Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Album , Gig , Theatre

Northern Flyway

We came across Northern Flyway by chance in January. With a gap in our schedule for the weekend we were at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, we picked the show from the programme that sounded most interesting (and besides, Sarah Hayes was playing in it; we'd seen her with Admiral Fallow).

Taking our seats in the Tron Theatre back then, we didn't know what to expect. Tonight was different: we'd seen the show and knew the music so had to return to for the London date of the tour.

northern-flyway.jpg

Just about every way of classifying Northern Flyway won't do it justice. Is it folk music? Beatboxing? Theatre? Nature documentary? Birdsong catalogue? And dare you mention the gorgeous custom knitware?

Imagine all these elements brought to life with beautiful harmonies and a heartful of joy and you'll begin to approach the experience.

Two curlews duet about their lifelong bond, singing of dancing above heather moorland; waxwings flock and wheel around the sky in a twittering bundle, and owls find safety and shelter in the statue of Athena, their ancient protector and the source of the enduring myth of their wisdom. Folklore, ornithology and sociology mesh together. Stories of the struggles of migration apply equally to bird and human endeavours.

Perhaps we're sounding too enthusiastic. But here's the thing: Northern Flyway is a unique production that we're delighted to have caught. We'd recommend everyone go along.

And if you can't get to a show, the album was released last week providing the sonic experience if not the video and knitware.

(For bonus marks, pick up Jenny Sturgeon's The Wren and the Salt Air E.P., which perhaps marks the genesis of the Northern Flyway project. We came away tonight with two of Inge Thomson's CDs so we have homework of our own.)

Posted by pab at 23:24 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Pennine Bridleway

Settle Loop

attermire-crags.jpg Distance: 11.17 miles
Ascent: 555 metres
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

Joining up

Although I've completed the current linear Pennine Bridleway, there are still some optional extras left. The Trail includes two loops off the main route, and at about ten miles the Settle Loop is the shorter, providing a good morning walk.

malham-tarn.jpgFor twenty years or so I had difficulty locating Malham on a map. It's up a bit of a dead end, and by road it's not particularly near anything. The Settle Loop challenges that perception, extending four miles east of Settle to provide a clear view of Malham Tarn (if not the Cove itself).

three-peaks.jpgI've really enjoyed "joining up" my knowledge of our island's geography on my walks, and there is no finer example than this. Looking east I remembered my first ever trip to Malham and Gordale Scar, as well as last year's passage through the village on the Pennine Way. On the return leg to Settle the Yorkshire Three Peaks presented themselves proudly on the horizon, reminding me again of last September, but also of this year's walks along the Bridleway. It's deeply satisfying to be able to scan such a wide horizon and see familiar features in almost all directions.

victoria-cave.jpgI detoured from the line of the Loop briefly to explore the Victoria Cave, a deep cleft in the limestone.

Its location just couple of miles outside of Settle was evident in that I met about a dozen people walking on these last few miles, but hadn't seen a single soul previously. I prefer the solitude of having the path to myself, but it's always comforting to see friendly faces.

Posted by pab at 16:00 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Gig

Niteworks

Back in Settle Victoria Hall, this time for a band I've seen before.

niteworks.jpg

What you need to know about Niteworks' performance tonight:

  1. They had everyone dancing: from teenagers right up to eighty-somethings.
  2. The music scarcely stopped, band members switching instruments seamlessly without waiting for applause at the end of a song.
  3. By the end, everyone was exhausted, and everyone was grinning.

Even if the thought of Gaelic electronic dance music with bagpipes and poems doesn't sound appealing, go and see Niteworks anyway; you will be converted.

Posted by pab at 22:15 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!

Pennine Bridleway

Garsdale Head → Street

moorcock-inn.jpg Distance: 10.37 miles
Ascent: unknown
Duration:

A disappointing end
« Not walked | Not walked »

It's always a joy to stay overnight directly on the path. The convenience is one thing, but also you often meet like-minded walkers in the bar or over breakfast. And so it was at the Moorcock Inn, where we chatted with a couple from Ayr. They were in the area with their local walking group, the majority of whom we'd met the previous night in Hawes YHA, but our friends had made the sensible decision to eschew dormitories, bunk beds and self catering for this comfortable B&B.

surveying.jpgAlthough the weather forecast for today was significantly better than yesterday's, we set out from the pub into a persistent drizzle. A relatively short climb took us to Lady Ann's Highway, a track which although level became higher and higher above the valley floor as the nascent River Eden dropped away.

water-cut.jpgHeads down into the wind we didn't see the allegedly beautiful Hell Gill, but did stop for a breath at the Water Cut sculpture. Beyond here the path dropped to the valley road but before then the view was delightful, with rich farmland ahead, flanked on either side by the high, rocky moorland of Mallerstang Common.

