7 Squares in September

You might have noticed I’m not fond of single photo posts.  It’s a bit like my Six word Saturday syndrome.  I’m much better at excess!  So in joining Becky on Square in September I thought I’d go for seven.  That gives me one in hand, doesn’t it?  And I’m always forgetting to join Cee!

Do you have a favourite?  And what IS that last one, Jude?  Oh, and Happy Birthday Mr. B!

Jo’s Monday walk : A sally round Seahouses

Recently I ventured further up the north east coast than usual, to the little harbourside village of Seahouses.  Over the border and into Northumberland, in fact.  Aside from the beaches stretching north and south, the main attraction of this village is the prospect of a trip to the Farne Islands, a well-known seabird sanctuary.  Boat trips run to the islands year round, weather permitting, and from April to October it is usually possible to land on one of the islands for a closer look at the wildlife.  Puffins are the stars of the show.

I strolled along the pier eyeing the queues, and smiled when I came to the ticket office for Billy Shiel’s.  The Shiel family have been running boat trips to the islands since 1918, just after the First World War.  They started the business to supplement their income from fishing, escorting a few keen ornithologists. Allegedly there are 28 islands out there, but many of them are submerged at high tide.

I was on a coach trip that day, and had opted to spend more time at Bamburgh, just around the bay, so no boat trip for me.  I carried on around the harbour, in the direction of the golf links. Something to eat, maybe?  Those views across to the islands are very tempting.

There was bunting up in the village, and I like a warm welcome, but I discovered there was to be a bike race the next day.  No matter!  I felt welcome enough as I strolled back through the village.  It’s typical seaside, with buckets and spades, crazy golf and a smattering of knick-knack shops.

Back at the seafront I survey the scene.  It’s a wide and wild vista.  The craggy shoreline and harbour, and off in the distance the mighty bastion that is Bamburgh, my next destination.  Will the weather hold out for me?  I do hope so!

There are lots more details on the National Trust pages about the Farne Islands, including how to get there.  I think they’re worth a trip.

I expect you’re disappointed not to have something to eat?  Fish and chips are a popular choice around here.  You might remember that a couple of Saturdays ago I posed you a question?  I totally forgot to give you the answer.  Did I have chocolate and almond brownie or creme brulé? I could very easily have eaten either, but let me tell you the brownie was delicious!  Many thanks for staying with me.  I do appreciate your company.  Time to put the kettle on now, and share a few walks.  If you’d like to join in, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’re always very welcome!

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It’s a bit shivery, but undeniably beautiful where Amanda is this week :

Walking with Edmund at 760 metres

Bunkers on the beach!  Quite an unusual sight, from our man Drake :

Concrete nature

Come trainspotting in Hamburg with Lady Lee?

Holiday in Hamburg, part 2

You can always rely on Jackie for cake.  And the rest!

Wedding Cake

I love the diversity my walks attract.  How about some quilting with Violet?

263 times 120 feet

Things are looking a little brighter for Denzil this week :

La Foret du Pays de Chimay

I know nothing of Adelaide, but it looks like there’s plenty to know.  Please say hello to Anne-Marie :

Footsteps in Adelaide Walk Seven : Stepping Out along the Beach

And while we’re at the beach, look what Woolly’s found!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk34-Logans-Beach-Whale-Nursery

Not too many walks today!  It’s been the Summer hols for some of us.  Time to dig the boots out again. Have a great week!

 

Six word Saturday

The night the lights went out!

Fortunately we had a candle or two.  After we’d opened the wine and found batteries for the old radio, I started to play.

Isn’t candlelight pretty?  Wishing you all a great weekend.  Which 6 words will you be sharing with Debbie?

Longmynd Sculpture Trail

A teddy bear’s picnic,

Where else but in the woods?

Watched by two wise birds.

One last offering from Shropshire.  It didn’t seem to sit well on the end of Monday’s walk though that is when I saw them, in the grounds of the Longmynd Hotel, before we tramped wearily back into Church Stretton.  I love the owl but the bears are a bit creepy, don’t you think?

Have a good Thursday!

