Notice the jaunty angle of my hat! 

This was a guided walk led by voluntary Lake District National Park rangers and I'd highly recommend them as the leaders generally have a good knowledge of the local history and are very informative. They're ideal for lone walkers, visitors to the area or if you're not an accomplished map reader.  Some walks are free and some you have to pay £5. The only problem, in my opinion, is that sometimes there can be a lot of people on the walks and if you're like me and don't like walking in big groups then they might not be for you.  This walk had around 15 people on it so wasn't too bad but I have heard of walks with over 30 people attending.

11 July 2015

Howtown to Glenridding - another nice low level walk, or was it??? - 12 June 2015

Back over in Cumbria for the weekend again, we decided to walk along the Ullswater lakeside path from Howtown to Glenridding, the opposite direction from our last lakeside walk here (Howtown to Pooley Bridge).

We were originally going to park in Glenridding but the parking costs are higher there than in Patterdale so we drove there and parked opposite the Patterdale Hotel where it was only £4.50 for the day - if we'd got there a bit earlier there is a small area of free parking in front of a little hall but as usual we were no early birds so didn't catch the worm!  

This section of the path is quite different to the walk towards Pooley Bridge - it's much rockier and although not steep, is quite undulating and uneven and at times it was a bit hard on the old knees! 

Just off the ferry and starting our bimble along the lakeside

19 June 2015

A different approach to Nethermost Pike and Dollywagon Pike - 7 June 2015

The Motley Crew - L to R Dave, Barbara, One Girl, The Hubster, Lisa, Graham
Doggy Crew - L to R One Girl's Dog (Heidi), Alfie and Izzy

Our caravan neighbours, Lisa and Graham, are very keen and experienced walkers and have already done all the "Wainwrights".  They have decided that they want to do a lot of them again but approaching them by a different route than is usually taken so when they asked us if we wanted to join them on a walk that Sunday up Nethermost Pike - 891 m (2920 ft) and Dollywagon Pike - 858 m (2810 ft)  we naturally said yes.  

8 June 2015

Howtown to Pooley Bridge - a nice low level walk - 5 June 2015

As the Hubster had only been home a week and hadn't done any kind of exercise in the last 9 weeks (due to working on a very small boat with no exercise faciltiies), we decided our first walk should be a short, easy one to ease him back into walking gently, so we chose a walk from Howtown to Pooley Bridge which I had done previously with my friend Carol.

31 May 2015

Rannerdale Knotts and a million Bluebells - Sunday 24 May 2015

This late May bank holiday weekend was a particularly good one for me walking wise.  On the Saturday I'd taken part in a guided walk up Ullock Pike which was lead by voluntary Lake District National Park rangers.  It was the most fantastic ridge walk but quite strenuous and to say I was stiff when I woke up on the Sunday was an understatement, but I'd already arranged to meet friends Caroline and Susan with their wonderful trailhounds, Zach and Pandy, to go on a nice, easy walk at Buttermere so I had no excuse to sit around and feel sorry for myself.  

24 May 2015

A Fantastic Ridge Walk - Ullock Pike, Long Side, Carl Side and Dodd

View from Dodd towards Derwentwater - spectacular! 

Another bank holiday had arrived and I was meant to be coming over to our lovely holiday home at Whitegate Caravan Park, with my sister Pat, but due to a flare up with a back problem she was unable to come (plus she nearly sliced her thumb end off with a new vegetable slicing contraption on Thursday night!!!).  So, i decided to check out the Lake District National Park events calendar to see if anything was going on as I knew they had a great programme of events scheduled.  There were two things listed for the Saturday and the walk that took my fancy was up Ullock Pike and was in an area that I have never walked before so thought it sounded like a good one to go on. It turned out to be a fantastic ridge walk with the most spectacular views. 

13 May 2015

The Coledale Horseshoe - well, a variation on a theme! - 9 May 2015

I'd hummed and hahhed about whether I was fit enough to do a walk of this magnitude and when I got up on the Saturday morning and checked out the weather forecast decided I wasn't going to do it!  

My BFF (Brenda) and her family were staying in Mountain Cottage in Stair in the Newlands Valley so I would be driving there from our lovely static caravan at Whitegate Caravan Park near Appleby to walk the Coledlale Horseshoe with them starting at the cottage. I texted Brenda to say I wouldn't be doing it because I thought a) the weather would be too bad and 2) I wasn't fit enough to do 9 miles up these big mountains.  So, miserably I sat and had my breakfast and after feeling sorry for myself, gave myself a good talking to and told myself not to be such a defeatist and text her back to say I'd changed my mind but would we be able to cut it a little but shorter to say 7 ish miles and she replied saying yes as there were plenty of "escape routes" along the way. So, without further ado I packed my rucky, loaded  the Heidster in the car and off we jolly well went.  

