Author Archives: Dave Butcher

About Dave Butcher

Darkroom Dave is my alter-ego. I’m really the photographer and Ilford Master Darkroom Printer Dave Butcher. Since 1988 I have lived in the Derbyshire Peak District village of Tunstead Milton, near Whaley Bridge. I trained and worked as a chemist, with a PhD from the University of Cambridge, until 2005 when I decided to turn my love of black and white photography into a full-time career. Working for Ilford Photo for 21 years, including running the photographic printing department for many years, helped this quite a bit. I still keep close ties with them after they made me one of only six Ilford Master Darkroom Printers in the country. In fact all the materials used in our courses and workshops are from them. A lot of my work has been used on their packaging and marketing material. I develop and print my own work using Ilford Multigrade fibre based papers, sell framed prints from my studio in the UK’s Peak District as well as at fairs and exhibitions and sell unframed prints, courses and books through my website www.davebutcher.co.uk. As well as running photography and darkroom courses I have a busy schedule of lectures and exhibitions up and down the country. books Most of my work comes from my trips abroad and round the UK. I have also published six books, 5 on landscapes and one of cities. teaching I run landscape photography courses for small groups of up to 4 people and darkroom workshops for 1 or 2 clients. I also run darkroom workshops for universities and colleges as well as giving print lectures to clubs in the UK and at events like PhotoLive in London. Private courses are a speciality, on dates to suit you and with flexibility to rearrange at short notice.

New Print Lecture Snow Light is Finished and Available for Booking

At last, I finished printing my new Snow Light lecture on Tuesday. 82 darkroom prints on ILFORD Photo Multigrade FB 20×16 inch paper, many thanks once again to Ilford for donating all the paper and chemicals to me. A few of the prints are on 24 x 20 inch Multigrade FB paper, also kindly provided free of charge by Ilford. Now I just have to work out the order of the prints and the words ready for the world premiere on 16th October in Nottingham! I actually made over 90 prints but trimmed them down to a more reasonable number to fit the usual 90 minute lecture time slot.

The lecture is now available for bookings after October 2018 and contains images from my 3 current books, Snow Light, Land Light and City Light plus more recent shots. It’s a sort of travelogue with photographic hints and tips all the way through illustrated by the prints. All images were taken on either Mamiya 6 or Mamiya 7 medium format cameras using either Ilford FP4 or Ilford 400 Delta film. The first half contains 28 prints of snowy landscapes and 13 prints of coastal landscapes. The second half contains 13 landscapes without snow and 28 prints of cities around the world.

Confirmed lecture dates so far:
Tuesday 16th October 7.30pm, Nottingham and Notts Photo Soc
Sunday 28th October 10am, Lancashire Monochrome Group, Leyland
Thursday 8th November, Lytham St Annes Photo Soc
Tuesday 19th March 2019, Chester Photo Soc
Tuesday 2nd April 2019, Warrington Photo Soc
Wednesday 3rd April 2019, Market Deeping Photo Soc

To give an idea of the work involved, 60 of the prints were made on 28 printing days spread over 4 months from mid-March to mid-July 2018. About 10 of the prints I already had from printing orders and exhibitions. The others were made last year. A printing day for me is usually no more than 4 hours, a limit imposed by my bad back. The process for every print was Ilford Multigrade Developer 1+4 for 5 minutes, Ilford Ilfostop Stop Bath 1+19 for 1 minute, Ilford Hypam Fixer 1+4 for 5 minutes, washing in a Nova Archival Wash Tank for at least 1 hour, drying in a Maco Ecomat 24 x 20 inch flatbed dryer at 50ºC for 1 hour, mounted onto Slater-Harrison Colourmount Conservation Quality mountboard with HotPress Double-Sided Pressure Sensitive Adhesive through a HotPress Mounting Press (mangle!) then spotted with a fine paint brush and black dye to remove small dust and other specks before finally being trimmed flush all round.

Snow Light lecture prints part 1

Snow Light lecture prints part 2

Snow Light lecture prints part 3

Snow Light lecture prints part 4

Ilford Photo Technical Information

Ilford Photo recently replaced their website and I found it difficult to find product technical information recently. This may be a short term issue until they reload everything onto the new site but just in case I have added all of the pdf files of their technical information, leaflets and brochures that I have onto this website on the Kit page, under the relevant product.

