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Well the weather has definitely changed up here in the north east so I thought I’d cheer myself up with some reminders of our recent holiday in Spain. We spent 5 days in Andalucia in a lovely little village just along the coast and inland from Malaga – Pueblo Torrex. We walked for 4 days in the beautiful country side of Andalucia with temperatures in the high twenties and low thirties. What a difference from walking in England!


We took the bus to Grenada one day (we like using public transport when we’re abroad as you generally see so much more of the country) and visited the Alhambra.

We then took a fast train from Malaga to Madrid (600 kilometres in 2 hours 35 mins) for a few days of food and culture.

Take care all

Karen x


The Wainstones revisited

We didn’t get out into the hills today – something called Mother’s Day – so I thought I’d share a few photographs from last weekend. Last year when we completed the Cleveland Way one of the sections took us across the Wainstones on the North York Moors and we thought it would be fun to revisit these without a heavy pack on our backs.

Looking towards the Wainstones from the Cleveland Way

The ‘stones’ are popular with climbers and the good weather meant there were quite a few out. Climbing however (apart from a bit of easy scrambling) is not for us so our feet remained firmly on the ground.

Feet remaining firmly on the ground!

The Wainstones sit at the western end of Hasty Bank and the easiest way to them is from Clay Bank. However we opted for the longer route from the village of Chop Gate.

This route took us past Beakhills Farm where we stayed overnight on the Cleveland Way.

Beakhills Farm

As we headed towards the Wainstones we had a great view of Roseberry Topping.

Roseberry Topping in the distance

Back at Chop Gate we paid a quick visit to the lovely Buck Inn before heading back home.

Until next time.


Bits and pieces

No walking today as we’ve busy working at a wedding fayre. If you’d like to know more about the wonderful and sometimes weird world of weddings drop in and say hello on my business blog.

Instead of a walk ‘report’ I thought I’d use today’s post to tell you a little bit about my week and introduce you to another of my interests, Shotokan Karate. I first took up karate a few years ago because of my children and of course as you can probably guess they have now given up while I’ve continued training twice a week. With just a little bit of luck (well quite a lot actually) I’m now just a few weeks away from grading for my black belt! So Monday evening found me training as usual at my club Shouri Ryouiki karate .

Wednesday then saw me heading off to Sketchley Grange in Leicestershire for lovely spa break with the girls. I’m pretty sure that all the benefits of the spa were wiped out by the wine (and other related alcohol) that was consumed along with the Pringles, chocolate……………………..

I haven’t needed to get up before dawn since taking voluntary redundancy in October to set up my business so it was something of a shock to be up at 5.30am on Friday! But definitely worth it as I headed down to London for the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners annual Wedding Planning Excellence seminar.

After a busy week we’re now back round to Sunday and the wedding fayre at Grosvenor G Casino in Stockton organised by the lovely Joanna at Tees Valley Weddings…………and now the start of a new week!

Until next time.

The Hawewater Shore Path – a walk of two half’s!

After working the last few weekends – one of the downsides of my now self employed status – we headed over to the Lakes to stretch out legs along the Haweswater shore path. We started out from the small ‘model’ village of Burnbanks heading along the west bank on Haweswater towards Mardale Head. The path on the western shore is excellent and its elevated position gives great views along the length of the lake.

View of Haweswater from the Western Shore

However this really is a walk of two half’s as the path on the eastern shore is considerably less attractive. Sandwiched between the road and the lake, for almost it’s entire length you find yourself walking on an incline which is less than kind to ankles and knees (particularly old ones!). It was a welcome relief to exchange the path for the road as we got towards the dam. It was then just a short distance back into Burnbanks.

View of Haweswater from eastern shore

Burnbanks ‘model’ village


Gowbarrow Fell

Oops been away for quite a while………… very hectic at the moment having taken voluntary redundancy from my job and now setting up my own business. But we took so time out yesterday to head to the Lakes for a short hike to Gowbarrow Fell via Aira Force. After recent rain and snow the waterfall was pretty spectacular but unfortunately I was so excited to be out in the hills again I forgot my camera!!! However that did not spoil a great day. It was clear enough for good views out over Ullswater from the top of the Fell. A good, undemanding hike perfect after being away from the hills for a while.

A few thoughts on time

Things have been pretty hectic for the Rucksacks and Old Bags recently so not a lot of time for blogging. But my lack of time over the last few weeks got me thinking about time and how we use it. I’m out in the hills most Sundays throughout the year and people often ask me how I find the time when I have a full-time job (not for much longer but more of that later), a family and all the other things that eat our time in our modern lives. The easy answer of course is that you will always find time for something you enjoy but that doesn’t quite cut it does it? If you want to create time and space for one thing then – unless you’re very lucky – it usually means giving up something else or using what time you have more productively. I’ve tried to do both these. So…………………

I’ve given up watching a lot of television – not it all – but that mindless channel hopping we do when there’s nothing on, frantically looking for something! If there’s nothing on stop trying to find it and go and do something else instead. Some job or task that frees up your time to do something you love. Did you know that the average American spends 3 years of their live watching just the adverts on TV? Good grief – the adverts for heavens sake! Now I know this is not America but where they go, we usually follow (Iraq, Afghanistan for example!!). Another habit I’ve tried to cultivate – not always successfully – is cleaning and tidying the house as I go along instead of leaving it all to the weekend and then being completely overwhelmed. I guess some people would be happy to not do this at all but I’m not one of them I’m afraid.

Anyway all this saved time means we’re heading up to Baldersdale in Teesdale tomorrow. We’ve been up that way before and last time ‘old bag’ (aka my sister and walking partner) had a rather unfortunate incident with something resembling quick sand down by the reservoir. Unfortunately this was while trying to clean her boots (and most of one leg) after a previous unfortunate incident involving a stile and some peat!

I’d like to know how you make time for your hill walking………..except of course if you’re a) 20 years old and have no commitments or b) you don’t need to work due to some large inheritance or other financial windfall.


Wild Boar Fell

Some family issues have kept me away from the hills – and this blog – so it was with some relief that last weekend we headed out to Wild Boar Fell in the Yorkshire Dales. A relief however that was short-lived. Lone Walker (at says of Wild Boar Fell ‘I hated nearly every minute of this walk’. I agree with one caveat – I hated every minute of it! 11 miles of the most aweful terrain made it feel like 20 miles on the legs and feet. If you crave some space and solitude on the hills then you’ll find it here – we saw only one other fool, sorry, walker the entire day. The route we took was mostly devoid of paths much of it over spagnum bog and ankle turning moorland. Although August it was freezing cold on top and as we circumnavigated the path (yes path!) around the large flat summit we had to dig into our packs for gloves and extra layers. As it started to rain our misery rapidly turned to despair. After making it up Swarth Fell to look back at Wild Boar Fell we found some shelter for a quick lunch before heading back down into the valley via Holme Moss Hill – more terrible terrain, one big bog. As we headed back to the car the rain turned into a deluge – perfect!
Did I regret our day in the hills? Not at all of course but if you feel like tackling Wild Boar Fell make sure you’re prepared and have a map and compass that you know how to use.