Monday, November 17, 2008

Half way there!

Sadly, the views were less spectacular on this leg, although because the weather was pretty miserable, it mattered less. The rain which accompanied us for most of the walk also meant that I took vey few pictures. This one was of the towpath and canal where we joined Elsecar Greenway I had company on this walk, which made a pleasant change, and a slight detour to Old Moor RSPB reserve was also a welcome opportunity for some refreshment at the excellent Cafe "Gannets". No time to look around the reserve, unfortunately, but it's definitely worth a return visit. Wayfinding was very easy on this section, as it more or less followed a straight line, and a train station at both ends kept the travel simple. I had also covered a short part of this route on the Penistone Line walk, and the next leg will also duplicate bits of that around Tankersley.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Heading south.

From Grimethorpe to Bolton on Dearne. Nearly. I picked up the route where I finished last time. The weather forecasts couldn't agree, but after a wet start to the day, the sky was blue by 9.00am. Well done met office! At the risk of repeating myself, the views on this walk were once again spectacular. It was a long leg - 9 miles in total, so by starting at Grimethorpe I probably reduced it slightly. There were a number of nice woodlands on this section, including the one on the left - Challenger Wood, which was the first one for a while to have quite a lot of fungi in it, especially stinkhorns, but sadly nothing edible. There were quite a lot of muddy fields to cross, thanks to the ongoing damp conditions, which made the walking heavy going in places. Phoenix Park in Thurnscoe was very nice and has a lot of sculptures, and an interesting concrete church in Goldthorpe added to the visual interest once the route took me into more urban areas. The end was in sight when disaster stuck: after negotiating a broken and somewhat challenging stile for my old bones, the route became impassable. I was obliged to retrace my steps, renegotiate the broken stile, and recalculate my route along the road. As I was studying my map, a voice rang out from across the road: "I know you think you've arrived in paradise, but this is Goldthorpe.". I passed a few bus stops with no information on them, and decided my best option was to go to Goldthorpe station and catch a train. even though I had by now missed the 3:30 train and would have to wait until 4:30. Eventually, on meeting a main road, I saw a young woman waiting at a bus stop. "where do the buses go to from this stop?" I enquired. "All ovver" came the reply. I could see this was going to be hard work.
"Can I get to Barnsley?"
"Yes. "
"How frequent are they?"
"Every hour".
"Back to Plan A", I thought and headed up the hill towards Goldthorpe station. As I reached the next bus stop, a bus hove into sight with the legend "Barnsley via Wath". I was overcome by the desire to be seated on a warm, moving form of transport, so joined the queue and climbed gratefully aboard. Barnsley via Wath. Perhaps not a direct route but no matter. What it omitted to add that it was also via Zagreb, Rio de Janeiro and Vladivostok. Certainly, the trip was good value for money. As the bus finally pulled into Barnsley station, I was just in time to see a Sheffield train pull out. I eventually got home at 6.45. The transport challenges will be different now I am headed westward. In theory at least, it should get easier as my route will take me to the Sheffield boundary. More pictures on Flikr. Also, why not try the link to "Wild West Yorkshire", the web diary of Richard Bell, whose lovely sketches and eclectic musings on walks, gardening, drawing, wildlife and anything else that catches his keen eye is well worth a visit

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Barnsley and beyond

This title might have been more appropriate for last week. It came from a leaflet I picked up on the no.59 bus on the way back to Royston - a map of Stagecoach bus routes in the area. I managed to pick another day of blue skies, even if it was somewhat colder than last week. Astonishingly, it snowed in the Midlands earlier in the week. This walk took me from Royston to Grimethorpe, via a lot of old tramways and dismantled railways. Shortly after setting off , I was surprised to see what appeared to be a fully functioning colliery, but was unable to figure out which one it was from the map (Lund Hill?). I briefly encountered the Trans Pennine Trail again and this wonderful signpost. Once more, fabulous views, including the small Tuscan hill village of Brierley which I approached through bamboo fields!
I got slightly lost on the way from Brierley to Grimethorpe, but I could see where I should have been, so I'll start at Grimethorpe next time. More pictures on Flikr.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The cabbage fields of wildest Wakefield

