So, So Holiday Weekend

This past week-end I went on a walking holiday for the first time in years. I used to do them a lot when I was younger, tramping across the hills on rough ground or, on tracks and way marked paths.

I booked a trip with HF Holidays on a Tread Lightly weekend based at their Newfield Hall, Calton, Skipton – a few miles north of Skipton. I am not a member of HF Holidays.

Friday 12th April was the 200 mile drive to the Hall. There were delays on the M6 near Penrith where 3 lanes had to merge into 1. It took about 30 minutes to get through this. Was lucky not to be heading North on the M6 at this point. Some motor bikers appear to have blocked the motorway with all traffic diverted off the motorway onto the A6 around Shap. All I saw was a very long queue of almost static, single lane traffic heading North. On arrival there was a briefing by the 2 leaders with 9 people in the group overall. I chose Option 1 for both walks. I also had to select my meal plan for all 3 evenings and my packed lunch.

Saturday 13th April was the first walk to Gargrave. I started off OK but was at the back quite quickly. Then we crossed over a fence onto The Pennine Way and I started to struggle. You had to walk across a slightly boggy fields to the riverbank, along this bank for a wee stretch that was very boggy and full of mud. Even with 2 walking poles I struggled to keep my feet at times. Then we started an uphill walk. It wasn’t too steep but there was still lots of cloying muddy ground. I was too slow. I agreed to come off the hill and walk back to the Hall. Which I did but, slowly, not my normal pace. After a rest in my room, with lunch, I dozed odd for a bit, then went to the boot room to clean my boots of mud. Couldn’t do anything about my trousers but I tried to wash off the worst. I was back to walking normal pace at this point. After the evening meal we played indoor curling for 3 rounds.

Sunday 14th April. This was a better day. I decided I would walk on my own which the leaders weer OK with. I walked on the road to Malham. The first 2 miles were OK, decent pace for me. Then the traffic started. Malham you see is where the Yorkshire Dales Visitor Centre is based so a lot of people want to get there to walk up the hills for a few hours. I had a bright orange-ish jacket on so I could be seen. I had to stop many time to let traffic get past me. I could hear it coming up behind me and see in front of me most of the time. I stopped early at times and just stood still until they had passed. About 2 hours later I arrived in Malham. I had decided I would not be walking back. It would be dangerous. I took the bus back. Got back to my room about 15.00.

The holiday was OK in parts not in others. I realised I might struggle with this type of holiday in future and am thinking twice about my one to the Cotswolds in June, I don’t think I’ll be using HF again.

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Migration is defined as the movement of people from one area to another.
It is initially what happened when Homo Sapiens came into being in Africa. They spread around the world as explorers, always wanting to see what was across the river or over the hill. Migration has taken place over time, it hasn’t stopped. People moved because they were curious, their food moved (animals), their crops didn’t grow, the climate changed with ice age, there were floods. These days the cause of migration is more varied: floods, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, famine, armed conflicts, persecution over faith or sex, armed conflict and lately, human induced climate change. People move because they want/need a better life.

Immigration is about people moving to areas where they have “no rights”. This is down to groups of people (tribes if you will) creating artificial constructs called nations or countries. Where a legal jurisdiction has been constructed based on people being united on the basis of culture or beliefs. And this is where the problem of migrants comes in. If it wasn’t for these legal artificial constructs there wouldn’t be a problem. But these nations or countries want to protect their “rights” and stop people moving about at will. Most of these restrictions fail to acknowledge what is happening in the world and the issue of “migrants” will just increase over time. This will especially be the case when human induced climate change forces people to move from one area to another. It used to happen all the time before these artificial constructs came into being.

Now you get people wanting to “protect their borders”. In the UK however, the borders have never been protected. The UK is a group of islands. It would take a lot of effort to monitor every single bit of the coastline. Those that advocate this “control” are not being realistic. Land locked countries might be able to monitor their borders more easily. But, if huge numbers of people mass on the border can they really stop them? Should they when the cause is changes in climate making life where they were untenable. Should all countries accept the inevitable.

Migration is a fact of life on this planet.

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Stormy Weather

A few week-ends ago it was Storm Babet that caused heavy rain and strong winds. Last week-end it was just an ordinary storm – not named – but combined with high tides caused great damage. The wall at the harbour was greatly damaged. The edges of Elcho Green had the steps damaged and made unusable along with many rail sleepers washed out – most recovered but unusable. 2ft to 3 ft sand cliffs created to make it impossible for the regular swimmers to get down or up to the beach. Meantime, the beach outside me has had sand cliffs created where the sand has been washed away and the sand banking (which contained grasses and bushes) has been washed away. The concrete steps down onto the beach are now exposed with no sand around them.

Stormy weather has continued but, most of the time the wind happens without rain and just blows loose things around, e.g. rubbish bins, recycling bins etc. The UK has now had 10 storm warnings this winter, some of them in quick succession.

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Save Our High Street

A number of retail outlets in the High Street have recently put up window posters asking people to “save out high street”. They are asking people to sign one or two petitions. One aimed at disputing new car parking charges, the other being against the widening of pavements to the East end of the High Street.

I want to save out high street too but, not the way these “business” people, encouraged by the Community Council are doing it.

The original proposals for car parking charges were that the first 30 minutes would be free, that’s now up to 45 minutes, so you have longer to do your shopping and there would be a regular turn over of vehicles. If you can’t do your shopping in under 45 minutes you need to stop chatting to all and sundry I do mine in less than that and I don’t use a car! I walk into the High Street, most others a capable of doing the same. Some could cycle but they need better provision for leaving their bikes. Also, I want the High Street to become car free with the provision that delivery vehicles could service the shops without the current hassle they experience from inappropriate parking. The future requires us to give up private transport and make it easier and more pleasant for people to get around.

As for the east end of the High Street, there has long been proposals to pedestrianise this area. It is quite narrow in parts, the pavements are not wide enough, they are single file only, there are times when you have to go onto the roadway to get past people looking at shop windows, past a wheelchair or a buggy. Which means stepping into traffic. As part of the “streets for people” initiative during the pandemic big street planters were placed at right angles to the road way, narrowing the road width, preventing car parking. It give more space for people to walk. More recently these planters have been moved parallel to the pavement, closer to the pavement and car users have found space to park making it difficult for pedestrians to move past other people safely. I want the pavements made wider, I want cars restricted at this end as a a first stage to banning cars altogether. Only delivery vehicles should be allowed in this area.

I am against the “save our high street” scheme, I think it’s wrong, misguided, and takes no account of our future needs to move away from fossil fuels.

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Red Button and QR Codes

In between programmes on the BBC the announcer suggests you “click the red button” to watch a specific programme. I click the red button and it takes me to the “Red Button Text Service”. These announcements are completely wrong! What they should be saying is, “if you have an internet connected TV, press the red button to take you to BBC iPlayer”. Not every one has a “connected TV” and the continuity announcers must be made to recognise this.

Now on Sky News they tend to encourage you to “scan the QR code” for more information. However, they don’t tell you what you need to scan the code with. Apparently your need a mobile device with a specific piece of software on it to scan QR codes. How many people have a suitable hand held device or, know how to install software on it. The lack of explanation on this is very frustrating. They should not assume everyone has this knowledge and they are failing to communicate properly to the lowest, common, denominator.

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