There are about 45 files in total. I hope they are of use.

They include most of the films, papers, processing chemicals, safelights as well as the user manuals for the 1250 Dryer and the MG500 enlarger system. There is also the current 2018 product brochure and the Ilford History brochure which covers everything from the company formation in 1879 up to 2004.

The black and white part of the company was restructured in February 2005 after a management buyout, trading under the Harman Technology name. That’s the current situation with Peter Elton as the Managing Director.

Ilford Photo, Kentmere Photo and Harman Photo are all brands of Harman Technology Ltd.

Ilford Harman logo

Dryer for Fibre Based Papers – 2018 Update

I have been using my Maco Ecomat TP5060 for drying fibre based darkroom prints since buying it new from Nova Darkroom in 2002. It is the Rolls Royce of dryers for drying Ilford FB papers flat and takes up to 24 x 20 inch (61 x 51cm) sheets.

Ilford FB papers are notoriously difficult to dry flat and the FB Classic papers that Ilford introduced in 2014 are no better at this! That’s my only complaint about their fine papers.

The dryer has variable heat and I dry my prints against the drying cloth on the cover. The dryer gives a dull gloss similar to what would be obtained from air drying glossy FB paper.

The dryer is still available by special order, but only in this one size, direct from the German manufacturer Hans O. Mahn and Co for €1095 (February 2018), it is currently called ‘MACO ecomat dry press 51x65cm’. Here’s a link: www.macodirect.de/labor/papierentwickung/trocknung/maco-ecomat-trockenpresse-51x65cm

Maco Ecomat FB paper dryer

It weighs about 15kg and needs a space a bit bigger than the paper that it dries, around 80 x 70 cm should do. It’s about 16cm high when closed.

Maco Ecpmat FB Dryer closed

Replacement drying cloths are still available for €149 (February 2018) and in regular use should last over 10 years, judging by my experience. Here’s a link: www.macodirect.de/labor/papierentwickung/trocknung/maco-ersatztrockentuch-fuer-ecomat-trockenpresse-51x65cm-tp5060

maco Ecomat FB Dryer with latch open

If you’re looking for a dryer for FB papers I suggest you take a close look at the Maco Ecomat dryer.

Maco Ecomat FB print dryer heat control and power switch

P.S. If the links above change over time I suggest you go to the main website and search from there: www.macodirect.de

Craft in Focus Christmas Contemporary Craft and Design Fair at RHS Wisley

We are exhibiting at the Craft in Focus Christmas Contemporary Craft and Design Fair at RHS Wisley until Sunday 26th November 2017. This is always an extremely high quality event with lots of designer makers from across the country. This year there are around 200 exhibitors, our stand is near the coffee shop!

Jan is doing it on her own because my bad back isn’t good enough to do a 5 day show at the moment (it started on Wednesday). Jan went down on Monday ready to set up at the crack of dawn on Tuesday.

Here are some stand photos. You may be able to see that we have switched back to my original hand prints, with quite a few new ones on display. We are just selling off the last few 100 x 50cm prints then they will be special order only, we won’t hold them in stock.

There are lots of my black and white pictures and quite a few of Jan’s colour prints, including some big ones. My books are available for a special price if you buy all 3.

RHS members can visit the show for free. The show opens at 9am and closes at 5pm Friday/Saturday and 4.30pm Sunday. Hope Jan sees you there!

 

Craft in Focus Wellington College Craft and Design Fair 2017

We are exhibiting at the Craft in Focus Craft and Design Fair at Wellington College, Crowthorne, near Bracknell (Wellington College, Duke’s Ride, RG45 6DY). Open Friday 12pm to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. We are stand 75. There’s lots to see with about 100 exhibitors, all top quality and a huge range of items available.

We have a few 1m prints at much reduced prices. We won’t hold any stocks of these once current prints are gone, they will be special order only. It does include some crackers though! St Paul’s from Millennium Bridge at night, Aspen Shadows, Utah Ski Tracks, the Gherkin, there’s also one copy of Leadenhall Market and another of Berlin.