We started the walk from Mountain Cottage and picked up the right path easily and from then on it was up, up, up and up!  The first summit we would reach would be Causey Pike 637 m (2090 ft).  As we started off it was very cloudy and a bit drizzly so we put waterproofs on because, according to the BBC weather app, it was going to be light rain most of the morning with heavy rain at 12 o'clock.  I'm happy to report that the BBC got it wrong and the early light drizzle stopped almost straight away and the clouds parted and the sun started to shine, making it a very very nice day to walk.

Short bimble along the road from Stair to the start of the walk

The path up was easily distinguishable and as you can imagine, the higher we went the better the views became.  We ascended steadily across the northern slopes of Rowling End reaching the rocky summit of Causey Pike

5 May 2015

Gear Review - Craghopper Kiwi Pro Stretch Walking Trousers and Craghopper Fleecy Lined Winter Trousers

Over the years I have bought and worn many different makes and models of walking trousers but in later years, due to my increasing size and other age related things, I began to find that wearing trousers with no stretch in them often made for an uncomfortable walk, especially if there was a lot of leg lifting going on either up or downhill!  

Because of this I decided to buy and wear trousers with some stretch (Elastine) in the fabric so it was just a matter of finding a pair which fit my shape, including my "thunder thighs" which is actually not as easy as some people might think.  I am envious of anyone who can just pick up a pair of trousers or other kit (boots for instance) and wear them and be spoiled for choice because every pair fits well. 

A friend of mine had been wearing Craghopper trousers for a number of years and always spoke highly of their comfort so I thought I'd give them a go and I'm really glad I did.  

The Kiwi Pro Stretch come in a number of different styles and colours including zip-offs, shorts, crops and just plain old ordinary trousers and obviously price depends on where you shop.  

They have all sizes from size 8 to size 20 and the full length ones are available in three lengths - Short (28 inch), Regular (31 inch) and Long (33 inch).  

A lot of the outdoors shops (for example Cotswolds Outdoors, The Great Outdoors and Go Outdoors) do a price match if you can get it cheaper online which is a great thing because there can be a difference of up to £10 between online and shop prices, which could get you a new pair of walking socks, and if you can get it cheaper online some of them will also beat that price by an extra 10%!  

Spoiled for choice for size and colour

From the spring time to autumn I wear the above style and have them in two colours and I really feel comfortable in them.  They are hard wearing and last quite a long time - I wear mine almost every day for walking so they get worn and washed very regularly.  I have only recently thrown away a pair that I have had for three years. 

30 April 2015

Annapurna Panorama Trek - Part 2, 1 - 17 December 2013 - The hard bit!

As we booked our holiday to Nepal through K E Adventure Ltd I have decided to support the charity that they are involved with which is  The Juniper Trust.  If you feel you would like to support this charity by donating some money to help with the rescue and support of the Nepalese people, please click on the link above to find out more about the fantastic work they carry out.  Their fundraising page is https://www.justgiving.com/JuniperTrust-Nepal-Earthquake-Fund/.  Please give generously.  

Onwards and Upwards!

Hopefully you've had the chance to read the first part (the sightseeing bit) of my account of our holiday in Nepal which I posted here a couple of weeks ago.  I always intended to write this second part this week but deliberated about it due to the terrible tragedy of what has happened in Nepal this week.  

I've decided to go ahead with it and let you share in the fantastic journey we had which was in the most part due to the brilliant local trek and tour guides that looked after us.  Nothing was ever too much trouble for them and the attention they gave us was always gratefully received.  

Tshiring Sherpa - Agency Representative
Kami Lakpa Sherpa - Trek Guide
Hridaya Shrestha - Tour Guide
Narayan Shrestha - Porter
Hari KC - Porter

We are thinking of you all and hope you and your families are all well.

 L to R - Gavin, Me, Mary, Kami and Hridaya

22 April 2015

College Valley, Northumberland - a trip up to the Schil - 20 April 2015

For quite some time now it's been on the cards that my friend Carol would take me for a walk in the College Valley, a place in Northumberland that is stunning and heart-lifting, and that day was Monday 20 April. Please click on the link above to find out more about the fascinating history of the area - it's amazing!  

