Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Spring at Crook Hall, Durham

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Stroll along the river bank with me, in the heart of Durham City, and let me take you to an idyllic garden.  I intended to visit a new exhibition at Durham Cathedral but, as luck would have it, it was closed that day.  I’m a firm believer in serendipity and, as the gentle sunshine warmed my cheeks, I suddenly knew where I wanted to go.

Crook Hall dates from 13th century and is a vision in golden ivy-clad stone.  It sits back a little from the footpath and the gently elevated position makes for majestic views over Durham. Crook is a Grade 1 listed Medieval hall with a rich and colourful history.  As all such places should, it has a resident ghost, ‘The White Lady’, and has been enjoyed by such luminaries as William Wordsworth and John Ruskin.  Today I’m going to focus on the garden rooms, described on the website as each having their own personality.

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It’s impossible to ignore the constant presence of the house.  It provides a benign backdrop, yet with an almost tangible air of mystery.

Close by the house, a secret garden has been in existence for more than 700 years.

Statuary is an integral part of the gardens.  Nymphs and maidens shake out their tresses, demurely lower their eyes, or gaze seductively out.  Monks perform solemn duties, urns cast playful shadows and a rather mischievous Puck plays his pan pipes, sheltered beneath a weathered tree.

The golden lady follows me with her eyes, and what of the lady reclining, neglected, on the bare earth?  She must have a story to tell. Ornate chairs and benches invite me to linger, admiring the pure white snowdrops.  Beyond the lake, fiery witch hazel brands the limpid blue sky.

I drift from ‘room to room’, each leading to the next, yet independent and sufficient in itself.  A mighty lion bench, breathing fire, gives me pause.

Through a gate, precisely trimmed hedges in the newest of these still evolving gardens, etched with remnants of winter shadows.

Leaving the house behind, I wander down towards the rusty maze, bereft of leaves this early in the year.  Did you glimpse the koala, dangling in the tree?  And yet another selfie!  One more surprise awaits- a softly slumbering giant!

And then I’m back at the entrance and The Garden Gate Cafe. (open all day, separately from the Hall, but there are Tea Rooms inside the Hall too) The Sparkling Afternoon Tea looked very inviting but my lift had arrived and so I’ll have to disappoint you yet again.  No cake!  How come you missed this place, Jude?  It would have been a natural for the Garden Challenge.

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Down at the river bank, this scene awaits, but if you turn and walk back towards the cathedral you might just be able to catch the exhibition, Open Treasure.  And if not, Durham Cathedral is always beautiful.

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Lots of walks to share this week and I hope you can spare time to visit as many as you can. Especially as I won’t be posting a walk next week.  I will, I hope, be skip, hop and jumping (or walking) in Florence.  I don’t want to schedule a walk in my absence because it’s too hard to catch up again afterwards.  So I hope you’ll forgive me if I hang on to any walks you share till the following week?  Details are all on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Eddy was close in my footsteps last week, but his were even cooler!

Do you want owt fromt’ shops?

There’s nothing nicer than a gentle stroll with Jude.  Treat yourself!

Historic Uphill Lincoln

Anabel ventured further up the coast from me, in some delightful villages :

Fife Coastal Path

Another coastal path for you, but Eunice is over on the other coast :

Anglesey Coastal Path- the White Arch and Tyger’s memorial

Two for the price of one from Eunice this week!

A long canal walk

Imagine my surprise on seeing Ana’s post!  Right on my very own doorstep :

Strolling along the River Wear in Durham

Quite a leap of the imagination from Durham to Buenos Aires, Ana :

Beloved Argentinian characters at Paseo de la Historieta

Jackie’s having fun down Mexico way- lovely bougainvillea!

A Mexican walk

I do love Woolly’s perspective on life!

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Lady Lee is completely at home in the Philippines :

What’s in Bohol?

And Liesbet is pretty good at balancing a budget!

Laguna Beach, CA- On a Shoestring

Amy’s back, and she’s chosen to ride, but who can blame her?

An Elephant Ride

I love Yvette’s take on life, but brrrh, those Falls look chilly!

Walk with Jo in Niagara, NY (doors and windows) 

Drake is always irrepressible.  Got to love him!

