Tag Archives: photography

On a Clear, Cold, Crisp Winter Day!

30 Jan

It was one of those wonderful winter days – you know, the ones we don’t get often! After all the wet, grey days, this one dawned to bright sunshine and a hard frost – I even had to scrape the ice off the windscreen. Perfect for a walk along the Dorset coast!

I set off from the small but popular village of Lulworth and headed up the road for a time before turning off onto what I call the inland coast path. This path runs along the ridge of hills parallel to the coast path proper. That will be our way back later. When I reach the farm gate at the top of the rise, I cannot help but lean awhile and look back the way I had just come to the sound of far away dull thuds from the MOD firing range in the distance.

On the Inland Coast Path

The distant thud of guns

Much as I like to just drink in this view, there is a chill breeze and I need to move on so I reluctantly turn to continue along the ridge. Not that I need to be reluctant as there are views aplenty all along this ridge.

I pass the first almost immediately, the wonderful valley that goes by the dubious name of Scratchy Bottom! I love this valley with its curving sides layered with lines of thick grass. It is like a boomerang that leads out to the sea.

Its name actually has nothing to do with our proverbial posteriors, or anyone or anything else’s for that matter (it is usually inhabited by sheep or cows) – it just comes from the fact that the valley bottom was once covered in scrub. Its main claim to fame is that in 2012, it came second in a poll of Britain’s worst place names. Wouldn’t you believe it, the place that came first, Shitterton, is also in Dorset! Oh, and the valley is also ‘famous’ for having been used as a film location!

Scratchy Bottom

Scratchy Bottom

Aside from the fact that a walk along this ridge is ‘bracing’, it is also fantastically exposed, open and spacious with a carpet of lush and well drained grass under foot. These are chalk hills. In summer, this is one of my bare foot walks………but not today! Today, my feet will stay tucked up warmly inside sock and boot! I walk with a great sense of freedom, looking across to the distant Isle of Portland.

Wide Open Spaces

Wide open spaces and a ‘bare foot’ path

One of the interesting and unexpected features of this remote place is a series of three shell sculptures, each sheltering in its own stone cupboard. I say three because that’s how they started, but in fact one is now conspicuous by its absence. These were carved by Peter Randall in 1985 at the request of the Weld Estates as part of Common Ground’s New Milestones project. The intention was to encourage small scale art works that would celebrate history and the natural world.

But these are not the only unexpected things on this walk.


Sea Shells

Just a short distance further along and a few hundred yards inland stands an obelisk. Below me on the cliff top stands an identical obelisk. They are functional rather than decorative and for years these puzzled me every time I passed them – why were they there and what was their purpose? I could find nothing in books or on-line. One day, I was determined to find some answers so I sat with phone in hand and made some calls…..which gave me the answer I was searching for.

The answer, or at least part of it, was found in a rather tasty tome entitled ‘The Channel Pilot Part 1’ dating from 1908 which referred to ‘Two white beacons, 24 feet high for the use of His Majesty’s ships when prize firing, have been erected on high land east of White Nose (now known as White Nothe)’. Prize Firing was an annual competition to test the skills of the various ships to see if they were ready to go to war so these two obelisks aided that competition.

Across Weymouth Bay in the picture below, you will see the Isle of Portland and just to the right of that stands Portland Harbour, said to be the second largest man made harbour in the world. This was a busy Royal Naval base until 1995 so in the early 1900’s battle ships would leave the harbour and steam up and down in a straight line whilst firing at targets moored out to sea. Clearly these two obelisks were used to enable the captain to steer his ship in a straight line across the water. Oh, and as you can see, the obelisks have long since lost their white coating.


The Obelisk

Moving on, I continued to follow the inland path, deeply rutted from farm machinery but still with some great distant views. After several more miles, my route took me along a track which curved round the head of the ridge, dropping down towards the coast path proper.


Rutted Paths

I passed through an unusual landscape, various hillside terraces, some old wooden shacks left to rot, and what appeared to be a derelict toilet block. Clearly, this was once a holiday park. It amazed me how nature so quickly reclaims its own!

Eventually I reached the coast and turned east to head back towards my starting point and after a short time, I stopped to look back towards Osmington Mills, a tiny coastal hamlet which once had a fishermen’s slipway until coastal erosion destroyed it. In 1927, the Minx, a coal barge, broke her moorings and was wrecked on Frenchman’s Ledge below. Parts are still visible today.

