Little and Often: January Progress Report


The Manor House Mill Brow.

These photos are from a Kirkby Lonsdale wander on Sunday morning. The weather was dull and damp again. S had rugby training and B was playing against Upper Eden (Kirkby Stephen). I took a wander down to Devil’s Bridge where a group of paddlers looked to be about to set off in one kayak and several open canoes.


Devil’s Bridge.

It looked like it would be fun, if a little cold.


Royal Hotel.



Market Cross and Abbot’s Hall.

This is Swine Market, close to both the river and the church. The market cross, which is medieval was moved here from Market Square in 1819 apparently and sometime in the nineteenth century the ball on the top was added. The house behind is Abbot Hall, also medieval according to a sign attached to the wall nearby, but seventeenth century if you believe wikipedia.



St. Mary’s.

TBH and I were out again later, to check on the Snowdrops in the woods by Hawes Water, which were indeed flowering, but my photo didn’t come out well in the gloom.

It all adds to the tally however. So, how am I going on in my bid to hit 1000 miles in 2018? Here’s my January calendar from MapMyWalk…

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 22.07.46.png

So, 56 walkabouts, none of them particularly long, but making just over 134 miles all told, far surpassing the 80 odd miles I need each month. Twenty-eight thousand calories equates, as anyone who has read as many books on food and nutrition as I have knows, to eight pounds of fat burned. Although both the calorie total and the assumption that a straightforward calories in calories out model is valid need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt in my opinion. I’m pretty sure I haven’t lost eight pounds, sadly. However, I’ll weigh myself tomorrow morning, then I can make a more informed comparison in a month’s time.

Bring on February.


Little and Often: January Progress Report

Heart-shaped Trots

Bottoms Lane – The Green – Stankelt Lane – The Lots – The Cove


Bottoms Lane Lime Kiln.

Years ago, when I first started this blog in fact, I used to read a blog called Cynthesis, now sadly defunct, in which Cynthia (see what she did there?) often posted photos of heart-shaped things she had found whilst out and about – leaves, stones, the cross-sections of logs, puddles, clouds, shadows, you name it – which were heart-shaped. I was struck by the frequency of her discoveries and a little disappointed when I failed to turn up any similar treasures.


Bottoms Farm.

It gives me a curious sense of satisfaction then, that this walk, one I’ve repeated many times recently in my attempts to chip away at my 1000 mile target, makes a pretty good heart-shape on the route map that the MapMyWalk App produces.



Snowdrops seem to be everywhere this week. I’ve tried several times to photograph them with my phone. I can’t decide whether my lack of success is user error, the lack of a decent close-up facility or the gloomy light which has prevailed.


Grey Stones (I think).

I should point out, that at no point on this walk did I break into a trot. Far from it, quite the opposite in fact, I was feeling under the weather and had been off work the day before with severe pain and stiffness in my shoulder and a temperature which I assumed was the beginnings of flu. Fortunately, both cleared up much quicker than I expected.

On Saturday morning we had all three kids in three different places, Little S was on his last outing with Cubs before moving up to Scouts, a trip to the dry-ski slope in Rossendale. A was attending Royal Institution Master Classes in Mathematics at Lancaster Uni and B was having his first lesson in Brazilian Ju-jitsu. We’d been making hasty contingency plans, since it didn’t seem like I would be in any fit state to do any of the driving, but in the event TBH took S and some of his peers to the West Pennine Moors  and, doped up on painkillers,  I managed the shorter journey with the other two.


Crinkle Cottage.

If anything the trip out seemed to do me some good and in the afternoon I felt up to a short turn around the village. I decided to stick to the lanes, due to the sorry state of the paths and used the opportunity to take some pictures of many features and buildings which I often walk past, but which never usually make it on to the blog.


Pillars at the entrance to Spring Bank.


I’m always tickled by these pillars which look to me like they ought to have something on top of them, a statue or a stone pineapple to somesuch. I don’t know whether they ever did have.


I do like an ornate wooden porch…



I was feeling in such fine fettle when I reached the village centre that I decided to extend my walk slightly by including the Lots and the Cove.



