View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Monday, 29 April 2013

For those in peril on the sea

It’s dead easy to get side-tracked whilst browsing t’interweb – this happened to me yesterday as I was searching out information on the now defunct College of International Marine Radiotelegraphic Communications, in Brooke’s Bar, Manchester. This was the college where I took my morse test around 1980.
When I was around 12 years old, I would listen to ‘Trawler Band’, that part of the radio spectrum above 2mhz – or 150m in English. I would spend far too much time listening to the ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore radio traffic from the comfort of home. I thought I knew what life must have been like on the rough seas.
That was until yesterday when I came across Sailing with Hunters – a Radio Officer’s memories of life in the fishing industry. It’s fascinating and quite horrific. Give it a read, it won’t take long A bit more wandering around the web came up with some seriously scary images of fishing boats at sea. They’re from the Daily Mail, despite that they’re tremendously good.
Google Image from Mirror website
It could just make you think twice the next time you grumble about the price of fish.

A squeeze key, great for sending fast morse – but I think they weren’t officially allowed to be used on board ships. If a surveyor came on board to conduct an inspection these keys had to hidden away!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

17th April, Doing the Daundery

I was sat outside Foxfield Station in slightly damp conditions last Wednesday afternoon, awaiting the arrival of Denis who was enduring the hardships of rail travel in order to take part in this extraordinary annual training event – a bit of a daunder. This year’s Daunder was to be an assault on the some of the fells of the SW Lake District.
The wind was blowing a hooley and it was raining, the omens weren’t good. If it carried on like this we might get wet…and that would never do.
We whisked Denis off to the pub and our training commenced. The very excellent Newfield Inn is just down the road from Turner Hall Campsite (purveyors of fine eggs, amongst other things) in Seathwaite, Dunnerdale.  Those of you who know Denis will understand that he didn’t take too much convincing to start training at this early hour, but it needed to be done. Hydration procedures commenced, as did a great deal of gabbing. And eating. It wasn’t long before the rest of the Daunderers arrived, all looking soggy & windswept – but cheerful and optimistic. No sporks had been lost or broken – although one of Alan’s tent-poles had suffered a terminal injury in the high winds. Fortunately Morpeth was able to come the rescue, lending Alan the splice-pole from his Akto. It was wonderful to catch up with everyone and before long we had gelled back into the familiar group of friends that only manage to meet up once or twice a year.

