Friday, 8 November 2019
Lucky The Dog really doesn’t like fireworks, not one little bit. It didn’t take a huge amount of badgering to get his Dad to take him off on a wild camping trip dahn sarf for a couple of nights, and so it came to be.
Lucky & Dad arrived on Monday 3rd November in order to pre-empt any possible pre-emptive firework-whizz-flash-bang displays around the green and pleasant land of Crookshire.
It didn’t take long for the peaceful trip that Lucky’s Dad (henceforth known as Mike) had planned to be gatecrashed by Judith, Beryl the Peril (aka Margaret) and meself.
Judith, Margaret and I had agreed to rendezvous on the Tuesday. On arrival, Judith was found trying to locate a benchmark on the side of a building. It’s what she does.
We headed off after an hour or so, having demolished our packed lunches, and then walked for miles and miles over hill & dale and through raging rivers to seek out the appointed very very nice and flat camp-spot.
Although it certainly wasn’t anywhere near dark, the light was just beginning to fail and I couldn’t make out Mike’s dark green Akto, it blended very well into the background of cow-poo laden grass.
Fortunately Mike had spotted us and he flashed his torch (well I think it was his torch) which really stood out well in the low light of the winter afternoon. Tents were soon erected and after sharing our tales of daring-do it was almost time for tea….but not before copious amounts of, er, tea.
Then it got rather cool, really very quite chilly-cool. A bit too cold to socialise outside our tents.
Inter-tent communication is always a bit difficult – made even more difficult by the hiss of a gas stove. I spent the evening eating, reading, listening to the BBC R4-type-wireless, dozing, eating some more…oh and drinking tea. Camomile tea seeing as you ask – doesn’t need milk y’see.
I didn’t sleep too well, I was plenty warm enough but just couldn’t get comfortable, in spite of being pitched on flat ground.
The night was clear and the moon shone brightly, even so, loads of stars were visible. I should have taken a photograph or two but it was too damned cold for me to want to escape the warmth of my tent.
Next morning, the grass was white with frost – even as late as 10am.
The morning wasn’t wasted, we spent a good 10 minutes studiously studying maps in a successful attempt at planning a route for TGOC2020. After all this inventive route planning a blur of frenzied activity followed - and an early 11am departure – Denis would be proud.
We retraced our steps, and after hours of battling the sleet, snow, sun, rain, and cold wind we arrived back at our cars.
Judith found her Benchmark, I found an Eccles cake in the boot of my car, Mike & Lucky went off to find a hill, and then we all went home.
A nice little trip, thanks to Mike for arranging and making it happen. We should do it again.
More photographs here.
Oh, and here’s a map of a bit of Wales:
Thursday, 21 February 2019
I packed my rucksack and travelled by train to Edale, alighting in the late afternoon. I scuttled up Grindsbrook Clough in the failing light and once at the top, headed east (East is good) along the edges to a nice little spot by Madwoman's Stones.
It was dark by the time I was putting the tent up, but the sky was clear and the moon was shining brightly - and it was damned cold. I grabbed a couple of litres of water from the trickling stream at Jaggers Clough and got my tea on the go
My Plan, given the lovely clear skies, was to spend a bit of time taking photographs by moonlight. The Plan, like so many plans, failed. By the time I'd eaten and sorted my kit out it had clouded over. And then it started to rain. And then it got very windy. VERY windy.
I was checking some new kit out: a NeoAir X-Therm, a down-filled balaclave (for sleeping in) and down-filled socks.
The socks and balaclava all came from AliExpress for around £15 each.
All this kit worked superbly well, I spent a very warm and cosy night in spite of the horribly cold conditions. I was so warm that I had to unzip my sleeping bag and remove the balaclava during the night.
a) All the kit I took out for testing worked well
b) I had a nice overnighter.
a) I forgot to take a compass (tsk).
b) I've decided that my Caldera Cone meths stove really isn't up to winter camping trips.
c) I missed my intended train home 'cos of phone call...so I had to drink filter coffee in the cafe by the station....so it wasn't ALL bad!
Thursday, 26 July 2018
In which I eat strawberries. Again.
This was all terribly amazing and confusing….but at about 10.30am (after once again being fed royally by the
Crooks of Knipe Knipes of Crook) we set off walking from Brechin’s Co-op in the general direction of The End Of My TGOC2018, aka: Kinnebar Links….via the very wonderful Charleton Fruit Farm. Obv.
Until this year I’d never visited Brechin, I gather there’s a pizzeria in town. And probably a couple of pubs, perhaps more. Whatever, Our Plan was to head east and get to the coast as quickly as possible. The route wasn’t going to be much fun, a few off-road bits but mostly tarmac…but at least it was dry & bright.
Caledonian Railway Station, Brechin
We were soon out of town and heading to the coast in the most direct way possible.
It should be Garden’s ….shouldn’t it?
After much tarmac, a few interesting ancient features and a closed pub we arrived, hungrily, at Charleton Fruit Farm.
