About My Blog


My Dad David died 10.09.13 aged 69. He had a huge love of the countryside. He loved walking and was a keen angler. I was desperate to find and own an object that summed Dad up, after an insightful conversation with a friend, I remembered his walking boots. This set me thinking... How about stepping into them and going for a walk somewhere with a body of water (sea, river, lake, canal, pond, tarn...) and stunning, just as Dad would have wanted.... Here I go in 'My Dad's Boots'

Saturday 8 October 2016

New MDB Posts

The latest MDB posts can now be found on facebook pages.... thank you for all your continued interest and support 


Till next time.... tight laces.... MDB 

Sunday 12 June 2016

The Lake District - Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell

After many months I am back..... and I'm so glad to be back!  My blogging absence was brought about by a frustrating technical issue, that I now hope to have resolved. I am so proud of this little blog and have really missed writing my monthly updates and publishing my photographs. Thank you all for your patience and support. Here we go in MDB, again....

Despite the lack of blog entries I have still been out in MDB, all told, so far, I have achieved nine Lakeland summits this year..... six of which I completed during a week long Lake District stay during the February half term. As promised, following my February High Rigg post, I am going to publish a series of photo blogs to encapsulate each walk. Here's my second outing.... A trip to Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell....

Map: Bing and Ordnance Survey

I started the day by parking in Great Wood car park.... booting and brewing up, best to start off warmed on a frosty morning. I took the path through the woods. In February the bare branches on the trees offered good glimpses across Derwent Water and over to the Newlands Valley 

As I walked I watched some impressive aerial acrobatics being performed over Derwent Water.

The walk leads out of the woodland and towards Rakefoot. The path follows a drystone wall and I caught sight of my first summit of the day.... Walla Crag....

The climb up to Walla Crag, back in February, was a frozen, slippery, snowy one but I soon reached the first summit of the day found along the well trodden path. I spent a little time taking in the spectacular scene.

For the moderate effort put in to achieve this first summit (376m), the view across Derwent Water towards Kendal, Portinscale and a distant Bassenthwaite Lake was knock out! 

The second top of the day, Bleaberry Fell, was to be found along an obvious, and depending upon your opinion a well or overly constructed path. Crossing over a section of open upland, set back from Walla Crag, I walked away from Derwent Water occasionally looking back at the view behind.

The ascent of Bleaberry Fell was clear to see, but the conditions made it challenging, on the final push up to the summit I was nearly on all fours as the path was frozen hard and like glass.

I reached my second summit of the day.... And took shelter, well.... in the shelter. As AW notes the summit of Bleaberry Fell is "ideally situated for long and lazy contemplation of a beautiful panorama" so thought it would be a good place to stop for a while.

Despite its appearance, summit shelter is a well built structure - a cross between a tiny sheepfold and a cairn. The view over Derwent Water is lost at this height (590m) and Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw takes centre stage. 

As I descended I took in that beautiful and impressive panorama again.... Viewing distant fells to the South.... Left to Right... Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell, Esk Pike, Glaramara, the mighty Scafell Pike and Lingmell.

The light quickly fades in February.... I walked keenly, as I lost height I started taking in views across Derwent Water to Catbells

I headed towards Cat Gill where I took the path beside Great Wood and back to Derwent Water. 

The light was gone almost gone when I reached Derwent water..... I sat on the beach at Calfclose Bay, enjoyed a cup of tea and wondered at the incredible sight of the fells in silhouette and in reflection. 

A spectacular end to the day..... 

The following day I headed for another well known crag, Raven Crag..... Come back soon for pictures from that outing. 

Till next time.... Tight laces.... MDB x

Thanks P

Friday 26 February 2016

The Lake District - MDB..... 1 Week, 6 Summits..... High Rigg, Low Rigg and Tewet Tarn

This half term I packed MDB and headed for a week in the Lake District.... The challenge was to see how many Wainwright summits I could bag in a leisurely holiday style. To my joy I was easily able to bag half a dozen lovely tops, all with fabulous views and still have time to potter around Keswick. 

This month's MDB blog is going to fall in four parts and be presented as a series of short photo blogs. There are many blogs and websites that will amply describe the routes taken to explore these summits, and of course there are the wonderful AW pictorial guides. I was graced with a week of the most beautiful weather for this time of year and only experienced one morning of rain.... All in all a wonderful Lakeland break. 

Map: Bing and Ordnance Survey

My first and most local walk took in High Rigg, Low Rigg and Tewet Tarn. I grabbed my flask, OL5 and my AW Central Fells guide book 3. Booting up in the porch of the cosy little cottage I was lucky enough to call base for the week, I took a right and set off up the lane.....

Looking back over the meadows at the early part of the ascent

Making my way beside the wall, I look back towards a distant snow topped Helvellyn

A tiny beautiful tarn found on the first plateau. 

Blencathera makes its first appearance

High Rigg Summit, MDB, a far off Great Calva and Blencathera..... Out of shot a warming brew.

