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Snowdon – Crib Goch & Pyg Path

Snowdon – Crib Goch & Pyg Path

Crib Goch – Mount Snowdon

Area: Snowdonia – Mount Snowdon
Starting point: Pen Y Pass
Date of walk: 25th March 2017
Walkers: Me
Distance: 8.36m
Difficulty: Hard
Terrain: Rocky
Weather: Sun, blue skies, clear

Crib Goch, A walk? (or ‘scramble’ should I say) the only part of this walk is on the Pyg path on the way down! has been one to certainly write home about. It’s been a hazy week, some niggling thoughts of worldly nature have taken a firm grip, so what best to go for a long walk and shrug it all off. As Hippocrates stated ‘Walking is mans best medicine’, I agree with the Greek Physician.

Bets Y Coed

The long drive is taken on the day prior to stop of in Bets Y Coed for the night with the intention to head off early. Upon arrival I realise I am short of a few supplies so pop into Cotswolds to grab at least a good ol’ OS map. After a brief discussion with the store assistant, I’m urged to buy crampons & an icepick as apparently a walk up Crib Goch at this time of year without them should be ‘interesting & dangerous’. I ignore his ploy to try and sell me stuff, nether the less the seeds of doubt have been planted…

Oriental and American tourists are in abundance in this village, I imagine in the summer months this place is heaving with visitors all across the world hoping to spot themselves a dragon. Bets Y Coed in general, is a forested region, perhaps next time I will venture into the surrounding woodlands for a forested walk. A campsite is found right next to the Swallow Falls and I drift asleep to the gentle gush of the waterfall.

A bitter spring morning
A bitter spring morning

Pen Y Pass

Alarm bells ring and off I go to Pen Y Pass (starting point). The peaks are seen from afar, and I try and look up as much as I can to see if the ice and snow will prove a serious problem. The car park is unsurprisingly full, so I head further down to park on the side of the road. Dozen and dozens of groups congregate ready to climb this Welch beast. Pen Y pass is the starting point to 3 routes, Pyg path, Miners path & Crib Goch. I make steady pace up the Pyg path, even at the beginning stages this way up is simply beautiful.

Pyg Path
Start of the Pyg Path with the ascent to Crib Goch seen in distance

A feeling of respect is felt, respect for the mountain itself and the knowing of how treacherous it can be is never forgotten. The elements can change rapidly on any mountain & as with anything in this life, preparation is key. I’m wondering after about 15 minutes, when will I encounter this Crib Goch. The Red ridge in English. Red = danger, red = blood. Basically, proceed with caution.

A mile or 2 later I reach the path up to Crib Goch. This path up itself is a climb. I’m trying to get my head around how this is a level 1 Scramble… I mean parts are near vertical and even on this path, a slip up could leave anyone injured or stuck. On the way up I bumped into 2 unprepared Americans struggling up wearing skateboarding trainers. After a brief chat, they than proceed to tell me this is their first mountain they are going up. I slow my pace and adjust my rhythm to take up the rest of this ascent with the nervous looking pair. I worry for them as mountain rescue usually come out for those who are not well prepared. If you thinking of taking up this walk, this is where you turn back if you don’t wish to proceed. As once your up on the ridge it will prove very tricky backtracking.

Climb upto Crib Goch
Climb upto Crib Goch
the scramble up
the scramble up
looking back from the scramble up

The Red Ridge

After 50 minute or so the top of the ridge is reached. Wow, what a view. I’m pretty sure Ireland, Isle of Man & Holyhead are seen from here. However, now is not the time to take it all in. There is a queue behind me, and loads in front doing the ridge so I better get on it with. Exposure levels are high, and it is actually the exposure that makes this scramble seem a lot more dramatic and harder than it actually is. At places the ‘path’ is no bigger than half a metre and it becomes clear why there have been so many fatalities up here. A helicopter circles around the peaks, which is the mountain rescue as this is probably the busiest day on Snowdon this year. Still with the Americans at this point, however there pace is taking me off my stride so I stay focused and plod on. Some hairy moments do follow, and hands are needed aswel as my legs for pretty much the whole ridge. After the first stretch there is some relatively flat land and a perfect opportunity to tuck into my sandwich and a couple of oranges. I’ve run out of gas on my burner so a much needed cup of tea won’t be possible right now. Oh well.

