View from Oban Bothy

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

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Rain in Lleyn…4th Sept 2017

(Not) Backpacking

I’d prepared two dehydrated backpacking meals, different stuff to what I’d normally take so I was looking forward to trying the new stuff out:.

The main meals consisted of:

1) Remains of a Shepherds Pie. All mashed up and mixed prior to dehydrating. It was supplemented with 50gms of Smash.

2) Remains of a chilli con carne + rice. The rice and chilli were dehydrated separately and bagged separately.

3) This wasn’t all dehydrated, but consisted of some smoked Polish sausage, 50gms of Smash, and 1/3rd tin baked beans – dehydrated.

As things worked out the stuff didn’t get used. Read on….

In the beginning:

The Plan was for Lucky the Dog, Mike, Dawn and me to backpack a section of the Lleyn Peninsula coast in glorious sunshine.

Even the best plans fall apart sometimes.

The weather forecast was for a bit of damp followed by a few days of overcast dryness – quite acceptable backpacking conditions.

What ACTUALLY happened was that a huge amount of wind-driven wetness descended on Llanystumdwy….famous for Lloyd George and my dad. And a pub that only opens 3-4 nights of the week. It was quite a nice pub though.

We had two cars and with this in mind Plan B was quickly concocted: instead of backpacking through the wetness we’d go out for linear day walks. Plan B was put into action – it worked quite well. Mostly. Apart from getting lost.

Day 1

It was still raining. So we breakfasted hugely on egg, bacon & tomato butties – washed down with lashings of tea & coffee. After which it was still raining but not quite as much. The Afon Dwyfor at the back of the campsite had risen by about 4ft overnight – the roar of the water thrashing about was impressive.

Dwyfor in spate

That was supposed to be an embedded video but Open Live Writer and YouTube don’t seem to like to talk to one another. Kids, eh?


If the video clip doesn’t work, this photo may illustrate the state of the river.

Some random photographs taken in Llanystumdwy:




Anyroadup, we went to Llanbedrog and dumped a car there in the National Trust car park. Then we went to Abersoch and dumped another car there in the hugely expensive car park. Not having any more cars to dump we thought it would be a bit of a wheeze to walk back to Llanbedrog, and that’s precisely what we did.

The rain had stopped by this time but it was rather grey and only a bit miserable.

We walked east, often a good direction, passing the harbour / marina before dropping down to the beach.


For Alan R:



The tide was out and apart from a couple of dog walkers and a defunct jellyfish that resembled an enormous blob of lumpy wallpaper paste, we had the sands to ourselves.



Anybody recognise this plant found growing on the edge of sand dunes? The leaves are hugely thick – perhaps to store water?



Looking back over Abersoch

As we bimbled along eastwards the clouds lifted and the sun made a welcome appearance – Snowdonia appeared out of the murk:


On the descent to the beach we came across this interesting sculpture:


Aberdaron’s ‘Tin Man’ – it looked more like a woman with a babe in arms to me

I gather that the original statue was a wooden ship’s figurehead – but that suffered malicious fire damage many years ago.

The route down to the beach was seriously steep, it took an age to get down – ask my poorly L knee. It wasn’t too happy.


Llanbedrog’s colourful beach huts


Llanbedrog Beach

Then it was back to the cars and back to Llanystumdwy (via Pwllhelli’s Asda) for far too much to eat and a comfortably large amount of beer. Bottled Hob Goblin Gold seeing as you asked.

The pub was shut.

Day 2

Even though the weather had improved Plan B was still in operation: one car was left at the Aberdaron NT car park, the other at the Whistling Sands NT car park. We wandered off in a nominally south-ish direction, following the cliff-top path as much as possible. I was surprised to come across a young 80+ year old couple from Knutsford, just down the road from JJ Towers. This couple, clad in finest Paramo, were clearly made of the right stuff – it was a pleasure to stop to chat with them.


Looking north over Whistling Sands


Dramatic coastline, similar in character to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and part of the the South West Coast Path.


On Mynydd Mawr:




The former Coastguard lookout at Mynydd Mawr.

The sun was shining brightly and warmly, good conditions for backpacking – apart from the lack of water. Running water was scarce, any that we discovered was decidely iffy. Much of the coast was used by cattle.