After a slightly breezy night (ahem), the morning dawned and the bleary-eyed Daunderers assembled themselves into some sort of order. Some had maps – quite possibly the correct map for the area. Phil most definitely had the correct map – a flashy Harvey’s map, he wasn’t about to get lost!
The team set-off from the campsite in bright sunshine but a rest stop was called for after little more than half an hour, sleep hadn’t come easily during the previous night – high winds and heavy rain saw to that, all were rather tired.
P1010816Rest stop No1 
Suitably rested, the team set off and were soon above the, er, snowline. We had to be careful.
P1010817More breaks followed, this was an exhausting walk and rests were important. Eventually a fine lunch spot was found where butties could be scoffed and tea quaffed:
P1010824   Scoff & Quaff spot
Our pace needed to be regulated so more breaks needed to be endured. Gerry, our time-keeper, was a hard taskmaster – if our progress became too enthusiastic it was his responsibility to slow us down. This he did most effectively:
P1010831 See Nowt, Hear Nowt and Say Nowt
A re-route was called for (we were tired…did I mention that?) and someone made the executive decision to go via a pub, The Blacksmith’s Arms….that happened to be shut. Not a good choice.
We stared at the pub door, really hard. We stared through the windows, even harder. Thirsty-type noises were made. We paced around the beer garden. We gazed, glassy-eyed, at one another. We even broke into the Jelly Baby reserves. Nothing worked, the pub door remained firmly shut. We needed A Plan.
P1010835 The Planning Committee trying to plan
The Planning Committee came up with A Plan….Denis, Alan & Phil would keep our places in the queue, whilst the rest of the group would set out to find a suitable camp spot – intending to return later.
This was all very well in theory…..but theory and practice rarely go hand-in-hand, and so it proved to be. The Five Schismers (as we were named) soon split into a further two groups – the search for a suitable camping spot was proving difficult. Andy & Gerry disappeared over a big hill whilst Croydon, Morpeth and I continued to the general area that had been previously ear-marked as a suitable spot to spend the night. Anyroadup, what happened was that we stopped at the appointed camp spot, and very nice it was too. It was too far for us to return to the pub so our on-board supplies had to suffice.
Andy & Gerry pitched Somewhere Else before returning to the pub, then along with Denis, Alan & Phil, camped in a farm field, not too far from the pub. Before they went off to the farm field, soup and beer were consumed in considerable quantity. That’s what they told us – perhaps they were just trying to make us jealous.
We didn’t see the Five Boozers again until the following lunchtime.
P1010839 Our beerless and soupless pitch for the night, overlooking Morecambe Bay
After spending a very comfortable night, Morpeth, Croydon and I set out to follow the route prescribed by Alan …..it was his Daunder, after all. The ground was generally good, if a little splodgy at times. The wet climb up Whitfell afforded great views – good enough for us to call a lunch stop at the first patch of dry ground, conveniently adjacent to a nice stream. Tea was brewed, soups dished up and views were taken in.
Most of the stragglers had also regained the proper route and we didn’t have to wait too long before they caught us up. Our lunch break was extended – the stragglers also dined with us.  
P1010843 Whitfell lunch stop
Denis had been forced to re-route, his back was playing merry-hell. The Planning Committee had formulated an alternative route that would still take him to that evening’s camp spot – but missing out all the lumpy bits.  As we dined on finest tomato soup, butties, jelly-babies and all manner of other goodies, we spotted a small speck in the distance – it was Denis on his alternative route. We waved but he didn’t wave back.
P1010854Daunderers in meerkat mode
Devoke Water beckoned, but as our average speed had increased to an unacceptably high level another break was ordered:
P1010858aEven this break was insufficient, so at Devoke Water a final, and much longer break was enjoyed. Andy even took the opportunity to bathe in the stream – although judge by the cursing I suspect this dunking was involuntary. Sadly I wasn’t quick enough with the camera.
P1010865Andy, 2nd R, pre-dunking
P1010867
Morpeth just chillin’
Once Andy had dried his damp bits the group set off as one. The group wasn’t yet complete – we hadn’t caught up with Denis at this point. The view back over Devoke Water was quite stunning, unfortunately the ground didn’t look too good for camping – lumpy, soggy and damp.
P1010871
The Stanley Ghyll track funnelled us to Birkerthwaite and it was around here the we caught up with Denis. He was chatting to Mr & Mrs Farmer who kindly pointed us in the direction of suitable ground for camping – and the venue for a Cheese & Wine party.
This first sizeable bit of dry ground did the job, within minutes all the tents were up and it was time for a pre-drinkies wash-down. Smelling sweetly, I joined the great unwashed for cheese, wine, and all manner of whiskies and sloe-gin concoctions.  
P1010884Cheese & Wine party in full swing
As the evening wore on, the scene became quite rosy – not sure if that was the evening sunlight, the glow from Sellafield….or the effect of the drink. Whatever, it was agreeable!
P1010889P1010896 Sunset over Sellafield
Clear skies made for a cold night, a 3am excursion from my tent was quite a shock – everything was frozen. By 8am the sun was well above the hilly horizon and the ice had melted away:
P1010901Leaving our overnight stop at just after 9am, we had just a few miles to walk to Base Camp, but this short walk wasn’t without it’s perils – a scary river crossing to rival anything the Challenge could throw at us. But this was a training trip, what could we expect?
P1010912
Lord Elpus, camera at the ready….just in case
Anyway, nobody fell in – not even Andy. Back at the campsite we removed smelly boots and other smelly stuff and drove to the pub to complete our training.
P1010919 Eating real food, drinking real beer, whilst sat on real chairs at a real table….luxury!
It was a cracking little trip with very good mates, mates you can rely on in a sticky situation….like they wouldn’t laugh at you if you fell into a river. Well not too much.