As to the post title: I’ve recently revived an old habit of stealing song titles for my posts (don’t know if you noticed?) and this one is an excruciating pun on Nirvana’s ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ which has always been one of my favourite songs of their’s and which has been stuck in my head a lot recently because I’ve been listening to Hackney Colliery Band’s cover version…

Heart-shaped Trots

Little and Often: Listed Lancaster


Millenium Footbridge over the Lune.

Half-baked projects have been a feature of this blog. Some of them – following the length of the Kent over several outings, bagging the Birketts, last year’s Lune Catchment outings – have been moderately successful, in their modest way, not that any of them have reached a conclusion, but they’ve been enjoyable and have all taken me to places I might not have visited otherwise. There have been other ideas which I’ve floated from time to time, but even the ones on which I haven’t made much progress – learning birdsong springs to mind – have given me pleasure despite the lack of significant gains. All of which being the build-up to the announcement of another hare-brained scheme of mine, but first, an aside…



…is Greyhound Bridge in Lancaster. It was closed today for repairs. Built in 1911, it was a railway bridge until the line was closed in 1966. In 1972 it was reopened as a road bridge.  It will be closed for at least 6 months. Apparently the repairs are necessary because the bridge is deteriorating at a rate which means that by 2029 it will be unfit for traffic. In the meantime, traffic will be diverted over Skerton Bridge, which will have to accommodate the traffic currently carried by both bridges,  and which, built between 1783 and 1787, is considered to be rock-solid. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

Anyway, my little projects: last weekend, after I had been admiring the many handsome buildings in Kirkby Lonsdale, I decided to see what I could find out about one or two of them, and it occurred to me to search the internet for listed buildings there. It transpires that Wikipedia has a handy page which gives some details on them all. Whilst I was reading through that list, it occurred to me that a similar page for Lancaster probably exists and that seeking out the buildings on that list would add some interest to my lunch time strolls.


St. John the Evangelist’s Church.

It turns out that Lancaster has well over 300 listed buildings. So plenty to go at. A small number have appeared here before. So, should I start from scratch? Does each building require a stroll and a post of it’s own? Multiple pictures? Interiors where possible? I shall have to give this some thought, otherwise gawping at and photographing the buildings will become too diverting and I shan’t be racking up the miles which was my original intention. Still, I think that this idea has legs.

Little and Often: Listed Lancaster

Sunday Morning Coming Down


By contrast with the Saturday, when the forecast had been a bit misleading, Sunday was every bit as foul as had been predicted. We had frost, hail, snow, fog and rain, rain and more rain. Little S was the lucky one – his rugby training was switched to the Sports Hall at the school, but B was outside on frozen ground with snow falling. Earlier in the week, when B had evening training, I’d walked along the Lune as far as Devil’s Bridge, which in the daylight is a very pleasant walk. It was okay in the dark too, but lacked a bit for views. Which is a shame, because the route passes Ruskin’s View, of which John Ruskin, poet, artist, critic, and all round good egg, said ‘one of the loveliest views in England, therefore in the world’.


So I went back for a proper gander on Sunday. Even on a miserable day it didn’t look too bad.


Also, I discovered that the panorama function on my ‘new’ phone works rather better than the one one on my camera.


I had a little wander around Kirkby Lonsdale. It’s a very picturesque place which deserves further exploration, perhaps when the light is better.


St. Mary’s Church.


Medieval Market Cross.


Tudor, mock tudor? The panels have clearly been decorated in the past.


Apparently the story is that Salt Pie Lane is so named because an enterprising lady used to sell Salted Mutton Pies here. The salt made her customers thirsty and drove them to the local hostelry – which was owned by one of her kinsfolk. Crafty!


Salt Pie Lane.


Later, the rain slackened off briefly, lulled me into a false sense of security and I went for a local wander. The rain didn’t hold off for long and I got drenched. I did find some Snowdrops flowering by the track which runs past our house though.


Sunday Morning Coming Down

When Saturday Comes


Hawes Water.