With boots and rucksack packed in the car, Carol and I set off with our trusty hounds - Heidi and Phoebe. The journey from home to the College Valley is quite a long one and should have taken about 1½ hours but unfortunately on the way, while I was driving, I started to have a migraine! Not good!! We pulled over at the Catspaw picnic area and I sat with my head in my hands trying to will the "flashy lights" away and after about 20 minutes they subsided but as usually happens after I get a migraine, I was ravenous. Fortunately for me there was a burger van in the picnic area so I bought a bacon buttie which really did hit the spot. We set off again and I was quite mesmerised at the views as we travelled along the track in the valley past North Blackhaggs to the parking place at Mounthooley Youth Hostel which was as far as it was possible to drive a car.

Border Ridge, here we come
Anyone wanting to walk here has to buy a permit from the Smith's Gore office in Wooler before arriving in the valley as they limit the number of cars allowed in the valley to protect the environment which can't be a bad thing.  

14 April 2015

Annapurna Panorama Trek 1 - 17 December 2013 - The Sightseeing bit

As we would be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary on 9 July 2013, the Hubster and I decided that we would like to have a special holiday somewhere we would never normally go to.  Our friend Carol and her husband Ian had been on a holiday using a company called KE Adventure based in Keswick and rated them very highly, so I loaded up their website for a look-see.  We had often said we would like to go to the Himalayas so I started looking at what they had to offer in Nepal.  

As I've no doubt already mentioned I hate camping so our choice would have to be somewhere that we could at least have a basic bed and as far as possible our own shower and toilet, and the one that fitted our requirements was the Annapurna Panorama Trek.  

Our journey took us from Newcastle - Heathrow - Istanbul - Kathmandu.  It was a long journey but was worth it just to see the mountains coming into view on approach to Kathmandu.

The Annapurna Range

We were met at the airport by our guide, Kami Sherpa, who would be with us for our whole stay. After we dropped our baggage off at the hotel we decided to go have a look around Kathmandu and boy what an eye opener!  To say the place was chaotic is an understatement - I've never been anywhere like it.  The place was dusty, dirty, busy, noisy - almost EVERYONE just had to honk their horn and they drove like lunatics!!! but was a fascinating place to experience.

5 April 2015

Rough Crag, Haweswater - 17 March 2015

Having done a walk in this area a few years ago with our friends Janet and Ian, we thought it would be nice to come back to do another as it is a beautiful and serene place to walk. 

We chose a route from one of our walking books - Pathfinder Guide to Eastern Lakeland and find their routes and maps fairly easy to follow. Having said that I sometimes wonder where they get their distances from because we always seem to walk further - or does it only feel like that haha.  The title of the walk was actually "Rough Crag and High Street" we didn't quite make it to High Street.

We parked at the small car park at Mardale Head and set off in high spirits - who wouldn't?  It was a gorgeous, sunny, but cold day.  

Wow, we might see an eagle if we're lucky

The route was clear to follow and we worried that we might struggle as it was quite a steep incline up to a wonderful ridge walk that would  take us over Swine, Heron and Eagle Crag, leading us across Rough Crag on to Riggindale Crag.  The latter was where it was said we might see the eagles but unfortunately they must have been having a lazy day and stayed in their eyrie, out of sight. 

31 March 2015

Gear Review - The first of many I hope

These boots were made for walking ...........

Just back from our local Great Outdoors and Go Outdoors as I've been planning on getting a new pair of boots for a while now. 

My current pair are Berghaus Explorer Ridges and are really comfortable and lightweight but they have never been waterproof - I returned them to Berghaus after only 6 months because my feet got a soaking on a walk up the Old Man of Coniston and was told they could find nothing wrong with them at all but in the three years I've owned them they've NEVER kept my feet dry. My question was should I try another pair of Berghaus just in case I've been really unlucky, or should I go for something different. 

Well worn and well looked after Berghaus Explorer Ridge boots

Unfortunately Great Outdoors only had two pairs in my size (I take a 6 in a normal shoe but an 8 or 8½ in a mens walking boot (women's are always too narrow for my feet) - go figure!!!) and neither of them were Berghaus, so off to Go Outdoors I went.   

28 March 2015

Northumberland's finest - Castles and Coast

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle - 27 March 2015

If you've been watching Tales from Northumberland featuring Robson Green you might have seen him clambering down a rock face at Cullernose Point near Craster.  This is part of one of my favourite places to walk and that's where we chose to go as it was a gloriously sunny day. 

