View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label What???. Show all posts
Showing posts with label What???. Show all posts

Friday, 16 June 2017

TGO Challenge 2017 Part 4, May 2017

Tuesday 23rd May, Spittal of Glen Muick to Tarfside

I slept very badly, the previous night’s terrorist attack in Manchester saw to that. I had my radio on most of the night trying to glean as much information as possible. There was little to learn in those first few hours, just that there had been carnage. A black cloud followed me for the next few days.


A trio of Aktos in the early morning


Allt Darrarie

The day’s Plan was fairly straightforward: over to Sheilin of Mark Bothy > Muckle Cairn > Glen Lee > Tarfside. Nothing difficult there, although the boggy gound to the bothy isn’t the nicest – even on a lovely sunny day like today.

Mick’s Plan B was far better: a bit of stream following delivered us, along lovely dry and grassy runnels to where we wanted to be.


Croydon leading Gill & Patrick of the Manchester Crew


Shielin of Mark Bothy with Mount Keene a very long way away

Having said before that my boots were dry, my right foot was feeling every-so slightly damp.

The route over Muckle Cairn involves a fair bit of bog-hopping but once at the top it’s a fairly straightforward descent into Glen Lee.


Into Glen Lee

Glen Lee marked the end of the big hills of my Challenge, not that I did many. From here onwards the hills would be far gentler and by lunchtime the next day the big mountains would just be a memory.


Loch Lee….where you really mustn’t camp ’cos of the night fishermen

It’s a bit of a boring trek alongside Loch Lee (where you mustn’t camp in case you disturb the night fishermen. And, presumably, night fisherwomen). to Tarfside so we decided that the nice bench seat at the East end of Loch Lee would make for a nice tea stop. We wouldn’t be camping, and it wasn’t night time anyway.


As I took my boots off – really to get some air at my slightly damp-feeling right foot…. there was a scream from Gill. Now I know I have whiffy feet, but this was over-reaction – surely.


She’d spotted a little passenger in my right boot.

No wonder my foot felt a bit odd. The poor thing had probably been in my boot for two days. I’m not sure if it expired because of the noxious foot fumes or it had met it’s end when I pulled my boots on. Whatever, it was quite dead now.

We continued, mouseless, to Tarfside and tea, bacon butties & cake. My tent went up in double quick time and my stove was pressed into service for more tea. The drinking kind, the eating one came later.

Beer was scarce at the Mason’s. For reasons best known to the Mason’s Computerised Stock Control System, the place was beer-less by 9pm.


The Mason’s

Many started on the wine, then the whisky. Not me though, I don’t go in for that sort of stuff. An early night followed.

I couldn’t get the thought of that poor mouse out of my mind though.

Cuckoo Count: 1

Wednesday 24th May, Tarfside to Northwaterbridge

BBC R4’s 6am news consisted mainly of coverage of the Manchester terrorist attack. The police appear to have made some progress, arrests had been made – but welcome as this news was, it wasn’t going to bring back the 22 who ended up losing their lives, nor would it be much consolation to those that suffered live-threatening and live-changing injuries.



Breakfast was a most civilsed affair – sitting on a real chair, eating off real plates using proper knives and forks. The Retreat knows how to look after Challengers. Before leaving I made full use of the facilities. It’s so much nicer to start a day’s walk feeling clean and smelling, er, a bit better.

It was dry and warm, some Challengers were heading NE for finish points such as Stonehaven. Others, like me, were following the trade route to Edzell (and more food!) and then Northwaterbridge.



River North Esk

I steamed along the footpath that roughly follows the course of the River North Esk. I was moving at a fair lick. I was mostly alone but that was fine, it gave me the chance to catch up with my thoughts – something you don’t always get when walking in company. Of course I met plenty, passed plenty – and was passed by plenty more.


I’ve stopped to chat to this farmer on more than one Challenge

Edzell appeared, mobile phone coverage too. I was at last able to catch up with family & friends to check that all were okay after the bomb attack. Thankfully all were well.


My now customary visit to The Inn for refreshments, er, refreshed me nicely. A most healthy meal of whale & chips followed by the most disgustingly large ice cream sundae ensured I wouldn’t need any tea that night.


 Lindy and Croydon

Onwards to Northwaterbridge….



I’m not sure what sort of fish this was in the River North Esk (a salmon?) but it doesn’t look too healthy. I estimated it was around 70 – 80cm long.


Friendly doggy in a garden, just over the river from Edzell.

