Dodd, Lake District: Ruth Day 1948 – 2002

The view from Dodd, in the shadow of Skiddaw, is well worth the easy 5 km round trip from the Old Sawmill Tearoom car park.  The path takes you on tracks and paths through Dodd Wood, opening out near the summit to provide views over Derwent Water, Bassenthwaite Lake, Newlands Valley, the Solway coast and beyond.  Although this is a small fell that you might think is perfect for a dull day when the bigger fells are shrouded in cloud, it is really a shame not to enjoy this expansive and easily attained view in the sunshine.

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The view over Newland Valley

The day we walked up to the top of Dodd the summit was sprinkled in snow.  The sun was shining and, as it was mid-week, we had the hill to ourselves.  Sitting on a memorial bench enjoying the spectacular view was perfect.

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In Memory of Ruth Day 1948 – 2002 who loved walking these fells.  ‘We all look at nature too much, and live with her too little’ Oscar Wilde

I like to think Ruth Day would have enjoyed such a glorious day on the fells too and she accompanied us in one way as we sat on the bench erected in memory of her.  I always stop and think for a little longer when I notice someone died young and Ruth Day was only in her 50s when she died.  I think about the years of life the person didn’t get to live and the people who loved them and are left missing a partner, friend or family member.

This memorial bench is all about Ruth Day, the passing walker is given no clue about who erected the bench in her memory.  The quote from Oscar Wilde is beautifully appropriate for the person the memorial describes and for the place.  The quote comes from De Profundis, a long letter Oscar Wilde wrote while in jail in 1897.  The letter was to his lover Alfred Douglas, a letter Oscar Wilde was not allowed to post from jail.

It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little. I discern great sanity in the Greek attitude. They never chattered about sunsets, or discussed whether the shadows on the grass were really mauve or not. But they saw that the sea was for the swimmer, and the sand for the feet of the runner. They loved the trees for the shadow that they cast, and the forest for its silence at noon.

I hope that Ruth Day had the opportunity to live easily with nature.

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Lochranza: Joyce C. Orr 3rd April 2013

Lochranza Castle is superbly set on a grassy spit of land that juts out in to the sea loch.  The castle was rebuilt in the 16th century but there are remnants of the original castle from a few hundred years earlier.  Legend has it that Robert the Bruce landed at Lochranza in 1306 from Ireland at the start of his claim to the Scottish throne and it is known that his grandson came to own the castle in 1371 when he became King Robert II of Scotland, who used it primarily as a hunting lodge.   In the 15th century it was used as a base for James IV and later it was occupied by James VI and Cromwell’s troops.

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Lochranza, in the north of the Isle of Arran, was the place I loved most on our trip to the Isle of Arran and it is not surprising that other people love it so much.  This beautifully positioned bench is dedicated to the memory of Joyce C Orr.  Sitting on the bench you are overlooking a stunning view and I could sit here for a long time watching the birds, the boats and the sea.

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THIS BENCH IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF Joyce C. Orr Died 3rd April 2013 A Loving and Much Loved wife to Gavin, Mum to Alison and Nana to Stuart and Christopher “SHE LOVED THIS PLACE”

Joyce C Orr lived nearby in Ayr, on the mainland of Scotland and just a short ferry trip from the Isle of Arran.  Joyce C Orr had been treated in Ayrshire Hospice and was a member of the St Columba Church in Ayr and Joyce C Orr and her family are remembered in notices from the church.  On Saturday 21 September 2013 a concert was held at Ayrshire Hospice in memory of Joyce Orr, with music by Cantanti, a local vocal ensemble.

Salford, Agecroft Cemetery: Kelly & Ronnie Williams April 2013

Salford’s Agecroft Cemetery, opened in 1903 and was originally called the Northern Cemetery.  The cemetery was created due to concern that Weaste Cemetery would soon be at capacity.  The cemetery is on the banks of the river Irwell and an embankment was included in the design to prevent flooding.  A more comprehensive history of the cemetery can be found here.

