Walk: Langsett Reservoir

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Langsett Reservoir (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

When the poet’s son #2 + g/f said they wanted to go for a walk last Sunday, we decided to go to an old familiar/old favourite/very local one of ours: Langsett Reservoir. This is a fairly easy 4 miles and close enough to home to not need a picnic.

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

It really is only 10 minutes away, but when we got there, we were surprised at how many others had the same idea. The car park was packed. The overflow was packed. And a little layby on the opposite side of the road was almost packed – so that’s where we parked.

Langsett is a very dog-friendly place and we were even able to take Rufus off his lead a few times. He ran on ahead and only once ran off after another dog, which, fortunately, was a big softie and didn’t mind his fussing.

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

There was a young girl there who really didn’t want to be. Her dad (we presume) clearly thought it was a very good way to spend a Sunday morning with the dog, but all the way around, we could hear her grizzling, asking why they couldn’t turn back, complaining about it being too far.

We were intially quite warm walking. The weather was grey and overcast, and a tad chilly. But the exercise soon warmed us up.

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Grouse (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

However, the higher we started to climb, the faster the temperature started to drop, and by the time we reached the top (banner pic along top), it started to snow! I was so happy!

So were son #2 + g/f. In fact, they both seemed delighted!

The poet, on the other hand, distinctly looked a bit “boo!” Rufus didn’t even notice. He was just having such a great time.

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The view from where we parked the car (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

All the way along the top the poet and his son were scouring the gorse for signs of grouse. They saw a few. But by the time we reached “North America”, there was one just sitting on a wall. The picture’s a bit zoomed-in, but at least he looks nice and plump.

The path underfoot was mostly very good, with the first part from the visitor centre down to the lake recently re-sanded. It was a bit muddy in places, but nothing we couldn’t easily get across or around.

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Ryan, Chloé, Rufus, Diane, Ian

By the end of the walk we’d probably all just about had enough. We were ready to get out of our walking boots/shoes/clothes and into a nice warm car.

The dog, naturally, could have gone on forever. But within only 10 minutes again, we were back home where a loaf was baking in the bread maker and 2 lamb shanks were roasting in the slow cooker.

Son #2 + g/f said they’d love to come walking with us again, and it was nice to have them with us.

MapMyWalk
Altogether, including the extra bit from and back to the car, we walked 4.18 miles and we burned 560 calories.

langsett mapmywalk

Walk: Market Bosworth Country Park

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Daffodils (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We had a very busy weekend, which included a hospital visit 100 miles away on Sunday. But we still wanted to squeeze in a walk if we could.

At first we were going to drop off at a country park closer to home off the M1, but as we approached signs on the M42 to Bosworth Battlefield, we made a snap decision to go there instead.

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Our path (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The poet (a Yorkshireman) has always wanted to see where his last true king was killed in battle and it’s been on our to-do list for a few years now.

So we veered off the motorway and headed towards Market Bosworth in Leicestershire.

We arrived at the signed car park for the battlefield at 3pm, which was also at the Market Bosworth Country Park. There was a map at the toilet block, indicating a 3-mile walk to Bosworth Battlefield.

If we did that, it would be 5pm before we got back, and that was if we managed 3 miles an hour – with pictures, we often only manage 2 miles an hour. Not only was it pushing it slightly on the distance, we also risked losing the light and getting shut into the car park.

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Rufus and Diane – both pulling very odd faces … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

But we had lots to look at anyway, and we decided we’d see how far we’d get before we wanted to turn around and come back.

Throughout the country park there are interesting little pockets, like the community woodland planted in 1999, like various wood carvings, and like the boardwalk over the pond.

We walked over the boardwalk, but it was very windy and we almost got blown into the water. Rufus wasn’t very happy on there either … so we made him come back that way too, minus his lead. (Rotten humans!)

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Rufus didn’t like the boardwalk much … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It kept him calm and close for a short while at least …

We’d reached a cow field and were a bit close to the main road, so we checked our location on the MapMyWalk terrain map and saw that we’d actually gone in the opposite direction to the battlefield.