All week, the forecast was generally for pretty poor weather and usually proved to be accurate. But scanning through the icons for the days ahead, Saturday stood out. Sunshine predicted and lots of it; something to look forward to. Then, towards the end of the week, a dreaded downgrade, and now Saturday would be cloudy, but still with the prospect of some sunny spells. Except, when Saturday actually arrived, the much anticipated decent weather didn’t appear in tandem. It was raining again.

Towards the end of the afternoon, things began to brighten a little. TBH and I decided to take a punt and get out while the getting was good. We walked through Eaves Wood to Hawes Water, stopping when we met a friend from the village, to bemoan the weather and the exceptionally muddy state of the paths: every step was a squelch, or a slop, or a splatter, or a slither, or a splash. Conditions which TBH, a native of County Durham, describes as ‘clarty’.


Large ‘puddle’ in a field by The Row.

Then, quite suddenly, a few odd patches of blue clubbed together and somewhat surprisingly we had clear skies. Presumably, this was the clear spell which had originally been expected to arrive a little earlier.


Late mist.

We stopped again on The Row for a longer chat with another friend and former neighbour. He was advocating early retirement and wild-camping (i.e. roadside) in a camper-van, not that I need much persuading on either count.

It was already well past sunset by the time we got home. TBH wanted a cup of tea and had marking to get on with; I couldn’t resist the light and took a short turn around The Cove and The Lots to round off the walk.


It was a bit darker than this picture suggests. I spoke briefly to a couple who told me that they had been ‘getting high’ on the light and the colours in the sky. And why not.

When Saturday Comes

Ten Years After

Arnside Tower Interior View

Ten years ago today, I went for a short stroll around Eaves Wood on a damp unpromising day. One of the photos I took was this one of Arnside Tower and it became the first photo in the first post on this blog. Hardly an earth-shattering occasion, much as ‘I’d love to change the world’ (see what I did there pop-pickers?), but some kind of milestone for me at least.


Here are some photos of team Beating the Bounds from ten years ago, looking fresh-faced and clean-shaven. Especially the kids.


How times change.


When I asked B what we could do to mark this blogiversary he suggested that we should do the three peaks (although he actually has other plans for the day). He meant the Yorkshire variety and not, as I first thought, our local miniature version. He’s quite keen it seems. I’ve suggested that we defer until the days are a bit longer. I’m going to need those extra miles I’ve been planning to get under my belt!

Ten Years After

Towards the Waking

Eaves Wood – Castlebarrow – Ring O’Beeches – Waterslack – Hawes Water – Thrang Brow – Yealand Allotment – Yealand Storrs – Leighton Hall – Summer House Hill – Warton Crag – Crag Foot – Quaker’s Stang – Heald Brow – Woodwell – The Green


The forecast for last weekend wasn’t dreadful, but it didn’t create much gleeful anticipation either – it was for dry weather, but cloudy and dull. Actually, on the Saturday morning (when I was busy) there was a bit of sunshine, but when I got out for a walk in the afternoon it was so gloomy that I didn’t bother to take any photos at all.

On the Sunday morning, neither of the boys were playing rugby and I had contemplated setting off early and heading out for a walk in the hills, but, given the forecast, decided to walk from home instead. I was still out quite early, in time to catch the sunrise from Castlebarrow, by the Pepper Pot, or so I thought, but perhaps due to the cloud low in the eastern sky, the sun didn’t actually appear until I was heading through the woods towards the Ring O’Beeches.


I suppose it was the low trajectory of the winter sun which enabled me to apparently take several sunrise photos, each from a new vantage point, with probably about 50 yards between them.


This was a bit of a surprise: pale blue sky and clear sight of the sun.


From the boardwalk by Hawes Water, Challan Hall was catching the early light. Two Cormorants were interrupted by my presence and circled above the lake, before roosting in their usual spot in the dead tree on the far shore.


Hawes Water and Challan Hall.

In the fields near Hawes Water, I was entertained by a pair of Buzzards, one of which eventually  flew across my view, tantalisingly close to my lens, but sadly the only photograph I was quick enough to take came out blurred beyond recognition.

