Friday, 7 November 2014

A walk abroad - Andalsnes, Norway

We were visiting Norway on a cruise ship and when the opportunity arose, we took advantage of the chance to climb a Norwegian mountain.  It was brilliant!  That chance came in Andalsnes, a small town north east of Bergen

The ship docked at Andalsnes around 8am, but we didn't get off until closer to 10.  Gusts of wind were hitting so hard, it could stop you in your tracks and the air was FREEZING.  It didn't feel pleasant at all as we came down the gangplank

Fighting our way through the weather I got to Tourist Info and grabbed a map.  I happened to notice a few walks outlined on it, and since it's "our thing", Peter and I decided to give it a go.

There's a steep little mountain right alongside the port, and the walk route seemed to be heading to the top.  Looking up, we didn't think we'd get any where near the summit, after all we were on holiday and just fancied stretching the legs a bit.  So we set off to reach the first view point marked on our map, which is quite low down on the hill.

And it was really easy to get to.  The Norwegians obviously feel that everyone should be able to reach these places, and a ramp had been installed all the way up, making it possible to get a wheelchair or pushchair up to the viewing point.
Looking out from the first viewpoint, An easy walk with a ramp to get you to here.  That's Romsdalsfjorden in front of us. 
Once there, we decided to continue going up.  The next stop is a lovely wooden shelter with benches and tables.   The wind howled through the trees tops occasionally, but we felt sheltered down underneath.
View from the log shelter.  That mountain across the river is called Varden (I think)
An we kept going up. As you can see, this little mountain has steep sides.
The Norwegians really do like to help people do these things, there were rails and chains on several parts of the walk.  If you look at the photo above, you can see a rail running diagonally just up and to the right of Peter.

There are boxes containing notebooks in which you add your name to the list of people who got that far.
And the Norwegians have installed rock staircases around many of the awkward bits.  We kept going up, stopping to enjoy the views time and time again.

The shiny patches you can see on the slope to the left are ice.
We knew there was another view point quite a way above us.  As we got higher, we met other passengers coming down, they told us what to expect. The last couple we came across told us about a platform that they'd seen from below.  We kept going up
Once we'd seen the platform, we had to carry on.  Bear in mind that I am wearing me jeans, and although we've brought some extra layers and we are both wearing decent walking shoes, we have no water or food with us.   We'd agreed that we'd keep going until 12.30, at which point we would turn round and go back down, and not worry about how far we got.  We were thirsty though, luckily there were loads of icicles about, and we also found a spring marked drinking water (we think) just a few feet below the platform.

Anyway we got to the viewing platform - 537 m above sea level, that's 1761 feet.
And yes I did walk out to the end.  I even walked on the scary bit where you can see through the floor, but only a foot or so.  I didn't like it.  The views were just as wonderful as expected though.

Anyway, we went a little bit further up - I reckon we probably added another 100ft or so onto the height.  It is easy to do because of the rock staircase our Norwegian hosts have built.  The only issue is that it's a little bit exposed.

But it was absolutely wonderful!  We were so lucky with the weather.  There was no wind, the sun was out, and it was glorious.  (I don't think I'd be sitting so comfortably if we'd have felt the wind like we did down on the port)

Looking out from the height of our climb.  I think the mountain we're on is called Nesaksla 
A beautiful day.  Just fantastic
We sat up there, enjoying the sun and the views for a good few minutes, and then we knew it was time to go back down.  Going down is easier than coming up of course, but it still took us a good hour or so.
We pottered around the town before going back to the ship, it didn't seem to have a lot to offer us during our quick look see, and then we were back on board, satisfyingly tired, in that good way you get. 

Here's a picture of the mountain, I've marked where the platform is (lower arrow), and my guess as to where I think we got to.  As you can see, we still had quite a climb to reach the top if we'd have continued.  Nesaksla is 715m or 2345 ft high.