Osmington Mills

Looking Back Towards Osmington Mills

The Minx is not the only wreck here as along this part of the coast, there are many wartime relics. There is evidence of lookout posts, pillboxes, several bunkers, a communications centre and even the remains of wartime gun placements. At one time there was a massive radar station on the clifftop too. There is also a great deal of mud!

I stopped to chat to a retired man who was taking a short holiday at Weymouth and who had come out to explore the coast path. He was walking in the opposite direction to me so had already walked the most severely steep parts – I still had those to come…….but he still had several miles of mud to walk through. We compared notes :) !

Relic of War

Relics of War

Having slipped and slid for several miles – I was thankful for my walking pole! – I finally reached the beach at Ringstead Bay and stopped for a late lunch. This one time fishing village is a beautiful place to spend some time, especially on a gorgeously sunny day such as this and I sat and sketched whilst I ate, listening to the surf gently washing across the shingle – what a beautifully relaxing sound. The sea seemed almost determined to reach me, as if it wanted to shake my hand, but I outsmarted it – well I’m no Canute!

Ringstead Bay

Ringstead Bay

I was glad of my flask of hot drink as it soon became chilly sitting on a cold rock. To warm up, I wandered around with the camera looking for picture opportunities……like the one below :) !

An Exercise in Colour

An Exercise in Colour – Ringstead Bay

All too soon I had to move on, which meant some steep climbs! The first of these was up to the top of the White Nothe headland. Part way up I stopped to look at a quaint little wooden church at another small hamlet, Holworth. This wooden chapel still has regular services despite its remote location and in fact it has recently been extended. It stands right on the cliff edge with amazing views across the water.

My walks are often like pilgrimages as I pass many churches and I like to stop and pray in each one. On this occasion, however, with boots thickly coated with mud, I just sat on the bench outside. Well, with that view, who wouldn’t!

The Fading Day

St Catherine’s Chapel View

St Catherine's, Holworth

St Catherine’s Chapel

Onwards and upwards I went, eventually reaching the top of the headland, a beautifully rugged and wild wilderness of a place. I so enjoy exploring this remote headland. It has a real air of mystery and intrigue about it.

On White Nothe

On White Nothe

One of its features is its row of old coastguard cottages. Remote and unserved by any roads, these cottages have no mains services – the residents collect rainwater, heat by log burner, light by gas lamp or LPG generator, and drain into cess pits. These seven terraced cottages are not for the faint hearted but the largest changed hands recently for some £470,000! Recently the captain’s house has been brought more into the 21st century by installing solar panels on the roof. I have a feeling that the owners may have bought the house next door as well…….so maybe there are now only six?

They are quiet cottages now, mainly used as holiday or second homes, but at one time they were home to seven families with a total of 44 people living in them. The captain of course lived in the largest, three story house, and his 6 men and their families lived in the others. Together they tried to keep our coast safe as there was a thriving smuggling trade all along this part of the coast. And you can really picture in your mind the events that took place here with its remoteness and its secret paths.

When the coastguards vacated the cottages, they passed into private ownership and one of the early residents was the author Llewelyn Powis. A memorial stands nearby.

On White Nothe

A Remote Place to Live

Despite their remoteness, in fact because of their remoteness, and their lack of modern ‘trappings’, this would be an amazing place to live. And who could possibly not delight in the view below back down to Ringstead Bay?

Ringstead Bay

The View over Ringstead Bay

And of course that’s not to mention the view out to sea!

The End is Near

Sea Views

The sun was getting low in the sky by now and there was a definite chill in the air. Fingers were being numbed by the cold so it was time to move swiftly on. I left the White Nothe and continued on my way. Ahead of me I could see the switch back of headlands that were to be my route from here and I knew that I would once again, as I had done many times before, be walking in the dark before I reached my finishing point! But hey, that is often the best time of the day.

Bat's Head and Beyond

The Switchback Home

By the time I dropped down to Durdle Door, the sun had gone and the light had a definite blue tinge to it – this is the photogenic blue hour. I have a thousand pictures of the view below but you just cannot help but take more each time you pass this way. This really is a magnificent coastline, as good as you will see anywhere in the world!

