Blog updates are only on an
"ad hoc" basis when I have something to say and will not be
particularly regular. Latest entries first.
30 April 2013
I am amazed how many
vague/spurious/non-relevant requests I get for links, despite what I think
are clear instruction on my Links page. I keep trying to clarify these
instructions. These requests just waste everyones' time. How hard can it be?
I am happy to consider genuine links, especially on a reciprocal basis, but
if you are not up-front about to what you want me to link, don't be
surprised if you never get a reply!
28 March 2013
A friend of mine thought he
should do something to improve his more or less non-existent map reading
skills before he ventured into wilder parts so very sensibly went on a
map-reading course. Telling me about it on his return, the instructor was
evidently very dismissive of GPS satellite receivers. I cannot understand
this because surely any aid to navigation is beneficial (providing of course
basic compass/map abilities are not ignored). If caugth in a whiteout or low
cloud suddenly, a GPS receiver would tell you where you were even if you
were not using it to follow the route. You could then use the compass from
that point. No doubt when compasses represented new technology some were
equally dismissive of them - but they seemed to catch on!
18 February 2013
It might seem a bit strange to
find the Canary Island of Lanzarote hiding amongst the list on the My
Walks page on what is otherwise an exclusively UK related site. However,
I have visited this island two or three times over the years to top up the
vitamin D and despite its somewhat bleak initial appearance, the more I
visit, the more I warm to it. I cannot just lie by a pool all day for days
on end so have explored it quite a bit and done a few walks there now, some
of which I have decided to share. For anyone reading this who has not been,
been put off by others or put off by the (unjust) "Lanzargrotty"
nickname, I say put your preconceptions on one side and give it a try. You
could be pleasantly surprised.
17 January 2013
The Tour de France is to start
in my home town of Leeds on 5 July 2014 and over the 5th July will head
through the Yorkshire Dales (Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Kettlewell, Hawes,
Ripon and Harrogate), passing within half a mile of my front door! On 6th
July, it starts in York and journeys to Sheffield (York, Knaresborough,
Keighley, Haworth, Hebden Bridge, Huddersfield, Holmfirth and Sheffield).
See the detailed
route for Tour de France.
This will be a huge boost for Yorkshire but for anyone planning to visit to
do any walking and not interested in cycling, these are probably dates to
avoid! Also, accommodation may be in short supply.
21 December 2012
I used Google Maps to show the start
point of my walks and to identify the towns/villages
in which advertisers of accommodation are located. I was asked how this was
done by someone wanting to draw routes on Google Maps. It was easier to
explain this visually rather than try to verbally describe it and I produced
to using Google Maps which I make available here In case this is of use
to anyone else. The principle of creating lines/markers is the same. I have
also set out a way of transferring GPX routes to Google Maps.
7 years ago, I purchased some Páramo
gaiters. They have a fabric strap at the front on which is a metal hook
which goes over the boot laces. Recently when preparing for a walk, one of
these hooks snapped, which I can only put down to metal fatigue. The other
hook was also showing the early signs of a crack. As one end of the fabric
strap is stitched and the other has a large press-stud, there was no obvious
way to replace the hook. I therefore emailed Páramo asking for advice.
I expected was the option to purchase some kind of supplementary hook which
in some way clipped over the strap. What actually happened was that Páramo
asked me to send them the gaiters. Today, only about a week later, I
received them back fully repaired, thoroughly cleaned and re-proofed. It
turns out that Páramo give a lifetime guarantee and have done all
this for nothing. Although I am punctilious about washing the gaiters after
use, I could never get them as clean as Páramo have done. They now look
quite literally like brand new. Only a little visual wear on the press-studs
down the front give their previous use away.
also sent a free set of the rubber straps which go under the boot.
well done Páramo. If only everyone
gave such great customer service.
a request from someone for advice on which of my walks in Yorkshire could be
done via public transport. It struck me that this might be of interest to a
few people. Most of my walks are circular so they can obviously be started
at any point on the circle. I have started with the Yorkshire Dales and
North Yorkshire and will gradually work through the areas.