The campsite at Northwaterbridge was full of Challenge Family. After my huge lunch I didn’t need to eat – but I drank oodles of tea. It had been a warm day and I hadn’t drunk enough.


After a long and hot shower I wandered around the campsite, mug of tea in hand, catching up with everyone and finding out what they’d all been up to.


L>R: ? , Barbara, Lindy. Illumination by Baby Bel candle

Then it was bed time. After two weeks of camping in the highlands, a commercial campsite like this isn’t the most restful place in the world – heavy waggons whizzing past on the adjacent A90 saw to that.

It was a warm night and I had a lot on my mind, I didn’t sleep well.

Cuckoo Count: 0

Thursday 25th May – to the seaside!

I was away from Northwaterbridge by around 7.45am. It was going to be a warm ‘un, the sun was already quite hot. I was glad it was going to be a short day.

The major obstacle of the day was met early on, the A90. You really take your life in your hands crossing this busy road.


Crossing the River North Esk for the last time this Challenge I’m rudely reminded that I’m re-entering ‘civilisation’.


River North Esk

The route to the coast is mostly tarmac but Lindy had pointed out a nice bit of track that presented a very pleasant diversion for over a mile. Looking at the map it appears to be the old road (or one of them) into Hillside.


Lindy’s far nicer route into Hillside


First sighting of the North Sea



Hillside’s War Memorial

From Hillside there’s just a short stretch of tarmac to the next obstacle of the day…


A garden centre….


….and strawberries

Next stop, the North Sea and the end of my TGOC 2017



It was great to be ambushed by Neil, he’d been lurking in the sand dunes – he knew where I was finishing and he’d walked up from Montrose to meet me, what a star!


The End

Apart from Cuckoo Count: 0…. and a few photographs worthy of appearing here:







 Even more photographs here.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday 17th April, Sea King in flight

Whinge warning

Bimbling through the delightful Oxfordshire countryside earlier today, having had a wonderful few days with good friends Daundering in the Chilterns, I heard the quite distinctive sound of a Sea King helicopter.

I knew I wasn’t lost, nor was I in need of rescue so I was quite satisfied it wasn’t looking for me. My emotions were really quite mixed: I’m really miffed that the government has privatised Search and Rescue. It can only be a matter of time before those unfortunate enough to need a helicopter rescue will be invoiced for their folly.

I know the Sea Kings are well past their sell-by date, but in their time they’ve saved many, many lives – military (their prime purpose) and civilian. They’re quite a magnificent machine, crewed by even more magnificent personnel. 

Now I’m not the brightest of people, but I fail to understand why a service that was designed to save military personnel lost in action at sea (and other places) shouldn’t be run by the Ministry of Defence – ie the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

The S.A.R. crews have gained invaluable experience answering calls to rescue those at sea or in the mountains. I can’t see any commercial outfit being anywhere near as dedicated, skilled or experienced – not unless they can turn a decent profit.

Surely our caring government can’t be putting money before saving lives. Can they?


This morning’s Sea King was returning to RAF Benson. I wonder how many more sorties it will fly before being scrapped.

End of whinge. For now.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

18th March 2015, Blogger: Strange Stats

Silly viewing stats

JJ’s Stuff isn’t the most popular of blogs by any means, but I regularly get around 100 – 120 viewings a day in spite of this.

Just recently I’ve had two ridiculously high daily viewing figures: one day last week I had 400+ viewings at stupid o’clock in the morning, and already today I’ve had 150+ viewings – and that was before 8am.

The odd times of viewings suggest to me that it might be an admirer / stalker / hacker or whatever from foreign lands – although delving deeper into the blogger stats doesn’t confirm this.

Has anyone else out there in Bloggershire had a similar experience?

Right, I’m off to eat Pie’s for a few day’s with one of my mate’s from Pielandshire. Were going to Wale’s.

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:


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 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.

    P1030236 P1030237

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


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:


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.


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……


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.

Friday, 8 August 2014

17th July 2014, Whore’s Hospital, Agden, near Lymm

On a canal towpath walk into Lymm from Timperley, the Long Suffering Rick pointed out an old building at SJ705873 he described as an Old Whore’s Hospital:
He might have said ‘Horse Hospital’ – but who ever heard of a hospital for horses?

Socially distanced music session. 24th June 2020

…with cake! Ed kindly offered the use of his back garden to sit and play music whilst maintaining a safe and sensible distance from one...