Friday, October 20, 2006

Finished writing the book today... only taken me two years of research! Now's the boring part of editing, proof-reading, page layout etc.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I went out yesterday for a walk around the deep wooded gorge of Causey Burn, spanned by the superb Causey Arch. This giant stone bridge towers 80-ft above the gorge with a span of over 100-ft. This is the world’s oldest railway bridge that was, when it was built, the largest single arch bridge in Britain. It was built in 1725 as part of a five-mile waggonway between the collieries around Tanfield and the Dunston coal staiths along the Rive Tyne. This was the first major engineering feat of the Industrial Revolution. During the 19th Century, the waggonway was upgraded with iron rails and steam locomotives and an alternative route opened from Causey Arch to collieries at East Tanfield. This railway continued to transport coal to Tyneside until it closed in 1962. Today, the section from Sunniside to East Tanfield is operated as a preserved steam railway - the oldest working railway in the world. Read it in this Thursday's Northern Echo.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Just got back from my walk around Marske Beck. I didn't take any photos because there was low cloud, mist and drizzle. Apart from that, it was a great walk, especially through Clints Wood as the leaves are beginning to turn - there's also a lovely earthy autumnal smell at the moment as well. Read this walk in this week's Northern Echo on Thursday

Some exciting news. Had a phone call last night from one of the feature writers at The Sunday Times who wants to come up at the end of October to do three days of walking in the Peak District with me for a travel feature about my forthcoming "Walking Weekends Peak District" book. Now there's an incentive to get the book finished! We'll be heading around Hathersage, Baslow, Eyam area taking in the best country pubs and walks. I'll keep you posted...

Cheer, Mark

Monday, October 09, 2006

20 walks down, 4 left to do... and then my "Walking Weekends Peak District" book will be complete! Well, almost. I'll then have 24 maps to draw, proofing, re-walking two routes... This book has to be out by the 9th November as I'm doing the Crafts for Christmas Fair at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

But in the meantime, I'm off tomorrow morning to do a walk around Marske Beck (tributary of the River Swale) near Richmond - I'll let you know how I get on.

Cheers, Mark.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

By the way, he's two pictures of Elvis, my German Shorthaired Pointer and walking companion.

It's Wednesday, and I've just written up the walk I did yesterday. I actually walked from Kildale (on the edge of the North York Moors) up to Captain Cook's Monument (pictured) then across Great Ayton Moor skirting around Lonsdale before heading back to Kildale across Percry Cross Rigg. Six-and-a-half miles that took me just over 2 hours. The views from the Monument were superb with the Cleveland Hills rising steeply up from the Cleveland Plain with Roseberry Topping clearly visible to the north. James Cook was born at Marton in 1728 (now part of Middlesbrough) and then went to school at Great Ayton, near Kildale, before being apprenticed in Staithes and then Whitby. During the 18th century, he embarked on three of the greatest journeys of discovery to New Zealand, Australia, Antarctica and the Pacific islands before being killed on Hawaii in 1779. This walk will appear in this week's Northern Echo (

Monday, October 02, 2006

Slight change of plan. Elvis (my German Shorthaired Pointer) isn't too well today as he's been eating some of the apples from our tree which have made him sick. So, I'll be heading off to Baysdale in the morning. I've spent the time finishing off my write-up about Bakewell, which features two walks. One of which heads over across Calton Pastures to Chatsworth Park and Beeley (superb pub - Devonshire Arms), from where it heads up through Smeltingmill Wood to Rowsley then back passing above Haddon Hall and along the banks of the Wye (10 miles). The other walk heads along the Monsal Trail to Little Longstone (great pub - Packhorse Inn) and Monsal Head (famous viewpoint) from where it drops down to Ashford in the Water and back along the Wye (8 miles). Here's an interesting fact that I've just written up...
"nearby is the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop that still makes Bakewell Puddings (not tarts!) from the original recipe. This famous delicacy was inadvertently invented during the 1850’s at the Rutland Arms Hotel when the cook made a mistake and poured the pastry mix over the jam instead of the other way round and so created a pudding instead of a tart! "
I'll let you know how I get on around Baysdale - I might even post a photo, if I can work out how to do it!

Cheers, Mark

Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's just turned October 2006 and I've now spent the last 18 months researching my Peak District books, and I still haven't finished them! My "Walking Weekends Peak District" book is getting there, slowly. I've walked all of the 24 routes but I've still got 6 left to research and write up - and they take about 2 or 3 days to do each one. Realistically, I should get the book finished by the end of October. It will be a great book when it's finished as there are some superb walks featuring some great pubs. Because it is such a popular walking area, it has taken me much longer than I thought researching it as I need to be confident that my finished books will showcase the very best the area has to offer.

In the meantime, I'll be heading out tomorrow to do a walk for my weekly column in the Northern Echo. I think I'll head up to County Durham, but I haven't decided where yet! It'll probably be Hob Hole and Baysdale near Castleton. The finished walk will appear in this week's newspaper on Thursday.