View from Oban Bothy

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

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Pitmen Poets, Monday 13th February 2017

I went to see The Pitmen Poets last night, they were performing at Crewe’s Lyceum Theatre….this was AFTER the Curry Walk of course.

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This was a tremendously powerful and evocative performance at a beautiful venue. There's still chance to see them: Melksham, London, Bury Met, Bathgate, Hexham, and the Sage Gateshead between now and 19th February.

https://youtu.be/NJmF2uXKBbc

The concert is a mix, mainly songs but plenty of stories and some poetry. It's entertaining - quite funny at times, interspersed with the tales of hardship and tragedy.

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Some of the material is traditional, some self-penned (Jez Lowe being the master!), other material is gleaned from the writing of Tommy Armstrong and others.

https://youtu.be/_3spqmde7Gw

It's all really excellent. It's a must-see show if you're remotely interested in the history (and exploitation) of coal miners and coal mining, especially in the North East.
Even if the subject matter doesn't interest you I'm sure you'll enjoy the high standard of performance of Bob Fox, Billy Mitchell, Jez Lowe and Benny Graham...... although southerners may struggle with some of the dialect stuff!

Images nicked from the Pitmen Poets website….I’m sure the guys won’t mind!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Thursday 15th October 2015, A Tockholes Trot

6.5 miles with 1000’ of descent.

I was in dire need of a run.

There was a part of a trail route that I needed to recce, I’ve not been ‘out’ for a few days and it’s left me feeling quite lethargic, but more than anything else I’ve been shamed into pulling my trail shoes on by Old Running Fox a fine figure of a man if ever there was one.

This young man gets out virtually every day, rain, hail or shine. It’s only very rare bouts of illness that confine him to barracks – even then he manages to drag himself out into the hills more often than not. I really had no excuse.

I parked the car outside the very fine Royal Arms in Tockholes, deepest Lancashire. The area hadn’t seen rain for a while so the usually very boggy ground was only a bit very boggy in parts. Running through lovely woodland towards the Roddlesworth Reservoirs I passed a few walkers, and passed by a couple of runners…..er, well they passed me.

image The Upper Roddlesworth Reservoir

The track following the River Roddlesworth was a bit boggy but quite runnable.

imageAutumn leaves were really quite beautiful, unfortunately the dynamic range of the sensor on my Lumix DMC-ZS3 really wasn’t up to the job of displaying their colours very well. I should spend a few quid and buy a better compact. I must speak to Ian, he knows all about these things.

imageThe trickling River Roddlesworth

imageGreat Hill 

Across the busy A675 and a gentle uphill pull to Great Hill and rather more squelchy bog. By the time I got to the top of Great Hill my tootsies were a little waterlogged, and, as I was to find out later, dyed a dark brown. From the peat. Honest.

Interestingly, well I thought it was interesting, the cats eyes on the A675 are of the new electronic type. A solar cell charges a small battery which in turn powers bright white LEDs which switch on when traffic is detected. Clever, eh?

imageElectronic Cats Eyes 

image Darwen Tower from Great Hill

I ran trotted walked up to the top of Great Hill – then ran down t’other side. Getting even muckier. Then I ran back to cross the A675 again, this time to run by the ruins of Hollinshead Hall.

image Hollinshead Hall…..well it WAS Hollinshead Hall….once upon a time.

A mile of mainly tarmac took me back to the car. It was tempting to call in to the Royal Arms for a beer and a bag of chips but I resisted.

A good couple of hours – 1hrs 40mins actually, but I wasn’t racing….’cos I’ve got far better things to do with my time. Trail running is for enjoyment :-)

Where I went:

Tockholes 6

6.5 miles with 1000’ of downhill. And uphill.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

18 – 21 March 2015, A Llangynllo to Caersws backpack

Day 1, Llangynllo to Beacon Hill

On Wednesday afternoon Mike and I got off the train at Llangynllo station, a tiny station, secreted in someone’s back garden. Very odd.

P1040033

The Plan for the day was to walk a few miles and pitch for the night, which is exactly what we did. Clear skies and a cold breeze ensured a cold night’s camp. Fortunately we’d come well prepared: woolly undies, thick socks, pies, and lashings of whiskey hot chocolate.

This trip was planned by Mike and he’d researched the area well. He wanted to tick some tops and the route was put together with this in mind. Potential pitches were checked for potentialness by studying his maps of the area and one of the Cairngorms. This certainly paid off, we now know there’s a brilliant place to camp by the Cairngorm Club Footbridge, close to the Lairigh Ghru. Oh, and some lovely pitches in this sparsely populated area of Wales.

This area really is beautiful. Okay, the weather couldn’t have been better, but really, this area is stunning. There’s loads of interesting features: ditches, dykes, tumuli, windfarms and loads more. Better still, it’s quite unspoilt. Apart from the windfarms.