It would have been rude not to…..
Chasing after Fast Knipe, who seemed to be on a mission, we arrived at the coast where the traditional wetting of the boots and chucking of the pebble from the west coast ceremony took place.
A ship in the North Sea
Then it was a brisk march along the beach to Montrose where loads of biscuits were snaffled from Challenge Control. And I received a pair of Darn Tough Socks by way of reward for my efforts. The socks were good, very good. In fact I’m going to buy some more.
So that was that, all over and done with until next year. I was good fun (nowt new there), the weather was unusually excellent, the company was good…and the socks were brill.
Next year just MAY see me doing a very lightweight and very fast crossing. Not sure yet.
In the meantime….
The very excellent Ali
The equally very excellent Su…chatting to Tim (who is also pretty damned excellent too!)
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Messrs Rye & Walker had planned this little jaunt and foolishly invited me along….probably knowing I’d bring them beer. Which I did. Obv.
The Plan was to meet up at Hebden near Grassington on Sunday around 2pm. I’d had a particularly tough week and so decided to make my own way to the first camp spot of the trip on Conistone Moor, meeting up with Martin and Andrew at 10pm. My alternative plan was a good ‘un, it meant that my walk avoided the silly high temperatures of the day.
The Planned Route
A few shots from my evening walk from Hebden to Conistone Moor, Sunday’s overnight pitch :
I eventually found Alan and Martin just after 10pm. I wasted no time in getting my tent up (I used my TN LaserComp….just to remind it that I still loved it) and distributing the cans of beer I’d lugged up.
Monday morning dawned very brightly and rather warmly. After a quick breakfast and a few mugs of reviving caffeine we were off, via Great Whernside, to Kettlewell for tea, coffee, bacon butties etc.
It was now getting very hot. I don’t know how Martin & Andy coped with long trousers, I was cookingly hot in my lightweight kilt and T shirt.
Looking back to Kettlewell
After our refreshment stop we headed out, climbing out of the valley. This was tough going in the very strong sun.
We’d had a good day of walking, but the high temperature and very strong sun slowed us down. Water was very scarce. We eventually found an almost dried-out tarn. My Sawyer filter clogged in seconds. Andy’s MSR Guardian filter was a life saver, it filtered what was virtually mud, converting it to clear and potable water.
We needed to find a suitable pitch for the night, ideally with a water source – not easy. Eventually we pitched up at Horse Head Gate, actually on the wide path. There was a trickle of a stream nearby so we were sorted for the night.
The Plan for the next day was to head over to Pen-y-ghent, this was clearly going to be a problem. Limestone country isn’t known for a surplus of surface water – and water was going to be a vital requirement if we were to continue with our route.
Home for the night on Monday:
We chose to re-route and cut our trip short by a day. We’d camped on the Pennine Journey LDP, this offered us an easy way off the top and down to the River Wharfe at Yockenthwaite and then to pick up the Dales Way – much easier walking, plus far more chance of picking up water.
An ex-mole on the Pennine Journey LDP
Descending to Yockenthwaite
The dried-up River Wharfe at Yockenthwaite
At 7.45am it was so hot that we were actively searching out shade. Bits of woodland provided some relief from the blazing sun – but the flying insects were a damned nuisance. Smidge helped.
St Michael and All Angels Church at Hubberholme
At Buckden we sat outside the village shop, ate ice creams and glugged cold drinks.
The Dales Way follows the course of the River Wharfe so it was fairly flat (apart from some hilly bits) and easy walking.
At last, water in the River Wharfe
En-route to Kettlewell and more ice cream
Posing outside Kettlewell’s village shop: purveyors of el-cheapo electrolyte drink. And ice cream. (Poor quality pic due to a mucky lens on my phone)
Next stop: Grassington…and a pub. No beer though, we drank copious amounts of coke, water, shandy – anything that was refreshing, cooling and rehydrating.
Hebden, so near….
We arrived back at Hebden around 4.45pm, we needed more ice cream and cold drinks – the tea room was still open it was doing good business. We made full use of it’s facilities…all of them!
We parted company around 6pm, Andy and Martin headed off darn sarf whilst I enjoyed a very pleasant drive through the Dales and eventually back home to Manchester.
First job when I arrived home was to run a much needed cool bath and have a good long soak, that cooled me down nicely.
I’d considered going to the monthly music session at the Lord Eldon in Knutsford….but I was too knackered! A cold beer at home suffficed.
Thanks to andy & Martin for planning the trip, for cutting it sort and for inviting me along. It was good.
…or Five go Adventuring Again Lucky The Dog really doesn’t like fireworks, not one little bit. It didn’t take a huge amount of badgering t...
Testing 1 – 2 - 3
It was all a bit last minute. I needed to get out for some serious brain-straightening peace and quiet, plus I had some new(ish) kit to test...
Well Dear Readers, spring has officially commenced as we assembled at the Lantern Pike at Little Hayfield. Spring was definitely so...