Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Skinny dip plus.

Things have been somewhat quite on my front recently. Most of my walking has been local walks. Some walks, around five or six miles, have been combined with a swim.
After a layoff of many years, I find myself to be somewhat weak swimmer and lack confidence. However, I persist
Over the last week I found myself in a couple of challenging dips. Big seas and large rollers.
On those occasions i stayed in the shallows, playing tag with the crashing waves.
Wednesday evening saw me going in with the  swimming club. Friday, early morning, around six forty AM, saw me joining a few club members for an Autumnal Equinox swim. Chilly but a beautiful morning. In a mad moment, I then participated in the club's normal Friday swim at eleven in the morning.. it was a case then of nipping back to the flat to finish packing. Mike and I were off to Ross Back Sands for our annual pre skinny dip bivi.

The Saturday was largely spent drinking  tea, reading and maybe a spot of snoozing. Mike and Lucky headed off for a wee walk while I stayed with our stuff.
On his return, Mike went for a dip. Over the last few days I had been experiencing a few problems with my balance and my legs have given out once or twice. Possibly this is due to a recent increase in my medications? Wanting to make sure I was ok for the skinny dip, I avoided doing anything strenuous and that included swimming.

It was pleasant bivi though, despite a bit of condensation. Our day was enlivened by the flights of geese passing overhead. Skein after skein filling the sky. The air loud with their gabbling and chatter.
Saturday afternoon saw us setting up camp at Druridge Bay in  preparation for the dip in the morning.
A night of little sleep, quite a few folk like to party. However, Mike and I were conscious by five in  the morning.  A cup of tea and in the early, pre dawn light we headed off to the beach. Crowds were already crowding the narrow strip of beach. The tide was high and there was a bit of a swell.
As the sun peeped over the horizon everyone stripped and hundreds of naked bodies hurled themselves in to the briny. Shrieks of laughter and cheers filled the air. It was a good dip, one I enjoyed. My actual time in the water was not that long, roughly between fifteen to twenty minutes. Unfortunately I did not manage much on the photo front. Mike, over on northernpies.blogspot.co.uk, has far better photos.
All in all, it was good fun. A big thank you Mike.

Just to round things off, today's conditions for swimming. Also, with a falling tide, A fairly large  swell was running.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Lleyn Peninsula

Recently John Jocys, re JJ, a squeezebox virtuoso  from the depths of Manchester, had spent some time backpacking on the Lleyn Peninsula. Impressed by the rugged scenery, he planned a return visit. This time Mike, LTD, (Lucky The Dog) and myself were invited along. After a flurry of e mails, dates and times were agreed upon. John was bringing his caravan and we had agreed to meet up in the village of Llanystumdwy. Mike and I arrived mid afternoon in the village. Checking out the caravan site designated by John, we found he had not yet arrived. Further enquiries indicated he had not booked either. Despite a very poor signal, Mike managed to contact John, he was still on his way. We decided to check out another caravan and campsite in the village. Not marked on the map, with less facilities than the larger one, but cheaper too. That is were we ended up.
  Lunch break stop on the way to Wales.
Looking over toward the Mersey.
It began to rain as we set up camp and we retired to JJ's caravan for tea. The rain, heavy at times continued all night and on through the morning. The original intention had been to leave the cars and caravan on the site while we spent a few days backpacking. The rain saw those plans being scrapped.

A very swollen river by the campsite.
The decision was made to go for linear walks instead. By early Tuesday afternoon we set of in light drizzle. Leaving one car in Llanbedrog, we then headed on to Abersoch. From there we  headed back, starting with a lovely beach walk.
Stranded jelly fish
A lovely beach stroll.
It was then a steady walk up a leafy lane, turning off to head up to Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd.
View back toward Abersoch.
The rain had stopped as we approached the trig point. The sun filtered through the clouds. A bench provided an excellent place to sit, enjoy lunch and admire the wide open vistas.
A long, steady descent saw us heading back to Llanbedrog. Once more the views were excellent.
Llanbedrog is well worth a visit.
The tide goes out a long way here.
Wednesday saw us navigating down very narrow roads to leave one car at Aberdaron and the other at Whistling Sands, our starting point.
The first thing we found was that the coast path signs were, at times inaccurate and vague. Some pointed in the wrong direction, others had us struggling to make sense of their directions. The maps and the actual signing often at odds with each other.
 There was a blustery wind blowing but the views were excellent.. The countryside here is reminiscent of Cornwall. Small fields enclosed with earth and stone walls, all laid out in a higgledy piggledy fashion.
Following the coastline here does mean a fair degree of ascent and descent.
Mike having a map reading tiz on Mount Pleasant?? Lucky just chills though!
A variety of fungus were quite prolific in many areas.
On the last couple of miles, with time getting on, we abandoned out attempts to follow the coast path, taking to the road back to Aberdaron.
Thursday saw us using just the one car. Our destination was Rhiw. Initially we started off following a sign posted circular route. However, we wandered off for a lovely wee scrambly walk up a rocky rib. There is actually a path marked on the map. Faint on the ground though. A hill fort and hut circles are marked on the map in the area of Mynydd y Graig.
We follow a bouldery rib.
Heading up through the rocks.
Our meandering led us up to the trigpoint on Mynydd Penarfynydd.
 We headed back following part of the coastal path. A fine walk.
All week I had been hoping to fit in a swim. Having finished our walk early, we headed off to Porth Neigwl. Hell's Mouth in English. A westerly wind was blowing directly onshore. Large breakers were rolling in from quite a  way out. Notices warned of dangerous currents and rip tides. It did not feel safe to risk going in on my own. Mike and I settled for a paddle instead.
The bay, Hell's Mouth.
On Friday it was just a case of packing up and heading home. Many thanks to John for the use of his caravan as a tea drinking, food cooking and eating base. Thanks too for the ginormous breakfast butties.

