Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hatfield, West End, Branton, and Bessacarr

This walk was mainly about getting in some mileage as part of my plan to walk a thousand miles this year; I managed nine miles today.

I caught the bus to Hatfield and headed straight for the nearby church to take some photos before walking back down the road towards Doncaster in order to reach the lane that goes across the fields to West End.

As I approached the hamlet of West End I passed two teenage girls, one of whom was walking backwards - maybe she didn't want me to see her spotty face.

I then continued along a dead straight track for about two miles; along here there was a pleasant artificial lake formed from an old sand quarry I'm assuming, and then further along a recently constructed lakeside development of bungalows, chalets, or cabins; neither location was shown on my map. I also spotted a couple of large domed buildings as I looked in the direction of the prison, and yet again these weren't on my map...I shall have to look at a more up-to-date version online.

The next footpath took me right past Boston Park Farm as I made my way towards Branton.

I soon heard the noise of an aeroplane coming in to land at the airport at Finningley.

Although I didn't realise it at the time, the next part of the walk was only intended for brides, or maybe wedding parties generally: I didn't see this sign until I'd walked along the section it was referring to.

I needed to pass through Branton for a few minutes before finding the lane that leads past the Yorkshire Wildlife Park - everything is well hidden behind walls and fences and so I could only take these photographs depicting the facilities and the animals.

It was only a short walk down to the main road at Bessacarr, from where I caught a bus back into town.

Friday, January 12, 2018

My Medical Conditions And How They Affect My Walking

My main medical condition, and the reason why I'm classified as being disabled and have been given a free travel pass and allocated my support workers, is my Asperger's syndrome. It doesn't really affect me that much when I'm walking, apart from the occasional abuse hurled at me because of my unusual posture and gait.

I also used to suffer from acid reflux oesophagitis which meant that if I bent down stomach acid would spill out and burn my throat causing me to cough for the rest of the day - since losing a lot of weight this isn't a problem now though.

Since my diagnoses of severe vitamin D deficiency nearly eighteen months ago and my subsequent treatment and recovery I've been feeling a lot better but there has been long term and permanent damage to my bones and muscles and so I need to be careful when I'm walking because the consequences of any accident will be far worse for me than for the average person.

Also in 2016, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; the only issue this presents when I'm walking is that I always need to remember to bring my tablets with me, which I need to take every time I eat a meal.

Overall my physical health is good at the moment, probably the best it's ever been, which is pretty impressive for a man of 55. I wish my social wellbeing was in such a healthy state though; I'm lonely and unfulfilled in my life. Walking, taking photographs, and writing for the blog does help though by giving me some sort of purpose in life; additionally I've joined a Facebook group for people who are over forty and are planning to walk over a thousand miles this year - so far I've only managed to log seventeen miles on two walks. The group should be good though; we'll be able to report on our progress and provide support and encouragement for each other.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Fox House, Grindleford, Eyam, and Hathersage

I travelled to Fox House, walked through the Longshaw Estate and arrived at the Grouse Inn up on the moors before descending to Grindleford.

En route I did a slight detour to the summit of Tumbling Hill to enjoy the panoramic views.

I took some photos of the church in the village, it's not very old, before climbing up to the footpath which heads southwards above the the houses to reach Goatscliff farm; there was a lot of fast flowing water in the beck and I struggled to cross the stepping stones, which were several inches underwater today.

I decided to walk along the road to Eyam, which has been closed for the last few years because of landslips - access has been blocked off using giant concrete Lego bricks.

I climbed out of Eyam, heading northwards for Bretton Clough; this photograph was taken from high up looking back towards the fields to the west of Eyam...they could be paddy fields in South East Asia if you use a bit of imagination.

I headed down towards the clough taking a path I hadn't used before and soon got lost as it disappeared. I soon found my way though, locating a more familiar path and then, after already having tightened my belt to the final hole, I had to use a piece of string that I always carry in my rucksack to tie tightly around my waist to prevent my trousers from falling down...I usually lose at least five pounds on a walk, maybe half a stone.