Lots of prints, including some new images. All 3 books too.

Our next, and last, show of 2017 is at RHS Wisley, again with Craft in Focus.

Wellington College Crowthorne 2017

Wellington College Crowthorne 2017

 

Buxton Great Peak District Fair

We are exhibiting at the Great Peak District Fair in Buxton Pavilion Gardens this weekend, 14th to 15th October 2017, 10am to 5pm. Lots to see, lots of show offers and a good range of original prints too.

The Buxton Beer Festival and a food and drink fair is also on at the same time, same place.

Here are some photos of our stand. It was setup day so there was no power in the marquee to brighten up the stand but we are at one end just inside the door so lots of daylight.

 

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Alternative Limestone Way, Edale to Tunstead Milton

After four dry days, especially yesterday’s cracking day, we woke to heavy rain. It didn’t look promising and we couldn’t check the forecast as there was no phone signal and no WiFi. There wasn’t much point anyway, we just needed to get going and walk home as this was the fifth and final day of our trek.

The first section was across fields at the foot of Kinderscout and along the valley track from Upper Booth to the bridge at the foot of Jacobs Ladder. This is now the official route for the Pennine Way but when I did it in 1974 it went straight across the Kinderscout plateau to the Downfall.

Jacobs Ladder Bridge

Jacobs Ladder Bridge

Swine Back and Kinderscout from top of Jacobs Ladder

Swine Back and Kinderscout from top of Jacobs Ladder

From the top of Jacobs Ladder there was a motorway path of stone slabs across what used to be a wide path across deep bog. We headed for South Head. The rain had stopped after about 90 minutes but there was a chilly wind so we had to stop and find our hats and gloves.

The last section was still trackless bog…. the slabbed path had run out. From here it was a short climb to the top of South Head, the final hill of our route.

Kinderscout from South Head, dull lighting

Kinderscout from South Head, dull lighting

Kinderscout from South Head, sunny

Kinderscout from South Head, sunny, a few minutes after the shot above

View North from South Head

View from South Head, Mount Famine on the left

I walk South Head several times a year, it’s one of my favourite Peak District views. From South Head we headed down to Chinley and then the Old Hall Inn in neighbouring Whitehough. After a final pint we skirted around the side of Eccles Pike, across some fields and down the path to arrive home in Tunstead Milton, 5 hours or so after leaving Edale 10 miles away.

South Head and Kinderscout from Lydgate

South Head and Kinderscout from Lydgate

In summary, we walked for 5 days, 56 miles, 4 dry days including 1 sunny day, 90 minutes of rain, 35 images on Ilford 400 Delta using my Mamiya 7 camera with 65mm lens and mostly yellow filter but a few with an orange filter. All the photos on this blog were taken on mobile phones.

Oh, we also visited 13 hostelries along the way and I tried to keep to the government recommended 5 a day, I assume it refers to pints of real ale. That makes it about 18 mpg beer……..

Here’s a couple of shots taken by Jan on the 4th day, both near Peak Forest en-route to Castleton.

One man and his dog/cow

One man and his dog cow

Dave Butcher near Peak Forest

Dave Butcher and Sheep near Peak Forest

Alternative Limestone Way, Tideswell to Edale

After breakfast we went outside into the sunshine. Yes, at last we had a sunny day with the odd white fluffy cloud. There could be some proper photos today on my Mamiya 7!

I started with Tideswell church, commonly known as the Cathedral of the Peak. There was a very nice Silver Birch tree with leaves on the turn so I put the yellow filter on to brighten the yellowy leaves. Here’s the colour phone version.

Tideswell Church

Tideswell Church

Then it was up onto the moors above again. Lots of wide open spaces and big views, especially to Mam Tor and Kinderscout.

Mam Tor and Rushup Edge from near peak Forest

Mam Tor and Rushup Edge from near peak Forest

Rushup Edge

Rushup Edge and Kinderscout

Mam Tor and Tree

Mam Tor and Tree

Mam Tor

Mam Tor

Then it was time to go down into Castleton by the slopes next to the Castle. I also took a photo of Cave Dale from above with nice light and shadows.

