Cumbria Way – Final Say!!

Susan misses Dominic dreadfully, but she hasn’t said much over the last twelve months, in fact publicly she hasn’t said anything. They do say however, that actions speak louder than words, and this walk was a huge challenge and a personal statement for her, for sister Sandy, Lucy and Shorty.

I’ve tried to keep it light hearted over the blog posts, but I’ve seen grown men crying when they arrive at Caldbeck on Day Four. The weather can be very cruel coming over the tops, particularly at this time of year as we head into autumn. So, I can’t say how proud I am of her, and the team’s achievement this last week.

Despite the extra miles clocked up, they still finished on Friday night, and, to press ‘Team Lucy’ have raised £473.18 and still counting. (It’s still not too late to donate!!:

Susan is one of the most driven people I know, and there is no way she wouldn’t have completed this walk even if she had to finish it on her hands and knees, and, it means so much more to her done in Dominic’s name and for the ‘Cumbrian Lad Foundation’ appeal.

Susan., ‘Right Girls, listen up, have your heard of Lands End to John o’Groats?’

Well done Susan and to the team, and a big thank you to everyone who donated via the website, stopped us on the street with a donation, or popped an envelope into the pub. 

Cumbria Way – Day Five

It’s here, the last day, the final push, the last leg, the remaining 14 miles from Caldbeck to Carlisle!!

But the girls have had a recalculation, there’s still a further 5.8 MILES to catch-up on from Day Four. It’s now a 20 mile (30k) finish for the week!!!  That’s a walk in the park for Lucy, but everyone is worried about Kadie (AKA Shorty), is it a leg to far for the l’arl Sausage?

Hang on, Sainsbury’s isn’t on the OS map for Day Five?Sainsburys

OMG, have they taken another wrong turn?

A quick double check with ‘Team Lucy’ Thankfully no, but it’s a 7am start into Penrith to buy more Blister Plasters!!!

So, at 8.30am the girls start again at Mosedale, where they are joined by ‘Ginny’, Joshua, Janet, and Andrew. CIMG0979They have a gentle walk up the valley and then some Ghyll scrambling up to the lingy hut. This is used as a temporary shelter from the wind or bad weather.



They find a visitor’s book and leave some comments..

‘Raison d’être’


Then, off over to High Pike and the gentle amble down to Nether Row, where they bump into Chris Bonnington on his way up (Really, they did, he lives there)

They arrive at OddFellows Caldbeck, were they pick up ‘Alfie’, Steph and Lindsey. Kadie is starting to flag now, she’s completed about 55 miles (90k) of the 78, so not bad for those shorty legs. But, she’s a trooper, a badger hunter, she marches on.

Susan, ‘I can smell G & T and it’s coming from over there’ Steph, ‘I’m sure I read on the OS map, ‘If lost, follow the emergency lighting on the floor’ But I can’t see any, can you?’









They follow the River Caldew up through Sedbergham. That leads on then to Dalston.

At the Bridge End Inn, Dalston, there’s a well earned glass of lager, followed by paracetamol and Ibuprofen in preparation for the last few miles into Carlisle. The girls have blisters, left, right and center, but the sun is shining and there’s a warm gentle breeze blowing through the beer garden.


But disaster strikes!!! Shorty flops over and refuses to budge. At 100k, she’s hit the Dachshund pain barrier.

Between them, the girls carry Kadie on and off for a while, but as darkness falls the rest of the walk is a flat and a smooth cycle path into Carlisle and she’s soon on her feet. But the tarmac path was very tough on the others feet though.

By 7.30pm, they hit the bright city lights and walk

the last few hundred metres…………..CIMG1003


‘Team Lucy’ still partying at ‘The Sportsman’s’ Halloween Fancy Dress party until midnight!! Sportsman’s Staff left to right: Chloe, Emily, Gabbie and Steph!!!





‘Team Lucy’ would like to thank EVERYONE for their support and to all those very kind and generous people who made donations to:

We haven’t had a final count yet but Lucy has raised over £300 for the charity:


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Cumbria Way – Day Three (and Four)

No, I’m not cheating and trying to save space. When all was going so swimmingly well (literally) There was a disaster on Day Three. THE GIRLS GOT LOST!!!

So the days merged into one as they added an extra 10k and 2.5 hours onto the already testing 5 day walk. Thank you to all Lucy’s sponsors, the girls are really giving value for money!!!

But, I blame The National Park with this sign. It’s clearly pointing the wrong way. Susan will be having strong words!

