View from Oban Bothy

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

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

A Sweltering Dales Backpack, 24th–26th June 2018

Messrs Rye & Walker had planned this little jaunt and foolishly invited me along….probably knowing I’d bring them beer. Which I did. Obv.

The Plan was to meet up at Hebden near Grassington on Sunday around 2pm. I’d had a particularly tough week and so decided to make my own way to the first camp spot of the trip on Conistone Moor, meeting up with Martin and Andrew at 10pm. My alternative plan was a good ‘un, it meant that my walk avoided the silly high temperatures of the day.


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The Planned Route

A few shots from my evening walk from Hebden to Conistone Moor, Sunday’s overnight pitch  :

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I eventually found Alan and Martin just after 10pm. I wasted no time in getting my tent up (I used my TN LaserComp….just to remind it that I still loved it) and distributing the cans of beer I’d lugged up.

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Monday morning dawned very brightly and rather warmly. After a quick breakfast and a few mugs of reviving caffeine we were off, via Great Whernside, to Kettlewell for tea, coffee, bacon butties etc.

It was now getting very hot. I don’t know how Martin & Andy coped with long trousers, I was cookingly hot in my lightweight kilt and T shirt.

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Wot?

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Looking back to Kettlewell

After our refreshment stop we headed out, climbing out of the valley. This was tough going in the very strong sun.

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We’d had a good day of walking, but the high temperature and very strong sun slowed us down. Water was very scarce. We eventually found an almost dried-out tarn. My Sawyer filter clogged in seconds. Andy’s MSR Guardian filter was a life saver, it filtered what was virtually mud, converting it to clear and potable water.


We needed to find a suitable pitch for the night, ideally with a water source – not easy. Eventually we pitched up at Horse Head Gate, actually on the wide path. There was a trickle of a stream nearby so we were sorted for the night. 

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Decision time.

The Plan for the next day was to head over to Pen-y-ghent, this was clearly going to be a problem. Limestone country isn’t known for a surplus of surface water – and water was going to be a vital requirement if we were to continue with our route.

Home for the night on Monday:

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Sunset

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Sunrise

We chose to re-route and cut our trip short by a day. We’d camped on the Pennine Journey LDP, this offered us an easy way off the top and down to the River Wharfe at Yockenthwaite and then to pick up the Dales Way – much easier walking, plus far more chance of picking up water.

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An ex-mole on the Pennine Journey LDP

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Descending to Yockenthwaite

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The dried-up River Wharfe at Yockenthwaite

At 7.45am it was so hot that we were actively searching out shade. Bits of woodland provided some relief from the blazing sun – but the flying insects were a damned nuisance. Smidge helped.

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St Michael and All Angels Church at Hubberholme

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At Buckden we sat outside the village shop, ate ice creams and glugged cold drinks.

The Dales Way follows the course of the River Wharfe so it was fairly flat (apart from some hilly bits) and easy walking.

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At last, water in the River Wharfe

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Conistone Pie

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Limestone pavement

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En-route to Kettlewell and more ice cream

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Posing outside Kettlewell’s village shop: purveyors of el-cheapo electrolyte drink. And ice cream. (Poor quality pic due to a mucky lens on my phone)


Next stop: Grassington…and a pub. No beer though, we drank copious amounts of coke, water, shandy – anything that was refreshing, cooling and rehydrating.

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Hebden, so near….

We arrived back at Hebden around 4.45pm, we needed more ice cream and cold drinks – the tea room was still open it was doing good business. We made full use of it’s facilities…all of them!

We parted company around 6pm, Andy and Martin headed off darn sarf whilst I enjoyed a very pleasant drive through the Dales and eventually back home to Manchester.

First job when I arrived home was to run a much needed cool bath and have a good long soak, that cooled me down nicely.

I’d considered going to the monthly music session at the Lord Eldon in Knutsford….but I was too knackered! A cold beer at home suffficed.

Thanks to andy & Martin for planning the trip, for cutting it sort Winking smile and for inviting me along. It was good.

Full photograph album here.

Monday, 11 June 2018

TGOC2018, Day 10, Bridies

In which we meet Rowan

Firstly, missed from yesterday’s entry:

Cuckoo count: 1 (yes, just one) – VERY poor

Other wildlife: Not much at all really. No wild Challengers - although we met two very civilised Challenge virgins.

So, on with Day 10….

I surfaced around 7am with a mouth like a well-used flip-flop.

My tongue felt like a breeding ground for cactii. Copious quantities of coffee helped disguise the ghastly taste in my mouth. Heaven knows what that was all about – it’s not as if I’d been drinking alcohol.*

Oliver & Jo (you don’t mind me calling you ‘Jo’ do you Joanna?) had been up for a while and were well on with packing. They needed an early start because they were due to hit the East coast on Wednesday….plus they probably didn’t relish another day walking with a couple of strange blokes in kilts. Understandable really.

Off they went, via Kirkmichael, which just happened to be where we were initially aiming for.

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A man in a kilt – in deep thought. The man, not the kilt.