Durdle Door

Blue Hour at Durdle Door

When I reached the arch, projecting out of into the water like some huge and fearsome sea monster taking a drink, it was virtually dark. Everywhere was still and there was just a faint tinge of orange in the distant sky. The only sound was the washing of surf on shingle. The lights of Portland and Weymouth twinkled in the far away lands and had it been summer, I would have sat and drank in the awesome atmosphere. But tonight was now icy cold!

Durdle Door

Last Light of the Day

I left the coast and climbed up the last hill of the day and in complete darkness with just the stars and a faint moon for company, and the ever diminishing sound of the waves, lost in my own thoughts, I made my way home.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler


If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.




Dorset at its Best!

27 Jan
Kimmeridge and the Dorset Coast

Kimmeridge Bay and the Dorset Coast

This shot was taken on a recent walk on an absolutely glorious day last week. It was a cold, crisp and clear day, ideal for landscape shots such as this – and what a landscape it is! It was taken from the footpath to Swyre Head and shows the whole of Kimmeridge Bay with Smedmore House below us, Clavell Tower on the headland beyond that, and in the distance, Gad Cliff, Mupe Bay and right across the water, Weymouth and Portland. Can you see why I love walking in the hills and on the coast of Dorset?

We’ve had a few of these cold, clear days recently so I will be posting a full walk shortly, but for now, this is a taster to enjoy!

I post regular pictures on my Facebook page, so if you are interested in seeing more of Dorset in between my blog posts, please do ‘like’ my page. There is a link above.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler


If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Of a short winter walk, spring sunshine, ancient paths and feathered friends

12 Jan

The year has not started well as unfortunately I went down with a horrible virus that has curtailed my walking somewhat. However, on this day, there was glorious sunshine – something that has been rarely seen over the British wet winter months. So despite feeling rough, I was determined to get out and enjoy a gentle stroll.

My walk started with one of those great Dorset sights, the famous and much photographed avenue of beech trees near Kingston Lacy. This avenue started life back in 1835 when trees were planted either side of what was then a turnpike or toll road that led to the mansion that was the home of William John Bankes. Bankes did not only own Kingston Lacy but seemingly half of Dorset, including Corfe Castle. There were originally 365 trees on one side of the road, one for each day of the year and 366 on the other for a leap year but sadly they are nearing the end of their life span and many have had to be removed.

The Avenue

The Beach Avenue

Part of the problem is that the trees and modern motorised traffic do not sit well together. These were planted in an age of more sedate forms of transport. In an effort to preserve this wonderful avenue however, the National Trust has planted a new avenue of hornbeams outside the original avenue. The new trees will provide similar autumn tones to the beech but are more suited to the current environment. It can never replicate the beauty of the beech and the cynical part of me thinks that they have been planted so far apart so that the road can be converted to a dual carriageway.

It is sad to think that these 180 year old trees may not be there much longer but for the time being at least, these magnificent elder statesmen can be enjoyed still.

The Old and the New

The Old and the New

It is possible to walk beside the avenue but the road is very busy and noisy with traffic so my route today takes me straight across the road and on up the hill towards my next historic landmark on this short walk. Following ancient trackways, my route takes me through farmland and past old cottages hidden in the trees. I often wonder what it would be like to live in these remote dwellings that seem so idyllic on a beautiful sunny day such as this. Certainly there are views to be enjoyed, but much more besides…..

The Farm Track

The Farmstead

Photography and blogging have secondary benefits – they make you think about your surroundings and notice things you might otherwise just walk past like the picture below. A small remnant of autumn leaves picked out by the sunshine with its shadow being cast on the trunk of the tree – somehow that tiny detail grabs my attention as the branch, and its shadow, gently sways in the breeze, an ever changing picture.

Leaf, Branch, Trunk and Shadow

Leaf, Branch, Trunk and Shadow

Before long, I reach my next historic landmark, Badbury Rings. This ancient hill fort dating from the Iron Age was developed in two phases, with the second phase virtually doubling its size. Its ramparts form an almost perfect circle and although it is only 100 metres above sea level, there are glorious views all around. The picture below was taken at a slight dogleg in one of the ramparts and shows the well known Point to Point course surrounding the brown field below and beyond that, the now disused Tarrant Rushton Airfield.