A few minutes later I walked past a large hairy photographer and his petite female 'friend' who was wearing a long heavy faux fur coat, and probably not a lot underneath - we all exchanged knowing glances, but nothing was said.

Just outside Hazelford Hall I slipped on some black ice on the road. I'll have some bruises, but that will be all. Fortunately I know how to fall in order to minimise injury - I learned how to do this on a performing arts course at college which I attended hoping to improve my communication and social skills.

I continued to walk along the road to Hathersage and arrived fifteen minutes before the bus did.

I estimate that I walked ten miles today, and added to the seven miles that I did yesterday means that I've now walked seventeen miles so far this year. I'm logging my mileage; I've joined a Facebook group for people aged over forty who are attempting to walk a thousand miles this year - we'll all be able to regularly make updates and support and encourage each other.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Bawtry, Austerfield, Newington, Misson, and Finningley

Today I visited the village of Misson on my walk; there's nothing particularly interesting to see there but it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit - just out of curiosity because although the village is in Nottinghamshire, and is the furthest north location in the county, in order to reach there by road you need to drive through areas of either Yorkshire or Lincolnshire.

I started my walk at Bawtry, a small pretty market town on the Great North Road.

I needed to walk along the road to the southern end of Austerfield, and then the turn-off for Misson. Just beyond Newington Hall as I was looking at my map to check the exact location of the first footpath I needed to take I received some verbal abuse from some young men in a white van; I'm good at ignoring this type of thing [it happens to me about once a week] but it's made me become very hard emotionally. If I ever had a soul it's now as hard as stainless steel...and just as cold.

For a couple of hundred yards the footpath went alongside the River Idle; along this stretch there was an unpleasant smell coming from some sort of industrial facility that was shrouded in steam or mist...a pungent, fishy, rotten, sickly odour.

The area near to the church in Misson is quite pleasant, but there's also a lot of bland modern housing in the village.

I continued along a track across the fields which eventually passed right next to Bawtry Golf Club and driving range. I then crossed the busy A614 road and the footpath continued through woodland and some grassy fields to Finningley, coming out quite close to the church.

A black and white day today for photography: Although it was quite dark at times and even drizzled a bit there were still some long periods of sunshine...they just didn't happen when I was taking any photographs.

I arrived home at just after one o'clock - it was only a half day's walking. That's alright though because it should be a much better day tomorrow and I've already got my route worked out for my walk in the Peak District.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Castleton and Mam Tor

I woke up a bit early this morning and so rushed to get ready and go to the railway station to catch the first available train to Sheffield to make sure I'd arrive in plenty of time to catch the first bus to fact I then had twenty minutes to wait at the bus station.

The bus pulled in to Castleton's tiny one stand bus station at nine o'clock; the weather was still quite murky and so I took some photographs in the village to give the mist some time to clear. It was improving all the time but I still couldn't see the tops of the hills, so I decided to delay setting off on my climb up to the summit of Mam Tor by eating my sandwiches in the shelter at the bus station - quite early, but this was my plan.

There was quite a bit of minor flooding today caused by the snowmelt and some of the footpaths I used as I was leaving the village were functioning as fast flowing streams.

Mam Tor, at nearly 1,700 ft above sea level is the highest point of the Great Ridge and remained shrouded in mist most of the day, but at least visibility was good enough for me to be able to climb up there...and the last few yards to the top are easy, whatever the conditions.

When it's slippery, coming down is always a lot more difficult than going up. I took my time getting back down to Castleton; by the early afternoon I was surprised by the number of people now climbing up the mountain. As I was just beyond the Blue John Cavern it was particularly difficult underfoot in places, and these places seemed to coincide with the spots where people were taking their dogs for a walk, either running free or on leads. The dogs were causing a lot of problems; for their owners if kept on a lead, and for everyone else if not. I didn't say anything; there was nothing I could think of to say to the people...there was nothing I could tell than to do, or not to do, so I didn't bother. I needed to concentrate on where I was placing every step anyhow.

A bus wasn't due for about forty minutes when I arrived back down in Castleton and so I had another wander around and took some more photos.