Warm feet and cold nose

Isn’t it always walking weather?  Well mostly, when you’re with Susan :

Walking, Weather or Not

And Carol has a most appropriate question :

When is a Walk not a Walk?

Rounding off with a highly informative walk from Denzil.  He’s doing a grand job promoting Belgium :

Walking from Tervuren to Bertem

And Cathy, beavering away in the States, but still found time to walk with me :

Philadelphia : the south mural arts walk 

Remember- no Monday walk next week!  But I’ll try to find you some cake in Florence.  Stay safe till the next time!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : A walk through a Pub!

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If there’s anything that really annoys me it’s leaving home in clear blue skies to drive to the Yorkshire Dales and encounter grey, dampness.  But if you’re in search of a waterfall then you can’t really begrudge a little rain.  And to visit Hardraw Force you have to pass through a pub, so you might say there are compensations.

I don’t know the village of Hawes at all but it is surrounded by magnificent, sweeping countryside, though visibility was poor on this particular day. 850 feet above sea level, it claims to be England’s highest, and has been home to a market since 1307.  Go on a Tuesday if you’re a market fan. The name Hawes means ‘a pass between mountains’, in this case endearingly-named Buttertubs and Fleet Moss.

I’m heading for Hardraw but, on Town Head, a sign for Gayle’s Mill strikes a chord with me.  In 2004 it was a finalist on the BBC TV ‘Restoration’ programme.  It was but a short diversion to take a look.

Unfortunately this was as close as I could get.  Gayle Mill is a working saw mill, and can only be visited by guided tour.  Even the craft shop was closed.  The Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre, a highly popular venue, is nearby and I gave it a wistful look.  I do love a good bit of cheese.

Water flows through the village and is harnessed by the mill, which dates from 1784.  In the 1900s it pioneered electricity generation and brought light to the valley.  Just then the sky was darkening rapidly and it seemed like a good time to move on.

You could retrace your steps down Gayle Lane, but a pretty little footpath offers an alternative route back to Town Foot.  And sheep!

Hardraw Force is clearly signed from the crossroads, so it was best foot forwards into a chilly breeze.  I told myself it was holding off the rain.

There’s often a wind off the water, isn’t there?  I turned left into the field and trod carefully till I reached the flagstones.

It’s not far till you pass through a gate and the pub is right there, in front of you.

The sign says ‘innkeeper and waterfall provider’.  That’s quite a claim, isn’t it?  At £2.50 a person, is it a little mercenary?  Let’s see if it delivers.

One of the best sounds for me is rushing water.  Rounding the corner from the Green Dragon Inn, I can already hear the tumult of the falls. England’s highest single drop waterfall sits in a great bowl of limestone, shale and sandstone.

Incredible to think that the process that produced this landscape began some 340 million years ago.  Alternating layers were laid down in the warm seas of those times, and through the rise and fall of the land and some glacial activity the Karst scenery developed.  At the back of the waterfall it’s possible to see the individual layers.

Did you wave back?  I did!  And then I crossed over the bridge and followed the path back along the opposite bank.  It was really busy in the Green Dragon Inn, so I didn’t linger, though it did look characterful.  I was surprised at how many people had ventured out on such a grey day, and can only surmise that this will be a seriously busy place in summer.  But the waterfall will be much diminished.

I just about made it back before the rain hit.  The waterfall will be thundering for a few days yet.

Hawes lies along the A684 from Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.  The map on this link will give you a few clues.  Time to get the kettle on!

Thanks everybody for kindly accompanying me each week, come hail come shine (but hopefully no snow!).  It’s always a pleasure to have you along. I have some more great contributions this week. Please spare a little time to go visit, especially if they’re new to you.  Details, as usual, are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  I’d love you to join me with a walk of your own.

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Lady Lee is always a few steps ahead of me!  Have you been to Dresden?

Dresden- Jo’s Monday walk

Jude has a delightful saunter in search of cake this week :

Sleaford Historic Riverside Walk

I prefer sunshine, but Shazza’s found something interesting even on a cloudy day :

Rydal Hall Sculpture Trail

I don’t think I’d do much walking in Amsterdam.  I’d hop a boat, like Woolly :

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Jackie and glitz go together, don’t you think?

