Archive for June 2008

25 years ago today…

Posted by on June 29th 2008 in Congratulations!
Tags:

... only two really important thin's happened...

The Black Adder, Episode 3 o' Series 1 (The Archbishop), were bein' first broadcast, an';

A Welshman, Luke Talion, were bein' born:

 

Who would have guessed that he would grow up into this handsome fella?:

 

The whole family would like t' wish ye a happy 25th birthday, Luke.

Your sisters send their love an' can't wait fer ye t' get in touch again.

Wherever ye be an' whatever ye're doin', we'll always be here fer ye.

You know where we be if ye need us.

Love from Mum, Stef, Ella an' Anna.

Resistance was futile

Posted by on June 28th 2008 in Shiny new kit, Thanks
Tags: , ,

A couple o' years ago we bought a cheap 2-pole dome tent fer the minnows t' use on holiday, it were bein' quite roomy an' it 'ad a porch wi' a prop-up flap that all 4 o' us could fit under. It were bein' OK fer the price, but it suffered from condensation an' took ages t' dry out. Have ye seen the size o' the cabin-boy's hornpipe? I 'ad a look at it the other day an' decided that it were bein' neither suitable nor serviceable fer our summer holiday.

So, today we went web-trawlin' fer yet another tent. The requirements were: 3-season, sleeps 2 wi' gear, one decent porch, sub-£100.

I remembered that Mike Bell, AKA The Doctor, 'ad recently blogged about his latest tent, the Argos Semi Geodesic 2 Person Tent, stock no. 340/0717, so I 'ad a good look at his report an' figured that this tent might fit the bill, especially as it 'ad been reduced from £69.99 t' £34.99.

After a quick debate wi' Chris this mornin', I went online an' reserved the last one at the local Argos, an' 30 minutes later it were bein' on the lawn ready t' be pitched.

Then the downer. One o' the pole-elastics were bein' frayed through. Nay matter, I got on the phone t' the shop an' they said that although I couldn't get a replacement from 'em, the next-nearest Argos 'ad one tent in stock, an' they would replace the faulty pole. I reserved that tent an' went t' do the exchange.

Well, the lad behind the counter must be havin' a bad day. I gave that scurvey dog the one faulty pole an' explained that it were bein' the only bit that needed replacin', but after strugglin' t' get the new pole-bag out o' the package, then failin' t' untie the pole-bag pull-cords, he just gave up an' insisted that I took the whole new set, at no extra charge, thus savin' that scurvey dog from the hassle o' doin' the job right, on a dead man's chest! Walk the plank! Looks like that's somebody else who's owed a beer on me account.

20 minutes later an' the replacements were back home. 10 minutes later an' the tent were bein' up.

So, what's it like?

Well, 'tis huge. The format's nae unlike that o' a Quasar, but it looks bigger. Aarrr! Yaaarrrrr! If it weren't fer the cheaper fabrics (polyester throughout, nae a hint o' rip-stop) an' the cheap fibreglass poles, this would make a good year-round tent, I reckon 'tis likely good enough fer year-round site-campin'. The Argos ad lists the followin' features:

  • 1 room.
  • 1 front an' rear door.
  • 4 air vents.
  • Nay see UM mesh.
  • Attached ground sheet.
  • Hydrostatic head 2000mm (That's the fly an' the groundsheet).
  • Taped seams.
  • Tension adjusters.
  • Quick clips.
  • Weight 5.8kg.
  • Size o' tent overall (L)460, (W)160, (H)120cm (I've corrected this info).
  • Size o' each room 220 x 150cm.
  • Size o' livin' space 220 x 150cm.
  • Height at highest point 120cm.
  • Packed size (H)20, (W)20, (D)56cm.