P1040037The first hill of the trip was Pool Hill which had a little pool to the SW of it’s top. This hill was incorporated into the few miles of tarmac, Land Rover tracks and footpaths, including Glyndwr’s Way, to our first overnight stop. Our pitch had decently flat ground, running water close(ish) by, and a fine chorus of croaking frogs and froglets.

P1040039  First night’s pitch, close to Beacon Hill

P1040040

GPX route 1Our route for the day, very clearly defined (eh?) by a purple squiggly thing.

Starting at the bottom right and finished at the top left of the map. 4.4 miles, 900’ ascent

It was a damned cold night, lots of hot chocolate (and other stuff) was consumed in the interest of warding off the coldness. Once in our sleeping bags we stayed put until the morning, it was too chilly to be sociable. Thanks heavens for the ‘I’ newspaper and BBC R4. My new toy, a Thermarest Neoair, did the job well.

Day 2, Beacon Hill to Kerry Hill

An early night meant an early morning, or it should have done. It was better to stay in my cosy sleeping bag until around 8am, it being so very cold. Even the Akto’s built-in shower was only able to provide a shower of ice crystals.

P1040047Frosty tents

Beacon Hill has a trig point set on a tumulus, one of four tumuli on the summit if the 1:50K OS map is to be believed. This was our first objective of the day – if you didn’t count all the coffee I needed to kickstart my body.

P1040050 Mike on Beacon Hill

Heading north (and downhill) we came across a fenced-off area that at first glance appeared to perhaps be an open pit. On closer inspection we found a pile of rotting carrion, surrounded by snares – perhaps to catch unwary foxes:

P1040054Look carefully and you’ll see a snare. I’m not sure of the legality of such traps.  

Careful study of the OS map revealed the presence of a pub in Felindre, about 3 miles north of Beacon Hill. As our route took us through Felindre we decided that we could be considered rude if we didn’t call in the pub for cup of tea, and maybe a nice scone. The pub was easy to find but our beer tea and scones would have to wait:

P1040062 

P1040064Our fan club 

We continued, thirstily, to our next goal – Anchor. Anchor, for those not in the know, is the start point for the annual Across Wales Walk. I was more than a bit disappointed to find that the Anchor Inn at Anchor had closed down, a very sad sight (and site) indeed:

P1040066 A very shocked Mike, dazed by the realisation that beer wasn’t coming our way that day.

Not (very) disheartened, we continued our merry way to the Kerry Ridgeway, an ancient route running from Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire (famous for the Three Tuns Brewery) and Cider House Farm in Powys, which may or may not have been famous for cider.

P1040070Ceri Wood 

We joined the route at Kerry Pole:

P1040072 What I didn’t realise at the time was that Kerry Pole is the site of a megalithic stone circle. Had I known, I’d have spent a bit more time there. Oh well, onwards:

P1040073 

We were only into our second day of this trip but it was remarkable in that we’d seen very few people so far: the previous day we met a farmer who was curious to know what we were up to, on this day we saw a family out for a walk along with dad(?), a gorilla of a fat bloke, ill-treating his doggy. We weren’t at all impressed by this behaviour one teeny little bit. Some folk should just not be allowed to have dogs. Or children. It’s a shame, his children seemed quite nice.

This unpalatable episode was almost forgotten when we came a across another doggy owner walking his barmy labrador along the Kerry Ridgeway. This lovely bloke walked his doggy miles and miles every day. And he was a motorcyclist. The man, not the doggy. At least I don’t think so.

P1040074

The Kerry Ridgeway was crossed by Cross Dyke, one of the many dykes in the area. Two Tumps was (were?) adjacent to where the dyke crossed the Kerry Ridgeway. I thought that the Two Tumps was me and Mike.

P1040087I photographed Cross Dyke but forgot to photograph Two Tumps. Worratump. 

More Kerry Ridgewaying took us to Kerry Hill and the search for a pitch for the night. A nice little spot, flat and grassy, presented itself and our two Aktos were quickly erected:

P1040076Akto Central, Kerry Hill

Kit failure

Another cold night followed. In my case it was a slightly worrying night too. I’d avoided buying a Thermarest Neoair for some years, simply because of the problems that other owners had experienced – namely delamination / internal baffle failure, and overnight deflation. I was more than a bit miffed to find that my brand-new Neoair’s internal baffles had begun to fail after just one night’s use. A small bulge was developing at the bottom end of the mat. Fortunately the bulge was in a position not to cause me a problem, but it was certainly a concern. The Neoair will be going back to Gaynor’s later this week. 

Anyway, the day’s travels:

GPX route 2b

The second bit: Felindre (of closed pub fame) to Kerry Hill

GPX route 2aThe first bit: Beacon Hill (nearly) to Felindre 

12.3 miles, 1900’ ascent

 

Day 3, Kerry Hill to Cobbler’s Gate…

….well it was very close to Cobbler’s Gate. With a name like that I just had to include it in the write-up. 