Cullernose Point

Its a great walk for anyone who doesn't want to do anything too strenuous as it is a relaxing, mood lifting place in general, and you can't help but feel in higher spirits on the return part of the walk.  

24 March 2015

Escambray Mountains - Cuba 23 February - 3 March 2008

Having had the most brilliant time during our Breast Cancer Care charity trek in China in April 2007 we decided to carry on raising money for this fantastic charity and take part in another overseas challenge in Cuba.  Raising money for charity is often difficult but most of the time we had such fun doing it.  Over the years (spanning from 2006 to 2012) we raised around £43,000, in a number of ways such as fancy dress discos, a "Full Length and Fabulous" ball, organising our own charity walks in the Coquet Valley and along the fabulous Northumberland coast as well has having a stall at a local town fayre.   

Halloween Fancy Dress Disco

16 March 2015

Dufton to High Cup Nick 14 March 2014 - the continuing story .......

I hope you've had time to read my previous post about the recce we did at Dufton in preparation for our walk this weekend to High Cup Nick - this is an account of the whole walk and boy what a walk! We chose a route from the internet which was supposed to be around 8.5 miles but because of my achilles tendon injury the recce we did the previously was to find a place to start the walk a bit further along the route in order to shorten it by a few miles.  

The start of our walk

The weather forecast was good for the day with light winds but it was very cold and icy and we could see snow on higher ground so we wrapped up well and made sure we all had a flask of something hot to drink for lunch later. We arrived at our parking place around 10 am and set off in high spirits.  

9 March 2015

Dufton - A nice 3 mile bimble - 8 March 2015

The 1st of March was the opening date of Whitegate Caravan Park where we own a lovely caravan holiday home so at the first opportunity we winged it down the A1 and over the A66 for a weekend in paradise. We just love this place, and it's our second home but we're still not too familiar with the area and still finding our way around. The walking around here is just brilliant and relatively people free which is just fine by us.  

We're expecting visitors here next weekend and are walking from Dufton to High Cup Nick so today we decided to go check out where we were going to start the walk from and have a nice, short bimble just to stretch the legs.  Plus, Heidi hasn't been too well this last week so although she looks like she has loads of energy we didn't want to overdo it so thought a nice 3 mileish walk would be just perfect.

Signposts everywhere making the route to High Cup Nick easy to find

The weather was great only raining once for about 5 minutes and we had perfect views showing us exactly what the walking is like around this area.

3 March 2015

Newlands Horseshoe - 16 August 2010

My BFF, Brenda, and her partner Paul meet up every year for a week's walking with old school friends of Paul.  In August 2010 they were meeting in and around Keswick and we got an invite too which we accepted although we could only stay a few days.  This was before the days of having Heidi so you'll notice no dogs on the photos.

We had never met any of the group before and on the Saturday we all met in a pub in Keswick to plan the following week's walks and they soon made me and the Hubster feel very welcome, as if we'd known them for years. 

The first walk we did on the Sunday was a nice short one up Latrigg, just to get the limbs moving a bit and on the Monday we were to meet at small parking area near a bridge just past Little Town to do the Newlands Horseshoe.  Brenda found the walk in one of our walking books and apart from missing out one Wainright (Hindscarth) we followed the instructions and had the most fantastic walk we'd ever been on. 

Our first "stop to look at the view" break haha

27 February 2015

I WILL walk 1000 miles this year!

I decided in January that I was going to get off my fat, lazy posterior and do more walking as I'd read a post on the Country Walking facebook page about taking a challenge this year and their suggestion was to walk 1000 miles between 1 January and 31 December 2015.  With that in mind I set up my own "Walk 1000 miles in 2015" facebook page and invited all my facebook friends to join me.

As we all know not everyone likes walking but a number of my friends decided to join me in this challenge and others that don't walk are supporting us by following our posts on the page. There are people in our group from all over the country - Leeds and London are two examples, and we're all cracking on and building up our totals.

22 February 2015

South Africa - 5 November 2010

We flew to Cape Town on 5 November 2010 and after a evening 12 hour flight, landed tired but very excited knowing that if our previous treks were anything to go by, we were about to embark on another fantastic adventure and how right we were!