Crib Goch
Crib Goch
Looking back on Crib Goch - you can see the 2 Americans nearest to camera hanging for dear life
Looking back on Crib Goch – you can see the 2 Americans nearest to camera hanging for dear life
stopping off for lunch at the end of the 1st ridge
stopping off for lunch at the end of the 1st ridge

Crib-y-Ddysgl

Crib Goch itself is only around 200 metres. However up on this exposed airy ridge, it seems alot longer. After Crib Goch, a descend it make until you reach the foot of the ridge to come, Crib-y-Ddysgl. Now they say this one is alot easier, but I beg to differ on this day. It seems a steeper climb, and a harder walk as there is ice & stone laying on the rocks. This is a full body workout. From this ridge looking back on Crib Goch and seeing the walkers walk along like is much like playing the game lemmings.

lemmings on crib goch
Sun falling back behind Snowdon summit

The end is near, and I feel like I’m not just getting warmed up. As I reach the trig point at the top a sense of achievement is felt and I sit down to enjoy the oranges I have left in my bag. There are hundreds off people up Snowdon today, and Snowdon is certainly a mountain I have avoided in the past due the amount of people on it. It can be a solitary walkers a nightmare, but today it isn’t. I sit in peace amongst the herds of people & the chitta chatta. The chaos of the world below seem insignificant, and my worldly worries which I have held throughout the week have been lifted and surrendered. Right now, at this moment on top of this mountain, there is nothing, but now. Here and now.

The Descent

After some time off soaking in the subtle energies of this mountain, I begin my descent down the Pyg Path. My intention was to actually take the miners path back, but that didn’t happen. I’m practically jogging back down past the mass’s of people moving in both directions. I’m moved when I observe a couple sitting in silence also soaking in the mountains energies. As I continue, I reflect on today’s walking, and am once again reminded how spending time in natural environments, alone has a purifying effect on the spirit. An effect that can often be forgotten in daily life. I also contemplate the difference’s in ‘belief’ & ‘realization’. For today I have once again realized, freedom and peace are not far away, infact they are right here within me. Even in the midst of madness. Belief on the other hand can often lead to the opposite of self realization. When 1 of certain in ways of thinking it can lead to a stump on spiritual growth. Heck, conflict of belief is how wars are started!

Couple soaking it all in
Couple soaking it all in

6 hours later, today’s walk is now completed. What a cracker this one is. But please be careful & prepared. I drive back home, and stop off in Chester on the way for a Turkish kebab. Perfect way to end a perfect weekend.

Beeley loop – A walk with water

Beeley loop – A walk with water

Area: Derbyshire – Peak District
Starting point: Beeley Moor (circular walk)
Date of walk: 13th April 2016
Walkers: Me & Yannis
Distance: 4.96m
Difficulty: Easy
Terrain: Woodland, Wateralls, Streams
Weather: Sun, blue skies

This is probably one of my favourite walks in the Chatsworth / Rowsley area of Derbyshire. I’ve done this walk before, & there is a fantastic waterfall on the route. I have the urge to pick up some fruit from the store to make a peace offering during my walk today. It’s warm, and I am only in my t-shirt. We were actually supposed to goto a place called Arbor low stone circle, however the road was closed, so we headed to Beeley instead. The first part of this walk, start in a woodland, and its great. It has a stream with a series of waterfalls running through the woodland complex. Upon hearing the sound of running water, move swiftly through the forest, I can.only describe the feeling as ‘immediately soothing’. Peaceful.

