Simon Whaley

Author | Writer | Photographer

Category: Landscape/British Travel (Page 1 of 3)

Sentinels Along The Way

Sentinels Along The Way – The Countryman

They stand, like two rows of regimented soldiers, lining the long ridge of Shropshire’s Linley Hill. It was once thought these sentinels were planted by Napoleonic prisoners of war, but tree-dating technology proves that these beech trees were planted circa 1740, long before there was even a Napoleonic prisoner-of-war camp at nearby Bishop’s Castle.

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On The Waterways

On The Waterways appeared in The People’s Friend Special

“Every time someone opens these lock gates,” says Mike, the engineer, “we lose 40,000 gallons of water.”

We’re standing at the bottom of Lock 72 of the Trent & Mersey Canal in Middlewich, Cheshire, thanks to one of the Canal and River Trust’s Open Days.

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Newcastle on Clun

Check out the Spring issue of Country Walking magazine, for my ‘middle’ route around Newcastle on Clun. It roams the ‘middle’ of nowhere, found somewhere along the ‘middle’ of Offa’s Dyke.

Scrooge’s Alter Ego

Scrooge's Alter Ego - best of British - December 2016

Scrooge’s Alter Ego – best of British – December 2016

Hollywood came to Shrewsbury in 1984, to film an adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. My article in the December 2016 issue of Best of British magazine takes a tour of the exterior film locations, including St Chad’s Church where it’s possible to find a real gravestone for Ebeneezer Scrooge. Don’t believe me? Well, check this out:

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Gummer’s How – Outdoor Photography

gummers-how-outdoor-photography-december-2016Gummer’s How, at the southern end of Windermere, is one of those fantastic viewpoints in the Lake District that doesn’t require the ascension of Everest in order to see it. A steep road leads up from the A592, near Fell Foot Country Park, to a signed Forestry Commission car park on the right, from where a path opposite takes you the final  climb to its top.

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Senior Travel Expert Competition Runner Up

I was delighted to discover that my Out Of Place entry in the Senior Travel Expert website’s travel writing competition was placed as a runner up. And lovely to see some names I recognise in the runners-up list with me too!

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Going Ape!

Going Ape - The People's Friend - 20th August 2016

“Is it true monkeys like bananas?” my nephew, Ashley, asks as we watch a gibbon swinging on a rope high above our heads. Thankfully, we have an expert to hand.

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Chirk & the Llangollen Canal

Chirk - Country Walking - August 2016

Chirk – Country Walking – August 2016

The August issue of Country Walking magazine has a route around Chirk and the Llangollen canal. This one is for the international wanderer who likes crisscrossing the border between two countries.

Trailzilla users can access the route via code TZID30598

Celtic Quakers

Celtic Quakers - Published in Celtic Life International

Celtic Quakers – Published in Celtic Life International

As Celtic Life International correspondent Simon Whaley explains, there was once a whole lotta shakin’ going on in the quaint Scottish community of Comrie.

It didn’t matter how hard I tried, nothing moved. I stamped my feet. Nothing. I jumped. Nothing. Thinking I needed more weight, I picked up my heavy rucksack and jumped again. Still nothing. I peered through the glass, my nose squashed flat against it so my eyeballs were a couple of millimetres closer, in the hope of spotting even the smallest of movements. But on the floor, standing on a small boxwood cross, the wooden cylinders remained upright. Against the far wall, only six feet away, the pen on the modern seismometer sat poised for action, rather than recording any action. There’s never an earthquake around when you want one.

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Caer Caradoc

Caer Caradoc - Country Walking - May 2016

Caer Caradoc – Country Walking – May 2016

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Strictly Come Lekking

BBC Countryfile magazine - May 2016

STRICTLY COME LEKKING

Witness early morning dance contestants compete for the avian equivalent of the Glitter Ball Trophy in the black grouse lek, says Simon Whaley.

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Meandering Along The Mortimer Trail

Meandering Along The Mortimer Trail - The Countryman - March 2016

Meandering Along The Mortimer Trail – The Countryman – March 2016

“We need more kangaroos,” the manageress said to her assistant as I stepped into the shop. Puzzled why a card shop in Ludlow would have any need for Antipodean animals, I paid for my postcard and left. I’d read the Mortimer Trail was a good walk for wildlife, but I didn’t think it included large marsupials.

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Along The Welsh Marches

Along The Welsh Marches - The Peoples Friend - 27th February 2016

Along The Welsh Marches – The People’s Friend – 27th February 2016

“Uncle Simon, why is there a goat on top of that castle wall?” My nephew stares at the white adult goat fifteen feet above us. A series of frantic bleats fill the air and, suddenly, three sure-footed kids join their parent on the narrow, stony ridge. “And how did they get up there?”

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Charming Church Stretton

Charming Church Stretton - published in The People's Friend - 16th jan 2016 issue

Charming Church Stretton – published in The People’s Friend – 16th jan 2016 issue

It’s not difficult to see why Church Stretton is known as Shropshire’s Little Switzerland when there’s been a fresh dusting of snow overnight. If weather forecasters predict snow in Shropshire, you can guarantee Church Stretton will get some!

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Misty South Shropshire

Misty South Shropshire from Ragleth Hill - published in Outdoor Photography - Feb 2016

Misty South Shropshire from Ragleth Hill – published in Outdoor Photography – Feb 2016

My photo of a misty South Shropshire, as seen from Ragleth Hill, appears in the February 2016 issue of Outdoor Photography, under the Viewpoints section.

Wonderful Weston

Wonderful Weston - published 28th November 2015 issue The People's Friend

Wonderful Weston – published 28th November 2015 issue The People’s Friend

‘Capability Brown was invited back to Weston Park in 1766 to undertake a second contract,’ says our guide, ‘for which he was paid £1,725.’ Scanning the beautiful one-thousand-acre parkland in front of us, I nod in approval. At that price I might ask him for a quote to landscape my front garden. Then again, at today’s prices that works out at over £216,000!

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Christmas in Kirkby Lonsdale

Christmas in Kirkby Lonsdale - BBC Countryfile - Dec 2015

Christmas in Kirkby Lonsdale – BBC Countryfile – Dec 2015

 

Revel in Ruskin’s favourite view, traditional pubs, cosy atmosphere and a corner of Cornwall in Cumbria, says Simon Whaley …

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Lakeland’s Autumnal Colours

Lakeland's Autumnal Colours - published in The People's Friend Autumn Special 2015

Lakeland’s Autumnal Colours – published in The People’s Friend Autumn Special 2015

 

“I know New England is famous for it’s autumnal colour,” drawls the American tourist standing next to me in the grounds of Rydal’s St Mary’s Church, “but your Old England display is pretty spectacular too.”

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The Spectre of Kington

The Spectre of Kington - BBC Countryfile - October 2015

The Spectre of Kington – BBC Countryfile – October 2015

Follow in the footsteps of the mysterious Black Vaughan, a shape-shifting spectre who may have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, says Simon Whaley…

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Radical Steps

Radical Steps - Kirkby Lonsdale

Radical Steps – Kirkby Lonsdale

 

Slow Journey County: Cumbria

Slow Journey Destination: Radical Steps

Slow Journey Distance Travelled: 86 steps (ish)

Radical Steps. Such an unusual name, it seems, as I take the first step. It feels pretty solid underneath. Nothing radical there. It’s damp. Perspiring, even. As if it has been exercising, rather than those who’ve clambered up them. Leaf litter huddles against the rising face of the next step, but it’s mostly decayed stalks now: brown and black fibrous material.

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