More Vegas Opulence

In pure contrast, I never saw snow look more beautiful!  Thanks so much, Drake!

Colourful snow

This week we have a Wild Daffodil joining us.  Sound like fun?  Do go and say hello!

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Becky has laid on a lovely sunset for her wander round Olhao, because…

Everyone loves a sunset

And if you’ve never seen Lisbon before, Paula’s photo is a magnificent place to start :

Follow My Shadow

If you glory in wild and wonderful scenery, you will love this, from Jessica :

5.30 a.m 

And Inese shows us drama in Ireland, rain, shine and rainbow!

Magic road to the Mahon Falls

That’s it for another week.  It’s been a grey one here but I’m sure Spring is on its way.  Enjoy your life, won’t you, whatever the weather?

Jo’s Monday walk : Legends of Marim

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I’m turning the tables on Becky this morning and putting my own slant on one of her walks. Exploring the delightful Legends Way will supply all the details you need, so I can quite simply enjoy myself.

The Algarve abounds in legends.  In Olhão they have been brought to life in sculpture.  The stories are a little naive, but no less lovable for that. Alina and Abdala, above, are star-crossed lovers in the traditional sense, and I love the way that her hair flows around him.

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I started my wanderings (with Becky, I might add, but more of that later) at the beginning of Caminho das Lendas, or Legend’s Way.  I paid due attention to the maps but, inevitably, then followed my nose.  The little chap above was one of my favourites.  So poised and graceful in the way that young boys have, with a ball at their feet.

Beware who you invite into your game though.  He might just bewitch and spirit you away!  It’s such a ‘lived in’ looking place, Olhão!  The ravages of time have certainly got to some of it but you could be kind and describe it as full of character.

I really don’t much care for the Boy with Big Black Eyes, so I couldn’t resist having a little fun with him.  I thought I looked my best all wobbly, but he doesn’t look very amused, does he? Distinctly bad-tempered, in fact!

The next character struck me as rather sorrowful, but who wouldn’t be, if swallowed by a whale? The wonder of it is that Arraul survived!  But I’m glad that he did as he allegedly created the sand barriers that protect the Algarve to this day.

There’s one other character you ought to meet, but I was feeling rather wilful and the boats moored in the marina were demanding my attention.

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Bom Sucesso, the caravel that sailed the Atlantic to Brazil, always draws my admiration.  I usually meet Becky close by here, her husband Robert having cast a discerning eye over the day’s catch in the fish market.  Both are lovers of fish and they had a treat in store for me.  I’d been hearing about Vai e Volta and was keen to try out this ‘all you can eat’ fish restaurant.

For just 10 euros, the fish kept on arriving!  I sampled salmon, sea bass, sardines, and tuna among others.  It all depends what the boats bring in that day.  In addition there was delicious cornbread, salad, potatoes and a tasty dip.  What more can you want?  Simply amazing for the price!  And don’t forget to ask for the sweet menu, especially if you like carobs and figs.  I would show you, but I was so full that I was sharing mine with the other half.  I daren’t stop to take the photo, else it disappeared!  I’ve given you the link to their Facebook page to help you find your way there.  Not everybody is lucky enough to go with Becky!

I almost forgot to mention Floripes, a voluptuous lady in white who was stranded far from her Moorish home.

That’s it for legends, and back to boats!  I never can resist them for very long.

The sun was starting to set and it was time to leave.  In writing this I had cause to look back at O is for Olhão and remember what a very interesting maritime history this Eastern Algarve town has.  It’s well worth a visit.

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Legend of Marim

Lovers entwined in metal

Lost to the river

Feeling quite poetic.  Must be time to put that kettle on and read a few posts!

Thank you so much for keeping me company on my rambles.  It is very much appreciated.  I’d love you to join me with a walk of your own and it’s very easy to do so.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Please find some time to visit these walks.  You won’t regret it!

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I’m always thrilled when a great photographer joins my walks!  Thank you, Tobias!

Dunes

That bit of blue makes all the difference, and it’s beautiful where Eunice lives :

A walk up to Crow Castle

Lady Lee keeps on coming up with places on my list of dream destinations :

Ten Things in Sicily

A friendly chat in Dollar and a money mushroom.  That’s what I call value, Anabel :

Dollar Glen

What’s that about diamonds and best friends?  Sadly, Woolly can’t afford these!