A soothing brook
A soothing brook

I personally sometimes take water which we drink & bathe in for granted. yet it nourishes the earth & nourishes our bodies. A few weeks ago, I was standing out on the moors one night, catering to the fire in the pouring rain. I couldn’t help giggle to myself, like a child, playing in the rain. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so ecstatic with nothing but the pouring rain dripping off my forehead onto my face. My soul felt soothed at this moment, and to hear the water again, and reconnect with the power of water, felt… Joyous.

A short stroll through this magical woodland let us to the other end out on Beeley Moor. The views from this moor, the clear skies, the birds tweeting in the heather, a profound stillness arises from within. Slow walking, 1 step at a time, across this baron but fruitful moor. We did encounter something strange however. In the middle of nothingness and peace, there is a quiet sound of an engine. We look, and we see a unmarked blacked, near to silent plane whizzing by our heads, within 100 metres! 2 of them! Unbelievable, of course there is discussion of what these jet black unmarked silent planes are doing circling around the moors of Derbyshire

On the moor
On the moor
Planes casually cruising above the moor...
Planes casually cruising above the moor…

All sorts of thoughts arise, and knock us both out of the natural flow we had found ourselves in. Nether the less, strolling continues, aimlessly, feeling like wandering hermits, with nothing to do, nowhere to go, but where are feet take us. We enter into a another woodland which is on the back end of Chatsworth. The old majestic tree’s are greatly appreciated like brothers among us. A genuine hurt is felt for the mass’s of tree’s bought down for whatever human reasons. That voice in my head speaks ‘forgive them, for they know not what they do’.

Through a narrow path, uplifted by the land we walk on, we get to this incredible waterfall. At a moment, we discuss, this is the type of place, you’ll find in an Indiana Jones movie, in the middle of Bolivia. But yes, we are in awe of the beauty. taken again by the power of water. it becomes apparent at this stage of the walk, the water has something to teach me today.

Waterfall
Waterfall

I take a brief dip into the waterfall, and purify myself with the water. You see, water close by the source is pure. Untampered with, close to spirit, close to purity. The water we get coming through our taps at home, has passed through human influence and thinking, lessening the purity. Man’s sinful ways taints the world in so many ways, but who am I to judge? The water teach’s, let life flow, and let it go where it decides to flow, I need not create barriers, blockades of great dams, Fear not of what the water will do. This is why, i step under the waterfall, to allow the water to cleanse, sooth and heal. And yes, needless to say, it feels amazing. Once again I feel child like & innocent. I take some moments to stand among the waterfall with my fruit & a big incense. To make an offering, for what has been provided to me today & to maintain peace within. As I place the fruit on the floor, and connect, it’s obvious I need to do this more often! be by water. My star sign is an earthly one, and what does the earth need more than anything, water. Open up to water, like a flower opens up to it when its about to rain.

bty

dav

After about an hour by this marvel of a place, we walk back a slightly different way creating a loop, we pass by a lake, and back through some woodland, going off path through wild terrain. However, we meet the path again, and there we are back on the Moor strolling back across to where we came from. This time undisturbed by stealth spy planes…

I always find it pleasing, how if we pay attention and be present, signs & symbols are all around us teaching us & guiding us. Today I was reminded something quite simple. We turn on the tap, drink water, throw the rest down the sink, without even thinking. Being present in my actions, starting with the simplest things that I do, makes for good meditation. I am currently in the middle of writing about ‘walking meditation’ with touch’s on this is more depth, and practical ways to incorporate simple living into our lives. In this I will be talking about making offerings, being conscious in walking, being aware and observant, and pursuing the things with bring joy and ecstasy to our lives.

