Walk: Pugneys and Sandal Castle

Pugneys always used to be a favourite dog walk for me, but then every time we went there were just too many other dogs, and too many people. It gets very busy.

Pugneys (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

However, there’s a castle at Pugneys too, and the poet wanted to take some pictures and we decided to combine it with a walk around the lake. Had we known how much more busier it is these days, we would have just done the castle. But even the castle was a bit of a disappointment this time.

On the walk up to the castle. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Anyway, we started our walk, as ever, in the main Pugneys car park – this used to be free, but now there’s a charge.

I noticed there’s a charge to use the dog shower now as well. I don’t remember that being the case before.

The poet did take a picture of someone in a speed boat, and he took a picture of the train. But as we didn’t get permission from either the man in the boat nor any of the children on the train’s parents, I don’t feel inclined to share any of those here.

So they’re all scenic shots this time.

Saying that, I’ve just seen on the official website for the park that watersports, apart from pedalos, have been suspended due to a lack of support personnel … since 12 June. But the man in the boat seemed to have been doing something to the buoys, so perhaps he was staff.

The last time we went to Pugneys, we took a look at the path up to Sandal Castle and decided against it. My fitness level at the time was so rubbish I couldn’t even face the short walk as it was up hill.

Sandal Castle. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

This time, it was very hot and I was in trainers, not even walking boots. And this time the dog had more trouble than me, stopping once to sit in the shade and cool down a little.

Sandal Castle. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

When we got there we were quite disappointed. Not only was the visitor centre closed, but so was the bridge and the staircase up to the main keep.

Some adventurers had climbed up from the moat, but that really was too strenuous for me. Apparently there is a structural problem, health & safety strikes again.

Pugneys, from Sandal Castle. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We were so disappointed with so many things that we decided we really don’t need to come again, which is a shame because it’s not far away in the car.

We did, however, walk exactly 3 miles, which was apparently 8,500 steps, and I burned 381 calories.


Day out: The Charlatans at Scarborough

I wasn’t sure what to call this one. It wasn’t really a “day out”, but nor was it a “holiday” or a “walk”. It could be classed as an “event”, but as I’m not really reviewing the event, I thought that would a bit of a misnomer too. So I called it a “day out”, even though it was really almost two days out.

Last Friday we went to see the Charlatans in the open air theatre, next to Peasholm Park in Scarborough.

We did have a house/pet sitter booked, but at the last minute we decided to take the dog with us and ask the farmer next door to see to the chickens. The cats are fine for just one night. They have and use the cat-flap and we were able to feed them (and the chickens) before we left.

Fortunately for us we were staying at the Grand Hotel, which is very pet-friendly. It only cost us an extra tenner to take the dog, and we were even allowed to leave him in the room while we had our breakfast the following morning.

That grand old lady, the Grand Hotel in Scarborough. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Our room at the Grand was up on the fifth floor in what they call “the circle”. I’d seen some pretty dire reviews of this wonderful old building, but we didn’t have any complaints whatsoever, other than it was a bit warm in the room. But on the hottest weekend of the year so far, that wasn’t a huge problem, and anyway, the Grand has windows that even open and everything.

We also have a picture of the view from our room, but I think it’s still on the poet’s phone … if he sends it to me, I can add that here …

For tea we dropped down into Scarborough, parked on the quay, and found cheese burgers and chips.

The three of us on the quay – note the dog’s tongue! (Picture: Ian Wordsworth – selfie)

While we were at the show, we hired a pet-sitter, Pet Assist, a lovely couple who were happy to take Rufus at short notice. We dropped him off at teatime, and they said they’d be back at the hotel when we got back from the concert.

It took a while for them to find our tickets at the box office, but it was okay, they found them eventually. The show was supposed to start at 7pm but we got in at 7:10pm and there was hardly anyone there.

The open air theatre next to Peasholm Park in Scarborough. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth – selfie)

The support band was the Slow Readers Club. They were okay, but we were a bit concerned that we couldn’t see a keyboard player yet keyboards featured on almost every song …

We went for an ice-cream, but before we knew it, the main event was on. So we dashed over to see the Charlatans, and we had quite a good view.

The big screen was great. (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

We thought the large screen was great, though. And I thought that Tim Burgess had a lovely smile when he was singing.

Of course, we couldn’t go all that way to a Charlatans gig without bumping into an old friend of the poet’s. These two have known each other for a long time, since they worked together.

Bosom beer buddies. (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

The friend and his wife have been married for only a little while longer than us and it’s always nice to see them. They live a bit further south to us, but they try to come to Monkey Dust gigs when they can too.

There followed much drinking, singing, dancing and general merriment, and we even grabbed an unsuspecting bystander to take a team photo – she did a good job!

We had a lovely time, and the dog was pleased to see us when we got back to the hotel – not too late for the dog-sitter, we hoped! The following morning, we had a hearty breakfast, packed the car (which was in the multi-storey car park), and had a walk along the front. It was very hot, though, so I stayed in the shade while the poet did our shopping, and then we headed home.

