View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


This is a test posting using my laptop that runs Linux (Ubuntu) and windoze xp - one at a time. It's wearing it's Linux hat this evening.

I can't find anything like M$ Live Writer that runs under Linux - there's probably something out there, I've just not discovered it yet. I'm typing and posting this directly into Blogger. So it might not work too well.

My OS system of choice is Linux, it's quick to load and run.

It does have disadvantages though. Whilst there is lots of software out there that runs happily under Linux and is broadly comparable and compatible with M$ stuff, specialist programmes like Memory Map for example is written for windoze only. It is possible to run windoze within Linux, but it's a faff I can well do without. And it's beyond the level of my expertise - by a long way 

The main reason for exploring Blogging using Linux is because for some (probably very simple) reason, Firefox (under XP) has just started to cause me a few problems:

1) I can't open my webmail emails (Hotmail) although I can see the inbox contents. I can't access Hotmail folders either (Sent box etc)
2) I can't view the photos on my blog - although I can view photos in other blogs
3) It's most unhappy looking at my Picasa site
4) There are some webpages that 'cannot be found'

I don't have these problems when I used Explorer in the same session. Or using the family PC - also running Firefox under xp.

I wanted to reduce the image to 800 x 600 but my first attempt wasn't too successful although it's certainly smaller than the original 4mb.

Milly on the Limestone Way in 2010

It looks like this is going to be a steep learning curve, but I've started so I'll finish.

If there are any Linux geeks experts out there who may be able to help, I'm a willing listener....but a slow learner. A bear with little brain in fact.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

25th September, Via de la Plata, Day 7

To San Pedro de Rozados

Rising at the ridiculously early hour of stupid o’clock was a struggle but it had to be done.
There was another peregrino up and about, a French lady who had crocked her ankle. She was expecting to move slowly, hence her early start.
The breakfast table was set for the peregrinos, I grabbed a couple of cakes and made a butty and at 6.30am (the one in the morning) went on my way into the dark morning.
image Getting light at 7am
image Half an hour later it was fully light
Today’s camino, now coinciding with the GR100, was generally on wide farm tracks which made for fast progress. At the point where the GR100 and GR181 crossed I’d covered 10km and so stopped for a breakfast cake and glug of the finest Spanish Corporation pop.
imageimageI was able to really motor along, the path surface being so good. The only problem was the repetitive nature of walking on flat surfaces caused me to have painful feet. My Meindl walking shoes we getting a bit old but the Vibram soles were showing very little wear. Despite this the soles of my feet were feeling quite bruised.
The scenery on this section hadn’t been particularly inspiring so I was pleased to be moving so quickly. A result of this was that by 40kph (=1pm in English money) I rolled into San Pedro de Rozados:imageFinding the albergue wasn’t quite so easy so a visit to the local bar was called for. As it happened the albergue was owned and run by the bar. A couple of coffees and a bite to eat later I was unpacking my kit and getting ready for a shower.
image Unfortunately the gas boiler was seriously (and dangerously) iffy so I ended up with a cold water wash down. Not ideal – but I was clean and I’m still alive.
As the day wore on, more peregrinos arrived. some stayed in the albergue, others opted for more luxurious B&B – type accommodation. My trip was on a budget so the albergue it had to be.
image The albergue dorm – with the dodgy boiler in the bathroom
The weather was deteriorating, ie: it was raining horribly. And it was cooling down. It was now more like a wet Sunday afternoon in Ingerland….a bit grim.
The gathered peregrinos arranged to meet up at the bar in the evening to eat together. Eating, if you hadn’t noticed, is important to me. I enjoy eating. If the size of my girth is anything to go by, I enjoy eating a little toooo much.

I won’t bore you with the gory details of the meal. Oh, okay, I will.
Primaro: A very meaty (and delicious) soup with bread.
Secundo: Yummy chicken with red peppers cooked in olive oil, tomatoes and salad.
Los postres (pudding): Ice cream like wot I’ve never had before.
This lot, along with half a bottle of wine cost me 9€. Not bad at all.
The bar owner / landlady or whatever said she would be open at 7am for desayuno. That’s breakfast to you.

Total distance for the day: 26km – that’s because I didn’t get lost and there weren’t (m)any diversions.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

24th September, Via de la Plata, Day 6

To Fuenterroble de Salvatierra

First the good news: By 6am the rain had stopped and the forecast for the day was dry.

Now the bad news: Bed bugs. Although the albergue looked clean enough and I had slept in a silk liner, the little blighters had launched a night-time attack – I was a juicy target. All but Nico suffered the same fate, itching and scratching like blazes for the rest of the trip.

