Archive for the ‘Sherpa Expeditions’ Category

Hadrian’s Wall – day 2


From our hotel in Gilsland we drove back to Steel Rigg car park ready to continue our Badger Adventure .

Joan and Tom ready for day 2.

The weather was forecast to be cooler and our first hour was to climb Peel Crags and Milecastle 39 (Castle Nick) before gaining a view of Crag Lough Sycamore Gap. The Sycamore was made famous as a star in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner.

Joan and Tom aka Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman – and the sycamore tree as himself!

Walking up to the crag we passed the Crag Lough with some stunning views through the crags to the water. No need for a huge wall here with the crag being such a good defense against the marauding barbarians from over the border into Scotland.

View from Steel Rigg to Crag Lough.

A few more ’undulations’ and we traverse Hotbank Crags, Cuddy’s Crags and then Housesteads Crag. Coming along the wall you are greeted by the archeological site of Housesteads Fort. The Fort is one of the most important Roman sites anywhere in Europe with well preserved ruins of the granary, communal latrines, commanders quarters and much more.

Housesteads Fort / home to up to 1000 Roman infantrymen and cavalry.

The next portion of todays 19km walk took us past Busy Gap and the impressive restoration work of John Clayton in the 17th century.

Sewingshields Crag just before Turret 35a and a saxon burial chamber / crypt.

Leaving the crags behind we picked up the ditch on the north side of the wall and the vallum on the south. More sightings of Hen Harriers and a Goshawk kept our journey alive with wildlife.

Soon we arrived at Brocolitia Fort and the Temple of Mithras and the sun God. After a quick prayer we hastened our way onwards to Limestone Corner, the most northernmost point of the Roman Empire.

Temple of Mithras with altar at the far end and two Sun God worshippers!

The last part of our Badger Adventure took us along a relatively flat part of country to Chesters Fort and Roman Baths. Ritchie (Chief Badger) was waiting for us in the bus ready to adjourn to the Crown Inn in Humshaugh for libation of local ale and northern sustenance!

So another great day with Joan and Tom and ready to return to Chesters first thing tomorrow to explore the Fort and Baths before our 15km walk to East Wallhouses.

Why not tailor your Badger Adventure by following the link to the website and see what you can do!

Badger Adventures

See you tomorrow!

Hadrian’s Wall – day 1


Our plan today was to walk the wall from Gilsland to Once Brewed / 15km or 9.5m.

As you can see, the day was a rollercoaster with many ’undulations’ but mostly a straight line!

Joan and Tom started with a few minor comfort niggles but nothing to cause any concern. So off we went.

Our first major point of interest (other than the Badger Sett – alas not the home of Badger Adventures), was Thirlwall Castle -the 14th century fortified home of the Thirlwall family to protect their amassed wealth from military campaigns from the Border Reivers who loved nothing better than taking whatever they could steal. The fortified home was built almost entirely from stone from Hadrian’s Wall but sadly after 300 years was sold for £4000 and fell into disrepair.

Soon after we Headed onto the wall and got our first real sense of the way ahead.

The Northumberland scenery also began to emerge in all its glory. Vast open countryside, big skies, and a 2000 year old feat of engineering, vision and determination.

The Walltown Crags in the distance behind Jane and Tom.

The undulations became a frequent companion if not friendly!

A little before 1630 we reached our end point of day 1 and retired to The Milecastle Inn at Twice Brewed for a small amount of imbibing before a drive back to Gilsland Spa Hotel for our overnight and dinner.

So, day 1 completed and looking forward to day 2 and even more spectacular scenery and wall.

If you are interested in this walk or any other UK trail, why not look at Badger Adventures for details of how you can join us on your adventure.

Follow us tomorrow for the next instalment of Hadrian’s Wall with Badger Adventures

Day 14 the Final Day Coast to Coast – September 2016


The final day is always a mixed blessing – soreness in the bones, some thoughts perhaps of getting back to work or normality, even some thoughts of ‘never again’! Nonetheless, the day is here and we leave Egton Bridge to head for Bay Town. The day is relatively straightforward with no big climbs other than Grosmont hill and then a gentle meander through Littlebeck Wood with a halt at the Falling Foss Tea shop to entertain us.