Friday was forecast to be the best day, so leg 3 took me to Woolley Edge. Last week's walk was so wonderful that it spoiled me for this one. Nevertheless, there were some great views, this time to the north, and the relatively flat area of West Yorkshire. Much of the walk was on tarmac - true, mostly quiet country lanes, but the 7 miles seemed shorter than last week's 5. The route zigzagged across agricultural land with just a few bits of woodland on the way. One of the most dramatic sights was a large field of cabbages, before the route descended into the attractive Applehaigh Clough. Once again my route was punctuated (!) by a none too camera shy comma butterfly. This autumn seems to be all or nothing in the woodland fruits department - sloes and hazelnuts are a no show, whereas there are huge quantities of many others - rowan, rosehip, acorns, elderberries, and some fine swags of black bryony. Some fine looking fungi (clitocybe nebularis) but nothing for the pot. The pheasant from last week exceeded my expectations. I hung it in the shed for 6 days, then skinned and drew it. I did a variation of a Nigel Slater recipe, and roasted it in a hot oven, rubbed with thyme and juniper butter and wrapped in streaky bacon. Not only was it delicious, the meat was tender and tasty, but there was much more than I had anticipated - a generous amount for the two of us.
More pictures on Flikr.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Second Leg: Cannon Hall to Bretton Hall

Earlier in the week, I decided on a foray. After a while it was clear that once again, there wasn't much around so I turned it into a walk. Until now, the furthest I had walked along Woodlands Valley was to the Hagg farm turn-off. This time I continued along to Rowlee Farm , crossed the Snake and returned along the other side of the River Ashop. There was a lot of birch along this stretch and signs of plenty of fungi which has gone over. It was pretty muddy underfoot, but the forecast was again over-pessimistic and the weather was much better than it had predicted.

Yesterday, I completed the second leg of the Barnsley Boundary walk. It was one of the finest walks I had ever done! True, the weather was perfect - cold and bright - and the leaves were turning. There was not one bit of the walk that I did not like. The views were outstanding, and there was the bonus of the attractions of 2 country parks. It whetted my appetite for a visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park - long on my "meaning to" list, but now promoted. I saw quite a few sculptures without leaving the route of the walk, but had neither the time nor the energy to make a detour to give the park the attention it deserved. The only thing that would have improved the walk was mushrooms, although a recently deceased pheasant on my path provided an alternative source of free food. I took lots of photos, but I've decided that I will only put one per post in my blog, as previous ones look messy and don't have the desired impact. I'll post the best of the rest on Flikr and try and put a link to it on this blog.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A new challenge.

Earlier in the week, I met up with K. Again, the weather was better than the forecast suggested it might be. After a wettish start and before a late afternoon downpour, we had the best of the day enjoying a fine afternoon by Rivelin Reservoir and Wyming Brook. The leaves are just starting to turn, so I've made a bin to collect leaves for leafmould - something I've been meaning to do for many years.
Having sent off for and received maps/guides for the Barnsley Boundary Walk and the Trans Pennine Trail, I decided I couldn't wait to get started on the next challenge. Not that I need much motivating at the moment with plenty of time on my hands, but as the prospect of work looms, I will need A project that doesn't require me to think where to go next. I regret not having chronicled the Sheffield Country Walk fully, and the Penistone line walk not at all, so I am resolving to record the Barnsley Boundary Walk in words and photos, at least. One of the challenges with linear walks (OK, the whole thing is circular, but each leg is end to end) is getting to and from either end of the walk. The first leg (Ingbirchworth to Cannon Hall) was a good indication of this. From the range of possibilities, I decided that the train to Penistone, and a 2 mile lead in was the best option. There looked to be some routes which avoided the main road, but not wanting to walk too far before starting the walk proper, I went for the shortest route. Fortunately, there was a pavement for the entire length, the road was not too busy at that time of day, and the views from the road more than compensated for the tarmac under foot. The bad news is that I relied on the walk description to find the start of the walk rather than look at the map. The Rose and Crown Pub was the landmark I was looking for. I sensed something was wrong when I passed the carved stone sign that marked the end of the village. It turned out the pub had been demolished to make way for a development of town houses. A sign of the times! It might be interesting to see how many remain unsold by the time I complete the circuit. That problem overcome, I had no futher problems finding my way on what proved to be a lovely walk with stunning views. The area has a timeless quality about it, townhouses notwithstanding. Ingbirchworth, Upper Denby and the tiny hamlet of Gunthwaite with its medieval barn have many old but beautifully maintained buildings, and are set in lovely rolling countryside. It was very wet under foot, but the stunning weather compensated for this. The homeward journey was more successful that the outward one. A bus from Cawthorne to Barnsley coincided with my arrival at the end of my route, as did a train from Barnsley to Sheffield. It was also a day of coincidences; I ran into a former work aquaintance in Penistone, and a former colleague returning from a conference in Leeds on the train home.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The great annual foray and bacon butty event

