Tag Archives: travel

Malham

Malham, in Yorkshire, is a splendid place, which I’d never visited until we stayed there last night. It’s a pretty and charming little village, with a bubbling stream running through it, and one or two very nice pubs.

But, take a short walk through the green, rolling countryside in one direction, and you come to Malham Cove, a very impressive limestone cliff.

A path with some good stairs takes you to the top of the cliff, where the limestone has eroded into other unexpected features.

An occasional delicate flower nestles in the indentations, protected from the sometimes dramatic weather.

If, on the other hand, you head out of the village in the opposite direction, a path through some fields eventually enters a little wooded valley, which takes you first to Janet’s Foss:

And then, a little higher up, to Gordale Scar.

And between all these dramatic sites…?

Sheep grazing in bucolic peace beside gently winding streams.

Shark-wrestling

This morning, Rose, Tilly and I took a very pleasant if somewhat bracing walk along the beach near Weybourne in Norfolk.

Tilly was very brave…

A bit further along, we saw a dead fish, and our thoughts naturally turned to keeping Tilly away from it. 🙂 When we got closer, however, we realised that it actually might be a small shark… and was rather pretty. (As dead fish go.)

Then we noticed… it wasn’t dead… it was still breathing… Just.

It had been a bit mauled by something, but wasn’t in too bad a state… but it was a long way up the beach. So I picked it up, waded into the sea to boot-depth and threw it back into the waves, where I like to think it swam away. It certainly didn’t float away!

It was probably less than two feet long, but it was a wonderful feeling to hold it and feel it breathing, and let’s face it, it’s not every day I wrestle live sharks before coffee time…

My brother, on being sent the picture, identified it as a catshark. They don’t grow to much more than about three feet long, so I feel it’s unlikely to come back and terrorise the beaches of North Norfolk as a result of my actions.

Pigeonhole

At the Drop Redoubt fortifications on Dover Western Heights

Viticulture

I’m used to labels on bottles of wine telling me that I should expect a ‘hint of blackcurrant’ or ‘subtle aromas’.

But in Portugal recently I had a (very drinkable) wine from a vineyard whose marketing department had, perhaps, become a little over-excited.

It’s nice to know there are still jobs out there for people with Literature degrees, isn’t it?

Once more unto the beach

Holkham Beach in Norfolk is an amazing place. It’s just vast.

Yesterday, the car park was packed, and the path from it to the beach a queue of people and dogs, yet when we got there and walked for just a few minutes, it looked like this:

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A few more, and it looked like this:

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(Yes, that’s Tilly – you can click for a bigger version.)

Looking away from the sea, you get this:

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And I’m fond of that, admittedly less exciting, view, because it features in the memorable closing sequence of my favourite movie.

Tilly absolutely adored it, and seemed to keep running, flat out, for about an hour and a half.

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All in all, a most enjoyable stroll.

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Well, that was a surprise…

If you saw my photos from yesterday, you’ll understand why we were surprised to wake up this morning to this:

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and this:

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Very pretty, though:

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By the afternoon, the weather had returned to something closer to what we expected:

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Photos often don’t, however, tell you anything about the wind, which was, at times, somewhat dramatic!

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All peaceful now, though.

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Mysterious Trees III

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Good times ready to roll

The smell of fresh Nikwax

For me, there is nothing quite so evocative of happy adventures to come as the sight and smell of freshly-Nikwaxed walking boots.

Going underground

Thanks to Tom Standage for pointing me at this fabulous collection of fake signs people have put up on the London Underground.

Some examples:

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Pram fans

I had to take a picture of these steps in Chicago’s Union Station recently.

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If you’ve seen The Untouchables, you’ll know why. The ‘pram scene’ is a brilliant piece of cinema; you can see it here, though this clip is missing the long build-up which is part of what makes the original so effective.

Of course, it is itself an homage to the scene in Battleship Potemkin at the Odessa steps, but I didn’t know until today that it too had inspired a later cinematic tribute.

Packing a punch

One thing I haven’t generally had to pack when going for walks in the countryside – until I went to Montana – is bear repellent.

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These are standard issue in that part of the world – you can buy them everywhere.

To an Englishman, an aerosol seems more appropriate for dealing with a small insect than a charging grizzly, but since the usual alternative advice is to lie down and play dead in this situation (which may cause the grizzly to ignore you), I can see why these are popular travel accessories.

From Falls to Autumn

Well, one quick transatlantic flight, and I’ve lost even more degrees of centigrade than I have hours of sleep!

For my more geeky readers, I can report that I return with a Scottevest Transformer jacket, and a Google Chromecast.

But the highlight of the trip was definitely the hikes we did in Yellowstone and in Glacier National Park. I leave you with my favourite picture from the Yellowstone Grand Canyon.

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(Click for a larger version.)

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser