Archive for April 2007

Wildcamp route planning just about finished

Posted by on April 30th 2007 in Great Escapes

While other hardy souls are slogging it out across Scotland on the TGO Challenge, we'll be taking it easy. We've decided to do a weekend mini-tour of the Far Eastern Fells, primarily because Chris has been wanting to walk along the High Street for some time now.

I know that there are many people out there who would consider this to be just a long day-walk, but we'll be taking things easy, the pace will be leisurely and we intend to savour the experience, not dash across the hills in a race to the next waypoint.

The main route takes in:

  • Howtown
  • Bonscale Pike 1718ft
  • Arthur's Pike 1747 ft
  • Loadpot Hill 2201ft
  • Wether Hill 2210ft
  • High Raise 2634ft
  • Rampsgill Head 2581ft
  • Kidsty Pike 2560ft
  • High Street 2718ft
  • The Knott 2423ft
  • Rest Dodd 2278ft
  • The Nab 1887ft
  • Angletarn Pikes 1857ft
  • Any pub in Patterdale or Glenridding

Optional add-ons from High Street include Thornthwaite Crag 2569ft (just to see that magenta sky again!) and Mardale Ill Bell 2496ft.

Wildcamping spots and water-gathering opportunities have yet to be finalised, but such trivial matters should sort themselves out soon enough 🙂

I'll have to get this lot plotted into Memory-Map to see what sort of totals it comes up with, then when we've done the graft I'll do a comparison with the route as recorded by the Geko 201. It'll be interesting to see if there are any major differences.

It should be a good weekend if the weather is good.

Not doing much

Posted by on April 28th 2007 in Rambling on...

Outdoors activities so far this weekend have been restricted to the final planting out of the herb/spice garden. Coriander, Oregano and a Curry Plant (and many others that I can't remember the names of) have been lovingly planted out between the survivors from last year. My hands now stink like the slops-bin at an Indian restaurant, but the resulting produce from this aromatic corner of the garden should give a nice kick to the next batch of dehydrated hill-food 🙂

Tomorrow we'll probably drag the kids out for a walk around the local common and woods. It'll be good for the soul and the camera skills, I reckon. I must remember to take the turd-trowel, though, in order to cope with the effects of the flucloxacillin!

Drought conditions for a month

Posted by on April 26th 2007 in Illness and injury

The fun from last weekend away just goes on and on...

The tick that I pulled out of my upper leg on Sunday has left a lovely scarlet calling-card, so I went to see the quack and it turns out that I've probably got the dreaded Lyme disease. As if that's not enough, it seems that the Glenfiddich intake has aggravated an ulcer that I didn't even know I had. That probably explains my nausea since Saturday.

Now I'm on antibiotics for a week, and Lansoprazole and no alcohol for a month. I don't feel unwell, that's the weird thing about it. I don't think that it will keep me from skiving as usual.

Oh, what joy 🙁

OM Eskdale Meet 20th – 22nd April 2007

Posted by on April 24th 2007 in Great Escapes

Another excellent meet. A curious blend of good company, mixed weather and excessive alcohol consumption, with some walking thrown in just for good measure.

The drive-up on Friday with Sam was punctuated with several stops, first for a piccy session just after leaving the M6, second came a mini shopping-session at Ambleside (where we met Kate) and finally we had a mini-break at Hard Knott, where Kate told us how to cheat death if lazing about in a laconicum.


Sam and Kate at Hardknott Fort

After we finished pitching the tents, Kate looked up to the local peak and announced that it looked like there was a nipple at the top. According to Wainwright and the O.S., said height is named Great Barrow, but henceforth it will be referred to as Kate's Nipple, in honour of our learned friend.


Kate's Nipple (AKA Great Barrow, Eskdale)

Friday evening was spent at the pub and later we grouped around the campfire to talk shop (and sheep).

Despite having great plans for Saturday, Messrs Guinness and Glenfiddich conspired to afflict my morning, so I had an excellent chill-out half-day on-site with Ian and A instead.


Too much alcohol! (thanks to Jamie Bassnett for the piccy)

Unusual cloud formations over an unseen Scafell Massif

Mike tempted us up to a windswept and desolate Devoke Water for an afternoon stroll, which was enough to purge the alcohol from my system.


Ian and A take a break at Washfold Point

After another short pub session we got back to the campfire to exchange tales of the day's exploits, then retired as the rain started.

All plans for Sunday were washed away by the rain. It was tempting to walk through the gloom but we didn't fancy walking miles to get to a cairn on a hill without a view, so we went back to the gear-shops of Ambleside and then headed home.

Ironically, the weather was glorious at my place, so I managed to dry the tent etc. before taking Sam to the station for the final leg of his journey home.