Castleton Fields

Castleton Fields and Mam Tor

Cave Dale from Above

Cave Dale from Above

Then it was down to the Nag’s Head for lunch and a pint. From here we headed for Hollins Cross and down to the Nag’s Head in Edale. It was quite warm walking up to the pass but a bit of a breeze near the top helped.

Castleton and Hope Cement Works from Hollins Cross

Castleton and Hope Cement Works from Hollins Cross

Kinderscout and Edale from Hollins Cross

Kinderscout and Edale from Hollins Cross

After a pleasant pint of Nag’s 1577 we headed a few hundred yards down the road to our accommodation for the night, the Ramblers Inn.

What a great day of hill walking!

Unfortunately, there was no WiFi. Fibre broadband has just been installed in Edale and they haven’t got it working properly yet. Hence this post appearing after we finished!
Tomorrow, Friday 29th September 2017, we finish by walking from Edale to Chinley to Tunstead Milton.

Alternative Limestone Way, Youlgreave to Tideswell

It was a bit of a grey day but stayed dry all day, again. Breakfast was slow, but good, so we eventually left at 10am. We started by walking down to the river at the foot of Lathkill Dale.

Grey day in the Peak District

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The gorge is very steep sided here so on a dull day like today it was too dark for pictures. A few dog walkers were out but no-one else.

We climbed out of the dale and across a plateau area, down into another part of Lathkill Dale, up the other side and along under some large vertical limestone cliffs. From here it was just a short stretch to Monyash.

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Bulls Head Monyash

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As luck would have it the Bulls Head pub was open so we decided to have a break, it was 12.30pm.

From here we made our way to Flagg, then to the A6 at Taddington before dropping down to Millers Dale. As luck would have it the Anglers Rest was open, at 3.15pm, so we stopped for a break.

Taddington

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Millers Dale Autumn Colours

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Anglers Rest Hikers Bar

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Tideswell was just a couple of miles away from here, up a steep slope then across some fields and down into the village. The George Hotel was to be our hostelry for the night.

Tideswell

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Our good friends Mick and Kay from Inverness were down touring around England and we arranged to meet up for the evening. It was a good night.

Tomorrow we walk to Edale.

Alternative Limestone Way, Brassington to Youlgreave

It was day 2 of our trek from Ashbourne to Tunstead Milton. Today we started in Brassington and walked to Youlgreave, same mileage as yesterday, 10.5 miles.

We were well looked after by Sarah at the Manor House Guest House, had a good breakfast, gave our case to the punctual luggage transfer man from Bakewell, then set off for Winster. Jolly nice day, bright spells and warmish. Good weather for walking!

So many quarries in this part of the Peaks. Lots of lorries to go with them too. Thankfully we were mostly off busy roads. Quite a few good views but between the quarries and power lines I didn’t see any shots worth taking on my Mamiya 7 camera.

A local just outside Brassington.


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Our route took us down into Winster but the Bowling Green pub was closed on Tuesdays. We headed back up the hill where it was a relief to find the Miners Standard pub open. A jolly nice pint of Pedigree was my liquid lunch.

From here we headed towards Elton and on to Robin Hoods Stride Rocks. The grey sky was clearing so we waited a few minutes. I ran off a bit over 1 roll of Ilford 400 Delta before moving off.

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From here it was on to Youlgreave. Our hostelry for the night, the Farmyard Inn, was closed when we arrived before 4pm, as was the Bulls Head, so we had a pint in the George Hotel.

Youlgreave view

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Good food and a comfy room at the Farmyard Inn. What a relief after yesterday’s stutter.

Tomorrow we walk to Tideswell.

Alternative Limestone Way, Ashbourne to Brassington

Jan and I have done lots of treks around the world but just day walks on our doorstep in the Peak District. I did walk the Pennine Way in 1974 which starts in Edale 8 miles from where we live now but that’s the only exception. So we decided to change that by walking from Ashbourne to our home in Tunstead Milton.

I got the maps out and could see the Limestone Way went in roughly the right direction. That became the core of the walk for about 3 of the 5 days.

