Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 18 April 2020

Mystery pictures from 2002? - No, 15 July 2003!

Sorting through old photos (with a bedroom now positively littered with old albums), I found an early 'digital' directory named '2000 onwards unfiled'.
The top picture looks as if it was taken in evening light, maybe in the Peak District, at a time when Ian C and Linda C were accompanying us regularly on evening walks. Andrew was also there, and has been a stalwart of such outings right up to the present day (subject to our being allowed out).
The pictures would appear to have been taken with our Olympus digital camera - perhaps just after it was purchased. From memory, that would place them around August 2002 - ish.
In the same small folder were a few pictures taken by Sue at work in her MI department. Maybe that will help her to date the pictures? Maybe at some point I'll come across a 2002 diary that might help? Maybe it was some time completely different? Does it really matter?...
The second picture gave the clue - one of the books is dated 2003. That enabled the top photo to be identified as being near Hayfield on 15 July 2003 - a separate entry will follow.

Friday 17 April 2020

Keeping Dry and Staying Warm (Part 1)

Our friends, Mike and Marian, are parties to this tome, that Mike kindly sent me to review.

Here's the authors' take on it:

"A unique must-read resource for outdoor enthusiasts and professionals alike. Gain a better understanding of what you are buying, selling and/or wearing, and blogging or writing about. Despite what advertising may imply, the garment does not do it all for you. Garment performance depends on user understanding of both the materials and usage skills. We develop your understanding of garment selection for activity and weather and the layering skills which are the key to as much as 50% of your garment’s performance.
This probably unrivalled resource is the first ever independent book on outdoor garments. It gives a vital in-depth insight into all the options available to you, using generic words and accepted scientific terminology to ensure we are the most reliable and consistent information source.

Outdoor Gear Coach are a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC), UK based with a USA editor. Our mission is to improve knowledge and understanding of outdoor gear and clothing, including the skills required to achieve best performance."

Here's what I made of it:

"This is a highly sophisticated and detailed treatise on the outdoor clothing, for a wide range of activities, required to enable the wearer to Keep Dry and Stay Warm. The authors and contributors display an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything from coatings and membranes for a range of fabrics, to the complexities of stitching and sizing, the detailed nuances of socks, and rucksack design.

This book should be essential reading for anyone involved in selling clothing for the outdoors, or involved in outdoors training (mountain leadership, for example) or guiding. Outdoors enthusiasts of all creeds will also benefit from the highly detailed knowledge and guidance offered within the pages of the book. That's 119 pages, plus a very long and comprehensive 30 page introduction that could be regarded as a separate chapter in it's own right.

For those wishing to explore subjects in even more depth, there are numerous links to explanatory information and videos."

The book is available from Amazon, here.

Fascinating stuff! Especially for gear enthusiasts.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Saturday 15 March 2003 - A Big Macc Ramble

Here's another 'blast from the past'. It's a bike ride that I've done many times. I've recorded other visits, with a description of the route, here.
Anyway, on this sunny Saturday, I assembled at Trentabank at 9 am, with a hangover thanks to Egan Brooks' 60th birthday party, with five perfect companions - Don and Liz, Alastair, Simon P, and Sue, making a rare appearance on her mountain bike that for the last few years has lived in our shed.
The 15 mile ride is supposed to take 2½ hours. Today it took 3¾.
Don and Liz had stayed overnight in a cold bunkhouse, and arrived too late to find any source of food last night. They will be better organised tonight and have booked a table in a local pub. Don was still cold this morning, and nearly turned back.
There was a strong, cold, easterly wind. We stopped for a tea break at the left turn towards Macclesfield Forest. Sue and Al shot off. Simon's chain broke, and he proceeded (with a little help from Don) to mend it.
Thus we found Al and Sue sunning themselves outside Macclesfield Forest chapel. Simon, Al and I then bombed on, whilst the others walked down the stony track. (See top picture, I walk down that section these days - Ed)
Here's Sue, back on her bike.
From Bottom-of-the-Oven to the Cat & Fiddle, the road cycling was really hard against the wind - we even stopped for a rest.
So the now well surfaced (it used to be a very boggy path) southerly path from the Cat & Fiddle was a pleasure to cycle along.
By the time we'd reached Cumberland Clough, Simon's chain had broken again - giving Sue and others more sunbathing time at this sunny spot.
We then continued down the rocky track, past Cumberland Cottage, to cross the ford near Clough House, where the remainder of the day's pictures were taken.
(Since 2003, the track has got harder, and the ford - with practice - easier - Ed)
With the wind now pleasantly behind us, we completed the route, the final downhill section being slightly spoilt for the time being by a newly gravelled track (hard to go fast). (Now in 2020, walking and cycling routes have been separated, with some bike only singletrack sections - Ed)

9.30 to 1.15 - 15 miles.