Nothing to report

Posted by on April 18th 2007 in A bit of a rant, Great Escapes

The weather's fine and the outdoors world is calling me out, but I'm stuck in the house doing the b*s*a*d f*c*i*g plumbing. No doubt it'll piss it down as soon as I finish pratting about with the pipes, as per usual.

I'm looking forward to the weekend (the OM Eskdale Meet) more than ever, now.

Decisions, decisions…

Posted by on April 16th 2007 in Camera kit, Shiny new kit

The new lens has arrived from Onestop Digital, and all seems well. No p&p, duty or VAT (they say that they'll refund any charges if/when I get any).

I've just registered the warranty on the Nikon website, so what should I do next?

Carry on with the DIY?
Tidy the garden?
Clean the car?
Clean the windows?
Help the neighbour with his DIY?
Test the lens?

Hmmm... a tough choice...


Here are a couple of test shots, just for me to see what they look like:





A big “thank you”

Posted by on April 13th 2007 in Thanks

Just a post to express my gratitude to Jón Fossá, who, despite being a complete stranger to me, responded to my emailed plea for help regarding photo identification. Many of my pics of the Faeroe Islands would be labelled as "location unknown" or similar, if Jón hadn't been so helpful. He's got his own website at which is worth a visit. Thanks again, Jón.

After much dithering, I’ve ordered a new zoom lens.

Posted by on April 11th 2007 in Shiny new kit

I've been looking for a bargain longer zoom lens for the Nikon D50 for a while now. The bog-standard 18-55mm kit-lens that came with the camera is good for those scenic wide shots, but there have been occasions where there has been some interesting detail which I couldn't capture with it.

After much searching and comparing specs, prices, reviews and weights, I decided against getting the other standard kit-lens (the 55-200mm) and went for a Nikon AF Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6 G instead. It's cheap, so I reckon that it'll be a grey import, but the ad says that it's got a Nikon warranty. It's not as if I'm a professional photographer that needs four figures' worth of kit, so I reckon that it will be good enough.

Time to start planning and packing

Posted by on April 10th 2007 in Great Escapes

The OM Eskdale Meet is fast approaching, so it's time to start deciding which kit to take.

I never used to have all this decision-making hassle before I signed up to OM. Except for tents, I just had one set of everything that I needed, and packed it all. Simple. A ten minute job.

Nowadays things are more complex... Which tent? Or should I take the hooped bivvy and a tarp? Which shell-jacket? Which sleeping bag? Which pack? Do I really need the GPS or the phone? I dare not take the lot - aside from needing a bigger car, Chris might think that I'm moving out!

I had considered having a gear-cull, but that wouldn't be wise seeing as how Ella has taken to this walking lark. I would only end up buying the stuff again for her. If only I could get her to buy my spare kit... No, that's a mad idea, that would mean that a pocket-money rise would be proposed, and then refused. I can do without that extra hassle.

Never mind. Better too much than too little, I suppose.

Who needs a map?

Posted by on April 7th 2007 in Great Escapes

Yesterday we decided that today we would all have a day out at Rutland Water, so we made preparations and a picnic lunch, had an early night, then got up and out in good time (for a change).

100 yards down the road...

Chris: "Do you know the way?"
Me: "Yes. A5, then Lutterworth, then Market Harborough, then Corby, then Oakham. Simple."
Chris: "We'll need an atlas."
Me: "No we won't."
Chris: "Yes we will."
Me: "Please, just let me do the driving!"

So off we went. A5, then Lutterworth, then Market Harborough. Then, in Corby, distracted by the kids shouting in the back of the car, I took the wrong exit at a roundabout. I knew straight away that I'd taken the wrong turn-off, and said so.

Chris: "I told you that we would need an atlas! See, You're lost!"
Me: "No, I'll just turn around and take the correct exit next time."

Turns around. Goes back to roundabout. Takes the correct exit (back on the route).

Chris: "Find a garage."
Me: "Why?"
Chris: "So we can buy an atlas. I don't know where we are."
Me: "I know where we are, we're not lost."
Chris: "I don't care, find a garage."
Me: "OK."

Finds garage. Co-pilot goes in. Comes back out with an atlas.

Chris: "There. Now we can find our way there."
Me: "I know where we are. WE ARE NOT LOST."
Chris: "OK, show me just where we are on the map."
Me: "We are here, (points to junction on map), exactly on the right route."
Chris: "Oh."


Me: "And how much money did you waste on that atlas?"
Chris: "Erm... £11.99."
Me: "You're joking! £11.99 for an atlas that we don't need!"
Chris: "I'll keep it in my car."
Me: "Good. Now just let me drive."

Twenty minutes or so later, we were in Oakham... not lost... not late... just £11.99 poorer than when we started. Anyway, a good time was had by all. Here, have a few pics:










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