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Jackie doesn’t think money matters in Vegas.  It costs nothing to look, after all!

Trippin’ the Light Fantastic

On the other hand, safaris don’t come cheap.  But just look at what Geoff got for his money!

A Time in Africa- Part two

It’s always an artistic look at life with Jesh :

WHICH WAY?

People will keep showing me fabulous places I’ve never been!  Thanks, BiTi  🙂

A visit to Beziers

Part of Hanna’s personal history, I loved this walk with her :

Vikings, The Sea Stallion from Glendalough and Roskilde Cathedral

My friend Drake knows a thing or two about Vikings, past and present :

Misty back to the past

I always like to share pretty places, and Rosemay seldom lets me down :

Strolling Round the streets of Potsdam

Splendid isolation with Paula, another very special photographer :

Walk into Solitude

And just in case you didn’t follow the link earlier on, here’s lovely Becky!

On the other side of the river

I think I’ll be back to grey skies and an English walk next week.  You’ve been warned!  Have yourselves a great week.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Ribeira de Algibre

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The first place you would think to look for a captivating mural is a sleepy Algarvean village in Portugal, isn’t it?  No- me neither!  But it was one of the highlights of a recent walk in Ribeira de Algibre.  Situated north west of Loule and not far from the village of Boliqueime, this is walk no. 17 in Julie Statham’s book, “Let’s Walk Algarve”.

The chief criteria for this walk was that it was level, and not too long, the other half having sustained a limp.  I could, of course, have left him with his feet up, reading a book, but he insisted on being gallant.  There’d be ample time to read later.  Out past the quarry we went, left through the village of Parragil, then left again.  We parked, as instructed in the book, just past the bridge, and slap bang next to the most amazing wall.

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The owner of Vila Dias must have an artistic nature, and a sense of humour.  Reluctantly I turned my back on it to follow the trail, just before the bridge.  We are in an area of olive groves and vineyards, with lofty bamboo screening off the narrow river.

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The path twists and turns, revealing shallow riverbed on one side and regimented rows of vines on the other.  I pounce with glee on a small clump of white flowers- early narcissi, cushioned in luxuriant green, and guarded by ancient olives.  1000 years of age is not uncommon for these gnarled beauties, weatherbent by the sharp winds.

The soil is it’s usual, rich red and deep puddles occasionally surprise.  Neither of us can remember any rain.   All is still and calm when, out of nowhere, the carefree sound of pop music on a radio.  We exchange smiles and hum along, peering to see where the sound is coming from. Around each bend we gaze expectantly, but there is no sign of the music maker, and gradually the sound fades into the distance.

One of the advantages of this walk is that it is split into two halves, circles that begin and end in the village.  Each takes only about 45 minutes, and there is a cafe where you might linger before starting the second half.  Except that, of course, Cafe Ribeira is closed.  Perhaps later in the year?  Not a soul is stirring, though a horse gives us a good long look.

I consult the other half, who has limped gamely along.  We might as well do the other half, he says, and so we do.  The path leads behind a house, on the other side of the road, and the book directs us to look for an abandoned mill.

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The trail continues, partly by the river and then into more woodland.  Deep in a thicket of olives we spot a herd of goats and I try to edge nearer without giving the alarm.  Not entirely successful, but I manage a couple of shots.

All is tranquillity.  We are passed, twice, by the same cyclist, obviously doing his morning rounds.  In the vineyards we see 3 or 4 people working, clearing and burning dead branches. It’s a wonderful, pastoral scene.

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As we approach the river again, suddenly the sound of the transistor radio fills the air.  We gaze all around expectantly, but still, no-one is to be seen.  A shy picnicker, perhaps?  Smiling we return to the village.  The sun has changed position and I’m drawn again into the world of the mural.

Even the bus shelter was pretty!  That’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed walking with me.  Let’s get the kettle on and enjoy that cuppa now. And for you sympathetic souls, let me reassure you that ‘the limp’ was much better next day.

Thanks everybody, for keeping me company again, and for your generous support and contributions.  Anyone can join in with a walk of their own, long or short.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be more than welcome.

