View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Sunday, 16 November 2014

15th November, Tally-Ho! from Nangreaves, Route v4.2

The real thing..

A number of exploratory / recce trips to this area were needed in order to finalise this route, mainly due to the large number of illegally blocked Rights of Way (Right of Ways?), completely unmarked footpaths and generally difficult to navigate ground. An a lot of mud.

Anyroadup, this is what happened on the Big Day…

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The Lord Raglan, Nangreaves

The choice of this pub as a venue for Tally-Ho! had absolutely nothing to do with The Leyden Brewery. Nothing at all.

First to set off from The Lord Raglan at Nangreaves were Ding Dong and Whitworth. They had arranged to meet at the pub at 12.30, thus ensuring an early start. After a leisurely tour around the lanes of South Lancashire, Ding-Dong arrived promptly at 1.30pm thus ensuring a not terribly early start.

Rumours of a collection in the pub to raise dosh to buy Ding-Dong a map are completely false….I think they want to buy him a SatNav so his navigation prowess could match that of Whitworth’s…..and he NEVER gets lost. Well, not very often – especially now he has a new Merc with a built in SatNav.

Whitworth and Prez Park left the pub in a blur (well that’s what the drunk outside the pub said), heading north along a short strip of tarmac. The money men (Ding Dong and Mapless  Taylor) ran together – leaving a little later than normal.

The dryness of the tarmac wasn’t to last long. Leaving the road, the extremely well-laid sawdust trail led our valiant heroes to a soggy path of a couple of hundred yards (around 183.44m). Damp grass drenched their running shoes comprehensively. Nice.

Other runners followed in their wake, all finding the extremely well-laid trail very easy to follow.

Whilst the hounds were enjoying (eh?) following the trail, the hares were taking great care to leave a clear sawdust & paper trail across some seriously rough and boggy ground.

First obstacle of the day was the illegally blocked footpath at  Croston Close:

image A Concessionary Path is offered as an alternative route, but the path through the farmyard exists as a Public Right of Way – the landowner clearly has a different opinion.

Next came the first ‘river’ crossing of the day. In recent weeks the stream that is Cheesden Brook had been a mere 2 – 3ft wide (609.6– 914.4mm….approx), the recent heavy rain had swollen the watercourse quite considerably. This ensured that many pairs of Innovates were suddenly mud-free. For a minute.

An uphill pull to a track led the hounds to Ashworth Reservoir. Once through a heavy metal gate the trail ran alongside a Water Authority-built wall to pick up a minor road at the east side of the reservoir.

The Trail-Layers were on the return leg of the trail and were able to watch some of the hounds, on the outward leg, as they ran along that stretch of road. Fortunately they were too far away to be able to hear the runners cursing, swearing and plotting sweet revenge.

Once across Edenfield Road, Knowle Hill came into full view. Curses were heard to be uttered as it slowly dawned on the hounds that the trig-point at the top was to be their next objective. And so it was.

Mud, bog, streams, windmills and sheep were just some of the hazards to be encountered on this uphill stretch. The sheep seemed intrigued:

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image The view south from Knowle Hill

A clear path off the eastern flank of Knowle Hill led the runners along part of the Rochdale Way, (thank-you Wiki!) in the direction of the Naden Reservoirs. The reservoirs only became visible after climbing a stile at Dixon’s Brow. The change of scenery was quite a revelation – so far the views were mainly of moorland, bogs and mud. To see the land open out in such a dramatic way almost caused some to stop and stare for a few minutes. It was either that or they were knackered after Knowle Hill and they needed a breather.

P1030208aNaden Reservoirs 

Clumps of sawdust and the Rochdale Way made for easy navigation as the route swung south and then west(ish) on the return leg.

Another stream crossing and on through Knowl Farm:

imageKnowle Farm, used for filming ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ 

Re-crossing Edenfield Road gave temporary relief from the mud and gunge, in fact there was a good 10-15 minutes of relatively clean running. Until a particularly muddy, sludgy stretch of track that led to a particularly muddy, sludgy river crossing. It wasn’t long before Ashworth Reservoir once again hove into view, this heralded some nice running along only slightly horrendously waterlogged ground.