Love always

Azim x

Welton Loop – The Yorkshire Wolds

Welton Loop – The Yorkshire Wolds

Area: East Yorkshire
Starting point: Welton (circular walk)
Date of walk: 26th April 2016
Walkers: Me & Merlin
Distance: 6.51m
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Terrain: Woodland, Roads & National trails
Weather: Sun, blue skies, light rain, hail & snow (yes all 4 seasons, typical English weather)

Yorkshire is the biggest county in the UK. However, it is split into 3 smaller counties,1 of them being the flat landed East Yorkshire. Quite different to the rolling Derbyshire Dales I am used to. While staying with family over the past couple of days in Gilberdyke I thought I’d take the opportunity to put the old leather boots on, drive to a random village nearby and just walk into the Wolds and see where it takes me. No map, no compass, equipped with just a bottle of water and a dog. I drove into the village of Welton only to be greeted by an impressive old historic church. This is my starting point for the walk. Weather is fair, I wouldn’t say its a bit nippy, but certainly isn’t shorts and t shirts weather, even after a slug up the 1st hill out of town.

Welton church
Historic church – starting point

The start and end of this walk is road walking… bluh. Cars zooming past down this B road. As I don’t have a map, i just walk until I find a public footpath. But before I encounter one, there is a nice opening in the hedges where the Humber is seen in the distance.

Looking South over the Humber
Looking South over the Humber

Deep breath in, deep breath out, hmmm. So I walk on up, and come across a footpath saying parish trail. This takes me into springtime woodland. Can see the tree’s sprucing up nicely with leaves and buds forming.

Woodland walk

 

Walking through this forest for a mile or so, away from the road, I start to feel the tension in my shoulders loosen, my breathing slow down, my whole body relax and my walking become more guided by spirit than by my mind. Isn’t it funny as it is at that moment, the sun starts beaming down, peaking through the tree’s hitting the  crown of my head.

Trees

Trees

Doggy loving the forest vibe…

Merlin

Be both journey on, listening to the birds tweet, strolling through this woodland, among all the woodland creatures. We walk until we find another opening, and I have to walk to the lip of the woodland about 50 metres away to get a glimpse of such a mesmerizing view… Again the Humber is seen in the distance.

Wolds

Walking commences until we hit the national trail called Wolds Way. Never even heard of this trail before this walk, and after returning home, have found out the trail is 79 miles long. Covering alot of East Yorkshire, thinking it may be worth a revisit at some point. 79 miles can probably be walked comfortably in 3 – 5 days, and it seems there’s plenty opportunity for camping in the nearby woodlands.

Wolds Way

I take a right hoping for a kind of loop walk back to Welton. It’s another 3 – 4 miles from here, so I walk up the Wold’s Way to the top of the hill only to again be presented with another splendid view..

Wolds Way
Wolds Way
Sun lover Merlin
Sun lover Merlin

This part of the Wolds Way is nice. I’m glad I found this trail and keen to explore the rest of it. The remaining part of the walk is quite straight forward, and the way back to Welton is pretty much signposted. It’s about 3 miles & the route take’s you through smooth low rolling hills, forestry and back on the road. Pictures found below :-

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No dogs allowed?
No dogs allowed?

mde

Historic Welton
Historic Welton
Walks and Talks with a friend

Walks and Talks with a friend

Last Monday, I decided to go out and test what gear I had accumulated for my 650 mile hike. It was an interesting 2 days indeed. I met up with an old friend from London. James his name is, and i soon remembered one of James traits was that he can’t keep his mouth shut for more than a few seconds….

The plan was, to head into the peak district. Ashbourne to be precise, walk up the Tissington Trail up to Parsley Hay, camp up in a nearby woodland than walk back down the High Peak Trail and end in Cromford the following day. Strangely enough we stuck to the plan, it was a pleasent 2 days with the sun out, but still a wintery chill lurking. Nearly perfect walking weather.

James made his way to me from scouser land (Liverpool) and on route picked me up a Thermarest neoair xlite sleeping mat from Go Outdoors. £85 for a sleeping mat. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than a 5er on a mat in the past. I’ll talk more about the mat later, as it was definitely a life saver. James arrived, we drove into Ashbourne, stopped at a cafe, got some scram, bought some gloves, than heading to the start of the trail. We didn’t actually get walking until about 3:30pm.