We were back by lunchtime, but what a lovely time we had.

With our friends. (Picture – some random stranger …)

My fat year: no more SW

After a very up-and-down year so far, I’ve decided to leave Slimming World.

I managed to lose half-a-stone (7lb), but then kept putting 2lb on then losing 3lb, putting 1lb on and losing 0lb.

And then I had to go onto a “white/bland” diet, which pushed the syns through the roof.

We cook a lot of meals from scratch and they (SW) make it very difficult to calculate the syn value, plus they seem to advocate a lot of processed food or ready-made food that we, personally, prefer to make ourselves (such as jams, jellies, breads, etc).

So it stopped working for me and, to be frank, I couldn’t justify the cost any more. I’ve also cancelled the magazine subscription, but apparently I have that for three more issues anyway.

Before I terminated the account, I did hit my gold activity award with SW, so it wasn’t all a waste of time. And I’ve pretty much managed to keep that half-a-stone off (and on, then off, then on again …).

I know a lot of people have lost a lot of weight with SW, my mother-in-law included, who lost 6 stone (84lb), and some friends of ours who each lost at least 4 stone (56lb).

So I’ve decided to just stick to healthy, unprocessed eating as much as possible, and I’m cutting down on the aspartame, instead preferring to try and curb or lose my sweet tooth a little.

Baggins Bottom Best Bits book 3

Words worth writing

In recent days and weeks I’ve been busy publishing books – in paperback and on Kindle. The idea is to get all of my back-catalogue available as books by Diane Wordsworth.

Tales from Baggins Bottom: best bits book 3 is the latest to become available and can be found in paperback for £5.99. The Kindle edition will follow shortly.

If you go to my “buy my books” page you can follow the link, and you’ll also see all books currently available.

ALL of the Diane Parkin books are now retired and have been replaced with Diane Wordsworth versions. This one, however, is brand-new.

I’m currently publishing Twee Tales Too on Kindle, and then I’ll be adding Tales from Baggins Bottom Best Bits book 3 to Kindle too. Once they’re all on Kindle, I’ll look at publishing them all on multi-ebook format as well.

You can see other future…

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Busy publishing books

front cover2

I may seem to be quiet at the moment, but that’s mostly because I’ve been busily publishing books and ebooks.

In the past few months I’ve published a writers’ guide and I’ve republished two anthologies from the old days at Baggins Bottom. And in the past year, I’ve republished a novel and a collection of short stories.

I’m currently in the process of publishing book 3 from Baggins Bottom and the ebook for Twee Tales Too.

Hop along to my “buy my books” page over on the writing blog to find out more. You can skip straight to the link here.

Walk: Underbank Reservoir

Since we moved here last May, we’ve been looking for some nice local dog-walks within a short driving distance. At the end of April this year, we found one. It only took us 11 months!

Underbank Reservoir near Stocksbridge is actually within walking distance, it’s that close. But it’s also a good place to take the dog for a spin that’s a little longer than the walks from our doorstep.

Ground-art for the recent Tour de Yorkshire, designed by local schoolchildren. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There are several places to park, but we chose to park on the old A-road that has recently been replaced, as it’s on our side.

From here we had a cracking view of some ground-art designed by local schoolchildren for the recent Tour de Yorkshire. We thought it was an owl on a bike, but it’s actually a fox on a bike – as the race was finishing in Fox Valley.

Underbank dam wall. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Another good place for us to park would be at the outdoor activity centre on the banks on the reservoir.

You can also choose which way around to walk. From the old A-road, we walked clockwise, starting with the dam wall.

Footbridge at the start of our walk. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There are signs all over the place telling people to keep their dogs on leads … guess who were the only ones to comply …

Once across the dam wall, we turned left to cross the footbridge over the weir, and then turned back on ourselves on the other side of the reservoir.

Bokeh. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It was a dull but dry day, but the sky gave the poet some interest for his photographs. He also had chance to try out his new lens for the bokeh shot above, and he practised his bracketing, for the shot below.

About halfway around the lake, we had a chat with an angler who’s been fishing here for 30+ years. He suggested if we come fishing that we park at the activity centre as the path from there is quite good for the barrow.

Underbank Reservoir. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

As we came out at Midhopestones, at the opposite end to the dam wall, we had to walk along the road for a short while. Then we followed another access path until we reached the official path where it rejoins the disused A-road.

The walk around the perimeter is, according to MapMyWalk, 3.13 miles. It took us an hour-and-a-half, which included stopping for pictures and the chat, and we burned around 400 calories each.


Event: The Tour de Yorkshire, 30 April 2017

On Sunday 30 April 2017, the Tour de Yorkshire came through our village. Well, I say village, but we’re actually in between two villages. Both villages had decked themselves out with bunting, banners and bikes, all in blue and yellow.

At the same time, a number of amateur events were taking place with cyclists raising money for charity and having the chance to cycle the route before the professionals came through.

