View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Daundering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daundering. Show all posts

Friday, 4 May 2018

Not Daundering, 23rd–25th April 2018

A naughty backpack from Clapham to Dent

This was all Mike’s idea, me Dawn, Lucky and Chrissie just went along for the ride. And the beer, there may have been beer involved.

Mike, for reasons that will become clear, is henceforth to be referred to as The Kilted Pieman. If I remember, which I probably won’t.

Anyroadup, me and Chrissie (who just happened to be on the same train as me) alighted at Clapham in t’Yorkshire Dales and wandered over to the pub – always a good move.

We were supposed to meet up with Lucky and his Dad plus Dawn at Lancaster station, but train delays and cancellations severely buggered-up their arrangements – hence the pub visit.

The New Inn is a fine establishment that serves, amongst other stuff, TT Landlord. A couple of beers after arriving the pub door flung open and LTD marched purposefully into the bar ahead of his Dad and Dawn and demanded beer with menaces.

It was raining and the latecomers were a tad soggy and damp.

It was still raining, but only a bit, as we left the pub and headed up to our camping spot at Gaping Gill.

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Spooky house

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A fine set of knees near Clapham Bottoms. Honest.

The area around Gaping Gill was quite murky and much of the ground was nicely adorned with sheep-poo – a clean(ish) pitch was hard to find.

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 Murk at Gaping Gill

The weather didn’t encourage outside-of-tent socialising so I stayed in for the evening and read a book (The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe) and listened to the wireless-type radio to catch up on the usual depressing news.

More depression followed when my NeoAir decided it would be a wizard prank to deflate slowly but quite surely. Lovely. I couldn’t find the puncture so ended up kipping on the teensiest bit of 5mm thick (thin?) foam mat. It wasn’t a comfortable night.

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Gaping Gill

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One dog and his man

Next morning we headed Ribbleheadwards, towards Ribblehead, famous for the Ribblehead Viaduct and a pretty decent pub, more of which later.

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A gentle bimble, at daunder pace (not that we were daundering – heaven forbid) to the foot of Ingleborough where it was a bit wet and the breeze was getting up. Dawn & Chrissie, being the sensible sorts they are, bravely volunteered to single-handedly guard The Kilted Pieman’s (see, I remembered) and my rucksacks whilst we ventured forth and upwards to conquer the peak’s lofty, er, peak.

This was a good ascent, we fought the elements and refused to falter – until eventually, exhausted and almost out of oxygen, we got to the top.

I’d like to say how fantastic the fantastic views were, how you could see the snow-covered Southern Uplands of Scotland, how clear Blackpool Tower was, and how we could easily see fellow walkers ascending neighbouring Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside. Except you couldn’t. You couldn’t see a damned thing, such was the thick cloud that enveloped us.

Ho hum.

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On top of Ingleborough

We descended to find our rucksacks abandoned in the rain whilst our brave guards sheltered in a tent – hastily erected as a last-ditch defence against marauding Swaledales. Their cunning plan worked, both they and our rucksacks were unharmed.

These girls are clever.

Next stop was the Station Inn at Ribblehead, purveyors of very good beer and magnificent pork pies. We drank the pies and ate the beer, all was well with the world.

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Approaching The Station at Ribblehead

After beer and pies we escaped the pub and, in between the rain showers, hurried to get the tents up.

Whinge warning:

Camping here is currently free but for how long I don’t know – there are some campers who don’t treat the area with respect. Broken glass, fires, rubbish left behind etc is all evidence of the irresponsibility of SOME visitors. They obviously don’t get the idea of ‘Leave no trace’. The farmer who owns the land isn’t going to put up with that sort of behaviour for long.

End of whinge.

Back to the pub for more food and even more beer….the food looked generally good although my pie could have been better. The good news was the landlord took my criticism on board and did something about it. I’m happy about that – I’ll certainly eat there again.

Another uncomfortable night followed. The wind and rain got windier and rainier and my NeoAir only held enough air for about 90 minutes of relative comfort before my bum and other bits came in contact with the cold ground. I had spare clothing which I was also lying on but it wasn’t enough.

I repaired the NeoAir when I got home….more later.

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It must have been very windy overnight, one of my tentpegs had become dislodged.

