Joy is… a beach and a blue sky!

Joy is... the wide blue horizon

Joy is… the wide blue horizon

An empty beach

An empty beach

The retreating tide

The retreating tide

The roll of the waves

The roll of the waves

Reflections in the sand

Reflections in the sand

A couple of fishermen

A fisherman or two

Just a puff of cloud

A few puffs of cloud

Patterns in the sand

Patterns in the wet sand

Buried treasure?

Buried treasure?

Even the clouds don't trouble me

Even the gathering clouds can’t dim my joy

For many weeks I’ve been meaning to join Kan on her lovely series Joy is…  This week she charmed me with her preparations for Diwali.  I knew it was time to share with her what joy is for me.  I know that she likes the simple things in life, and I hope that she loves beaches.  This is my local one- the simple life for me.

Please do visit her at Kan Walk Will Travel.  It’s a beautiful and joyous place.  And looking back at this post, I think it might well qualify for Paula’s Thursday’s Special, in which she visits Lake Czorsztyn in Poland.  I’ve been there so I know that it’s pretty special.



Jo’s Monday walk : The Drummer Boy

Easby Abbey, ghostly in the mist

Easby Abbey, ghostly in the mist

Easby Abbey seemed to me to be quite at home shrouded in mist.  I’d chosen the riverside walk from Richmond, in Yorkshire, for its Autumn colour and had almost forgotten the sad story of the Drummer Boy.  Legend has it that, towards the end of the 18th century, a tunnel was discovered beneath the keep of Richmond Castle.  The entrance to the tunnel was very narrow, so a small regimental drummer boy was chosen, to squeeze through and investigate.

He was lowered into the tunnel and instructed to beat his drum loudly as he walked.  The soldiers above could follow his progress from the drumbeat. He led them away from the castle and down to the River Swale, in the direction of Easby Abbey.  Half a mile from the Abbey, the drumbeat ceased.  The little drummer was never seen or heard from again!

The Drummer Boy stone

The Drummer Boy stone

I think I can probably guarantee to guide us on this walk without disappearing.  Are you game?

From Richmond Market Place, turn north on Frenchgate, and then right, along Station Rd.  Just as you reach the bridge, with The Station on the far shore, you will find a turn off, pointing to Easby Abbey.  The path climbs up from the riverside and will lead you to a junction, where the Drummer Boy stone is placed.

Looking back towards the castle

Looking back towards the castle and St. Mary’s Church

Leaves strew the footpath

Leaves strew the footpath

The river chortles along below, tantalising with glimpses through the trees.  Soon you come to a field and across this you have St. Agatha’s House (a private residence) on your left and to your right, Easby Abbey.  The Abbey of St. Agatha, as it is more correctly known, dates from 1152 but has stood abandoned since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the late 1530s.  The former inhabitants were canons rather than monks, members of the Premonstratensian (or Norbertine) order.  The White Canons, known for the colour of their habit, were Roman Catholics.

It's a lonely spot but St. Agatha's Church is gentle company

It’s a lonely spot, but St. Agatha’s Church is good company

The Abbey from the church grounds

The Abbey from the church grounds

The site is maintained by English Heritage and is free of charge.  I was a little surprised to find the church open and even more surprised at what I found inside.

The church is known to pre-date the Abbey and the Medieval wall paintings date from 1250.  It felt well-loved.  In the grounds a small army of men were beavering away, removing overgrown trees.  Retracing my steps through the church gate, I turned my attention to the Abbey.

The gatehouse lay just across the lane

The gatehouse, just across the lane from the church

The graceful lines of the Abbey

The sturdy lines of the Abbey

Cloister detail

Cloister detail

The window of the Refectory

The window of the Refectory

Time to resume our walk.  Turn right at the Abbey gate and follow the lane down.  A gravel path beside the River Swale heads east and after about 300 yards comes to an old iron bridge.  Cross over and take the former railway track, signed ‘Richmond, half a mile’.

Hips and haws?

Hips or haws?

The River Swale chatters along below

The River Swale chatters along below

Once back at The Station, you can easily retrace your steps, but it seems a shame to me to leave the river when it’s about to reveal its might. How about we pop into The Station for a snack and a look at some art work before we continue?

I’ve written about The Station before.  In fact, I was there on my birthday, 2 years ago.  Seems I have a weakness for this part of the world in the Autumn.  Since I was last there a bakery has opened and the accompanying smells were delicious!  Come on- just ten minutes more.  I promise you, it’s worthwhile.