I was a little concerned that the forecast had misled me into making a poor choice and thought that a short diversion to the minor hummock of Thrang Brow would give me a clearer idea. I haven’t been there for a while; it has a view of the Lakeland hills, although nothing to rival the view from Arnside Knott or Haverbrack. Or rather, sometimes it has a view of the Lakeland hills; on this occasion I couldn’t see anything much beyond Arnside Knott and even that was a bit lost in the haze.


Arnside Knott from Thrang Brow.

I’m glad I went that way though, because then I remembered a small trod which wends it’s way through the woods and limestone pavements of Yealand Allotment and which I haven’t followed for quite some time.

My original plan, when I reached Yealand Storrs, had been to follow the road for a while and then climb into Cringlebarrow Woods, but for some reason I decided instead to cross the road and follow the path across the fields towards Leighton Hall. I hoped that the fields might have dried out a bit after a relatively rain-free week, but actually the going was very heavy. My hastily amended plan involved turning left at Leighton Hall Farm to cut up to Deepdale and so to Cringlebarrow Woods that way, but I could hear heavy machinery in operation and, thinking that there was some tree-felling underway, changed my mind again. Past the Hall and up Summer House Hill it was.


Leighton Hall and Leighton Moss from Summer House Hill.

The view from Summer House Hill can be a cracker, but once again, anything at all distant was looking a little murky.

The field at the top of the hill had bluey-green, or greeny-blue….stuff…spread across the surface…




…is the base of the former summer house which gives the hill its name. It had been very liberally…blued…


Does anybody have any idea what this is?


I’d just said hello to a couple who were walking with their dog, when I was surprised to see a Jay sitting calmly in a tree relatively close by. It’s not that I don’t see jays – I do – but that having seen them, I then usually almost immediately lose sight of them, because they are generally very shy and soon make themselves scarce. Since this one didn’t fly off, I thought I would play my customary cat-and-mouse game of edging forward with my camera and taking another photo every couple of strides. To my surprise, the Jay flew  toward me, down to the ground and then continued to hop in my direction before stopping to grub around in the leaf litter.


It was a shame that the sun wasn’t still shining: Jays are so unlike their monotone Corvid cousins, with their pink and blue plumage and their striped head.


Fortunately, the sun was soon shining again, if perhaps a little weakly in the haze.


Peter Lane Lime Kiln.

Lime Kilns are a bit of a feature of the area and I often pass them on walks, but rarely remember to take photos of them.

The same could be said of sheep…


…these few stood out because they are of an unusual breed for this area (I can’t work out which).


Warton Crag’s Easter Island Heads.

There’s been a fair bit of tree-felling near the top of Warton Crag, which I think will take a little while to get used to. The view from the top was predictably limited…



River Keer from Warton Crag.


More Tree-felling.


Quicksand Pool and Quaker’s Stang.


Brown’s House and the ‘smelting’ chimney from Quaker’s Stang.

For the last part of my walk the sun came out again.


Warton Crag and the salt-marsh from Heald Brow.

I like this time of year: it’s still winter, with the possibility of snow and ice, which is fine, but it also feels like we’re sliding inexorably toward spring.

When all sap lies quiet and does not climb,
When all seems dead, I cultivate
The wild garden rioting in my memory,
Count in advance the treasures which
The sleeping sap contains,

And winter runs from now toward
The waking of the sap and spring.

from Garland for the Winter Solstice  by Ruthven Todd.

Towards the Waking

Little and Often: Ever Decreasing Circles


Lancaster Canal and Cathedral.

I’ve been trying to get out at lunchtimes, partly to bump up my mileage, partly to get some daylight since it’s generally dark when I leave for work and when I get home again, partly to force myself to take a break, but principally because, once I’m out there, I enjoy it.

These photos were all taken on my phone, but on several different days.


The Judge’s Lodgings.

Last week, I walked the same loop three times: along the canal, down Moor Lane then up Church Street to the Judge’s Lodgings.


Then past Lancaster Priory and the Castle.


View across Lancaster from near the Priory.