So we turned and retraced our steps, coming out at the pond and boathouse.

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Boathouse (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

On the way back we paused at a woodland where some “interesting birds” can be seen …

… and as we worked our way down the list the poet pointed out that we get ALL of them on our bird table on a regular basis.

We walked around the pond so the poet could take some pictures.

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Snowdrops (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We met a poor little pug in a pushchair because his back legs had gone. His owners were taking him to feed bread to the ducks on the pond.

We decided to head back to the car park from there as the light was starting to wane, and we made full use of the facilities while we were there – surprised they were even open at this time of year.

Now we know where it is and where to park, we’re going to head back there again. But we’re going to aim at arriving sooner so that we can do the walk to the battlefield.

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Terrific tree (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It was about 4:30pm by the time we were settled back in the car again. The dog didn’t really want to get back in the car.

He looked as though he was saying: “Okay, comfort break over. Let’s carry on with this walk.”

Eventually he settled back down on the back seat, but he was sulking that it wasn’t a very big walk and he’d been stuck in the car a long time.

MapMyWalk
Once again, I couldn’t get the MapMyWalk app to display properly on my phone, and at the end of the walk, it hadn’t even registered either. It may be my phone. It’s not been right since I dropped it down the toilet while we were camping last year.

The poet, however, still has it on his phone, and we walked 2.1 miles and burned 298 calories.

map my walk market bosworth

Walk: Tetney Lock (4 miles)

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Wind Turbine (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I had a yen for the sea but as I’d chosen the past few places to visit, I left it to the poet. But when he couldn’t decide, I suggested the seaside. And so off we toddled to our nearest coastal town, Cleethorpes.

The plan was to drop by the tourist information centre and buy an Ordnance Survey map of the area and a booklet of walks. The lovely ladies there were delighted to let us bring in the dog and even had gravy bones for him!

They didn’t have any OS maps, and they didn’t have any walk booklets for sale either. But they did have some free leaflets on local walks. So we collected an armful and dragged the dog away from all the attention.

We did have about half an hour in the town, to use the facilities and have a wander. But then off we went to Tetney Lock, on the way to Mablethorpe. We parked up at the Crown & Anchor public house, where the landlord kindly allows walkers to leave their cars.

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Old coastguard cottages (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We had our picnic in the car, saving the fruit for later. Then we walked back along the lane and joined the towpath alongside the Louth Navigation canal.

We had 3 walks to choose from, 4 miles, 5½ miles and 7 miles. It was already early afternoon, though, so we decided on the 4-mile walk, hoping to see the 2 sea-forts and some birdlife in the nature reserve.

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WWII pill-box defence bunker (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The water level was quite low, considering how much rain we’ve had lately. But the canal is tidal and the tide was out when we got there.

We were a bit disappointed not to get closer to the sea-forts, but the path is lined with WWII bunkers and pill-boxes.

Our path cut off behind this one in the picture on the left and we continued along the sea bank for about a mile.

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WWII bunker with sea-fort in background (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Here’s another of the WWII bunkers, but this time you can see one of the sea-forts in the background. That’s how far away we were, but it still felt very atmospheric and was nice to see.

We could have carried on to the yacht club, but that’s the 7-mile walk and we were already losing the light. But I think we both could have done it, as our fitness does seem to be improving.

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We’re not sure what this is … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Instead, we crossed a foot-bridge over the canal and turned back towards our start.

The route passed by the site of an old farm, now flattened, and emerged beside some private dwellings.

One of the locals had very thoughtfully left a very large bowl of water out for dogs, so Rufus had a nice big drink.

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Alongside the first of the bunkers.

By the time we reached this part of our walk again (above), that water level had risen almost to the level of the concrete and we couldn’t see the weirs any more.

We had a lovely, bracing walk, our cheeks felt rosy from the sea air, and we did see some birdlife on our way around – little egrets, brent geese, and even a hawk. The dog was able to run off his lead and we did meet other walkers on the path. And, of course, I got to see the sea. 🙂

So we’re going to go again and do the 5½-mile walk next time, and go a little earlier, straight there.

