Downhill all the way.

Yesterdays walk was not really all that enjoyable as far as I was concerned. We all met up in the bus station as we so often do, and from therein there was a lot of confusion as to exactly which bus we were supposed to be catching in order to arrive at the start of the walk. S was supposedly our walk leader but he didn’t seem to be too sure about the bus either, and the fact that our departure displays are all incorrect (see my previous post) didn’t exactly help matters. As most of the other walkers are car owners and don’t frequent the bus station as I do, I had to keep warning them that the information via the displays was wrong.

Watch your step!

Worse was to come when the bus actually pulled into the stand and we asked the driver. He didn’t seem to have a clue where he was going, but despite this we all took fate into our hands and clambered on board. I had to laugh to myself, imagining us ending up anywhere where we would be doing a sort of ‘mystery walk.’ As it turned out, the bus was the correct one, and we set off in good spirits only to end up turning round when it was decided that the walk leader was leading us all up an hill that was far too steep for some of the members to tackle. I quietly sighed to myself.  Recrossing the road, we then set off down a lane and at last seemed to be on our way. Trouble was, the route wasn’t really all that picturesque, having a large estate on the right hand side and not much of a view on the other. I hadn’t taken my camera with me (must have had a foretaste that there wouldn’t be all that much in the way of spectacular views to warrant it.)

The walk leader had on top of his head, one of those straw boaters which looked a little ridiculous to be honest with you, seeing as the sky was overcast and grey. We also had to watch our step walking along the path as there were many loose stones to trip up the unwary. The lady in front of me very nearly fell over one such loose stone. The only thing of note worthy of a quick photo was two horses who were resting in one of the fields as we walked past. One of them had a hood over its head for some reason. I took the shot because I knew that Kerri would love to see it.

Hooded and not

Eventually, the vista in front of us opened out somewhat to allow a view right across the valley towards Southowram and we could see as far as Clifton and even Scholes from there. It was still overcast but it was beginning to brighten up somewhat. We all took a breather half way so that some of the walkers could have a sit and a rest for a few moments, then we continued onwards down into town.  After arriving back in town, three of us, myself included decided to lunch at the Ship Inn, whilst the others went to Wetherspoons for their meal.  For me, it had been a rather disappointing walk on the whole, and I don’t think I will go on another walk around Rastrick again.

View from the top of Rastrick

Technogran

A Walking Disaster.

 

Elland Bridge

On Saturday we decided to through caution to the winds, cock a snook at the constant rain and risk going on a walk along the canal.  Suitably armed with umbrellas and raincoats and optimism that the rain would hold off just for one morning, we set off to catch the E8 bus and alighted at Elland bridge for the beginning of the walk.  We have done this particular walk many times, its a pleasant enough walk along the canal towpath just as long as you don’t happen to be deaf.  If so, you are in constant danger of being run down by the numerous cyclists who seem to consider these canal towpaths as their domain.  They are requested to ring their bells twice in order to alert walkers to their impending presence, but this rule takes for granted that walkers are not hard of hearing and are able to move swiftly aside to let the bikers through.

As we began our walk, I felt quite optimistic, there was actually some blue sky to be seen and it was reasonably warm into the bargain, a good day for a walk I thought. Then we reached the canal towpath and my heart sank.  Despite the fact that the towpath along this stretch of canal is tarmacked, it was covered in a layer of thick slimy mud. It looked like someone had tried to cover the path with thick brown chocolate.  It stretched along the towpath in front of us for at least 4 or 5 metres or so.

Thick oozing mud Now anyone in their right mind would have turned around at this point and beat a hasty retreat back to the mud free road and called it a day.  Any sane mother with an ounce of brain who can recall how her daughter is none too happy walking on anything but a flat surface, and who has endured previous slides and falls in just a tiny patch of mud would have turned back at the sight of it all.  But readers, you all know me by now!  Never one to be beaten by an insurmountable quest such as thick sticky mud, I simply took hold of her hand and we both gingerly plodded our way through the first mud patch.  In my defence, I was reasoning that it was only this patch, after all (I reasoned) this path was tarmacked so it was surely just this area, and we would soon be walking on a nice dry tarmacked surface as we continued our way onward back to town.

We ploughed our way through the next patch, even deeper and stickier and harder to get through than the last one.  I couldn’t understand it!  What had caused this mud to appear on the canal path? As we struggled on, both of our shoes began to become covered up to the laces with slimy gooey mud, and we made some vain attempts to get it off with grass, puddles anything bar dangling our feet into the canal, and at one point I have to confess that I did even consider doing just that.  By now, we had reached a sort of en passé.  In front was yet another huge patch of thick mud, but behind us were all those patches that we had just struggled through.  A vivid illustration of being between a rock and a hard place I thought to myself, as I looked guiltily at my daughter clutching grimly to the fence at the side of the mud covered path.  What sort of mother was I?  Dragging her Down’s Syndrome daughter on one perilous venture after another, and for one horrible moment I remembered the nightmare incident where I foolishly took her up the 275 spiral staircase steps in the York Minster tower and how that incident had left me with nightmares!