The Right of Way runs through Yates Farm but there was so much rubbish and detritus on the ground that a diversion was needed. It looks like the place is used as a scrap yard, a real mess.

Much nicer running followed once passed the farm: good tracks and paths, a short stretch of tarmac, and then a really gloopy farm track.

An uphill pull to a ‘notch’ on the horizon indicated the last stretch of the trail, although it was only once through the notch that it became clear the running was almost done. A stile and a short stretch of tarmac had us back at the pub.

20141115_161112First runners in 

imageNext in, Paul and Les 

The trail seemed to have been generally well received – although the beer at the pub got a better reception. It was rather good – just a shame I was driving.

Numbers were a bit low today, only 14(?) members sat down to a filling dinner of stewy stuff and mushy peas followed by fruit crumble. ‘Always hungry’  Blackshaw was unable to stay for dinner due to family commitments, this left Murray in a bit of a quandary regarding his pudding. He needn’t have worried though, help was at hand and his pudding vanished in the blink of an eye.

Layers of trail were Blackshaw and Jocys who had a thoroughly good day out – and even managed to beat all the hounds back to the pub.

This is where we went:

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Around 9 miles with about 1200’ ascent

That’s according to Memory Map and my Garmin Etrex20. I felt I could do with a good laugh so I took my SatMap Active10 along too. According to that heap of junk we covered 16.75 miles.

Impressed, eh?

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

11am on Tuesday 11th November 2014

The Bravest Little Street in England

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Lest we forget. Only 4 people there today. Are we forgetting?

Recessional, by Rudyard Kipling

God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Friday, 7 November 2014

21st Oct – 5th Nov, America

A few observations

I’ve been here for two weeks and I’m now getting ready to travel home.

It’s been a busy visit, carrying out renovations and repairs to an apartment that my Dad and I own in Florida. It’s a trip that I need to do each year, it’s important to keep an eye on the family assets don’t yer know. Some property-related legal stuff that needs sorting calls for a return trip in the not too distant future.

This trip has seen me decorating, replacing a water heater, repairing a shower, sorting the garden and patio, fettling the air-con….plus all manner of other stuff that goes with owning a property.

The language

It’s a funny old country – to say that the UK and USA are two countries separated by a common language is no understatement. Did you know that a faucet (pr: fosset) is a water tap? There’s loads more.

Americans are often very direct, if they need to deal will a problem they’re not afraid to use unambiguous language:

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One phrase / sentence that maddens me is, when in a restaurant ‘a waiter will be with you momentarily’. A momentary visit from a waiter is not what I want or expect, thank you very much. I want a waiter to spend a little time with me (more than a moment) to answer any questions I might have.

Of course the waiter DOES spend time with you, as much as is needed. It’s just a strange use of words.

Whilst on the subject of words, strange-sounding names abound in America:

image That’s the name of a road – in case you were wondering.

American prices vs UK prices

Generally, although not always, the price we pay in UK is the same (very often more) than the American price, just change the $ sign to a £ sign.

A few examples from my direct experience:

Hilleberg Akto tent:              USA: $498 (=£311)          UK: £490

MFJ259 antenna analyser:  USA: $259 (=£162)         UK: £280

Flir Infra-Red camera:        USA: $1800 (=£1125)    UK: £2400 

Petrol, per gallon:               USA: $2.80 (=£1.75)      UK: £4.91*

*adjusted to US Gallon = 0.83 Imperial Gallon

Food

Food is plentiful and cheap in Florida, lots of it looks good, some of it is quite nice….too much of it can cause problems of course.

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Those puddings were wonderful – so good I went twice. Ask Mick & Gayle about them!

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There seem to be eateries everywhere:

P1030257 A steak with chips and broccoli in this restaurant tasted wonderful and cost norralot, BUT…the steak was quite salty, the broccoli was served in a salty garlic butter sauce, and the chips were served ready salted.

