Longdendale trail

I went to a car boot sale recently and purchased a couple of books. One of them was this one.

A good car boot buy for 50p

I made a google map of all the starting points. That way if I felt like doing one someday I could just set off. Yesterday I was a bit bored and decided that the next day I would set off and do a cycle ride. I chose one that was the closest to my home, number 5, “The Jaws of Longdendale“. I made a Strava route just to be sure of the effort that might be required.

It definitely seemed doable even though I haven’t been on my bike much. So I loaded up my eBay £30 bike to the back of my car ready for the morning.

And when I woke up…it was raining, just slightly, more like mist. The book said not to bother with the route if it was windy as the valley acts like a tunnel and it wouldn’t be fun. Bugger it, I am going anyway. It would be a nice drive??

The carpark was an easy find and I thought it was a great place to start. In the middle, so if it did turn blustery then you only had to do half the route or less back. There was also a toilet block.

Look at that bike, it has been a bit of a bargain but I have to say the brakes are crap. I cannot stop quickly and going downhill I don’t really come to a complete stop without putting my feet down. I have tried adjusting them and they do stop perfectly when I am not on the bike so I am not sure what to do about them. Just pray I don’t need to do an emergency stop.

Anyway, the cycle path looks like this the whole way. A mountain or cross bike would be better. There are runners, hikers, and dog walkers on the path, take care. On a sunny day the car park will fill up quickly as will the path.

There were a couple of cobbled sections near gates, probably to get you to slow down. Another device to slow you down was this…

I couldn’t get through without getting off.

At one end of the route you will come across these tunnels.

At this point you head back toward the carpark…toilets 🙂 and then on to the other end.

Even though I had made a route, I couldn’t access it due to the poor reception in the area. Luckily it was an easy to follow path having been made from an old railway line. Though it did mean I did not go down to the dam and headed straight for Hadfield. I didn’t mind not doing the exact route as I am sure I will visit the place again sometime. It really was lovely, even on a misty day. The sun did pop through once though.

The route only had one road to cross, but that road can be busy so take care. It isn’t helped by people parking here to avoid carpark fees. I don’t mind the fees as it pays for the toilet block and is safer.

As for the rest of the route, take a look.

It ended up being a super day and I was back home for 1pm. That did indeed make me smile.

Advertisements

Victoria Tower, Castle Hill and Almondbury.

I wasn’t assigned a job today so instead of staying inside I decided to go for a trundle. Usually on days like this I would drive to the Lake District for a walk. But recently I have thinking more about exploring places closer by, it saves on petrol. This means places that don’t usually make me curious. Today I decided to explore Huddersfield, Victoria Tower in particular. That link has all the history you could possibly need so I won’t be adding more here.

Victoria Tower is situated on the top of a hill and can be seen for miles. It also has no protection from wind and it was blowing a fair breeze when I was there. I hadn’t noticed any wind at the bottom of the hill so I can imagine on a truly windy day, it could lift you off the ground. This article mentions the site is used for kite flying quite often, I can see why.

The basket is a beacon that can be lit to warn people of “things” for miles and miles or as a celebration.

On a fairly non-windy day, when the sun shines, this place would be great for a picnic, but not a bbq as they are not allowed. The views are incredible as are the dry stone walls.

The village below the tower is Almondbury. It is a typical looking Yorkshire village if you are from these parts, but if you are not then you will probably be fairly amazed. For me there were a few interesting sights, but the most impressive was Wormald’s Hall. It is one of only six surviving Tudor buildings in the Huddersfield area.

And the most unexpected sight was the blue police box, the Tardis.

And finally, on this link you will see some amazing photos of the tower. The day I visited was windy and dull, so I used my processing skills and apps to make this 🙂

Sometimes exploring your own backyard is worthwhile. Gosh, it is nice to have this in your backyard.

Visiting Manchester and The John Rylands Library

This week has been a school holiday so I decided to take a wander around Manchester on a rainy day.

I had always wanted to visit The John Rylands Library, so a rainy day seemed a perfect time to sit in a library. Growing up, I used to live next to a reference library and often spent an afternoon in there looking at the animal books. I was nine years old at the time, a lone child in an adult library with not a picture book on site. I am sure that would attract attention nowadays. But in the late 80s, it wasn’t an issue as long as I was well behaved. That experience gave me a love of libraries, warm and safe I suppose.