The latter mentioned was built during the Second World War and its main action during that conflict was to be the take off point for troop and tank carrying gliders heading for France, towed by planes. After the war its main purposes were the development of drones and the conversion of planes for in-flight refuelling. It officially closed in 1980 and has been returned to agriculture, although its old hangers and some of the runways are still visible.

Walking the Ramparts

View from the Ramparts

There is nothing better than a walk around the full circle of one of the ramparts. Being exposed, the walk is always bracing and there are views in all directions. Once part of the Kingston Lacy Estate, this hill fort is now owned, along with the house itself, and indeed Corfe Castle mentioned earlier, by the National Trust and it is a popular  walking area. There is always a great feeling of spaciousness and freedom which I love.

Walking the Ramparts

Rampart Walk

Around the hill fort itself there are areas of ancient woodland and a stroll through these trees is always rewarding. In the spring there will be bluebells aplenty and there are piles of rotting wood, a haven for bugs of all kinds as well as lichen and fungi. I walked through these woods surrounded by a myriad long tailed tits and these are always a delight to watch as they frolic together like happy children just out of school. I spotted a tree creeper running up the bark of the tree nearest me – these often join with groups of tits. Winter is a good time of year to spot birds such as this as the bare trees make them so much easier to spot.

The Log Pile

Rotting Log Pile

All too soon, it was time to make my way home. I love watching birds, or indeed wildlife of any kind, even if it is just the humble robin or long tailed tit, but my constant coughing tends to give my presence away! I made my way down the path in the picture below and crossed the avenue once again.

Through the Shrubbery

The Way Home

This was such a great walk even if it was so short. Just to be out in the sunshine after so many wet, grey days was invigorating and I made my way home a happy man. There is just so much to be enjoyed in this amazing county that I call home.

Thank you for walking this way with me. Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler


If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Of a year well spent, the new one to come, resolutions to make or break, creativity….and mountain gazelles!

5 Jan

My first blog entry of 2016 and first of all may I wish you all a very happy, healthy and blessed 2016! May it bring you everything you wish for.

The end of the year is always a good time to review the last year and think about the new year to come, a blank sheet of paper to be filled with……what? Well, we will come to that later but what of 2015?

Morning Light on Bannerdale

Bannerdale on the Coast to Coast walk

It’s been another good year for walking – a shade under 2,000 miles covered in the 52 weeks and all very enjoyable. The type of walking seems to have changed, especially in the winter where there is much more tramping through water and mud than there used to be, but hey, that’s life……and I am not one to be put off by a bit of surface water……though a return to nice cold, frosty winters would be welcome :) . I have to say at this point though that I feel very much for those who live further north and who have been flooded out so many times again!

Crackpot Hall

Crackpot Hall on the Coast to Coast walk

The highlight of the year in terms of walking was surely the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk that I completed in May. Over 200 miles of the most superb scenery imaginable, crossing three National Parks from St Bees on the west coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast. So what are my memories of that walk?

Well, the scenery of course but also the weather – cold frosty nights in the tent, freezing sleet whilst crossing the Pennines, heavy rain, strong winds, bogs and surface water, and beautiful sunny days too (well I am British so the weather had to feature :) )! But there are other things too – good company as this is a popular walk and there tends to be a good community feel to it, semi-wild camping (unfortunately the weather precluded wild camping in the mountains), my first experience of bunkhouse and hostel accommodation. Oh, and walking across boggy moors in a split pair of boots! This truly was a memorable walk and despite all the problems caused by the Jet Stream blowing south, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

During the rest of the year, I have continued to walk the beautiful Dorset Coast as well as many routes farther inland. These are always a pleasure no matter how many times I walk them as they are always different. I think probably the Purbeck Way has featured highly this year as I have walked it several times. Perhaps Durdle Door as well – I walked there with my son and daughter on the night it was lit up by lighting engineers and arrived too late for the show due to traffic chaos in the village and a rescue helicopter that was trying to airlift an elderly man who had sadly had a heart attack on the cliff top. It was a memorable enough evening simply because I was doing a night hike with my children on my birthday.