Peter and I have decided that if we come this way again, and the weather is right, we'll do it properly and reach the summit.  A brilliant brilliant day. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Surrender Bridge, The Old Gang Smelting Mills, and a Flue.

For various reasons I haven’t updated the blog recently.  I do have all sorts to update the blog with but I'm very behind, so I'll catch up later perhaps.  Today I am going to post my latest walk, if only because I enjoyed it so much that I can’t wait to shout about it.

I’ve been recovering from a twisted ankle – (which I twisted twice!).  I chose this easy route, on what is mostly a flat track, without the hazards of rough ground.  The drive to Surrender bridge is only 30 mins max from home, and the weather forecast was good, so it seemed the perfect walk. 

The thing is, after getting dressed this morning,  I wondered if I really wanted to leave my home comforts to tackle a six mile trek.  After all, walks can be hard work and there is always plenty of stuff I could be doing around the house.  As I was getting ready, I was thinking, “Can I really be bothered?”  But I got meself sorted all the same, and was soon in the car heading for Healaugh and Surrender Bridge. 

And boy was I glad that I gave meself that little push.  Booted up and taking my first steps towards the bridge, the view, the sun, the sounds and the air suddenly reminded me why I like being out in the Dales so much.  From that point I knew I was gonna have a fantastic walk. 

And it was.  Here are the pictures. 
The view as I stepped from the car.  That's Old Gang Beck (or Mill Gill), below, Surrender Bridge ahead with the bulk of Reeth High Moor behind.  And it's a wonderful day. 
From Surrender Bridge, looking down stream to the old Smelting Mill
Following the track.  The colours of the bracken and heather are wonderful.  
It wasn't long before I reached the ruins of the Old Gang Smelting Mills
Old carts and rusting machinery
Not sure what this piece of machinery is
But I don't think most people would imagine one this size
I think this is what's left of a massive chimney, with the flue leading off out of the door sized space and up the hill. The flue has always interested me.  I'll come back to this later. 
After spending a good 20 or 30 mins around the old mills, I carried on.  Today the grouse were very vocal and quite prolific - they where everywhere!  Sometimes they startled me suddenly shooting out from the heather, but mostly they kept me company, appearing in flocks or on their own, walking or flying, and constantly telling me to "go back go back go back".........  Not on your Nelly! I was having a wonderful time.

A few hundred meters from the smelting mills are the shooting huts, and a pretty disused bridge. 

A disused bridge and one of the shooting huts.  Note the tunnel to the right
One site I read suggests this is a tunnel into the lead mines.  I'm thinking it may be for ventilation, or drainage, as it seems a little small for people to use.  Maybe it had a deeper floor 100 years ago?
The little disused bridge looks lovely
Onwards and ever so slightly upwards, the track continues North West following Gang Beck.
Looking back is as good as looking forward. You can see the pretty little bridge and  two shooting huts. Up on the hill on the left is a row of pillars, with a couple of end walls.  This is actually an old peat store.  Peat would have been used to fuel the fires in the smelting mills. 
I continued along the track, first stopping at Hard Level Force, which is normally a waterfall.  I've visited before, where I've seen sheep get confuddled as to how to cross and fish in the plunge pool at the bottom.  Today it was a water trickle, which disappeared into the ground below.
Old Gang Beck changes to Hard Level Gill, which was for the most part dry.  I passed Level House Bridge and walked through the slag heaps of the lead mines.  Definitely not the best part of the walk.
Hard Level Gill becomes Flincher Gill and the track continues gently up.  Just as it turned east I came across more entrances to the lead mines below ground.

