Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Taken by surprise again?

28th May 2009

About this time last year, I was feeling a tad sore after a weekend in Scotland where I was surprised by some of the best weather that I had seen there in a while. It was as if I was taken by surprise and reluctantly left because I was of the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that a certain lack of planning meant that I may not have made the most of it. Looking back on it now, it may not have been as wasted an opportunity as I thought it to be at the time. After all, that Sunday sojourn on Kerrera sharpened my appreciation of island scenery and perhaps inspired the Hebridean island hopping session that occupied me for a week later on in the year.

This year, with various things that have been going on in my life together with a stretch of lacklustre weather, I would have been forgiven for being surprised by the weather yet again, just like last year in fact. Now that I think of it, the weather has behaved similarly on both times. The run up to the same weekend last year would have been no preparation for what eventually arrived either. However, there is an important distinction between the two years: the locations blessed by good weather. Last year, Scotland got it better and had a generally good May with the TGO Challenge seeing more dry sunny days than usual. England did better this time around but it all depended on where you were and when you were there; it turned wet in Cheshire on Monday.

Overall, Cheshire did well with a steadily improving Saturday that coaxed me out on the bike in the evening time after an afternoon shopping expediton. Sunday was even better and I spent my afternoon and evening on a stroll from Leek back home by way of Tittesworth Reservoir and Danebridge. On Monday, I popped up to Cumbria to hike the Cumbria Way from Coniston to Skelwith Bridge before skirting Loughrigg Fell on the way to Ambleside. That was the cause of taking me through a honeypot or two (Tarn Hows comes to mind as a particular fleshpot) but the quieter parts more than made up for this.

One plan did fall by the wayside and that was the idea of following the Derwent Valley Heritage Way north from Baslow until either Grindleford, Hathersage or Bamford; the end point was to depend on progress and the time of the next train home from either of these stations. The plot certainly was fluid but a late bus caused its abandonment on Sunday so it goes onto the ideas shelf for another time. Another route option is to go around by Baslow Edge, Curbar Edge and Froggat Edge, proper hill wandering if you will and a variation of the original theme, but that also still awaits its opportunity and goes beside the DVHW on that proverbial shelf.

All in all, I cannot declare 2009’s Spring Bank Holiday weekend wasted and, anyway, that’s not the way that I feel about it at all. Any period of time that allowed chances for walks and cycles can only have been used well and, as if that were not enough, it has sown the seeds for future excursions too so it has been more than fruitful. Having more good weather than was expected can be a test too because you need to pick where you want to go when the temptation is to go out and gorge yourself; having only so much time has its uses. Trip reports for the walks themselves should follow but there’s the prospect of good weather next weekend so that may cause the postponement of their appearance. Of course, that depends on how things come together and only time will tell on that score.

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