Wednesday 15 April 2020

8 and 9 March 2003 - Rentahostel at Clun Mill

I know it's a bit late to write up this trip; better late than never - here are my and Sue's recollections!
Sue Williams' rentahostel weekends were renowned for the weather. Hence, the above picture was the only one taken on Saturday 8 March. However, I can vividly recall that day, as follows:
After arriving at Clun Mill in rain on Friday night, we set off to Knighton (where the picture may have been taken), in more rain after a good breakfast. Bacon butties went down well. Fifteen of us rendezvoused in a big car park and set off walking at about 10am. This big group comprised:
Me and Sue
Martin B ('Mad')
Andrew J
Phil and Sue
Keith and Matthew (this was Keith's 40th birthday weekend - there was lots of booze)
David A, GS, Mike C and Robin
Anne D
We ambled along through typical Welsh border countryside. It wasn't particularly pleasant, on account of a surfeit of rain and mud. Moreover, some of the footpaths marked on the map were conspicuous by their absence. Welsh border farmers are not renowned for their affinity to walkers.
After Matthew had practiced his breaststroke on the descent to Heyope, we found a stream (not difficult) to wash off the main part of the mud bath from our clothes. So we were relatively clean by the time we reached the pub at Llanfair Waterdine. This is just past the 'Everest Hall' - this village is where Lord Hunt, of Everest fame, had his Baronial fiefdom.
There was nobody else in the pub, where the beer was cheap, £20 for a round for all fifteen of us. The only food available was Ploughman's Lunches - we all had butties, but no offer was made to allow us to eat them inside. Instead, the landlord told us we should have booked ("like parties last week and next week") and he would have got a full menu on..., he had a bit of a problem trying to convey that to our leader, as we didn't seem to have one - lots of people had maps, most of them better than my 1st series 1:50000, so I didn't do much map reading today despite being a contributor to the 'plan'.
Back outside in the pouring rain a few of us tried to eat our butties on the hoof, but the others shot off ahead. The laggards, me, Sue, David and Julie, went up by Black Hall and on to the Offa's Dyke path, where it was no less muddy than elsewhere. I even saw a bird of prey, perhaps a sparrowhawk, flying about a foot above the ground in the wind and rain.
It transpired that the others had taken a longer route, and we saw them behind us on the muddy ascent of Cwm-sanaham Hill. Unable to find a sheltered spot on the ascent, we eventually sought slight respite beside some gorse bushes - more tea and cake. Here the others joined us. They were wet. Mike C, as usual in wet conditions, had been moaning.
With the wind coming strongly from the west, we were now a little more sheltered on the long descent to Knighton. The Offa's Dyke route took us down the west side of Kinsley Wood, past lots of chaffinches in the budless hedges, along the River Teme, and into the town.
I had sped down the hill and found Mad (Martin B) sloshing around the town in his sodden clothes. Lots of curious little shops. Luckily I had remained dry! (New overtrousers helped, and my Trazeta summer boots worked fine.)
So, back to base for a jolly evening with Julie's soup, pate and melon, followed by home-made chicken curry, lamb casserole, and fennel and lentil au gratin - all prepared by Sue and me on Thursday evening, as was the apple crumble that followed, with a fruit salad accompaniment. Beer, a firkin sponsored by Keith, washed everything down very effectively.
Sunday 9 March
Wow, it dawned dry!
After a breakfast of fruit salad and sausages, and some packing up, we left the hostel at around 10.30 under the flapping wings and the mewing of a buzzard. It was still windy, but with sunny spells, it was much better than Saturday.
A gentle climb, on fields, road and track, past ponds, led to Bury Ditches fort, and a traverse around the hill on a narrow path to attain the top of Sunnyhill.
The following pictures were taken en route to the summit.
It was very windy on the summit. Trees had been removed and the ditches were four feet deep. All round views were excellent. Sue W missed them as she'd had to return to Clun due to a 'bad knee'.
A good track led onwards, and the party split, with Phil, Anne, Tara and Mike W returning to Clun, and GI, Carol, Matthew, David, Julie and others continuing to the Hundred Inn at Purslow.
A lovely track led past ancient oaks with low spreading branches, then the lack of public access along a short section of track enforced a lengthy detour, then a road trot to the Inn.
The hedges were just beginning to sprout, and lots of chaffinches flew out as we passed. We met up with Keith and Zoe in the Inn, before continuing. It was chilly, but we found a pleasant spot for a sandwich, next to a stream with mallards, and beside long-tailed tit laden trees that triggered a bit of 'mountaineering'.
It was a nice return route to the hostel - we climbed again, into woods where we reached a TV tower, then we followed tracks and finally the road, to return to Clun. Unfortunately it drizzled for the last half hour or so, washing out the colour we'd had during the morning sunshine.
Around 4.30 pm, after an 11 mile stroll, we set off home, via Shrewsbury, where we visited my Uncle Peter in hospital for the last time.

