Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Friday 19 March 2010

A View – 19 March 2009

Good Morning!

There’s nothing likely to be of interest from Timperley today, unless you like cooking or driving up the M6, so here’s a reminder of the view we had on 19 March last year.

A view from the top

Given the numerous distinguishing (or should that read ‘distinguished’) features, there are no prizes for guessing the location.

Thursday 18 March 2010

Tuesday 16 March 2010 – A Great British Ridge Walk – Number 20 – Skiddaw by Ullock Pike and descent by Birkett’s Edge

The Pie Man enjoys an occasional cigar
These ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ ventures seem to be coming thick and fast.  Today it was the Lake District’s turn, starting early, with my journey heading in a rather bizarre direction – to Graham’s house in Marple – before the battle through traffic jams to eventually gain the M6 at Preston.

Phew, at least I wasn’t driving today, and could grab a cup of coffee at Tebay  that I could sip at my ease all the way to Keswick.

Mike and Bruno were ready and waiting at the more than ample-sized lay-by at NY 237 311 near Bassenthwaite, so by 10.30 we were ambling casually up a small hill called Watches. 

Near the start of the walk, ascending to Watches

A sheep was strolling unconcernedly along a wall.  (No trickery here, I promise.)

A strolling sheep

We took our time, willing the cloud to lift off the summit of Skiddaw.

Today’s views were excellent.   Here Mike and Bruno laze on warm rocks during a brew stop with a fine view to Bassenthwaite Lake and beyond.

Man and Beast

A view from the ascent of Ullock Pike

Some competent cyclists sped down the rocky bridleway up which we had risen; we admired their skill on this technically demanding terrain.

The summit of Ullock Pike yielded more fine views – towards Keswick, Derwent Water and the central fells, but better vistas were available from Carl Side, which summit Bill Birkett strangely omits from his route.

Graham admires the view towards Keswick and Derwent Water

A group ahead was struggling on the snow slope that slanted up to the summit ridge, so we took the direct approach, with less by way of snow and steep drops.

Ascending Skiddaw directly from Carlside Tarn

It was easy going, with no ironmongery required.  There were quite a few folk on the ridge, but the summit was deserted by the time we reached the trig point.  It was pretty cool, with a cold stiff breeze keeping us alert.

On the summit of Skiddaw, with Bruno looking as if he's being blown away!

Blencathra, from the summit of Skiddaw

Bruno tugged a bit too hard in his quest for snow fights.  Mike stood his ground.  Bruno’s lead broke.  He cried.  (Mike, that is.)

An easy descent led to this glaciated valley down which Dash Beck, well, ‘dashes’.

The glacial valley down which Dash Beck runs

After which we dashed through some fields, so unobservantly that we missed the path at Hole House and finished up going along a metalled lane rather than by-passing the farm at Barkbeth.

“Never mind” said Graham.
”Never mind” said Mike.
”Ruff” said Bruno.
”It’s so nice to have such forgiving companions” said Martin.

Striding towards Barkbeth with Skiddaw in the distance

We were down soon after 4pm.  Mike sucked deeply on a curious cigar (see above) before heading back with Bruno’s guidance to the Great Wilderness known as ‘County Durham’, whilst Graham and I adjourned for fish ‘n chips in Carnforth, where it went dark.

Mike’s excellent report is here.

A slide show (32 images) is here.

And here’s our route for the day: 14 km, 940 metres ascent, taking 5 hours plus stops.

Our route - 14 km, 940 metres ascent, in 5 hours plus stops

The next ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ will see me venturing into, passport and visa permitting, the wilds of Scotland.  Watch this space!

Monday 15 March 2010

Purple Passages (1)

First, apologies to all those insulted in yesterday’s posting.  No malice was intended, I assure you.

Do you, like me, sometimes wish you could remember to mark those rare purple passages you come across just before nodding off to sleep?

I usually forget to reference them and find that they soon seep out of my limited capacity for retention.

However, I recently came across such a passage in a book, published in 1958, in which Canadian author Farley Mowat updated the journals of Samuel Hearne, who from 1769 to 1772 explored more than a quarter of a million square miles of Canada’s “Barren Lands” with no other company than that of reluctant and often hostile Indians.

Coppermine Journey

Hearne walked almost 5,000 miles through one of the most forbidding territories in the world.  Twice defeated he returned a third time to become the first white man to reach the Coppermine River and the Arctic coast which stretches west from Hudson Bay to Siberia.

The book, Coppermine Journey, appears to be quite rare even in its paperback version, so I have to be careful with the first edition copy lent to me as reading matter for my recent journey home from Canada, but let me know if you live nearby and would like to read it before I send it back.

It is clear that the North American Indians were a violent and unruly set of murderers who massacred Eskimos as a sort of sport.  On one of his failed sorties Hearne writes  “Nothing could exceed the cool deliberation of these villains”, as they proceeded to rob him of all his possessions apart from soap and a single razor that they felt were sufficient for his long journey back to the safety of the Prince of Wales Fort in Hudson’s Bay.

Anyway, for the final and successful expedition he had with him a charismatic Indian named Matonabbee, without whom failure (and probably death) would probably have been inevitable.

And so to the passage that caught my eye, near the start of this long final expedition:

‘Matonabbee attributed our present misfortunes partly to the misconduct of our guides, but mainly to the insistence of the Governor that we should take no women.
”For,” said he, “when all the men are heavily laden, they can neither hunt nor travel any distance.  And in case they should meet with some success in hunting, who is to carry the produce of their labour?  Women were made for labour.  One of them can carry or haul as much as two men.  They also pitch our tents, make and mend our clothes, keep us warm at night- and in fact there is no such thing as travelling any considerable distance without their assistance.  More than this, women can be maintained at trifling expense, for, as they always cook, the very licking of their fingers in scarce times is sufficient for their sustenance.”’

Food for thought as this year’s batch of lemmings finalise their arrangements for slogging across Scotland during May?

Saturday 13 March 2010 – A TGO Challengers’ Spring Reunion

The Snake Pass Inn

“We’re here.  Let’s go for a stroll.”

“It’s called Woodlands Valley.  I wonder why?”

Woodlands Valley

Amongst the crisp pine needles and leaf litter, a wandering hobo appeared.  We fed him some Chocolate Caramel Shortbread.

“I feel better now” he exclaimed.  Then he wandered off, repeating something about “need my Medication…Guinness”.

A wandering Pie Man

Up near Doctor’s Gate, we met a doctor called Martin.  “In need of Medication…must go…Rugby…TV…Calcutta…need to watch” he blurted.

A gaggle of figures passed above us as we returned through the forest.  They were being led down the dangerous A57 road by an elf with a long white beard who was desperately seeking Medication.  “Macallan, Laphroaig, Glen Morangie, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet” he chorused.

Back at the stark white building, some badly pitched Aktos and a Pie Man’s Palace flapped in the breeze whilst the inmates concocted Sue’s expensive stark white dinner, sponsored by Dunlop, featuring sea-life from the 20th century.

Scene of debauchery

There were lots of lovely people there, including an elderly gent with a huge belly.  “It’s the Medication…Black Bull Bitter and Potatoes” he confessed, before resuming the fruitless search for his favourite colour.

A man whose favourite colour is pink

It was great to see everyone, and we also missed those who couldn’t make it.  We look forward to seeing you again soon and hope that all our conundrums will have been discovered and our Medications solved by then.  Especially our own!