The route out of the town entailed a bit of a climb along a stretch of restored calzada romana (paved roman road) punctuated with quite large milarios with still-visible inscriptions. Crucifixes were a reminder that this Roman route has been adopted by pilgrims.

imageHalf-asleep, sunburned, hungry, itching…with Banos de Montemayor in the background


The emperor Caesar Nerva Traianus Augustus (The emperor Trajan AD 98 - 117), son of Nerva, conqueror of Germany, high priest, with tribunician power, father of his country  (PP) Consul for the third time, restored this.  80 )CXXX).

Just shows that a good education is never wasted. In this instance it was Rick’s education. Thanks Rick!



No escape from graffiti

image image

The next village, 11km ahead, was Puerto de Bejar, which I knew had an albergue that should provide breakfast. Well it would have done if it had been open. More of Aldi’s best washed down with finest corporation pop had to suffice.

imageThe very closed albergue 

I’m a sucker for old signage, particularly signs painted directly onto the sides of buildings…it’s a Timperley thing. Anyway I couldn’t resist this:




imageThree familiar faces appeared – in good spirits too! They’d had a lie-in and hadn’t set off until past 7am…and at this stage they weren’t admitting to being bitten by bed-bugs. Well not just yet.


I trundled onwards leaving Olga, Nico and Miquel, I really wanted to find somewhere for breakfast. It wasn’t to be, even the next sizeable village couldn’t provide food and drink. Well it COULD, but the woman running the cafe bar decided that a bunch of hungry and thirsty peregrinos weren’t worth bothering opening for.

Fortunately the bread-van was doing it’s rounds so an enormous sponge cake was procured for not a lot of euros – this provided sustenance, but a coffee would have been nice.

The village was pleasantly old and tired, the sort of place you could spend a lazy couple of hours just wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere. Shame about the cafe bar.

imageimageimage    imageBuen Camino – have a good trip! Drinking water for peregrinos and the village launderette

Small villages in these more remote areas are a bit short on facilities so laundry tends to be done close to the village’s water source.

imageIf you look carefully you can see Olga, Nico & Miquel ahead. Still another 18km to go but at least the sponge cake provided good sustenance. Shame about not being able to get a coffee though. Did I mention this before?  

This stretch of the camino has lots of bits of Roman remains – including more milarios. I THINK this is / was a milario:


I’d noticed lines of ants, busy doing ant-like stuff. I was careful of these things, the word on the calle was that these little beasties could cause me rather more irritation than the bugs from the previous night.


Caffeine relief came at the little village of Valdelacasa. This place had a few houses, a church (everywhere seems to have a church) and an old school house that had been converted to a cafe bar, presumably for peregrinos – there didn’t seem to be anyone else around.

imageRefreshed and rested it was time to get back on the trail. The terrain was fairly flat and not particularly exciting although odds and sods of pilgrimage stuff appeared from time to time, like this shelter:


Although it was a 30km day, an early start and limited opportunities for rest stops meant that we peregrinos arrived in the village of Fuenterroble de Salvatierra around 2pm. We were all hungry and thirsty so we piled into the first (only?) cafe bar in town. Jugs of beer, bottles of wine and a rather indifferent meal of spaghetti with a tomato sauce followed by something deep-fried with chips did the job. At least we’d been fed and watered.

The very magnificent albergue in the town is legendary. It’s run by the parish priest who is apparently quite a character, sadly we didn’t get to meet him.

imageThe Albergue


Just one of the many dorms, inside (above), and outside (below)


This was quite a remarkable place. It has beds for 70+ peregrinos who get fed and watered for nothing more than a donation.

Easter Monday is when it all happens here, a mega fiesta all centred on the church – as many of these events are. The albergue which is also home to the parish priest (Don Blas Rodriguez Boyero) is used to store some of the stuff of such celebrations:

imageimageAfter washing the smelliest bits of my kit, I managed a lovely hot shower followed by a pleasant kip. Drinking wine and beer at lunchtime is all very well but there are side-effects!

More peregrinos arrived including Michel and Ermelinda. Ermelinda hailed from Hunduras so her knowledge of Spanish was to prove very helpful. The only problem was that she had very little English so translations had to be made via Michel in French and then to English.

We had chatted with Michel and Ermelinda a few times on this trip, but from now on we were in their very pleasant company more and more.

A couple of hours was spent back at the cafe bar – just to study the local evening life you understand. Nothing at all to do with drinking beer and eating tapas that kept appearing every time I ordered a beer.

imageTelevised football seems to have the same effect here as it does in UK. It’s nice to see a ‘pub’ culture though. Strange to think that not many years ago the powers-that-be in Westminster were try to encourage a continental-type cafe culture, whilst the REAL cafe culture is more like our old pub culture.

