View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Monday, 1 April 2019

Another test 1st April 2019 – not a joke

There’s supposed to be a piccy here…but it won’t upload

Blue plaque on Alf’s old house.

There’s probably a decent toothpaste to deal with it.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Thor's and other caves, Sunday 3rd March 2019

A very, very nice bunch of outdoorsy-types had issued an invitation to join them on a gentle bimble in the Derbyshire Dales. Well, it might have been considered rude not to join them...

Many of the group had camped out the previous night and were suffering, ever so slightly, from the effects of a rather late night - and maybe one too many lime & sodas.




At 10am the group, ably led by Ally,  headed north up Dovedale, visiting some of the more accessible caves in the valley. Some of the less hung-over members of the group managed to squeeze into orifices that really weren't designed to be squeezed into.










Reports may well appear on Trip Adviser...'these caves are too small.....we weren't warned....there were no signs..it was too wet...there wasn't a cafe' etc.

Whatever, this being limestone country, AND it had been raining, the ground was often very slippy. I was the only walker with poles....and probably the only walker with a mud-free backside at the end of the day.


Our merry band swooped on Milldale's purveyor of pies, pasties, sausage rolls and coffee - it did a roaring trade as we attempted to buy up anything that was edible.

Suitably fortified, and many of the group looking decidedly less green, we wandered off westwards, towards our designated lunchtime rehydration stop.




The Royal Oak in Wetton provided warmth, dryness, beer and much sitting-down-ness. This was a Good Thing, giving many of the group the chance to get to know one another a little better.
It was good.

Whilst in the pub the heavens decided to do what heavens often seem to do best. Fortunately we were all well prepared for the wetness. Whilst it was wet it certainly wasn't cold.

Next stop was the declared object of the expedition: Thor's Cave. The entrance to the cave was very wet, very bare polished slippy-slidy limestone. I've explored the caves previously and didn't feel the need to risk life and limb on the ice-rink-like ground. I sat outside, ate my butties and had a hot drink








The group's exit from the cave was hilarious - many bums were bruised and muddied in vain attempts to retain some level of dignity and verticalness. Bum-sliding ended up being the most popular method of getting out. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough with my camera to catch the most spectacular exits!

We returned to Wetton and then headed a bit east of south, following the general course of the rather beautiful Manifold Valley, back to Ilam. The grassy ground was often quite slippy-slidy too, more walkers found themselves skating around on the muddy ground....adding to the muddy-bum numbers.


Some had muddy faces too! 




 Ilam

 A blurry Thorpe Cloud


Back in Ilam, the Izaak Walton Hotel was designated as the final refreshment stop of the walk - not for me though, I needed to get back home.

I managed to wash the mud from my boots and gaiters by sloshing around in the shallows of the river running adjacent to the car-park. After a quick cuppa in the car I headed for home, getting back just after 7pm.

A cracking day out with great, fun company - rather reminiscent of the old Outdoors Magic meets. I loo forward to the next one.

Thanks to Ally for organising, Amanda for getting muddier than most (I have the photos but I simply DAREN'T publish them!) and everyone else for their good company...and all the laughs of course :-)

Where we went (anticlockwise):

Around 22km with (according to Memory Map) 700m of ascent....I'm not too sure about the accuracy of that last figure though.  

More photographs here

Photos taken using either an old and weatherproof Olympus mju400 (when it was raining) and a Lumix TZ70....when it wasn't.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Midgebite Ceilidh Band in action, Saturday 2nd March

It's always great fun to play with Midgebites: the band has fun - therefore the audience has fun....and the whole thing escalates until we reach critical mass..

What's not to like?

This was Saturday's ceilidh in Stretford, a young lady's birthday celebration.

L>R: Bill, Brian, Emma, JW, JJ

I let a young lady member of our audience take a few photos with my Lumix TZ70....she did a far better job than I could have.

 
The band in action (inaction?)



All very great fun - I can't wait for the next one!

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Favourite Photos

Over recent years I've categorised many of my photographs as my 'Favourites'.

Here are some of them, in no particular order.  Quite a lot them actually.





Cameras used have all been digital, including: 

Olympus mju400 (weather proof, poor low-light performance),  

FujiFilm Finepix S1500 (unreliable, eventually scrapped) 

A very forgettable Canon compact (very prone to moisture ingress and dreadful battery life, eventually scrapped)

Two bottom-of-the range Lumix compacts (both good)

A Lumix TZ70 (quite good, but not as good as I was hoping) 

A Lumix G3 (good)

Friday, 22 February 2019

A 12 mile Plodders Walk

The good folk of the East Lancashire LDWA have recently re-started their 'Plodder' walks, shorter walks of around 12 miles.

This particular walk kicked off from outside a pub (obv) in Ringley, to the west of Prestwich / Whitefield.. The pub, The Horseshoe, was a Thwaites house, just in case you were interested....which you probably were.




18 walkers, well it was 20 walkers if you counted the dogs, gathered at the appointed hour and we trundled off at a brisk pace.

It always surprises my how easy it is to follow 'green' routes, even in well populated or industrial areas, and so it was.

We crossed the River Irwell and then walked through Clifton Country Park, heading in a south-easterly direction, through a lovely green corridor, to Clifton Junction and then to Prestwich Forest Park. All really quite nice.

The route passed some interesting features relating to the mining history of the area.





It was good to catch up with East Lancs once again, they're a great bunch. There were a few new faces in attendance, the group doesn't have any problem attracting new members. It's a very friendly and active group. I really should get out with them more often.

The lunch stop was in a park where we had the luxury of park benches to sit on. Nice.






Suitably fed and watered, we were off once again, now on the return leg, heading.through Philips Park and then picking up the Irwell Sculpture Trail which followed the course of a disused railway for some distance.




Then it started to rain. Oh well.

We were soon back on tarmac and within a few minutes the Horseshoe pub hove into view. This suited many, the rain was properly raining now and many dived into the pub for beer and shelter. Not me though, not this time. I needed to get back home.

Thanks to East Lancs for a nice little walk, I'll be back for another one soon.

Where we went (anticlockwise):


 Around 12 miles.
 

Thursday, 21 February 2019

A night with a Madwoman. And a gear test.

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 out.

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.

Ho hum.

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.


Balaclava: 85gms, Down socks: 105gms


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.


 My wind-battered Akto

Leave no trace




 My water source at Jaggers Clough....a bit peaty!
Jaggers Clough

 Descent into Edale

Next morning I headed down by Ringing Roger, back into Edale for my train home.

Good bits:
a) All the kit I took out for testing worked well
b) I had a nice overnighter.

Bad bits:
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!

Fireworks Avoidance, Bonfire Night 2019

…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...

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