Thursday, 29 July 2010

Back home, old haunts

Today I went for what was intended to be a short walk up to the woods I used to play in as a kid, I got a bit longer than that though and took on a different feel...

I walked off from my Mam's up to 'The Cricket Field'. Or what was a cricket field when we were kids and a place we hung out, now it's all fenced off horse paddocks.

Next was the site of 'The Fallen Down Tree', a big old sycamore we played on for years over a stinky stagnant pond, now no more. I remeber falling in the gloup in my new 'combat suit years ago and blimey it stunk. Just along the path is 'The Conker Tree', still there! Apart from the obvious attraction it was a tree for climbing and swings.

After that was 'The Easter Field'. Our premier sledging venue that seemed so big now seems hardly worthy of the walk we had to make to it through the snow. The view is great though, down the valley to 'The Woods'

And into The Woods

Woodpecker holes

The Beck

The woods were my favourite haunt. Building dens, cooking on fires and generally exploring. Even lots of changes here though with messy timber extraction years ago meaning most of the paths have changed from when we had fun up there.

I had intended to go back home, but ended up being drawn to visit Kilton Shaley.

A place of myth as a kid and one we rarely dared visit due to tales of 'The Gamey' who'd shoot you with salt pellets, if there ever was such a thing! One thing for sure though we did get chased a few times playing in old mine buildings, fields, messing about on bikes and even finding old mine entrances.

Kilton Shaley is the only shale tip left over from the iron stone mining past of this area and is now actually a local nature reserve. The various 'Shaleys' were another place we regularly got up to things we shouldn't, but now they've been flattened out and reclaimed.

It was a steep climb to the top of the shaley,  but worth it with a great panoramic view, pity I didn't have the tripod. Here's a view looking down on some of the old mine buildings an up to the woods and moors.

Blimey it was a hot day and the climb up the hill hadn't exactly helped my dodgy knee. Now to go back down, gingerly, and follow the lane back home past the site of 'The Grey Lady' ghost and another place 'The Gamey' was a worry. I didn't go in but passed by the way into 'The Gill'. A small wood with a lake in the middle, now managed by an angling club. There were tales of a whirlpool and the ghost of some one who died in it there. Stupidly when we were kids and it was frozen over one winter we played footy on it and even tried to break the ice, while we were standing out in the middle of it!!! It always seemed a spooky place even in daylight.

I've got to admit I was pretty exhausted and about ready to collapse when I got home and downed a few pints of water one after the other. Too hot, too far and now I'm too achey with a swollen knee. One day I'll learn!

Mam you didn't read all that right?!

Sitting still

Last night my Mam baby sat so we could go out to sit and meet with friends at Teesside Meditation Group, a Soto Zen meditation group affiliated with Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. A place we also hoped to visit whilst 'sooth', but it's unfortunately not going to happen this time.

It was great to see a few new members there and feel part of a group practising our tradition again. As soon as we started singing The Scripture of Great Wisdom the feeling was pretty indescribable.

We sat, as we do facing the wall, just sitting for around 20 minutes, walking meditation, then another 20 minutes sitting before singing The Litany Of The Great Compassionate One, some thing I feel a great connection to for some reason. A wonderful evening for us both.

The evening re-stirred thoughts of starting a Zen meditation group back up in Shetland or figuring out a sensible way I can attend the Shetland Buddhist Group. An eclectic group I enjoyed attending  before I started work, but now it means over a 3 hour wait in Lerwick after work, or going home only to drive all the way back to Lerwick a couple of hours later. Either way a very long day for me and lots of driving.

We'll be meeting up with friends from the Teesside Meditation Group in North Ormesby, Middlesbrough on Friday for a most excellent lunch at the Hindu Temple there.  A blessed veggie Thali, often a bit hot for me but very yummy!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Back home, anniversary ventures

Yesterday was our 8th wedding anniversary which we kicked off with a great breakfast in Saltburn-by-the-Sea; a trip down the cliff lift to the pier and wander about the foreshore and woods.

Looking north towards Teesmouth

Looking south towards Huntcliffe

Down the cliff tramway

Looking back up to Saltburn town

After a bit of a break back at my Mam's it was off out over the North York Moors with a impromptu stop at Ruswarp on the Esk near Whitby for an hours rowing. Well, we have  got the last , make or break, race  of the season at Lerwick when we get home, need to keep our hand in.

And then off to some beautiful semi-natural ancient woodlands near Falling Foss water fall near Whitby. Great to be under the canopy of the big beech, oak and ash trees. There were also lots wild cherries but we left them to the birds, very sour.

