Archive for May 2008


The sun's out and the weekend looks like it might be our best chance to get out and do something worthwhile. I'll let you know if anything interesting happens. Meanwhile, here are a few BGbytes:

Long-drawn-out endings...

Days after the close of the wildcamping e-petition, the total's gone up again. It's now at 2021.

Long lines...

The kite line disaster has been addressed - we've shuffled the lines down and replenished at the top, so Anna's 1.2m now has Ella's 30m 50kg braids, Ella's 1.6m now has my repaired 30m(ish) 70kg Protecs, and my 2m Imp's standard 18m 100kg Dyneemas have been supplemented with 30m 110kg and 30m 180kg Ozone Dyneemas. Hopefully we'll get out and give our rehashed setups some test-flights in the next few days.

Long stories...

For those still interested in Zooomr, I found Zooomrwatch via my blog's visitor stats.

Long hikes...

For those interested in Iceland, the CDT, the PCT etc., I found Phlumf while following another link in my stats. There are some impressive pics in there, I recognise quite a few of the places in the Iceland photo set.


Posted by on May 28th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

The wildcamping e-petition total's just gone up a bit, the published count is now 2019, although the true count is 2020.

If this carries on, we might make 2500 by Christmas!

Pings and cracks

Posted by on May 27th 2008 in Kites, Weather

As usual, the good old British weather kicked up a storm for the WHB*, with winds of 20-40 mph tearing boughs from trees and flattening whatever we were hoping to grow in the garden. Of course, it also banjaxxed our hopes of a pleasant seasonal day out the kids, but eventually we couldn't stand being cooped-up indoors any longer, so we grabbed coats and kites and headed off to Bosworth Park.

We set up Anna's 1.2m foil first, let it go and it was overhead no time, pulling hard but still manageable.

Next we started to set up Ella's 1.6m, but part-way through a good gust caught Anna's kite, it was too much for one of her lines which promptly pinged and snapped. We decided to put Ella's stronger lines on Anna's kite and arranged for them to take turns with it, on the basis that Ella's kite would be too much for Anna to hold down.

All seemed to be going well with them, so I unpacked the Ozone Imp and had a think about which lines to use with it...

On breezy days I usually fly it on a pair of 30m 70kg Climax Protecs, these lines have virtually no stretch and are really thin and slick, meaning that there's a lot of control and it's easy to wrap/unwrap twists made during spins. The longer length also means that it's easy to find more wind at the edge of the flying window. On windier days I tend to stick with the 18m 100kg braided Edelrid SK75 Dyneema lines that came with the kite - they're thicker and heavier, meaning that there's more wind-drag on them, cutting down the responsiveness and feel, but the shorter lines allow a more direct contact with the foil, there being less slack than an equivalent long line.

Decisions, decisions...

In the end, I set up with the Protecs. Chris had the controls while I held up the kite and launched it. It went up like a rocket, but Chris couldn't control it and it was soon back on the ground. Chris didn't want to fly it any more, so I took the leashes while she put the foil into the air. Yet again it went straight up without complaint, so I started to hunt around to find where the good and bad air was. Right at the top of the window I ran into some slack air and the kite-cells emptied, resulting in a fold-up and a relatively gentle fall back to earth. I gave one of the lines a gentle tug to free a minor wrap-around and the thing was back in the air immediately, pulling like a good 'un. Then...


The left line snapped a few feet below the kite which started to spin out of control 50ft up. The one remaining line now had to contend with the full force of the wind combined with the force of me recoiling from the breakage...

"Is it still attached?" asked Chris.

I looked up at kite. I looked across at the line.


It was hanging on bravely, but it was all too much... there was a slackening in the line...

"Err... NO!"

And it was off, over the field, no longer fighting the wind but being whisked away by it. It went up and over a huge oak tree, showing no signs of coming down beyond it. I was transfixed, in utter disbelief.

And all of a sudden Chris was off too, charging over the field in hot pursuit! I was doubly-transfixed, and in utterly utter disbelief! I've never seen her move so far so fast - she must have covered 250, perhaps 300 yards in well less that a minute, which is impressive for an asthmatic wearing walking-boots and a full complement of Paramo "waterproofs"!

She caught up with it when it snagged in some bushes at edge of the housing estate, bundled it up and strolled back in triumph, muttering things like "have you any idea how much I paid for this?" and "I can't believe that you just stood there and didn't chase it yourself."

Ella and Chris went for a walk around the park while I packed up and retired to the car, disgraced, to untangle the mess and salvage whatever good line was left. Anna came with me, she'd had enough fun for one day.

Next time I'll use the 100kg lines, or the replacements that I'm considering.

*WHB: the result of a brilliant "triumph of mouth over brain" by a Radio Cumbria presenter back in the 80s. I was checking out the weather forecast on the car radio while site-camping at Castlerigg Hall near Keswick when I heard "... and here is the weather forecast for the wank-holiday beak-end...". I laughed so much that I ached for days. I do hope the lass didn't lose her job because of it, but I never did hear her on the radio ever again.

Petition closes with 2017 signatories

Posted by on May 25th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

The final total is 2017, according to the webpage.

The petition finished 61st out of 6246 on the list of active petitions (i.e. in the top 1%) just before midnight, and currently it's 339th out of 13239 closed petitions (i.e. in the top 3%).

It's a fine tribute to all who've pushed boundaries and pulled strings to keep this thing moving. Well done, you lot!

Now... onto the next phase... watch this space.