After meeting our trek and tour guides, we were bussed to Walkers Bay in Hermanus to stay overnight before heading off the next day to start our trek.  On the way to Hermanus we stopped in a beautiful parking area/view point for a lunch and then on to visit an African Penguin colony which was a very pleasant introduction to South Africa. 

Yes, I've got pink hair!!! well you just have to, don't you? 

18 February 2015

Ingram Valley - Sunday 15 February 2015

We planned a walk for this Sunday, regardless of the weather and at a first glance, it was dull and miserable although not raining, snowing nor windy and it turned out to be quite nice in the end.

We decided we wanted to go along Ingram Valley to Linhope Spout as we knew the spout would be in full flow with all the rain and melting snow draining into it so we drove as far into the valley as possible and parked right at the end beside Hartside Farm to begin our walk.  

11 February 2015

Ben Nevis - October 2008

On our return from our trek in Cuba (blog to follow at a later date)  we decided that we would continue to raise money for Breast Cancer Care and registered for a "local" walk (Ben Nevis) taking place on Sunday 26 October 2008.

Pat, Claire, Claire and myself (Brenda taking the photo)

Myself, my sister Pat, best friend Brenda and two niece-in-laws (the Claires) all set off from Newcastle railway station heading to Glasgow where we were picked up by the walk organisers and transported by bus to our hotel in Fort William where we would meet our fellow walkers and be told of the plan for the next day when we would be walking.  

6 February 2015

Weekend at Hawkshead with a quick trip up Helvellyn

Over the last 8 years we made regular journeys to the Lake District with our touring caravan and often arranged to meet up with friends and family to go walking together, which in May 2012, the weekend of the Queen’s Gold Jubilee, is exactly what we did.  We pitched our caravan on a small farm site just outside of Hawkshead and were lucky to have really warm, sunny, weather for most of the weekend. 

Gavin and I were there all week and visited Hawkshead  and Coniston and also did a couple of walks in the local area but at the weekend we were joined by our friends Brenda and Paul and my nephew Ian and his lovely wife Claire. 

3 February 2015

China - April 2007

We (myself, my sister Pat and two neice-in-laws, affectionately know as "The Claires" ) had been fund raising for Breast Cancer Care (BCC) since July 2006 and by April 2007 the time had come for us to depart on our adventure of a lifetime, and head for Beijing, China.  

Apart from the usual holiday travel to places in europe, China was the furthest place from home we'd ever been and due to the reason for going there, we were all filled with great excitement but also a little bit of fear.  What had we let ourselves in for?  Apart from speaking to someone who had done this trek before who told us it was the best experience she had ever had in her life, we really had no idea what to expect.  

After travelling to Heathrow Airport we were met by our BCC tour reps who sorted all out tickets/seating arrangements for the flight so after a 10 hour flight we finally landed at Beijing and were transported to our first overnight stay in a lodge near THE wall.  

To sum it up, we had the most fantastic but exhausting time.  Our first day started by climbing very steeply uphill, passing watchtower after watchtower along a very rough and stony path with uneven steps until gradually, it leveled off and began to descend again. In contrast to the renovated section nearby, this un-renovated part of the Wall is little visited.  The terrain on this day was quite tough due to parts of the Wall being worn down over the centuries but our efforts were rewarded with stunning views. 

31 January 2015

How it all started

My love of walking really began in 2006 when I decided to raise money for the charity Breast Cancer Care and registered to do an overseas trek in China in April 2007.  I did plan on doing this on my own but after talking to my family my sister Pat and two niece-in-laws Claire Campbell and Claire Miles, decided to join me. 

As none of us had ever done any strenuous walking before we made a conscious effort to start training by walking locally and in the beautiful hills of Northumberland, as often as possible but once we got to China realised that we had not done nearly enough! 

Over the next the next few weeks I will tell you about some of the treks I have been on over the years such as The Great Wall of China, the Escambray Mountains in Cuba and South Aftica then will tell you about some of my not so exotic walks locally and in Europe, so please keep an eye on me. 

Toodles – Paula J


I’ve been planning on writing a blog of walks I’ve done for quite some time but for one reason or another have never managed to get started until now.  So, for this introduction I’ll try to keep it brief and over the next few weeks will give accounts of some of the walks I’ve done over the years.
From the title of this blog you will guess that I walk with my beautiful Trailhound, Heidi who I have had for since 3 March 2013 and was born on 11 February 2011

I’m not a lone walker so most of the time Heidi and I walk with either my husband, Gavin, my bezzie Brenda (and her partner Paul), or other friends and members of my family.