I recall the cost of this entire weekend (there were 20 odd of us) being about £25 per person, with food being about £10 each - Julie having spent £60 on starters, and Sue and I having spent £145 on the rest.

Tuesday 14 April 2020

A Visitor for Afternoon Tea!

Sue and I were enjoying afternoon tea in the garden, yesterday, with our friendly great tits, robin and wood pigeons twittering and cooing, when everything went very quiet.
We had an unwelcome visitor. Sue spotted her on next door's roof.
Sparrowhawks are fairly rarely seen in our garden (but that doesn't mean they rarely visit). This one was biding its time. I spent a while trying to get a good picture - it was a bit too far away really - and the bird obliged by entering into a staring contest. After about ten minutes I conceded defeat and gave up!
The usual birds were back to normal today, with the robin staying very safe by keeping within a few feet of Sue as she was gardening.

Monday 13 April 2020

TGO Challenge 2019 - Summary and Index

Here's an index to my postings relating to last year's TGO Challenge. The picture above was taken on the morning of Day 2, before we struck camp beside the glassy Loch Etive.
You may prefer to start at Day 1.

TGO Challenge 2019 – A Route


TGO Challenge Food Parcels


TGO Challenge Parcel Service

Parcel Delivery Trip: Mission Accomplished

20 to 22 April 2019 – A Trip to Scotland


Wednesday 8 May 2019 - A Trip to Montrose


Thursday 9 May 2019 - A Train Ride to Oban


Day 1 - Oban to Loch Etive by Glennoe

Day 2 - Loch Etive by Glennoe to Allt Dhoireann

Day 3 - Allt Dhoireann to Bridge of Orchy


Day 4 - Bridge of Orchy to Coire Fhiuran


Day 5 - Coire Fhiuran to Bridge of Gaur


Day 6 - Bridge of Gaur to Tempar Burn More from Sabine

Day 7 - Tempar Burn to SE of Kenmore

Day 8 - SE of Kenmore to Strathtay


Day 9 - Strathtay to Ashintully

Day 10 - Ashintully to Glen Damff

Day 11 - Glen Damff to Clova


Day 12 - Clova to Tarfside

Day 13 - Tarfside to North Water Bridge
Day 14 - North Water Bridge to Kinnaber Sands
Ice Creams and a Foot Massage

Saturday 25 May 2019 - Montrose parkrun number 98

We took 499 photos, which I've culled into a slideshow of 145 images, which may be available here.

Sunday 12 April 2020

Tuesday 28 January 2003 - Eddisons Ramble to the Trough of Bowland

This was a bit of a one-off - here's my diary entry made at the time:
An hour and 45 minutes took me to The Inn at Whitewell by 9.15 am, for bacon butties and tea, before about a dozen of us set off on this (first ever for me) corporate entertainment (or 'corporately corrupt' as my mate Dave would describe it) walk, organised by Eddisons, property and plant valuation agents, for a few of their clients.
The weather wasn't brilliant, varying from sunny, breezy, sleety, rainy, etc, but the four mile stroll from Newton, via Hodder Bank Fell and Burholme was pleasant enough despite some deepish bogs.
I failed to remember the names of everyone present, but it was organised by Ben Lynch, and Alan Howarth, Catherine, Gavin, and Richard were definitely there.
We enjoyed an excellent lunch at The Inn at Whitewell, and made a leisurely departure for home at 3.30, just missing the rush hour.
The four mile walk could have been longer, but this is the sort of corporate entertainment for me!
I took several photos with the crappy Olympus camera, all of which are reproduced here. I particularly like the sunlit field.
I'm sure that some of the participants must still be around, but a cursory search revealed that whilst this unusual form of marketing did no harm at all to Eddisons, which appears to be flourishing on a nationwide basis, I can't seem to track down anyone pictured above.
However, there is a name I recognise amongst Eddisons current impressive list of  'people'. I wonder whether Stephen, who works out of their Stockport office, and who was working for a competitor back in 2003, will remember me, or indeed any of the individuals pictured above?
Curiously, if it was raining today, and I was allowed out for a walk (I've already had my permitted exercise - a bike ride), I would be dressed in exactly the same clothes as I was on this day in 2003. Different shoes though!