Cross over the bridge and turn left through a gate.  The path follows the river quite closely or you can get nearer by walking on the grass.  The tree roots are exposed in places so watch your step if you leave the path.

Can you hear a rumbling sound?  You might have caught sight of them through the trees.  The river is very low this year after a dry Summer.

My first sighting always makes me smile!

My first sighting always makes me smile!

Just a little closer

Just a little closer

The power of the water is awesome

The power of the water is awesome

As always, I find myself entranced

As always, I find myself entranced

I hope you will agree it was worth another 10 minutes walking?  The hard part lies ahead because the road winds quite steeply back up to the Market Place, passing by the Castle.  The circular walk from the Market Place to Easby Abbey and back is just 3 miles.  Free parking is available at The Station, if you get there early enough. (and it saves you a climb)

Legend also links the Drummer Boy to Lewis Carroll, who grew up in Richmond.  Allegedly ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ began life as ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’.  I rather like the idea that he took inspiration from this story.

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And now it’s time to put the kettle on and join my fellow walkers this week.  Click on the logo if you’d like to join in.  You’d be more than welcome and there are always beautiful walks to share. Many thanks to everybody for their kind contributions.  Here we go!

Drake always has the power to fire my imagination  :

Emptiness with content

Of all the world’s beautiful cathedrals, I didn’t know this one, so thank you, Cardinal  :

Berlin Cathedral

And for probably the best deer shot you’ve seen this year!  Amy- you’re a treasure!  :

O.P. Schnabel Park

We’re honoured this week to share a post from Lucy, in a very special place on the Northumbrian coast  :

Marooned on Lindisfarne Island

If it’s scenery you’re after, it’s hard to beat County Tipperary.  Many thanks to Joan for sharing  :

Up in the hills

For the longest time I’ve been following Bespoke Traveller.  Read this post and you’ll see why  :

The long way down in Grand Canyon

If waterfalls and sky walks are your thing, follow Pauline to New South Wales  :

A journey into the dawn of time

If you prefer shopping, Meg has her shopping baskets at the ready  :

A Williamsburg walk

That’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Happy walking!

Six word Saturday



A refugee on my bathroom windowsill!

A tiny leaf

A tiny leaf, wrenched away from its bigger brothers and sisters

Pretty, aren't they?

Pretty, aren’t they?

I like this shadow almost as much as the leaf

I think I like this shadow as much as the leaf itself!

The holly and the ivy

Can it be holly and ivy time already?

Conkers, anyone?

The conkers have already fallen

But how delicious are these?

But how delicious are these?

Are you enjoying this lovely Autumn season?  It passes all too quickly.  Come and share in the festival of leaves this weekend.  I’m sharing mine on Six Word Saturday.  I know Cate won’t mind.

What will you be sharing?  Whatever it is, I hope you have a joyful weekend.


1 Day 1 World Project : 11.00- 12.00

Crimdon beach

Crimdon beach

Thursday is usually my Nordic walking day.  Sometimes there are just a few of us, like the happy band above.  The others missed a treat last week because, for a short while, the sun beamed and winked in the puddles left by the retreating tide.

I love the ruggedness of the landscape

Don’t you love the ruggedness of this landscape?

And the murky reflections

And the murky reflections that it creates

The strange shapes of the cliffs

The strange shapes of the cliffs

And the rocks beneath

The rocks below

With their seaweed frocks

In their seaweed frocks

And crooked seams

With slightly crooked seams!

I thought I had a good subject here for Lisa’s 1 Day 1 World Project.  We start walking around 10.30am, and I intended to use the photos in last week’s 10.00- 11.00 time slot.  When I uploaded them, I realised I hadn’t started taking the shots till after 11.00!  Too busy Nordic walking, and talking. (naturally!)  Well, I guess that’s what we’re there for.

It’s sad to see this project come to an end.  Even though I haven’t managed to take part each week, I’ve followed it’s progress.  Lisa promises one last round up next week, and as a grand finale I really have to have one more play with Lunapic.  Don’t I?


And because Thursday’s Special, and Paula’s home, I’m linking up there too.  She has the most delicious night time shot and if you have some spare time you can even enrol in her Portuguese classes too- for free!