This is sort of where we went:

image  Image nicked from Alan.
It wasn’t very far or very hard, but it was a huge amount of fun. The route was in an area that was new to me, well off the tourist track. I’ll be going back to spend more time there, it was good.
Thanks for letting me share the trip with you all, you’re a grand bunch!
More photos are here.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tuesday 23rd April, St George’s Day in Altrincham

What better way to celebrate St George’s Day than by having a leap around outside Costello’s, the Dunham Brewery Tap, in Altrincham. This little gathering in Goose Green, one of the oldest parts of Altrincham, is now a permanent fixture in the calendars of both Bollin and Thelwall Morris sides.
P1010944Thelwall and Bollin Morris join forces
The continued success of this annual gathering surely can’t have anything to do with the venue….can it?
P1010921
The long-suffering Rick, more usually spotted clad in walking boots (and other stuff too)
P1010927 Showing how it’s done
P1010941 No fingers were broken in the performance of this dance
P1010937 A view that has only recently been revealed with the demolishing of some vacant shops
Unfortunately the view above will again disappear once the new hospital is built.
Anyway, it was good. The dancing and the company were excellent, the Dunham beers were as good as ever. Roll on St George’s Day 2014…..mind you, we’ve got May Day to come yet!
 
Ireland, Scotland and Wales all celebrate their traditions with huge amounts of enthusiasm – the English just seem to be embarrassed by their own heritage.

Some more pitchers here.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Frozen Flounderings kit review

I have a fair amount of kit, but it all gets used – I don’t like to buy stuff willy-nilly, on a whim. If I buy kit it’s for a reason – and it gets used.

 
The low temperatures endured on last weekend’s Frozen Flounderings trip in the borderlands of Scotchlandshire entailed careful choice of kit – and food, so I thought some comments on a few items of my gear were in order.


Hilleberg Akto Not the lightest tent in the world at around 1.6kg, but quite bomb-proof. I’ve had my Akto for around 8 years and I’ve been more than pleased with it. Aktos  do have a condensation problem. Correct pitching will help, proper use of the vents also helps, but it’s still a problem. One mod I’m intending carrying out: sewing a loop onto the outer door at the bottom of the zip – this is to allow another guy to be attached so the door can be guyed open, forming a sort of porch-shelter.
It’s not a cheap tent – current list price is around £425, but you get what you pay for. Interestingly (bloody annoyingly), the US price of a Hilleberg Akto is $465 = £300. This begs the question: why does a European-made tent cost so significantly less in the US than in the UK – especially when the damned thing doesn’t need shipping across the Atlantic?


Mountain Equipment Helium 3.8 self-inflating mat. Bought from Cotswold recently for the special price of £45, reduced from £80. Another heavy bit of kit (750gms) – but supremely warm and comfortable. I couldn’t find any info on this mat on the ME website which leads me to suspect it may now be discontinued. It’s a big mat, 183x51x3.8cm, I’m sure a shorter mat would be quite adequate for my 173cm frame – combined with a stuff-bag pillow, a 160cm length mat would be sufficient for me…and lighter of course. The mat is made of significantly more robust (= heavy) materials than a NeoAir and I would therefore expect it to be much more resistant to puncture damage. Time will tell of course!


A Mountaineering Designs modified Mountain Equipment Dragon II down-filled sleeping bag. An obsolete bag that has seen much action – it’s level of down has been increased making this a warm bag at a good price. Another heavy bit of kit (1.3kg), but quite warm. If you’ve got a down-filled sleeping bag that could do with improving, a call to Mountaineering Designs could be the answer.


