Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ironbridge and Coalport

This post is not a trip report on hiking as such but a tribute to my late Grandma, who sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago and whose funeral was earlier this week. She was aged 92 when we lost her and she will leave a huge gap in the hearts of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, not to mention in the hearts of her own friends and in those of the family friends, whose lives she touched.

Grandma in her youth.
I picked Ironbridge because it's somewhere that I'll always associate with my Grandma and because she was very fond of the place. It is in itself a lovely village, with lots of history, and well worth visiting. We'd been there before but in light of Grandma's passing and for the purpose of writing this tribute we re-visited again this weekend and took a ramble around part of the gorge - which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site - to explore some of the places she would have known as a youngster keen on walking.

My Grandma was born in 1924 and was to remain an only child. Much to her mother's dismay, her father went off to the Registry Office without consultation and registered her forenames as Lilian Barbara. The result for him, according to my Grandma, was not pretty - my great-grandmother strictly forbade use of the name Lilian by anyone, including Grandma herself, and for the next 92 years, she was known as Barbara or Babs.

Friday, 8 July 2016

The High Carneddau

Blue skies over the Glyderau as we neared my starting point.
Some places immediately capture your interest for the smallest of reasons. It could be a glimpse of them from another summit (I'd never heard of the Howgills until I saw their characteristic rolling heights in the distance from Pen-y-Ghent, for instance); or it could simply be an evocative name - rolling off your tongue, possibly incorrectly - that fires your imagination. For me, the High Carneddau was one such location. It took so long to get logistics and weather aligned, though, by the time I climbed this collection of peaks in mid-June this year I couldn't even remember how they'd burrowed their way into my consciousness. I thought I'd done my homework in that intervening period but even so this still proved to be one of the most challenging walks I've done to date.