set myself a goal of publishing at least 100 walks on this site by the end
of 2012 and I am please to note that with the addition of my last Devon
walk, at least for this year, from Salcombe to Blanksmill Bridge and Snapes
Point, I have reached the 100. This is especially gratifying having been
denied use of my boots for a few weeks after the incident on 22 August - see
below. Back to Northern paths now.
from the news, it is most unlikely that a great deal can be done about the
die-back affecting ash trees in our country and that the result will be a
30% loss of trees (that is 30% of all trees!). So that whatever can be done
is done, the Forestry Commission are asking for reports if the disease is
spotted and there are instructions as to what to look for - see their
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara. Walkers are ideally suited to
spot outbreaks. It will be very sad if we lose all our ash trees and even if
it is unstoppable and the trees are replaced with something else, it will be
years before the appearance of the countryside recovers. It is Dutch Elm
Disease all over again!
physio on Monday and have been given some exercises to do. I can now do some
walking as long as I take care over rocky ground/loose stones etc. Much
better now so no more updates on this sad (and now boring!) issue. I would
like to sincerely thank everyone who sent me their good wishes.
the last crutch away yesterday. I can walk half a mile or so but have to be
very careful where I put my feet to avoid twisting/turning the leg at all.
Seen a consultant who diagnosed a partially torn medial
collateral ligament. Physio booked but started exercises already from
internet. Still wearing splint at night as my leg will not stand me turning
over in bed. This is no fun at all!
the painkillers today but a bit premature I think! Knocked it this morning
and it hurt like ****!
splint off today and tried some tentative leg bending. It has got used to
being held straight and objected to being bent but I persevered. Did manage
to use it as the lead leg to climb the stairs so that is hopefully a good
sign. Using a short knee brace to help. I have to be very careful turning
though. Do not now seem to need the crutches around the house anyway.
fed up with my splint and the crutches. Being normally quite fit, I has not
realised how awkward it would be. Went into the kitchen on day 2 to make my
breakfast, then realised I could not carry it through to anywhere else with
crutches. Although I have mastered going upstairs, coming down is a bum
sliding affair. What this makes me realise is how difficult life must be for
the permanently disabled. Only when you lose abilities do you appreciate how
precious they were. Need to appreciate usual good fortune more. Huge respect
to the paralympians.
the standard bits of advice one gets for hiking is, where possible, do not
walk alone. This was brought home to me in a big way yesterday when walking
on the NY Moors. Looking for a route down a steep bank, I trod on some
heather with my left leg to find the heather bush was actually over fresh
air. My leg shot into space and the sideways motion caused my right leg to
twist sideways. Now knees are not meant to work that way and I found myself
in absolute agony stuck in a cleft between two rocks. My "good"
leg was in space and unable to gain any purchase. My right was useless and
the angle I was at meant I could not get leverage to use my arms/elbows to
lever myself out. Had I been on my own, I could have been there still.
Memories of Touching the Void came flooding in!
I was with a friend who was able to pull me out. There was a painful
struggle back to the car and home (though we managed a pint first -
priorities!). After a trip to the local minor injuries unit and X-rays, I
now have an ankle to thigh splint bristling with Velcro to prevent me
bending my leg and provide support for my torn ligament. It will be some
weeks before I am able to resume hiking. Fortunately there is no damage to
the joint itself.
many years walking, this is my first incident. Let's hope it is the last.
have had a couple of interesting communications over the past few days.
This was from a lady in Scotland who arranges a walking week for 5 friends
each year. They came to the Yorkshire Dales and she wrote to thank me for my
walk directions they had used for some walks. They had such a good time that
they are planning to return again next year to do some more. She also
suggested an amendment to one of my directions which I have now incorporated
– for which I have thanked her. It was nice that she took the trouble to
detail the amendment precisely.