We last visited around Christmas when many of the graves at Agecroft Cemetery are brightened with flowers, candles, Christmas cards and other small gifts.  I always like to walk and take a look around Salford’s cemeteries at this time of year, you get a real sense of a community that remembers.

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Agecroft Cemetery

There are many memorial benches at Agecroft Cemetery but this particular one caught my eye because of the sentiment on the plaque, the family are keeping memories alive and tell us ‘You are not forgotten’ because they reminisce ‘And speak of you often.’

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WE MENTION YOUR NAME AND SPEAK OF YOU OFTEN GOD BLESS YOU MAM YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.  KELLY & RONNIE WILLIAMS TOGETHER AGAIN APRIL 2013 “THE WARHORSE”

Kelly and Ronnie Williams are reunited on this bench.  I was intrigued by the words, ‘The Warhorse.’  Presumably this is a nickname and suggests someone with a strong character, someone with a long experience of battling through life, working hard to the end and succeeding.

 

Ashdown Forest:Luke Power & Tom Dawes July / Nov 1994 -14/09/2014

On a sandy ridge in the High Weald of East Sussex is a beautiful woodland.  A Norman deer hunting forest, today Ashdown Forest is visited by walkers and those seeking the places that inspired AA Milne and the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.  Ashdown Forest is a stunning combination of woodland primarily made up of sweet chestnut, hazel, alder, silver birch, oak and Scots pine and open heathland with heather and low-growing shrubs.

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Looking over Ashdown Forest

It was a sunny early spring day when we climbed out of our campervan to explore this natural area.  Finding this memorial bench to Luke Power, 20, from Turners Hill, and Tom Dawes, 19, from Forest Row, I wanted to know more about these two young men.  Luke Power and Thomas Dawes were both motorcyclists who very sadly died following a collision with a Range Rover at Chuck’s Hatch on the B2026 at its junction with Wren’s Warren on Sunday 14 September 2014.

Linda Dawes, the mother of Tom Dawes movingly said, ‘Life goes on but Thomas will never be forgotten. He will always be loved and in our hearts and thoughts forever.  He was born to be wild.’

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Luke Power Tom Dawes July/Nov 1994 – 14/09/2014 In Loving Memory of Our Boys.  Truly Loved & Dearly Missed.  Forever In OUr Hearts & Thoughts.  Never Forgotten By All Their Family and Devoted FReidns XxXxXxX

The death of Luke Power and Tom Dawes at such a young age clearly devastated their family and also touched their friends.  The memorial bench I stumbled upon was erected following a collection at a memorial football match between a team of Sackville School teachers, led by Luke’s brother, and a team from the Forest Row Football Club.  The match raised the money to erect the bench near the spot where the two young men died.

Local bikers and friends arranged a memorial ride on a glorious September day.  One friend posted photographs on Facebook and paid tribute to the two bikers, writing, ‘If Tom Dawes and Luke Power could have been in there today they would’ve been in their element! Such a lovely day and an amazing turnout. Rest In Peace Boys.’  The photographs show a banner, ‘We ride together, We die together, Burn rubber not your soul, Our ‘Lukey’ Our ‘Tom’ see you in your garage.’  The number of people at the event show how loved and missed the two are.

Lochranza: Eddie Warren 1919 – 1994

We were bowled over by the Scottish island of Arran and one of our favourite places on the island was Lochranza, a peaceful village on the north coast of the island.  The village has a great campsite, a ruined castle, a ferry terminal, red deer that wander over the golf course and even its own whisky distillery.  We stayed here a few days and while we were there took the bus to Sannox and walked back along the craggy coast, climbing over the boulders that tumble down to the sea and following the lovely grassy paths with views to the mainland and Bute.  This isn’t a walk to be hurried and we savoured every moment.

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Looking over the water at Lochranza to the village and the ferry terminal

Coming around the coast in to the shelter of the loch, the village of Lochranza came in to sight.  Along this stretch of coastline I was amazed by the cluster of memorial benches there were to sit on and rest while enjoying the panoramic views.  The number of benches without doubt demonstrate how popular this area is with many people.