I didn’t go to read any books, though they do have an extensive collection from the last 500 years. If you do want to read anything you have to contact them in advance due to the rarity of their collection. The main attraction for me was the historic reading room. I took a book with me and my phone. I spend some time reading and updating my diary. The wooden chairs weren’t the most comfortable, so I didn’t stay as long as I planned. But look at the surroundings…

The next location I visited was just up the road, Manchester Cathedral. I don’t have any photos of the inside due to their photography policy. Like Doncaster Minster which I visited recently, you have to pay for a photography permit. Maybe it is a church thing, but I find it unconducive to modern society. Ask people to follow a code of conduct, ask people not to photo certain areas, but to ask people to buy a permit incites conflict. Like it or not people love using their phones to remind themselves of the places they visit. Asking people to pay for a permit upfront means you have to police that policy, having people watching for surreptitious uses of the phone or camera. Then confronting anyone who has not read the notice or understands English signage. It also hinders promotion. I went to the library because of the photos I saw online, so do thousands of others. The permit is just £1 so is it really worth the effort? Anyway rant over and here is the outside of the cathedral.

The inside is quite nice with different types of rocks used in its construction.

Next to the cathedral was a glorious looking pub with a sign outside saying PIES. That sounded nice, I do love a good pie.

The Old Wellington is the oldest building of its kind in Manchester, being established in 1552. It was damaged in 1996 by the IRA bombing of the city. Amazingly, the police managed to evacuate 80,000 people that Saturday from a shopping area. Although there were some injuries, nobody was killed. Being that it was the biggest blast on mainland Britain, it is an unbelievable statistic…and they did it in less than an hour.

Anyway back to the Wellington, it was repaired but eventually moved to this new location, just 300 metres from its original space. It is next to an equally impressive oyster bar. As you can see from the photos, the pie was awesome and reasonably priced too.

I had a smashing day and recommend a rainy day in Manchester to one and all.

Bingley Five Rises Locks

Today the weather was awful, but I decided to go out anyway. I said I would take my father to the five rises locks in Bingley, but we didn’t know if it would be suitable for an electric buggy. So I decided to go alone first to check it out.

The locks are part of the Leeds Liverpool canal.

Built in 1774 the locks are wider, steeper and deeper than any other in the UK. They are a feat of engineering and are one of the seven wonders of the waterways. I have a feeling I might visit the other 6 at some point.

This day was rainy and very windy. Though cold, there was a plus…a constant rainbow.

The path was rough, but it would be accessible for a good buggy. It would be a bumpy ride, but doable. The worst part being the access path from Canal Road.

But it would be worth it. The area is a haven for wildlife. On the day I went I saw a kingfisher, a long-tailed tit, and deer.

But of course, the main attractions are the locks and the canal boats. There are 5 locks at the top and 3 further down the path.

But be careful, there are many dog walkers. Luckily most abide by the rules and all I saw were friendly.

And keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife to.

And finally, here is an aerial view I found online.

Doncaster Town Trail

The weather has been quite mild recently considering the time of year, but that has been tempered by wind and clouds. Today I decided I wanted to do something, anything. But something easy. I knew my local train station had direct trains to Doncaster. It is not somewhere I have ever had the urge to visit so that was where I decided to go.

A quick look at the train times reminded me of the current Northern Rail situation, strikes every Saturday. So even if I could get there, I would not be able to get back. That left a 45-minute car drive, which was not a problem really. So off I popped, with no preconceived ideas or knowledge of Doncaster.

Upon arrival, I just wandered about. My first impressions were good. I saw some street art near the car park and then a pavement level trail of the town’s history.

And then I saw a tourist information office and shop. Really?? In Doncaster?? I had better look inside. Wow, what a lot of information and a town trail map for sale, only 50p! I bought one and grabbed a few other pamphlets and items from the office. There was a great free book on the history of Doncaster.

The town trail has a blurb about what the walk was trying to achieve. The walk takes you along a Roman road, down the main street, to the oldest building, the market area, showing the various aspects of the town’s development. At the end it says the town has a poor record of preserving its listed building, they seem to be trying to change that. What has also changed is the attitude toward new buildings. The pamphlet states that “post-war development added little to the townscape.” The market area and ongoing building work seem to be trying to rectify this.

The first place I visited on the trail was Saint George’s Church or Doncaster Minster.

I don’t have any photos of the inside as you had to pay £3 for the honour. Never mind, you can do a virtual tour of the church via their website. It captures more than I ever could.

Though I visited all the sites on the trail, I didn’t take photos of all of them. You can see all the stops through the links provided. Here are the rest of the photos I did take.