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A place with a whole heap of history.  Let Lady Lee show you around :

A week in Malta

You’ve all got time for this one!  Thanks, Eunice :

A quick afternoon walk

Woolly has progressed to Amsterdam and windmills :

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Something you do with a Silver Cross pram, Anabel?

Perambulations in Perth

Jackie’s determined to walk me into the ground this week!

San Antonio, Texas

Lisa has some interesting graffiti for you, in Tel Aviv :

Florentin

Kate takes on a scary climbing challenge in Scotland :

Munro Bagging in the Arrochar Alps

Not so much a walk as a series of reminiscences from Geoff :

A Time in Africa- part one

Drake knows I have a weakness for Samso.  It’s so easy to see why :

Return for a walk

Yvette has a fascinating art challenge going on so I’m chuffed she could make time for me!

Walk with Jo : Mom’s Siam Carytown (Day 54 0f 365 Days of Art)

Fancy another challenge yourself? Jaspa has all the details :

Sam’s Ses Challenge #5 : Mountain

I’ve done this one before, but not the right way around.  Typical!  Thanks, Becky :

Remembering Gilda amongst the Almond Blossom

Jude delights me with a walk in her neck of the woods.  Could this be the year I get to Cornwall?

A Winter Walk

Have a great week!  Here in the UK there’s just a chance that Spring is in the air.  Wherever you are, try to get out and enjoy it.

Jo’s Monday walk : Lagoão Trail

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I do like to have a bit of fun on a walk, and for me that invariably means water.  When the guide book says that the river might not be fordable after heavy rainfall, I picture great torrents.  But this is, after all, the Algarve, and the prospect of being swept away downstream is not huge.  The only way to find out is to follow the trail and see.

So it was that we parked up, between the football ground and the fire station, in the wonderfully somnolent village of São Marcos da Serra.  Our destination that day was the hilltop village of Alferce, site of yet another magnificent Presepio de Natal, this one with life-sized figures.  The Lagoão Trail was almost en route, so it was decided to ‘make a day of it’.

This is a nicely level, circular 10km walk, initially following the river.  Much of the scenery has a soft Autumn tinge to it on this January day.  A great billow of smoke announces a farmer, burning off dead wood and shrubs.  The delicate pink of a rose bush delights my eye.

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Before too long we approach the ford, which I’m happy to say is fordable.  Mick goes first, in his sturdy boots.  While I’m fiddling about taking my shoes off, a car splashes through, catching me completely by surprise.

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I linger to gaze into the swirling waters, lapping clear and cool at my bare toes.  The river is moving quite swiftly, creating gurgly pools in its midst. Satisfied with my brief plodge, I follow the trail, admiring the wispy fronds of toffee-coloured tamarisk.

Soon a junction is reached.  Consulting the map it’s obvious that the walk can be shortened, but the reservoir beautifully reflects the umbrella pines and it’s too tempting to continue to walk beside it.

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The trail winds away from the reservoir and past a couple of tired-looking farms.  A posse of cats try to outstare me, in that way that cats do. Distracted by them, and trying to photograph a heap of drying cork, I fail to notice the dog till it’s leaping and snarling at my side.  My protector has his toe boot at the ready, and fortunately it backs off.

Hurrying on around the bend, I catch the tinkling of a bell.  I anticipate goats, but it is in fact another dog.  A much more laidback character, this sheepdog scarcely looks in my direction, but he has an ear cocked for his charges.  They watch me with curiosity, from the other side of the wall.

The final stretch of the walk turns back beside the river.  I’m quite surprised to find a railway track ahead but, checking my map, it appears the line runs north to Beja in the Alentejo.

As often happens, the road back into the village involves a bit of uphill, but there are gleaming white chimney pots to distract, and even an iris, peeping out of foliage.  A couple of villagers sit on the steps of their houses, in the sleepy warmth.  In the main square a few benches are occupied, next to the pretty little church.  I peer into a shop window at a Nativity scene made entirely of cork. Not easy to photograph!  A sign at the community centre indicates a main display inside, but it won’t open until 3.00, and I’ll be gone.

