Category Archives: Life

Untold Stories of High Haciendas

THE mountains are full of places where people lived, raised families and died. Their children and their children’s children have moved on. All that remains are stones and walls and the imagined echoes of humanity . . .

Posted in Archaeology, Death, Environment, Hiking, History, Life, Mountains, Ruins, Spanish Civil War | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Blaenavon – How Serene is My Valley

TODAY unfolds back to front. It begins with ancient history, progresses to sausages, peas and chips with gravy, and terminates in a breezy walk in the mist. That isn’t how it was planned. The original intention was an exhilarating ramble … Continue reading

Posted in Belfast sinks, Environment, Food, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Life, Mountains, Offa's Dyke, Politics, Railway goods wagons, Railways, Ranting, Recycling, Walking | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Starry, Starry Night

IT’S turned midnight and stars are burning. There’s a smell of autumn in the grass and draughts stir the flysheet. The summer isn’t quite dead but it’s fading. In the deep shades of night, lying still as a stone in … Continue reading

Posted in Beowulf, Camping, Death, Environment, Hiking, Life, Norfolk Broads, Seamus Heaney, Shipping Forecast, Walking, Writing | Tagged | 22 Comments

Green Remembered Woods

WANDERING through hay meadows. See twisted hawthorn trunks and rusted metal gates hanging from stone stoops; fields swooping down towards an estuary and distant Lakeland fells. Smell hay and damp fields after rain, the rich aroma of cattle and clover. … Continue reading

Posted in Childhood, Environment, Footpaths, History, Industrial archaeology, Life, Vikings, Walking, Writing | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

East of Ullswater – An Inland Voyage

THE steamer Lady Wakefield chugs down the lake with its cargo of day-trippers. This is the way to embark on a walk. Throb-throb of engines; white light shimmering on water; the scent of fresh-cut hay and its reminders of childhood; … Continue reading

Posted in Camping, Climbing, Environment, Hiking, History, Life, Mountains, Ranting, Walking, William Wordsworth | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments

London 5: Butchers, Saints and Sinners

BLOWN on a thin wind around a corner from the Barbican tube station past a private park surrounded by private railings to a place where knights once jousted on a meadow called the Smooth Field – which was situated just … Continue reading

Posted in Beer, Cookery, Death, Environment, Food, History, Life, Pigeons, Politics, Religion, Walking, Writing | Tagged | 14 Comments

London 4: William Morris and a Wander Through Walthamstow

A WIND to slice ears off whips across the entrance to Walthamstow Central tube station. The temperature is below zero degrees Centigrade and snow settles behind chimney stacks on bleak roofs. This is London at Easter. There are no bunnies … Continue reading

Posted in Beer, History, Life, Pigeons, Politics, Ranting, Walking, William Morris, Writing | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

London 3: A Cold Wet Walk for Pie and Mash

THE worst weather is wet snow. It saps the spirit and soaks through to the shoulders. When it whips off a river on an easterly wind it stings and sucks life from fingers and feet. Just as well we’re searching … Continue reading

Posted in Beer, Environment, Food, History, Life, Ranting, Religion, Walking, Writing | Tagged | 10 Comments

I Must Go Down to South Gare Again . . .

Searching for the meaning of life on the beach at Teesside . . . Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Hiking, Industrial archaeology, Life, Recycling, South Gare, Teesside, Walking | Tagged | 59 Comments

Mud: It’s Alive and Sticking

MUD. Don’t go there except with your feet. Let it fill your boots and stick like it’s supposed to. But don’t delve any deeper unless you want a shovelful of acronyms . . .

Posted in Environment, Footpaths, Geology, Hiking, History, Life, Ranting, Walking | Tagged | 27 Comments

Stanwick Camp – A Thorn in the Foot

A walk to Stanwick Camp – the capital of Brigantia . . . Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Environment, Footpaths, Great North Road, Hiking, History, Iron Age, Life, Stone Circles, The Romans, Walking | Tagged , | 32 Comments

Causey Pike – A Country For Old Men?

NEAR the summit of Causey Pike, where the heathery track gives way to steep rock, an elderly man sits on a boulder. He’s wearing a wide-brimmed hat and his white hair wisps about his ears. I get the impression he’s … Continue reading

Posted in Climbing, Environment, Ghosts, Hiking, Life, Mountains, Walking, Writing | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments