Archive for November 2009

We need a go, no-go for launch

Posted by on November 30th 2009 in Fundraising Folk, Great Escapes, In the News, Weather

There's snow on 'em there Cumbrian Fells an' the winter gear's prepped an' ready fer the off when the opportunity arises.

But there be a dilemma. Somethin' twistin' in me mind that I've got t' get straightened out afore I can commit t' another visit...

Durin' the current post-floodin' clean-up an' repair operation, would me goin' be a drain on the resources o' the area or would it help t' contribute t' the local economy?

Just gettin' there could be a strain on the transport infrastructure, what wi' the trashed seas an' unsafe bridges that be the focus o' repair gangs an' the Army. Break out the biscuits 'n weevils, an' a bottle o' rum! I'd planned t' stay at one o' the YHA hostels an' maybe eat an' drink out, but I can't see that much o' the spend would benefit them there who be in most need, avast. Besides, I'm sure that the LDSAMRA would have better thin's t' do than t' chug up a hill t' stretcher me down if the need arose. An' hoist the mains'l! Fetch me spyglass! They're all volunteers from the local community, they've been involved as rescuers durin' the recent disaster an' no doubt they all know somebody who's suffered because o' the deluge. Shiver me timbers! Ye'll be sleepin' wi' the fishes! I dern't want t' be a potential distraction while they deal wi' the aftermath o' the floods.

Maybe the best thing fer me t' do be t' stay away fer a while an' let 'em concentrate on gettin' the basics sorted out, an' a bottle o' rum! In the meantime, a contribution t' the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund via The Cumbria Community Foundation website or t' the Cumbria Flood Appeal 2009 via The Wainwright Society's website would seem t' be the best way t' ensure that help gets t' the folk that need it. John Hee recommends supportin' MREW's Basecamp, more details here.

The scallywags an' places o' Cumbria have given me much joy o'er the many years that I've been goin' there.

It's time t' give somethin' back.

Going back to Mars

Posted by on November 29th 2009 in Astrostuff

I 'ad a spare half-hour which I used t' process that Mars composite a bit more. There's a bit more detail in there an' the colour an' contrast seem a bit better t' me, but the terminator's suffered a bit. Swin's an' roundabouts, eh? Yaarrr!! To see the originals, just run yer mouse o'er the etchin':



Gotta get me some of this stuff

Posted by on November 25th 2009 in Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.), Weather

I suspect that they'll have sold out already up in the Lake District...



These boots aren’t made for walkin’…

Posted by on November 25th 2009 in TKMaxx

These Karrimor Snow Fur boots be so roasty-toasty that me feet would likely parboil if I wore 'em fer a decent walk. As footwear fer bein' out in the cold doin' more sedentary stuff, however, they're excellent. I wore 'em all night long a few nights ago while out usin' the scope, an' di'nae feel the cold at all despite gettin' the outsides o' 'em thoroughly wet due t' the dew on the long grass o' the lawn. They're a fine pairin' wi' the Astrobreeks so long as nobody's lookin'!

Here be a cut&paste o' the text from the 2009 Karrimor Footwear Catalogue:

  • Uppers utilisin' top quality waterproof, stain-resistant leathers; usin' Karrimor’s exclusive weathertite® waterproof an' breathable laminate bootie linin' an' Thinsulate™ insulated fabrics fer comfort in cold, wet conditions.
  • Added fit benefits o' asymmetrical lateral tongue post, an' internal pockets an' pads fer added comfort, fit an' support.
  • Moulded Shell design fer better traction in soft snow

If ye feel the urge t' get some fer yourself, they're bein' sold off super-cheap at TKMaxx.



They seem suitable fer use in a boat while trout an' salmon fishin', where there be no room fer walkin' about t' warm the feet, wi' a chest full o' booty. I'll have t' wait until next sprin' t' test that theory.


Observing Report 21st-22nd November 2009 (Mars at short notice)

Posted by on November 24th 2009 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports
Tags: , ,

Saturday evenin' were bein' forecast t' be cloudy an' wet, an' I were bein' resigned t' an evenin' o' avoidin' Strictly, Casualty an' the rest o' the Beeb's prime-time twaddle, but the forecasters got it wrong - just fer a change there were bein' more gap than cloud. I grabbed me chance an' cranked-up the obsy.

At such short notice I'd nae 'ad much time t' think ahead, so, as the Newt's coolin'-fan purred away, I sat back an' looked up fer inspiration. Risin' in the East were bein' Mars, an' just fer once it looked fairly bright. Target acquired!