MapMyWalk
My MapMyWalk hasn’t been working properly on my phone. We’re not seeing the maps until I’ve saved and shared the route. So I downloaded it to the poet’s phone, and it worked perfectly.

Thinking perhaps I had an older version, I deleted it from my phone and reinstalled it. But it still didn’t work properly. I still didn’t see the terrain map and at the end of the walk it listed our calories burned as 0.

According to the poet’s phone, then, we walked 4.29 miles and we burned 574 calories.

map my walk tetney lock

Walk: Kingsbury Water Park

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Teasel, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Kingsbury Water Park in the West Midlands is on part of my old stomping ground. It’s about half an hour from my parents, and as we were visiting them on Saturday, as we were early-ish, and as the weather was dry and mild, we decided to drop in on our way home.

We paid £3.50 to get into the car park … eventually. Both we and the person in front struggled to get the machine to accept all of our coins, and both of us also dropped money on the floor. We thought this was quite bad as, if you drop your money, you have to reverse so that you can open your door to reach it again, and if there’s a queue of people behind … We also thought there should be some kind of help facility.

First of all we parked right outside the visitor centre to pick up a map of the park, which is around 620 acres. And that cost us 50p. Then, when I asked her where was the best place to park for the bird hides, she said we could go out of the main entrance, in through another entrance, and park there instead … but we’d have to pay our £3.50 again.

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Echills Wood Railway, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

While we understand that these places need to charge, and the park is quite well-maintained, we did think this additonal parking fee was a bit unfair. Why not give us a token so that we could use it in the other car park? Why not have one car park fee that covers us for several car parks owned by the same organisation?

Anyway, we stayed where we were, parked in a more suitable place, and walked the extra bit to get onto the path for the bird hides, first pausing to eat our picnic in the car.

This path took us through the Echills Wood Railway, which is currently closed for essential maintenance, and on through the woods, under the motorway, and around several of the different lakes.

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Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Within about half an hour, with stopping for pictures, etc, we were at the first of the bird hides and the poet was able to set his telescope up.

We were rewarded with, amongst others, a cormorant, a little egret, lots of pochards, a pair of golden eye, some great crested grebe, plenty of coots and ducks, a shoveller, and a beautiful kingfisher (sorry, he was too far away for a photograph).

There are 3 hides along the hides path, all very clean and well-maintained. We were the only ones there, so I was able to let the dog off his lead while we were inside – dogs are allowed all around the park, but they are supposed to be kept on leads in the bird reserve part of the park.

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Cormorant, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

On our way back to the car park we found ourselves beside the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, where the poet was able to take some pictures of boats and locks.

Because of the time of year, by the time we were almost back at the car park, the light had dimmed considerably. It was gone 4pm and there was a storm coming in.

Incidentally, I’m very aware that pictures can take their time uploading on some readers’ connections, which is one of the reasons I don’t share very many photographs following a walk. Let me know, though, if you’d like to see more. I do try to scatter them throughout other posts over the year, but sometimes it’s nice just to have a photo-blog.

MapMyWalk
MapMyWalk recently updated on my phone and I wasn’t sure what had changed … until we started our walk. The path was shown against a plain grid, instead of against an OS-type map thing, and I was worried it wouldn’t work.

However, when I went to share it on Facebook, it showed the map no problem. So I need to look into that.

Here, though, is our walk. We walked 3.48 miles and burned 455 calories.

kingsbury water park mapmywalk

 

Walk: Fountain’s Abbey

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Cock pheasant (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We skipped a week’s walking last week because of illness and because we were busy visiting family. So this week we wanted to make sure we had a decent walk to make up for it.

Off we pootled to Fountain’s Abbey near Ripon. The poet had been avoiding this visit because he thought it might take too long to get there. I wouldn’t have minded going over Christmas, but they had some very bad floods between us and North Yorkshire, so we steered clear.

