Well lets try this blogging malarky again and see if a few new posts will awaken my desire to do it regularly.
First up, a wee story.
I try to take trips out any time the sun shines – so not many lately ! Being almost on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales, there are so many beautiful drives just a few minutes from my home. Of course, needing the exercise, I like these drives to lead to a good walk and we’re not short of good walks here in God’s own county.
I’ve been to the East coast a few times recently so yesterday I decided to stay “inland” and took a drive to a nearby reservoir. From past experiences, reservoirs usually have good nature walks around them and having checked on Google Maps, I found one on a route that would take me past one of my favourite country pubs, The Sun Inn.
Win win !!
It was a 25 minute drive to the pub, taking me along lovely country roads, empty of weekend drivers and early summer holiday makers. In fact the only other travellers I met were cyclists as many of the roads in this area will be used by the Tour de France riders next month when Le Grande Depart takes place from Leeds. I just hope the weather remains good so that the area gets shown at its best for the large international audience.
Anyway, The Sun Inn at Norwood near Harrogate serves a great steak and onion sandwich and yesterday it was just what I needed to give me the energy to go walkies afterwards.
Yes, dogs ARE allowed inside but must be on a short leash. The one in this photo was kept well fed with bits from the owners plate. I’m not a great lover of dogs in or out of pubs but The Sun Inn is popular with ramblers so it would be churlish to have them leave their small companions tied up outside.
Then it was back in the car for the 30 minute drive to Grimwith Reservoir, a new one to me. Once again I loved that I almost had the roads to myself and despite their narrow nature, I was able to speed along them and still enjoy the countryside views on both sides. I arrived at the reservoir car park at 2pm which only left me 2 hrs of walking as I wanted to be on the road back home by 4pm to be in time for the first World Cup game of the day at 5pm. Germany v Portugal.
I do have my priorities you know !
There were only 2 other vehicles in the car park but 4 people were sitting at a picnic table close to where I pulled in. In a scene reminiscent of a western movie when the stranger walks into a saloon and everyone stops what they’re doing to stare at him, all 4 at this table kept looking at me as I sat in the car after turning off the engine. I was almost scared to get out. Stop looking at me !!
Braving their stares I got out and they immediately went back to their food, no doubt bitterly disappointed that they’d not witnessed The Elephant Man on a day out. Seeing no signs pointing me to the start of a path, I walked down to the wall that bordered the water and there I found a wooden sign indicating that I could walk on the grass alongside the wall until a more obvious path would begin. So I set off with the sky a bit overcast but with the promise of better weather to come.
I was using the excellent “Map My Walk” app on my phone and by the time it told me I’d completed the first mile (in 21 mins 23 secs as I always have to start slowly), the path was much more defined and I was really enjoying the scenery and the wildlife all around me. Now I know nothing about birds and can’t tell a pigeon from an albatross, although I’m pretty sure next door’s bird feeder has never seen an albatross pecking at the hanging nut sack.
(I’ve always wanted to get “hanging nut sack” into a blog post without offending anyone and finally I think I’ve done it)
But I can still enjoy seeing and hearing birds when on my walks and there were plenty on this walk. At one point I was being dive bombed by a relatively small bird (probably not an albatross then) so I guessed I was getting too close to its nest for its comfort. After 100 yds or so it gave up when it realised I was no threat.
Being in the countryside there were sheep everywhere but most continued grazing as I walked close by them. Occasionally they’d band together and walk ahead of me so that I felt like a proper herder. Then they’d decide I wasn’t…..and would pull off to the side to let me walk on alone.
As you can see, the weather had brightened a lot and the walk was becoming very pleasant indeed. I was well on track (sorry) for getting back to the car in plenty of time. The 2nd mile was done in 19 mins 28 secs so despite pausing a few times to take photos, I’d picked up the pace on the much better path.
As a result of the path sometimes leaving the shores of the reservoir due to the topography, the scenery became much more photogenic without ever losing the classic Yorkshire Dales look.
Then tragedy struck.
I came to a gate that was padlocked and had barbed wire along the top. I’d never seen that on a gate before. Barbed wire I mean. Seemed a bit excessive for a countryside gate but anyway, there was a small wooden sign nearby indicating that a narrow footpath was the way to go. And narrow it was.
This is not a view looking upwards; it’s the view of the goat path that ran alongside the water at this point. If you look on beyond the rocks, you’ll see how walking along meant pushing aside the greenery that was trying its best to mask the path and return the area to nature.
What followed next was a combination of my advanced age, my desire to keep up my relatively fast walking pace and my wish to actually look at the lovely scenery all around me. I’d only been on this narrow path a few minutes when my left foot struck a hidden (to me anyway) rock and I fell head first to the right……..into the nettles, thistles and other nasty flora.
After the initial shock of falling wore off, I lay completely still and analysed my situation. I’d landed on my right side and my exposed right arm (I was wearing a polo shirt) and the right side of my face were nestling deep in the nettles and even the slightest movement produced more stings. Clearly I had to get up as fast as possible but to do so without getting more stings was impossible so I just had to get on with it. It was a horrible few seconds.
Once on my feet I noticed my watch was on the path, the strap having come away…..permanently as it happens. My phone was still in my left hand, undamaged as it never came in contact with anything. But the side of my face and right arm were stinging like crazy and I could see the skin bubbling up like I’d been burned.
I’d over 2 miles to walk to get back to the car and ironically the sun was now blazing down which only made my face and arm feel worse. I never thought to get photographic evidence of this as my sole aim was get outa there asap. Thankfully I’d no other injuries apart from a bit of scraping on my right hand when I’d automatically put it out to soften the impact but I felt the stinging was punishment enough for my clumsiness.
I completed those 2 miles in under 38 minutes which was way faster than I’d wanted to walk for my heart’s sake but my face and arm didn’t care much what my heart made of it. Back in the car the stinging effect became the pins and needles effect which lasted for 24 hours and is still not completely gone, despite the liberal use of aloe vera cream. Ironically with that sensation diminishing, I’m now realising I have a very painful shoulder as, after all, I did come crashing down on it. Yes I fell into a bed of nettles but there were rocks everywhere too and my shoulder tells me it came into contact with one or more.
So to sum up the plus points of my day out: a good pub lunch; a mostly lovely walk; lots of fresh air and exercise. On the down side; I need a new watch and probably another 24 hrs to have my face and arm back to normal – a bit longer for my shoulder.
What is it they say about exercise……oh yeah……”no pain, no gain”