This way!! on the other hand just keep talking and follow your nose
If we close our eyes, they might think we’ve not here

DAY THREE. Wednesday did start really well though. The merry band were joined by ‘Gertie’ and Sharon. This morning walk starts in the awesome Langdale Valley as ‘Team Lucy’ heads off behind the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel into the wide and untouched Mickledon Valley before heading uphill and over the wild Stake Pass route. The path heads round the right hand side of the Hikers Bar and then heads left behind the hotel until it reaches a wooden gateway onto the Mickledon bridleway path. Once through the gate the girls head up the bridleway into the Mickledon Valley. On the right are the steep slopes of Langdale Fell coming down from the Langdale Pikes and to the left is the ridge heading up to Bowfell known as The Band. In the bottom of the valley the Mickledon Beck snakes its way beautifully through the valley floor. At the very far end of the valley at a point where there is a tiny wooden footbridge over Stake Gill tumbling down from Stake Pass.


After about 3.5 to 4 hours walking and climbing,  taking in some  great views……..

CIMG0924 CIMG0934 CIMG0926









………the sun was shining, the gossip and crack were good, the views were fantastic, what could possibly go wrong?




They reach the top of the fell and turn around to enjoy the view and to admire their successful climb to date. But something didn’t seem right, the view and the pike were exceptional, but something was wrong? 

Rosset Pike
Rossett Pike. Really really nice Fell……., but the wrong one!

To cut the story short, the girls had missed a path that joined the valleys, which is easy done at the best of times as many are not even sign posted . In true pioneering spirit, they circled the wagons (metaphorically) and walked to Grange in Borrowdale and arrived at circa 6/6.30pm in the dark. They then commenced Day Four from Grange in Borrowdale instead of Keswick the following morning.


The village of Grange is situated at the entrance to the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale‘, where the valley squeezes between Grange Fell and Castle Crag. Bridge at GrangeThe impressive double-arched bridge over the River Derwent was built in 1675, but the hamlet’s origins are much earlier; in medieval times the monks of Furness Abbey occupied and owned most of the land.




I don’t think the girls needed a ‘Helping Hand’ but it made a nice photo from Derwentwater!!

This is a good one of Lucy and Shortie. I'll close my eyes again so they can't see me.
This is a good one of Lucy and Shortie. I’ll close my eyes again so they can’t see me.










The team starts to ascend from Keswick and finally to the top of Latrigg.

CIMG0968 CIMG0969









Great views of the stream from the Valley between Keswick and Threlkeld.








Then finally the girls moved from Skiddaw House and finished in Mosedale, where they will start DAY FIVE.




It’s 4 o’clock but Lucy hasn’t finished yet……………..


Lucy ‘I was just thinking, you know we forgot the dinghy? If I was to collect lots of these sticks, and if someone has packed a ball of string………’








‘Okay okay, I can see that ‘doesn’t float your boat’

‘I’ll stick to sheep then’

Finally, some real work!! Right, how many sheep do you need in here!!!
Finally, some real work!! Right, how many sheep do you need in there!!!






Cumbria Way – Day Two

Team Lucy’s alarm goes off like clockwork – Tuesday 7.30am.

The rain is bouncing off the windows at The Crown Inn, Coniston. The drops are so big it’s sounds like hailstones.

Outlook is not looking good, both from a weather and a Microsoft point of view.

Sandy opens the curtains onto the high street to…..

Coniston High Street
Double damn, that inflatable dinghy really wouldn’t have taken up much room in Susan’s Rucksack!

And Susan can’t open her email to send your intrepid reporter the photos from Day Two

MS Error Message
Sorry, this is the Lake District, we get breakfast TV at Lunch time, Bill Gates who?

The mood clouds over but Lucy rallies the troops, ‘It’s only 20k, it’s only torrential rain, it’s only a few swans, but it’s the Langdales, it’s the best scenery and the best walking in the Lakes! Come on girls, first stop, Tarn Hows…’

Tarn Hows
Don’t worry, Ian’s got some software, he can airbrush all the raindrops out.
Colwith Force
Colwith Force (Fors/foss is the Old Norse term for waterfall)





Next stop is one of the most beautiful scenes between Coniston and Dungeon Ghyll.





But today, with all the rainfall the next stop at about 3pm was the most  spectacular and dramatic, and is not normally as forceful as Colwith.

The girls didn’t get to close!!

Skelwith Force
Skelwith Force in full flow
Elterwater Muddy Boots Cafe
Muddy Boots (and soggy dogs) Cafe


By 3pm, everyone is soaked to the bone. Even Shorty’s coat is so wet her webbed feet (yes, they really are!) squelch through the grass. And suddenly, there is an oasis in the dark clouds, all their Christmases have come at once. Ok, a little bit of poetic licence, there isn’t a Christmas tree but the fairy lights look festive.




Vicargate 7pm.

The phone rings. Beeb… beeb… beeb… a coin drops. I’m transported back to  the 1970’s.

Susan, ‘Hi, it’s me, we arrived about 6. There’s no mobile service in Dungeon Ghyll but there’s a payphone.’ (that’s like a big red box with a door on it, and there’s a phone inside. You need 10 pence coins to make a call?) ‘Is everything ok?’

Me, ‘Fine, can you send me some photo’s for Day Two?’