The second was from another lady who has only been walking seriously for
about 8 weeks and has already completed 4 of my walks and has clearly found
the directions useful. One of these was Burnsall to Grassington which I only
mention specifically because readers might be interested to know that second
only to my Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head walk, the Burnsall to Grassington
walk was consistently the most visited of my walks over the last 6 months.
do not know why I find this surprising, it is after all a lovely walk but I
think I perhaps expected a better known walk such as Ingleborough or Pen
y-Ghent to be ahead of it. Maybe the fact that it is a more straightforward
walk simply makes it accessible to more people.
9 July 2011
Well, this summer certainly
seems intent on being a washout. I have just come back from 3 weeks in the
West Country and the weather was dire. The first week was passable with some
outbreaks of sun and I managed to get some coastal walks in but the rest was
hopeless. This was especially disappointing for the last week as we had gone
to Dartmoor where I have never done any walking. Plotted routes stayed
unwalked - call me a wimp if you like but walking in torrential rain is no
fun and the weather warnings suggested some areas could even be dangerous.
Thank goodness there are plenty of pubs in the area! The bathroom scales are
no longer my friend!
28 May 2012
I do not usually mention
particular walks on this page but I make an exception here in relation to Crinkle
Crags and Bow Fell which I walked on 21 May and now have written up.
This was a walk in absolutely perfect conditions and the views in all
directions were just - well - fabulous. A friend accompanied me. He writes a
journal of his walks and scores them out of 10. He was seriously giving this
an 11! I could rabbit on about this walk for ages but will just say to
anyone who likes fell walking, on a good weather day, please do this one.
This perfect day was rounded off by a wonderful pint in the Hikers Bar.
24 May 2012
I have published the five of my
walks in the southern Yorkshire Dales area which seem to be the most popular
as a Kindle book. This is a step into the unknown as I do not know whether
there will be any demand for this. If there is, I will publish others. For
further details, click the symbol
On a different tack, I walked
Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell on Monday 21 May. Spectacular does not even cover
it! The weather was absolutely perfect. If this is not the best walk in the
Lakes, it is well up there. I will get this written up as soon as I can as
everyone who enjoys fell walking ought to do this one.
12 May 2012
It has been suggested to me that
it might be interesting to have a page to record "daft" things
people have seen when out walking - climbing Striding Edge in carpet
slippers etc. If anyone has any suitable anecdotes, email to me and if there
is enough of interest, I might publish the best.
29 April 2012
Just returned from an enjoyable
week in the Lake District. The weather forecasts were pretty dire nationally
but we actually had pretty good weather. Sometimes, you just have to go for
15 April 2012
There is nothing I like better
after a walk than a good pint of real ale. I have always liked Sam Smiths
and have been taken aback by the decision of the brewery (or Mr Smith) to do
away with hand pumps in favour of electric pumps. In one of their pubs I
have regularly used for years, a great pint has been reduced to tasteless,
characterless pap which is served far too cold. At a time when real ale is
undergoing a renaissance with micro-breweries springing up everywhere, this
seems counter intuitive, especially when Sam Smiths prided itself on its
real ale credentials when the rest of the world was going keg. I have
written to Mr Smith and it will be interesting to see his observations (if
17 March 2012
Interesting discussion with friends last
night about what was enjoyed in sandwiches when walking. To looks of
consternation and not a little pity, I imparted that the previous day I had
taken Marmite and raw carrot sandwiches on a walk. I think this makes a
really tasty snack. I was clearly thought completely mad - but I don't care!
I eat cheese with fruit cake too!!
5 March 2012
Monday 2 January 2012, my wife and I were with a group of friends walking
along the footpath from Hillings Lane, Hawksworth (SE 160425) through
a field adjacent to the Hawksworth Equestrian Centre. There were two horses
in the field which were obviously boisterous but as they had been put in a
field through which the footpath passed we assumed they would not present a
group passed along the footpath keeping close to the wall and four reached
the far boundary without incident. Suddenly, one of the horses galloped
behind my wife who was about half way along the group and with some force,
stuck her left shoulder as it ran past. Because of recent heavy rain, it was
very muddy and she was lucky not to slip and fall under the animal’s feet.
