Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Aqueduct

This aqueduct, situated on the Levada dos Piornais at the northern end of the Socorridos Valley, is pictured from the furthest point I reached up this levada today. Though Barry and Dave continued for a short way further, the vertiginous path dictated that I turn at this point.

The aqueduct looks quite substantial. It is. The problem for me is that is has only very flimsy rails and it isn't much more than three feet wide. Over half of that width is taken up by the water channel, leaving a choice of two nine inch parapets for the walker to choose from. I chose the seaward parapet as it was furthest from the unruly barking dogs.

Sue reports that it rained in Funchal today. That must have been whilst the LoTSW contingent were enjoying elevenses in a bar or when, a little later, they were found to be dining in the tunnel that was the subject of the previous posting.

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Lunch on a Levada

Dave and Barry - senior members of this LoTSW trio - enjoy a rare moment in a levada tunnel, where lunch was taken in this sheltered spot on a cliff face. Such is the Levada dos Piomais.

The rare moment relates to the 'light shower' we are experiencing. Dave and I don't usually encounter rain. It must be Barry's fault!

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Friday, 20 November 2009

Friday 20 November 2009 – Last Vestiges of Autumn

The Bridgewater Canal in Timperley on 20 November 2009

It’s all looking a bit bare just now, so whilst it is sunny here, we are off to warmer climes for a while.

I’ll be reporting briefly from there…

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Hello

Hello, we are still here, fighting off a virus.

It’s a computer ailment and has taken up far too much of my time this week.

Darren is helping, but we’ll be taking a break tomorrow, for a week, when the Blackberry thingy will take over, and that hasn’t got a virus.

Meanwhile I’ve just about caught up with some reading, and was entertained by this from Martin Rye:

and this from Wiggers World (hope Tom is feeling better):

I’ve never been up the Eiger, but we frequently beat out the rhythm of the Animals whilst hiking over the Yorkshire Moors in the old days, when Cream, John Mayall and Zoot Money were all regulars at our favourite music venue – Redcar Jazz Club.

Finally, Adventure Travel magazine occasionally comes up with a little nugget, such as this:

It hasn’t rained here in Timperley today, but apparently the Lake District has rather copped it.  Commiserations go to the soggy residents, and to students on a Mountain Leaders Training Course, who are currently out on an ‘expedition’.  No doubt Heather T-S will come through with flying colours!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Sunday 15 November 2009 – The Calf in Cloud

Mike joined Andrew and me on a trip up The Calf back on 20th July.  His new project – climbing the Yorkshire 2000 footers – required him to climb it again.

So Mike, Bruno and I duly assembled outside the Cross Keys Temperance Inn at 9.30 am today.

Sun was forecast.

Mike and Bruno setting off up the valley to Cautley Spout

I’ve tried to over-expose these shots to give the impression of sunshine, which I am assured by Sue bathed Timperley all day.

The horses thought Bruno needed a good lick

As you can see, the horses fancied Bruno, but he wasn’t sure…

Then it started to rain.  I’ve managed to digitally wipe the water from the lens, though Mike may not have been so lucky as his camera had lost the will to ‘view’ (ie its LCD monitor had died, showing a constant image of a blobby cloud).

Lots of water was cascading down the Spout.  A foursome who had set off with us, and gone ahead, were already returning to the valley.

Cautley Spout in spate in rain

The Pie Man needed a snack.  He claimed it was a quiche, but it looked more like a pie to me.  Bruno likes pies.  He ate some.

Northern Pies

Mike lost his compass, but luckily I had one, so we managed to locate The Calf’s 676 metre summit.  This despite the distraction of Mike’s camera suffering heart failure.  After a selection of “b*****d, I thought I’d recharged them” remarks from Mike as he fiddled with a selection of batteries, the camera finally zz’d back into its own version of pathetic death throey noises.

Q:  “Do you think it will last until Christmas?”  A:  “No.”

On the summit of The Calf, 676 metres

Thanks go to a conveniently encountered man with a SRC1 walking pole, for composing the above masterpiece.

Meanwhile, the rain had relented, though in the cool, breezy conditions we were happy to keep waterproofs installed for the rest of our stroll.

Bruno dried out as well, though at the far point of our walk, by Bowerdale Beck, he developed a severe limp.  “Oh s**t” said Mike, “I’m not carrying him back from here.”

Bruno (Superdawg)

Meanwhile, Mike seemed to become aware of his impending strangulation, which turned out to be the errant compass – in its efforts to remind Mike of its existence it was slowly tightening its grip by winding its way around his throat.  It’s usually Bruno who does this – by running in circles with his lead gradually wrapping its way around the unsuspecting traveller.

Large lumps of jelly, with the consistency of wallpaper paste, lay beside the path.  Mike knows about these things – apparently its source is a mystery (the puking birds theory seems a trifle unlikely!), but it does contain organic material.  John Wyndham would have a field day…

Mysterious Organic Jelly (left over from a Dr Who filmset?)

We gave the limping Bruno a five minute break.  He went to sleep.  Then we embarked on the steep ascent of Yarlside, ready to abandon the dog if he couldn’t keep up.  Luckily, he’d forgotten that he had a limp, and he proceeded to haul Mike up the hill, our second Marilyn of the day, (Mike’s an ardent ‘Bagger’).

Bruno drags Mike up Yarlside, with Bowerdale beyond

The summit of Yarlside was free of clag, but in the dull weather the views were unremarkable.  The descent was steep.  “This would be good in snow” we agreed, surveying the smooth, steep hillside.  It was wet and slippery.  We sat down and raced each other to the bottom, enjoying the bum-warming qualities of the friction of overtrousers on wet moss.

Here’s our route – if the weather had been better we’d have included Hazelgill Knott as well – 13 km, 890 metres of ascent, taking just over 5 hours.

Our route - 13 km, 890 metres, 5 hours

We spent a pleasant hour in Cross Keys Temperance Inn – surprisingly hospitable despite the lack of beer, with coffees, a tasty scone for me, and a glass of mysterious red liquid that seemed to bring Mike back to life.

Then we interrupted a photo shoot and went home.

The full slide show, principally for Mike’s benefit, is here.  And his report on our day out is here.