There be a few thin's o' note that they've nae listed:

  • Both porches be big enough t' cook in (if ye're feelin' brave - the fabric's nae fire-retardant), I reckon the Tilley Titan twin-burner wi' grill will fit in there no problem.
  • The air-vents be adjustable, held open by the semi-rigid spar or closed wi' the velcro tabs, by Blackbeard's sword. A nice touch here be the gusset inside the vent, designed t' prevent wind-blown rain from workin' its way up the fly an' through the mesh onto the inner, avast. This be a feature that the door-vent on me Force Ten Spindrift would benefit from.
  • All pole-sleeves be continuous.
  • It's a "pitch inner first" tent.
  • The groundsheet, which looks t' be durable, be bath-tub style an' 'tis properly reinforced an' taped at the stress-points.
  • There's an all-round valance t' which peg-out loops be attached, but there be also tabs betwixt the fly an' the valance, so the fly could be pegged out wi' the valance tucked away if nae required.
  • There be 4 long fixed storage pockets in the inner, an' a basic removable gear-loft too.
  • They say 'tis a 2-person tent, but it would take 3 adults + gear at a push.
  • There be many tie-in points t' fix the underside o' the fly t' the poles t' reduce flappin'.
  • There's a spares-pack containin': 1 guyline wi' a runner, 1 spare peg, 2 spare pole-sections, 2 pole-repair sleeves.

As Mike pointed out, the pegs be heavy steelies an' the poles aren't up t' much, but minor details like that can be addressed (I've plenty o' spare ally pegs, an' some redundant ally poles which may fit after a bit o' jiggerypokery), to be sure. The guylines needed re-tyin' but that's t' be expected on cheap tents, 'tis only a 2-minute job t' fit 'em properly.

One more thing, somethin' that I've ne'er seen on any other tent - the porch poles pass through sleeves on the underside o' the fly. This makes 'em a bit fiddly t' insert, especially as the sleeves be quite narrow.

Anyway, 'tis up on the lawn awaitin' the rain that we're bound t' have because the hedges need cuttin'.

Here be a few etchins:

 

It's a biggie. I've included a 5'3" stroppy teenager t' give some notion o' scale.

 

It's broad across the beam.

 

Lookin' up one o' the vents.

 

The valance pegged out, an' a bucket o' chum. Note the extra tabs where the valances meets the fly, they're fer tyin' back the valances when ye dern't need t' deploy 'em.

 

Quick-clip fly attachment wi' tensioner.

 

Loadsa room.

 

Looks good, eh? An' hoist the mains'l! It's a nice colourscheme, no?

Wassat? #2 – 3 for the price of one

Tags:

OK, time fer me t' fess up.

Last time I were bein' out on a wildie, I lost one o' me standard-issue U-Dig-It foldin' trowels, wi' a chest full o' booty. Well, actually, 'tis nae really lost, 'tis within 20 yards o' the summit o' Kentmere Pike, but I'm damned if I'm goin' back fer it. An' swab the deck, by Davy Jones' locker! Anyway, I considered buyin' a replacement, but 'ad second thoughts. You see, I'd been tinkerin' wi' a prototype titanium version fer a while, but ne'er got around t' finishin' the job (no pun intended).

Then I got t' thinkin' about them there times when I want t' go lightweight an' give the Jetboil PCS a rest. Prepare t' be boarded! We be off the edge o' the chart, me hearties! Mike Bell 'ad kindly distributed free samples o' his beer-can stoves (etchin') durin' the OM Beddgelert Meet, an' I were bein' keen t' try out mine. The only thing missin' were bein' a pot-stand an' somewhere t' stash it.

So I came up wi' this notion. A diggin' tool, stable pot-stand an' windshield all in one. And just fer good measure, it fits neatly into me Alpkit Mytimug, leavin' plenty o' room fer other stuff. It's been suggested that it could be used as a mouse-trap, but frankly I fear fer the sanity o' anyone who could conceive such an notion.

This prototype's made from 1mm aluminium alloy, cut wi' secateurs, folded o'er the doorstep, neatened up wi' a Brummie screwdriver an' curved by formin' it around the drainpipe on the side o' the house. OK, so 'tis rough-an'-ready, but it works well enough t' prove that the notion's worth followin' up. The next version will be in a decent grade o' 0.5mm stainless steel an' made wi' proper tools. Stow that bilge, Bos'n! I'm nae sure if 'tis worth wastin' good titanium on a final version, but time will tell.