Lancaster Priory.

…from where there’s a view across Morecambe and the Bay to the distant hills of the Lake District…


It’s a comfortable 3.29km, just right for a lunchtime. Or…well, it was 3.29km the first time I walked it. The second time it had shrunk to 3.14km and by the third circuit it was further reduced to only 2.99km. This week I’ve chosen to walk a different route on the basis that if I continued in this way then Lancaster might disappear altogether by June.

This wasn’t altogether a bad thing, because the new route took me past Penny’s Hospital, the almshouses on King Street.


And past Windermere House, now flats, but originally a Bluecoat school, first built in 1772, and then the Lancaster Charity School for Girls’, rebuilt in 1849-50.


And, next door to that, Trinity United Reform Church…


Or, actually, the former site of Trinity United Reform Church, since the church has recently moved out.


And across the road from there…


…this building which has an association with Thomas Mawson, architect and garden designer, who has often been mentioned on the blog before (because I’m very taken with his gardens).


There: I got through the whole thing without any reference to the Richard Briers sitcom.

Oh. Whoops.

Little and Often: Ever Decreasing Circles

An ¡Ándale! Walk


Look at that sky!

When we got back from Underley, I was keen to get out for another walk whilst the daylight and the good weather lasted. I fancied one of my favourite local routes from last year, which takes in Eaves Wood, Hawes Water, Yealand Allotment and Leighton Moss. I usually walk it clockwise, in that order, but it occurred to me that the path ’round the back’ of Leighton Moss might still be flooded, so went widdershins so that I could ask at the visitor centre. Which I did. I was assured that all of the paths around the reserve were open, by a volunteer, well-intentioned I’m sure, who may have been distracted by the fact that he was just about to go on his break.



…are daft creatures, apt to stay hidden until you’re almost standing on them and then burst out in a flurry of wings and calls, leaving you every bit as flustered as they clearly are. But this hen pheasant was one of several I saw last Sunday which were apparently completely sanguine about my presence.

The meres (and paths) were partially frozen over still…


I wondered what had caused these strange undulations and gouges in the ice in front of the public hide…


There were lots of ducks in evidence. Mainly Shovelers, Teal and Pintails. Judging by the reactions of the proper birders who were about, the Pintails are the most exciting of these.



I walked around to Lower Hide. The path was pretty wet and the last bit was iced over and decidedly treacherous.


Teal on the ice.

The onward path from there was barred with a notice saying it was closed because it was flooded. I went past it anyway, as I am wont to do. But not very far. It was flooded. Oh….blast!

Time’s winged chariot was hurtling on, as it is wont to do, the sun was low in the sky…


…and my plan was thwarted. What to do?

I contemplated the possibilities as I wandered back to the visitor centre.


Stopping briefly again at the public hide for another gander. There were cygnets…


And…a willow?…catching the lovely light.


And Black-headed gulls briefly launching into the air before making shallow dives into the water. I wonder what they were after?


I’d heard several people discussing the Starling murmuration, and since, slightly ridiculously, its several years since I’ve been at the Moss to witness that, one possibility was to wait to watch that. It seemed to me that the other sensible option would be to head down towards Quaker’s Stang and Quicksand Pool to catch the sunset. I chose the latter. But that meant a stretch of road-walking and a need for speed to find a good vantage point before it was too late.

So, I was in the unusual position of being in a hurry on one of my walks. Which is what made me think of Speedy Gonzales and “¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw!”. (Well that and the fact that ‘An ¡Ándale! Walk’ follows on quite satisfyingly from ‘An Underley Walk’.)


Quicksand Pool.


Little Egret.


Sunset from Quaker’s Stang.

Recent high tides had left a series of pools across the saltmarsh, making a nice foreground as the sun dropped into the Bay.


By the time I’d crossed the Stang and was back by Quicksand Pool, the sun had gone.


But again…


…it was great to be out in the gloaming, enjoying a subtle light-show…


The land reclamation wall at Jenny Brown’s Point.


 From near Gibraltar Farm and The Wolfhouse.

An ¡Ándale! Walk