Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Collett's 2016. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Collett's 2016. Show all posts

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A Weekend in Leyburn – 28 to 30 October 2016


This was another weekend for my ‘Pyrenean Friends’ and a few others deserving a treat, based at Collett’s lovely B&B in Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.

Last year’s visit is recorded here.

Sadly, some of last year’s participants were unable to come, but it was great to have Humphrey and Mary along – Humphrey’s efforts in producing my two ‘Pyrenees Adventure’ books being the inspiration for the weekend – and Mike and Marian, who are regularly so hospitable to us in Patterdale.

We are pictured above outside Eastfield Lodge on Sunday morning.

We had assembled there on Friday night. I’d cooked a fish pie and a couple of lasagne dishes that I thought would be more than enough. How embarrassing – I invited Henry Collett to join us, but the food ran out so he had to resort to his frozen reserves. Sorry Henry!

On Saturday, twelve out of our party of sixteen drove to Redmire for a 21 km stroll via Castle Bolton, Hazel Bank and Aysgarth, whilst Ali O had a day recovering from a stressful week, and Humphrey, Mary and Marian enjoyed a tour of some local racing stables.

The overcast day wasn't good for photography, so the pictures are very much ‘for the record’ with no attempt at ‘artistry’. At least it was calm and warm, excellent for walking.

Castle Bolton was soon reached.


Bolton Castle, in Castle Bolton, dates from C14. Mary, Queen of Scots, spent six months here in 1568 before being transferred to Tutbury in Staffordshire.

We headed along the excellent path past Ellerlands Edge below Carperby Moor.


Elevenses were supplemented by chocolate caramel shortbread.


After passing a lead mining area, we strode on, towards Hazel Bank and a pretty waterfall.


Beyond Hazel Bank we headed towards Aysgarth. Sue found a relic.


These Fordsons would soon be needed...


We crossed the River Ure and enjoyed lunch on a bank by the river.

Beyond Aysgarth, a good path led to the Falls.


En route we found a campervan stuck in a grassy field. Here's where we needed the Fordsons.


That was the closest we got, then the vehicle went backwards, almost reaching a fence.

Aysgarth Falls were not exactly ‘in spate’. Here are the Upper Falls, in need of a bit more frost and sunlight to brighten the spectacle.


Beyond the Middle Falls ‘Three Wise Men and Gayle’ were found sitting on a bench discussing the essentials of walking for the elderly. “Never pass a bench.” said the chap on the left. “Or a toilet” added Graham.


This chap looked on… “Are you sure you are on the right path, Graham?”


These two were so busy snarling at each other that they’d missed their lunch.


The Lower Falls – whilst Mick wandered above the abyss debating whether or not to take a bath, I attempted a picture of some rose hips.


Almost back at Redmire, a crossing of Apedale Beck offered alternatives to hopping across the rocks, in that Graham attempted to swim across (“I gave it my best shot” he said later, rubbing his knee) and Alan and Sheila found a place deep enough to wade across.


Others sought an alternative involving trespassing over a private bridge. Cheats.

Soon we were back at Redmire, risking the dangers of crossing the railway line before returning safely to the station car park. (We’d have used the train if the times had been more convenient.)

Here's our route, 21 km with 350 metres ascent, taking us 6.5 hours.


Then we adjourned for tea and cake (excellent, thanks Moira), some laptop based slideshows (‘Graffiti’ and ‘TGOC’), some photo books (very interesting, Humphrey) followed by a nice meal at .

Then I think some tasks for the future were handed to intoxicated victims. If true, this will become apparent in due course!

Sunday morning - Ali and Sue escaped the group photo as they needed to head back to Newtonmore to prepare for an important ‘draw’ for places in the 2017 TGO Challenge.


By the time various others had headed off due to commitments or injuries (Humphrey had bravely managed the trip despite recently breaking his leg), eight of us embarked on an anticlockwise circuit via Middleham.

We started off towards Wensley, passing a rather grey looking Wensley Church on another grey overcast day. But as we crossed the River Ure again, we could appreciate the warm, calm day, on which it was a delight to be able to slump into a warm heap for elevenses near the top of Middleham Low Moor.

