View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Monday, 11 June 2018

TGOC2018, Day 10, Bridies

In which we meet Rowan

Firstly, missed from yesterday’s entry:

Cuckoo count: 1 (yes, just one) – VERY poor

Other wildlife: Not much at all really. No wild Challengers - although we met two very civilised Challenge virgins.

So, on with Day 10….

I surfaced around 7am with a mouth like a well-used flip-flop.

My tongue felt like a breeding ground for cactii. Copious quantities of coffee helped disguise the ghastly taste in my mouth. Heaven knows what that was all about – it’s not as if I’d been drinking alcohol.*

Oliver & Jo (you don’t mind me calling you ‘Jo’ do you Joanna?) had been up for a while and were well on with packing. They needed an early start because they were due to hit the East coast on Wednesday….plus they probably didn’t relish another day walking with a couple of strange blokes in kilts. Understandable really.

Off they went, via Kirkmichael, which just happened to be where we were initially aiming for.

P1050455

A man in a kilt – in deep thought. The man, not the kilt.

It was only few miles to Kirkmichael, but what a pleasant little walk it was. We only got lost a little bit – probably because we were just enjoying the pleasing scenery. Or maybe it was because we were gabbing too much and forgot to look at the map.

P1050462

Kirkmichael’s Kirk…closed and up for sale


P1050460

The Village Pump

Whatever, we arrived at Kirkmichael’s Village Shop, purveyors of fine bridies, pots of tea and nice chocolate cake. Oh, and cheap whisky for Mike. So rather unsurprisingly we ate bridies, drank tea, ate chocolate cake (not Mike ‘cos he’s not allowed, so I had his) whilst I explored the contents of the food parcel the shop was holding for me. I was more than a bit relieved to find that I’d packed my maps – at least I’d know where we were going for the next few days.

Anyroadup, if you ever go through Kirkmichael you can do much worse than calling into the shop. The staff are lovely, they sell cheap whisky, chocolate cake…and they’ll hold a food parcel for you. Norralot not to like really.

Heaving our rather heavier packs onto our backs we nearly jumped out of our skins when a campervan, piloted by none other than our Toby, blasted it’s horn, left about 6” of rubber on the road and swerved onto the shop’s forecourt – scattering young children who’d been playing innocent young children-type games – like pulling legs off spiders, teasing dogs and taking the mickey out of kilt-clad Challengers.

P1050464

Toby was ably assisted by co-pilot and chief navigator Vicky (who I suspect is responsible for ensuring everything goes to plan) and flight engineer and lovely smile-generator Rowan.

What a lovely surprise that was! This was the first time I’d met Rowan, a delightful little boy, a trainee Challenger in fact, and I’d not seen Toby & Vicky since the TGOC a couple or three years ago. They’re lovely people and the Challenge is the poorer for their absence.

Bidding our farewells, they headed north whilst we continued in a sort of easterly direction. Mostly.

P1050465

After some interesting navigational decisions we passed by Ashintully Castle’s ‘Keep Out’, ‘Private – we don’t want your sort here’, ‘Go Away’ and ‘Welcome to Scotland’ signs.

It’s nice to feel wanted.

P1050466

We walked through some very pleasant countryside to camp at Coire a ‘Bhaile (NO115627), a nice spot that was almost flat and had a nice stream running close-by.

P1050471

Tea was an experiment: I’d found a nice recipe for Lentil Soup on an American cookery website I subscribe to. The soup was delicious, but being American, the recipe made LOADS. I ate loads of the soup, froze loads and dehydrated the rest. Tea tonight was that soup. The good news was that the experimental meal was successful. It was tasty, nutritious and very easy to dehydrate & rehydrate. The recipe now resides in my little red ‘Backpacking Meals’ recipe book.

It mizzled a bit during the evening so I stayed put in my tent to write up this diary, listen to Mike slurp his Kirkmichael Single Malt blend (Bells) and subsequently drift off into an alcohol-induced snory sleep.

I drank camomile tea.

The day’s sunshine (and there wasn’t THAT much) had charged my solar charger, the charge level had gone up from 3 LEDs to it’s maximum of 5 LEDs – it must be doing SOMETHING right.

Cuckoos Count: 2 (better)

Wildlife: Nothing of any note today. No wild Challengers either – although we did meet the very civilised Jo & Oliver who we’d camped with the previous night.