There are two entrances. The tunnel on the right swiftly reduces in size and isn't really big enough for a person.  The barred tunnel on the left is much larger. 
Inside the left tunnel, you can see the rail tracks for the carts that were used.  Stuff like this always makes me want to know more. 
After a short break at the tunnel entrances, I set off again up through the surface stripped area of Forefield Rake.  
Forefield Rake.  The surface of the land raked, smashed and pulverised to extract the lead. 
I'm about half way on my walk now.  The track turns and gently, uneventfully descends South East. Ahead the view is taken up by Reeth Low Moor and the steep slopes up to Fremington Edge.
You'll remember that I said earlier that I had an interest in that flue from the Old Gang Smelting Mill?  Well, if you look on a map, you'll see that the flue extends nearly half a mile from the mill upwards to the top of Reeth High Moor.  I wanted to see the top, and the easiest way to get to it was from this side of the hill.  Once I'd reached the right point, I turned off the track, and headed through the heather to the top of the flue.  Luckily I had Gizmo with me, my GPS kept me on track through the uneven ground and deep heather.  It was worth the effort though. 

There isn't any way I could get a photograph to show the whole thing, but this picture gives an idea.  The top of the flue is behind me, and you can see the flue tracking all the way down the hill to the smelting mills at the bottom of the hill and out of sight. 
Not only was I pleased with meself for finding the top of the flue and satisfying me curiousity - I was especially delighted with my other find on the top of the moor. 
A little bit of a dramatic cliff edge near the flue.  Not that big a drop, but wonderful all the same. 
Massive limestone pavement slaps - really impressive
And rocks carved by the wind and rain.
And a veiw of Low Reeth Moor and Fremington Edge.  Wonderful. 
I loved it up there on moor, but it was time to find my way down.  Bearing in mind that my foot and ankle had still not properly recovered,  I couldn't afford the slightest twist or sprain, The deep heather hid rocks and drops. and as per my way up, I was a very careful about where I put my feet. 

But I was back on the track and making my way along the last mile or so of the route soon enough.  The walk ended far to quickly to be honest, but then, there is always another day. 

Here's a map of the route, you can see my little excursion to the top of the flue. 

A little over 6 miles. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

From Keld to Tan Hill

Kisdon Hill
Following the theme of "catch up" this is another catch up post of a walk I did in September with a member of the walkersforum.   The route was one found in a local paper and it was his idea to try it out,  but since it was a good idea, I decided to join him.  (By the way, he did invite me, I didn't gatecrash!)

We'd agreed to meet at Keld at midday.  I live fairly locally, and reckoned on half hour to get there, so I set off just gone 20 past 11.  I should've had time to spare.

Silly me hadn't reckoned on it being late morning on a beautiful Sunday, and every Miss Daisy in England was out for a drive in her automobile.  Yes I agree, the scenery is stunning, and yes, the roads are windy, and no, there is no need to race.........................BUT! .............

I drove most of the route in 2nd and 3rd gear arriving in Keld at 20 past 12, very, very frustrated.
Good job my walking partner for the day (TH) is a patient guy eh?  I made use of the public loos and parked on the road.  TH was already parked in the car park for the very reasonable honesty box price of £2

So we set off a bit late,  TH was a little concerned that he needed to be back on the A1 before dark.  He needn't have worried, the walk was straightforward and the weather was brilliant.  All we had to do was enjoy it.

At this point I discovered the battery on my camera was flat.  DOH!  Luckily my phone has a reasonable camera on it, and didn't have a flat battery.  Here are the pictures.
Near the start - what a glorious day. 
To stop the sheep crossing the bridge?  
The Tan Hill Pub, from Tan Hill
On the return walk, sheepfold and bridge over Stonesdale Beck
Looking out over West Stonesdale Pasture.  
Wossat then?  Mebbe for the Tan Hill Pub behind us?
Just past Ravenseat, the Dales looking like...... Well, the Dales. 
A gorgeous little gorge - How Edge
And just past How Edge, We're looking down from Oven Mouth

And then we were back alongside the Swale heading back to Keld with that fantastic view of Kisdon hill I put at the start of this post. 

10.2 miles and 1600ft of up.  

Thank you TH for inviting me, I had a wonderful afternoon.