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Norfolk Coast Path has had a growth spurt!

December 18, 2014
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The more Norfolk coast path the better.

Originally posted on Explore Norfolk Trails:

The Norfolk Coast Path has grown by 25 miles, as of 12th December 2014, which marked the official opening of Norfolk’s first stretch of the England Coast Path.

This new section of path goes from Weybourne to Sea Palling along the north-east coast of Norfolk.

Originally starting at Hunstanton and ending in Cromer, the Norfolk Coast Path forms the 93 mile  National Trail that incorporates Peddars Way.

Now, the Norfolk Coast Path alone runs for a whopping 63 miles from Hunstanton to Sea Palling

Norfolk Coast Path England Coast Path officially opened

Norfolk Coast Path- Stretch 1 England Coast Path officially opened by north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb cutting the ribbon

At Trimmingham: Sponsored Walk by the Coastguard team (Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley and Happisburgh)

At Trimingham: Sponsored Walk by the Coastguard team (Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley and Happisburgh)

On the launch day the Coastguard teams from Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley and Happisburgh, who respond to emergency calls along the coast, took part in a sponsored walk where they raised over £1000 for…

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George Borrow Essay Competition

December 16, 2014
George Borrow Trust Essay Competition

The George Borrow Trust holds an essay competition every other year on the work of George Borrow (1803-1881). The next competition will be held in 2014-2015, and the deadline for submission will be 1 March 2015. The competition is international and is open to members and non-members of the George Borrow Society. Officers of the George Borrow Trust and their families are excluded, as are the families of the appointed judges.


This was the first year of our competition and we are pleased to report that we had three entrants, each of whose essays the judges found very interesting in widely different aspects of Borrow.

The winner was Dr Colm Kerrigan, for an essay on ‘George Borrow’s Journey Through Cork in 1815‘. The prize essay is being published by The Lavengro Press as its first Occasional Paper, available from 12 April 2014. Enquiries should be sent to

The runners-up were as follows:

  • Professor Roger Ebbatson, for an essay on ‘Writing the South Country: Borrow to the Great War‘.
  • Mr Paul Julings, for an essay on ‘So you think you know Iberia? Peninsular architectural & topographical writing of George Borrow and Hilaire Belloc‘.

Both were equally accorded Distinguished Mention.


Competition essays should be sent to the Chairman of the Trust, Dr Ann Soutter, St Mary’s Cottage, 61 Thame Road, Warborough, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 7EA, UK, to arrive by 1 March 2015.

The entry form, which is available as a PDF download, should be signed and attached to the first page of the first copy of the essay. No personal details should appear on the essay pages themselves.

The essay, which should be written in English, should relate to Borrow’s work and have a title of the entrant’s choosing. The essay should be at least 5,000 words long. It should be the original work of the named entrant and previously unpublished in print or any other medium. Three typed copies should be supplied on A4 paper printed on one side only, double-spaced (or 1.5), in font size no smaller than 12-point, and presented in a simple binder. The title, which may be abbreviated, should be printed as a footer on each page. Owing to the costs of printing, no e-mailed entries can be accepted.

The competition will be judged by two Borrow scholars, Professor George Hyde and Associate Professor David Chandler. The decision of the judges is final. The George Borrow Trust reserves the right not to award the prize if, in the judges’ opinion, none of the entries attains the required standard. Otherwise the winner will be contacted by mid-June 2015.

The winner will receive a cheque for £500, presented at a George Borrow Society meeting in 2015 and the winning essay will be published under the auspices of the The Lavengro Press. If the winner is unable to attend the meeting, the prize will be sent by secure mail.

The George Borrow Trust is unable to return entries. Acknowledgement of receipt can only be given if the entrant supplies a stamped and addressed envelope.

National parks going strong

December 12, 2014


I do worry that the next government will backtrack on the importance of our National Parks.

Originally posted on CampaignerKate:

Next week, on 16 December, we celebrate 65 years of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.  They are certainly not ready for retirement, there are so many good things happening there.  But it is sad to report that our finest landscapes are still under immense threat.

Less than two weeks ago, the government launched its Roads Investment Strategy which includes several schemes affecting national parks, in particular the Broads, Peak District and South Downs.  As the excellent Campaign for National Parks (CNP) has pointed out, this is contrary to government policy on road building in national parks.