Gold Hill

Gold Hill in Dorset

Something else I have done a lot more during the year is to explore local paths accessible from my home without the need to get into the car. In part this came out of a photographic project I set myself which I called ‘Looking for the Local WOW Factor’. The fact is there are unlimited amazing sights on your doorstep if you really look for them and you do not need to travel to the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls in order to come out with the WOW word. This is perhaps one of the benefits of photography, and perhaps blogging as well, it makes you really look around to see things that you might otherwise just pass by.

In the Spotlight

In the Spotlight – looking for the local WOW factor!

One of the other things I have really enjoyed this year is my even more local walks with my son, Paul, and grandson. Sammy is only 2 so can’t yet walk distance, plus his sense of direction is ‘random’ :) but we explore local woodlands or the beach with Sam acting as leader and Paul and I acting as sherpas, usually both finishing up with handfuls, and pocketfuls, of sticks, stones, seashells, leaves and other paraphernalia that Sam collects on the way. We call it the Mountain Gazelle Club because little Sammy loves to climb over rocks and trees or anything else in fact :) – mini mountains ! He loves it and so do we – these are very special and precious times spent with two of my favourite people and I treasure the memories.

One of the good things about 2015 is that my ankles have continued to hold up ok even whilst backpacking the C2C with a 20kg pack. They do create problems at times but not enough to stop me walking so the arthritis is not worsening too quickly for which I am thankful.

Another highlight of the year was the visit by the BBC Countryfile team who wanted me to give them a guided tour of some Dorset Holloways with a view to appearing on the programme. Unfortunately it hasn’t been filmed yet but hopefully in 2016…..

The Magical, Mystery of Dorset's Holloways

The Magical, Mystery of Dorset’s Holloways

I don’t know if you make new year resolutions? I don’t because they are psychologically doomed to failure because they are often knee-jerk reactions to over indulging during the Christmas period. However, I do review my life regularly and plan changes that I would like to make in the future. This applied particularly when I retired as I didn’t want to just ‘drift’. I went through this process in November 2014 and one of the things I listed was to make more of my garden.

Prior to that it was pretty much lawn and shrubs with a line of large Leylandii along the bottom fence. These were becoming increasingly difficult to keep in check and they were also draining all the goodness out of the soil, not to mention keeping the garden in shade, meaning that I couldn’t grow much. So I made a plan for the garden and have pursued that throughout 2015 and I now have a conifer free garden, a raised vegetable bed, a potting shed, a water butt – in fact, everything I need for a productive kitchen garden.


Part of the new kitchen garden

Add to that the start of my new foraging interest plus pickling and preserving, and a bit of cooking, and its been a productive year.

So what about the coming year? As I have said, I don’t set new years resolutions but in December I did review the plan I prepared 15 months ago to see if I was on track or if variations were needed. Predominantly I am on track so it will be more of the same but with some additions.

Walking and everything outdoors/nature of course is still high on the list and I have already started to think about which end to end walk I would like to do in May. The shortlist at the moment includes the West Highland Way plus an extension possibly to take in Ben Nevis, St Columba’s Way which is an old pilgrimage route running across Scotland from the island of Iona to St Andrews on the east coast, or possibly the Wainwright Coast to Coast again – yes, I enjoyed it that much!


An oil painting from many years ago


A recent rough sketch

One the things I have also included is more creativity outside of photography. Many many years ago I used to paint in oils but I moved away from that when photography took over. Over the last year I have dipped into a bit of sketching again but I would like to develop that more in 2016 and follow other artistic pursuits.

There is far more on my list but I will not bore you with more save to say that I would like to review this blog and what I, and you, want to get from it. I set up a Facebook page in 2015 and I share pictures regularly on that and I have seen some growth in that and the blog page but does the style or content need to change to make it more interesting?

If you have any thoughts, please do send me a message as your feedback would be very welcome.

Thanks so much dear friends for all your interest, likes and comments over the last year and I hope you will all have a fantastic 2016.

Your friend The Dorset Rambler


If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Only the Girl in the Poster Seems to Dance

11 Dec People at Work - The City Busker

Now I love walking in the countryside far away from….hustle and bustle, the daily drudge, telephone and traffic, noise and noisier people, places, pets and parping horns….to be just me with the peace of the countryside enveloping me as mist clings to a mountain. I like to be lost in lush and leafy lanes, heathery heathlands, fertile forests, hilltops and coasts. These are the places I am totally me.