Anyway, here be the etchins an' stuff, sadly there be none o' it in use wi' the beer-can stove, as 'tis been terminated (I stood on it by accident):

 

Dig wi' the pointy end downwards. Use 2 hands. Think "SnowClaw" an' ye'll get the notion.

 

Stick the pointy end into the ground t' stop it fallin' o'er, we'll keel-haul ye! It's more stable than it looks.

 

A neat fit inside the Alpkit Mytimug.

 

Blacklisted?

Posted by on June 26th 2008 in Blog on Site

I just clicked on the "Syrup" link in the footer o' this blog, t' keep up wi' current events there.

Imagine me surprise t' get the followin' message:

You be blacklisted from the website fer spammin'.

That's curious. All I've done be submit a couple o' constructive comments an' asked a few questions about the theme. Nick's responses have all been fine.

It's got t' be an error unless me site's been hacked/hijacked, but I can't contact Nick Berlette (the theme's author) t' discuss this matter, as I can't access his contact page due t' the ban.

Hmm. We be off the edge o' the chart, me hearties! Yo Ho Ho! I'm a bit stuck here.

Nick, if ye're readin' this, please whitelist me, or at least let me know why I'm blacklisted, as I've no notion what I've done wrong.

:-?

If it ain’t broke…

Posted by on June 24th 2008 in A bit of a rant, Wildcamping e-petition

The wildcampin' campaign's back in the limelight, an' so be some o' the auld chestnuts...

Time an' again we read thin's like "If it ain't broke, dern't fix it", generally followed by somethin' like "legalisin' it would only give license t' the chavs/New Age travellers/vagrants t' exercise their rights, causin' disruption an' spoilin' it fer everyone", an' "lay-by campers leave piles o' beercans/rubbish/excrement all o'er the place, 'tis a mess".

Can scallywags nae see that the the spoilin' chavs/New Age travellers/vagrants/lay-by campers get away wi' it, an' get wildcampers a bad press, BECAUSE 'tis broken?

Define wildcampin' an' support it wi' the law, then enforce the law. With such a definition, chavs/New Age travellers/vagrants/lay-by campers wouldn't fit into it, therefore the powers that be can discriminate accordin' t' the law.

How simple be that? It's hardly rocket-science, be it?

Response analysis

Posted by on June 23rd 2008 in In the News, Rambling on..., Wildcamping e-petition

I just thought that I would take this opportunity t' explore further the e-petition reply, addin' in a few observations where appropriate:

This Government appreciates the potential benefits o' wild campin' in England an' its attractiveness t' campers who already have the opportunity t' camp in the wild in Scotland.

Whoever composed this reply should realise that wildcampin' in England does nae have "potential" benefits. It has "actual" benefits. The benefits t' the practitioner be obvious - exercise fer the body an' mind, freedom from the rat-race, the opportunity t' prove oneself self-reliant an' capable o' makin' the right decision come what may. But there be also benefits t' the local economy in the form o' cash fer purchases made, boat-parkin' fees, local transport fares, even free advertisin' fer the area in the form o' online trip-reports an' personal recommendations o' places t' visit (or t' avoid).

The Land Reform Act in Scotland allows fer wild campin', but the land issues an' the legislation in England be somewhat different. Yaaarrrrr! The introduction o' wild campin' in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation an' legislative change.

We've nae been campaignin' fer the "introduction" o' wildcampin', we've been campaignin' fer it t' be supported in law. Wildcampin' has been goin' on in England fer hundreds o' years. It's a bit late t' talk about introducin' it as if 'tis somethin' new, an' a bucket o' chum. Anybody who has access t' the internet could have figured that out within seconds.

On open access land wild campin' be prohibited under Schedule 2 o' the Countryside an' Rights o' Way Act 2000, which lists all restricted activities. Shiver me timbers! Fetch me spyglass! Therefore, new Regulations would be required t' exclude wild campin' as a restricted activity. Ahoy, avast! Any change t' the current rules on wild campin' in National Parks an' Ministry o' Defence land would require new primary legislation.