The RAF were out to play today. Fast jets were flying around, it looked like they were having great fun. A low flying Hercules trundled in front of us, the pleasant rumble of it’s engines wasn’t at all intrusive.

P1040096 

P1040093Then a funny thing happened. The sky darkened a little bit, the birdies stopped singing a little bit, it chilled a little bit, and then out of nowhere a mysterious flying object streaked across the sky – could this be the RAF’s new stealth fighter?

P1040083The picture quality is poor, I didn’t have time to set the camera up – it was literally shoot and ask questions later.

Oh, and then there was the partial eclipse. That was good, even though we couldn’t see it.

Mike wanted to whizz up some lumpy little hills so our route wandered around quite a bit. It was none the worse for that, in fact it just prolonged the sheer pleasure of being in this lovely area in grand weather.

The first lump entailed a bit of trespassing going somewhere where we weren’t supposed to. Never mind, nobody saw us climb the hill without a name at SO089852. Not even the farmer at Glog Farm. 

So busy were we yacking that we turned up a Land Rover Track at Bryn Dadlau that we should have walked past, it just seemed to go the right way – uphill. It was only a minor error and we were soon back on track.

Pegwn Mawr was next, with it’s broken Belfast sink, ancient cairns, and seemingly even more ancient (and certainly more knackered) windmilly generator things. At 586m ASL this top is very significant. Or something. Ask Mike, he knows these things.

P1040107  Posing at Pegwn Mawr’s trig point

P1040108Pegwn Mawr’s Belfast sink (broken) and the cairn – which appears to be a midge’s wotsit higher than the trig point. And a load of mainly knackered windmilly things.

The man at the Beeb warned of wet weather coming in from the west, it was certainly getting cloudy – still good walking weather though.

The rest of the day’s walking was on really good tracks, the best surfaced of which were windfarm service roads. We walked north, which the more observant of you will notice is NOT east. But this is Wales, not Scotchlandshire. And it’s not May either.

About 5 miles of really easy walking took us to our intended pitch for that night around Cwmffrwd at SO041876. Whilst it looked good on the map it was completely unsuitable – loads of dead bracken, boggy bits, lumpy bits etc. We eventually spotted a half-decent patch of almost grass-type stuff on only a bit very lumpy and only slightly very boggy ground. It was mostly out of sight of the road, and better still, it had a lovely stream running by.

P1040110A not so cold night followed. The cloud was well and truly cloudy by 7pm and we were ready for the promised rain, which didn’t actually arrive. One thing about wild camping in the cold, you get plenty of sleep – once in your tent you’re unlikely to surface until the next morning.

The day’s wanderings (right to top left):

GPX route 3

16.7 miles with 1700’ ascent

 

Day 4, Cobbler’s Gate to Caersws.

The cloud of the previous evening had vanished and the sun was shining brightly.

P1040112Catkins in the morning sun

It was a short and sunny walk into Caersws and it’s train station = the end of our trip. The tea room in the village provided mugs of tea and butties, very civilised. I even managed a quick wash and shave in the tea room’s wash room.

There seems to be some local resistance to the expansion of the local windfarms – a particularly effective poster was on display in the teashop:

image

The only pub that was open in the village at that hour had just the one handpump on, serving Feeling Foul Felinfoel - that was in worse than poor condition. Lager & Guinness were the only alternatives….beggars can’t be choosers.

P1040120 For Alan

The last day’s walk:

GPX route 4

4.1 miles and 580’ descent

I was expecting a good few days away, I wasn’t expecting it to be so good though. The area is superb for backpacking, I’ll definitely be going back before too long. Thanks to Mike for his great company, coming up with the idea and then putting it all together, it’s a plan I certainly wouldn’t have come up with.  I really enjoyed it!

More photographs are here.

Mike’s version of events can be read here.

Walklakes.co.uk

Our route was tracked using my Garmin Etrex20 with 1:50K OS maps installed. The mileages and ascents were gleaned from both the Garmin and by loading the resulting GPX files to the very excellent WalkLakes (free) OS mapping website. WalkLakes is well worth a visit.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

28th December, Black Lake, Lindow Common

Sunset today

imageI went out for a much-needed brain-straightener this afternoon and found myself wandering around Lindow Common on the outskirts of Wilmslow.

The name Lindow is derived from Llyn Ddu = Lake Black. The lake shot to fame in 1984 when the preserved body of a man was discovered by commercial peat cutters. The word on the street is that Pete Bog / Pete Marsh / Lindow Man may well have been a sacrifice of some sort. His body has been carbon dated to between 2BC and 119AD – so he’s quite old.