It’s been a long time since my last visit, and I was quite excited to be going back as it’s a beautiful place in beautiful surroundings with some terrific history. AND … it took us just over an hour to get there, and just under an hour to get back – on a Saturday too.

The plan was to do a 4½-mile walk, but when we got there we thought we might give the 5½-mile walk a go instead, or the “walk through the centuries”. This goes around the National Trust property and then out into the countryside. But there was so much to see and do within the grounds that too much time was spent exploring and taking pictures.

In the end we managed just under 4½ miles, but I’d introduced the poet to a magical place and one we hope to go back to again and again.

We started our walk at the visitor centre and were pleased to see how welcome the dog was. There were water bowls scattered around all over the place, one of which was beneath a cold water tap so could be freshened when necessary. So long as he was kept on a lead, which we usually do anyway, and a short lead at times, and so long as we cleared up after him, which we also usually do anyway, he was allowed everywhere we went, just not inside a couple of places such as the porter’s lodge.

At the abbey, we should have taken the path to the left, but instead we took the path to the right, although we didn’t see Fountain’s Hall on this visit. We ended up on the wrong side of the water for the walk we were supposed to be doing, and we were diverted by signs to “Anne Boleyn’s seat”, which turned out to be a modern, wooden construction that took full advantage of the wonderful views available. And it was up hill … (I don’t really do hills … but it was fine).

We continued along this elevated path to the “temple of piety”, where a kindly gentleman took our picture for us. We were rewarded with some more stunning views. And we were surprised by the “octagon tower”, a lovely little summer house, behind which the poet caught his first sight of the glorious “Studley royal water gardens”, and he just wanted to get down there to have a closer look …

… only it wasn’t very clear which way to go and we ended up wandering through the pheasant farm and back instead, deciding to retrace our steps down the hill and see if we could find our way that way.

And then we saw someone emerge from a cave that we thought was just a grotto to the right of the octagon tower. So we went inside to investigate, realised it was a tunnel running beneath the tower, and the dog panicked halfway through and wanted to go back. He didn’t like it.

Sure enough, we ended up beside the water gardens, and found our way to the café, where we had a glass of pop each and a piece of cake. We toyed with continuing the walk outside the estate, but chose instead to make our way back along the path we should have come along in the first place.

We skipped the banqueting house but took several pictures across the water gardens and of the “temple of fame”. Then we climbed back up the hill to the car park for our picnic and then the drive home.

We were there for 2½ hours, we walked for 4.47 miles, and we burned around 650 calories.

New boots
My lovely walking boots are starting to let in. I’ve had them for nearly 3 years, as they were one of the first things the poet ever bought for me. I’m dreading having to break in new boots and am of the opinion that I’d sooner have wet feet than broken feet. BUT, needs must. So I’ll be starting to look around for a comfortable, lightweight pair of boots and any recommendations will be appreciated.

MapMyWalk
clumber park mapmywalk

Walk: Worsbrough Mill Country Park (Owl Walk)

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Sculpture at Worsbrough Mill (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

After a busy, tiring 2-gig weekend, we woke on Sunday (eventually) to a bright and sunny afternoon. The poet woke with a “bit of a throat”, but he still wanted to try and fit in a weekly walk. So we plumped for somewhere nice and local, and somewhere we both already know quite well – he as a fisherman, me as a walker.

Worsbrough Mill Museum and Country Park is about 10 minutes from our house. It’s a local nature reserve and covers approximately 240+ acres. The working water mill grinds flour using UK-sourced organic grains. Every so often they run living history events where the staff and volunteers dress up in period dress and have demonstrations.

There are 3 colour-coded walks around the country park: the fox walk is a 2km-walk suitable for wheelchair and pushchair access; the badger walk is a 3½km walk following the reservoir; and the owl walk is a 5km-walk that looks at some of the local industry surrounding the park. The Trans Pennine Trail also crosses the paths.

In olden days, I would have gone for the shorter, 2km-walk. But as we managed over 4 miles last week at Clumber Park, we thought the 5km-walk would be the best bet. But, again, it was very muddy off the main path, and so when we got there, the boots and gaiters went on again.