A glint of sunlight draws me towards the Christmas tree.  It’s made from recycled plastics. A brilliant idea, and one we could all copy.

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The only restaurant appears to be closed, but there’s a tiny cafe where a tumbler of wine and a cake costs very little.  Duly fortified, it’s down through the village and back across the river.  The empty car park is now overflowing and it appears it’s ‘match day’.  Young, fit bodies mill about and it’s time to reluctantly move on.

This walk features at page 100 of the Walking Trails in the Algarve, where you will find a map and details.  Time to put the kettle on?

Many thanks to you all for continuing to share your walks with me, no matter what the weather. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, and everyone’s welcome!

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I rarely turn down a good scone.  I guess Anabel knows that :

A stroll in the grounds of Scone Palace

Say hello to Eunice, please?  A Meccano bridge and Mandarin duck make a pleasing combination :

A New Year canal walk

A familiar theme- Capability Brown- from Lady Lee :

Stowe House

Going prospecting with Liesbet!

Things to see in the Northern Gold Country

Jackie explores an inspiring garden :

Albin Polasek Sculpture Gardens

A boat, a beach hut and a lighthouse with Stephanie in Puget Sound :

A Walk through Point No Point County Park

I really enjoyed looking at Brugge with Woolly.  Have you missed any of his posts?

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Just a tiny bit jealous of Becky, who’s back in the Algarve, walking, on my behalf!

More than a glimpse of the Guadiana

It won’t be so warm in this country!  Play a game with Biti?

Guess what country?

London Wlogger is doing a grand job of hosting walks around our capital, including part of my old stomping ground :

Mile End Park to London Fields : Exploring Parks of the 19th and 21st Century

And are you familiar with When in my Journeys?  This is a lovely walk!

A walk on the streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sometimes photography can be pure poetry.  Paula is surely mistress of the art form :

Braving the Elements with Grace

We’ve had some ferocious weather this month.  Drake examines the debris around the Baltic :

Day after a hard stormy day 

Denzil tells a sorry tale, but all’s well that ends well :

Sint-Agatha-Rode and the patron saint of breast cancer 

And Carol finds something really rather mysterious in Cornwall :

A Secret Place

Not so much a walk as a seal fan club, with beautiful photos.  Thanks, Susan!

Seal Walk

That’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed sharing.  Take good care of yourselves!

Jo’s Monday walk : Enchanting Castro Marim

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The period just after Christmas can be an enchanting time to be in the Algarve.  Especially if you are lucky and the skies are awash with blue.  Each of the towns and villages have their own Presepio de Natal or Nativity scene, and these vary from life size models to much simpler displays in a church, or a shop window.  I hope to share a few of these with you, but today we’re taking a short walk to find a rather special one.

You may remember Castro Marim as the scene of a remarkable Medieval Fair each August.  The town lies right at the border with Spain, looking out over the River Guadiana.  Alongside the river lie a series of centuries old salt pans.  A high quality salt is harvested here and, for the first time ever, 3 tons of it have formed the basis of the local Nativity scene.  It is a startling and beautiful sight.

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The detail is extraordinary.  The trees are delicately crafted from wisps of plants, and every conceivable craft is depicted in amongst them.  Did you notice the pumpkin patch, and the birds protecting their eggs up on the rooftop? And the storks aloft upon the chimney?  You probably need to click on the gallery for a closer look.  If you like, you can throw a few coins, in appreciation.

The Presepio de Natal is very conveniently and easily signed from the main parking area in Castro Marim, and takes place on Rua 25 de Abril. Maybe a date for next year’s diary?  But as we are here in the centre of town I’m sure you’d like a look around.  Any potential kings among you?

Climb the steps to the Igreja Matriz and you have sweeping views of the town and its surrounds. You can peep through the grills of the church at the regal azulejo panel, and spy on the locals hanging out their washing.

A little meandering will bring you within sight of the gardens of Revelim de St. Antonio.  You cannot miss them because they are crowned by a windmill.  But first I have to warn you, there’s a bit of a climb.

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I was delighted to find that the restaurant at the summit was open.  Can you imagine a nicer spot to linger over a coffee laced with cream?

It made the climbing a few steps entirely worthwhile.  I hope you enjoyed this gentle saunter. I’m saving the strenuous stuff for later.