Nevertheless it was a very frightening experience and she was badly shaken.
I would add that she was not carrying a rucksack and had no food/sweets etc
whose smell might have attracted the animal. None of the group, all of whom
are mature and experienced walkers, had done anything to upset the horses or
interacted with them in any way.
January 2011, I reported the incident to Ian Oxley, Public Rights of Way
Enforcement Officer at Leeds City Council.
had to request an update and on 26 January 2012, he reported that there was
no requirement for stock to be segregated from a public right of way. He
also said that to do so would be detrimental in that vegetation would be
unchecked and walkers would be restricted to the recorded width of the path
- which in this case is 3 feet.
He confirmed he had sent details of the complaint to Hawksworth Equestrian
Centre and was awaiting their reply.
13 February 2012, I was asked for a description of the horse which was
supplied to the best of the group’s recollection – it was grey.
20 February, Mr Oxley reported that the two grey horses there at the time
had been removed and had been replaced by five others.
also commented that:
the horses including the two grey ones are riding horses none of which
have shown previous signs of aggression and this would appear to have been
an isolated incident;
path is very well used and no other reports of this nature have been
received by either him or the equestrian centre;
great many public footpaths cross fields used for the grazing of horses
and cattle and there is no requirement for the path to be segregated from
the rest of the field.
queried what advice, warning or official notice had been given to the
keepers of these horses. The response on 22 February 2012 was that he had
spoken with the equestrian centre and that my complaint is on file at his
The incident is recorded here so that
if anything similar happens at this location, those affected are aware of
this previous incident. See the precise
location of horse attack.
9 February 2012
I have now published my 70th
walk. I know many sites have more than this but it is a small milestone for
Happy Hiker! I would still welcome more feedback from anyone who follows my
directions - either positive - or constructive criticism.
I have had approaches from a
couple of people wanting to pay to advertise on Happy Hiker. I would
consider setting this up if there was enough interest to make the exercise
worthwhile If you have an outdoor related business, accommodation, pub etc
that you think might be of interest to walkers.
Most importantly, a petition has
been started to protest about the extent to which the Government is
proposing to destroy Green Belt land to build houses via the Local
Development Frameworks. In Wharfedale for example, the proposals will in
effect link Leeds through Guiseley to Menston to Burley-in-Wharfedale in one
continuous urbanisation already being dubbed "Leedsford" (Leeds+Bradford).
Big expansions are also planned for Ilkley and Addingham. The roads/rail and
schools struggle to cope as it is. An on-line
petition has been started to
28 January 2011
It seems that for weeks now
almost every walk has been on grey overcast days however hard I try to
co-ordinate with the better weather forecasts. The main frustration is not
getting photos which do the landscape justice. It is also extremely wet
underfoot. My gaiters are getting a hammering. Still, keep trying!
16 January 2012
Anyone walking in the mountains
in snow should know that it is very dangerous to approach too close to a
snowy edge in case this is an overhanging cornice. There is also the danger
of avalanche and there can be no more dramatic illustration of this than the
photo I have added to my Safety
Page. I think it is fair to say that anyone stood on top of this
incident would have had problems of fairly epic proportions! It also shows
that the width of snow at summit edges can be much more than you might
31 December 2011
Happy New Year for 2012 to all
visitors to this site. Let us hope the weather soon picks up!
14 December 2011
Pleased to announce that I have
now included dynamic Ordnance Survey maps for all walks during a brief lay
off from actual hiking following a leg operation.
3 December 2011
I have now completed dynamic
Ordnance Survey maps for all the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales walks and
I am well on with the Lake District and West Yorkshire ones.
2 December 2011
I have put together a slide show
of Lake District photos which I took whilst undertaking 6 of the walks
there. It can be viewed via YouTube - click the logo.