Mick spotted a drone? Others puzzled over its location.


The golden eagle/drone/whatever moved on, leaving us with this pleasant view across the valley to Leyburn.


We were soon on the ‘gallops’ used by the racehorses for training. Several members of our own party had galloped past before I could capture the moment, eventually reaching a trig point at 236 metres before the grassy descent towards Middleham.


This Shaggy Ink Cap would have been tasty in its youth. Other mushrooms were picked. They smelt and felt lovely to eat, but after consultation with our mushroom guru (Heather T-S), we decided they would be great for our compost despite the minimal risk of eating them…


Middleham sports a dating from 1190, when it replaced an earlier structure. It fell into disuse and disrepair in the 17th century, but before that it was a most impressive and grand residence.


Middleham is a nice village in the centre of a number of horse racing yards, with an excellent tea room outside which it was most pleasant to enjoy lunch on the warm October day. Mick and Gayle had rushed off to iron some of Mick’s shirts, so they sadly missed this delight.


Field paths then led to our fourth and final crossing of the River Ure, over the castellated Middleham Bridge, and the return to Leyburn via pleasant field paths.


Here's our route, 15 km, 250 metres ascent, taking 5 hours. Starting and finishing in Leyburn.

We were back at Eastfield Lodge by about 2.30. Conrad abandoned his poles and we all went home.

There’s a slideshow (58 images) here. The dreaded Google slideshow again – try clicking on the first image. There are captions, but Google may choose to conceal them from you.

That was a lovely weekend. Sue and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks again for coming.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Pena Prieta (2) and back to Timperley

I'm writing from EasyJet's Airbus A319 from sunny Bilbao to Manchester. We've had a superb week at Collett's Picos de Europa base near Potes, the highlight being yesterday's fine walk up Pena Prieta from Puerto de San Glorio (1600 metres).

Compared with earlier days the air was cooler and perhaps a little clearer. Crystal clear. The ten of us on this walk comprised Emma, Nicol and Lorna, Peter and Paula, the other Andrew, and four fifths of our team, Andrew having chosen a ride on the Fuente Dé cable car and a short walk from the top station (which he very much enjoyed).

We moved slowly, with lots of pauses, taking a leisurely nine plus hours over the 18 km walk with about 1000 metres ascent. Emma and Oscar had done the recce a week earlier in five hours. The going was easy, though some faltered during the final descent of cow tracks through rampant broom, and Paula didn't like reversing a short scramble on the final stretch before the long, broad ridge pictured in the previous entry.

Unlike our earlier high level walks, this one  enjoyed some fairly flat sections and featured many superbly positioned 'pause points'. Views extended from the Picos massifs to the Spanish plains to our south. There were lots of flowers, many of which will be pictured later, including an exciting (for Sue) discovery of Winged Greenweed. The local variety of chamois were frisking on snow slopes far below us.

We were late back, leaving us just a few minutes to change and shower before dinner, which was postponed for a few minutes to allow for beer o'clock.

Later, the other Andrew entertained us with the film from his video camera, played back through the Posada's TV.

We slept well and today enjoyed a leisurely start in the company of Oscar, upon whom 'cleaning duties' had fallen on another glorious day. Then we visited the museum, just a few hundred yards down the road, with its superb exhibits covering the fauna and flora and geology of the area, with films about cheesemaking, clog making, spinning, distilling, shepherding, etc, accompanied by discreet comments on the adverse effects on the environment of tree felling (reduces oxygen levels), cattle (too much methane) and other detrimental features of alpine industries.

After this pleasant interlude we hopped in the cars and visited Humphrey's recommendation, the church of Santa Maria de Lebeña, a wonderful building  that dates from 925. It has a separate clock tower. There are some later additions, but the main interior space is Mozarabic - pre-dating romanesque and perhaps reminiscent of a small mosques. For €1.50, visitors like us are locked into the church and treated to an entertaining talk about its history from a little old lady. There were laughs, but none of us knew enough Spanish to understand the jokes. We just sat there and absorbed some of the ambience of the place. Humphrey would no doubt love to have been there.