Once past Littleneck, we climb up on to the last piece of the NY Moors before seeing the coast in front of us. It always looks a similar sight to the one we left two weeks ago in St Bees – but that was Wainwright’s tidy mind to give the challenge some symmetry.


So as we walked into Robin Hood’s Bay, all that remained was to walk down to the beach, wet our feet in the North Sea and fling our pebbles carried from the Irish Sea at St Bees into the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay.

The triumphant Coasters September 2016

Apologies for the delay in posting but as some of you know, we had a close family bereavement on the penultimate day and this overshadowed everything over the last week.

Well done to all the Coasters and may the memories, good and bad, last longer than your blisters!

Coast to Coast – Days 10-13 Richmond to Osmotherly, Blakey Ridge and Egton Bridge


Richmond to Osmotherly is one a 26 mile slog across the Vale of Mowbray – and somehow comes as a ‘surprise’ to many Coasters for some reason – it is well documented as a hard day and THAT it is. With and average daily speed of 2 mph so far on the C2C  this promises to be a long 13 hour day unless you pick up the pace when you can on the flat.

Alan waits patiently for departure in Richmond - he obviously knows something!

Alan waits patiently for departure in Richmond – he obviously knows something!

I’m always struck that people who embark on the C2C don’t realise how hard a challenge it is. Henry Stedman says “let us be clear – the Coast to Coast is a tough trek, particularly if undertaken in one go”. Ramblers describe it as ‘challenging’ and they’re not wrong – so it’s always a bit of a surprise that Coasters suddenly make comments about not having time to take photographs, or that it’s a tough day, or that it’s not a race. It’s simply a matter of making sure that you get into your lodgings in time for a shower, meal and recuperation in good time.

So the day across the Vale of Mowbray is long and flat and can take up to 12 hours unless you manage your route well and take advantage of the flat and easily walked terrain.

Still a fair way to go yet Ladies!! Not sure Tai Chi, will help!

Still a fair way to go yet Ladies!! Not sure Tai Chi, will help!


Well - there you go - 25 miles done and that's how you may feel!

Well – there you go – 25 miles done and that’s how you may feel!

So we made it for showers, blister dressing and a hobble to the Golden Lion for a sleep infused meal.

Coming up next is a superb 20 mile day across the Cleveland Hills and on to the N Yorks Moors with some morale crushing ascents and descents. We left Bob and Christine to make their way to Blakey Ridge by vehicle due to tired muscles, sore knees and a desire to complete the remaining two days – a sensible option!

The view to The Wainstones from the top of Kirby Bank

The view to The Wainstones from the top of Kirby

Today’s pace was slow at less than 2 mph (not helped by tea and scones before lunch at Lord Stones) but that’s what the group craved and that’s what they got. Nobody admitted to the fact that the cream scones were weighing heavily on their body’s but the pace gradually slowed. When we hit the flat old rail track, it slowed dramatically apart from the spearhead contingent of Steve, Alan, Paul, Sam, Sue, and Kathy who kept up a consistent and steady pace to the end.

Spot the Famous Grouse!

Spot the Famous Grouse!

Food and drink at the Lion at Blakey is plentiful and good so another good meal and rest was the recipe for most!

The next day is a very easy 10 miles to Egton Bridge – downhill all the way – yes that’s true. So we arrived mid afternoon with a lot of time to recuperate and relax before our final day of 17 1/2 miles. Breakfast is later in this sleepy part of the U.K. So a leave time of 0845 looks likely and at our rate of walking I estimate arrival into the top of the Bay at around 1700.

As far as I’m aware at the moment, all 13 Coasters will be walking so that will give this group an 84% achievement rate – ahead of the average – so fingers crossed!

Coast to Coast – Day 9 – Reeth to Richmond

Swifts gather on the wires contemplating their imminent departure to the Sahara Desert in one flight.