Jo’s Monday walk : Leeds Waterfront

The Trans Pennine Trail

The Trans Pennine Trail at Leeds

When National Express changed my itinerary, giving me a 3 hour stopover in Leeds on my way home from Nottingham, they did me a big favour.  They gave me just enough time to explore Leeds Waterfront.  I’d done a tiny bit of research so I knew there was plenty to see.  I hope you like looking at canal boats and reflections?  There are rather a lot of them here.

I grabbed a sandwich as I whistled through the bus station, turned right at the doors, crossed over the road, and there I was, practically on the canal bank.  The weather forecast had predicted rain and the coach had passed through some heavy showers, but my luck was in.  Starved, because I hadn’t eaten breakfast, I found myself a seat by Clarence Dock and plonked myself down for 10 minutes, to munch and look at these beauties.

I'm never alone with a canal boat or two

I’m never alone with a canal boat or two

I don’t know whether you’re familiar with the Royal Armouries museum?  It’s the kind of place where you can lose a day quite easily.  Have a browse at the website.  You might want to make time to come back.  No spare time for me that day.  I had much exploring to do.

A raft of offices, restaurants and apartments surround the dock.  I had tried to memorise a route along the towpath but I did what I always do, which is to follow my nose.  This usually results in a few false starts and some day I will have to invest in technology so I can summon up the genie in the iPhone.  If you look at the Leeds Waterfront map it shows you quite clearly which paths are ‘navigable’.  Meantime I blunder on!

Time to leave Clarence Dock

Time to leave Clarence Dock

Looking back at the Royal Armouries museum

Looking back towards Royal Armouries and the lock

I stayed on the left bank of the River Aire, stopping for a look at Crown Point Bridge.  Opened in 1842, this was a toll bridge until 1868.  The towpath takes you past Brewery Wharf to Centenary Bridge, built in 1992 to celebrate 100 years of Leeds acquiring city status.  The views across to The Calls make this one of the most attractive stretches of the waterfront.

Bridge detail

Bridge detail

Underneath Crown Point Bridge

Crown Point Bridge x 2

At this point the towpath ceases for a short distance and you have to thread your way through Bridge End Apartments, where I found a delightful surprise.  The wooden bridge was under repair but, lying in the water beneath, bright jewels clustered on the lily pads.

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More by luck than skill, I found myself at Leeds Bridge.  Dating back to the 14th century, this bridge, originally made from stone, was for 500 years the main crossing point on the river.  The medieval bridge was demolished in 1871, when it could no longer cope with the volume of traffic, and the existing cast iron bridge was constructed by 1873.  A distinctive looking bridge, it was the setting for the world’s first moving pictures.  In 1888, Louis Le Prince filmed horse-drawn traffic on the bridge, showing it in his nearby workplace, which became the world’s first cinema.

Crossing over Leeds Bridge, the path then hugs the backs of stylish hotels around to Victoria Bridge.  The site of a ferry crossing and then a wooden footbridge washed away by floods, the Victoria Bridge was carved from local stone and completed in 1839, soon after the coronation of Queen Victoria.  Just beyond this point the River Aire meets the Leeds and Liverpool canal at Granary Wharf, loftily overlooked by the railway.

Victoria Bridge

Victoria Bridge

The canal continues out of the city and into the countryside, but I had run out of time to follow it any further.  There are 127 miles of the Leeds and Liverpool canal- enough walking even for me! I would have liked to explore Holbeck Urban Village with its iconic Italianate towers, but it was time to turn back.  I looped round into Water Lane and headed back up Neville Street, curious to see the light installation under the railway bridge.

Passing south of Trinity Church and the impressive looking shopping plaza, I chanced upon the Corn Exchange.  Anyone remember Donovan? Apparently he strummed along here before he was famous.  A striking mural caught my eye, then I was back at Kirkgate and the Leeds City Market. It’s a regular stop off for me if I’m passing through the city.  Both the food stalls and the architecture are unbeatable.  A friendly local informed me that I should come along on Halloween, when they open the top gallery for a ‘Spooky walk’.  Sounds like fun?

I hope I haven’t worn you out too much this week, but it’s been interesting, hasn’t it?  To join in my Monday walks click on the logo below and it will give you the details.  I’ve got the kettle on for what comes next- a visit to some wonderful friends.  Please do join me.

walking logo

Cardinal has a very individual style.  Let’s accompany him to Jerusalem  :

Jerusalem 9930

Violet Sky joins us again this week for a walk in the park  :

A walk in the park

Amy’s photography is an absolute joy  :

Where have all the flowers gone?