Then it was an easy journey via coffees outside a café in Panes. Once we were on the scenic motorway we stayed in sixth gear all the way to Bilbao. If only UK motorways were as free of traffic...

Hertz managed their (and most other major car hire companies) usual trick of upsetting me. The car was vetted and no damage and a full tank were confirmed. However, in order to get a receipt I would have been required to wait in a long queue, so the paperwork was handed in and I have no record of the clean bill of health, as getting the flight home was a higher priority than waiting in a Hertz queue. How do these companies survive/get away with their atrocious attitude to their customers?

PS All that Hertz stuff is fine I suppose - probably no repercussions. Manchester Airport wasn't much better today, with only a few e-passport readers working (long queues - good practice for Brexit repercussions) and nobody available to unload the bags from the plane. Otherwise a smooth journey with no 'Stag and Hen' problems - unlike on the outward flight!

PPS Can you spot all nine walkers descending through broom in the third picture from the bottom, taken near the end of yesterday's walk?

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Pena Prieta (1)

Today was a fabulous mountain day for the ten of us who climbed Pena Prieta, in the Cordillera Cantabrica. The return trip took nine hours, plus nearly an hour's drive each way. So we haven't had much spare time as we've also enjoyed a most sociable final evening here in Tama.

I will add more, but for the moment a picture taken near the summit of Pena Prieta, looking in the direction of the Picos de Europa, may whet your appetite for this area.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Pico Jano and a Monastery

On another fine morning with high cloud, all five of us enjoyed this short 9 km stroll from Dobargans including 500 metres ascent. (Yesterday's stats were about 27 km with 600 metres ascent.)

We were soon joined by another chap who we named "Go Away". In time, however, this friendly soul was renamed "Dog" or "Mutt", and Andrew protected him as we passed a herd of goats that were guarded by a couple of fierce looking Pyrenean Mountain Dogs.

The route was marked with at least 38 carefully positioned wayposts, so there was no chance of losing Dave. A proliferation of flowers and Sue's discovery of a Tasty looking Boletus mushroom illuminated our journey to the prominent summit at 2446 metres for a minor European convention with a Belgian mountain biker, a Dutch/German couple and several others. We got on fine once we'd all nailed our 'Remain' flags to the trig point.

Yesterday we saw Crag Martins and Short-toed Eagles, as well as the usual vultures and wheatears. Today's birds were tuneful but well camouflaged songbirds.

There were great views from the summit of both the Picos de Europa and the Cordillera Cantabrica mountains to the south.

An easy descent led us back to the car in 4.5 hours including lots of long stops.

Afternoon tea at Posada El Corcal was enhanced by the last of the brownies and a big slab of one of Cary's birthday cakes. We were joined by Nicol and Lorna, guests from Inverness who are warming up for a hut to hut traverse of the Picos arranged by KE.

Sue and I then visited the nearby Monasterio de Santa Toribio. It allegedly contains part of Christ's original wooden cross in an elaborate display. A nice chapel, and pleasant cloisters, briefly held our attention before we returned to base in keen anticipation of beer o'clock, which tonight was in Potes as Collett's have Wednesdays off.

Dinner at the La Sol Ore Ria restaurant rounded off an excellent day.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Cares Gorge

The Cares Gorge is a 'must visit' for anyone on a Picos de Europa holiday.

The five of us headed to Poncebos, just over an hour away, and enjoyed a coffee whilst hordes of folk set off on the path to the gorge. It took all morning to pass them.

Apparently the cloud was down to around 1800 metres, but this didn't hinder us on what was another fine day.

We met other Collett's clients as we progressed towards Cain, on the southern end of the deep cleft through which a canal runs deep and fast, providing hydro electric power for the area.

The gravel path is wide but it has steep drops that are reminiscent of Madeira's leads.

Lunch was taken by a busy bridge, from which Andrew retraced his steps, armed with instructions on how to order two (one would apparently be too hard) beers on his return to Poncebos.

Meanwhile, the rest of us found an ice cream shop in Cain. Sue found a cuddly cat. Then we returned by the same route past goats to join Andrew and his two beers.

Later, another lovely evening was spent on the Collett's table at Posada de Curcal.