It was a few degrees milder than last week and we didn’t need additional waterproofs.

The owl walk, the 5km-walk, runs parallel with the reservoir path for short periods, but as we also wanted to see the water and the anglers, we opted to start next to the water. This is a narrow path, though, so other people with other dogs coming in the opposite direction can cause problems. But below the path the anglers can fish relatively undisturbed. We watched one bring in a fish he’d caught too, and it was a fair size.

At the end of the reservoir path we rejoined the public path and climbed over a stile into the surrounding woods. The stile was one the dog could easily walk under, but very big dogs may need to climb over or have the big gate opened for them.

Only a few yards in is the entrance to an old quarry workings, now silted up and overgrown. Another few yards along and the path splits, with what was once the old tramway climbing up the hillside.

We continued on along the fairly level path, but where it does climb up hill gently (and it really does, which makes a change), we could have taken a diversion over to the Old Rockley Hall, which might have added a bit more distance to the walk. But we stayed with the walk and rejoined the path around the reservoir on the other side.

The last part of the owl walk avoids the dam head and instead runs along another parallel path. But again, this was very muddy and very busy, so we walked along the dam head instead.

At the mill we bought 4 bags of flour: white flour; wholemeal flour; malted flour; and sour dough flour. We were given a loyalty card, which is stamped every time you make a visit and buy some flour. When you have 8 stamps, you get a free bag of flour! As we had a white loaf baking at home, while we were out, I’m sure this flour will be used very quickly.

The owl walk is a nice, easy walk. It warns of being muddy in wet weather, and it was quite muddy. But it wasn’t really impassable, and it’s very level most of the way around. Only a handful were also on this walk, and some of those only joined it in places.

Parking currently costs £3 for the day and entrance to the mill is free. We think Worsbrough Mill Museum and Country Park is very good value with more than sufficient facilities and the opportunity to join longer walks or visit other local places of interest. I’ve even parked up at Locke Park before now, and walked down to the country park. But long distance walkers on the TPT can build it into a longer walk too.

We were there for an hour and a half, we walked for 2.34 miles, and we burned around 360 calories.

MapMyWalk

worsbrough

Walk: Clumber Park

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Bridge over Clumber Lake (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

New Year’s Day dawned bright and relatively clear and we wanted to kick off our new “regular walking regime” with an actual walk. But where to go?

We wanted somewhere a bit flat (because we’re just starting). We wanted somewhere near water (because we both like water). We wanted somewhere the poet could have a go on his new “spotting scope” (because it was his new Christmas toy and he wanted to play with it). We wanted a National Trust property (because we’ve paid for it). And we wanted somewhere fairly close-by (because we didn’t want to spend the limited daylight hours at this time of year driving and only an hour of daylight walking).

So where to go?

Our choices included Nostell Priory (but we weren’t sure what would be open), Calke Abbey (but that might be better visited on our way back from Birmingham one day), and Clumber Park (but we’ve been there before – lots of times). We settled for Clumber Park for the flatness, because we know there’s birdlife, and we knew it would be empty … And anyway, as there’s a path all the way round, I wouldn’t even need my walking boots …

Ho ho ho – how wrong were we on those last 2 counts?

So we packed our picnic, packed the car, and headed off. Within 45 minutes we were there.

And it was PACKED.

And very, very MUDDY.

We had to go through 2 different checks to get in on our membership cards and then drove around for a while, in the regular car park, looking for a space. And we found one that was just being vacated.

Clumber Park has lots of facilities for visitors, including bicycle hire (and power cycles), gift shops, nature trails, things for kids to do, several cafeterias, a church, a walled garden – I love the walled garden but (a) the dog isn’t allowed, and (b) it was closed on this visit. The dog, however, is allowed everywhere in the grounds SO LONG AS HE’S KEPT ON A LEAD … there were a number of other dog owners there who really need to know that this applies to them as well.

