Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 16 April 2010

Iconic Views

I'm sure most UK readers will recognise this subject. Eilean Donan Castle. Unfortunately the day is now gloomy, with spots of rain, as I sit in front of this view watching a heron fishing.

Who knows what tomorrow holds; I suspect I may be entering an Orange free zone, so I may not be in touch again for a while.

I'm sure you can sympathise with my predicament - I'm now off to 'The Slig' to join a party of 25 (mostly) Proud Scotsmen.

Hic (in anticipation!)

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The Temptress

I was planning on staying at the nearby camp site on 21 May, but the Friendly Reception, the Power Shower and the Fine Food have proved an overwhelming temptation for me to stay here instead.

The room is booked...

(The view from here is fit for a Queen, but the sun is at the wrong angle for the Blackberry's rudimentary lens. Sorry about that.)

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Glen Shee

On a stunningly beautiful Spring day.

The more astute amongst you may see where this is leading!

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Glen Clova

Another welcome sight for TGO Challengers in May. There's still a bit of snow high up, and even by the road, but nothing to worry about.

Especially if, like today, the sun is beating down, the pheasants and oyster catchers are frisky in the fields, and the locals are accommodating. Good morning coffee at Glen Clova Hotel for a fraction of motorway prices...

(The journey continues...)

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Dunnottar Castle

In a few weeks time, this will be a welcome sight for those who will be ending their trudge across Scotland at this point.

I hope the weather will be as sunny and warm for them as it is today.

Last night, after 13 years' of going on trips with an Aberdeen based walking club, I finally got to visit the city. Thanks go to Martin S, a Proud Scotsman, for putting me up. See you later, Martin.

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Thursday, 15 April 2010

Scotland Again

The Pie Man's team may recognise where I am tonight! It's a glorious evening, with little sign of any snow...

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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A Caledonian Trail, with Markus Petter

Alastair Roberts on Ben Alder, April 2008
During the depths of the long winter that has now burst into Spring, a somnolent Austrian, unable due to work commitments to take his usual place on the TGO Challenge, busied himself by poring over maps of Scotland.  He devised a trek from Cramond, which some may argue is not a suburb of Edinburgh, to Cape Wrath, which is about as far as you can go in that direction.

Markus’s stroll is planned to cover 574 km (359 miles), with about 21,100 metres of ascent, over a period of 23 days.

It is a tough route, but Markus is a tough chap.  He is up for the Challenge.

By popular request I have put details of Markus’s route on a web page here.  He has promised to let me know how he is getting on, so that the ‘Actual’ rows strategically placed below each day’s route description do not remain forever blank.

He last reported in on his journey from Dornbirn to Munich, from where his journey deposits him in Edinburgh this evening.

So he should be making his way from a plush Edinburgh hotel to Cramond during the course of tomorrow morning, to start his very own ‘Caledonian Trail’.

Good Luck, Markus.

[The above image shows the view I expect to have of Markus for a few days after I join him at Aberfeldy on ‘Day 6’.  I must be mad!]

Monday, 12 April 2010

Sue W’s 40th Birthday Party in Helmsley

New growth on a pine tree
It always rains on Sue W’s weekends.

Perhaps now that she’s an old lady, her luck will change.  It certainly did last weekend, when 30 to 40 of her family and friends converged on Helmsley Youth Hostel and other nearby residences to celebrate her coming of an age from whence everything gets a bit harder, slower and stiffer.

Sue (B) and I did different walks on Saturday, and I had the camera – so there are very few ‘group’ photos.  And there were only six of us on our Sunday walk, most people either having gone home or having had to nurse the sunstroke that arose from their failure to wear a sunhat on Saturday.

Nevertheless, a vast array of images is on display here, together with ‘captions of commentary’, for anyone interested.

In brief:

On Saturday everyone walked as far as Rievaulx Abbey, where the massive group splintered into a ‘lollipop walk’ (a loop west of Rievaulx before returning down the Cleveland Way ‘stick’ to Helmsley), and the ‘long hike’ to which five of us gravitated, with others touring the abbey and generally doing their own thing.

Outside Rievaulx Abbey

The ‘long hike’ proceeded up Rye Dale on this fine, not to say hot, day.

Tramping up Rye Dale

It stopped for lunch on a grassy bank, then proceeded airily (flanks), smartly (2nd left), sunstrokingly (2nd right), and very slowly and sweatily (centre) towards a Big Forest.

The 'long hike'

At the edge of the Big Forest, wide banks of Wood Anemone beckoned the unwary.  I stumbled in, only to be trapped by a bed of nettles.

Wood Anemones

We managed to escape the forest, and returned safely to savour the tea and cakes so thoughtfully provided by Sue W at 4 pm.  She also had a very entertaining video that traced her origins, life and times, condensed into a few pictures on a laptop computer.  Very entertaining…

Here’s our route – 20 km, 530 metres ascent, 5 hours plus stops.

Our 20 km, 530 metres ascent, 5 hours plus stops route

After partying long and late, fuelled by a (actually excellent) Youth Hostel meal and a few Black Sheep – we drunk the hostel dry of this – we rose on Sunday to another beautiful day!

Most returned home or bimbled, but six of us walked a short section of the Cleveland Way, along the escarpment from Square Corner, near Osmotherley, to Sutton Bank.

Here we are, near the summit of a local ‘peak’.

Sunday Walkers

I spent my teenage years around here; during which time I developed a life-long love of the Countryside.

On the escarpment

There was a constantly lovely view west, as we strolled along, with various parts of the Pennines visible on the distant but very clear horizon.

Boltby and beyond

Sue managed ok this weekend, though she’s a bit sore today.  It was good that she could enjoy a walk in the country on such a lovely day.

Sue

Here’s our 16 km, 390 metres ascent, 3.5 hour route. 

Sunday's route along the Cleveland Way - 16 km, 390 metres ascent, 3.5 hours plus stops

There are some fine bike rides around here, as well.  The North Yorks Moors is an area we should visit more often.

As previously noted, there’s a slideshow here, with captions that elucidate further…the above report being a bit brief due to this week being seriously busy.

I’m off to do some decorating.  Bye.