That last sentence isn't entirely true, as I said in me previous post. Wildcampin' in all National Parks could be allowed by the National Parks Authorities, or permitted by bye-law, o'er-ridin' the prohibitions set in Schedule 2 o' the CRoW Act, as currently happens in the Lake District National Park an' on Dartmoor. No "new primary legislation" would be required fer this, pass the grog! Break out the biscuits 'n weevils! The law already supports such matters, but the CRoW Act could be clarified t' make this more obvious, especially t' the NPAs.

The Government has no plans t' allocate the necessary resources t' consider proposals fer such legislation at present, an' be concentratin' on followin' up the successful introduction o' 750,000 hectares o' open access land wi' new legislation on access t' the coast in the Marine Bill, which be currently goin' through Parliament.

Sounds good, but think again - wildcampin' on them there 750,000 hectares still isn't allowed, unless they're in Scotland, the Lakes or Dartmoor. Indeed, wildcampin' on the coastal access land will likely be formally prohibited by the CRoW Act when the Marine Bill be passed, instead o' just bein' an act o' trespass as it be now. In short, that last paragraph says "look, we're about t' make matters even worse fer ye". That said, I'm bemused by the concept o' "introducin'" land. Who or what be the land bein' introduced t'? Or be the land new, perhaps claimed from the waves?

So, be we bein' told that change be impossible?

No.

We're bein' told that change be inconvenient.

If we were terrorists / illegal immigrants / strikin' miners instead o' campers, ye can bet yer bottom £Sterlin' that the powers that be would move heaven an' hell t' get new laws introduced t' deal wi' the situation.

And as fer that other country involved, the one that di'nae even get a mention, dern't forget that "it profits a lubber nothin' t' give his soul fer the whole world... but fer Wales?"

The Government replies!

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

I've pasted this in from the e-petition reply site, where the Prime Minister's Office has responded t' the wildcampin' e-petition as follows:

This Government appreciates the potential benefits o' wild campin' in England an' its attractiveness t' campers who already have the opportunity t' camp in the wild in Scotland.

The Land Reform Act in Scotland allows fer wild campin', but the land issues an' the legislation in England be somewhat different. The introduction o' wild campin' in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation an' legislative change.

On open access land wild campin' be prohibited under Schedule 2 o' the Countryside an' Rights o' Way Act 2000, which lists all restricted activities. Therefore, new Regulations would be required t' exclude wild campin' as a restricted activity. Any change t' the current rules on wild campin' in National Parks an' Ministry o' Defence land would require new primary legislation.

The Government has no plans t' allocate the necessary resources t' consider proposals fer such legislation at present, an' be concentratin' on followin' up the successful introduction o' 750,000 hectares o' open access land wi' new legislation on access t' the coast in the Marine Bill, which be currently goin' through Parliament.

Interestin'. Yaarrr!! Ye'll be sleepin' wi' the fishes! And nae entirely factual, I'll warrant ye. Wildcampin' in National Parks could be allowed by the National Parks Authority, o'er-ridin' the prohibitions set in Schedule 2 o' the CRoW Act, as currently happens in the Lake District National Park. No "new primary legislation" would be required fer this.

Oh, an' it looks like Wales still does nae exist on the charts available at Westminster, as Wales be nae mentioned in the response. That's a shameful omission. Load the cannons! We be off the edge o' the chart, me hearties! If I were bein' Welsh, I would be deeply offended.

Wassat? #2

Here we go again. This time, 'tis a gadget that I spent an idle 10 minutes knockin' up from a spare bit o' ally sheet.

 

Comments: ownership/moderation/policy

Posted by on June 17th 2008 in Blog on Blog, Site update

After readin' Jeff Chandler's recent article about comment ownership, where he refers t' a discussion o'er at IntenseDebate, I got t' thinkin' about how I've been treatin' comments here, an' whether I should declare some sort o' policy.