Susan, ‘I’ve tried to, but they won’t leave my outbox, it’s really spooky. Do you think email had reached here yet? Haha, joke. Anyway, there’s a guy in the bar, he’s looks like he played bass for Showaddywaddy and he’s drinking snakebite.

Me, ‘Just re-boot your machine, sometimes the router doesn’t pick up Apple devices’

Susan, ‘Ok, I’ll try that. But listen, the menu in the bar is really retro, they’re serving ‘Chicken in a basket’, how cool is that?’……………Beep……………………………………………………………………………………..

‘Hello? Sue??’

Cumbria Way – Day One

Susan came into the bedroom at 8am, gave me a good shake and said ‘We’re off, see you later’ I grunted and turned over. I woke again in a panic as I heard the car heading down the drive. I thought, ‘OMG, I hope they’ve packed the inflatable dinghy,’ but it was too late, they’d gone.

Coniston is the other way girls!!!
Coniston is the other way girls!!!

Always a good sign when everything starts on time. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from ‘Team Lucy’.  However, I was worried. I didn’t get the first update until 15.02. A welcome text from Susan saying ’19k, just at Beacon Tarn. Stopped raining.’

Then a text at 4.10. ‘Just sent you a picture, stepping stones over the River Torver’.

'Damn, knew that inflatable dinghy would have come in handy. Never mind, we did pack the hair dryer and tongs
‘Damn, knew that inflatable dinghy would have come in handy. Never mind, we did pack the hair dryer and tongs

They promised me that they had practiced taking ‘Selfies’ for the Lucy Log, none of that dedicated training seems to have come through yet, but, it is only day 1 and still 4 to go.

Text at 18.20 ‘Just arrived’ (At Coniston)

However, Susan is going to have a serious legal discussion with the ordnance survey map people as her next text said, ‘It was longer than it (O S Map) said. I bet it was 30k!! Oh dear, I wouldn’t like to be on the wrong side of that phone call.

Final communication at 20.13 ‘In bed, everyone crashed!’

However, the reporter never sleeps. I did manage to recover a couple more photos from a very soggy, but rewarding day’s walk

Sandy 'Right, according to the map, it's straight on' Lucy ' I think it's over there' Shorty 'Trust me, it's that way'
Sandy ‘Right, according to the map, it’s straight on’
Lucy ‘ I think it’s over there’
Shorty ‘Trust me, it’s that way’

And finally, a bridge too far and a mist descending over Blawith.



Sleep tight ladies and lets have the update for Day Two with a few more ‘Selfies’, Facebook expects, no demands it! However, Paypal doesn’t sleep either, if you feel generous, please donate here;

Cumbrian Way Countdown D Day- minus three

Day bag packed, unpacked, swapped for another one thats a nicer colour, packed unpacked.

Survival kit inventory check: Lipstick – check. mascara – check, Coco Channel – check, chocolate – check, pear drops – check, doggie treats – check, ordnance survey map – not enough room. ‘I know, I’ll take a picture of the route on my phone and we can follow that, what can possibly go wrong?’

Cumbria way-p1
Right, start at Ulverston, does anyone know where that is?

‘The Innocents’

Following my MA lecture this week, I have decided to change my screenplay ‘The Innocents’ (6 half hour episodes) an epic medieval ‘road’ movie that has romance, action, religion, honour, intelligent fantasy, and clearly poor dialogue as CBBC rejected it, into my second novel. An epic medieval ‘road’ movie that has romance, action, religion, honour, intelligent fantasy, and lots of sex.

It’s taken me hours to remove all the screenplay formats. but at least if it gets optioned, I’ve already written the screenplay!!!

Planning a novel

Just got yourself a job at Caldbeck 2015 ‘Story Planning Workshop – RK’

The (W)rites of Rob Knipe

Planning a novel can often feel a little daunting, or, as I always used to feel, like a massive pain in the arse and a waste of time. When I wrote A Heist too far and The Good, the Mad and the Undead, I wrote them start to finish, with only a few small pages of notes for each one. Although it worked well enough, and the story was there, I can’t help but feel that they would have been better if I’d have planned them more thoroughly and edited them better (more better? 😉 ).

IMG_5132 Extensive notes on things to add to the second draft of The Good, the Mad and the Undead.

From the one above, I realised that I probably needed a bit more planning, especially when it came to writing A Game of Two Halves this year, when I just couldn’t mentally keep track of which team played…

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Short-Listed for Cinnamon Press Debut Novel Competition 2014

I’m pleased to say that my first novel One Hundredth has made the final six.

Billy Elliot meets Cool Running’s.

One Hundredth is the story of MICHEAL MILLER, a 16 year old living in poverty on a Manchester housing estate. It follows his journey from deprivation to finally competing in the most prestigious event in men’s downhill skiing. Michael’s family history is another strand of the story told through his Great, Great, Grandfather. Born into slavery, but he escapes his shackles to a better life, which runs parallel to Michael’s journey.

Good Luck to the other five authors who are short-listed!!!