The third giant, Skiddaw. In the foreground, the next top of the day Low Rigg, and the lovely little stretch of water I was soon to visit, Tewet Tarn.

The sweet little church of St Johns In the Vale

Low Rigg

Tewet Tarn and Blencathera behind

Beside Tewet Tarn

After the tarn the path took me out on to a narrow road, turning right, walking for a short stretch I reached this little gate and this pretty sign guiding me back towards the church.

The path continues across pastures, along tracks, back on to roads.....

Blencathera bathed in beautiful magic Lake District light.

Looking back after the ascent up from Bridge House and St John's Beck.

Heading back up the road towards St John's Church, following the track round High Rigg

A positively glowing High Rigg

A brilliant first day and an easy first Wainwright of the week left me hungry for more.... Next post to be published soon.

Till next time.... Tight laces MDBx

Always, with huge gratitude Phil.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Yorkshire Dales - Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs

The Washburn valley, just north of Otley is home to four scenic reservoirs. These stretches of water offer some fantastic fishing and walking opportunities. Back in July I visited one of them - Thruscross; the most northerly of the four. This month I visited the middle two - Fewston and Swinsty. The walk around both waters was a combined 6.5 miles. Perfect for winter daylight hours with a brew stop or two thrown in!

Map: Bing and Ordnance Survey

The day was an unexpectedly snowy and cold one. An isolated snow shower came in overnight and I awoke to a blanket of the white stuff. I had planned to drive much further north to enjoy a snow day but it looked as if I didn't need to travel far and could save time and stay local. I arrived on the spacious carpark that sits between the two reservoirs and performed my usual brewing up, booting up and map (OS Explorer 297) checking process. I traveled light on this trip as I knew I'd be on well marked, easy paths and in plenty of company, so I opted to only take my brewing up kit and a spare pair of gloves. 

I started out of the carpark and across the road to begin my walk around Fewston, the largest of today's two (3.5 miles). The walk starts off in a woodland and I soon reached views over the reservoir. 

Washburn Valley Anglers have a good selection of brown trout to try for in both reservoirs, and plenty of lovely spots to operate from. 

'"Fewston we have a problem" the only perilous part of the day, a particularly slippery downward section of path. The overhanging tree was mine, and a few others saviour. 

I found the views across the water and the reflective patterns created from the trees and vegetation quite beautiful. 

The neighbouring Nidderdale landscape opened up beside me, covered in its lovely snowy blanket. 

A sweet little feathered friend flew alongside me for a short stretch, settling every so often on the wall top. A lovely Christmas Card image I thought.

I carried on and reached the halfway point at Blubberhouses, I could see St Andrew's Church steeple in the distance. A small and relatively new church constructed in the 1850's beside the now busy A59, it is also home of the second carpark by the reservoir.

A short walk by the A59 then back towards the water.

Time to rest MDB.

The route is quick and very straightforward, but is full of rewarding views and lovely scenes.

The walk around Fewston reservoir is completed once I reached the opposite side of the embankment that I'd started from. If I wanted to call it a day at this point I could have simply walked across the embankment and back to the carpark, but my plan was to bag two reservoirs today. Once I had reached, and crossed the road I set off on my 3 mile lap of Swinsty. 

Through the woods and on to the water's edge, as I neared the reservoir bank path there was a very noticeable loud sound coming from the water cascade on the opposite side of the reservoir. 

As I walked on a tempting opportunity presented itself. As I had my own supplies I carried on but I'll definitely have to bear that place in mind on a future visit.

The wide open views across Swinsty in its bleak wintery loveliness.

A perfect picnic spot popped up by the third reservoir carpark.... Where's my flask?! 

The Swinsty duck display team were not at all 'fowl', they were actually quite entertaining to watch.

The walk took me along another embankment between the reservoir to my right, and the much smaller frozen Swinsty Lagoon to my left. 

MDB got another stop off opportunity.

The path took me beside Swinsty Cottage, a rather more substantial stone building than the cottage I'd expected to see based on my earlier map check. 

The view from Swinsty Embankment down the Washburn Valley and over to Folly Hall Wood.

The walk took me on through the woods and beside Swinsty Hall, an impressive stone structure, the track trough Swinsty Moor Plantation took me back to the carpark and the culmination of my walk.

An easy and enjoyable 6.5 miles. If reservoir bagging was a thing I would have been happy with these two. The Washburn Valley is a super area with one final reservoir, Lindley Wood, waiting for me to explore.

Before signing off..... I have to share this brilliant MDB inspired illustration, drawn my incredibly talented lifelong friend Mark Kirkham aka EdinburghSketcher. Mark has perfectly captured MDB in the kind of upland landscape I love to find myself. Thank you so very much Mark, I am truly touched by your wonderful artwork. I know Dad would have loved it and that you had drawn it. To see more of Mark's incredible work, please click here..... https://www.facebook.com/edinburghsketcher/ or http://edinburghsketcher.com/ 

Till next time.... Tight laces. MDBx 

Phil.... Always, a huge heartfelt thank you. 
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