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Thank you all for your patience.  I have tried to pop in on a few of you but, if I’ve missed you, please accept my apologies.  I’m travelling back to the UK today so my responses won’t be immediate but I’ll get there as soon as I can.  Meantime, pop that kettle on!  You have some fine walks to enjoy.

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Nothing beats a canalside stroll in my book.  Thanks for being so patient, Anabel :

Glasgow canal walks

Jackie’s been out and about chasing a bit of magic :

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

And Woolly had a grand time ‘In Brugge’.  There are some beautiful images!

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It gets pretty cold in Bavaria but it’s so beautiful!  Thanks for sharing, Lady Lee :

Freezing in Freising 

Much warmer where lovely Becky was.  We managed to meet up again in the Algarve :

It maybe midwinter but it doesn’t feel like it

I thought I’d lost Susan, but fortunately she has kept right on walking :

Walking with Vultures

And Violet Sky’s been busy looking for bargains at Honest Ed’s :

Honestly

What would a walk be without Drake for company?

Hjem til Aarhus

And the ‘other’ Susan has some lovely ideas for strolling in New York City :

Take a Stroll with Me Through Rockefeller Park

Isn’t it kind when people remember you when you’re far away?  Thanks, Elaine :

Glen Finglas Reservoir

Hope the new year is progressing well for you.  See you soon with more walks and reminiscences.

 

A walking retrospective

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You probably think you’re seeing double!  This is the opening photo for my most recent walk, Boxing Day Blues.  It’s hard to select favourites but my criteria is often that a photo takes you back to a moment in time. For me this was a clear, bright, quite unparalleled December day.

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Would you believe that this one was taken in August, but how could I leave out such a winning smile? Gargrave in the rain was one of the most joyful moments of my past year.  A wedding anniversary weekend!

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By contrast, Autumn this year was a riot of colour, and I can still feel that warm November sun on my back as I stood in the churchyard, surveying the magnificent ruins of Flamboyant Autumn at Easby Abbey.

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October was a time of great sadness for me.  I never could have guessed that, as I looked up at this church in Alternative Ayamonte, my Dad had only hours to live.  I was abroad in my beautiful Algarve, but my heart really wasn’t in it.

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How could it only have been a couple of weeks before that I was so joyfully walking the Water of Leith, excited to meet for the first time with my lovely friend Jude?  A landmark event!

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Can’t help but share a moment of north eastern pride with the celebrated Tall Ships Regatta at Blyth in August.  How proud Dad would have been of the Polish ships taking part.  He was always a patriot.

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Which transports me back to July, when I met a lady with a fabulous smile in the City of Birmingham.  It was my first time in the city and I loved it. Thanks, Gilly!  I know I made a friend for life.

It was a water lily Summer.  They were everywhere!  I visited many beautiful gardens, such as Newby Hall, in June.  Funny how so many of you were more interested in the cake than the flowers!

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I spent two wonderful weeks in Poland to coincide with the May Bank Holiday.  My cousin Adam is a baker but always manages a few days off that weekend for his birthday.  It was Dad’s favourite time to go, and I was so happy that I got to spend this precious time with him.  Naughtily though, I did manage to escape, into the arms of another friend for life- Meeting Meg!

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In that early part of the year I was leading a charmed life.  My visit to Poland was sandwiched with trips to the Algarve and many walking excursions. A day at Mertola in the Alentejo was particularly memorable.

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April, always the time for lambs, I threw one little chap into total panic as I held a gate open for him. Lambkins and Bikes– a winning combination?

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I was delighted to have my lovely daughter home for Easter, in March.  The highlight of that weekend was the Butterfly Trail in nearby Preston Park. They are incredible creatures, and almost as exotic as my daughter.

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February in the Algarve is synonymous with Amendoeira– Almond Blossom.  And, of course, Carnival, but that’s an entirely different story.

IMG_2245 And so we find ourselves in January, and Saltburn in Winter.  It’s a lovely seaside town on the North Yorkshire coast, a place I like to stroll at any time of year.

What a year of highs and lows it’s been.  I have Paula to thank for leading me back through the months. Thursday’s Special this week is Retrospective.  Don’t miss it!