Swifts gather on the wires contemplating their imminent departure to the Sahara Desert in one flight.

Well here we are with another easy stroll through delightful countryside alongside the River Swale – 10 1/2 miles of recovery, which  is just as well because we have 25+ miles across the Vale of Mowbray tomorrow. Overall, today’s walk is not a spectacular day as we leave the Pennines behind but with the sun shining, it makes an exceedingly pleasant one.

As with most of our days, we don’t get very far without paying homage to a very important place – this one is no more than 15 metres from our hotel but was still visited!

The most important trip of any day for some. This one no more than 15m from our hotel door at the very start of our day.

The most important trip of any day for some. This one no more than 15m from our hotel door at the very start of our day.

So having spent a penny or two, we were off. A nice easy day to Richmond and the largest settlement on the C2C. A busy market town built around the 11th century castle built by Alan the Red.

The route to Richmond is truly uneventful, with few hills and a couple of pleasant villages interspersed with lush hay meadows. The real highlight is arriving above Richmond town and seeing the castle in the centre – and of course a lofty view to our next destination – the Cleveland Hills and Osmotherly way off some 25 miles as the crow flies!

So little to report today – no new injuries or mal de mer to contemplate – the only contemplation being where to eat this evening in Richmond.

108 miles under our feet with approximately 84 to tread.

Coast to Coast – Day 8 – Keld to Reeth

Swaledale as we walked towards Rampsholme Bridge

Swaledale as we walked towards Rampsholme Bridge

Another easy day for the Coasters with a 0930 start and just short of 12 miles through Swaledale to arrive in Reeth early afternoon.

The day is one of the easiest and most picturesque on the whole C2C so   I just met the group find their own pace and determine their arrival time in Reeth.

Christine's washing hung out to dry as we left Keld

Christine’s washing hung out to dry as we left Keld

Swaledale barn complete with Swaledale Ewe

Swaledale barn complete with Swaledale Ewe

The walk down Swaledale is a really pleasant one, pheasants, ewes, dippers, the sound of the babbling River Swale, the click of walking poles ……… all adds to the experience!

We organised lunch at the Kings Arms in Gunnerside and after a pleasant interlude it was on up to the scar and onwards to Reeth.



As we reached Hill Top, I thought I’d get Bob (aka Jonesy) to pose for his grandson Deg and show him that he was still very much young at heart. PS – he’s still there – haven’t seen him since!

Young at heart

Young at heart

A short stroll later we arrived in Reeth after just over 6 hours for ice creams, showers, Compeed, beer, or whatever you fancied. Tomorrows day is a short 10.5 mile stroll into Richmond along the River Swale – see you in Richmond.

Coast to Coast – September 2016 – Day 7 Kirkby Stephen to Keld


Today is a red letter day – we reach half way at Keld and we crisis the Pennines and the watershed for the northern uk where water now flows to the North Sea rather than the Irish Sea. BUT the legendary peat bogs of Nine Standards Rigg await those unsuspecting souls who aren’t fleet of foot or able to dance across the boggy terrain.

Nine Standards as we leave the Lake District for Yorkshire

Nine Standards as we leave the Lake District for Yorkshire

Yorkshire at its best!

Yorkshire at its best!

Steve (a Yorkshireman) was first to sink his leg into a peat hole and enjoy the feeling of cold dirty putrid decomposing water and matter  fill his boot and traverse his leg. Fortunately, he’s sharing a room with Bob who is very understanding! Steve looks quite happy though despite his misadventure.

Steve was the first to taste the Yorkshire Bog Experience - quite fitting for a Yorkshireman!

Steve was the first to taste the Yorkshire Bog Experience – quite fitting for a Yorkshireman!


Kerry also tasted the Peat Bog experience – just a little more than Steve! Here she is modelling the latest fashion accessory of peat bog worn just over the knees – mmmmm quite fetching!

So we had some interesting moments over the bogs, but we still had 13 to sample the wares of Amanda Owen’s kitchen at Ravenseat Farm – cream teas were the order of the day and all enjoyed in the sun.

