Saturday 28 December 2019

A Staffordshire Ramble: Grindon, Milk Hill and the Manifold Way

I've been inspired to do my walks by lots of things - photos, blogs and articles, wanting to explore distant hills I've seen on the horizon - but this is the first time I've planned a route around winning a pizza stone in a raffle.

We'd visited the Christmas Fair in Butterton the previous weekend and were struck by how lovely the countryside around that part of the Peak District was. So when we found out we had to return to the area to collect our prize, it seemed the perfect opportunity to do some exploring at the same time.


Thursday 21 November 2019

Kinder East and the Vale of Edale

We've been trying to vary some of our regular walking routes recently by exploring footpaths and trails that we haven't ventured along before. When I thought about our local "mountain", Kinder Scout,  I realised I've become quite the creature of habit, relying on the same routes up and down and paying scant attention to the other paths that flow on and around the plateau like streams. This walk was the first "varied" route we did and the novelties (for us) were the path that branches off from the Pennine Way up onto Broadlee-Bank Tor and the public rights of way that run along the Vale of Edale below the south eastern edge of the Kinder plateau.


Thursday 22 August 2019

Baslow Edge and Birchen Edge

On its north-eastern side, a long chain of gritstone escarpments stands watch over the Derwent Valley like a series of natural ramparts. Their reach extends from the tracts of moorland at the heart of the Dark Peak to the cultivated landscapes of Chatsworth in the White Peak. I've walked the northern edges many a time but I'd never ventured south of Curbar Edge so a visit to that area had been overdue for a long time.

Heading onto Baslow Edge.
In mid-March 2018* there was a relatively mild and dry interlude between the waves of snow and ice that had washed over Derbyshire that winter, and this seemed the perfect opportunity for heading over that way to explore.

We parked up at Curbar Gap and walked back down the lane to where a gate gives access to Baslow Edge. A broad track leads due south from the gate but there is an "unofficial" path, not marked on the map, that closely follows the rocky edge, affording better views and more interesting terrain.

Thursday 4 July 2019

Lanzarote: Montaña Corona

This short excursion to Montaña Corona can't really be described as a hike and it wasn't even originally on our itinerary but it is worth doing if you're in the vicinity. We'd planned a longer, coastal route for our final walk on the island but the day before we were due to do this we visited Cueva de los Verdes, a six kilometre lava tube in the north of the island. Around the entrance to this cave system stretch the badlands known as Malpais de la Corona and standing proudly above all of this, as though admiring its handiwork, is Volcán de la Corona itself. In fact this jagged volcanic cone was impossible to miss almost wherever we were in the north of the island that day, rising as it does to almost 2000 feet above sea level.


Wednesday 6 March 2019

Lanzarote: Montaña Guardilama and Montaña Tinasoria

Our second hike in Lanzarote took us to La Geria, the island's primary wine-producing region. The start and end point was the village of Uga, a 40 minute bus journey from Arrecife, and we arrived there under cloudless blue skies to find it was as quiet as Blancha Mancha had been a couple of days earlier. Houses gleamed white under the morning sunshine as we headed to the outskirts of the village and set off up a track through farmland. A farmer was working in one of the fields to the side, the first person we'd seen since leaving the bus, and I gave him a cheery wave as we walked by - he seemed a bit startled but he smiled, waved back and shouted, "Holá!"

Looking back down to Uga.


Wednesday 30 January 2019

Lanzarote: Caldera Blanca

I'm sure I must have walked over a fair amount of volcanic rock in my time on the hills of England and Wales but none of it displayed its origins as obviously as the terrain we hiked in Lanzarote earlier this month. This was our first visit to the Spanish island just off the north west coast of Africa and we were determined to make the most of our week there, alternating hiking days with days exploring the local culture and history.

The choice of Caldera Blanca as our first walk of the holiday was pretty much made for us - almost every website we visited (including the Happy Hiker's excellent pages about Lanzarote) said this volcanic cone was a must-do. We were staying in Arrecife so it was easy enough to set the alarm for an early start and jump on the bus to Mancha Blanca*, a village just a few miles away from this dormant volcano.

Caldera Blanca from Mancha Blanca.

Tuesday 8 January 2019

A Carneddau Traverse

While I was doing some housekeeping on the blog over Christmas I realised I still hadn't written up the traverse of the Carneddau mountains I did in 2017. A linear walk, it took me from the Ogwen Valley in the south to the edge of Llanfairfechan on the north-western fringe of the mountains. Aside from a little scrambling near the beginning, there were no technical challenges but I did find it a real test of stamina, with some 4000 feet of ascent over its 11.5 mile course. It was too good a day in the hills to leave off the website so here it is - more photo-heavy and a little less verbose than my usual trip reports due to much of the detail being lost in the mists of time.

Y Braich, from a previous walk. Pen Llithrig y Wrach is the mountain lit up in the background.