(Mini rant alert) If there are other people about, especially children, or other dogs, or livestock, or signs that request it, we always keep our dog on a lead. He’s not vicious, but he is playful. Very playful. Quite excitable. And a nuisance. So when other dogs come up to him that aren’t on leads to sniff at him, he may think they’re coming to play and he goes into play mode. But if that’s not what they want, they can go into snap mode – and that causes our dog to go into snap mode too. He also has a massive BARK. And then it risks getting nasty. OUR DOG IS KEPT ON A LEAD FOR A REASON. Please respect that when you see other dog walkers around. And please, please, PLEASE respect the signs. They really do apply to you too. Those who don’t keep their dogs under control risk having dogs banned from that attraction for ever – and that really isn’t fair on those of us who do keep them under control. (End of mini rant)

So anyway, we headed off across the lawn to the lakeside and started our walk. By this time I had put my walking boots on … and my gaiters, as it really was very wet and muddy underfoot, with path-wide puddles up to the ankles in some places. It was incredibly busy and we tried to keep to the grassed and wooded parts, where we saw a rhododendron coming to life after the autumn hibernation and a white squirrel. There were grey squirrels playing too, but the white one was quite a treat.

The poet took pictures of the ducks, the geese, the swans, the other waterfowl. He took pictures of the surroundings. He took pictures of us.

About halfway around, just over the first bridge, there was an ice cream van and a snack bar. We’d left the picnic in the car but I needed some sugar to get me back there. So we both had mince pies, I had an ice cream, and we shared a bottle of Coca Cola. The dog was far too excited to have anything, especially as all of these hundreds of people were obviously there just to see him! (And in fact, some of them were!)

I checked MapMyWalk and we’d done just under 2 miles, so that didn’t feel very good.

We walked a bit further to where the poet could set up his telescope, and we stayed a while to see what he could see through that. We met a labradoodle and a jackshit (a cross between a jack russell and a shiatsu!). The lab was yampy, the jack was very sweet – and quite quiet for a jack.

By the time we got back to the car we were ready for our picnic. The weather had stayed dry and we’d walked more than 4 miles, but the dog was filthy and needed a good rub down before being allowed back in the car. He had a big, long drink, helped us with our picnic, and then fell asleep.

The walk was nice and flat, if muddy underfoot. It’s further than we’ve walked just lately but it was doable. We were both stiff when we got out of the car at home 45 minutes later, and I was quite achey the following morning (so was the poet, but his was gigor mortis). But it was a nice, easy walk to start with and had plenty to see and do on the way around.

MapMyWalk

clumber park mapmywalk

 

Walk: Bempton Cliffs

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Ian, Scott and Becky (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

The new year brings a new look to the blog and it goes from being a “blog of all trades” to a “lifestyle blog”. This is mostly for the benefit of our friends and family, who perhaps aren’t as interested in the work side of my life, but also for anyone else who is still interested in what we get up to in our off-time.

There’s a new blog for the writing and editing side of things, words worth writing, which – again – those who are interested can find here. This is for those people only interested in the writing/editing side of things and, again, for those who are still interested anyway. And then the gig list is still where it’s always been – here.

Heap big thanks to those friends who made the suggestions – you know who you are.

Most of the posts on this blog will then be categorised, with the category preceding the title just before the colon: “Category: Post title”. And the various categories can be found listed in the sidebar.

Bempton Cliffs
Following the festive excesses, and the day after the poet’s family all came to visit, son #1 and his g/f stayed the night and we went for a walk on the Monday.

It took us almost 2 hours to get to Bempton, at Flamborough Head, and we stopped off to get food just in case the visitor centre was closed. The visitor centre was closed so we were glad we’d taken advantage of the facilities at a local Morrison’s too.

I came to Bempton a very long time ago, all the way from Birmingham. But in the 12 years I’ve been in Yorkshire, this was only the second time – and the second time ever for the poet too. Each time the dog has been with us so, naturally, it’s a place we hope to go to more often.

Bempton is a birding trip for us, as it’s known for the cliff birds that live there, some all year and some when they’re just visiting. It’s a good place to see gannets and guillemots all year round, but I want to go again in the spring to see the puffins.