The UK Government Vision and Circular for National Parks and the Broads 2010 states:

There is a strong presumption against any significant road widening or the building of new roads through a Park, unless it can be shown there are compelling reasons for new or enhanced capacity and…

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A winter walk from Morland

December 8, 2014

Morland is an attractive village to the east of the Lake District, its walks seldom done except by locals in the know. It has a good example of a Saxon church.

The cottage in Glenton Vale (c) John Bainbridge 2014

The cottage in Glenton Vale (c) John Bainbridge 2014

So that gives you an opportunity to get away from the crowds to explore some countryside that has remained little changed for generations.

Starting by the Crown Inn in Morland, hard by the pretty gushing Morland Beck, which we followed into the Glenton Vale, a valley that seems untouched by modern times. There is a very pretty cottage with no road access at all, the kind of home that looks as though it has stepped out of a story by AE Coppard or HE Bates. It must have a story, though I don’t know what it is.

Climbing up out of the vale we swung north eastwards past Winter House farm, before descending down to Crossrigg Hall.

We were now rambling along the tracks of a Victorian estate, for the house was built only in the 1850s to a design by Anthony Salvin.

Crossrig Hall (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Crossrig Hall (c) John Bainbridge 2014

As you descend to the River Lyvennet which circles its grounds it stands amidst its trees, on this dull winter’s day, like a painting by Atkinson Grimshaw, or like something out of a ghost story by MR James.

Many Victorian landowners closed their public footpaths and bridleways. The owners of Crossrigg did not, several paths traversing the estate and all in fine condition.

Our bridleway forded the swift-flowing river, but fortunately the owners don’t mind people using a delightful bridge nearby.

Bridge over the Lyvennet (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Bridge over the Lyvennet (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Bridleway at Crossrigg. Note the Victorian postbox. (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Bridleway at Crossrigg. Note the Victorian postbox. (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Immediately after the bridge we turned right by the river and followed its course for a couple of hundred yards to a footbridge, which we crossed.

This led to a footpath through some of the estate’s shooting coverts (Hagg Wood), where we saw an occasional pheasant, and then following footpaths past the Victorian Morland Hall and back to the village of Morland itself.

A modest ramble of but a few miles, but worth it to see the workings of two Victorian estates.Walk from Morland 020

A Christmas Stocking Filler

December 6, 2014

If you are looking for a stocking-filler for anyone please do take a look at our book “A Christmas Malice”, which is now out in paperback.Christmas Malice Kindle Cover

If you prefer eBook versions “A Christmas Malice” is also available on Kindle, Kobo and Nook.

“December 1873. Inspector Abbs is spending Christmas with his sister in a lonely village on the edge of the Norfolk Fens. He is hoping for a quiet week while he thinks over a decision about his future.

However all is not well in Aylmer. Someone has been playing malicious tricks on the inhabitants. With time on his hands and concerned for his sister, Abbs feels compelled to investigate..”

This complete tale is a novella of around 33,000 words. The events take place one month after the conclusion of Inspector Abbs’s first case, A Seaside Mourning.

Just click on the link below for further details

Writing an Historical Thriller

December 2, 2014

This piece by me recently appeared on the Gaslight Crime blog at I hope you find it interesting.

Writing an historical thriller

My new thriller novel Balmoral Kill has a long history.
I began work on it even before I started writing “The Shadow of William Quest”, got to 24000 words and then put it to one side. A novel and a couple of walking books later, I came back to it, changed it to fit a new theme and outcome and wrote the rest in a couple of months.

I like historical thrillers and couldn’t imagine writing one set in the present. I prefer a world where there are no mobile phones or modern forensic techniques. A Britain where people travel more on foot or in trains than in motor cars. Where the righteous still have a moral compass which, sadly, seems to be vanishing from the consciences of people in our present-day UK.
Having recently spent a lot of time writing and mentally inhabiting the Victorian era, it was almost a shock to find my mind examining the 1930s.

By 1937, when Balmoral Kill is set, it was clear to everyone in the UK that war with Hitler was inevitable. I was intrigued how, even at this late date, so many people in the British Establishment, including mainstream national newspapers like the Daily Mail, were still pro-Hitler.