Despite this, I can find pleasure wherever I am, even in a busy city….and we visited one recently on a cold and grey December day for the Christmas Market. Now, as a photographer it is good to push the envelope, to broaden the boundaries, so while we were in the city I decided that I would set myself a project which I call ‘People at Work’. This pushes me out of my comfort zone because my intention was to approach complete strangers to ask if I could take their photograph whilst they worked – not something I am comfortable with.

So these pictures are the first few from this new project.  They are people I met and talked to along the way, and I have written some words to go with them.

Only the Girl in the Poster Seems to Dance

The clothes seller sells her colourful wares,
To chilly people who are full of their cares,
Her cheerful smile adds light to their day,
As they shiver along on their wearying way.

People at Work - The Knitwear Seller

The toy seller sits behind his stall,
Surrounded by toys, he made them all,
Which children will these things delight?
Whose tree be under on Christmas night?

People at Work - The Toy Maker

The artist sketches a beautiful girl,
All wrapped up against the winter chill,
It’s not complete, there’s more to do,
But already the likeness is coming through.

People at Work - The Street Artist

The crooner sings a smooth soothing song,
People rush by, they can’t wait too long,
But they walk away with music in ear,
To bring a bit of good Christmas cheer.

People at Work - The City Busker

The hot-dog seller, a pretty young girl,
Hair tied back to tame her curls,
Provides some food to help shoppers shop,
And a little warmth from her burning hob.

People at Work - The Hot-Dog Seller

The fiddler plays a bright merry tune,
I bet he wishes this was flaming June,
Is anyone listening I wonder perchance, as
Only the girl in the poster seems to dance!


People at Work - The Violinist

Everyone I have asked since starting this project has been very willing to pose for my camera so thank you to all my subjects. There will be more to come!

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

Your friend
The Dorset Rambler.


If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.


Daily Picture

24 Sep

This was a shot I took on a recent walk along the sea front. There were lots of children running around and playing but this little girl was just stood watching the sea and the waves. It was late afternoon and warm light from the low sun was striking the girl making her stand out from the darker sea.



The contrast between the frail child’s body and the powerful sea just struck me and it seemed like she was just waiting for the sea to swallow her up. I processed the picture to try to bring out this feeling of threat and the inevitable frailty of human life in its physical form. Fortunately of course, the physical life is not all there is…….!

A couple of days after I took this picture, the body of a 3 year old boy was washed up on a Hungarian beach as the family tried unsuccessfully to sail across to Europe. This sad event that was reported world wide just seemed to make this picture more poignant so I thought I would share it on my blog.

On a technical note, it was taken using a 500mm lens that has the effect of compressing the perspective which adds to the feeling that I was trying to convey.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

Your friend
The Dorset Rambler.

If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Coast to Coast – Day by Day

14 Jul

If you have been following my posts, you will know that I recently walked the Wainwright Coast to Coast Path, a 200 mile route across the north of England. I have already blogged my experiences but I thought I would post one last entry giving a very brief summary of each day as I remember it, mainly for anyone who is thinking of completing this great walk. The idea is to just give a flavour of the paths, terrain, difficulties on the route etc to help with your planning.

Day 0 – St Bees to St bees Head – 3 miles

A day spent mainly travelling up so just a few straight forward miles along the coast path to reach my first accommodation.

Day 1 – St Bees Head to Ennerdale Bridge – 13 miles

Good cliff top path to start, some roads, some slightly muddy paths at Stanley Pond, steep climb up Dent Hill (350 meters), steep drop down other side, lovely walk through Nannycatch, road/roadside into EB. Some tiny kissing gates to negotiate, plus one high stile. Care re route needed at Stanley Pond, when leaving Cleator and at Dent Hill.

The path beside Ennerdale Water

The path beside Ennerdale Water

Day 2 – Ennerdale Bridge to Borrowdale – 18 miles

Road to Ennerdale Water, rocky path beside lake, wide forest track to Black Sail, steep and rocky climb to Brandreth (600 meters), old tramway down to Honister, good paths or road into Borrowdale. Care re route needed when leaving Black Sail Hut and when crossing the top from Brandreth to Honister in bad conditions.

Day 3 – Borrowdale to Grasmere – 9 miles

Good but rocky path along valley, steep rocky climb up Greenup Gill, boggy across the top of Greenup Edge (600 meters), good ridge walk, steep drop into Grasmere. Care re route needed when crossing the top of Greenup Edge as it is boggy and the path can be indistinct.

