View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunday 31st August 2014, For Sale: One Youth Hostel

A trip oop north to spend some time in Northumberland, staying in the wonderful Edmunbyers Youth Hostel. 
This is a traditional hostel (without the chores!) that provides everything a traveller needs: a decent kitchen, dorms plus smaller private rooms, a lovely warden (Sarah), a wonderful situation, space for camping's excellent.
This is simply the type of hostel that many hostellers are bemoaning the loss of - and perhaps why independent hostel movement is growing in popularity.
Okay, many independent hostels are a bit flashier than this, but they're cheap, busy and profitable.
The YHA say this hostel isn't making a profit. The YHA is a charity and doesn't (didn't? ) exist to make a profit.

What a dreadful shame,  the YHA are now selling the place.
I just hope that the new owners keep the place open as a hostel. I rather suspect that it will be turned into a large private house.
Many of these buildings were given to the YHA with one use in mind - as a hostel for those of limited means.
Those donors must be turning in their graves.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

November 2013, some missed out bits

I’m still trying to play catch-up with some draft postings that I’ve been neglecting, so…. 

A wander around Rostherne. And Tatton.

image St Mary’s Church, Rostherne

Inside the church hang the colours of the local Parachute Regiment Association. During WW2 the Paras trained in the area – Ringway Aerodrome (now Manchester Airport) was home to No1 Parachute Training School.

imageThe church’s lych gate, dating to 1640 

image image

More pics for Alan, these from Tatton:




Gardner diesel engines are still highly regarded – in spite of being out of production for many years.


The former parachute training school drop-zone, Shutlingsloe on the horizon


War memorial dedicated to No1 Parachute Training School



Sunset over north Cheshire



Around Altrincham:


Around Dunham:




Other stuff:

image Frank Sidebottom with Fast Blackshaw




Ding Dong Bell


Running on the Gritstone Trail


Shutlingsloe again


Hon. Pres. Park leading the pack



Croker Hill, still on the Gritstone Trail

imageFast Blackshaw in downhill mode 




A lovely couple of days in Llandudno in Wonderland:






Saturday 23rd Aug 2014, Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar




With Rick, en route to Saddleworth Longwood Thump Rushcart, Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar is a jewel! It serves 10 cask beers, including a mild. CAMRA members get a 10% too!

23rd August 2014, Saddleworth Rushcart, Uppermill

A weekend of morris, beer and fun!
Photos to follow

Friday, 22 August 2014

Annabel’s High Energy Flapjack Recipe

Seriously yummy, terribly unhealthy, packed with energy, easy to make….what’s not to like?

This recipe is from Annabel, a fellow LDWA walker and all-round good egg. Not that she’s round of course. Or an egg.

Annabel (who has a Blog) dished out these flapjacks whilst on the CarpetBaggers 50 walk, it’s like rocket fuel.


High Energy Flapjacks

310g Oats

250g Holland & Barrett Breakfast Sprinkle (A very fruity, nutty, seedy mix)

80g Roughly chopped nuts

170g Dark soft sugar

230g Butter

4 tbsp Honey

2 tbsp Sweetened condensed milk

100g Roughly chopped dark chocolate

½ tsp Powdered ginger

Melt butter, honey, sugar & condensed milk.

Mix in dry ingredients.

Press into a baking parchment-lined shallow baking tray

Cover with a layer of baking parchment or foil if you prefer it to be softer rather than crunchy.

Bake for 20mins @ 170degC / Gas 3.

Leave to cool.

Cut into 2” squares and wrap in either foil or baking parchment. I store mine in the fridge….right at the back so I’m not tempted to dive in and grab a piece when I walk past. 

Obviously this recipe isn’t suitable for those with a nut allergy. I recently made a nutless batch for a friend with such an allergy, it tasted fine and had a good consistency. Rather than use the Holland & Barrett Breakfast Sprinkle, used a mix of dried fruit, more oats, seeds etc made up to the same weight. This worked out very well – although I don’t know if the seeds would cause an allergy flare-up.

I didn’t get round to giving it to my allergy friend so I ended up eating it myself.

image A chap can’t have enough flap-jack in store….can he?

Carpet Baggers 50

Another in the series ‘A bit out of order’, the Carpet Baggers 50 is an Anytime Challenge Walk….that means it’s a challenge walk that can be done at anytime. And it’s 50 miles. Obvious really, innit?

The Plan was to complete the route in 16 – 17 hours, with a 6am start there was half a chance of grabbing a pint at the end of the walk. It’s good to have an incentive.

At almost 6am precisely the party, led by Aaron, left Birchen Coppice and headed to Bewdley and the western bank of the River Severn. It was a bit muddy.

P1000859River Severn at Bewdley @ Stupid O’clock  

The River Severn is spanned by some beautiful ironwork, real engineering:


After a muddy 5 miles of Worcestershire Way, the route briefly left the banks of the Severn and went through Seckley Wood. It was in this wood that I thought it prudent to examine the path very closely indeed. It was a sudden decision, very sudden. Only another 45 miles to go. With muddy knees. Oh well.

