Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 23 October 2009

New Zealand Memories, and Web Site Problems

Sue and I had the pleasure of reliving last year’s New Zealand trip  (still to be indexed) the other day, by way of a slide show to the long term patients and the caring staff of the NHS’s Continuing Care Facility at Dermot Murphy Close.

They all seemed to enjoy it.

Here’s Sue, having climbed through cloud to reach the sunny summit of Conical Hill (1515 metres), just off the Routeburn Track, on 2 February 2008.

Near the summit of Conical Hill - 1515 metres, just off the Routeburn Track

I may even have got around to doing that long overdue indexing, had I not discovered that many of the images created in Fireworks for our website had decided not to show on the web browser.  So the nice little buttons I created seven years ago seem to have worn out.  This left the topwalks.com site (which receives 50-100 visitors a day for one reason or another, although the site is only occasionally updated) looking a real mess:

2201topwalks

So I’ve spent the last day faffing with it as a temporary measure, pending an upgrade of the index pages – all very tedious when the page loading also failed to work properly, leaving us with lots of blank pages.

If you do have occasion to use that site, and find any glitches, please do let us know!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Tuesday 20 October 2009 – Eel Crag by the Shelf Route with the Knipe Boys

 2001coledale

The Knipe boys had been planning this walk for some time.  It was their third attempt within a year, and there had been recorded failures spanning several decades.  They had got so close that they’d even renamed Wainwright’s ‘Shelf’  route and called it the ‘Ledge’ route.  They had previously nearly fallen off it. 

What’s easier to fall off?  A Ledge or a Shelf?  I wonder?

Anyway, John’s friends Ian and Brian had been in subconscious telepathic communication with me, and our three strong Essential Support Group assembled at Braithwaite with the two protagonists, Mike and John, who then eagerly led us up Coledale, as shown above.

They were panicking a bit as the weather lady had predicted the tops to be somewhat like Himalayan peaks in a monsoon.

They rushed across the ford at the head of Coledale, whilst I fell in trying to take this picture.

2002ford

I’ve cropped out most of the blurry, splashy bits and am relieved that the camera seems to have survived its dunking, even if my knee has severe bruising.

Anyway, that slowed me down a bit for the slog up to the Shelf/Ledge via a welcome stop for a hot drink that was needed to wash down Nallo Lady’s CCS.

Soon we were on the Shelf, romping along its grassy flank.  It was here (see below) that John admitted, “We turned around at this point as it seemed too dangerous.”  It’s about 20 metres from there up to the point where the easy (but mildly exposed) Shelf joins the main highway coming from Coledale Hause.

2003crux

John and I waited, admiring the view (below) back down Coledale, with the (Cole?) mine hidden to the left, Blencathra still clear in the distance, and our descent route to the right.  Mike eventually fought his way up to join us, his vast pie consumption having taken its usual toll on his speed of ascent, and Ian – having admitted to suffering from extreme vertigo – was finally allowed to take off his blindfold.  Meanwhile Brian’s phone had been playing jolly tunes, but he also made it to the ridge.

2003zviewback

It was a breeze, then, as opposed to the predicted Himalayan monsoon gale, to reach the summit.

2004summit

Everyone was very happy. 

Especially Mike and John, who seemed to think they should get some sort of Lifetime Achievement Award.

Then we all trudged off to Sail, Outerside and Barrow (a hill), in continuing fine weather apart from a little drizzle on Barrow, and with even the distant Scafell peaks in good, if grey, view.

2005tosail

Back in the Coledale Inn in Braithwaite the Brothers marveled at their success, and at the (previously hidden) route card that I had managed to produce in anticipation of today’s route.

It had indeed been a grand little stroll, and as I pottered off down to Grasmere for dinner at the Red Lion in the excellent company of Brummie Dave, Connecticut Susan and Wainwright bagging Peewiglet, it never did do anything more than drizzle a bit.

Here’s the 13 km route.  It involves just over 1000 metres ascent and took us about 5½ hours, including stops. (Full route card here.)

2006route

In his widely acclaimed illustrated essay: At Last! Eel Crag by The Ledge Route, Mike Knipe provides further insight into the history of today’s attempt and bemoans the fact that his life is ‘now but an empty vessel.....’.

It was a fairly ‘grey’ autumn day, but for anyone interested my full set of 21 images is here.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Dunham Massey in Autumn (1)

Dunham Massey, just ten minutes from home, is our local National Trust property.

It’s particularly convenient to visit at present, and a good place from which to observe the onset of Autumn.

The following snaps were taken on 12 October.

The mansion at Dunham Massey

Acer trifolium, I think

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Saturday 17 October 2009 – E4 Bike Ride again

After collecting a bag from Susan (looking very fresh after her long journey from Glastonbury CT) at Manchester Airport, and waving her off for a week’s travail in the Lake District with Brummie Dave, I took the opportunity to nip out to Marple for an hour’s exercise on ‘E4’.

It’s only a month since I was last here (report), and I was expecting some Autumn colours.  However, down by the River Goyt at Strines, in rather flat light, the season is drifting very slowly from summer to autumn.

1701GoytStrines

After 30 minutes the sun had emerged and I was enjoying tea and a stilton and salad butty at the picnic benches in New Mills.

1702newmillsbike

The Millennium Walkway is always good for a visit. 

1703walkway1

Today, as I tarried for the following photo, two ladies with a large dog preceded me along the walkway.  I found them, stuck, half way along, with their now terrified dog – it must have looked down and been gripped by a severe bout of vertigo.  It needed much coaxing to complete its walk.  Perhaps there should be a sign ‘We recommend you blindfold your nervous dog on the Walkway.’

Meanwhile, I was saddened by this plaque that I had not noticed before.

1704brewsterplaque

The ride continued uneventfully, with the repairs to the Fox Inn’s roof seeming to be progressing smoothly - I was not accosted here, nor was I stoned by trail bikers….