Last Monday there was a brisk wind blowing along the cliff and the ground was quite muddy underfoot, so we didn’t stay very long. We walked one way to see what looks like the newly refurbished “grandstand” viewing point, and then the other way as far as the first station there.

I think we all enjoyed the trip out, but it was a long way to go for a stay of just under one hour, and just under a 1½-mile walk. However, it was a nice start to the new regime.

MapMyWalk
Most of the walk posts will include a gadget/gear/clothing review or product test. If you would like us to review or test a product of yours, please use the contact form to get in touch.

This week’s “gadget of the week” is MapMyWalk, which is actually an app on my phone. I’m sure I’m not using this quite as much as I could as I’m still finding my way around it and – for example – I’ve just noticed that it tracks the terrain too. When I’ve learned more about it, I’ll revisit it in a later post.

However, if we don’t have something to review, each walk will be illustrated instead with the desktop screenshot of our walk.

bempton mapmywalkI hope you like the new ideas. Do let me know what you think, either in the comments section or via the contact form.

List alert: A bright new year

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At Bempton Cliffs (Picture: Scott Wordsworth)

We had a fantastic 2015. In May we were married in Gretna Green, and had a wonderful honeymoon, first in Scotland and then in Cyprus. Our very busy life started to ease off a little, and my writing work was made much more businesslike. In November, of course, I finally completed my first ever NaNoWriMo, and my first full-length story since, well, Night Crawler.

The holiday has given me time to assess how the past year went and what I’d like to achieve in the new year – workwise and personally. But I’m not going to bore everyone with a list of so-called “resolutions”. Instead, I’m just going to cover some changes to Baggins Bottom.

I’d like to have a grid on the front page with just the opening of each post visible and a continue-reading/read more-type option. But this current theme is quite a new one, and one I quite like, and it doesn’t seem to be available. I shall, however, research it further, and change it if I find it.

In the meantime, here are some new regular features that may or may not eventually be turned into non-fiction books, with added extras, such as OS maps for a walking book:

  • Wormy’s kitchen – including recipes and gadget tests/reviews
  • Walk of the week – including gear reviews and product tests
  • Kitchen garden from scratch – including step-by-step projects
  • Our lane this month
  • My fat year (fitness diary)

Each of the posts will have the topic name at the start of the post title followed by a colon, like the list alert on this one. The first post in each category will be an introduction with background where necessary. Come June, I’ll have a good idea of how much material I have and whether or not some of them can be converted into book proposals that can then go on their merry way.

The writing work is being moved up a gear in 2016. I’ve pretty much decided that I don’t want to write articles or features any more, other than nostalgia pieces that insist on being written and maybe readers’ letters. I do have some writing projects already started and I’d like to polish or finish some of those. Then I’d like to concentrate on the non-fiction ideas above.

Here is what I’d like to achieve in 2016, writing-wise:

  • polish Mardi Gras (my 2015 NaNoWriMo project)
  • finish Catch the Rainbow
  • start The Beast Within (a Marcie Craig mystery)
  • write at least one short story a month for fave short story market (and so eventually lead towards Twee Tales Twee …)
  • write at least one piece of work a month for the fiction writing course the poet bought for my birthday last year

All of this will monitored and documented and added to a new blog, Words Worth Writing … (do you see what I did there?) There’s not a lot on there at the moment, although I did secure the url a long time ago. But here is where you’ll start to see Diary of a Freelance Writer too, although I’ll probably duplicate that for a while until everyone knows how to find it. In fact, I might duplicate this post over there too, to get us started.

And then there’s the editing/self-publishing side of my work. I have 4 books to republish in 2016, under the new by-line:

  • Night Crawler (a Marcie Craig mystery)
  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Books 1 & 2 (that’s 2 books)
  • Twee Tales

I still have the following to knock into shape:

  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 3

And I have this one to start collating:

  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 4

And then in February … (joke!)

So that’s it for now. All that’s left for today is to wish everyone a very merry new year. Good luck for 2016!