The convenience of the car

The car is king here, petrol is cheap. These prices are PER GALLON:

P1030270 $2.79 = £1.75

You don’t even have to get out of your car to go to the bank:

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Patriotism / National pride

Americans are seriously proud of their country and it’s flag. Americans do not need an excuse to fly their flag. Stars & Stripes appear everywhere: in shops, fluttering from houses, in gardens, on cars….virtually everywhere you can imagine. By comparison the British appear quite unpatriotic. 

image Last week’s polling day

A UK Polling Station sign, emblazoned with a Union Flag? I’ve not ever seen one - I can’t see it ever happening. It might cause offence to someone….and that would never do.

Property Repairs

It’s been pointed out to me in the past (very frequently and quite recently) that it would be cheaper for me to employ someone in Florida to carry out these tasks. Not so.

I was quoted $1000 to replace a shower that was described as unrepairable: I mended it in a couple of hours.

Replacing the water heater would have cost at least $650, I did it myself for $250.

As for sorting the Air Conditioning unit, it would have been a lot of money. Then move the decimal point to the right. For some reason Air Conditioning units are shrouded in mystery here. This I find surprising – virtually everyone has Air-Con, but hardly anyone understands how they work….so they pay lots of dosh to A Man. It’s always A Man. The only bit I can’t do is recharge the unit with refrigerant. You need a special bit of paper to be able to do that. 

I much prefer to come over here to do the jobs myself, apart from anything else I know that the work has been carried out to a reasonable standard.

Just….different

Americans do many things differently. This is the electrical bit of the water heater I replaced:

imageWires are joined by twisting them together and covering the connection with a plastic ‘nut’. Not a junction box to be seen. I find this a bit frightening.

Domestic wiring installations are potentially (see what I did there?) bloody dangerous. A house frequently has both 120v AND 240v available. 120v for normal household appliances like kettles, TV etc, but 240v is used for higher current stuff like cookers, water heaters and so on. Get your wiring wrong and……

Weather

I go to Florida where it’s currently 80degF. And the sky is blue. At the end of October / beginning of November. A few years ago they had an overnight frost – they still talk about it now.

It’s hi$$ing it down in Timperley, And it’s cold.

Nuff said.

Anyroadup, it’s an interesting place once you understand the language. I’ll be going back fairly soon – more stuff to do.

Monday, 3 November 2014

18th October, Tally-Ho! from The Jug and Glass

This was a re-introduced venue for the Club. The Jug & Glass at Newhaven in the White Peak has a had a chequered history in recent years. It seems to have been closed more than open. Happily it’s now very much open and in the hands of good people who know how to run a pub, keep beer properly and look after their customers.

I arrived early at the pub, my Plan was to start and finish early because I needed to be in Dunham later that day to play at a ceilidh with Neezzup and it wouldn’t do to be late for that!

In the car park were two very shady-looking characters – one trying to flog some obviously nicked silverware to a local fence:

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I set off running with Ding Dong, struggling to keep up with him. We followed the sawdust trail out of the pub car park and across the main A515 to pick up a green lane which turned to tarmac after a mile or so. The lane crossed the course of a Roman Road running roughly North to South.

image Remarkably well preserved Roman Water Board sign

We headed eastwards almost as far as Middleton, keeping our shoes mostly shiny-clean. Avoiding Middleton, trail then led us on a dogleg uphill (?) close to Ringham Low – an ancient monument or something. Wisely the trail-layers didn’t take us quite as far as the site, our ancient and monumental runners might get lost in a place like that…..we’d blend in with the background too easily.

The initially easy running surface had lulled us into a false sense of security, before long we had dual battles on our hands: overgrown undergrowth (eh?) and difficult-to-follow sawdust trail…...but we weren’t to be deterred. Well not much:

P1030219  Ding-Dong tearing up the trail at break-neck speed

Next came a short dale, a section of typically White Peak countryside. I’m not sure of it’s name, there’s no name mentioned on either the 1:25k or 1:50k maps, but it runs West - East from near Ringham Low to Smerrill Grange.