James equipped with his bloody energy drinking gloop, and me with a large bar of chocolate, we made pace. It’d been a while, so we caught up with the usual crap, ‘oh whats so and so upto these days?’ , ‘Is so & so still  graffing trains’ . Primarily, in the past we spent most of our time together, getting up to no good. However, its funny how things progress & how conversations change into deeper, more meaningful topics. Walking in nature, or walking in general is wonderful. As the sun sets, the trail is silent, and we discuss life, ecology, matters of both spirit & science. Constructive conversation.

12 miles later we reach our camping spot. The night is clear and it is cold. We manage to set up the new Alpkit Jaran 2 tent quite easily. Great tent, we are both impressed by its weight, its design & functionality. Snug for 2 compared to what I’m used to, but I suppose that only helps on this cold night. And no, before your mind wonders, it wasn’t that cold..

We cooked up a Thai Red Lamb Curry. A well needed meal after a days walking. Oh, I forgot to mention, I’ve been walking the 12 miles in brand new boots straight out the box. Scarpa Ranger GTX 2 & my feet aren’t in great shape & blistered. When they advertise a boot with ‘out of box’ comfort, I take that literally. The amount of times I turned to James and said , Do you think they’re broken in yet? Anyway, we chowed down, accompanied by a bottle of red. Then we soon went to sleep. My sleep was okay. My sleeping set up could have been alot better. The mat was good, but too narrow. However, kept me warm from underneath. The bag was a Rab Neutrino 200. Way to thin to stay comfortably warm. I ended up sticking my head underneath and trapping me. I think Jame’s followed the same suite. We woke with frost on the ground, so it must have been freezing. A couple degree’s below I reckon, especially out in the open peaks where we were.  All in all, our sleep was okay, and i spilled my porridge all over the forest bed , so no breakfast for us the following morning…

But who needs breakfast when you wake up to this…

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This is exactly why I walk & camp. Nature is still & natural order is so obviously at work. The presence of grace is felt ever so more when you take yourself away from distraction for a few moments. Great lesson’s are be learnt from nature, whatever you believe & whoever you are. Opinions differ amongst us, 1 thing which runs true for us all is this world we share.

This Tissington trail really is special. We continue to walk, James continuing to gobble down his Isotonic gloop. And I happen to have a jar of honey which keeps me going. We walk back down the High Peak trail, which in my opinion is even more spectacular..

I normally walk in silence, on my own. But walking & talking at the same time is actually quite fun. I try to explain to James, the principles of Chi energy, and an energy that exists beyond the physical. I suppose you can call it Light or Grace. The energy which fills you with joy & ecstasy. When this energy is revealed, the need for food is lessened. I can see Jame’s brain ticking, thinking, what the hell is he on about… I knew he was a bit nuts, but you know…really?? Anyhow, we continue to walk, towards Middleton, where we reminisce a bit..

IMG-20160217-WA0005

So at this point of the walk, the complains are getting more & more, our feet are absolutely battered. If I can recall the feeling, it was like my feet were actually on fire walking the last few miles from Middleton to Cromford. When at Cromford, we stumbled in a pub which was full, and all the other local pubs had finished for lunch. So we found some posh styled cafe/coffee shop kind of place. We sat, not wanting to move due to the pain. I walked to the front to be welcomed by a lady. I ordered Scrambled eggs with salmon. The lady went on to ask me, what would you like to drink and I as I had a bottle of water in on the table from my walk I replied, I have some water already, is that okay? The response I received was shocking. “Would I walk into a restaurant and bring my own drink” . I really didn’t know how to react…..so I said ok, than I’ll have a bottle of water, and she responded, no its okay, don’t worry. Wow, I’ve worked alot in customer service, she could do with some lessons. If I wasn’t tired and blistered from the walk, I may have enlightened her a little on the topics off ‘think before you speak’ , ‘be nice’ & ‘how to run a successful business’. I think the establishment we entered was a bit to high & mighty for us. Us common London folk, sticking out like saw thumbs in this quaint Derbyshire village…

Oh well, we eat and be gone & venture home. An interesting couple days. Bottom line, walking & talking is great. Try it sometime on a lovely trail as we did 🙂