After the scope 'ad been cooled an' the collimation checked I slewed it around t' Mars an' set about tryin' t' get a decent focus - nae easy, as the scope were bein' dancin' around in the wind, sendin' the image dancin' all o'er the webcam chip, by Davy Jones' locker. After a quarter o' an hour o' this malarkey I were bein' happy wi' the focus an' set about grabbin' some .avi data. Aarrr! While this were bein' goin' on I were bein' on the lookout fer Alpha-Monocerotid meteors - a minor shower that peaked on the 21st. I managed t' spot a couple o' 'em an' a few sporadics as well, but di'nae have the dSLR set up so there be no etchins. 

Most o' the webcam runs 'ad some blurrin' an' fadin' due t' clouds an' hence got consigned t' the Recycle Bin, but some were OK. By about 03:00 a full cover o' cloud 'ad rolled in an' spoiled the show so I closed the roof, 'ad a cuppa an' started processin' the data. I figured that the night 'ad finished so I moored the scope an' packed away.

Leavin' the obsy at 04:00 I looked up again an' all were bein' clear, so I did a smart about-face an' went back in. Half an hour later I were bein' set up again an' lookin' at Saturn fer the first time in ages. Ye'll be gettin' three lashes f' that, me lad! I grabbed a few .avis afore the clouds spoiled thin's again, an' this time there were bein' some drizzle so the session were bein' definitely finished.

After a couple o' hours o' kip I finished processin' the Mars data, endin' up wi' some rubbish an' a few decent images. From these I've made a composite image just t' see if there be any noticeable differences due t' processin' or planetary rotation. For an explanation o' what's what, see the text below the etchin':


Upper images from a 7200-frame avi taken at 02:08 - left: best 10% o' frames stacked, right: best 90% o' frames stacked.
Lower images from
a 7200-frame avi taken at 02:20 - left: best 10% o' frames stacked, right: best 90% o' frames stacked.

Damned if I can tell any difference betwixt 'em!

I'm quite pleased wi' this - 'tis by far the best Mars image-set that I've done t' date, nae bad fer a cheapo webcam. I'm inspired t' get some better data later this month when Mars be a lot higher in the sky.

As fer the Saturn data, I've nae yet found time t' process it properly. First impressions be that the data's nae worth the effort, but I might be tempted t' have a whack at it. If I get anythin' worthwhile, I'll let ye know.


And now fer the rest o' the astronews...

Followers o' this blog will know that I'm a keen meteor observer, an' they may be wonderin' why there be no observin' reports here about the recent showers. An' swab the deck! Well, the weather's the main culprit...

The Orionid shower  peaked on the 21st o' October. I managed a short visual session durin' the precedin' evenin' when all were bein' clear fer an hour or so, an' managed t' spot four Orionids, but the main night were bein' clouded out. Typically it were bein' much clearer the night after too, but I were bein' too busy t' get out. It were bein' a similar story wi' the Leonid shower on the 17th o' November - clear the night afore when I spotted about ten Leonids, an' then cloudy an' rainy fer the main night an' fer the rest o' the week.

Let's hope fer a break in the weather around the 14th o' December fer the Geminid shower, which be always a good display.

Blue Suede Shoes II

Posted by on November 20th 2009 in TKMaxx
Tags: ,

Here ye go - a much better piccy o' the Mantas, primarily because this pair be liberated from TKMaxx an' be now takin' refuge in our house.



Well, it would be stupid t' have ignored such a bargain.


Doing a one-eighty-one?

Posted by on November 20th 2009 in Great Escapes, Illness and injury, YHA

I'd 'ad an early night so I were bein' awake well afore vittles. Stow that bilge, Bos'n, an' a bucket o' chum! I got up an' looked out o' the window - good, it weren't rainin'. Grabbin' the chart, I mulled o'er the options fer a three-hour walk... Rosthwaite Fell were bein' just o'er the sea, I've ne'er been up there so it seemed ideal. The hostel warden 'ad said it were bein' OK t' leave the motor in their boat-park after checkin' out as long as it weren't an overnight thing, so there were bein' no need t' sail-an'-hike.

After washin' an' dressin' I got the pack ready an' headed fer the stairs down t' the kitchen, bein' in need o' a cuppa afore vittles, but there were bein' a problem. Load the cannons! Ye'll be sleepin' wi' the fishes! I'd been walkin' about just fine on the flat, but the knee that I twisted the day afore while descendin' the Linin' Crag cascade just di'nae want t' go down any steps - it were bein' most peculiar an' most painful, although there were bein' no visible damage. We be off the edge o' the chart, me hearties! After I'd hobbled down, it were bein' fine on the flat again, an' after another good three-course hostel vittles I went back upstairs t' the dorm an' all seemed OK, so I collected me gear t' take it out t' the boat, wi' a chest full o' booty. Aye, ye guessed it - the stairs beat it again.