Ravenseat Farm - 9 kids already for Amanda and Clive - who knows what winter will bring?

Ravenseat Farm – 9 kids already for Amanda and Clive – who knows what winter will bring?

Ravenseat Farm

Ravenseat Farm



We reached Keld Lodge late afternoon after a steady walk and with two days ahead of easy walking, the group should be recharged and ready for a 26 mile and a 21 mile walk back to back. If they can manage that then they will make the end – time will tell!



Coast to Coast – September 2016 – day 6 Shap to Kirkby Stephen


Todays hike across the Westmorland Plateau doesn’t have prolonged gradients or rocky sole-mashing trails, just genteel grassy strolls across the limestone bedrock . So all in all, after the previous 5 days of volcanic rock in the Lake District, this is a recovery day, especially with improving fitness levels.

A mere 21 miles across steady undulating fields and moorland with barely a hill in sight walking towards the Pennines and the backbone of England.

The day was planned to start with me walking from Brookfield at the far end of the enormous Shap high street to collect the main party from the Kings Arms at 0830 while Steve was to leave Brookfield with Bob, Helen, and Sam at 0830 taking a short route to the M6 footbridge. All was on plan until Bob decided at 0830 to wash his boots and then leave the B&B without paying for his packed lunch! So little did I know this slip in timings was to be the feature of today. We averaged 2.7 mph yesterday over the mountains to Shap and with a flat and easy day ahead, one could easily see that previous arrival times in KS of 1600/1630 could be easily achieved.

The weather was kind, with sunshine all day adding to the ingredients for a perfect day of walking. As we reached Hardendale Quarry, the group began to spread out highlighting that some were already starting to struggle and this become more pronounced throughout the morning. Blisters, muscle strains, fatigue, and some of the groups inability to walk any faster meant that our pace slowed to 2.3 mph, much slower than the previous day!

Managing group dynamics with a very spread out group becomes more difficult and potentially hazardous in poorer conditions but we walked on to Smardale Bridge before re-grouping effectively. More pain relieving gel, painkillers, and anti inflammatory pills were taken in an effort to boost performance over the last 6 miles.

However, it managed to get the group to the destination, but without improving our walking time, arriving at 1745 in Kirkby Stephen after nearly 9 hours. This left a very quick turnaround time for cream teas and scones, showers, baths etc at The Jolly Farmers, before dinner at 1900 at The Black Bull.

A couple of short days with some ‘interesting’ topographical features to negotiate lie ahead – here’s hoping that a good nights rest and two more easy days can revitalise  everyone before our two long and hard days from Richmond to Os, and Os to Blakey Ridge.

The weather still looks good though – so we have no excuses there – fingers crossed X

No - it's not I'm a Celebrity, get me out of here - more like, I'm sorry but Bob wanted to wash his boots!

No – it’s not I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here with Steve walking across the bridge at Shap – more like, I’m sorry but Bob wanted to wash his boots – that’s why we’re late!

For more details on the Coast to Coast guided walk see


Coast to Coast – September 2016 – Day 5


Day 5 from Patterdale to Shap is a 16 mile trek over the highest point of the C2C at Kidsty Pike with a sharp descent over Kidsty Howes to the shores of Haweswater.

First we need to climb some after breakfast to Boredale Hause and Angle Tarn.

Angle Tarn from from Stoney Rigg - the sun just breaking through the cloud

Angle Tarn from from Stoney Rigg – the sun just breaking through the cloud

We left Christine and Bob in Patterdale today – Bob not wanting to risk  his knee on the steep descent from Kidsty Howes and Christine recovering to get fit for the walk on Saturday to Kirkby Stephen. Bob took a taxi to Shap and walked back to meet us at the bottom of Kidsty and probably walked further than we did overall! Good effort Bob – although the crate of beer he promised us seemed to have been taken before we got there!