The paths through Seckley Wood weren’t as clear as the map suggested. Having only recently acquired the SatMap Active 10 GPS I was keen to try it out in anger. The SatMap wasn’t any help –it took 25 minutes to compute my location, by which time we’d succeeded in navigating out of the wood using map and compass.

A more detailed report on the poor performance of the SatMap can be found here.


P1000866 Crossing the Severn Valley Railway, just after Seckley Wood

5 more miles of riverbank to cross the river at Highley and a stretch of very welcome dry tarmac.


The first breakfast / lunch stop was at an ancient stone near Alveley, the ‘Butter Cross’. It’s a stone cross that dates back to the Black Death, it was where food was left when the village was quarantined.

P1000870The Butter Cross 

Miles and bloody miles (about another seven actually) of reasonably dry fieldery and roadery took us to our next breakfast / lunch stop at Claverley.

P1000873 Over the fields to Claverley

The plan was to grab some grub in the pub – perhaps a bag of chips and a pint of tea. Unfortunately the long waiting time for food meant we just grabbed a cuppa.


Tower of All Saints Church, Claverley, and the churchyard cross. And a litter bin.


Ludstone Hall, a couple of miles north of Claverley

Signs of the area’s industrial past became evident as we approached the outskirts of Wolverhampton:


Awbridge Bridge on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal

P1000879Judi leading the way 



Annabel leading from the rear

Aaron continued to drag us along way. Some of it was incredibly muddy whilst other bits were just muddy. Some bits (not many) weren’t muddy at all, these were generally the tarmac bits.

High Energy Flapjacks

Another lunch stop, I can’t remember exactly where, but it was memorable in that we were treated to some High Energy Flapjacks. Annabel had been busy baking. These flapjacks were wonderful. I’ll publish the recipe, probably after this posting. They’re not just delicious, they’re a serious source of high octane energy.

Minds were concentrated as the light faded. It pays to watch where you put your feet – when you’re getting tired AND it’s dark it’s very easy to slip, trip, fall into a man-eating fetid swamp or whatever.

I really wanted to see the red sandstone Kinver Edge in the light, but it wasn’t to be. Kinver Edge is the site of an ancient hill fort. Not so ancient are the Holy Austin Rock Houses, which were inhabited until the 1950s. These rock houses are actually built into the side of the Edge. Night navigation onto the Edge wasn’t easy, unkempt woodland concealed the footpaths and it took ages to find our way onto the Edge.

It was around this point that the SatMap actually started to perform. Admittedly it had been switched on for ages and so had already computed our position. The woodlands paths over Kinver Edge and Arley Wood were very muddy indeed and trying to navigate in the dark whilst attempting to stay upright was proving difficult. With the aid of the SatMap we managed to stay on track through the woods. So y’see, the SatMAp Active 10 CAN perform, it just doesn’t do it consistently.

Entering Shatterford I’d twigged that Judi had been quiet. Not that she’s a chatterbox or anything, she was just very quiet. I put it down to tiredness. I was wrong…..I’m a man thing, it’s what we do. All the time. This fact is constantly pointed out to me, so it MUST be right. Mustn’t it?

Judi was feeling quite unwell and really needed to bale out. At around the 41 mile mark we managed to order a taxi for Judi and she was whisked back to CarpetBaggers Control back in Kidderminster. This was exactly the right thing to do.

The last big woodland of the day, well it was around midnight by this time, was Eymore Wood. The route through the wood generally followed the signposted Worcestershire Way this really helped route-finding in the dark.

The poor weather had brought down some trees in the wood, there was no walking round these obstacles – the only options was to climb over…or scrat around and try to crawl under. Not easy when you’re knackered.


One of Eymore Wood’s fallen trees. 

At around 1am a break was called in the wonderfully named village of Catchems End. Heaven only knows what the residents would have thought if they’d looked out of their bedroom windows to see a bunch over-tired, ragged bunch of walkers littering there garden walls at that time of night morning!

We were thankfully back on tarmac once again (I never thought I’d welcome the appearance of a road!) all the way to the eastern bank of the River Severn. A bit of Severn Way followed by some quiet country lanes took us back to our cars, parked just where we’d left them at Birchen Coppice, by the A451. Badges and certificates were dished out, there was much shaking of hands, hugs, patting of backs and so on – the sort of stuff that we stiff upper-lipped Brits do so well. Ahem.

It was now 2am and the pubs were shut. to be honest I was far too tired to go for a pint – or even eat properly. I managed a hot shower and forced some food down, and then promptly fell asleep.

Aaron had put on a good walk. Although it was a published route it can’t have been easy leading a group of unknowns over an unfamiliar route, especially considering that he’d had no opportunity for a pre-walk recce….so thanks Aaron! 

This is where we went:


50 miles with around 3300’ of ascent in 20 hours.

More photos here.

P2P recce with Judith, a UFO, and a wild camp.

The reason for this test is the continuing problem I have with posting using Open LiveWriter…. The Plan (there’s sometimes A Plan) was to...