Our trip started by catching the bus to Buxton and then the bus to Ashbourne. This was a bit under 2 hours travel time. Then we will walk north for 5 days to get home. Our overnight stops are Ashbourne, Brassington, Youlgreave, Tideswell, Edale and home. A total of about 50 miles, so roughly 10 miles a day.

Looking out of the window of our room everything was wet, but it wasn’t raining at 7.30am. Unfortunately the forecast was for rain through the day. In the end the whole day was dry.

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Today we started in Ashbourne having stayed at the George and Dragon Hotel. The food and beer was good as was the service.

After breakfast we left the hotel at the crack of 10am and headed north towards the Tissington Trail. We followed this for a few hundred metres, then turned onto our footpath to Thorpe village. From the approach to the village it looked like we were in limestone country with Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill as the backdrop. In fact we joined the Limestone Way just before Thorpe village. This long distance path goes from Rocester south of Ashbourne to Castleton.

First Limestone Way sign, Thorpe

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A mix of fields and hillsides got us to Tissington and on to Parwich and as luck would have it the Sycamore Inn was open. It was 7 miles from Ashbourne so a good time for a break. Then it was just 3 more miles to Brassington. 

Thorpe Cloud

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TissingtonIMG_20170925_230610 IMG_20170925_230704 IMG_20170925_230732 IMG_20170925_230835

Parwich

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Brassington

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We had booked in to the Miners Arms and waited outside for the 4.30pm check-in time agreed earlier (the pub was shut until the evening). Unfortunately no one turned up. Jan rang the landlord and he arranged for someone else to come to the pub and let us in, no explanation as to why he wasn’t here as agreed a few hours earlier. The room was up 2 flights of steep stairs and very old fashioned, soft mattress on the bed and the bathroom was down a flight of stairs and along the passage. Not exactly the ensuite Jan had booked! After a quick discussion we left.

Fortunately, our luggage had been delivered there.

Jan rang the only other accommodation listed in Brassington, the Manor House Guest House. They had a room and were just 200 metres down the road next to the other pub! We moved there. What a contrast. Nice welcome, excellent room.

Next door was the Olde Gate Inn. Very cosy local, excellent Pedigree beer, good food and a landlord that stopped for a conversation with his customers! Why don’t more people running pubs do that these days?

In the end we had a good evening but it was no thanks to the Miners Arms.

Tomorrow we walk to Youlgreave.

Buxton Craft and Jewellery Fair, 5th to 6th August 2017

We have a stand at the Craft and Jewellery Fair in Buxton Pavilion Gardens marquee, open Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August 2017, 10am to 4.30pm. We have several hundred black and white darkroom photographs as well as quite a few of Jan’s colour prints. Lots of landscapes and city prints in various sizes, with prices from £5 to £140. 100 x 50cm prints are on sale to clear all of our stock, at £60 instead of £120, there are also 4 at £20, London Gherkin, London Leadenhall  Market, London Tower Bridge with River Thames and Berlin Reichstag and Bundestag. That’s a small price for such a big print!

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RHS Chatsworth Flower Show First Day

We are exhibiting at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, stand 544, until Sunday 5pm, 11th June 2017.

This is a brand new show and since it’s just over a half hour from home we’re hoping it’s going to be a good one! Fantastic setting right in front of Chatsworth House. So far so good!

Our stand has lots of my big hand prints, which we seldom take to shows in Derbyshire. All the framed prints are hand prints too. Lots of small prints too. In all over 400 prints to look through. Of course we also have a selection of Jan’s colour photos too. Prints from £5 to £500. All 3 of my current books are here too for the special price of £20 instead of £45.

The first day was today. Unfortunately there’s no  3Mobile phone signal so I was unable to pick up or send any social media posts during the day. Hence the tardy posting for today.

There were lots of traffic problems and we spoke to many visitors who had been delayed by 2 or 3 hours. Ouch! That’s quite a delay. Sounds like things should be better for tomorrow but may be a good idea to leave early.

The show has sold out so if you don’t have a ticket already you won’t get in.