6 November 2011
I have now mastered the dark art
of producing the routes for my walks as dynamic Ordnance Survey maps
which allow you to pan and zoom. I have started with the Burnsall
to Grassington walk which seems to be the most visited and will
gradually work through the others. I have not yet decided whether to keep my
little sketch maps - feedback of views would be appreciated.
3 November 2011
Weather widgets seem sorted.
Went to do the Coledale Round in the Lakes yesterday. Aborted the mission
after Grisedale Pike at the hause due to gale force winds. A chap in front
of us was literally blown away though was ok.
24 October 2011
Having become a "Twit"
by joining Twitter so those that wanted could be advised when new walks are
added, I thought I would do the same with Facebook. I have to say I do not
find this user friendly and do not fully understand it. I signed up a little
while ago but have not bothered with it much for that reason. However, I
thought I would give it another go so would appreciate some friends,
assuming I have done it right!
Bathroon is finished - hooray!!!!
18 October 20911
Having broken the back of my
bathroom refurbishment, I thought I deserved a holiday so went to the North
Yorkshire Moors, staying at Rosedale Abbey - a lovely spot. Two pubs!
Between inclement weather, managed to complete 4 nice walks which will be
the next publishing project. The first one, the Hole of Horcum is on the
4 October 2011
From time to time, we all get
lost on a walk. There are various sources of suggestions as to what to do,
some using different acronyms. However, I have yet to see one actually based
on the word "Lost" itself so I thought it might be useful to
invent one. See "Getting Lost" on the Safety page.
3 October 2011
If you are wondering why there
have been no further walks since mid September, this is because I have been
engrossed in refurbishing my bathroom - yes in all the recent hot weather!
Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon and I can get back to more
24 August 2011
I was once frustrated arriving
at a destination for a walk, only to find that my pre-planned route was
closed for grouse shooting. Not being a shooter, it never occurred to me
that the glorious 12th had passed. It seems it would be sensible to have a
list of dates published on a website somewhere, to benefit both shooters and
walkers alike. Whether you agree with shooting or not, it happens, so it
would be sensible for walkers to be warned in advance so they can plan
Having searched the web, I came across the Bolton Abbey estate site where
they do publish the closures but I could not find any others. If anyone
knows of any sites which do have this information, if they could let me
know, I will publish the addresses on my footpath closures page.
17 August 2011
For the convenience of visitors to Happy
Hiker, I have started an on line store in association with Amazon. The store
groups together in one place virtually everything one could need to go
hiking. A small commission is payable which I will use to offset the costs
of this site. There were a number of options for doing this and indeed I
have been approached by different on-line retailers but I have chosen Amazon
simply because I have bought all sorts of things from them over the years
and have personally been very pleased with their service and their prices.
I have now completed putting the weather
forecast on all walks. This will continue to be a feature in future.
Lovely day today so what was I doing
-walking? NO!!! - hacking the tiles off my bathroom wall. Yuk!
12 August 2011
Just about finished the
Pembrokeshire walks. One more to go then I can get back to the Yorkshire
ones. There is a nice one coming up for Crummack dale with the amazing
Norber Erratics. Also looking forward to a trip to the Lake District soon. I
have promised my wife I will find some lower level "nice" walks
(whatever that means) though I would at least like to climb Haystacks as
this is one of the few I have never climbed.
Thought it might be useful to
put the Met. Office weather forecast on each walk with as near a location to
the walk as possible. Working through this - slowly!
4 August 2011
Rain today so gave me a chance to write up
some more walks and today I published my only walk in Cornwall so far. Of
course I have done many walks in Cornwall in the past but never recorded the
detail as this website is a new venture. Still, a good excuse to go back!
1 August 2011
Just wanted to say a thank you
to the various people who have been so kind with their positive comments
about this website. Considering this is my first venture into creating a
website I have been really surprised by how well it has been received. The
main difficulty I have is in spreading the word of its existence so that it
is a worthwhile exercise so if you have come across it, please tell your
Today is Yorkshire day,
originated to promote Gods Own County of Yorkshire in 1975 by the Yorkshire
Ridings Society. Three cheers for Yorkshire!