*I’d eaten a Mars Bar (=loads of sugar) before bed the previous night – maybe that contributed to having a mouth like a lavatory pan.

Friday, 1 June 2018

TGO Challenge 2018, Going over the top. Day 5

In which I lighten my load…

Up at 7am to start packing, I had breakfast in thew hotel - £10 for a full English Welsh Irish Scottish, good value for what I had: all the usual stuff you get with a hotel breakfast, but rather having a fry-up I opted for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. It was probably the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. I’ll be using the MacDonald Hotel campsite again – it’s better than other commercial sites I’ve used in the town.

I joined Conn Hardingacklin for breakfast, he’d planned a similar route to mine – whatever that was!

20180515_082205

The view up the loch from the campsite was quite stunning – the morning light was just right.

Up and away via the Post Office (to send some stuff home) and the Co-op to buy choccy and bread.

P1050326

JJ, Mike and I left town at 10am for the long slog up to Devil’s Staircase.

Lots of kilt comments (mostly complimentary) and loads of requests for photographs….we should start charging! The vast majority of the walkers we saw were on the WHW, some hoping to get to Fort Bill that day whilst others seemed content to stop in Kinlochleven.

image

Miffed that the cafe at the top was shut

It got a gloomy as we climbed, then it got gloomier still as we climbed some more – then waterproofs were needed as the wind drove rain in. It got quite cold too. This was the second and final time that I walked in rain on TGOC2018 – quite a record.

As late as 4pm some WHW walkers were still heading north, it would be quite late before they got to KL.

P1050334

The rebuilding of Kingshouse

Once past Kingshouse the kilt comments virtually dried up. We were now off the WHW and we didn’t come across any other walkers for what remained of the day.

The rain had now stopped but the cold wind remained, at least it dried the outer shell of my Velez quite nicely.

P1050335

image

Black Corries Lodge

I’d intended to camp before Black Corries but it felt right to continue on beyond the lodge. And so we did.

20180515_185403

A mile or so later, at NN322552, we came across a nice flat spot with an abundant supply of water – just what we needed. It was adjacent to a LRT but we really weren’t mithered about that.

Tents up and brew on – just in time for the Archers on BBC R4 LW.

I had an excellent meal of home made and home-dehydrated beef & ale plus Idaho mashed potatoes – these are now my favourite packet mashed potatoes, they’re delicious.

image

Pudding was a good sized (= big!) piece of chocolate, an Eccles Cake and a mug of tea. I was replete.

After a top-to-toe wash down in my tent I slid into my sleeping bag and wrte up the day’s diary….ie what you’re reading here.

image

image

20180515_205100

Looking over the lochan in the fading light was really quite relaxing. The snow-covered tops added to the beauty of the scene. The sky was clearing so I expected a cold night ahead. Because I’d loaned Eden some of my lighter-weight stuff I was carrying my winter sleeping bag – cold was not on my list of worries that night.

Eden was doing his DofE Bronze expedition at the same time as my TGOC, I didn’t want the poor lad to be weighed down with a pile of heavy kit.

Whinge warning:

On the subject of DofE, which I’ve commented on previously (causing some knee-jerk reactions by those who couldn’t be arsed to read my words thoroughly – or just want to argue / disagree with my P.o.V.):

There are some absolutely brilliant and very experienced DofE expedition ‘intructors’ out there (you know who you are) but there are also some who clearly don’t have much idea at all. They probably don’t know who they are.

Expedition instructors can’t be held fully responsible for their teachings, the recommended expedition kit list can be viewed here – I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions….but we’ve all taken pity on overloaded DofE teenagers. I’m surprised that so many return to the outdoors.

Some fellow Backpackers Club members, including me, have offered some local DofE groups help and advice but as far as I know, and certainly in my experience, our offers haven’t been taken up.

End of whinge.

I slept badly, not because of the cold, I was actually VERY warm, it was just a load of crap going through my head that wouldn’t allow me to wind down. A mug of camomile tea, a listen to the BBC World Service and a bit of time spent taking photos helped take my mind of the rubbishy stuff and eventually my mind found neutral and I drifted off.

