After the closure

A picture can paint a thousand words, or so the phrase says.  Perhaps so.  On a long office day, editing my back catalogue, a 5×4 slide starts talking about memories.   In 2001 my world, like many other people’s, was turned upside down.  On an isolated farm in Northumberland some Read more…


The bus has stopstarted out from Sheffield to Fox House.  The stopstarting shlep from Fox House, sweatily burdened under bouldering pads and bag full of shoes and food is finished.   Time to climb.   But maybe coffee and a teacake in this sun warmed hollow first.  Eventually the pad is positioned, shoes Read more…

The Grit

“Millstone Grit; coarse-grained carboniferous sandstones – gritstone specifically refers to such rocks in the Pennine areas of Northern England – the gritstone edges and boulders of the Peak District provide one of the world’s classic climbing areas.” Yes, yes they do.  The grit; Burbage South boulders, The Brick.   A cold Read more…

Spring: run

A prologue, of sorts. In these interesting times, a vignette of memory from a couple of years ago. It would be wonderful to be as full of love and laughter as those two ladies who shared a good few years of life well lived. spacer Spring. Blackthorn in flower and Read more…


spacer Northern winter; at the turning of the year.  At the turning of nature’s year, not the turning of our human year.  Mistchill and windwhip swirl around the fell and valley blurring sound and sight.  Reminders this place of aeons old fort and ritual may be within Sheffield’s city bounds, Read more…

The Ridge, To Hope

spacer Car park; drop off, jump out; car door, shut. Wave K off, now; Run Mam Tor steps steep past scowling tourists. Quick, tap summit view guide then skedaddle fell shoes scarting on crumbling paving slabs where grass once grew. Run on Down now – more people; polite good afternoons Read more…

Spring Dreaming

April, the clocks have shifted.  The weather is warming, feeling a little more friendly.  Buds are bursting and the world is greening.  Time to ramp things up, to remember dreams of long laid plans.  Perhaps finesse them, perhaps make some more. Time now for long days over the hills; days Read more…

As The Driven Snow… a winter run

“The wood, under a winter storm.  A time when all creatures thought of good sense seek shelter of burrow or nest.  There remains though, dancing through the tempest,  a runner, chill of finger, wet of foot, wide of grin.”

Desk work day done.  Storms are building, both ADHD and weather.

So.  Night run.  Winter night run.

Headtorch, leggings and lifa, hardshell and hat.  Lock my door with glove clumsied fingers, quick step up the ginnel.  Grin growing on my face.  Couple of hundred metres of sleet slick pavement ‘twixt house and wood.  Most times a skippy dog walker dodging warmup, tonight it’s a lone stroll, chilling fingers and feet. 

The wood.  My local patch, a bright place of birch and willow and hawthorn hedge. Not this night though. This night it’s a wildwood waiting. Tonight the gate is a liminal space, a creaking transit from blandly civilised suburbia into an older place.  Into a dark wood galethrashed and sleetlashed.

Step through into the wood anyway.  Go, now. Go run.  


The Winter, A Walker Passes

It is deep winter night in the northern hemisphere.  The long enduring dark winter night of the year’s true turning.  Neither stars nor moon in the sky, but pale, swirling wind borne clouds and a familiar chill, a bone deep rawness.  Toward England’s seaward edge, a silent village nestles upon one of those peculiar fenland rises.  Atop the rise the old church, with the yet older yew is a darker shadow on the village bounds. None now recall why, on this one night of the year, in this rational age, a candle burns in a tiny east window.  The candle is always lit though, as the sunlight leaves the apse.

The parson, secure in her faith, rests in her armchair.  Parsonage curtains drawn tight, doors locked, hallway lit, dry wood stacked beside the burning hearthlog.  A glass of fine whisky waits close to her hand.  In the edge of the empty churchyard, a prunings’ bonfire.  A gathering of yew and ivy, haw and holly lit at duskfall by the silently praying sexton. The dead branches smoulder still, white ash on red embers.