Lovely to have company on my most recent foray. The forecast for Saturday was grim, but the reality wasn't quite so bad. We'd expected rain, but in the end it was the cold that did for us. It's not easy picking mushrooms with your gloves on. Once again, there was an unusual distribution. There were a couple of parasols in the pasture on the way up, and lots of meadow waxcaps (butter mushrooms). There were also a number of field mushrooms, but not in the same quantity as we've found in previous years. The big surprise was the lack of nice edible mushrooms along the woodland edge. J. found a wonderful cep, but that was about it. K spotted this stunning Hygrocybe calyptriformis, and there were generally lots of waxcaps. As always, the bacon butties at Grindleford caff, which traditionally round off this event, were an absolute delight.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wet and Windy!

After some fine Indian Summer weather, today was much more autumnal, but I didn't let it deter me. I went to GW again as I'd had an interesting haul last time. The walk I did was 4 sides of a square, and as I approached the third corner, I was mentally composing my blog ... "Zilch .." it was going to say. Then, a lovely large orange birch bolete sprang into view. All was not lost. As I turned the corner I saw a bay bolete, then another. And another. And another... they were mostly small or a bit chewed, but from having had an empty basket, I had quite a respectable collection. On returning home, a hot bath and a slab of home made plum cake were in order. It was a bit wet to get my camera out, so the picture is from my last visit to this location.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A quiet week.

Two outings this week yielded little. In LV there was nothing in the beechwoods, surprising when other beech woods have provided such a lot of good eating. I refuse to come home empty handed so I brought home crab apples and made jelly. There were some lovely brackets at the top of the valley. On Friday, I managed just enough for tea from LL: one nice badius, a couple of suillus and some field and wood mushrooms.
Here's hoping they are gathering their strength for a big show next week!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Even more treats!

Yesterday's foray produced even more fine specimens, including the Penny Bun I've been looking for to upload as my profile. More horns of plenty and hedgehogs and a very respectable number of chanterelles made it a very worththwhile trip to M.
A brief local foray on the previous evening resulted in a couple of very acceptable orange birch boletes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rich pickings

Found not only Trompettes de mort but autumn chanterelles, a few chantrelles and one very small cep at G.Woods today. Also collected some biberries and saw a beautiful dragonfly.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A new mushroom season!

I've been out mushrooming twice this week; I was interested to see what effect the very wet weather of August had had. On Tuesday, quite a lot of very large Hedgehog fungi at the car park yielded very little once cooked. the woodland edge provided quite a few badius - also quite watery, but delicious. Of other things, only one or two - 2 saffrons, 1 horse mushroom, a slippery jack and a butter mushroom. Yesterday, it was a long time before I found anything, but above the brook quite a few orange birch boletes - enough for tea. Very strangely, there were long stretches of nothing at all, then huge numbers of things - like russulas and deceivers,. It looks like the next few days will be dry and sunny, but their are signs that the weather might turn colder. I'm optimistic of rich pickings and fortunate to have the time to get out to search for them.