Earlier in the day we took the dog for a walk, and we saw some of those amateurs pass by. “We’re not the main event!” shouted the leader. But they all smiled for the camera anyway.

“We’re not the main event!” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We got back from our walk in good time to grab some refreshment, do some work around the garden, and then give the dog a treat – another walk on the same day, this time to the end of our driveway.

One of the stewards drove ahead of the race to let us know roughly what time they’d be coming through. She also said the first we’d see would be the team cars and motorbikes, and the police making sure the road ahead was clear.

They were due to come by at about 4:15pm and we’d set it to record on the telly before setting out. But they were quite a few minutes later than that – we found out later there had been an accident three villages up and someone was being taken to hospital, but was fine.

Then the advance cavalcade started to come through.

The police came ahead to make sure the road was clear. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We still had a good wait before the leading breakaway group came by. But the helicopter flying overhead gave us a clue when they were on their way.

The chopper hovered above us for quite some time as first the leaders and then the main group came through.

We waved and cheered, in case they caught us on the telly!

The leaders – no 2 grabbing some refreshment. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It seemed an age before the rest of the group started to come along, but it must only have been a matter of minutes. Still the helicopter hovered, still we waved our arms at it.

Then as the peloton passed us, we turned to wave at the motorbikes in the front with the television cameras. The poet had to take the camera off the tripod so he could follow them.

Here comes the main peloton … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

They whooshed by in a matter of seconds … and then they were gone (apart from a lone cyclist coming up the rear, but the camera buffer was already full by now), followed by numerous cars with spare bikes on the roofs.

The “crowds” started to disperse (we didn’t realise so many people lived in the area, although some had come on foot from elsewhere), and we headed home ourselves.

… there they go. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The first thing we did when we got in was skim through the recording on the telly, but just as they were reaching us, the channel skipped to a commercial break.

When they returned, it was just above us where the bikes were headed in that last picture.

So all that waving at the cameras had been for nothing! But we had fun anyway.

Enjoy the pictures!

Walk: TPT Thurgoland

We are very fortunate to be living right next to the Trans Pennine Trail, a national route that runs from coast to coast and up and down a bit.

I’ve been walking the dog up towards where our path joins the trail, but I’ve been turning around at 15 minutes as I’m trying to gradually build up stamina and fitness.

The driveway to the farm upon which is our house, alongside the River Don. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

During the last bank holiday weekend, we finally did a full circuit of the smallest circular section, and we were surprised at how quickly we did it.

We already have a fairly good walk from the farm to the road, but we don’t stay on the road for long. We just cross the River Don and then turn up onto a farm track that’s subsequently crossed by the TPT.

The farm track up to the TPT from our driveway. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

At the top of the track you can see in the picture above, the TPT crosses both ways. We turned left and went behind that farm you can see.

From the TPT we had a very good view of the ground-art recently installed for the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race, which went past the end of our driveway.

Ground-art for the recent Tour de Yorkshire race, which went past the end of our driveway. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There were a few pleasure cyclists on our route, some of whom you can just see (in red) in the picture below. These weren’t taking part in the race.

There were also a few pedestrians, but this was a “busy” day in our neck of the woods.

The Trans Pennine Trail. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

From the viaduct there are some great views, including the one below towards Penistone.

In the far distance you might just be able to see a field filled with cars, to the immediate left of that sticky-up thing. This field is usually green and empty – the cars were here for the cycle race.

Up on the hill you can just see cars parked. These were here for the Tour de Yorkshire. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The picture below is one of my favourites, as you can see our house and, hopefully, the reason we chose to live there. It really is a beautiful, peaceful setting, and it really is some distance from any roads.

That’s our house in the centre of the picture, with the cream walls. We could see this from the viaduct too.

Our house nestled in our valley (centre of pic), from the TPT. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Because it’s an old railway line, there’s a tunnel on this section of the route that we haven’t explored yet, but I think my sister did last year when she was house-sitting for us.

Instead, we left the TPT down a small path that goes downhill towards the river again. From this path there are some good views of the viaduct.

The TPT goes over this viaduct now, but it used to be a railway line. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Then we were beside the river again, at the place where the poet usually gets in to go fluff-chucking (fly-fishing).

Apparently, the River Don is one of the fastest rising and the fastest dropping rivers in Europe. This is why we have flash floods along the driveway and in the surrounding roads.

Isn’t it pretty?

The River Don. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

At the end of our walk we returned across the main field that has a few young cows and two horses in it in this picture below. But until just a week or so ago, it was full of expectant sheep. That’s our house again, with the cream walls. The farm buildings are just below it to the left.

This circular walk is about 1.6 miles long. It took us 50 minutes as the poet kept stopping to take pictures, but I’ve done it since with just the dog, and it’s about 40 – 45 minutes.

Enjoy the pictures!

Heading back home, beside the River Don. That’s our house across the field, with the farmhouse and outbuildings to the left. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)