The team at Kidsty Pike minus Bob and Christine

The team at Kidsty Pike minus Bob and Christine


Looking down to Haweswater from Kidsty Howes

Looking down to Haweswater from Kidsty Howes

The group are walking well overall, with Steve, Alan, Paul and Sam all leading the way at the front. Andrea is our flat ground expert with the rest of us tagging along between. The average speed today was 1.8 mph so it’s all looking positive for tomorrow with some flatter land and less rocky terrain as we leave the Lake District behind.

Everyone seems to be enjoying each other’s company and Alan and Anne apparently shared a bath this evening! I thought it best not to try and seek clarification on the statement! Meanwhile, Paul and Sue our married couple continue to have an early meal and bedtime to recharge their batteries.

Everyone seems to be managing their feet and aches well and so far we have no major issues to worry about.

What a view!

What a view!

So a good meal tonight and a 21 mile day tomorrow awaits us.

See you tomorrow from Kirkby Stephen!


Coast to Coast – September 2016 – Day 4


Dawn broke with an eerie mist over the Grasmere Fells but Carol from the BBC Weather service assured me of another warm and sunny day for day 4 on the C2C!

We were back to full strength this morning with everyone walking and looking forward to another ‘easy’ day in Lakeland. It’s only 8 miles or so up Tongue Gill to Grisedale Tarn before dropping down the valley to Patterdale. Having said that, it’s still a decent climb to Grisedale Hause on a rough track.

I always tend to start the day walking at the back just to make sure everyone is walking ok and not carrying any obvious injury’s and so it seemed today.

The C2C can certainly break a pair of boots - duct tape though is the number one thing I pack on every expedition!

The C2C can certainly break a pair of boots – duct tape though is the number one thing I pack on every expedition! I hasten to add that these boots don’t belong to our group!

The walk up Tongue Gill certainly made us a touch warm with the humid conditions and the sun trying to break through the cloud. After some clothing adjustment and baggage redistribution, we all made the Hause for elevenses in the sun.

The decision had already been made to walk down the valley route rather than climb St Sunday Crag, so Steve led off on what turned out to be a sheep trod over bog and down a rock outcrop whereas the wily amongst us took the path in comfort! So trainee guide Steve was unanimously sacked from his role after the second misadventure in two days 😉

After sharing tonight’s laundry with all of us further down the slope during a not so private wild wee, Andrea soon caught us up just in time for lunch break at the Ruthwaite Climbing Lodge.

As it was such a lovely day with a spectacular view (not Andrea’s laundry) we made the most of an extended lunch in the sun.


This photo is for Deaglan, Bob’s grandson back in Australia who is following his Grandad’s progress across the country. Deaglan – he is doing fine and putting us all to shame with his fitness and determination – you can be very proud of him!



The view down Grisedale after lunch as we headed towards Patterdale

Once down in Patterdale, we took advantage of the hostelry to top up on fluids prior to checking in to our varies accommodations. I’m not sure how much the alcohol post exertion played in the part that followed but Steve made a revelation that surprised us all. He asked us for advice on how he should tell his wife that this was the best holiday he had ever had!!

Well, after much hilarity, and suggestions that he should text her, leave a Dear John letter, leave the country, etc, we decided that it may be best if she learns from reading this blog. When you do, please leave Steve’s belongings in a waterproof container outside the house for his eventual return.


Refreshments in Patterdale


This was the moment when Steve shared his innermost thoughts…….I’m not sure what advice Christine is giving him, but as you can see in the background, Paul is highly amused!

So after a light refreshment, we made our way to our accommodations and hot showers. Tomorrow, we leave the Lake District with regret but heartened in the knowledge that the Yorkshire Dales await us in a day or so. Who knows what further revelations may emerge as time goes on – we can only speculate – watch the blog for further instalments and learn whether Steve ever goes home or spends his life on a permanent loop of the Coast to Coast; will Andrea continue to air her laundry in public; will Alan’s jokes ever get better; will my wasp sting ever stop stinging – see tomorrow’s next instalment if we ever get to Shap!

If you would like to become part of the C2C adventure check out and see how. After all, Steve can’t be wrong, can he?

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