Between The In-betweenness

An Entry. A Pilgrimage. A Memory.

My dog, off the lead, flies through the gap where the gate should be. The barbed wire fencing constricts our journey out of the town, tight to the sodden, withering Wyre banking. The faint scents of the early afternoon prep in the kitchen of the Indian takeaway, catches my nose at first, before arching further round the hairpin like pathway, where the butcher’s pastries and pies, hit with a wallop of local pride.

The pace is slow, I’ve floated this way before. The English Oak, it’s failing arms stretched with a wild welcome, branches slowly unfurling the season with each hungover pilgrimage. Deathly piles, rot at its base, curling in agony, sweating, flaking and longing me to dip under the barbs which hustles me forwards, along this, one of many tributaries from town to country. Eventually, I’m whipped in; I become nothing in this space, an observer, gawping within the gaps of tight growth rings in slow Oaks, shifting and pumping in the cambium channels under vulnerable bark, with the fluid that runs from root to tip.


These melancholic meanders ripen between ivy claimed fence-ways, in the sodium scorched alleyways and in the recoil and recall of yet another fading midnight. In the shivers of a headphone moment, I smile and wrap myself briefly in this town’s steady purr. Both connected and disconnected, but always, the steady drone; like a factory, rumbling away unknown produce for a faraway place, indifferent to its destination.


This is how the town moves and mutates. It shapes itself and meets its hosts through the channels in and out; where almost nobody is looking. Kicking and crunching over a strata of a sycamore’s winter sediments, then past the monolithic stone gas marker post, weeping and part-shattered; with a bullseye of penetrating yellow. A place’s masks, gowns and former guises, fester in the mulch and hummus, as patient as the prolonged disfigurement of long tortured limestone pavements.



This omnipresent mystery is magnificent; I cling to its greedy fibres, rushing like roots through ginnels and courtyards, illuminated in LED; entrances and exits, skimming over chip boxes, parking tickets, tin foil pie casings and all the other excrement of the place, in this, its very windpipe.

Returning through the redundant gateway, dog on the lead, disobedient treads scarring the exit’s muddy apex. The sky is gurgling and I’m jostled with an atmospheric weight, unbound and back to my burrow; as the walk unfurls behind me like a tornado as it detaches from the ground in iridescent wisps of dematerialisation.



Birds & Bikes

The wick gears of spring sound up in song,
Wash smooth and true over weary bones,
Perpetual natter glides and gifts the spirit
Each shift and kick to lift the visit,
To join feathers in the firmament,
Potent and impermanent,
Dead air compressed to transient glory.

Then bare on back under pines time soaks,
Into finest fog that remains for the day.

Afternoon Storm and Benevolent Branches

Distant squeals, a deep crush over green,
Like listing metal under vacant oceans,
A wet wind whips, dry tarmac into life,
Big burly mood now muddies into motion.

Thick air churns like stones in a mixer,
But bitter boiling brood just tickles,
The proud spring hedgerows and wet mossy walls,
That encase sprite bells under deepening canopies,
Of smooth old beech trunks, calm and tall
As I fold and fall fetal into damp forest floor

Great Douk Cave

I have been in a bit of a creative void for a number of years, but recently, rather suddenly, I have emerged from the tundra, throwing myself into the outdoors, into running, writing, reading, into learning and into life, with a passion and conviction I wish to transfer into several creative projects through this blog.

When we challenge ourselves and test our resilience and resolve I feel we gain the richest rewards.

This was a short poem inspired from my first experience caving on a crisp late winter evening

To crawl upon the scars of time,
Where wet cathedrals long to wait,
Midst ancient grinds and fractured lime,
Organs lull mortal minds sedate,
In cascade corridors, not yours or mine,
At alters, prone, no mark of man.

Sinews humbled between hallowed stone,
To breath again at the floor of eternal skies,
Orion laughs, Betelgeuse bellows,
Our effete tongue against the cosmos cries,
This restless edying rock sublime,
Was never yours nor mine.