Figure above Llanbedrog.


Possibly a chapel? Llanbedrog.
Large slugs abounded on the campsite.
Trwyn y Gwyddel in the distance.
More fungi
LTD, Lucky the dog.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Walks, dips, swims.

Recently Mike has been laid up with a dodgy knee. However, by last week cabin fever was setting in. With no contours to worry about, Druridge Bay seemed a good place for an easy walk. Thus it was that last Wednesday we went for a gentle amble.
It was warm day with a blustery wind. There was no hurry and finding a sheltered spot, we stopped. A change in to cozzies and I nipped in for a swim. Something I find frustrating is my lack of confidence. There is always that niggling nervousness. There was a bit of cross current and the waves where fairly strong. Despite my qualms, I managed twenty minutes.

  Mike went in twice and had fun playing tag with the waves rolling in. Resuming our walk, we completed our circuit without any undue problems with Mike's knee.
On the Sunday we headed off to the Yorkshire Dales. Our destination was Rukins campsite in Keld. With the tent up, we went to explore. Mention has been made that the river Swale offered plenty of opportunities for swimming. We found a series of falls above Catrake Force. Two lovely pools offered some fine swimming.
 Mind, the rocks were greasy and further out the water was deep. Mike enjoyed some fine dipping and had an exciting moment! Once in I managed around twenty minutes. The lower pool has a few hidden rocks and had a few 'oh dear' moments as I attempted to slide down over the falls to the lower pool.
The water was slightly chilly but felt soft and silky on the skin. Before folk ask, no, we did not skinny dip. The falls are too well visited.
The campsite was invaded that evening by a large, (very large!) group of D.O.E and army cadets. Mind, they were generally well behaved, polite too. On the Monday, after the cadets early morning parade, we set off for a walk up by Crackpot Hall.
The day was fine and we were in no rush.
One for Alan. An old Ferguson I suspect? The whole area is riddled with old lead mines and workings. For anyone interested in industrial archeology this must be an area rich in history.
This is the route used by the Coast to Coast walkers. Further up much repairing of the path is being carried out. At the moment it looks hideous.
This path on the right is to be replaced by great, specially, cut stone slabs.
Descending down to Botcher Gill Gate, we stopped for a leisurely lunch. It was then a steady descent down to Dyke Heads and on to Ivelet.
+At Ivelet Bridge we turned off to wander though grassy meadows by the river Swale.
Staying with the river Swale we crossed it at Ramps Holme Bridge to continue up through more grassy meadows.
It is hard to imagine the noise, the toil, the industry that this now quiet valley once was witness to.
We were both feeling a tad wearied by this time and Mike's knee was playing up a bit.
Back at Keld we treated ourselves to a cup of tea and toasted tea cakes. We had earned it!  arriving back at the tent, we found that the indomitable wandering minstrel, JJ had joined us. A convivial evening was spent by the fire (in a fire basket) despite the rain and midges.
Tuesday morning I went for a dip. John supplied me with a humungous egg, bacon and tomato butty on my return. We had a walk up to Wain Wath Force. A couple of children in wetsuits were have a fine time in the water. Being right beside the road, it was obviously a very popular place. A large group of folk set themselves up for a picnic. It would have been nice to have at least had a dip but I found it too crowded..
Mike proposed a walk up to Ravenseat. here we indulged in cups of tea with freshly baked scones jam and cream. The path had been wet and clarty on the way up to the farm. Thus we followed the road for a short while and then joined a footpath back to High bridge.
 There are many well preserved barns in the area.
. A walk back down the road to Keld and the farm campsite to the cars and it was time to head home. A good couple of days.