Since startin' bloggin' back in Jan 2007 there be few occasions when I felt I needed t' step in an' moderate. Most o' the time I just let the comments stay "as posted", but there be a couple o' spats betwixt "opposin' factions" where I've 'ad t' shout "BREAK", step in an' state the unwritten rules, then step back an' let battle recommence. In another instance, one o' me posts were bein' regarded (wrongly) as an attack on the policies o' an organisation who I'll nae identify here, it attracted so many comments wi' so much vitriol an' insultin' profanity that I got fed up o' starrin'-out the obscenities an' eventually deleted the whole shebang wi'out due notice or apology. I can an' do accept all manner o' swearin', but nae in an insultin' or inflammatory manner, to be sure. It's a matter o' context, there be a big difference betwixt "Oh, f***!" an' "F*** off!"

On the lighter side, I've taken the liberty o' deletin' a few extraneous comments where the author has accidentally double-posted, an' I've moved a few comments from pages t' posts, as I'm now usin' a theme that, at present, doesn't allow or show comments on pages (although I hope that this situation will be resolved soon). I dern't go around correctin' spellin', punctuation an' grammar fer scallywags (although I dern't know how I manage t' keep me inner stickler at bay, the compulsion t' get out the digital equivalent o' the red pen be always there) unless the author asks me t' do so. Fire the cannons, an' dinna spare the whip! I do edit the email an'/or URL on older comments when the author has provided updated information, this ensures that their (W)avatar remains consistent wi' their identity, an' gets around the problem o' auld URLs leadin' t' dead sites.

So, what about a policy?

Well, that could depend on who owns comments, an' opinions on this matter vary as ye can tell from the comments on Jeff's blog. For meself, I consider a comment t' be similar t' a good auld-fashioned snail-mail letter - it starts off as yours, then ye post it, then I receive it an' it becomes mine, then I read it, then I decide whether t' bin it, or frame it, or run a highlighter-pen through the juicy bits... I reckon that if ye're goin' t' comment on here, the comment belongs t' ye up t' the point when ye post it t' this blog, I'll warrant ye. At that time, it may well have entered the public domain, but, as 'tis on me blog, 'tis under me jurisdiction, even though the content o' the comment remains the property o' the author. After all, I'm held responsible fer this blog, so I reserve the right t' control it, on the basis that I can't have Responsibility wi'out Authority. Fetch me spyglass! I'm the only person wi' admin rights t' this blog, if I dern't have the authority t' cut out the crap, who else does? A comment author certainly doesn't, due t' me admin restrictions.

Mind ye, that's just me opinion, based on common sense, an' the law doesn't always see thin's the same way. Intellectual Property Rights would be a source o' conflict.

Anyway, regardless o' who owns a comment, or the content therein, here be me draft policy:

I will leave all comments in their intended places an' in their unedited forms unless one or more o' the followin' apply:

  • If a comment author asks me t' modify, move or delete one o' his/'er comments, I'll consider makin' the requested change(s) so long as there be no significant alteration o' the context o' the comment or any debate associated wi' it;
  • If a comment author changes his/'er email address or URL, I'll make whatever changes I see fit fer the smooth runnin' o' this blog;
  • If I decide t' change the theme or layout o' the blog, thus affectin' the placement an'/or visibility o' comments, I'll make whatever changes I see fit fer the smooth runnin' o' this blog;
  • If any comment contains insultin' profanity or other content which I deem t' be causin' or likely t' cause trouble, I'll edit or delete as I see fit, unless Akismet gets t' it afore me.

I'll try t' remember t' display the reason(s) fer editin' comments, so that folk aren't left hangin' wonderin' what happened an' why. I'll also reserve the right t' amend this draft policy until 'tis in a form wi' which I'm happy. Prepare t' be boarded! You'll find a copy o' the latest version below each comment input box.

Oh, an' feel free t' comment on this if ye like!

:mrgreen:

Far Eastern Fells Wildcamping – the pics are up

Posted by on June 13th 2008 in Annual Wildie, Great Escapes, Pics, Wildcamping

At long last I've managed t' get around t' sortin' out an' uploadin' the best o' the etchins from our most recent wildcampin' weekend, we'll keel-haul ye, an' dinna spare the whip! Here be a taster o' what's in the album:

 

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