It was only few miles to Kirkmichael, but what a pleasant little walk it was. We only got lost a little bit – probably because we were just enjoying the pleasing scenery. Or maybe it was because we were gabbing too much and forgot to look at the map.

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Kirkmichael’s Kirk…closed and up for sale


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The Village Pump

Whatever, we arrived at Kirkmichael’s Village Shop, purveyors of fine bridies, pots of tea and nice chocolate cake. Oh, and cheap whisky for Mike. So rather unsurprisingly we ate bridies, drank tea, ate chocolate cake (not Mike ‘cos he’s not allowed, so I had his) whilst I explored the contents of the food parcel the shop was holding for me. I was more than a bit relieved to find that I’d packed my maps – at least I’d know where we were going for the next few days.

Anyroadup, if you ever go through Kirkmichael you can do much worse than calling into the shop. The staff are lovely, they sell cheap whisky, chocolate cake…and they’ll hold a food parcel for you. Norralot not to like really.

Heaving our rather heavier packs onto our backs we nearly jumped out of our skins when a campervan, piloted by none other than our Toby, blasted it’s horn, left about 6” of rubber on the road and swerved onto the shop’s forecourt – scattering young children who’d been playing innocent young children-type games – like pulling legs off spiders, teasing dogs and taking the mickey out of kilt-clad Challengers.

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Toby was ably assisted by co-pilot and chief navigator Vicky (who I suspect is responsible for ensuring everything goes to plan) and flight engineer and lovely smile-generator Rowan.

What a lovely surprise that was! This was the first time I’d met Rowan, a delightful little boy, a trainee Challenger in fact, and I’d not seen Toby & Vicky since the TGOC a couple or three years ago. They’re lovely people and the Challenge is the poorer for their absence.

Bidding our farewells, they headed north whilst we continued in a sort of easterly direction. Mostly.

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After some interesting navigational decisions we passed by Ashintully Castle’s ‘Keep Out’, ‘Private – we don’t want your sort here’, ‘Go Away’ and ‘Welcome to Scotland’ signs.

It’s nice to feel wanted.

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We walked through some very pleasant countryside to camp at Coire a ‘Bhaile (NO115627), a nice spot that was almost flat and had a nice stream running close-by.

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Tea was an experiment: I’d found a nice recipe for Lentil Soup on an American cookery website I subscribe to. The soup was delicious, but being American, the recipe made LOADS. I ate loads of the soup, froze loads and dehydrated the rest. Tea tonight was that soup. The good news was that the experimental meal was successful. It was tasty, nutritious and very easy to dehydrate & rehydrate. The recipe now resides in my little red ‘Backpacking Meals’ recipe book.

It mizzled a bit during the evening so I stayed put in my tent to write up this diary, listen to Mike slurp his Kirkmichael Single Malt blend (Bells) and subsequently drift off into an alcohol-induced snory sleep.

I drank camomile tea.

The day’s sunshine (and there wasn’t THAT much) had charged my solar charger, the charge level had gone up from 3 LEDs to it’s maximum of 5 LEDs – it must be doing SOMETHING right.

Cuckoos Count: 2 (better)

Wildlife: Nothing of any note today. No wild Challengers either – although we did meet the very civilised Jo & Oliver who we’d camped with the previous night.


*I’d eaten a Mars Bar (=loads of sugar) before bed the previous night – maybe that contributed to having a mouth like a lavatory pan.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Dancing up the Mayday sun, Tuesday 1st May 2018

Windgather Rocks

The fine folk of Powderkegs like to rise early on Mayday morning in order to dance up the sun on their local top, Windgather Rocks. At 416m it’s not a towering peak but it’s a nicely dramatic crag. It’s famous for rock climbing, good views (when it doen’t rain), easy access, and er, Mayday morning morris dancing.

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Windgather Rocks

UK Climbing describe to top as crag being amply provided with square-cut jugs and picnic spots. Well, I’m not sure about square-cut jugs but the top certainly offers nice flat bits for picnics. And dancing.

Rather than get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to drive over in good time for the 5.36am sunrise I chucked some gear into my pack and set up camp on the top last night.

This was my second Powderkegs Mayday morning – last year I was joined by Joules & Rob – we camped. This year it was only Rob who showed up – he drove over in the morning rather than camp. Rob does photography rather well. He’s a pretty decent musician too. And a good dance-caller. He’s also a really nice guy….but don’t tell him I said so, it might go to his head.

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An hour or so of not very fruitful night-time photography preceded a hot cuppa and a snuggle-down around 1am.

4 hours later my alarm jangled me awake and in time for caffeine followed by caffeine.

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Dancers were already arriving – the sun waits for no man. Or woman. Or dog for that matter.

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I took some photographs, chatted, sang a song, ate a sausage butty and then went home, getting back around 7.15am.

It was good.

Thanks Powderkegs, you’re a great bunch - you actually get out there and DO IT! And you gave me a great excuse to get out in the tent last night Smile

Oh, and thanks for the lovely sausage butties!

Lots more photographs are here.

Rob’s far better photographs may well be here…I hope.

And a video c/o, and I never thought I’d say that, The Daily Mail



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