The Hermitage

and looking out from it

A small trickle at the top of Falling Foss...

...becomes a lovely cascade into an inviting plunge pool, but no swimming today

That'll have to do for now. My Mam is nagging that I'm always on her laptop and we have places to go and things to do. May be next time I'll have some views of the North York Moors in all their purple glory.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Heading Sooth

Well we arrived back at my Mum's yesterday afternoon, a village sandwiched between the North Yorkshire coast and the North York Moors. The ferry was great and even the 7 hour drive down wasn't too bad. Unfortunately the weather has been glorious, too blooming hot for me!

It's very odd been back 'home' for a short while. Bit dream like really, everything seems small with hedge enclosed lanes, trees everywhere and a totally different lay out of houses and villages. It was also odd to drive on dual carriage ways, negotiate traffic systems and see all the fast food outlets.

One amusing thing was coming out of Aberdeen and passing the first petrol station with queues of ferry traffic at it, not surprised at £1.12 a litre instead of £1.29 in Lerwick!

Anyway here's some photo's of our crossing back to mainland UK

Playing on the top deck before we leave

Leaving by the sooth mooth

Lerwick Knab

Kirkabister light house on Bressay

On the right is The Giants Leg on Bressay

Bressay and Noss

Sumburgh Head

Sunset over Fair Isle

After a good nights sleep with no falling out of bunks and steady boat we rose to see a lovely sunrise as we approached Aberdeen

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Last post...

... well for a while. We're of sooth tomorrow evening for the best part of a fortnight to visit friends and family and try to give the estate agent a bit of motivation to sell our house there.

I am taking my camera so I'm sure I'll be posting something about our adventures. You can probably guess we won't be just sitting in drinking cups of tea.

Just to give you a taste here's a few old pictures of a few places with in 10 minutes walk from our old house...

The coast

The woods

It really is gorgeous there and don't forget there's a house at a bargain price right on the edge of the North Yorkshire Coast up for grabs!

Oh, to mention just before I go. Had a great bike ride with a friend over Muckle Roe to North and South Hams, despite the less than summery weather. It was pretty much like my winter ride; damp, windy, and cold; just no snow and ice and I felt a bit fitter. We came across a big group of common seals basking on the little jetty and rocks around South Hams too. It looked rough out towards Hillswick and Eshaness, very glad I wasn't out on that side in a kayak today!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A kayak along the south coast of Muckle Roe

A friend and I ventured out today to follow the same sort of route as I walked yesterday but from the sea! Actually we went further along the coast, but turned back as the tide was rising with wind against it and, to be honest, we were pretty shattered.

Sorry for the mobile phone pics but that's the best you'll get off me on the kayak.

It was low tide when we set out with plenty of opportunity to play around in the rock gardens along the coast, but unfortunately the tandem kayak is a bit of a tug so timing to get over the ledges was out at times and at one point very out. We shipped some water but sorted ourselve's and headed to the nearest beach to empty the kayak before carrying on.

First port of call to empty the boat after a miss-calculation

The coast is full of little routes between stacks and skerries, fun to explore and interesting to see the bird life and sealife so close up.

There are caves, gjos and arches around every corner. Some we need to go back and explore with a torch. Once inside the caves, eyes adjusted the colour and depth of the water is amazing, we could see big under cuts in the cave walls and little channels through to other bits that you could possibly swim under in the right circumstances.

We were at low water so the caves were generally at their most accessible, but there were some pretty scary surges of water coming through some of them, cascading over shelves and alternately pulling you in or pushing you back out. We tried to follow one passage way but coming to a T-junction had to revere all the way back as the kayak was way too long to get round the corner! All great fun though.

Here's the big cave under the lighthouse. A few pairs of Shags were breeding in there. It's an enourmous space when you're inside and a nice sheltered spot.

A more distant view of the lighthouse

Some views looking out of caves

We weren't that far off from Vementry and could see a boat out again checking it's pots, often very close due to often surprisingly deep channels. The water was extremely clear with underwater walls encrusted with anenomes, sea urchins and star fish amongst other things.

We had lunch in a little sheltered cove of stacks which was full of seals with pups until we disturbed them. We even had a little wren join us for lunch, a Sheltand sub-species?

The bird life along this coast is fantastic; Great Skua, Artic Skua, Razor bill, Puffin, Black Guilliemot, Shag, Gannet, Fulmar, Herring Gull, Black Backed Gull, Raven. We even paddled under a kittiwake colony on some over hanging cliffs towards the end of our trip. Alas no whales...

Next trip will have to been round the north of the island from Muckle Roe bridge to The Hams