Newsletter > Newsletter archive > August 2016

August 2016

Miners' tracks
Britain's geology has been blessed - or cursed, depending on your viewpoint - with a wealth of metals and minerals. They have been exploited from prehistoric times right up to the present day. Some, such as the deep coal seams, have changed our history irrevocably, fuelling the industrial revolution and turning Britain into a global power.

Even in the remotest parts of the country mining was conducted on an industrial scale. Ores were extracted and smelted, with as much of the work taking place on site so there was the minimum to carry out. In farming communities mining offered a supplemental wage, although it was a risky job and earnings were irregular. Miners would often walk several miles to work and stay in cramped conditions for several days in huts at the mine head, rather than travelling daily.

There are 'miners' tracks' marked on Ordnance Survey maps all around the country. In this month's chapter from our Pathways book we explore one of those tracks to a lead mine in the Yorkshire Dales, where the remains of the smelting works and peat store can still be found. A huge flue ran for hundreds of metres up the hill, creating the draw for the furnace and carrying the noxious fumes away from the workplace. The Old Gang Mine was the setting for many fascinating tales from the great era of lead mining in the Dales. You can read the chapter on the website or, of course, download the whole book for Kindle to read at your leisure for just £1.99.

Walking on sunshine
For those with a spirit of adventure - and a desire to experience astonishing landscapes, an array of tropical flora and fauna, and a fascinating cultural melting pot - Inntravel's first foray to the Caribbean might prove impossible to resist.

The award-winning, self-guided walking holiday specialists have just introduced a thrilling, three-centre itinerary on the little-known island of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). Known as 'The Nature Island', Dominica is swathed in pristine rainforest, dripping with bromeliads and orchids; and its waterfalls, crater lakes and volcanic hills give it the raw energy of a living, breathing landscape.

This walking holiday, taking in sections of the 200-kilometre Wai'tukubuli National Trail (the Caribbean's first long-distance footpath), is the best way to take it all in. Inntravel's carefully planned itinerary - from the wilder Atlantic seaboard to Bubble Beach and Champagne Reef on the serene west coast (every bit as alluring as they sound) - features everything from calypso-style strolls through former colonial plantations, where you can't help squishing fallen mangoes underfoot, to long and muddy rainforest scrabbles that will leave you feeling exhausted and exhilarated, but intensely alive.

And if all this sounds as though it's not for the faint-hearted (it isn't!), then take comfort from the fact that Inntravel have sought out a supremely relaxing add-on, on neighbouring Antigua, where you can kick back on this 'Land of 365 Beaches' while soaking up your own private slice of paradise. If you will allow yourself to, forget the walking for a while and lose yourself in a good book, with only the cooling trade winds for company...      

For more details on Inntravel's wide choice of walking holidays across Europe and beyond, visit or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.

Dominica – Secret Treasure of the Caribbean
- Self-guided, three-centre walking holiday
- Prices from £1595pp, incl 10 nights' B&B accommodation, 7 dinners, 2 picnics, transfers on Dominica & detailed route notes
- Flights extra (from London or Manchester via Antigua or Barbados)
- Add on 3 nights' R-and-R' on Antigua from £385pp
- Available 15 November 2016 to 15 May 2017

HF pop-up walks
HF Holidays have organised a couple of free 'pop-up' walks in the coming week, with Exmoor on Saturday 27th August and the Peak District National Park on Saturday 3rd September. There's a walk in the company of an expert guide followed by delicious tea and homemade cake at the end of the day.

The Exmoor walk starts at Holnicote House, near the village of Selworthy in the heart of the Exmoor National Park. This is a short six mile walk to the summit of Selworthy Beacon, which offers beautiful views over the Bristol Channel and Porlock Bay.

The Peak District walk is based at HF Holidays' country house, The Peveril of the Peak. This one takes a five and a half mile route across the limestone plateau, past the rocky outcrops of the Nabs to Dove Holes and along the river to the famous stepping stones at Dovedale Gorge.

To ensure that there is enough cake and leaders for each event, please register by clicking the links above.

CowalFest Argyll festival
CowalFest Argyll takes place on the scenic Cowal Peninsula between Loch Fyne and the Firth of Clyde in the west of Scotland, from the 7th to 16th October. Although only thirty miles from Glasgow, Cowal is a tranquil area with a rich heritage and abundance of wildlife. Now in its fourteenth year, CowalFest has more than eighty events planned over the ten days of the Festival. Serious hill walking, gentle strolls, heritage walks, family activities, horse riding and health walks for the less able are included along with Nordic and Chi walking. Evening entertainment includes traditional music and dance, a quiz, talks and plenty of opportunities to sample the food and drink at the beer festival or wine tasting events.

Tenerife walking festival
The third edition of the Tenerife Walking Festival (23rd - 27th May 2017) offers a total of 20 walking routes and a packed programme of supporting activities. There are two new volcanic routes on the programme: 'El Palmar – Santiago del Teide' and 'Igueque – La Crucita – La Caldera'. The twenty routes are grouped into three categories (volcanic, coastal and green paths) with the most popular walks going through two of the island's UNESCO-listed sites: the volcanic Teide National Park and the green Anaga Rural Park. In support there are food fairs to sample the tasty local food, a stargazing session in the Teide National Park and a relaxing swim in one of the island's natural volcanic pools.

The 2016 Wainwright Memorial Lecture
The 2016 Wainwright Society lecture is to be held at 6pm on Saturday 15 October at the Rheged Centre in Cumbria. This is a rare opportunity to hear from somebody who worked closely with Alfred Wainwright and came to know him very well during the last years of his life. Richard Else was a young film director in the 1980s when he made a series of television programmes with Alfred Wainwright and Eric Robson. The films, screened on BBC2, brought Wainwright to a national audience for the first time. On the 25th anniversary of Wainwright's death, Else makes a new assessment of the friend he knew and worked with for almost 10 years. Tickets for the event are available only from the Box Office at Rheged (Tel: 01768 868000) and are priced at £8 for Society members and £12 for non-members. The restaurant will be open before and after the Lecture.

War horse commemoration walk
A walk in support of the Freshfields Animal Rescue charity leaves Ormskirk Railway station this Saturday (27th August), taking the route followed by the thousands of 'war horses' led to Lathom Park Remount depot in WW1 for training. The walk is led by a local historian. On arrival at Lathom Park Chapel refreshments will be served for a small donation. Just turn up on the day but if a group are coming an indication of numbers would help.