The lesser of two evils was to negotiate this last patch as there was a canal lock where we could hopefully get back onto the main road. As I stood there contemplating which was the best way forward, two cyclists rode past us, churning through the mud with their bikes as if it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Ah hah!  Now it all fell into place!  This stretch of the canal is a very well used route by cyclists, so maybe they were the reason why the mud was all over the path!  They were covered in it, all the way up their legs, but the bikes went through it like a knife through butter.  Meanwhile, we squelched our way through the remaining patch of mud, walked across the lock gates and out onto the main road. 

SAM_0053

We must have both looked a sight, with mud covered shoes on! Luckily there was a pipe gushing water out further up the road, so we both stuck our shoes under it to hopefully remove most of the mud. I had some tissues on me and we did manage to get quite a lot of the mud from each shoe, before continuing our walk along the road which is not a easy task in itself.  Elland Road is a very busy road, lined with trees on either side and snaking continuously as it does from left to right, and yet for some strange reason,  everyone seems to drive like lunatics on this particular stretch of road despite the poor visibility around corners.  It has always been a notorious road for accidents, and I was more than a little apprehensive as we both walked along. The pavement isn’t all that wide either, so eventually I rang our local taxi service to come and collect us to take us the rest of the way back into town. 

WP_000060

We decided to have our lunch in Wetherspoons for a change, and as we sat waiting for our meal, mud stained shoes tucked under the table in the vain hope that no one else would notice them, I went over in my mind the whole mornings adventures.  Instead of being thwarted by the weather as we had expected, we had ended up being stopped in our tracks by mud, thick mud of the kind that I had never seen before in my entire life, probably churned up by all the cyclists who were probably revelling in it.  And for me a stark and valuable lesson. Stop being such an idiot and admit defeat when its staring you in the face, and stop dragging your daughter through impossible tasks!  I rewarded her for her all her endeavours with a luscious chocolate sundae! 

Not a lot of photos I’m afraid, as I was far too busy helping Kerri and myself stay upright to take many pics.

TG Confused smile

A ride on the Cornish Explorer.

 

Penzance Harbour stitch


Western Greyhound 960 WK59CWXFollowing much discussion and careful scrutinizing of bus timetables, we both decided that Thursday was to be a day of trying to see as much of the rest of Cornwall as we could possibly fit in seeing as it was our last day there.  After some careful planning on my part, we decided a course of action which entailed catching the 515 bus from outside the park to Penzance, spending a few hours there and then catching the Cornish Explorer for a ride that would travel through Treen, Porthcumo, Sennen Cove, St Just, Lands End, and then make its way to St Ives, where we would be able to then catch a bus back to the park.

Our Greyhound bus to Penzance, the 515 turned out to be one of those buses that goes all around the estates and back again, and a journey that had we been going straight to Penzance would have probably taken us a quarter of the time ended up taking over two hours or more. Eventually we arrived in Penzance. The weather was overcast and grey again, and in a similar vein to St Ives I ended up feeling a little bit disappointed.  We walked around the harbour and then journeyed up to the shopping area.  Despite eyeing up some interesting sounding pub venues for our lunch, we were to finally end up in Wetherspoons of all places.  I was not feeling very well, I felt cold and tired and was ready for the journey back to be honest, but I forced myself to troop around the shops and front for Kerri’s sake.  We eventually returned to the bus station in time to catch the 14.35pm 300 Cornwall Explorer.

First 300 Cornwall Explorer

This is an open topped double decker run by First bus, but we didn’t dare brave travelling on the top!  One of the other passengers insisted on having a window wide open and I just couldn’t seem to get warm at all.  Finally they got off the bus and the open window could be closed. The weather had definitely cooled drastically from how it had been the rest of the week.

However, it was an enjoyable ride along the small winding roads of Cornwall. Every time that another vehicle was travelling in the other direction and met up with us, they had to reverse back until they could find a wider area so that our bus could get past. All of the roads that we travelled along were lined with wild flowers of every description, bluebells, foxgloves, poppies, lupins, it was all so beautiful, and had the weather been kinder and had I not felt so cold and unwell, I would have absolutely adored the whole journey and we would have definitely travelled on top! Eventually we arrived in St Ives where we caught the 547 back to our park.

We had our case to pack on our return to the van, and following that we enjoyed a restful last night watching TV and relaxing  ready for the journey home tomorrow. Enjoy the photos we took whilst in Penzance, they show how dismal the weather was but strangely enough, Kerri managed to take one of me looking as if I’m having a whale of a time standing on the rocky front.

TG