Jo’s Monday walk : Carding Mill Valley

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and heaven knows, there’s been enough of it lately, but I want to dedicate this post to the memory of Kate, who many of you knew as Rough Seas in the Med.  Kate died on 13th August.  I don’t know the circumstances.  This came as an enormous shock to me, and I cannot imagine how her partner, Adrian, is dealing with it.  Kate was a very straight-talking woman, with a very soft centre when it came to animals.  She loved her native Yorkshire too, and would often comment if I featured it. Regretfully we never met, though I once did visit Gibraltar briefly.  My thoughts are with her family and friends.  I’m sorry to start your Monday this way, but Adrian is in no position to pass on such sad news himself.  Rest in peace, Kate.

Last week I brought you with me to Church Stretton, in Shropshire.  I promised that I had something a little special in store for this week.  I hope you will agree with me that Carding Mill Valley justifies that.

My own expectations were high.  Rising to a lovely sunrise and clearing blue skies, I could hardly wait to get started.  I was staying at Arden House, on the very edge of Carding Mill Valley, and the owner had kindly supplied me with map and suggestions.  An 8 mile circular, through the valley, up to the heights of the Long Mynd and back down through Ashes Hollow, was the walk of choice.  I wasn’t sure that I had sufficient stamina for this, but there was the incentive, at the 6 mile point, of a highly recommended pub.  My companion approved.

Church Stretton was known as a centre of the textile industry, using wool from its abundant sheep.  The carding mill was built in the valley in the 18th century, ‘carding’ being one of the 3 stages of processing the wool, followed by spinning and weaving.  Back then carding would have been deemed a job for children, using a hand-card, a wooden block with metal spikes, to remove and untangle short fibres from the wool.  The mill was closed and demolished at the beginning of the 20th century, but the name lives on.

Bypassing the National Trust centre, which didn’t open till 10, I headed up toward the reservoir.  A little hummock led to a viewing point for Bodbury Ring, Iron Age hill fort where, more than 2,500 years ago, Celtic tribes guarded their sheep and cattle.  The mill pools along this stretch used to feed water down to the carding mill.

You can walk all around the reservoir, catching glimpses through the trees, and even swim in it, if you wish.  Unusually this is encouraged by the National Trust, because it is beneficial to the algae in the water.  Continuing up the valley the walk becomes ever more beautiful, for this is August, the time when the heather blooms in an entrancing purple.

I had taken the top route, referred to as the Pipe Walk by National Trust, with wonderful views down to the valley.  Soon my mountain goat skills were going to be tested as I scrambled up and around the waterfall at Lightspout Hollow.  At this point I could have retreated down the valley, with a 3 mile walk under my belt and the prospect of refreshment on the roof terrace of the café.

The sky was darkening a little and there seemed a serious prospect of getting wet, but by the time I was up and over it had brightened again.  The instructions said to carry on uphill, bearing slightly to the right until reaching level ground. Michael was walking slightly ahead of me and I wondered what had caught his eye.  One of the most magical moments of the walk was about to happen.

Unconcerned mother, and uncertain child

I tiptoed gently past, before breathing out.  This wasn’t our only sighting of ponies along the walk but I had been totally unprepared to see a foal, so close to the path. Soon I reached Dr. Mott’s road, a path built by local people to enable the doctor to visit patients on the west side of the Long Mynd.  A left turn here will bring you to the gravel track of The Shropshire Way.  This is a popular stretch and people often drive up to visit the trig point, a stupendous viewpoint at 516 metres above sea level.  You can see for miles.  Look, there’s the Wrekin, in the far distance!

And now it’s downhill again, following the path signed for Ashes Hollow.  It’s another beautiful valley and it’s good to be alive.  And then I come upon these two young families, communicating with each other.  Heartwarming, isn’t it?

The ponies aren’t the only inhabitants of the valleys but they must be the most endearing.  My feet were getting tired and the end not yet in sight.

Finally, after crossing the stream a time or two, the valley bottom opens out and I am approaching the village of Little Stretton.  A pretty cottage, a camp site and a ford, and I’ve arrived.  And did you ever see a lovelier church?  With thatching too!

