Monday, 16 February 2015

Not your everyday sight

To quote a cousin's favourite phrase, we've been "keeping on keeping on" here, with homeschool, chores and the odd bit of geocaching thrown in for good measure.  This morning we accompanied Housemate to a hospital appointment, then as I had some groceries I needed, we decided to go to the Aldi that's near a local country park that we haven't been to before.

If you've seen my last post about Sandal Castle, you can see the country park "Pugney's" in the distance on one of the photos.  The weather wasn't anywhere near as nice today, but at least it had stopped raining and after a reviving cuppa in the cafe, we booked out one of the mobility scooters for Housemate, and set of around the lake.

I'd actually forgotten it was half-term and there were quite a lot of people and children enjoying the park.  We had a good walk around the lake and there were views of the castle from a different perspective.
Sandal Castle viewed from Pugney's country park
 A little further on, we took a path thinking there was a geocache nearby.  There was, but not one we could get to as we were on the wrong side of the beck.  What we did see was something that one certainly doesn't see every day, or at least not in the wild in the UK anyway!

A parrot, green, black head with yellow stripe
I think the poor thing must either have escaped or been abandoned, but from reading the logs of other geocachers it seems to have been around this particular spot for a while as it's quite often seen here.
It's quite a pleasant park, although probably nicer when the weather's better and it's not quite so wet underfoot.  They do activities like sailing, kayaking and various RYA courses here too.  There's also a little train, not running today, that potters its way down one side of the lake on summer weekends.  The track is tiny, only about 8" wide, but the little railway has its own little turntable.  We shall have to come back again in the summer.

Until next time. x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sandal Castle

Evening all.  It's been a while!  My excuse is that we haven't really done anything recently that I consider blog-worthy.  Life seems to be very repetitive; Small's schoolwork, a bit of geocaching and hospital appointments, so nothing I'd call particularly interesting.

Today was a little different.  We're still going out geocaching, and we're discovering plenty of places and interesting local history that we wouldn't have known were we not doing it.  We went to a local country park, one we go to quite regularly in the warmer weather to ride our bikes, to find a few caches.  We tend to go around the main circuit as it's easier to ride on.  The downside of that is we were previously unaware of a great many paths that criss-cross the park.

While out walking today we found a 'metal henge', a lovely garden memorial to a local councillor who apparently did a lot to ensure the former colliery site was restored into something everyone could enjoy.

Mini metal henge garden at Walton Colliery Park
We have also learned quite a bit of local history.  I knew my kings and queens from doing history at school, but I never really knew much about a lot of the local connections.  We made amends for that today with a visit to Sandal Castle.  I freely admit there was a geocaching connection to all this, and through solving a puzzle cache to do with mnemonics, we found the site where Richard, Duke of York was killed during the Battle of Wakefield in 1460.  A monument has been erected on the site, and it was nice to see some white roses placed there.

Monument to the death site of Richard, Duke of York, 30th December 1460
Happy little geocachers - Small and HMS
After we'd visited the monument, we went to the site of Sandal Castle itself.  There's not a great deal of it left, as it was devastated during the battle, and has fallen into rack and ruin since.

View towards Wakefield from Sandal Castle
Info board about the Battle of Wakefield
Part of the reason for our visit was to gather information from these boards to work out the coordinates for another geocache location.  The other part was to visit  local monument and learn some history in a fun and hands-on way.  Nothing better than learning history by actually being on location rather than reading it in a book or on the internet.  It also gave the kids the opportunity to run around and enjoy themselves.

Remains of the castle and moat

Small, sitting on some of the ruins
A view of Pugney's Country Park, with Emley Moor communications mast upper left

Above is a rather red-faced and upset, but proud, Small.  He doesn't like steps.  He doesn't like climbing up hills.  He doesn't like boards with gaps in them that you can see through.  It's as though with his foot problems, coupled with the sensory overload of processing the information required to do this kind of activity, it is too much for him.  It took an awfully long time to get him up to the remains of the keep, going one painful step at a time, with an awful lot of terrified crying and screaming.  But we got there.  He was very proud of his achievement at this point and we didn't have a pip of a paddy going back down again.

Keep well, keep warm.  Until next time. x