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New video on choosing and using 6 different Durst and DeVere enlargers

I have published a new Tutorial, with video, on my www.darkroomdave.com site on choosing and using various Durst and DeVere enlargers to print with Ilford Multigrade papers.

It covers the Durst M670 BW, Durst M670 Color, Durst 138S with Ilford Multigrade MG500 head, DeVere 203 Varicon, DeVere 203 Varicontrast, DeVere 504 with Ilford Multigrade MG500 Head.

Cotswold Way Alderley to Randwick

Day 4 and another sunny day on the Cotswold Way. We had a bit of a delayed start as I had mislaid my sun hat. No sign of it in either car or my rucsac. A quick phone call to the Dog Inn in Old Sodbury established that I had left it there after we finished yesterday. I’m not used to wearing and having to look after a sun hat in the Peak District!

Hat retrieved and we were on our way at the crack of 11.30am! In a bit under 2 hours we were back in the Swan in Wotton under Edge, where we stayed last night.

After refreshments we were on our way heading up Wotton Hill, a good viewpoint from the edge over the surrounding, mainly flat, countryside. There were several ups and downs today so a bit more of what we’re used to in the Peak District. Very warm too, car gauge registered 24°C at the start and 28°C at the end.

There was another tower monument. This time dedicated to William Tyndale, one of the men who translated the Bible. From here we dropped down to farmland for the last section to Dursley. We stayed at Underhill House, a b&b next door to the Old Spot Inn.

Wotton under Edge

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Field of barley

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Tyndale monument

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The forecast for day 5 wasn’t good, showers of rain until early afternoon. We could see rain in the distance but we stayed dry and a pleasant 17°C. No need for waterproofs for any of the 5 days.

After shuttling cars around we were on our way out of Dursley. There were a few small ups and downs to get the heart pumping but nothing major. As yesterday, lots of woods to walk through with views every now and then. Came upon a carefully excavated burial mound on Frocester Hill, Nympsfield Long Barrow.

Near Stroud we came upon what looked like a new vineyard covering a large area of hillside. Hadn’t thought of Gloucestershire as a wine making area before. Then we had a bit more up before we finished the Cotswold Way at the Vine Tree Inn in Randwick. Not many people know that this is the end of the Cotswold Way! This was where we finished last year so that completed the walk for us, about 100 miles in total spread over 10 days.

As far as the photography was concerned, I took less than 3 rolls of Ilford 400 Delta film on this years trip, that’s under 30 negatives. The countryside was less striking than the hills and mountains I’m more used to so I definitely had to work harder for my black and white photographs. I carried my Mamiya 7 camera with 65mm lens every day and the 43mm extra wide angle lens as well on the first day.

What next I wonder?

The Vine Tree Inn in Randwick, the end of the Cotswold Way for us

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Cotswold Way Old Sodbury to Alderley

Today we walked from Alderley, near Wotton under Edge to Old Sodbury, about 8.5 miles of quite easy walking.

Mostly we are walking south to north on this years half of the Cotswold Way but today we decided to reverse direction so that we finished the day at a pub, The Dog.

Lots of walking along the edge of fields today as well as a few historical sites. First was the Somerset monument. A tribute to General Somerset who fought at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. This is a tower almost 100 feet high. Very impressive.

This was followed by 2 Iron Age hill forts as we approached Old Sodbury. Not a lot to see except lots of earthworks but considering they were both over 2000 years old it was perhaps not surprising.

Tomorrow we walk to Dursley and then finish on Saturday near Stroud, hopefully in time to watch the FA Cup Final somewhere!

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Shapely Sycamore

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Lower Sodbury hill fort

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Lots of Buttercups, and Jan and Al

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A modern folly built for Swallows and Owls to nest in on the slopes of Horton hill fort

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Somerset monument

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Cotswold Way, Bath to Old Sodbury

Last year Jan and I walked, with best friend Al, from Chipping Campden to Stroud along the Cotswold Way. This year we returned to finish the job by walking the section between Stroud and Bath. In fact we decided to start in Bath and walk to Stroud so that we finish nearer to Al’s house just outside Gloucester. The total distance will be a bit over 100 miles spread over 10 days of walking.