Alpkit Gamma headtorch. At £15 these are just brilliant. Sorry about that. 3 x AAA cells power 5 LEDs giving a wide range of illumination options: a 1w white LED for ‘searchlight’ mode, red, green and white 5mm LEDs for general use, and a red LED for use as a ‘rear lamp’, a particularly useful feature for walking on the road at night.  I first used this in anger on the night section of The Woldsman, a 50 mile challenge walk last year, it did a great job. Highly recommended.


Peter Storm down-filled and hooded gillet. On special offer from Millet’s just before Christmas, at £20. Warm, light-ish…and cheap. For that price you can’t go wrong. I’m chuffed to bits with mine. I’m not a fan of getting clobbered-up to go to bed, but I wore this in my sleeping bag last weekend and it made all the difference.


Vango Compact Gas Stove Cheap and cheerful – and quite light. At just over 100gms it’s around 20gms heavier than a Pocket Rocket, but at less than a quarter of the price it’s got to be a good deal. I’ve had mine for around 4 years, it works very well. Nothing more to say.


Fire Steel Say goodbye to worrying about keeping your box of Swan Vesta (Average contents: 85 matches) nice and dry, a Fire-Steel is far more reliable way of lighting your stove. I’ve had my Fire Steel for around 4 years and I wouldn’t be without it. I keep mine in the stove storage box.


Paramo Velez Adventure Light My second piece of Paramo kit – I also have a Paramo Alta II. I find the Velez to be very comfortable and ergonomically just about right. I’ve only ever had one failure with the Velez – on a very wet Sunday in the Lakes last autumn. It was my fault, Paramo stuff is easy to re-proof and I hadn’t cleaned the Velez since May last year – lesson learned!
A couple of features I’d like to see, purely to increase ventilation because I over-heat easily: 1) Under-arm pit-zips (like on the Alta II), 2) A method of holding the chest flap open, perhaps rolled-up, when unzipped – perhaps a couple of press-studs or a couple of elastic loops at the bottom of the chest-flap? I feel a modification coming on.


Pacerpole trekking poles. Mine are the heavier alloy poles, quite robust – and VERY comfortable. No more gripping pole-handles, the “unique contoured handle is designed anatomically to integrate with the hand - for controlling the arm's stride-leverage and transferring power directly and effectively.” Well that’s what it says on the Pacerpole website – and I ain’t going to argue. They’re brilliant to use, but….
In spite of following Pacerpole’s instructions to dismantle, clean and dry the poles after each use – then storing them in a dry place, the twist-lock system has major seizing problems. It’s simply not practical to strip, clean and dry the poles whilst on a multi-day backpacking trip, but for day walks, and when they haven’t seized, I always strip, clean, dry & store them properly…..and the twist-lock mechanism STILL seizes. Interestingly, a single latex glove is supplied with Pacerpoles, the idea being to afford better grip on the pole shaft – for when they seize? That does rather suggest a known problem…
I’ve used other poles (Leki and also el-cheapo Go Outdoors poles @ £5 a pair) that use a twist-lock system that don’t have the same seizing problem, I’ve also used (and own) Black Diamond poles that use a flick-lock system – it would be wonderful if Black Diamond and PacerPole could get together and produce a hybrid pole….I don’t think that’s going to happen though! Pacerpole have offered to take a look at my poles, perhaps I’m doing something wrong. I’ll be calling in to Pacerpole the next time I go to Cumbria – Mr & Mrs Pacerpole seem very keen to try to sort the problem, very refreshing.


Obviously I took far more kit than this, but these were just some of the more significant items. I’ll wait until after my next trip before I write a report on my choice of backpacking foods.

Saturday 13th April, Coronal Mass Ejection


Don’t rely on your SatNav / GPS devices for navigation this weekend – Thursday’s large Solar Flare and subsequent CME could temporarily knock-out any such equipment. The CME backlash usually hits earth a few days after a solar flare….and that’s about now.