The intended 9am start was rescheduled to 11am ‘cos the weather forecast was pretty awful. Poor Chrissie had an attack of the flashing lights and had elected to bale out early – Ribblehead railway station was a very short walk from our camp spot and trains ran fairly regularly to get he back home so it was an easy decision.

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Leaving Chrissie behind we wandered alongside the Ribblehead viaduct to walk up to Blea Moor. The promised foul weather didn’t arrive, not in the Dales anyway – although I gather it was pretty grim dahn sarf.

A military-looking tracked vehicle had been spotted going up the hill earlier in the day. As we ascended it came back down to meet us.

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Onward, upwards and over Blea Moor, we were planning on the hoof. We’d pretty well decided that we’d just make our way to Dent by the prettiest way possible – that included a lovely Mossy Bottom picnic spot by the railway line and a wander down a section of the Dales Way.

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It would have been nice to stop for a beer….

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…but the pub was shut

The weather remained fine as we trundled down the road to Dent, only to find that we’d just missed a train. Being as wot the sun was sort of shining we found a nice little spot on the banks of the River Dee (no, not THAT River Dee) where we just chilled. In fact we chilled so much that we needed to wrap up, the sun may have been shing but the breeze wasn’t so warm.

A lot of contour lines were crossed in rapid succession as we wandered up to Dent Station, where, incidently, it was bloody freezing.

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A wall heater in the waiting room did the neccesary, as long as you didn’t sit on it. The heater that is, not the waiting room.

Then we all went home via Leeds.

It was good, very laid back and a lot of fun. I don’t know how far we walked but it wasn’t too far – it didn’t need to be.

Thanks to Lucky for inviting me along and to Mike, Chrissie and Dawn for putting up with me.

One last thing….for Alan, ‘cos he likes this sort of thing:

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 So that was it. A great little trip that definitely wasn’t a Daunder.

What actually happened can be read:

Chrissie’s blog

The Kilted Pieman’s blog

Dawn’s blog

More pics


Oh, and another last thing: the punctured NeoAir.

It was pure coincidence that last week, my mate John B from Bramhall, who’s currently walking LeJoG, phoned me with a SitRep and to report a similarly punctured NeoAir and consequent cold bum.

He tried to repair it with the repair kit supplied by Thermarest but it just didn’t do the job. He ended up using E6000 glue. Two applications were used: the first one to actually seal the puncture, the second as a reinforcement.

That was over two weeks ago and the repair has held, certainly up to a couple of days ago.

I didn’t have any E6000 to hand but I nipped over to Go Outdoors and bought a tune of SeamGrip

This stuff is recommended for all sorts of repairs – including puncturedsleeping mats.

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Two layers of the stuff on my NeoAir seems to have done the trick – although I’ll be carrying the tube of SeamGrip with me on the Challenge – just in case.







Wednesday, 29 April 2015

14th – 17th April 2015, Cheese & Wine training in the Chilterns

…..without the cheese & wine.

It started badly. Gerry and I had arranged to meet in Cholsey’s Red Lion for a swift pint or two. A fine Plan you might think. This fine Plan had a major flaw: the pub was shut, the pint would have to wait. This was a major setback, there was a good chance that things could get out of hand.

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GPS Gerry….note the T-shirt with a rather suspect design

Things began improving almost immediately: gloriously warm & sunny weather and a delightful walk along the Thames Path to Wallingford…and an open pub. Beryl Margaret joined us in the pub, this was A Good Thing – her presence ensured we behaved moderately well. Margaret is a lady after all.  After suitable refreshments and general rehydration our now swelled ranks advanced on Crowmarsh Gifford to meet up with the rest of the Daunderers at the campsite.

A merry evening was spent catching up with each other’s news and discussing the next few day’s exertions.

Crowmarsh Gifford to Henley

The next day dawned warm and sunny – this was darn sarf where it’s generally a wee bit warmerer than my home in the Northlands.

P1040208 Daunderers on parade

At whatever time it was that we agreed to set off, we did just that – but not after many photographs had been taken. This was to be a major expedition and we didn’t know how many brave souls would return safely.

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Marching Eastwards is always a good thing, even in April. We sped along the ancient Ridgeway / Grim’s Ditch at a truly frightening pace. Such was our speed that noses were seen to be bleeding and heads were known to be aching. The latter complaint may have been down to over-enthusiastic rehydration exercises that took place in Wallingford’s boozah the previous evening.

