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Showing posts from 2014

Blind Jack of Knaresborough and Christmas Greetings.

Well.....Christmas shopping or a day out in Knaresborough? It was a no brainer really.

Lots of places have their home grown characters who they use to bring in the visitors. Grasmere has Wordsworth, Stratford obviously has Shakespeare, The South Lakes have dear old Beatrix who does Knaresborough have?

Blind Jack...that's who!

Titter ye not.

Jack Metcalfe was blind from the age of six due to smallpox; he had an eventful life which was well documented by his own account just before his death. In the period 1765 to 1792 he built about 180 miles of turnpike road, mainly in the north of England. He was given fiddle lessons as a way of making provision for him to earn a living later in life and became an accomplished fiddler and made this his livelihood in his early adult years. In 1732, aged 15, he became fiddler at the Queen's Head, a tavern in Harrogate. He also had an affinity for horses and added to his living with some horse trading. Though blind, he took up swimming …


One of the most interesting and entertaining walks in the Dales; The circuit of Janet's Foss, Goredale Scar and then across to Malham Cove. Limestone scenery at it's best.

I suppose I really picked the wrong time of year to do this walk. The woods approaching the Foss should  be done when the wild garlic is in bloom because then the smell is absolutely divine. It's still a lovely walk and the Foss, even though I could hear it, is hidden until nearly the last minute.

Then it was out into open countryside before the claustrophobic walk in to Gordale Scar. As expected, this was the busiest part of the walk but by normal standards, it was still fairly quiet. Two lads were attempting to climb the waterfall  to the hanging valley above but the going was just too slippy so they turned back. A robin came out to greet me but flew off when it realised I had no food for it (it did pose for some nice photos though) and a lovely mongrel dog brought me his stick to throw as his owners …

Coigach Adventure

This was the last full day of my summer break in the Highlands. The forecast was good but I woke early to see thick, low mist on Loch Maree. So I did what anyone else would have done, I pulled up the quilt and nodded back off for an hour. The next time I woke and looked out, there was just a bit of brightness in the clouds which was reflected in the Loch. Slowly but surely the cloud started to lift and break and by breakfast time it was almost clear, just leaving just a few wisps of cloud on the distant hills on the far side of the Loch. This promised to be one hell of a day.

A hearty breakfast was eaten and photos of the Loch were taken and then I was heading north again on the Wester Ross Coastal Trail. I had travelled north on this road three times and each time the weather had left a lot to be desired. In fact one year I turned round at Ullapool! Three times I had driven on this road and never even seen the foot of Scotlands most dramatic mountain, An Teallach. Today I saw it from…