So that were bein' the day scuppered. Goin' up an' along would be OK, but descendin' would be a nightmare an' I di'nae want t' risk makin' thin's worse.  Ibuprofen would kill the pain but it wouldn't make the knee work, so I packed the boat, said me goodbyes an' started headed home, just as the heavens opened again. I were bein' annoyed t' the point o' distraction, an' di'nae even yield t' the temptations o' the Ambleside gear-shops.

Suffice t' say that 'tis all fixed now - just a couple o' days o' rest an' the knee seems t' be fightin'-fit again. Even so, I'll give it a couple o' weeks afore I take it t' the fells, just t' be sure that all's well.

One-eighty-one can wait fer a bit longer. How much longer depends on me injury/Wainwright ratio, which has been pretty dire this year.

Hopefully the season will end wi' some decent winter-walkin' - I can't remember e'er fallin' or slippin' in frozen conditions.

Blue Suede Shoes?

Posted by on November 19th 2009 in TKMaxx
Tags: ,

So, who's in need o' some quality B2-rated winter boots, on a dead man's chest! If ye've got small feet, this may interest ye...

TKMaxx be floggin' Scarpa Manta M4s at rock-bottom prices. The Atherstone branch 'ad UK Size 5 @ £58 an' UK Size 4 @ £39.

I've 'ad a good look at 'em an' can't find any faults. Sorry the etchins be naff, but I only 'ad the phone's camera an' the spyglass be screwed.


The thick of it

Posted by on November 18th 2009 in LMAO!

I found this in the Irish section o' Leicester Asda's ethnic foods:


Do I need t' explain why it made me laugh?


Doing a one-eighty

Posted by on November 18th 2009 in Great Escapes, YHA

The usual battle on the M6 di'nae happen - the sail up were bein' a sedate an' rainless affair, mainly due t' them there excellent "average speed" cameras set up along the many miles o' carriageway-widenin' scheme works which aims t' provide us wi' four lanes each way by first cuttin' us down t' two. An' swab the deck! Borrowdale YHA were bein' reached at a reasonable time, an' I got the pick o' the bunks in the dorm - needless t' say, I nabbed the one by the radiator. While I were bein' sortin' the gear the rain started an' became so strong that I decided t' stay in the hostel fer the evenin' meal instead o' paddlin' t' the nearest bar. This turned out t' be a shrewd move, as the three-course hostel fare were bein' excellent, the lamb hot-pot bein' the best I've 'ad fer a long time.

After an evenin' o' chillin' an' route-plannin', I'd decided that the objective fer Saturday would be Ullscarf via Greenup Edge, wi' the option o' doin' a one-eighty an' extendin' the route t' include High Raise if time an' conditions were favourable. Fire the cannons! I packed the kit accordingly an' hit the sack early.

Next mornin' I were bein' up bright an' early, to be sure. The rain 'ad hove to an' thin's were lookin' good. Have ye seen the size o' the cabin-boy's hornpipe, by Davy Jones' locker? After a hearty three-course YHA vittles I donned the pack an' ventured outside, just as the rain started again.





The walk through Stonethwaite, across the bridge an' up Stonethwaite Beck, were bein' sodden underfoot but fer that first half-hour I were bein' comfy usin' the Rab VR Climb as defence against upper-body wetness. The sharks'll eat well tonight! It all changed as I passed Galleny Force, however, as the gods put the weather-contraption into overdrive, an' dinna spare the whip! The rain suddenly got much heavier an' an evil wind started chuckin' it down the valley. As predicted, the Rab Corrie jacket 'ad t' be wielded in anger fer the first time. I've ne'er seen so much water runnin' down the fellsides...





The run-off 'ad submerged the path in many places, which meant that crossin's were dodgy affairs, nae so much because o' the depths but more because o' the force o' the water. Fire the cannons! I waded the worst o' the crossin's as I slogged up the Greenup Gill path as far as the confluence o' Greenhow an' Mere Gills but there I found the water impassable wi'out both danger an' loss o' dignity. After headin' upslope alongside one o' the two Mere Gill tributaries an' findin' no better options fer crossin', I decided that me best option would be t' change the plan an' attack the fell directly, rather than via the Edge. It di'nae look too steep on the chart - just a few bits o' 45 degree stuff, easy t' zig-zag. So up I went.