I really enjoyed the walk and think it would be lovely on a nicer day, maybe in spring or summer. Doncaster’s rejuvenation period is interesting to witness. The loss of the local high street is an issue for many places in the UK, but here the council and Civic Trust seem to be actively working to improve the area. I will definitely visit Doncaster again. I am interested to see how the markets will look after they are completed.

The Hepworth and Chantry Chapel

It’s not that I have forgotten this blog, it’s not that I have not been out an about…but it’s just life in general. Life sometimes gets in the way of life.

Plus, the weather has been complete shite here, as we say in Yorkshire.

But yesterday I decided, sod the weather, I am going “out”.  As it is coming up to the season to be jolly, there are lots of Xmas markets around. So off I trot to the one at The Hepworth Wakefield.

I put on my new winter coat and started walking, then after twenty minutes, I went back home. Ordered some waterproof spray, changed coats and set off on my cheapy bike. The stupid coat was supposed to be water resistant. My arse it was..gosh my language this post is atrocious. I blame it on the ridiculous coat. I could take it back and lighten my mood, but gosh..it was warm. I will try the waterproofing spray first. I am hoping resistance is not futile.

Anyway, The Hepworth was very bike friendly, welcoming even.

My cheap £30 bike, that I have used more than my much more expensive bike. No fear of it getting stolen.
See told ya, they welcome cyclists 🙂

The xmas fair (sorry not religious, just love xmas) was more like a good craft fair with a festive brass band and few xmassy items spread around. I enjoyed it for a few minutes…but then it got way to busy and I couldn’t move around or look at anything comfortably. I headed for the food tent and was jokingly insulted because I didn’t know what a ramekin was.

A stall was selling reuseable food covers and she explained the small ones were for ramekins. What are they I ask. The seller tilted her head in a pitying way and said, “oh love, they can also cover your tin of beans”. Charming!

So I went outside to the food vans and bought a Gin and Tonic.

The whole area is lovely and there is a free art gallery to boot!

Then I decided to trundle home, but when in that area I can never resist having a look at Wakefield Bridge and Chantry Chapel.

I might try to find the other three.

I used to work next to this building and have never seen the inside. I was even tempted to go to a service, just so I could see it. BUT, what was that??? Could I see the door open??? Holy Moly the door was opennnnnn!!!!

They were having their own xmas fair, bugger I spent all my money in the other one. Sorry, Chantry Chapel

Here are some photos of the inside and outside.

And now time to cycle home.

World’s comfiest seat.

Maybe time for some fish and chips too.

Frickley Country Park

An Instagram friend sparked my interest in visiting Frickley Colliery. Apparently, his grandfather worked at the pit and seeing as it was just 30 minutes from my house I thought I would go an take a look.

So, on a brisk and cloudy day off I set in my smashing car and went for a walk. I took a camera to test and my super little Olympus U-mini. This time remembering to use the settings for close-up 🙂 as I forgot last time. Seriously for stuff like this, a good old 5mp camera that fits in your pocket is perfect. And that is the last time I will mention it, honest.

The colliery began its life in 1903 with the first seam being the No.1 Barnsley which went to a depth of 608 meters. Next was the No.2 Dunsil seam and finally the No.3 Shafton seam. This seam was first based at another colliery close by, South Elmsall. The two collieries were combined in 1967, which is a simple history garnered from the link provided. That site has much more information so navigate to that if you are interested in coal mining. Or there is Wikipedia of course, which gives details of the closing of the colliery in 1993 and of the country park opening in 2005.

You can walk the virtual depth of these seams by taking the long path in the middle of the park. Here are my photos, I virtually used one roll of film.

The mounds you see represent stromatolites that were found in the area. Stromatolites are the prehistoric fossilised remains bacteria that grew in shallow seas. You can see living ones in this video…do you think the mounds are a good representation?

While I was walking around I saw cyclists, runners, dog walkers, and ramblers. Nearly all said hello or afternoon. One bloke’s dogs got very excited by the noise of a nearby ice-cream van. He said his wife always buys them an ice-cream so they start barking demanding a treat.

I think I might visit this park again as there are 7 miles of cycle and running paths.

Now, if you want to know what the area looked like when it was an actual colliery you can watch this amazing homemade video. It is a bit long, I didn’t watch it all in one go, but skimmed through. It is a brilliant and wonderful piece of history, which if the time stamp is true, was made in 1994 just after the colliery was closed.

I also found this more professional one from a bit earlier that features the local brass band. Though it does seem to stop working after 25 minutes so be warned.

I didn’t walk the full 7 miles, but I did have a lovely afternoon. If you really want to learn about mining then I recommend visiting the National Coal Mining Museum nearby.

…taking my time and enjoying the view