I don’t like walking towards cities as the last day of a trek so we started by walking out of Bath heading to the hills. We started at Bath Abbey with easy walking out of Bath and up to the Race Course. Then across fields and parkland.

Just past a golf course on the tops, in a field beside the trail, were several metal fantasy sculptures. Not what we were expecting to see!

Further along we came to the English Civil War battlefield of Lansdowne, 1643. Lots of blue, red and gold posts marking the battle lines and a monument to one of the commanders who was killed. Apparently this is the oldest war memorial in the UK. Not a lot of people know that!

We came down and followed the Way into Cold Ashton where we had parked a car the day before. Unfortunately there is no pub in the village so I was dropped off 3 miles north at the Crown. Jan and Al drove back to Bath to collect our car. We’re using 2 cars for moving between our accommodation at the start and end of each day, leaving a car at each end. Since I had been dropped off at a pub to wait for them I thought I should have a pint of Wadworth 6X, well it would be churlish not to.

Bit of a dull day with a few spots of rain but not enough for waterproofs. Quite warm though. Just 2 photos on my Mamiya 7 camera of Bath Crescent. The light wasn’t good enough to take more.

Start of Cotswold Way outside Bath Abbey

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Battle of Lansdowne Views

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Fantasy sculptures beside the Way

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Cold Ashton to Old Sodbury

Cold Ashton has lots of old buildings in local Cotswold stone. The Hall and the Old Rectory were particularly striking.

Pretty, but not the most striking, countryside as we headed to the village of Tormarton and the Majors Retreat pub for our lunch stop. This is the last pub/hostelry on the route for those going south to Bath.

Fantastic lunch at the Majors Retreat in Tormarton. Huge wedge of bread and home cooked ham for the ham sandwich that Jan and I shared. 4 real ales on, Al and I both had Pigs Ear Bitter.

From here it was less than 3 miles to Old Sodbury and the end of the day. I was left in The Dog Inn drinking Wickwar BOB Bitter while Jan and Al drove back for our car.

Much better weather today, sunny and warm all day. I took just 8 photos today on my Mamiya 7 camera in Cold Ashton and of Dyrham Hall.

Dyrham HouseIMG_20170524_161658 Cotswold ViewIMG_20170524_160908 Cold Ashton Old RectoryIMG_20170524_160819Cold Ashton Hall IMG_20170524_160659

Bath Photos

We came down to Bath to meet best friend Al from Gloucester to walk the second half of the Cotswold Way. In fact we came down a day early so that we could take some photos around Bath. The weather was great and it wasn’t too busy for taking pictures.

I used my trusty Mamiya 7 camera with 43mm and 65mm lenses. Mostly it was blue sky so I used orange filters. For a few shots in the afternoon I used red to darken the sky dramatically. I ran off 7 rolls of Ilford 120 film, 6 x FP4 and a 400 Delta.

To give you an idea of what I took here are some images taken on my Motorola Moto-X phone.

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Setting up for a shot of Pulteney Bridge area, Jan took this one

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Cumbria Way day 8, Lowick Bridge to Ulverston; the End

Saturday 29th April 2017, our final day on the Cumbria Way! It was a dull and chilly start as we left the Red Lion in Lowick Bridge. What a friendly little village pub owned and run by Steve and Lucy. Big room, good food, 3 real ales and fast WiFi.

The route mainly crossed fields and rough ground, then quite a few wooded areas with lots of Bluebells.

Then we were coming down the last hill into Ulverston. I couldn’t believe it, there were flags everywhere. Obviously put out to welcome us at the end of the walk! Well it was a nice delusion for an instant, Ulverston is covered in flags.

We came down to the car park where the Cumbria Way starts and finishes but it was filled with a funfair. Difficult to spot the official end, after circumnavigating the car park we found it hidden by flags.

The end.

A total of 82 miles with my detours, 8 days walking, 8 mountains/hills less than an hour of rain in total.

As far as the photography was concerned, I used 6 rolls of Ilford 400 Delta 120 film (60 negatives) in my Mamiya 7 camera with 65mm lens. The only other camera gear carried was a Sekonic 758 spot meter, spare batteries and 3 filters (yellow, orange and red) although I mostly just used the orange as the skies were pretty good. It was all carried in a LowePro Toploader case on a shoulder harness. The lid pocket was large enough for my Satmap 12 GPS and whatever Harvey’s map I was using each day (OS maps are too bulky).