Well, it were bein' a knackerin' experience, all the better fer the ground bein' slippery enough t' ensure that the adrenaline ne'er hove to flowin'. I found just one small level place, near the top o' the steep stuff, where I dared t' stop an' take some etchins. I'm glad that I went up that way though, as 'tis a great place from where t' view the glacial features o' the hangin' valley an' the proper proportions o' Linin' Crag wi'out it all bein' distorted by perspective:



The view down t' Eagle Crag an' Borrowdale weren't too bad either:




From there on it were bein' a marshy trudge t' find the ridge's line o' wireless fenceposts, which crosses the summit an' hence were bein' a good guide in what were bein' now the base o' the clouds. Ahoy! Yaarrr!! After 20 minutes o' alternatin' clarity an' wind-whipped clag I found the summit-cairn an' hove to t' take etchins:



Then I did a one-eighty an' headed back towards Greenup Edge, into the wind-driven stingin' rain an' weighin'-up in me mind the option o' extendin' t' High Raise. Aarrr! Occasionally I could make out the path up there from the Edge, but it were bein' mostly clagged up an' di'nae look appealin'. As I neared the decision-point deep in the flooded marshes atop the Edge it started hailin' big-time, which made the decision obvious - a dignified retreat t' Linin' Crag an' a descent from there seemed much the more sensible thing t' do. After sloppin' an' wadin' t' the big cairn overlookin' the way down t' Greenup Gill I found the path an' set off t' Linin' Crag.



The views from the Crag were impressive durin' occasional breaks in the cloudbase, an' I took some etchins, but soon it were bein' time t' continue the descent. And that's where it all started t' go bad...

There's a made-path down the side, where the crag meets the fellside. It's near-enough a straight-line down at a severe angle an' due t' the incessant rain it 'ad become a cascade ('tis the stream that ye can see in the first etchin' o' Linin' Crag above), an' a bucket o' chum. The rocks used fer the path be set at a slight angle downslope so that they dern't retain water, but that just makes a slip more likely in descent, wi' a chest full o' booty. And that's what happened, several times, straight into the cascade. One particular slip ended in a twisted knee which I thought were bein' goin' t' be a day-wrecker, but it held together quite well an' di'nae cause any major hassle. By the time I got t' the base o' the crag, I were bein' utterly soaked an' the pack were bein' full o' water. Luckily all o' the important kit were bein' in roll-top liner-bags.

At the base be a small grassy flat where two couples were havin' a breather afore their attempt t' go up the path. Yaarrr!, I'll warrant ye! They di'nae have much o' an option as they were practisin' their "Coast-t'-Coast" route, bound fer Grasmere via Greenup an' Far Easedale, but I'm sure that they thought twice about this section havin' watched me antics. We chatted fer a few minutes, durin' which I told 'em about the conditions on the path an' up on the Edge. After a few more minutes I left 'em t' it an' started off towards the valley just as the rain started t' ease.

The descent were bein' uneventful until I got t' the stream that 'ad blocked me on the way up. The level 'ad dropped by a couple o' feet an' I judged it safe t' cross,  but I underestimated the force o' the water an' were bein' swept off the submerged steppin'-stones an' ended up standin' in three feet o' white water. It were bein' a very effective way t' clean the mud off me boots. Fire the cannons! Walkin' further, I grabbed a few more etchins in the improvin' conditions:







I were bein' beginnin' t' think that I would make it back t' the hostel wi' no further hassle, as the wind 'ad dropped an' the rain 'ad hove to, so I paused fer a breather at the bridge just above the confluence wi' Langstrath Beck, where there be a magnificent view o' Eagle Crag. My poor camera skills dern't do it any justice whatsoever:




I started back down the easy last few miles just as the weather kicked in fer the last time, we'll keel-haul ye! The wind 'ad done a one-eighty an' were bein' now full in the face, an' the rain started stingin' again.

And did I care?

Not one bit.

I were bein' wet, yes, but I were bein' warm an' happy. There were bein' no point in avoidin' the streams an' flooded paths, so I just waded an' splashed through 'em, just like a big kid. Great fun, by Blackbeard's sword! Even the livestock seemed t' be enjoyin' the weather:




Right at the end o' the walk I dragged the camera out again fer a few more etchins afore the light failed. The views from the hostel grounds be quite good - much better than shown in these shots :





Back at the hostel me gear took up a good chunk o' the dryin'-room. I even 'ad t' get the warden t' put me camera an' lenses in a safe place t' dry, as they were wet through. Later, while sat in front o' the open fire, I put a tick against Ullscarf on me Wainwrights list an' then double-checked the total number visited so far.

The number?


One-eighty, o' course.


To be continued...



Blog Widget by LinkWithin