When a CME occurs large amounts of solar plasma are ejected from the sun, taking around 3 days to travel from the solar surface to earth. When this stuff eventually hits us the effects on radio communication and radio-related navigation equipment  are, er, interesting!


This CME may well bugger-up my radio activities this weekend. Ho hum.


Now the good news: events such as these can cause very spectacular auroral displays, the closer you get to the polar regions the more visible they become.


The time-lapse video clip above was taken from Wikipedia.


Have a read of this.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Frozen Flounderings in the Borders


It was cold…not my fault though, not this time.


That nice Mr Pieman issued an invitation to a rather select bunch of his buddies to join him on a pre-TGO Challenge wander around the Borders of Scotchlandshire. I’m not on this year’s Challenge, I had double-booked myself. I’d made an appointment with my mate Sean the barber before realising in coincided with the Challenge. Anyroadup, I’m really pleased that this minor detail didn’t exclude me from Mike’s trip. I’ve done the TGO challenge before you know. Experienced is what I am, oh yes. I’m not a leg-end, but I’m experienced. No doubt about it.

Lots of invitations had been sent out – and many accepted. As time went on some had to cancel and by the time Mike booked the campsite only six camping spots had needed to be reserved at the site in LAUDER. No need to shout….I’m not deaf.

Worse was to come, when it came to the crunch only four were able to attend. A shame that so many had dropped out – but stuff happens.

In the interests of security and safety, I travelled up to LAUDER (shhhh…) in the company of Judith (larboard gunner, keeper of the grog, navigator, etc etc) and Alan (rear gunner, engineer, curry and ale expert and appointed courier of Sheila’s rather excellent cakes).

Essential supplies (pies) were taken on board at Langholm…a serious expedition such as this needed a supply of good quality pies to ensure it’s success.

Tents were erected, 6 metres apart (Health & Safety you know), at the LAUDER campsite (no noise after 11pm if you don’t mind). Was six metres enough? There was snoring – or it could just have been nocturnal moans from Kylie.

Friday night was cold (-7degC), I awoke around 2am feeling decidedly cold. I put on my down gillet (Peter Storm, £20 from Millet’s) and that really helped – still bloody cold though. When I woke up in the morning it was snowing INSIDE the tent – condensation had frozen on the inner tent and decided it would be a real wheeze to shower me with ice crystals. What joy.

A decent breakfast was called for  - the cafe at the local leisure centre provided the necessary as we waited for our tents to defrost.
P1010668  My slighty frozen Hilleberg Akto
At 10.30am we were promptly away by around mid-day. 2 hours later, suffering exhaustion, dehydration, hunger etc etc, the Pie Supply was broken into. The sun shone brightly and warmly as we demolished our pies, drank tea (or coffee in Alan’s case) and wondered where the hell we were.