A much nicer dale was to come: Long Dale – lovely it is:

P1030222P1030223It’s a shame this section was so short, it made for very pleasant running. Within a short distance the terrain changed and we left the dale behind.

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Another short stretch of tarmac took us to the Mid-Shires Way / Pennine Bridleway…and past the picturesque brickworks at Friden:

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Lovely

There was definitely ‘something in the air’ around this part of the route, both Ding-Dong and I ended up coughing and spluttering. It might just have been a misfire though…I don’t recall any of the other runners mentioning a problem.

A loooong, flat and straight stretch of the Way took us almost back to the pub where a quick pose (or two) was called for:

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P1030228P1030229 Unusually (VERY unsually) clean-ish shoes

This is where we wented:

Route

Around 8.3 miles with norralot of ascent / descent…

Atcherly (and quite coincidently, I’m sure) the total ascent was exactly the same as the total descent. You’ll need to ask Ding Dong to explain, he’s good with numbers.

The food and the beer at the pub were both excellent – it was just a shame I had to rush off without being able to sample the beers properly. I was driving anyway. Ho-hum.

Thanks to David for allowing me to trot round with him. As always, he was the very best of company.

Thanks and great appreciation to Ships and Whitworth for laying an easy trail….just right for an unfit old fart like me.

16th October, A Nangreaves Recce

Rick and I needed to get out for a walk – it’s been, er, such along time since our last outing.

I had a route in mind for the Tally-Ho! that really needed checking out. It’s all very well plotting a route on the map, but it’s often a different matter when you actually run (or walk) the route.

Kick off is the Lord Raglan, home of the Leyden Brewery, in Nangreaves near Bury – where all the best black puddings come from. That’s Bury….although the Leyden Brewery might make black puddings too, I don’t know.

A short bit of tarmac up Snape Hill was endured before hitting decent footpaths and Land Rover Tracks. All went swimmingly well until we came across a ‘Private’ sign, barring our way through the Public RoW through the farm yard at Croston Close – SD820158 if you want to harass the property owner.  An additional sign offered an alternative route – a concessionary path across a boggy field. The sign pointed out that the original Right of Way was still valid – but it was quite clear that the owner’s successful deterrents had , er, successfully deterred walkers wishing to use the path.

The appropriate authorities have been informed.

 

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The next ‘challenge’ was Croston Close Bottoms. This is a valley where, if the map is anything to go by, is an easy navigational exercise. Ho-ho, oh no it isn’t! We spent a long time trying to locate the path on the ground – we did eventually but it was damned hard work. And my feet got rather wet.

Around Ashworth Moor Reservoir following footpaths across what was Water Board land we crossed the Edenfield Road and began a gentle climb up to Knowl Hill – passing the thoughtfully planted windfarm en-route. The wim-wam trig point / pile of rocks at the top served as our lunch stop.

 

P1030205bRick posing, apres-lunch, in front of the pretty windfarm 

Following the route of the Rochdale Way, we descended in an Easterly direction (East is good….etc, etc) towards some reservoirs – where a pretty view was prettily presented to us:

P1030206a

Naden Middle Reservoir with Naden Lower Reservoir peeking out on the right (=south) 

P1030208aNaden Higher and Naden Middle Reservoirs 

It’s pretty obvious that land owners don’t want you around here: barbed wire is abundant in totally inappropriate places, many paths are blocked and footpath signs just don’t exist where they really should. It’s a poor show.

P1030209b 

Just for Alan:

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Some of paths were dead easy to locate and follow, although the stony surface of this one may well catch out the faster runners:

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More blocked and unmarked paths followed that entailed some serious map studying – much to the amusement of the audience that was gathering. Even sheep deserve a giggle sometime I suppose:

P1030215aAnother Right of Way difficulty presented itself at Sale’s Farm (SD818150 if you want a whinge). A Right of Way is clearly marked on both the 1:50K and the 1:25K maps – but not on the ground. There’s no footpath sign or any indication at all that a Right of Way exists. It DOES exist, and goes through a private house-type farm yard & stables. The addition of an openable (not sure if that’s a real word, but you catch my drift) electric fence gateway adds to the feeling of general path obstruction / lack of Right of Way.