Best of all, The Ragleth, some excellent pub grub and a rest for the weary feet.  We won’t mention the evil wasp that turned up uninvited.  Suitably refreshed, the 2 miles back to Church Stretton could be undertaken, either along the road or following the old Cunnery drovers trail.  The other half failed to tell me that the second, more interesting option, climbed a hill almost vertically, to round the back of the village.

Thank heavens for interesting distractions!  The National Trust have a number of walks on their website, with many more details, plus instructions on how to get there.  I understand the café does good cake, too!

Another Monday, another walk!  Well, lots in fact, and I hope you have time to enjoy them.  Many thanks to all of you, for your patience and loyalty. If you’d like to join in, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, and you’ll be very welcome.

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Something new to start!  How about a poetry walk with Frank?

Woolshed walk : moss march

Woolshed walk : the splash

Or, maybe, ‘no words’, with Meg?

Wordless walk : Glasshouse Rocks, Cemetery Beach

Hamburg does look an appealing city.  After all, it was good enough for the Beatles.  Thanks, Lady Lee!

Holiday in Hamburg

This lady has a bit of a food obsession, but she’s not alone.  Happy eating, Jackie!

Steakout

Drake does quite a lot of reflecting.  He’s such a thoughtful guy!

Reflecting bike ride

In case you suspected that Denzil might not be a dedicated walker, here’s evidence to the contrary :

Walking around a very wet Virelles

And something I know you’ll all love, from Carol.  No, she’s not meeting royalty!

Hello Harry

I hope that Kate would have enjoyed this walk.  I’m sorry if I’ve shocked some of you with the news.  I think we need to live our lives, before they’re taken from us. Wishing you all a peaceful and happy week ahead!

Six word Saturday

Dilly dally in the Welsh Borders

Heading home from Shropshire, we had a little time to kill before Stokesay Castle opened for the day.  What else to do but dilly dally?  I’m not entirely certain where the Welsh borders begin and end, but heading west from Church Stretton we can’t have been far away.  I was delighted with colourful and quirky Bishop’s Castle, a centre for arts and crafts, and just one and a half miles from the border.  I did go looking for the castle, built in 1087, but discovered afterwards that when it deteriorated in the 1700s it was flattened to make a bowling green!

I was luckier in tiny Clun where the ruins of a Norman castle still linger soulfully on a hill, only disturbed from slumber when the May fair comes to town.  Clun was on the site of the historic drove road, where flocks and herds were driven from Wales to the markets of the Midlands and London. It amused me to find that at the time of the Norman Conquest, Clun formed part of the lands of Eadric the Wild.  His wildness did him no good because his lands were confiscated when he led a revolt against King William 1.

To reach the castle we crossed over the 14th century packhorse bridge, and then on to lovely Stokesay.  The ochre-coloured buildings are joyful, aren’t they?  I hope you have a happy weekend, full of warmth and colour, but first, steer clear of troubled waters with Debbie.  Share six words?

Cornered at Stokesay

Stokesay Castle is the best-preserved fortified medieval manor house in England. It was constructed at the end of the 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, the leading wool merchant and one of the richest men in England at that time.

The castle comprises a walled, moated enclosure with an entrance way through a 17th century timber and plaster gatehouse.  It’s a striking sight, and even on a grey day the ochre gatehouse affirms its right to be there.

The gatehouse features elaborate wooden carvings on both exterior and interior doorways, including angels, Adam and Eve and the serpent from the Garden of Eden and dragons.  It had little real defensive value but is undeniably ornamental.

Inside, the courtyard faces a stone hall and solar block, protected by 2 stone towers.  The south tower is an unusual pentagon shape and is 3 storeys high, with impressive views fom the turrets.  The castle has seen drama in its life, including skirmishes with Cavaliers and Roundheads, but never sustained any real damage and has been more affected by the ravages of time.

The hall adjoins the south tower and has a 13th century wood-beamed ceiling. Next to this, a  2 storey solar block with extensive wood paneling, a huge fireplace and intricate wood carving.  This would have been the family’s main living space.

Since 1986 Stokesay Castle has been managed by English Heritage, preserving and opening to the public.  Details of how to get there are on their website.  I’m hoping that you will have observed many an interesting Corner in this post.

I really oughn’t to but I’m also going to link to Paula’s Traces of the Past, just because I think she might like it.  Is that a good enough reason?