Over the sea to Bardsey in the late afternoon sun.



I’m still playing with my Lumix TZ70 camera – in reality the colours in the hedgerows were very vivid than is shown here. I must try harder.

Navigation was a little <koff> difficult, the paths on the ground often didn’t coincide with what appeared on the three different maps we were carrying between us. Being as what we were nominally following an official Long Distance Path this was all a bit of a poor show. You couldn’t even rely on the Coastal Path signposts – on more than one occasion we came across signposts that just pointed into either undergrowth or ground that was clearly impassable.


Back to the cars, Asda and the campsite – for lots of lovely grub (c/o Lucky’s Dad) and more beer. The pub was still shut.

Day 3

The day began with more egg & bacon butties. The eggs came from the farm where we were camping – they were a bit tasty.

It was a windy morning, and that was just the weather. We parked up at the NT car park at Plas yn Rhiw and proceeded to wander off, up what we took to be the coastal path. We had it on good authority that we really were on the coastal path, the Coastal Path signposts should have aroused our suspicion.

As it happened we only got a bit misplaced a few times.

Mist and clag descended a few times, severely curtailing our views.



Hell’s Mouth

Foolishly(?) following signposts we passed a lovely little hamlet overlooking the sea. We  suspected that we were on the right path – but there was always a nagging doubt.

Even more foolishly I suggested a change in direction of travel. This change entailed a bit of a scramble. Okay, a LOT of a scramble. I’m not very good at scrambling. Oh well.

Eventually, and blindly following Lucky, Dawn & Mike, I got to the top of an Everest of a hill, Mynydd y Graig I think. There were signs of a Hill Fort and a Standing Stone. I didn’t look too hard, I was more concerned in not falling off this mountain of a, er, little hill.


Lucky & Mike, climbing without oxygen


The Tenzing moment

Once at the top the walking was much easier, we even had some views when the cloud lifted.


Another hill beckoned. This was either a Munro or a Marylin or something. Whatever it was 177m ASL and Mike needed it for His List. Penarfynydd was actually a bit non-descript, but what the hell. It would probably be better on a sunny day.


Time to turn round and return to the car. More misleading signposts successfully misled us. In spite of this we managed to find our way back to the car and a far easier navigate to a nice little car park at the east end of Hell’s Mouth.

Dawn had planned a dip in the sea at Hell’s Mouth but the wind was far too strong and the sea currents looked a bit perilous.

Instead she rolled up her trouser legs and went for a paddle with Mike. Lucky didn’t play with a ball very much. I flew my kite, the one I use to support vertical aerials when I play radio. The wind was so strong that I began to wonder whether the line was going to be strong enough to hold on to the kite. It was, but I’ll be more careful in future.


Once back at the ranch more lovely grub followed, again c/o Lucky’s Dad. Dawn had an early night, so did LTD, Mike & me, but our early night involved a visit to the pub which was now open. The beer and the welcome were both good.

There were only half a dozen customers in the pub that evening. It’s good that it stays open, even if it’s only for a few evenings in the week. I hope it survives, we’re losing too many pubs.

We had a good few days away, it wasn’t what we’d planned but it worked out well in the end. Thanks to Lucky, Mike & Dawn for a fun time…we must do it again soon. Next time we’ll do it in an area with less confusing paths.

More photographs are here.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Saturday 19th March 2016, Dinner at the Lantern Pike

Only thirteen sat down to an excellent meal at the Lantern Pike in Little Hayfield, those who were absent missed a treat. We were treated to very substantial helpings of proper steak pie & chips followed by enormous helpings of apple pie & custard – all washed down with TT Landlord served in lovely condition. Many were driving so they were limited to just the one, unlike those fortunate enough to be being chauffeured. Oh well.

We had a lovely run too. The pre-run description, c/o the guilty party (Young Wilson):

‘Little Hayfield on Saturday north towards A624 pass summit,then Burnt Hill (452m) Harry Hut Trig on Chunal Moor (441m) Descent to A624 north again to almost Chunal Village,then return south and climb back up to Monks Road (near A624 pass summit) Glorious descent back to Little Hayfield, Some quite scary wall stiles on the climb back from Chunal Village. Then a couple of pints and some good food. mileage under 20!! The climb up to Burnt hill is pretty dire as they are sorting the path. The conditions underfoot were slippy going on very slippy!’