The path to Angle Tarn

The path to Angle Tarn

Day 4 – Grasmere to Patterdale – 8.5 miles

Road and good track to Great Tongue, steep and rocky climb to Grisedale Hause and Grisedale Tarn (600 meters), rocky but good path beside Grisedale Beck down to Patterdale, and then mainly farm track or road into the village.

Day 5 – Patterdale to Shap – 16.2 miles

Generally good paths via Boredale Hause to climb steadily to Angle Tarn, good path to the Knott and across Kidsty Pike (760 meters), steep descent to Haweswater, rocky and undulating path alongside lake, flatter and lower level paths to Shap. Last part can be muddy. Care re route needed on Boredale Hause and on the approach to High Street in order to not miss the Kidsty path.

On Kidsty Pike

On Kidsty Pike

Day 6 – Shap to Kirkby Stephen – 22 miles

Roads and fields out of Shap crossing railway line and motorway, boggy across Crosby Ravensworth Fell, road and fields to Sunbiggin, moorland tracks to Smardale, more moorland tracks with some road and fields into Kirkby Stephen. Care re route needed on Crosby Ravensworth Fell.

Day 7 – Kirkby Stephen to Keld – 13 miles

Road and then wide moorland tracks out of Kirkby Stephen, extremely boggy with indistinct paths across much of the Pennines (depending on which route you take), some road walking on the Green Route, better paths after Ravenseat Farm. Avoid the high level route in bad weather. Expect lots of surface water if the weather has been wet. Great care re route finding needed on the boggy moors.

Day 8 – Keld to Reeth – 14.4 miles

I took the low level route where there are good straightforward paths mainly beside the River Swale, some climbing, many narrow gated stiles to negotiate, many small fields to cross. No real route finding problems on the low level route although some care is needed on the high level route.

Narrow gated stiles

Narrow gated stiles

Day 9 – Reeth to Bolton-on-Swale – 20 miles

The day starts with a lovely walk beside the River Swale and part way up the valley side with lots more narrow stiles to negotiate, followed by farm land across mainly rolling hills plus some road walking. Richmond is a busy and bustling town. From Richmond, the walking becomes a bit tedious with A roads to negotiate and flat farm land to cross. There is currently a detour near Colburn/Caterick Bridge but no real route finding issues.

Day 10 – Bolton-on-Swale to Osmotherley – 19 miles

Country lanes, wide farm tracks and flat farm fields mostly until Ingleby Cross, then steeply climbing forest track followed by road into Osmotherley. For me, the most tedious day on the whole route. No route finding issues to speak of.

Day 11 – Osmotherley to Blakey Ridge – 18 miles

A day of two halves. The first half tough with many steep climbs – a roller coaster – but most on very well paved moorland tracks. The second half much flatter on high level wide moorland tracks. No route finding issues. Good way marking.

Looking back to Cringle Moor

Well paved paths on the North York Moors

Day 12 – Blakey Ridge to Littlebeck – 19 miles

Wide moorland paths or roads again for first 10 miles and all downhill till Glaisdale. Lower level walking along good tracks or road to Grosmont but a steep climb up roadway over Sleights Moor (700 feet) before dropping down to Littlebeck. No real route finding issues.

Day 13 – Littlebeck to Robin Hood’s Bay – 12 miles

Lovely walk along good paths through Littlebeck Wood, climb on roadway to Sneaton Low Moor, very boggy section across the Graystone Hills, mainly road walking from there to the coast, good walking along the coast path to finish. Care re route needed on the Graystone Hills.

In Littlebeck Woods

In Littlebeck Woods

This is not intended to be an exhaustive detailing of the route, just a snapshot of the route. The walking can be difficult with sections which are either very boggy or very rocky, paths which climb or fall steeply, paths which are indistinct and not way marked etc, but with common sense and a good map/guidebook there is no reason why anyone should get hopelessly lost. Obviously care is particularly needed in poor conditions.

I hope this brief summary will prove useful and that you will enjoy the walk as much as I did.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

Your friend The Dorset Rambler.

Comments and feedback on this blog are welcome. If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com.

If you would like to join me on my walks, my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/adorsetrambler.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.


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