22 July 2011
Managed now to have sketch maps
on all the PDF documents.
18 July 2011
Currently working my way through
the walks to include the sketch map on the PDF versions. Might take a while
Went up Ingleborough again with
friends last Friday. A great day with good views. At the shelter, we were
asked by a man holding a coat if anyone had dropped it. The answer was
negative but looking through the pockets, the man found an expensive looking
mobile phone. the coat probably dropped off a rucksack. He was going to
Clapham but we do not know what he intended to do with it. Hope the owner
got it back.
11 July 2011
Just returned from a brilliant 3
weeks in North Devon and Pembrokeshire. Got several walks to write up now.
Much to my surprise, the ability
to pinpoint locations using Ordnance Survey references is not universal
amongst the emergency services. They use postcodes - which is not much use
if you have fallen off a hillside somewhere and need an ambulance! The
Ramblers are running a campaign to get this rectified - see their 999
11 June 2011
Walked round Kinder Scout
yesterday - Edale, Jacobs Ladder, Kinder Downfall and Grindsbrook Clough.
Grindsbrook Clough would be better named Grindsknees Clough! Even though it
is June, got pelted by hailstones - then rain. Bizarre rocks shaped by the
elements. Worst part of the day was the drive through Sheffield. What
a maze of unclear junctions and traffic lights!
7 June 2011
Went walking with Mrs K. on
Friday and had a nasty moment when she went "splat" on a flat dry
road yards from the car. Stunned for a moment or two, other than bruised and
grazed knees and face she was ok and even completed the walk. The cause was
long loops on the boots (see Safety).
What is strange and this happened to me once when I fell abruptly for
different reasons and we both experienced the same thing namely that for a
few seconds you lie there immobile mentally checking your body over to make
sure it all still works. She is alright now although the bruises have gone a
funny yellow colour!
31 May 2011
Nice walk today around the moors
between Wensleydale and Swaledale with my friend Mike Chalk. A bit too much
bleak moor walking for me but interesting industrial heritage stuff (mining)
and good views across both valleys. Mike gave it 7/10 in his journal! Signed
in at the guestbook at Dent's House shooting lodge. Very good and trusting
of the owners to make such a facility available to passing walkers. Will
write the walk up as soon as I can.
29 May 2011
I don't know about you but I
take for granted the ability to don my walking gear and head off into our
lovely countryside as the fancy takes me. This extreme good fortune was
brought home to me recently when I was asked by the owner of the website Accessible
Countryside for Everyone - ACE to keep an
eye out for routes which would be suitable for people in wheelchairs or
using powered disability scooters and tell the site. I had never heard of
this but it made me realise how frustrating it must be for immobile people
not to be able to freely access the countryside. I now find myself
consciously thinking about this in relation to any routes (or part of
routes) I do. The site already has an extensive list of appropriate routes
and so far I have not come up with any new ones but I urge everyone to bear
this in mind when they are out and about and advise ACE of suitable routes
they come across.
Twitter today so hopefully it will be easier to keep people informed when I
update this site with new walks.
23 May 2011
I did wonder whether it was
worth having a "Blog" page but thought I would give it a whirl.
Any updates will be on an "ad hoc" basis and I don't intend to
repeat content which is elsewhere on the site. I started this website
earlier this year (19 January to be exact), making it up as I went along and have been blown away by
the encouragement, kind words and help offered by so many people, either
directly via email or in comment on one or two forums where I introduced the
site. Some people have even gone to the trouble of pointing out the odd
mistake such as spelling for which I am very grateful so thanks. I have
tried very hard to avoid errors but no-one is perfect so please keep
dragging me back to the straight and narrow.
I have just come back from a
short holiday in the South Hams area of Devon, my favorite part of the
British coast and took the opportunity to search out some coastal
walks. I will be writing these up over the next week or two.
So that is my first modest
All information on this
site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any
damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.