Thursday, 15 March 2012

Wharram Percy Walk

Not quite the morning I'd hoped for when thinking of taking a wander over to Wharram Percy, the deserted medieval village not far from here.  The fog was pretty thick, so it was dank and cold as I made my way to my walk.

The spot you start the walk down to the village has this information board to give an overview of where you're going.

The route down is part of the Wolds Way.  A walk I must have a go at sometime as it passes through some lovely countryside.  I recently spoke to a fella in the village about this and he confessed to having got a little too enthusiastic and completed it in twenty two hours!  It's just shy of seventy miles, so he was fair motoring!

I was much more leisurely.

When not too far from the village I came across these deer prints.  I must get down to the local chemists to see if they sell plaster of paris to get Charlie making casts of the local faunas tracks.

Looking towards two of the restored cottages, these were used by the archaeologists when the dig here was in full swing.  The outline in the foreground shows the plan of an excavated building.  It looks quite big until you realise you would have shared it with cows etc.

This shows the village fish pond which would have provided a good source of protein for a Friday.

A couple of bracket fungi and some Lichen.  I've just re-read H.G. Wells 'War of the Worlds' and this lichen made me think of the red weed the martian's brought with them.

The church of St Martins looking very fallorn in the misty morning light, it remained in use for quite a while after the last tenants had been evicted, the dates on the headstones are as late as the early 19th century.

As you can imagine, this place causes a fair amount of reflection and I couldn't help wonder what the village I live in will look like in a few centuries.  With the inevitable changes the planet will undergo as fuel becomes a rarer and more expensive resource, will the rural landscape change as as a result of folks moving closer to transport networks.  Who knows, our cottage was built shortly after Charles II gained the throne.  If only the walls could talk!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Overnight bivy for Charlie and Jack

Charlie had asked that we might get his friend Jack out for a paddle and to camp again, so we had a good think about how this might be done.  The answer to make this an interesting adventure for a couple of seven year olds would also overcome the problem of Jack's dad not driving.

The cunning plan was this.  Charlie and I would head down to the riverside field we've camped in a few times by car with canoe and camping kit.  Jack and his dad would arrive by train at the nearest town while Charlie and I would paddle up stream to meet them at the slipway just out of town.  Jack would have to find the slipway using a series of photographic clues Charlie had pieced together and added to some written instructions.  The last of these being the image of the paddles and buoyancy aids Jack and his dad would be using for our trip back to our camp.

The plan was going well and Charlie and I making good progress towards the slip when the train carrying Jack and his dad passed us with still a couple of miles to go.  An extra effort was made, but warp factor nine isn't easy to maintain in a canoe for long and not wanting to put Charlie off at all I allowed him to rest and snooze low down in the canoe out of the wind.  We arrived at the slip with me in some need of a drink!  Still, a picnic had been planned here and a chance to let the boys run around and expend some energy before making them sit fairly still in the canoe for the trip back.

Despite the wind freshening, the trip back was lovely with bright sunshine.  We passed a couple of anglers, but otherwise had the river to ourselves.  The river is quite overgrown in places with the willows reaching from both banks to try and meet in the middle.

For those who haven't seen our canoe before, here's a shot of it where we got out.

Arriving back at the field I'd planned to camp in the Plastic Palace (aka the stealth tent) was put up and made ready to sleep under.

Next job was to get some food on the go while the boys had a good explore of the area.  A simple fair of burgers and snorkers in buns, so, while not perhaps the healthiest, everyone tucked in well.  Toasted marshmallows and ghost stories for pudding as the boys sat around the fire in the dark.

We allowed Jack and Charlie to have quite a late night, which went down well, they were clearly shattered though and were soon asleep.  Time for James and I to crack a bottle of wine and sit yarning and prodding the fire and watching the stars.

Morning was slightly overcast, and the boys spent their time entertaining themselves with sticks and molehills, playing in the riverbank and doing imortant seven year old stuff.

Here they are, two kids, some sticks and mud and vivid imaginations.

A breakfast of scambled eggs and fried bacon in Fajitas filled up any spaces left in tummies and set us up for the day.  Not that we'd be here for much longer as James and Jack had to catch the train to get back to York for lunch.

A shot of the camp before clearing up to head back home.

It was a tight fit getting us all with our gear in the car, but all too soon we were back at the station and saying our goodbyes.

Charlie has already asked if we can do it again.

Soon Charlie, soon!