We’d had This Plan see, Plan A we called it. Plan A was replaced by Plan B (or it may have been Plan A rev2) because Alan had wisely checked out the conditions on the ground using t’interweb…and conditions weren’t too sparkling. The only problem we had was that the revised route was kept a closely-guarded secret…only Mike knew where we were going. Something about kippers I think.
P1010675In the absence of a photo of kippers, this picture of logs will have to do. 
Ground conditions varied from tussocky, boggy moorland to deep snow and snowdrifts. This all made for slow progress. Heaven knows how we’d have managed without sustenance from The Pies.
P1010676Mike, leading from the rear
P1010694Determined to keep us in the dark, Mike studies a map of Wales.
Trundling on a slightly more Easterly direction (always a good direction), a couple of interesting-looking cairn-type thingies appeared in the distance. These were the Twin Laws:
imageOne of these structures incorporated a hollow, in which was a biscuit tin containing a log-book and a bag of sweeties. Whilst Mike attacked the sweeties, I just made an entry in the log-book. I need to look after my figure. It needs some severe looking after.
More deep snow followed, much floundering was floundered:
image Flounderinging….not
I’m not sure what time we found a suitable pitch but it was certainly getting cold. In fact we reckon it dropped to –3degC that night, cold enough for me to need to be well wrapped-up in my sleeping bag that night.
Catering on this trip was a little different from my previous backpacking trips. Normally I take my home-dehydrated meals, this time I took ‘off the shelf’ dried foods – stuff from Morrisons, Tesco etc. It didn’t work out too well. It was heavy, bulky….and not particularly tasty. Some of the commercial stuff I took was good: Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup (seductively yummy), sachets of Tuna, Savoury Rice (only okay-ish). Perhaps I’ve been spoilt in the past, but this packet stuff just doesn’t do it for me. It may just need more experimentation or maybe I just chose the wrong stuff, I don’t know. For now I’ll be sticking with my home-grown stuff.
P1010711 View from my tent at the first wild-camp spot.
Our pitch was close to a wind-farm service track. During the evening a few vehicles headed up (or down) the track – presumably having fettled a wind-turbine or two. We didn’t see them again until the following morning.
After breakfast we were away by around 9am, following the well-surfaced track. The area had certainly seen some heavy snow:
P1010723 The sunshine of the previous day had gone, replaced by gloomy murk. By now we had sort-of caught on to the fact that we could just possibly be on Plan C. Or Plan D. We still weren’t sure where we were….so we blindly wandered off into into the distance, trusting in the Pieman:
P1010724
Turns out we were following Kipper Street The Herring Road, an old route that was used in the 18th and 19th centuries when the herring industry was strong.  Not sure if that was just the smell though. It was used by folk bringing salted herring for winter use and also by fishwives carrying huge creels of herring from Dunbar to the markets in Lauder. Oh, and it was used by the Pieman and his daughter, Becky. But that was only a few years ago. They weren’t shifting fish though. And Mike & Becky were going the other way….the same way we were going.

It’s probably a long time since a herring has passed by this way. I was only carrying tuna.
P1010731Mike navigating using the kipper method
P1010733
Alan and Judith not floundering
Today’s route was short, maybe 8 or 9 miles, so there was no need to rush. We met up with a couple of walkers who stopped to chat, and a family out for a Sunday walk, all very jolly.
Passing close by some remote farm buildings I spotted a rather cool way of getting around the snow-covered hills and moorland:
P1010743I want one! 

Our intended pitch for the night was a sheep-fold, previously used by Mike & Becky. And sheep of course. When we rolled up the ground was just too boggy to camp, fortunately there was good ground very close by. By around 3pm our tents were up, water collected, and we all retired to our shelters. It was too cold to stand around chatting outside. (Mostly) observing the 6 metre rule (Health & Safety you know) meant talking between tents was difficult. Funny how the snoring carried though….   
P1010753We were stuck in our tents for a long time, I was glad to have my Roberts 925 radio, it helped pass the hours. This radio is a cracking piece of kit – and at well under £20, a bargain. Although it only has earphone output (a loudspeaker version is available too) it’s brilliant for backpacking. It’s lightweight, has a long battery life (2 x AAA last a long time) – but most importantly, it covers the MW & LW AM as well as the FM broadcast band. In the more remote spots of the UK, FM is all but useless. Medium Wave, and in particular Long Wave, are far better. BBC Radio 4 on Long Wave is audible in most spots in the UK – although some remote, deep glens in Scotland can be a bit of a challenge!

When I eventually ‘turned in’ (I was in my sleeping bag all afternoon anyway!) at around 9pm it was obvious it wasn’t going to be quite as cold as the previous two nights. I awoke in the early hours to hear what I thought was light rain on the flysheet. I was a bit surprised to be met with this view when I unzipped the tent in the morning:
P1010756A breakfast of hot muesli (the only ‘home’ meals I’d brought with me) set me up for the day. We packed, and just after 9.15am we set off for the final leg of the trip to Dunbar, still following The Herring Road.
P1010764The going was still tough. The choice was generally either following snow-filled sunken paths or Land Rover tracks, or rough, tussocky and boggy ground. Fortunately Alan was in the lead and he blazed the trail perfectly. I felt a bit of a cheat, Alan did the hard stuff whilst those behind just followed in his footprints….what a star!

