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Friday 23 August 2013

Light Walks Further Afield: mapping memories

After our walks, we all wrote labels for our map, the things we saw, the things we remembered...

Slender Speedwell and curlews

"The hills are alive (with the sound of theme tunes...)"

Wizard carving, a long climb and lunch!

Seen a cave and a rock arch

Drank from a spring.

Before leaving, we took photographs of the Hostel where we had stayed.
Great summer memories!

Friday 16 August 2013

Light Walks Further Afield: a farewell walk

On the morning of our final walk the weather was undecided - rain, sun, wind, a bit of everything seemed to be thrown into the pot. Before leaving the hostel we heard a wide variety of bird song, along our route cows sheltered beneath trees and the Light Walkers donned their fabulous Poundland ponchos!

We had prepared copper tags for our final walk. What has the walking meant to you? What was the best thing?

Now to find a perfect place in the landscape to install and photograph them. We scanned the walls for just the right mossy, stone wall in which to install our copper thoughts.


One final shot of the group! Before heading back...

 A curious cat came to introduce himself.

Not unlike the cat, the three that walked together yet alone strode off

Carole and Jo had had many thoughts and conversations about trees during the stay and the ash tree seemed foremost in their minds because of its current threatened position. On their first day in Alstonefield they saw this piece of tree lore in the local pub.

Walking round the village from a different direction led us to an information board about the Green Well...

...which we also managed to find.

The stone lining was beautifully crafted and reminded us just how important a reliable source of water is to a village.

After the walk and a spot of brunch it was time for the Light Walkers to pack their bags, but you can see from the picture above, that they seemed in no hurry to leave. We hope they left Alstonefield tired, happy and eager to take other walks in other places in the future.

Friday 9 August 2013

Light Walks Further Afield: The Big Walk!

Along the River Dove, from Milldale to Thorpe Cloud, Ilam Hall and back via Stanshope.

Starting the day with a good breakfast - including the jam we made on our foraging walks last autumn!

Our walks are never solely about exercise or reaching a destination, they are also about exploration, curiosity and engagement with time, place and history. It is easy to race through a landscape or place in a car, missing everything that makes a place special or unique. A walk gives the opportunity to satisfy all the senses and to take time to notice the small things which make the bigger picture.

The mysterious empty building that Carole longed to explore

The guard dog that growled

guarding the grindstone with a tale.

Crossing a field in the early part of our walk Michael earned himself the title of Sheep Whisperer as these lambs were unable to resist his call! 

This hill led to some deliberation, the sure footed raced ahead, whilst the more cautious worked out how best to get to the bottom of this steep hill. 

Team work and lots of encouragement, plus a few novel descent strategies ensured we all reached the bottom without taking a tumble!

We all enjoyed being out the the fresh air.

Walking along the River Dove.

A wild English orchid growing near the River Dove

Tiny flowers spied amongst the fast flowing water

A dabbling duckling in the shade of the wooden bridge where we stopped for a rest.

The Ilam Rock, where we played pooh-sticks on the bridge.

Mysterious wishing pennies lodged into felled trunks.

Natural caves and arches

Crossing on the Stepping Stones

And finally we reached our rather grand lunch destination, Ilam Hall!

Three Light Walkers after lunch at the halfway point

The second half of the walk was on the road and we had the opportunity to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the delicious spread of the landscape we were walking through.

Three struck out in front, three kept pace in the middle and three kept each other company at the rear.

The rear guard Mick, Michael and Carole swapped stories and stopped frequently to rest and admire the fields; the basking sheep seemed to approve!

They even managed to spy skylarks amongst the buttercups.

and took pleasure in sunlight glowing through vermillion poppies.

It was a long walk but Carole and Jo wanted to to show the group as much as possible in the time available and to create a good, long, interesting walk. There were some tricky moments, times when some walkers almost felt defeated but there was also grit and determination demonstrated. True there were some sore feet, some tired legs, some thirsty walkers and some frayed edges, but the day was spectacular and all walkers, regardless of fitness, successfully completed the whole 9.7 miles.