I really must visit Liverpool soon.  Drake’s colours sing!  :

Seeking out the colours

Meet Shan and her lovely family and go apple picking  :

Coffee and Conversation

And a huge welcome to Tish Farrell!  Her evocative writing style and photos makes me want to head for Wales right now  :

Now that Summer’s done, we take the Dol Idris path

Come and get a bit damp on the prom with me and Jude!  :

Reculver Towers and Roman Fort

And speaking of proms, how does New Zealand grab you?  Jill is very persuasive  :

Wellington on a good day

And just ‘up the road’, Rosemay takes us for a jaunt on the Perth coast  :

A walk with Winston

Staying ‘down under’, Pauline invites us for a beach walk.  It reminds me of Christine.  Where does the time go?

Beach walk

And lastly. our lovely Yvette is taking us to a ‘beautiful river’  :

Beautiful waterfront- Buffalo NY

Many thanks to you all for your company and warm support.  Happy walking!

Six word Saturday


Does anyone out there like owls?


I have a lovely friend who likes owls.  I can understand that.  There is something very appealing about the little guys.  Funny thing is, I seem to see them everywhere I go these days.  

Don't forget the baby!

But don’t forget the baby!

Had any good owl sightings lately?  You’ll probably find some when you’re out Saturday shopping.

Enjoy your Saturday, whatever you plan to do.  My first job is always Six word Saturday.  Cate at Show My Face has been running this challenge for the longest time.  Join in if you’d like.


A Lingering Look at windows : week 41

Any guesses where?

Any guesses where?

It seems so long since we were there, yet it’s barely two months.  I suspect it’s much longer than that since I took part in Dawn’s Lingering Look at windows, so I thought that I’d bring the two together this week.

Come and press your nose up against a few windows with me.  Click on a photo to start the gallery and look for clues.

But just in case you haven't guessed

But just in case you haven’t guessed

It’s Paris, of course!  One of my many wonderful memories this year.

Dawn keeps finding interesting windows, week after week.  Maybe you have some you’d like to share?  Click on this link to visit the challenge.

Jo’s Monday walk : Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

The lovely ruins of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

The lovely ruins of Fountains Abbey

Classic English beauty combines with a watery world for this week’s walk at Studley Royal, in Yorkshire.  I’ve been there several times and always been cursed with dismal weather.  The balmy Autumn that we’ve been experiencing was just perfect for this visit.  A Cistercian Abbey, water gardens and a deer park- irresistible?  I think so!  But don’t forget to take your purse.  Being a National Trust property, it doesn’t come cheap. (currently £10.50- no concessions, unless you are a National Trust member)

Some things don’t change.  The monks who came here in 1132 were pretty good at amassing money too.  Thirteen Benedictine monks left St. Mary’s Abbey in York to found a Cistercian Abbey in this valley.  It became one of the richest in Europe.  Something that has changed, since my last visit, is the approach to the park.  You used to be able to drive into the estate through the deer park, but traffic now is all routed via the Visitor Centre.  Pick up a map at reception, and let’s go.

It's not long before you catch your first sight of the Abbey

It’s not long before you catch your first sight of the Abbey

The ruins are extensive and Fountains Abbey Mill is the only 12th century Cistercian cornmill left in the UK.  It was in continuous use until 1927, and today houses an interactive exhibition and the water wheel, which can still grind corn.

If you’ve never been here before, you will almost certainly be impressed with what comes next. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, the Abbey buildings and over 500 acres of land were sold by the Crown.  The property was passed down through several generations until it was inherited by John Aislabie, in 1693.  He was a socially and politically ambitious man and became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1718, but his involvement in the South Sea Bubble financial scandal had him expelled from Parliament.  On his return to Yorkshire, he turned the wooded valley of the River Skell into one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens.

A basin of water opens up before you

A basin of water opens up before you

The reflections in the lily pond are lovely

Reflections sparkle in the lily pond

With more sculptures

Yet more sculptures rough and tumble

A group of volunteer gardeners are raking pond weed from the canals- a pleasant enough occupation on such a sunny afternoon.  The curve of the Moon Pond stretches ahead, the pillars of the Temple of Piety a focal point on the far side.  Originally the Temple of Hercules, it is believed to have been renamed when John Aislabie’s son, William, commissioned a bas relief wall sculpture inside the temple, after his father’s death.