The Cumbria Way sculpture in Ulverston

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Laurel and Hardy statue

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Cumbria Way day 7, Coniston to Lowick Bridge

Coniston to Ulverston seems to be walked mostly in 1 day for the Cumbria Way. However the 17 miles was a little more than we wanted to do so we arranged to stop at the Red Lion in Lowick Bridge. That’s 10 miles from Coniston, so a relatively easy day with no hills to climb.

The first part was along the lake shore through woods. There was some light rain and we did put our waterproofs on but didn’t really need to and soon took them off.

After a few miles we turned away from the lake, crossed the road to Coniston from the south, and walked for miles without seeing anyone.

Mostly we stayed on the official Cumbria Way for a change but left it for the last mile or so to the Red Lion in Lowick Bridge.

Unfortunately, a bridge over a stream had been washed away in 2016 and our path was officially closed; there was no alternative route. We ignored the sign, to avoid a detour of several miles, and found an alternative crossing had already been installed next to the dodgy bridge. The stream was so narrow and shallow we could have walked or jumped across it anyway. What an unnecessary path closure!

Five minutes later (around 2,30pm) we were ringing the doorbell to the pub which officially opens at 5pm each day. Our room here is the cheapest on the route and much larger and in better condition than several of our previous rooms, and the shower worked!

Just under 74 miles and 8 hills/mountains in 7 days so far. We’ll be finishing in Ulverston tomorrow lunchtime.

Black Bull Coniston

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Cumbria Way day 6, Langdale to Coniston

Well it had to happen sometime, for the first time on this trip we put our waterproofs on! It rained for 5 minutes shortly after leaving the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

We hadn’t been to the New Dungeon Ghyll in 40 years and previously it was just visiting the bar. This time we stayed in the hotel. It was the most expensive night of the whole trip but we thought it would be worth it. Unfortunately, the friendly staff couldn’t compensate for the cold shower and very small room. We won’t be back.

I had followed a lot of the Cumbria Way from here in the past so routed us via Blea Tarn and High Tilberthwaite. The waterproofs came off just after the Tarn and weren’t needed again.

It was an easy walk over the hill to Tilberthwaite and then through woods and over fields to Coniston. We were in the Black Bull by 2.30pm, our hotel for the night. What a difference to the previous night, a nice big room with a modern en-suite where everything worked! The stout was excellent too.

After checking in and relaxing with a pint we walked down to the lake, 8.5 miles wasn’t enough! It was a beautiful evening.

Coniston Water

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Cumbria Way day 5, Rosthwaite to Langdale

It was another brilliant day in the Lake District for day 5 of our version of the Cumbria Way. Cold but sunny with spectacular views through the cold air.

We started a bit after 9am from the Royal Oak in Rosthwaite, who looked after us very well.

Our route followed the Coast to Coast path for the first couple of miles to Greenup Edge then we headed off to High Raise. I can’t remember being on High Raise since we had a trip with our good friends from the Frythe, Welwyn 40 years ago. We had a photo of the view from the top on our wall at home for many years. The view hasn’t changed much!

From here it was a short walk across the plateau to Sergeant Man. Quite a lot of ice around on pools of water and on rocks. Also a few patches of fresh snow.

Next was Stickle Tarn for photos with Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark behind. Then it was down the track to New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, our abode for the night.

Stickle Tarn above Langdale

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Cumbria Way day 3, Bassenthwaite to Swinside


Today was a shorter day, just 11.5 miles. Sunny spells all day but it was mostly cold with a fresh breeze.

We started by walking along Bassenthwaite Lake to the very grand Mire House. Then, to avoid the busy road, we walked up through Dodd Woods and down, past a few lumberjacks, to Portinscale. As luck would have it the Farmers Arms was open so a swift pint later we were on our way again.

It didn’t take long to reach our base for the night, the Swinside Inn. We were very well looked after here, and 6 real ales on too.

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