20180516_040902

The view from my tent at 4.10am

Cuckoo count: 3 (poor)

Other wildlife encountered: Not much at all really, a just few birds lurking around the lochan. Not even any Challengers.



Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Rain in Lleyn…4th Sept 2017

(Not) Backpacking

I’d prepared two dehydrated backpacking meals, different stuff to what I’d normally take so I was looking forward to trying the new stuff out:.

The main meals consisted of:

1) Remains of a Shepherds Pie. All mashed up and mixed prior to dehydrating. It was supplemented with 50gms of Smash.

2) Remains of a chilli con carne + rice. The rice and chilli were dehydrated separately and bagged separately.

3) This wasn’t all dehydrated, but consisted of some smoked Polish sausage, 50gms of Smash, and 1/3rd tin baked beans – dehydrated.

As things worked out the stuff didn’t get used. Read on….


In the beginning:

The Plan was for Lucky the Dog, Mike, Dawn and me to backpack a section of the Lleyn Peninsula coast in glorious sunshine.

Even the best plans fall apart sometimes.

The weather forecast was for a bit of damp followed by a few days of overcast dryness – quite acceptable backpacking conditions.

What ACTUALLY happened was that a huge amount of wind-driven wetness descended on Llanystumdwy….famous for Lloyd George and my dad. And a pub that only opens 3-4 nights of the week. It was quite a nice pub though.

We had two cars and with this in mind Plan B was quickly concocted: instead of backpacking through the wetness we’d go out for linear day walks. Plan B was put into action – it worked quite well. Mostly. Apart from getting lost.

Day 1

It was still raining. So we breakfasted hugely on egg, bacon & tomato butties – washed down with lashings of tea & coffee. After which it was still raining but not quite as much. The Afon Dwyfor at the back of the campsite had risen by about 4ft overnight – the roar of the water thrashing about was impressive.

Dwyfor in spate


That was supposed to be an embedded video but Open Live Writer and YouTube don’t seem to like to talk to one another. Kids, eh?

20170905_103931_thumb2

If the video clip doesn’t work, this photo may illustrate the state of the river.

Some random photographs taken in Llanystumdwy:

P1030847_thumb1

P1030851_thumb1

P1030852_thumb3

Anyroadup, we went to Llanbedrog and dumped a car there in the National Trust car park. Then we went to Abersoch and dumped another car there in the hugely expensive car park. Not having any more cars to dump we thought it would be a bit of a wheeze to walk back to Llanbedrog, and that’s precisely what we did.

The rain had stopped by this time but it was rather grey and only a bit miserable.

We walked east, often a good direction, passing the harbour / marina before dropping down to the beach.

P1030854_thumb1

For Alan R:

P1030855_thumb1P1030856_thumb1

P1030857_thumb

The tide was out and apart from a couple of dog walkers and a defunct jellyfish that resembled an enormous blob of lumpy wallpaper paste, we had the sands to ourselves.

P1030858_thumb1


P1030860_thumb1

Anybody recognise this plant found growing on the edge of sand dunes? The leaves are hugely thick – perhaps to store water?

P1030861_thumb1


P1030862_thumb1

Looking back over Abersoch

As we bimbled along eastwards the clouds lifted and the sun made a welcome appearance – Snowdonia appeared out of the murk:

P1030867_thumb2


On the descent to the beach we came across this interesting sculpture:

P1030869_thumb1

Aberdaron’s ‘Tin Man’ – it looked more like a woman with a babe in arms to me

I gather that the original statue was a wooden ship’s figurehead – but that suffered malicious fire damage many years ago.

The route down to the beach was seriously steep, it took an age to get down – ask my poorly L knee. It wasn’t too happy.

P1030871_thumb1

Llanbedrog’s colourful beach huts

P1030877_thumb1

Llanbedrog Beach

Then it was back to the cars and back to Llanystumdwy (via Pwllhelli’s Asda) for far too much to eat and a comfortably large amount of beer. Bottled Hob Goblin Gold seeing as you asked.

The pub was shut.

Day 2

Even though the weather had improved Plan B was still in operation: one car was left at the Aberdaron NT car park, the other at the Whistling Sands NT car park. We wandered off in a nominally south-ish direction, following the cliff-top path as much as possible. I was surprised to come across a young 80+ year old couple from Knutsford, just down the road from JJ Towers. This couple, clad in finest Paramo, were clearly made of the right stuff – it was a pleasure to stop to chat with them.