The Temple of Piety beyond the Moon Pond

The Temple of Piety, beyond the Moon Pond

You need to walk along the canal and cross over a narrow bridge to reach the Temple of Piety. From the bridge there’s a good view across the lake to the deer park.  I didn’t spot any deer at that distance, but was diverted by one of the park’s follies, the Octagon Tower.  A neo-Gothic castle, it looked to me very inviting, but sadly I couldn’t climb it.  Beneath it lies a Serpentine Tunnel, originally designed to give people a bit of a fright at garden parties.

The lake and deer park in the distance

The lake, with the deer park in the distance

The Octagon Tower, nestling in the trees

The Octagon Tower, nestling in the trees

I'm not sure what she was holding?

I’m not sure what she was holding?

It's a beautiful watery world

In her beautiful watery world

I couldn’t climb the tower, but I did find somewhere to look down onto the park.  A sign directing me to Anne Boleyn’s Seat and Surprise View could not be ignored.  I’ll spare you the climb because it was pretty steep, but I think you’d like the view.  You will have an advantage over Anne Boleyn, who never actually saw it.  That’s not because she didn’t have a head, but the name does come from a headless statue.

Back on the path, you can return along the opposite side of the canal, steadily approaching the Abbey.  There you will have a number of diversions.  You can visit the Mill or the tea rooms, and Fountains Hall is a stately exhibition space. (with holiday flats to let!)  Any children with you will love the interpretation centre at the Porter’s Lodge. (I did too!)  And if you have time and energy to spare, there’s the Gothic extravagance of St. Mary’s Church and a stroll round the deer park.

Don’t take my word for all this.  The National Trust website will tell you the whole story and provide instructions on how to get there.  I think that you would enjoy this World Heritage Site.  I know I did.  And now it really must be time to put the kettle on, don’t you think?

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Click on the logo to visit my Jo’s Monday walk page for details on how to join in.  As always we have a wonderful variety of walks to share.

How about a sample of Finnish nature with Vasilis?  I hope you’ve met before?  And the lingonberry tart looks so good! :

Finnish nature

Yvette’s taking street portraits and searching for a missing lady. Please share this one :

Street photos from Charlottesville, VA

Join Drake, very thoughtfully making war on waste  :

Escape from the Cityscape

Making people happy in Jerusalem- that’s Cardinal this week  :

Street Portrait : The Photographer

Amy has been having some more fun with her bird friends  :

Yoga on Water

And Jude has the most delicious selection of Michaelmas Daisies you ever saw!  :

Celebrating Saint Michael

Welcome a Blogspotter please!  Violet Sky has a very fun post to add to the collection.  Do go and say ‘hello’.  :

Lost and found

Pauline is in transit again, but has been kind enough to share a trip ‘over the border’ to New South Wales.  Safe travels, Pauline and Jack!  :

Lingering look at Heritage windows

That’s it for this week.  It just remains to wish you all ‘happy walking!’



A festival of damp leaves

My Virginia Creeper- clinging on!

My Virginia Creeper- clinging on!

I’m being a little bit naughty this morning, but hey, it’s Sunday!  I’m allowed?  I just have time to squeeze in two challenges before I go walking again tomorrow.  The forecast is wet so I’ll have to take the sunshine with me.

An abandoned leaf- but it's still green!

An abandoned leaf- but it’s still green!

This one's properly 'washed out'

This one’s properly ‘washed out’

And this one- a brittle brown

And this one- a brittle brown

But I do find colour hard to resist

But I do find colour hard to resist

Do you have a favourite?  Or some leaves to share?

I’m contributing to Festival of leaves- week 3 and also squeezing in a last minute entry to 1 Day 1 World Project 9:00 to 10:00.  I should just get away with the latter because Lisa is all the way over in Seattle so way behind the UK in hours. I’ve been meaning to rejoin her challenge for weeks and time is just slipping away.  I took these yesterday morning, on my way to zumba, in the rain.

If you can squeeze some time, please join in with either or both of these challenges.  They’re so worthwhile.  Happy weekend!

Six word Saturday


Didn’t we have a lovely time…



The White Rabbit Teahouse, in Nottingham, was just one of the many places I visited with my daughter last weekend.  We did, indeed, have a lovely time…  Click on the gallery to see it in detail.

Hope you have a nice weekend planned.  Don’t forget to share it on Six word Saturday.  Cate at Show My Face will show you how it’s done.