Posted by on May 23rd 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

That's how many more signatures the wildcamping e-petition needs to reach the 2000 mark.

There's not much time left to get your name on the list, so if you're going to do it, now's the time.

If you've still not signed up, give it some Deep Thought...


... you know it makes sense.

Not quite “Debbie does Dallas”

Posted by on May 22nd 2008 in Congratulations!

More like "Darren and Dawn do Scotland"!

My congratulations go out to this pair of hardy souls who have just completed the 2008 TGO Challenge (if you're a Trial (stet) reader, that's a cross-Scotland walk).

Well done, you two, and everybody else who had a crack at it this year 😎

Bass-ic error

Posted by on May 22nd 2008 in In the News

LMAO when I heard about this on the radio this morning.

I know, it really isn't funny at all for the students, but the people that supposedly check these exam papers deserve to be laughed at.

Read the reactions of some of the affected here.

The irony is that "OCR" also stands for Optical Character Recognition.


Ever wondered…

Posted by on May 21st 2008 in Blog on Blog, Plugins

... what the 3-way lovechild of a HAL 9000, Stephen Hawking's E Z Keys/VoiceText combi and Brian Cobby's UK Speaking Clock would sound like?


Me neither.

Well, not until I hopped over to LondonBackpacker's blog and hit one of the odiogo "listen now" buttons at the top of his blog posts.

Top stuff!

I might be tempted to install it on here, if they can come up with a different voice. Jack Dee, perhaps? Or maybe Homer Simpson? Definitely NOT Brian Blessed, though.

Getting sorted out

Posted by on May 20th 2008 in Plugins, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.), Wildcamping


Arrangements for the annual BG + SWMBO wildcamp continue apace. The date is set. A new batch of fish risotto has just been dehydrated and frozen, to make up the shortfall of this favourite dish in the dried food stash in the freezer in the attic. FWIW, the latest batch has added truffles, that should be interesting as I have a mushroom intolerance. The routes (prime and FWAs) are 99% sorted, and the objectives are set. Maps have yet to be printed, but that's a short job anyway. The only thing we haven't decided yet is which tent to take: Chris is keen for us to carry the "take whatever the world throws at us" mountain tent as per usual, I'm considering taking something a tad more seasonal, and half the weight. No matter, there's no rush, we'll decide closer to departure based on what the refurbished MWIS predicts. Other than that, we're ready apart from the packing.


The recently-installed plugin, Comment Info Tip, just had to go. It was a handy little utility, but it didn't play nicely with Wavatars, so it's been uninstalled. If any later version proves compatible, I'll consider bringing it back.

Domestic bliss

At long last we have a new bath. After much cursing, a new 170cm white-enamelled steel behemoth was shoe-horned into the void created by the removal of the old 167cm champagne fibreglass tub that everybody here loved to hate. Sounds like a simple operation - just out with the old and in with the new, but the room's only 168cm wide which meant that some judicious chiselling was required. What joy!

The back garden's had a bit of a facelift during the recent fine weather. One of our patches of wilderness garden has been dug out, levelled and turfed, which means that we'll have more room to set up the Gibbon slackline. There was a number of unavoidable casualties during the land-clearance - a 6ft self-set yew had to be dug out, a 20ft elder was pollarded, a fine dog-rose was moved and many raspberry canes and a host of other native and exotic plants were uprooted, some of which were transplanted to other areas of the garden. We saved all of the bulbs (bluebells, snowdrops, daffodils and some others as yet unidentified), later in the year we'll replant them in the newly-created borders. We've left alone the large area of wilderness garden at the far end, so our impact on the wildlife has been minimal.

Ok, here’s the response.

Posted by on May 17th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

Shown below is the letter that Jonathan Shaw MP sent to my MP, David Tredinnick, in response to my email about the legalisation of wildcamping in England and Wales:


So, it's not a "yes" or a "no", more of a "not at present". Nevertheless, the wording is interesting... for starters, there's no mention of Wales, which is more than a little unfair.

For those out there who still insist that wildcamping is not against the law, how do you interpret the bit that states "Wild camping is prohibited under Schedule 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000"? Look, it's there, in black and white - wildcamping on CRoW Access Land is prohibited by the Act. On other land, it's Trespass if done without the permission of the landowner, and hence it's a civil offence.

I'm finding it hard to reconcile the statement "Any change to the current rules would require the introduction of new primary legislation" against the terms stated in the referenced Schedule 2 of the CRoW Act 2000. The observant among us will read Schedule 2 and note that "Regulations may amend paragraphs 1 and 2." Now this would appear to be an easier option than introducing new primary legislation, I reckon. Maybe it need not be so much of a "lengthy and resource-intensive process" as envisaged by the Minister.

Of course, all this hassle could have been avoided if wildcamping had been adequately defined in law, and then specifically permitted (or not "restricted" or "prohibited") by the Act.

Anyway, while we're on the subject of Section 2...

1: What's that in paragraph 1(a) about driving or riding vehicles? Does that not apply to mountain-bikers?

2: What's that in paragraph 1(t) about activities which are organised or undertaken ... for any commercial purpose? Does that not apply to walks led by a paid guide, or winter-skills courses, or the making of television programmes etc.?

3: I see that paragraph 1(l) prevents us from excavating cat-holes!

Hmm. I predict that I may be sending a response of my own.

p.s. e-petition count at end of the day = 1860, 7 days left, at least 140 more signatures required, that’s 20/day.

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