Then there were the wind-farms, loads of the damned things – they just seem to get everywhere. This particular wind-farm had around 80 turbines – all whizzing around, casting strobe-like shadows and making their intrusive ‘whooshing’ noises as the blades cut through the air.
P1010770Bogs and wind-farm tracks followed, the tracks made for good progress whilst the bogs did what bogs do best…..and hindered progress. You might think that all this whinging about the terrain was making for a miserable trip – nothing could be further from the truth. We were having a great time! A walk in poor conditions but in excellent company makes for a good trip – and this was a good trip.

This last day certainly exposed us to the deepest snow, we were regularly disappearing up to our wotsits in the white stuff. Energy sapping it may have been, but we were having fun. Honest. No, really. Well I was even if the others weren’t.

The coast soon came into view:
image Dunbar in the distance
As we lost height, so the snow diminished. The terrain became gentler and we were soon walking through well tended farmland:
P1010785Our audience 
 P1010788 Judith taking the opportunity to check her height
Spott – a bad place to be a witch.
P1010790
The Witches Stone of Spott – site of a witch-burning in 1698
Tarmac all the way into…..
P1010796Whoo-hoo!
Next stop: the chippy for a very excellent (and not very healthy) lunch. Then shopping for essential supplies, including coal for the bothy fire. Becky’s Bothy proved to be the finest and most comfortable bothy I’ve ever stayed in….. it’s even more comfy than Ruigh Aiteachain, flush toilets too!
An excellent curry in downtown Dunbar followed – then we were back to the bothy for a wind-down and bed.
P1010805Ready to leave Becky’s Bothy before heading for home. 
This was a grand trip, just a shame that numbers attending were low. It would have been good to flounder with others. Having said that, our party of four was great – all good company, all competent (except me of course), just right in fact. We covered something like 29 miles – not a great deal normally, but in such snowy conditions it was quite enough.
Perhaps we can persuade Mike to do Plan A sometime – I’d be up for it. Perhaps those who weren’t able to join us this time round could come too.
I’m still not absolutely sure where we went, but this map looks convincing to me.

Thanks to Becky of Becky’s Bothy – a lifesaver! Also to Mike for snoring arranging the trip – and to Alan and Judith for putting up with my awful jokes. I had a great time!
I had a quick furtle around t’web to try to find some info on The Herring Road and discovered this, posted by Mike – before he dropped his camera in the beck. The maps are good, at least I’ve got more of an idea where I’ve just been.

Other versions of this tale can be found here:
Gear and maybe food details will follow in a subsequent post.

Monday, 1 April 2013

29th March, Pope visits Mobberley

Breaking News! The Pope makes Good Friday visit to Mobberley

Good Friday and Mobberley can only mean one thing:
P1010615Around 80 or so cyclists turned out for this year’s event, not bad considering the cold weather….but at least it was very dry.

In the beginning….

P1010609  Meeting at The Bleeding Wolf…which isn’t The Bleeding Wolf anymore
Then on to the first venue…..
P1010611
…..and the next:
P1010612 
P1010614The Great Arrival
P1010613 
P1010617 Interesting sidecar outfit

Pedant’s corner:P1010619

Meaningless statement: ‘Village Pub and Dining’. What’s that supposed to mean then? And where’s the village??
P1010621 Easy way to do the ride….if you’re the passenger
P1010629 
Get some in!
P1010631
Papal support crew
The recently elected Pope set something of a precedent by retiring before popping his clogs. He’s setting a further precedent by canvassing his successor:
P1010640

The route from JJ Towers:

Mobberley 8 aMobberley 8 b

27 miles with around 800’ of up. And down.

Same time, same place next year then.
More piccies here.