Many British politicians favoured giving Hitler a free hand in Europe, as long as he left the British Empire alone. It was, as history proved, a crazy philosophy. There is no doubt that Hitler would have rolled up Europe and then turned on the UK anyway. Had we not fought Hitler as early as we did in 1939, it is very likely that he would have had an opportunity to refine his rocket programme so that missiles would have reached the eastern seaboard of the United States. It is quite likely that an unimpeded Hitler would have developed an atom bomb.

It was touch and go for a while whether the British Establishment view would win. Voices crying in the wilderness, warning of the danger of Hitler, such as Winston Churchill, were popularly derided.

Britain in 1937 was in a mess. There was massive unemployment and depression. People starving in the working class areas. A sharp division between the right and the left in British politics, with little middle ground for the safety first British to seek shelter.

There had even been upheaval in the royal family. In December 1936, Edward VIII had abdicated and been succeeded by his brother George VI. Edward had been an extrovert playboy, George an introverted man suffering from a speech impediment.
Many people, not yet having had a chance to get to know the new King, were still yearning for the colourful Edward and, quite frankly, wanted him back.

Few Britons at the time knew anything about Edward’s flirtations were fascism or his admiration for Hitler. Even when I was growing up in the 1960s these things were not mentioned.

Fortunately, sanity won and Britain decided to take on the Third Reich..

The characters in Balmoral Kill represent all sides of these arguments. There are the left leaning characters, Sean Miller has fought for the republicans in the Spanish Civil War, and those from the Establishment itself who, despite being in the minority with their anti-Nazism, decided to back Churchill and oppose the rise of the Third Reich.

But I wanted to show characters who took the other point of view. Many members of the Establishment were closet Nazis, anti-Semitic and so on, but there were others who were just desperate to avoid the slaughter they had seen in the trenches of the First World War.
None of the characters are the least autobiographical, though Sean Miller is – like me – a hillwalker and stravaiger. He is a veteran of the 1932 ramblers’ mass trespass on to the Peak District hill of Kinder Scout. Had I been alive at the time I would have been as well. But that’s as close as we get.

The action of Balmoral Kill begins in the East End of London and rapidly moves to Scotland, first the Borders and then the Highlands.
I spent many a day in the past walking the streets of London by day and night. It was good to bring the knowledge I acquired into the novel. I know the Scottish Border country well, having tramped much of Tweedside and the hills and glens around Peebles.
I knew that the thriller had to have a Scottish conclusion.

And I knew it had to involve George VI, who was at Balmoral, at this period of 1937.

So we visited the place, roamed the grounds of Balmoral to get the feel of what it might be like to live in such a house. But I still had trouble finding a location for the ending of the novel.

And last year we explored the area around Loch Muick (you pronounce it without the u). Even as I walked the banks of the loch I could see my characters there. I could see how my long chase across Britain could come to a conclusion there…

So there we are. Balmoral Kill was a long time in the creation and was harder to write than anything I have done before. Reading it myself now that it out I feel curiously distanced from what I have written, almost as though it’s had been written by somebody else.
If you haven’t read it yet do give it a go. Just click on the link.

Balmoral Kill: A Sean Miller Adventure

Balmoral Kill: A Sean Miller Adventure

Buy from Amazon


Balmoral Kill – A New Action Adventure

November 28, 2014

My new thriller BALMORAL KILL is published today, complete with a hero who is a hill-walker, stravaiger and rambler as well as other nefarious things. Please do click on the link and take a look!
Now in paperback and on Kindle.Balmoral-Kindle-Cover-Final
BALMORAL KILL by John Bainbridge
Autumn 1937 – Europe is hastening towards war. As the King retreats to Balmoral, sinister forces aim to overthrow the British establishment, making the country an easy target for Hitler’s Third Reich. As time runs out a few desperate men are the last line of defence against the enemies within. They need someone as deadly as the opposition’s hired killer. They need Sean Miller. As a sniper and ace assassin his credentials are impeccable – but where do his loyalties really lie? In a frantic chase, from the slums and alleys of London to the lonely glens of the Scottish Highlands, Miller must face his own demons as he races to prevent the one shot that will change history… A thriller by the author of “The Shadow of William Quest”.
Please click on the link for more:

Balmoral Kill: A Sean Miller Adventure

Balmoral Kill: A Sean Miller Adventure

Buy from Amazon


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