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IN MEMORY OF EDDIE WARREN (THE SINGING PAINTER) 1919 – 1994 WHO ENJOYED HAPPY TIMES IN LOCHRANZA

The plaque on this shiny green bench to Eddie Warren tells a short story about the man it remembers.  I don’t know if Eddie Warren painted on canvas or walls and doors but I feel sure that he was happy in whichever was his chosen trade as he sang as he painted.  The plaque also tells visitors that Eddie Warren had some happy times at Lochranza and I can certainly relate to that.

Kildonan: Margaret and James Potts

The village of Kildonan lies on the south coast of the island of Arran in Scotland.  Kildonan has a long and beautiful beach and on a clear day if you look out to sea you will spot the island of Pladda (from the Norse for flat isle) and the more prominent Ailsa Crag.  The houses of the village are strung out along the coast, as is often the way in Scotland.

It was a murky day when we arrived in Kildonan.  Undaunted we took a stroll around the village and found this handsome memorial bench not far from where the coastguard lookout once was.  The coastguard station closed in 1981 but the old coastguard house still stands.  On a clear day the bench has spectacular views.  We stayed at the campsite and the following morning we were blessed with blue skies and sunshine and could enjoy that view with our breakfast.

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There is a view over the bay at Kildonan in better weather

In the Arran Banner I found out a little bit more about James Potts from his grandchildren.  The paper’s Where’s Archie feature had a photograph of the black Labrador, Archie, next to this bench and it was quickly recognised.  One grandchild told the paper, ‘James (wee Jimmy as he was known) was the senior coastguard at Kildonan until he retired to Whiting Bay in 1975.  The Hagan and Kinloch grandchildren had the bench made at Kiscadale Forge in 1994 and it was designed by their grandson David Hagan.’  Another responded, ‘I was sat on it [this memorial bench] when we were up for a long weekend last week.  It’s dedicated to my grandparents Meg and Jimmy Potts who lived up the road at the Coastguard Station for 20 years.’

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IN MEMORY OF MARGARET & JAMES POTTS I.S.M. COASTGUARD KILDONAN 1955 – 1975 THIS SEAT WAS DEDICATED TO THEM BY THEIR GRANDCHILDREN 1994

Kiscadale Forge, that created this unusual and lovely bench, is based on Arran.  The design includes the letters J and M for Margaret and James and gives the bench a moving and personal touch.

Roche Colombe, Saou, Drôme department, France

Roche Colombe is a stunning looking hill in the Drôme department in south-eastern France.  The Drôme flows from the Alps through a beautiful valley until it reaches the mighty Rhône.  North of Provence, the Drôme department is just as beautiful but quieter and with plenty of campsites.  Walk or cycle around this area and you will stumble upon tidy rows of vines, colourful fields of lavender and quaint medieval villages.  You can hop along the river staying at a different campsite every night and we certainly tried out many of them as we slowly explored this fantastic area that has so much to offer.

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The view from Roche Colombe near Saou in France

From the attractive village of Saou we set off up the 886-metre high Roche Colombe on a way-marked route.  Roche Colombe is one of the hills in the dramatic Synclinal de Saou where the limestone layers have shifted to a 45⁰ angle.  The rocky slopes of the mountain end with a sheer high cliff.  Sections of the path require a bit of a scramble but the hike up Roche Colombe is breathtaking and worthwhile.  At the summit I sat on this bench and took in the spectacular views along the length of the Drôme Valley.

France does not have the same tradition of erecting memorial benches that we have in the UK and I don’t feature many from other countries.  I decided to photograph this bench on Roche Colombe as it was certainly very much appreciated after all that climbing and, most importantly, it had a plaque.

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LE 12 JUIN 1993 Reparation du banc par les amis de AOUSTE / SYE

The plaque says that on 12 June 1993, the bench was repaired by the friends of Aouste sur Sye, a nearby village below Roche Colombe.  Thank you!

You can find details of a walk up Roche Colombe here and other walks in the area here.