Chinnor Windmill - New Year's day 2015

Longstanding HSC member Geoff has been one of the team restoring Chinnor windmill over a good many years. Several HSC members combined a visit to the mill with a short country walk followed by a good pub meal. I think it had been the intention to extend the walk in the afternoon but the weather was not encouraging so I dont think this happened.

 15-01-01 chinnor 02

The mill with splendid new sails

This was our second visit to Chinnor mill and it was clear that there has been significant progress with the work - the mill now has sails which must be a good step forward. The team of volunteers working on the mill has a good web site here - this covers the history of the mill as well as the work that has been done to rebuild it after it was demolished during a 1960's housing development.


15-01-01 chinnor 01

Base of the mill

I understand that the base of the mill is somewhat unusual in that it has six brick piers, most mills of this type would have had four. The building behind the mill to the right has appeared since our previous visit and will become a visitors centre once the mill is fully restored.

15-01-01 chinnor 03

The windshaft

 This is the current state of the machinery at the top of the mill. Geoff told us that the heavy iron windshaft is currently not quite in the right position so there is insufficient clearance for the sails to turn. The whole assembly will need to be eased back an inch or so using appropriate levers, ropes etc.  All sounds good fun!


Weekend in Bristol  7-8 March

bristol yha 01

Bristol YHA

Bristol YHA is a converted former warehouse building right in the city centre, Richard took the above picture of it. The picture below is the view from outside the hostel - you can see that it is right on the waterfront. The Bristol dock area has been developed with trendy restaurants and a cinema, so there is plenty of nightlife in the vicinity. There are some interesting traditional sailing boats and sailing ships to be seen in the dock, and of course there is the museum ship SS Great Britain, which we did not have time to visit on this occasion. The tall crane in the picture was a mobile one, being used for bungie jumping. The two cranes to the left are original dockside cranes standing outside a warehouse which is now an industrial museum.

bristol yha 02

View from outside Bristol YHA

For our Saturday ramble we set off by car heading South East from Bristol towards Bath and parking at a hamlet called Swineford. The car park was once the site of an iron foundry and the artificial channel with a rushing flow of water that disappears into a culvert was once the supply of water for a water wheel to power the foundry. From Swineford we had a pleasant walk through Upton Cheyney to Wick for a pub lunch, then back by an alternative selection of footpaths. The countryside is pleasant rolling hills, I think this is the western extremity of the Cotswolds. The weather was sunny for most of our walk but it was getting chilly as we plodded the last mile or two back to the car park with the sun dropping to the horizon. We passed by the site of the battle of Lansdowne, 1643, and were able to read a bit about it on on an information board at the site - battle of Lansdown - Wikipedia entry.


Channel that once supplied water to foundry waterwheel at Swineford

On Sunday we explored Bristol city centre and the district of Clifton on foot. We had a steep climb up through the park on Brandon hill to reach the Cabot tower, then another climb up the spiral stairs within the 32m high tower. This certainly gave us a good overview of the city. We then took a look at the Clifton suspension bridge before going into Clifton itself to find a cafe for lunch. There had been intermittent rain during the day and returning from Clifton back towards the hostel Esin unfortunately slipped and fell badly on the steep wet pavement, breaking her ankle. The emergency services responded efficiently, an ambulance taking Esin to the emergency department in the city centre. Once X rays had been taken and a plaster fitted Geoff and Mark S. took her back to London, I think it must have been late at night when they all finally got home. I am sure we all wish Esin the quickest possible recovery although it will inevitably be some time before she will be fully mobile again.


Easter at High Close YHA 3-6 April

high close 01 

High Close YHA

High Close is in the centre of the English Lake District, at the lower end of the Langdale valley with walking access to both the high fells and to lower level walks around Grasmere and Rydal lakes. The picture above shows the large hostel. A distinctive feature is the balcony around the front of the building with views over the hostel gardens and beyond.  Eight HSC members made the long journey to the lakes this Easter but only seven of us took part in the walks, Esin still having a plaster on her leg following her mishap at our previous outing to Bristol. Esin was able to rest up in the hostel during the day and she also managed to explore the extensive hostel grounds.  

For our walk on Easter Saturday we made a circuit around both Rydal and Grasmere lakes. We passed to the south of Rydal water following the well made path known as Loughrigg Terrace. This passes the large cave, picture below, which I think is actually a disused slate  quarry.

loughrigg terrace

Disused quarry on Loughrigg Terrace

The 'tourist traps' at Rydal Hall and at Wordsworth's Dove Cottage seemed very busy on this suney bank holiday weekend but after a short wait we found a table for lunch outside a cafe in Grasmere. 


Lunch in the sunshine at Grasmere

From Grasmere we returned to High Close Hostel by footpaths below the crags of Silver Howe and Dow Bank.

Our walk on Easter Sunday was a bit more strenuous than our amble round the lakes on Saturday. We set off accross the fells, heading in a north easterly direction from the hostel. We had a mist which at times limited visibilty to a hundred meters or so, but Mark and Richard between them managed to find a route over the fells with the aid of Richard's GPS gadget. It was a steady uphill walk, skirting round small crags and passing by small ponds and bogs.

lang howe

Crossing the fells towards Stickle Tarn

Our first sight of Stickle Tarn was as below with the Langdale Pikes behind the tarn hidden in the mist. However, within a few minutes of that first picture being taken the sun burnt through the mist, revealing the view of the Langdale Pikes, as the second picture below.

landdale 01

landdale 02

The mist cleared, revealing the Langdale Pikes above Stickle Tarn

We spent a half hour relaxing by Stickle Tarn then followed the steep but well made path down to the National Trust pub/teashop at the head of Langdale valley. It was now a warm and suney day - there were plenty of cars in the Langdale car parks  and plenty of walkers on the path up to Stickle Tarn.

landdale 03

By Stickle Tarn

landdale 04

Looking back up to Langdale Pikes from the valley

landdale 05

Returning to the hostel by a low level route.

A good Easter outing I think, worth the long drive up to the Lakes.