P1040211 Croydon, Margaret and Phil on the Ridgeway

P1040215As the sun rose higher in the sky our expeditionary force needed to call a halt to proceedings, our average speed was unacceptably high and matters needed to be taken in hand. We needed a rest, we were in grave danger of overheating. Apart from Robin who was sporting a fine Legionnaire-style hat, a snazzy summer shirt, cool LaSportiva Raptor footwear, and REALLY cool shades. A cool dude indeed.  

Anyroadup, cool drinks (a hot drink in Gerry’s case) worked wonders, we were all soon suitably chilled and ready for the off once again.

The scenery in this part of Oxfordshire is quite lovely: gentle rolling countryside, lush fields, and pleasant woodland. The sunshine, wild flowers gently blowing in the warm breeze, and agreeable company combined to make our journey through this stereotypical English countryside a real delight.

Such a shame that eight Daunderers saw fit to shatter the peace and quiet. Oh well.

P1040228A lonely Oxfordshire tree

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More yomping

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Resting is just so important:

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Phil & Beryl Margaret

P1040237 Average speeds need to be maintained – Daundering at speed just wouldn’t be right.

The campsite at Henley was a bit posh: it had a bar that sold real beer and provided half-decent food. After showering and changing into the finest of eveningwear the Daunderer-in-Chief led a raid on the unsuspecting town – pies, fish, chips and beer were consumed in substantial quantities in Henley’s Three Tuns.

 

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Henley to Watlington

After a night of snoring, grunting, farting and other things we decamped to the site’s restauranty thing for, in some cases, a second breakfast:

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The Daunderer-in-Chief and his Second-in-Command decided it was time for the group to go out without their wise guidance. We were made to promise to be careful, hold hands when crossing the road and not to talk to strangers. I regret to report that we failed on all three counts.

Our map of Wales proved useful, we couldn’t locate our position on it. This proved conclusively that we weren’t in Wales. We had to double check when we spotted this sign:

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Croydon demonstrating tree-hugging to Margaret

P1040254One of very many red kites 

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Our Glorious Leader pointing us in the wrong direction 

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P1040265The first closed pub of the day 

P1040267 Signs for Bix Bottom, Assendon and, er, another sign. And Phil.

P1040269The earlier (closed) pub meant that our first proper stop of the day was in a building site – although it was a pretty one. This yard of a church that had seen better days proved an ideal elevenses venue. 

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Beau Peep leads the way, the terrifying Doris must be at the rear of the party.

Lunch No2 was enjoyed at the Crown Inn at Pishill another fine Brakspear’s pub, there are a lot of them around here. Such was the hot sunshine that we ate in the beer garden – and it wouldn’t do to upset the genteel folk of Pishill with our raucous humour and smelly feet.

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The Crown’s rather excellent loo

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Legging it from The Crown Inn 

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The Watlington White Mark on Watlington Hill, en-route to our next overnight stop in Watlington. What a lot of Watlingtons. 

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Doris Beryl Margaret descending from Watlington Hill 

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P1040295L > R: Margaret, Croydon, Alan, Phil’s pint, Phil, Bob, Gerry, Robin 

Watlington to Cholsey

The last day of our expedition. I needed to be away early-ish, my train from Cholsey wouldn’t wait for me.

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After a leisurely breakfast at the campsite’s picnic table I left the jovial crew and wandered back to Crowmarsh Gifford at a most un-Daunder-like pace: a moving average speed of 3.6mph. I’m a failed Daunderer. 

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P1040318 Wallingford, over the Thames from Crowmarsh Gifford

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Wallingford back to Cholsey was the reverse of the outward route, the Thames Path.

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Four days of strenuous backpacking in good company is fine training for the rigours of the TGO Challenge and the Cheese & Wine Party. Those who successfully completed the Daunder (that’s all the Daunderers who started) should now be fully psychologically prepared to face anything that Aviemore’s Tesco wine shelf can throw at them. Not sure about the cheese though, I need to carry out more research into Aviemore’s various cheese emporia.

Crackers? Well that’s another matter entirely.

Thanks to Alan for all his hard work in planning in putting the Daunder together. Inviting such a grand bunch was an inspiration. Thank you, I enjoyed all your company immensely – it was just what I needed.

More photographs here.

If you want to read what REALLY happened, check out Alan’s recollections or Robin’s slightly less hazy version.

Happy days!

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