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!

Spaisteoireacht and stravaiging

12th March 2015

While playing with the Google Translate menu that I recently added to the navigation bar of this website, I discovered that words like explorations, jottings and wanderings are not always translated into other languages. One of these occasions was with the Irish language (the term “Irish Gaelic” is not one that I abide) that I learned during my schooling in Ireland. However, I also rediscovered a word that sounds wonderful to me: spaisteoireacht (try pronouncing it as spash-tore-ukt, speeding that up after practising it a few times). An entry in the online dictionary from Foras na Gaeilge translates the word as walking, strolling, sauntering or promenading. To my mind, that makes it sound like the Scottish word stravaiging, albeit without any insinuation of aimlessness about the business.

Bollinhurst Reservoir from Lyme Park, Disley, Cheshire, England

The Cage, Lyme Park, Disley, Cheshire, England

Unlike much of last year, much of my walking this year has fallen with the confines of spaisteoireacht rather than anything more strenuous. It also has remained largely local too. For instance, my return from Ireland after my father’s funeral was disrupted by snow and I took the opportunity to get out for a walk around by Prestbury with a lot of melt water around in the places. That was enough to overwhelmed my “knocking around” pair of Regatta boots and drench my feet though the whiteness was a delight to the spirit. A pair of Wellington boots has been acquired from Go Outdoors since then in preparedness for a return of any such conditions later in the year or beyond that again. Later that weekend, I paid Lyme Park an afternoon visit and the white covering still was very much in evidence everywhere I looked or trod and the photos show what I mean.

Shining Tor from Cat and Fiddle Inn. Macclesfield, Cheshire, England

Grinlow Tower, Buxton, Derbyshire, England

Axe Edge from Grinlow Tower, Buxton, Derbyshire, England

Several trips to Buxton came to pass too and the first of these had me crossing the hills from Macclesfield on one of the few buses that travelled that way on the day. There was plenty of snow up there so that may explain why my bus for the return journey was conspicuous by its absence. A train journey was in order since the temperature very was dropping at that stage. More recently, I repeated the journey with buses carrying me both ways, though the outbound one broke down and had to stop at the Cat and Fiddle Inn and await a replacement. The beeping noise being made as the ailing bus limped the final part of the way to the inn certainly had me thinking that it would not been a bad afternoon to be disrupted up there with unexpected sunshine lighting all the surrounded us. Others may have pondered the prospect of patronising the pub but it was photos that I was after. When I finally got to Buxton, I made for Grinlow Tower and without ignoring the delights of the Pavilion Gardens. It was blustery up high and the gusts that came made photography a shaky business so I could have done with a tripod. Even so, pleasing images were made and I came away happy.

Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat from Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland

There was a trip to Edinburgh too and that had me revisiting old haunts from my university days up there. Places like Blackford Hill, Morningside, Bruntsfield, the Meadows and the city centre, along with Dean Village, Stockbridge, the Botanic Gardens and Inverleith Park gave shape to what essentially was a stravaig. The sky was blue, and the sun was out too so it was a glorious day for some strolling and there is more exploring to be done around Blackford Hill and another trip along the Water of Leith towards the Edinburgh would not go amiss either.

My mind has been travelling overseas too but I am reminded that I should be making time for some hill country wandering too. The closest that I have got is what I have mentioned above and there was following a stretch of the Macclesfield Canal too. Ideas have not been collated but catching up on trip reports from the past year of too may sort that.


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