Howarth, who hasn’t been seen by the Club for many years, was spotted at the start of the run but he didn’t sign in. He’d vanished by the time the rest of the membership returned to the pub. Where came from, where he went to, nobody knows.

It was a good do, I ran with Prez Park and Merciless Winterbone who proved to be fine and entertaining company – as always. The weather conditions were perfect, dry with very little breeze and not at all cold.


We lost trail less than a mile into the route – a walker was sat on a lump of sawdust by a stile that we should have crossed. We weren’t alone in losing trail at that point – Whitworth & Co (legal advisers to the dodgier members of the Club) also flew past the turning.

Wilson had chosen his route well and had bravely volunteered to lay trail on his own as Vinny had to cry off due to work commitments. Trail was a bit on the light side but in spite of this we didn’t get very lost….not very often anyway. 

Patches of the white stuff were visible over to the higher ground to the east of Harry Hut although it certainly wasn’t a cold day. The ground was generally dry, some of the usually muddy paths were in the process of being paved which made for good and steady going.




Prez Park speeding away


Merciless heading for Vanishing Point



Joe, Harry & Des


Meself, Harry & Des


On final approach to Little Hayfield

8 miles after leaving the pub our elite pack arrived back, unscathed and quite mud-free. After a nice hot bath and a change into clean(er) clothes we sat down to our meal.

A good day out, thanks to Prez Park & Merciless for putting up with me and to Wilson for laying on a fine route.

Where we went (widdershins):

Tally Ho Lantern Pike 160319

8 miles with 1500’ ascent.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Thursday 9th April 2015, Baby on Board

I needed to cycle up to Chorlton’s Unicorn earlier this evening. It was a lovely evening, an ideal excuse to get the bike out for a ride up the canal towpath. There was a rather unusual and very interesting bicycle in the bike park:


Bike2 Available to buy from Manchester Bike Hire, baby not included

For those not in the know, the Unicorn is a co-operative supermarket selling vegan and organic food. I’m not vegan or vegetarian but the the Unicorn sells stuff at far lower prices than the usual high street supermarkets. It’s where I buy all my dried fruit, nuts, cereals, herbs, spices etc. It’s good.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Friday 13th (ooh-er) March, Tracksterman’s Flapjacks

Backpacking food

The size of my girth is testament to my enjoyment of food – the more I enjoy my food, the more I expand. Funny that, I wonder if there’s a connection?

Tracksterman has been a man on a mission of late – trying (successfully) to lose some weight. His blog has detailed some of the stuff he’s been eating in his quest – what caught my eye was a recipe for flapjacks.

For some reason I can’t load a link to the relevant page on Tracksterman’s blog, but if you look at the entry for 9th March 2015 you’ll find it.

The recipe copied directly from Tracksterman’s blog:

200g oats (I used ordinary porridge oats)
3 large desert spoons black treacle
100g dessicated coconut
100g chopped nuts
1 jar of good quality apple sauce
(I used a jar of Aldi apple sauce)
3 desert spoons olive oil
Mixed spice
(I used a level teaspoonful – not enough)

Warm the treacle, oil and apple sauce. Mix in the dry ingredients then transfer to a greased baking tray. Cook for 15-20 mins 180C (Gas 4), or until firm to the touch and golden brown.
This makes 6-8 pieces, approx 350 Kcal each. They’re good, healthy energy bars - protein from the nuts, slow release carbs from the oats, potassium and sugar from the treacle, quick energy from the apple sauce.

You can freeze them for future use.

I baked them in an aluminium foil lined 8” square tin, 1.5” deep.

Anyway, they were dead easy to make and they turned out well:


They have fairly dominant flavour of apple although the mixed spice flavour is noticeable too of course. I’ll make them again but next time I’ll double the mixed spices and perhaps add some grated root ginger.

Thanks to Tracksterman for the recipe. Unfortunately his blog doesn’t have any contact details or any means to leave comments or thanks – so I hope he’ll accept my thanks and appreciation here.

Anyroadup, these bars are good – they’ll be coming with me on my next backpack…which might just be next week.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

29th October: For Mick & Gayle

…who will know precisely where I am!


This was so good I may just have to drive north and try another one tomorrow!

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.