Saturday, July 24, 2010

Two Walks In Oxfordshire

We have travelled back down to Oxfordshire for a few days & yesterday & today have been out walking with Karen's parents. Yesterdays walk started in Thrupp which is just outside Kidlington, it is a walk we have done before along the canal which after about an hour is rewarded with a pub lunch. To start with we walk across a couple of fields to reach the canal at Shipton-On-Cherwell. Here the Oxford Canal is to our left & the River Cherwell is just beyond the trees to our right. When the Cherwell floods this path is impassable. The river & canal are joined on the last section, this is where they first meet (the river is to the left & the canal goes off to the right).. Looking down the canal We reach the hamlet of Gibraltar & more importantly the pub: The Rock of Gibraltar
It is lovely & sunny & the dogs seek shade under the picnic bench
Walking back a virgin train races above on one of the bridges
Today we headed to Iffley & the River Thames (or Isis as it is called in Oxford), we have previously walked upstream from here into the centre of Oxford, but today we walked in the opposite direction.
We go under the bypass & there is some artistic graffiti under the bridge
This railway bridge carries only freight trains heading the short distance across the city to the BMW plant near Unipart to collect new vehicles.
After some narrow paths the area opens up into an area with cattle grazing in the distance
The Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel a 4* hotel set in a great location. They have this ex University Boat House permanently moored outside now.
A weir from the river feeds this pool covered in water lilies
Todays lunch spot The Kings Arms in Sandford
It got busier & busier with people arriving on foot, by car or by boat. When we left there was a 1hour wait for food.
These geese seem to have taken over the bottom of this garden
We are on the Thames Path which is 184miles long stretching from near Cirencester in the Cotswolds to the City of London.
Part of it around Oxford is a sustrans route; National Route 5 which runs from Reading to Holyhead. Like at home they have made a real effort with some of the ironwork here.
We are back at Iffley lock which dates back to 1632
Two lovely walks & two exhausted dogs now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NNAS Silver Navigation Training

On Wednesday Karen was attending her training for the NNAS (National Navigation Awards Scheme) Silver level. The course was being held on the fells around Watendlath which is approx 4 miles south of Keswick down a very narrow country road.
We had so much rain on Tuesday afternoon / evening on top of the torrents in the days before that Karen thought the course may be cancelled & as she left home in the rain on Wednesday morning wondered just how wet they were going to get.
As this was navigation training there are only a few pictures as Karen was supposed to be concentrating on the course.
After a start in the rain it soon cleared up, looking down on Dock Tarn with Honister Slate mine in the distance.
A Hercules came into the valley below us & then climbed slowly up & around us.
Derwent Water with Bassenthwaite Lake in the distance. Considering our proximity to Keswick its amazing how few people explore these fells
This our lunch spot with Skiddaw in the distance
How, & the sheepfold we had navigated to
Blea Tarn & Coldbarrow Fell
We navigate to the path back into Watendlath in the bright sunshine
There were three of us on the course plus the instructor
Despite the becks bursting around us with the volume of rain it is apparent that the central lakes have for once had less rain than us. This is Raise Gill that feeds Watendlath Beck in the valley.
We were very lucky with the weather & Karen now has about 5 weeks to practice before her assessment at the end of August. Finally we caught this rainbow at home on Tuesday night
It in fact was a double one with a faint one to the right

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Footpath & Bridge Surveys in Waberthwaite

Today was forecast to be dry so we headed to Waberthwaite to complete some more footpath surveys & to do the 3 bridge surveys we have in the parish. Lots of surface water here, Black Combe in the distance These are not frequently walked paths Rather overgrown in places, Andy trying to find the stile This was the second bridge we had to survey & the grandest one yet
Back to our usual bridges
These young cows were rather interested in us
Then a track through a forest
To the hamlet of Row, which still has an old style telephone box
And a very old stone road bridge
Wild raspberries - delicious
Looking towards Wasdale, cloud on the tops, but it had stayed dry for us

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Weekend With Julie & Paul

On Thursday Julie & Paul travelled up to spend a few days with us. It was Pauls first trip to the Lake District & Julie hadn't been up since we got married. Having talked about the drought on previous posts we are far from that now with over a week of pretty wet days & nights. We had planned to go to Cock Rock on Saturday, but with them not doing day tickets this year decided we would have two walking days instead. On Friday we travelled over to Ennerdale Water for a walk (or wade) around the lake. Loads of water coming off Ben Gill. Paul, Julie & Andy on Anglers Crag And the descent
I am sure they didn't believe us that a couple of weeks ago this path would have been completely dry
Every beck was in spate & interesting to cross
We hadn't heard the winds the previous night but apparently they got very high around 4am & as a result two trees were down on the road to Bleach Green & this large branch had come down too.
Looking up you can see where it came from
We decide to extend the walk to Moss Dub but when we went to cross Woundell Beck it was flooding over the bridge & not knowing if the levels were still rising we decided not to risk it.
It was lapping at the sides on Irish Bridge too
The Liza is flowing very fast
We take a short detour to look at the waterfalls on Smithy Beck
Then back down through the trees to the forest track
Another flooded section of path to contend with
And this tree down across the path
Throwing stones for the dogs
Plenty of water coming over the weir
Yesterday it rained in the morning but seemed to be clearing up at lunchtime so we headed over to Dent.
It is a few months since we have walked this & they have cleared all the trees on one side of the track opening the views right up.
Paul & Julie on top of Dent
We then retrace our steps before turning to go down into Nannycatch
The higher summits are in mist, but not too bad views
Then through the valley
Raven Crag
They have laid a new path here too & dug the beck out to stop it flooding the area
Looking back up the valley with Lank Rigg in the distance
And looking across at the log stacks & the path we walked up on
We had a brilliant time with them & hope to see them back up here again soon