Again, the appropriate authorities have been informed…..but don’t hold your breath.

Whatever, in a couple of weeks 20 – 30 hairy-arsed trail runners will be piling down that Public Right of Way – and there’s some big lads amongst them.

More blocked / overgrown footpaths followed:

image Can you spot the Footpath sign?

We eventually got back to the Lord Raglan at too late an hour to have a pint so we headed off back home – just in time to miss the worst of the rush-hour traffic. What we were expecting to take around under 4 hours actually took nearly 6 hours. I’ll be out on a re-recce next week, apart from needing to tweek the route I need the exercise.

At the end of the day we’d enjoyed (endured?) our little outing, there are some really cracking bits to the route – unfortunately there’s really crappy bits too.

This is what we SHOULD have done:

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8.5 miles with around 1200’ of ascent.

We ended up doing nearer 11 miles after all the faffing about.

 

Reporting footpath problems

Footpath problems can be reported using FixMyStreet at www.fixmystreet.com

It’s very simple, just specify the location and describe the problem…..and your work as a responsible member of the great walking public is done.

FixMyStreet will then forward your complaint to the appropriate authority who will (hopefully) deal with it.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

13th October 2014, A bit of The Dales Way

Buckden to Grassington and a Pie Lunch

Rick, Stewart, Bella and Peter have recently been doing sections of The Dales Way in a series of day walks.

Today’s section was a ‘there and back in a day’ trip and had been postponed a couple of times because of bad weather.

It was on a dry but overcast day that Rick’s Honda met Stewart’s Jeep in Grassington and a bit of car juggling later we set off walking from Buckden – north to sarf.

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The last time I walked with Bella she was an occasionally obedient, extremely precocious and (very) energetic pup with serious attitude. Now she’s quite obedient, not quite as precocious, amazingly energetic, VERY entertaining and still has serious attitude. A wonderful doggy!

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Playing ‘fetch’ with Bella helped keep her mind off the sheep – although to be fair, Stewart has done a marvellous job of training her and she nearly always does as she’s told now. Mostly.

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Leaving the village of Buckden, we crossed the River Wharfe to walk south on it’s western banks. Good dry ground with norralot of muddy bits made for good progress.

imageYellow painted bicycles adorned much of the area – echoes of this year’s Tour de France.

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Lunch No1 was taken sat on a convenient bench by the bridge across the River Wharfe at Kettlewell. 

imageRiver Wharfe 

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In honour of the men of Kettlewell and Starbotton who gave their lives in The Great War and WW2

imageMy kind of walk! 

Kettlewell proved a bit of a bugger to escape from but we managed eventually.

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Kilnsey Crag 

imageLooking back at clouds over Kettlewell 

imageThe Yorkshire Dales, this couldn’t be anywhere else 

imageCool dude Rick 

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imageConistone Pie – venue for Lunch No2 

This looks an ideal area for a wild camp: lovely smooth ground, delightful Dales scenery….but no water. It’s the limestone y’see.

The assembled group were forced to eat some of Annabel’s High Energy Flapjacks – they seemed to enjoy them….or perhaps they were just brought up to be polite.

image Pete, Rick and Stewart waiting for Bella to finish her lunch 

imageTowards Grassington 

imageMrs Dale’s Dairies? Don’t blame me, it was Rick’s idea. 

This is where we went…near as damnit:

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Around 11 miles with around 1100’ of the upwards stuff

Having spent a load of September in (mostly) sunny Spain it was great to get back to do some walking in England – in good company too.

Oh, and we didn’t go to the pub. Not this time.

Whilst typing this up I’ve been listening to Mike Harding here, it’s good. You should give it a go…it’s free.