P1030878_thumb1

Looking north over Whistling Sands

P1030880_thumb2

Dramatic coastline, similar in character to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and part of the the South West Coast Path.


P1030886_thumb1


On Mynydd Mawr:

P1030887_thumb1

.

20170906_1534061_thumb1

The former Coastguard lookout at Mynydd Mawr.

The sun was shining brightly and warmly, good conditions for backpacking – apart from the lack of water. Running water was scarce, any that we discovered was decidely iffy. Much of the coast was used by cattle.

P1030897_thumb1 

Over the sea to Bardsey in the late afternoon sun.


P1030895_thumb1

20170906_174540_thumb2

I’m still playing with my Lumix TZ70 camera – in reality the colours in the hedgerows were very vivid than is shown here. I must try harder.

Navigation was a little <koff> difficult, the paths on the ground often didn’t coincide with what appeared on the three different maps we were carrying between us. Being as what we were nominally following an official Long Distance Path this was all a bit of a poor show. You couldn’t even rely on the Coastal Path signposts – on more than one occasion we came across signposts that just pointed into either undergrowth or ground that was clearly impassable.

Whatever.

Back to the cars, Asda and the campsite – for lots of lovely grub (c/o Lucky’s Dad) and more beer. The pub was still shut.


Day 3

The day began with more egg & bacon butties. The eggs came from the farm where we were camping – they were a bit tasty.

It was a windy morning, and that was just the weather. We parked up at the NT car park at Plas yn Rhiw and proceeded to wander off, up what we took to be the coastal path. We had it on good authority that we really were on the coastal path, the Coastal Path signposts should have aroused our suspicion.

As it happened we only got a bit misplaced a few times.

Mist and clag descended a few times, severely curtailing our views.

P1030902_thumb2


P1030903_thumb2

Hell’s Mouth

Foolishly(?) following signposts we passed a lovely little hamlet overlooking the sea. We  suspected that we were on the right path – but there was always a nagging doubt.

Even more foolishly I suggested a change in direction of travel. This change entailed a bit of a scramble. Okay, a LOT of a scramble. I’m not very good at scrambling. Oh well.

Eventually, and blindly following Lucky, Dawn & Mike, I got to the top of an Everest of a hill, Mynydd y Graig I think. There were signs of a Hill Fort and a Standing Stone. I didn’t look too hard, I was more concerned in not falling off this mountain of a, er, little hill.

P1030904_thumb1

Lucky & Mike, climbing without oxygen

P1030909_thumb1

The Tenzing moment

Once at the top the walking was much easier, we even had some views when the cloud lifted.

P1030912_thumb2

Another hill beckoned. This was either a Munro or a Marylin or something. Whatever it was 177m ASL and Mike needed it for His List. Penarfynydd was actually a bit non-descript, but what the hell. It would probably be better on a sunny day.

P1030914_thumb1

Time to turn round and return to the car. More misleading signposts successfully misled us. In spite of this we managed to find our way back to the car and a far easier navigate to a nice little car park at the east end of Hell’s Mouth.

Dawn had planned a dip in the sea at Hell’s Mouth but the wind was far too strong and the sea currents looked a bit perilous.

Instead she rolled up her trouser legs and went for a paddle with Mike. Lucky didn’t play with a ball very much. I flew my kite, the one I use to support vertical aerials when I play radio. The wind was so strong that I began to wonder whether the line was going to be strong enough to hold on to the kite. It was, but I’ll be more careful in future.

P1030917_thumb1

Once back at the ranch more lovely grub followed, again c/o Lucky’s Dad. Dawn had an early night, so did LTD, Mike & me, but our early night involved a visit to the pub which was now open. The beer and the welcome were both good.

There were only half a dozen customers in the pub that evening. It’s good that it stays open, even if it’s only for a few evenings in the week. I hope it survives, we’re losing too many pubs.

We had a good few days away, it wasn’t what we’d planned but it worked out well in the end. Thanks to Lucky, Mike & Dawn for a fun time…we must do it again soon. Next time we’ll do it in an area with less confusing paths.


More photographs are here.

Odd looking clouds over South Manchester

We had a tornado on Friday, what are we going to get now? Get Outlook for Android

countercounter