Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Reflections of Liverpool

 Blisters have now finally healed and this week I visited Liverpool in the North West of England. It is many, many years since I was last there so there was much to see. Liverpool was a large port and much of its history is based in that area. Nowadays, as in many of our cities, the docks have gone and the warehouses have been transformed into fancy apartments, hotels and museums.

 Around the Albert dock is the Maritime Museum, which includes the Slavery Museum and close by is the Tate Art Gallery

Close to the Albert Dock is the Open Eye Gallery which is great for reflections.

 This is the Museum of Liverpool overlooking the River Mersey.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Malham Cove

Whilst in Yorkshire a couple of weeks ago I visited Malham Cove. It attracts many tourists but it was a miserable afternoon so was fairly quiet. Malham Cove is a natural limestone formation with a large, curved limestone cliff

A popular place with rock climbers.

Originally a large waterfall cascaded over the cliff from a melting glacier above. This dried up about 12,000 years ago. Below the cliff now is a small stream which emerges from a cave below the cliff.

Walking to the top of the cliff you see some wonderful views.

On the top of the cliff is this amazing limestone pavement.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, 15 May 2015

Reflections of Tin Pan Alley

Tin Pan Alley or to give it its correct name Denmark Street is off Charing Cross Road near Soho. In the 50s and 60s this short street was the centre of the UK music industry. The most important music magazines at that time, The Musical Express and the Melody Maker had their head offices here and the recording studios on the street were used by The Kinks, Rolling Stones and Elton John

Close to Tin Pan Alley there is major redevelopment happening and it is unlikely that this street will remain. A few shops and the 12 bar club closed at the end of last year. So marks the beginning of the end of a little bit of musical history.

There are more guitar shops around the corner on Charing Cross Road.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Last day: :Levisham to Robin Hood's Bay

The moment I had been dreading had arrived as I tried to put my boots on this morning. I had tried to protect my heel as much as possible but no amount of dressings could ease  the pain of putting my right foot into my boot. At first I thought it wouldn't go in but I finally managed to ease it into the boot. When I stood up the pain was excruciating, far worse than I imagined. I couldn't put my foot on the ground and was hopping about. It seemed that after walking 83 miles this week the last 17 would not be possible but I couldn't bear the thought of coming so far and not completing the challenge. After a few deep breaths I managed to begin walking in a strange crab-like crawl. Looking over at Tina she was also suffering with blisters on both her feet so the two of us urged each other on. After all it was only a 17 mile walk today.We knew from the past few days that once we had walked  a few miles the pain would ease as the numbness set in.

Steve decided to try and distract us from the pain by a display of legs for the final day. Last year the weather was much warmer and Steve entertained us with his wacky dress sense but he's a lot more conservative this time. Still we couldn't help but smile at those knobbly knees

Our last morning group photo of the trip. These daily photos would take an age as Paul and I would set up the timers and then get into place. Inevitably either one camera wouldn't go off or we were too slow to get into position. Today I didn't even try, I just asked Paul to set my camera off so I wouldn't have to move.

Our walk continues over the North Yorkshire Moors and today we had the choice of walking around or going across the Hole of Horcum. This is a spectacular feature of the National Park. It is a natural amphitheatre of more than half a mile across and four hundred feet deep. We decided to walk around it and to remain walking on a level surface. Jim set off at a good pace which Tina and myself knew we couldn't follow but we also knew they would wait for us at crucial points en route.

Views of the Hole of Horcum

Tina and I were delighted to get to this signpost as it meant  we had walked 3 miles and what was even more remarkable was that we had achieved a speed of 2.4 mph.
We didn't know what the large pyramid shaped building in the distance was but the map told us it was RAF Fylingdales Radar station. As we had to walk past the station it was in our sights for a long time.

There are a number of stone crosses on the moors. This one is known as Malo cross and as far as I can find out, it dates back to around 1610 and was  erected as a boundary marker. At the top of the cross are the initials K with R E underneath (Sir Richard Egerton, Knight). Below that is the mark of the stone mason

As we got closer we could see RAF Fylingdales  more clearly. It became operational in 1963 as one of 3 radar sites in the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, the other  two being in Alaska and Greenland. Its mission statement states: 'To provide an uninterrupted ballistic missile warning and space surveillance service'

An exciting moment as we reached a sign post to Robin Hood's Bay- our final destination.

Our first sight of the sea!

You would think that now we could just about see the sea the need for map reading would be unnecessary, but no, we didn't want to walk an inch more than we had to, so it was important we followed the correct path and arrived at Robin Hood's Bay from the right direction.

A rare event - a mobile phone signal.

This path had large tyre tracks possibly from the ranger's vehicle as this is a National Park and a protected area for all the nesting birds.

Shocked when I looked down to see these tadpoles swimming around in the puddles of water created in the ruts on the track.

Where the rain water had evaporated we could see the black, dried up remains of  tadpoles.

The wind was howling across the moors so we huddled down by the side of the track amongst the heather for our lunch break. It was very cosy. The only problem was having to get up again and start walking.
Tina hobbling along well behind the others.

Tina, spurred on by the sight of the sea soon got into a good rhythm whilst I lagged further and further behind.

 I will catch up!

We could now see Robin Hood's Bay a few miles away.

Just needed to follow the coast round to the bay.
However there were a number of ups and downs before we got there.

We had to walk down to Boggle Hole. This used to be a notorious smugglers' haunt.

The name comes from the word boggle or goblin that is said to haunt the area.

It was a tough last mile mainly because of the descents and inclines. Tim was also having difficulty walking and at one point had to come down the steps backwards. My only regret is that I wasn't close enough to record the action!
 Find it hard to believe but yes I made it! I can now say I have walked across England.

 It's traditional to dip your feet in the sea when you arrive. I was content to watch the others.

Thank you to Tina, my cheerful and encouraging room mate who never let the blisters get her down; to Tim with his knowledge of gizmos  and endless sense of fun as the butt of many jokes; to Steve for his encouragement and support when it was needed the most; to Jim for all those chats we had when I could keep up with you at the front and then all your sterile dressings when I couldn't; finally to Paul for all the hours you must have spent planning the route, booking the accommodation and arranging our meals. It has been a real honour and pleasure to be part of this special group.
So, where are we going next year Paul?