The rain held off during our descent but returned as we ascended the flank of Wild Boar Fell to the pass at High Dolphinsty. Hopes of a clear view ahead were dashed by yet more low cloud, but at least the precipitation wasn't too heavy.

mallerstang-common.jpgRather soon we reached tarmac, and before long the A683 where the Pennine Bridleway presently comes to a rather abrupt and underwhelming end. Plans to extend the trail for another hundred miles or so through Northumbria to Byrness have been approved but no funding has been secured to construct the path.

All in all the Pennine Bridleway isn't the best National Trail. It has its moments; it runs through some spectacular scenery, but by design it doesn't follow a natural theme. Instead its purpose is to get people to places. For walkers it's a good route for passing swiftly from the Peak District to the North Pennines. Perhaps it'll find purpose as an element of LE-JoG routes that don't want the drama of the Pennine Way.

end-for-now.jpg

For me it'll always be the National Trail I was least fussed about finishing, but when I realised I was so close to completing all the others it would have been churlish to omit this one.

Walking from the end of the trail to the railway station at Kirkby Stephen we could make out the radar station on Great Dun Fell and to its north, the bulk of Cross Fell. I remembered the Pennine Way's onward route, and how just a couple of days' walking from where we stood would take us to Hadrian's Wall.

National Trail 14 is complete. Just one left, and it's along that Wall.

Posted by pab at 13:53 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Pennine Bridleway

Birkwith → Garsdale Head

pab-jsb.jpg Distance: 16.10 miles
Ascent: 645 metres
Duration: 5 hours 6 minutes

The Three Peaks
« Not walked | Not walked »

The summer is officially over, but the hardy are trying to eke out as much as they can of its remaining moments. That's why I'm up in Yorkshire once more, keen to spend the next two days finishing off the Pennine Bridleway. For the first time on this National Trail I'm not alone. Jez has joined me for the weekend and the last twenty-five miles.

three-peakers.jpgFinding somewhere to park in Horton-in-Ribblesdale this morning was far from simple, and that fact was not entirely unrelated to the twenty or so people we came across just forty-five minutes into our walk. Horton is the natural place to start the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, and the dozens of energetic twentysomethings we saw at High Birkwith had parked up and set out for Pen-y-Ghent probably before we'd even had breakfast.

It wasn't a good day to climb those hills. None of the three were really visible through the low cloud, and we were glad to be generally contouring round the edges of the valleys rather than aiming for the tops.

calf-holes.jpgFor a while we joined the Pennine Way, but soon the Way and Bridleway diverged at their most northerly meeting point on the Roman Cam High Road.

It's such a shame the weather was so poor. There ought to be so much more to report about this walk, such as the magnificent Settle to Carlisle railway line snaking its way along the valley, diving into tunnels and thrusting out across viaducts between tortuously steep gradients. We did see the line through a couple of gaps in the cloud, but a strike today meant that no trains were running; the line was silent.

dent-viaduct.jpgTonight we're staying at an isolated inn on a high pass between three dales. We arrived tired and soaking wet, but it's the sort of place where guests are expected to be disheveled. Of course within half an hour of our arrival the rain stopped and the sky began to clear. Perhaps that bodes well for tomorrow.

Posted by pab at 20:27 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!

Friday, 7 September 2018

Yorkshire Dales

Cove and Scar

malham-cove.jpg Distance: 7.72 miles
Ascent: 248 metres
Duration: 2 hours 44 minutes

17. Around Malham

Here's a walk I've done twice before. It's a bit of a classic: a Malham circuit taking in the waterfalls of Janet's Foss and Gordale Scar before reaching Malham Cove via Malham Tarn.

It's a walk of high drama, and the centrepiece is climbing beside the waterfall at Gordale Scar. The climb is a fairly straightforward short scramble, made more intimidating by the thundering water alongside and the prospect of a dozen or so less adventurous spectators wondering what the heck you're doing. Stay to the left of the main cascade, and it'll be over before you know it. I genuinely believe pretty much anyone can do this.

gordale-scar.jpggordale-waterfall-2.jpggordale-waterfall.jpg

It's been twenty-five years since I first completed the circuit, and last time I tried water levels were too high to safely complete the ascent. But today conditions were perfect. An ideal warm-up for a couple of days in the Dales.

Posted by pab at 17:49 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!