57 Mile Lancaster Canal Walk for MS in Under 24 Hours

It has taken me 6 months to complete writing this short account of my walk, but hey ho. Life.

Rather impulsively, after spending the summer blasting out 30 mile walks, I planned to complete the 57 miles of the original canal Lancaster canal path from Preston to Kendal, in under 24 hours, to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis society..
I gave myself a target of a few months to raise some money which set the date for mid November. Ideally people tend to do these things in July or spring. But I’m rather silly.
Closer to the time, a family friend volunteered to join me with a couple of lads from his work. The company specialized in health and safety gear and kindly sponsored the walk, creating personalized florescent gear.
After assembling on the bank and a bit of light stretching, we set off just before midnight. Within the hour I was already out of sight of the group, at a pace I intended to keep for the next 17 miles, while I was able. Way I see it, you may as-well get a stomp on while you are able to, balancing out the likely hood of a major crumble in progress towards the end.
The towpath leaving Preston was a major blow to moral. Of the entire canal i think this was in the most need of work. From here to Owd Nells at Bilsborrow, I slogged through deep mud and collapsed banking not far from falling in at times, despite the headtorch.
Its a rather odd experience walking through the night, this being my first time. I’d intended to get a few hours kip before I set off, but with my mind racing with anticipation I found it impossible. This worried me slightly and knew it would come to head later on.
Leaving Catterall, I got the call from my friend at 4am that his hamstring had gone and his team were calling it a day unfortunately.
I arrived in Garstang at just before 5am. 17 miles complete. I passed by my hometown, under the bridge that led to my house and began the 12.5 miles leading to Lancaster. It was during this period the sleep deprivation started to bother me. I attempted a nap on a bench but quickly gave up and carried on. I had no sleeping bag and it was cold. I became frustrated. The tunnel of vision of the headtorch and the monotonous towpath at night was tiresome and I longed for light.
Eventually the light arrived and the world around tentatively crept into view. I had my headphones in at this time and my mood drastically improved. It was an incredible moment seeing the much longed after dawn into life with my soundtrack of choice.
I was approaching the bay horse area at the time and someway over the 20 mile mark.
Just before 9:30am i arrived at Lancaster. Having done 32 miles before midday was a strange feeling. I had barely stopped between Preston and Lancaster and when I had, it was very briefly. My feet were starting to feel a little like concrete. I had about 40, 50 minute break in Lancaster and a local pal kindly sorted me out with some food and services which was most welcome!
Back to it and onwards past Hest Bank, Bolton le Sands and I stopped for a pint of coke at the Canal Turn in Carnforth. I’d started to stop more regularly now, and checking the feet. I had some ibuprofen gel and then Id talc them to keep them dry. Approaching 40 miles my splits were slowing but I managed to put in 3 miles at almost 4mph which was encouraging. Although this didnt last.
I passed Tewitfield locks at 2:30pm and my cousin met me a little further along to see us to the finish and then 2 other pals.
The last 15 or so miles were excruciating. Legs were seized up and the pace had really slowed down. Just another 5 miles, just another 3 miles. Easy distance to tackle when you are starting out but I was down to almost 2mph at this point and had been awake for over 40 hours. My decision making was massively impaired and I was experiencing mild hallucinations; Industrial machinery in the surrounding fields and multiple dogs ahead instead of the one. Id dread to have thought how Id have coped If I was on my own. Luckily I wasn’t.
Finally arriving to my family and friends at Kendal at around 9:45pm, I was overwhelmed, emotional and utterly detached from their elation. I was on another plain. A chap in the pub said I looked in incredible shape for the distance I’d traveled. Ill take that. I didn’t take many photos on the walk itself, but I have attached pictures taken when previously exploring the route.
Over £1500 was raised for the MS Society and I was proud of my effort. Intrigued by endurance, physical and psychological limits i wasn’t disappointed by this walk and I continue to walk and train for more endurance events with the 2018 Trailwalker and 2019 LDWA 100 mile the majors next in line.

Nicky Nook: Post 3

Nicky Nook – Post 2

Nicky Nook Post: 1

The Brock Valley Mill

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