I blame Sky TV. And greedy pubcos. It’s no wonder we don’t go to pubs in the evening these days. We have zillions of TV channels and cheap beer from supermarkets. It’s not rocket science….and unless our pubcos sit up and see what’s going on around them we’ll have fewer and fewer ‘real’ pubs.

Sky TV is here to stay. The survival of our pubs is in the hands of the pubcos who charge exhorbitant rents and restrict the beers their pubs can sell. Worse, they will only allow their landlords to buy beer from pubco-owned distribution companies….at inflated prices. It’s a cosy arrangement where the greedy pubcos have their tenants by the wotsits. And it hurts everyone. Except the pubcos.

If you need further convincing, take a wander down to your local micro-brewery tap. It will be independent of control of the big boys, will supply excellent and affordable beer. It will also very likely be busy – unlike the Enterprise / Punch whatever pubs up the road. There are exceptions of course, Joe Holts and J.D.Wetherspoons for example: they give customers what they want and are justifiably successful.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Anyway I slept rather well that night…in spite of my itchy bits.

Total distance for the day: 30km

Although the the route had so far been through gently undulating terrain and had the ‘feel’ of a very low level walk, the average altitude was a heady 3500’ ASL. Hardly high, but not what I expected.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Wednesday 24th October, An excuse for a curry

It was Gayle. She is entirely responsible. It was Gayle’s fault. There can be no denying that Gayle made this happen. If it wasn’t for Gayle we would probably all have stayed at home.

Gayle said she fancied a curry at the famous ‘This & That’ in the centre of Manchester. Not only did she fancy one of their very excellent curries, she wanted to join the Timperley Walkers And Tipplers on one of their Curry Walks.

The Curry Walks were started by the long-suffering Rick last year. Rick had been visiting ‘This & That’ for many years but now he’s decided ‘we’ were appropriate custom for the place and so he has shared his secret.

Anyway there hadn’t been a curry walk since June so it was about time for another pilgrimage….so perhaps we can’t hold Gayle ENTIRELY responsible.

Folks started arriving at Martin & Sue’s from 9.30am-ish, tempted by rather good carrot cake a decent coffee. By the time I arrived, Alan was already there, wrapped round a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Unfortunately Sheila wasn’t able to join us….she had to work. Mick arrived soon after we all made a valiant but futile attempt at demolishing the cake.  Admitting defeat, the party left to meet up with expedition leader Rick and his next-door neighbour, Pete.

The route is fairly straightforward – canal towpath into Manchester and then just a little micro-navigation around the back streets of Manchester to our final destination on Soap Street, Shude Hill.

Although I’ve walked this route a number of times I always find it interesting, there’s loads of history and industrial archeology to look at. What is quite striking is the contrast between the architecture dating back to before the Industrial Revolution and the uber-modern buildings of today.  The Bridgewater Canal is affectionately known as the “Dukes Cut” after it’s owner, Francis Egerton the third Duke of Bridgewater. He built the canal to transport coal from his mines at Worsley to the industrial areas of Manchester, it revolutionised transport in this country and marked the beginning of the golden canal era from 1760 to 1830.

See, read this blog and learn. Something.

Within a few minutes our little group was on the canal towpath, and sniffing the air for traces of exotic spices, we walked northwards.

There’s not a huge amount to say about the route so I’ll post some photographs, taken with my still new Lumix G3:



image The Watch House, Stretford



  Waters Meeting, Stretford


 image At SJ82227 96954. Ask Rick, he knows what it is. I can’t remember what he said.

image New and old in Manchester



image  Cormorant in central Manchester



The Beetham Tower – visible from MILES away

image Spot the Youth Hostel







image  Getting close….


This and That has had a lick of paint (on the outside anyway) since my last visit





Pete, Sue & Rick

Martin’s gadget-thing measured our distance, something like 9 miles. It was Sue’s first (and not last) visit to This and That. Rick ALWAYS enjoys his visits here. Pete enjoyed his walk and lunch. I had a nice day. Mick had a long day – not only had he travelled up to Timperley by train and tram, he was also giving a talk at Stockport Walking and Outdoors Group that evening. Roy enjoyed meeting up with us again – we had first met him on the Bollin Valley Way walk a couple of days earlier. Alan doesn’t ever need an excuse for a walk. Or a curry. Or a rather good beer in one of his favourite pubs in Manchester, The Ape and Apple. We had to join him of course, he might have been lonely. And it would have been rude not to.

Oh, and Gayle. She didn’t make it, she had to go to work. Poor Gayle.

She wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Honest.

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