Memories of O level geology and plans for post-lockdown (11 photos)

My first visit to Norber erratics took place more than 50 years ago – a geology field trip from school, if my memory serves me correctly. At the time, I probably didn’t appreciate this glorious view over the tiny hamlet of Wharfe. The road winding up the centre of the dale leads from Austwick to Helwith Bridge, and I’ve started many an enjoyable walk from that road: up Crummackdale, Moughton Scar, Oxenber & Wharfe woods, and more. PS I somehow managed an O level in geology which remains one of my top ten lifetime achievements.

Train crossing Morecambe Bay with the Lake District beyond.

When lockdown is over I aim to travel by train from Giggleswick to Settle. The two railway stations – just one-and-a-quarter miles apart – are not directly linked by rail, and my journey will take all day. My plan is to travel from Gigg to Carlisle via Lancaster and Barrow, then back to Settle, a total distance (by rail) of around 150 miles. The trip will take me through some glorious countryside, across Morecambe Bay and up a glorious coastal route past some stunning Lakeland scenery to the Scottish border, returning through Cumbria and the Dales on the impressive Settle-Carlisle line. I will need an old geezer’s rail pass, a bagful of butties, and a flask of tea (or perhaps something a little stronger). Okay, so it’s not exactly an intrepid macho hiking expedition through the Scottish Highlands, which some folk may be planning on their return to freedom, but I’ll need to get warmed up first after many months on the couch.

The beach at Bamburgh.

As much as I love the Dales, I also enjoy visiting most of the British coastline. Seascapes can be as dramatic and beautiful as landscapes; clouds – and moods – as changeable as those above our mountains.

Evening light on the Norfolk coast.

Although I was very disappointed about leaving the EU, as a big tea drinker I was delighted to learn that I was at least going to be able to enjoy a new cuppa…

I’ve now had just one haircut in 12 months. I’m starting to look like one of those sad has-been 1970s rock band bass guitarists who appear on TV documentaries to talk about the group that became world famous after he left them.

This month has already thrown some miserable weather at us, but these two February pics from previous years have brought some stunning sunsets.

Please look out for the February issue of Dalesman in which I have written a piece about my family history which includes some startling revelations. If you can’t get out to buy a copy, take a look at for a great delivery offer.

February view of Whernside across Chapel-le-Dale.
War poster on display at Ingrow railway museum on the Worth Valley line. Couldn’t be more appropriate for today.
Not the usual view of High Cup Nick but I liked the sky on this day a few years back.
Through the round window … the Leeds-Liverpool canal near Bradley in Airedale.

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