Archive for February 2010

You could get life for that!

Posted by on February 19th 2010 in Discounts
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While we're on the subject of YHA(E&W)/SYHA, did you know that both organisations are now accepting Tesco Vouchers as payment? Aside from being accepted for hostel stays (confirmed for YHA(E&W), not sure about SYHA), they are good for membership payments too. This means that Life Memberships can now be got for the points-equivalent of £52.50 (YHA(E&W)) or an incredible £22.50 (SYHA) during the current 4:1 voucher/points exchange rate period (and based on current membership prices).

£22.50's a steal.

Tempted?

Not a lot of people know that…

Posted by on February 19th 2010 in Discounts, Great Escapes

... YHA(E&W) Lifers can get into The Outdoor Show 2010 (26- 28 March at The NEC, Birmingham) for free. There's no need to book, either - just turn up at the door, flash your Life Membership card & ID and that's it.

I've been having a nice email chat with Abigail Challenor (Marketing Executive for VOS Media Ltd.) and she's confirmed that this new initiative for this year also applies to SYHA Lifers and is valid on all show-days. Under-11s get in for free too (they can get a free ticket on the door) but 11-17 year olds need their own ticket (bought cheaper online).

I'm not sure if we'll be attending, but just thought that I'd share the joy 😀

Not a Lifer? Don't worry, the next post might cheer you up a bit.

Venerable Beading

Posted by on February 16th 2010 in Rambling on...
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Yup, it's time to rejuvenate the DWR on all of those tech-fabric bits of kit. I took one look at the family's huge gear-stash and decided that a 1-litre bottle wasn't going to cut the mustard.

It was time to "go large"...

 

 

Ordered yesterday afternoon from Webtogs, at a reasonable price (and with free delivery), received this morning. Great service!

Oh, and if you're into carbon/green issues, they have an optional Carbon Neutral Delivery scheme.

Oddly, they felt the need to put the boxed product inside another box, a practise that must desaturate some of that greenness.

Closing the stable-door…

Posted by on February 12th 2010 in A bit of a rant
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You'll remember all the hassle we had getting our gas-meter reconnected and the supply restored, last year on the 15th-17th of December (http://beardedgit.com/?p=3902 should refresh your memory). The bit that's relevant to today's rant is the part where I phoned National Grid's emergency number to get them to send a fitter to get the meter attached.

Well, I've received a letter from them, dated 04/02/2010, and here's an extract:

"Thank you for your enquiry to National Grid received on the 16 December, 2009... National Grid has experienced an unprecedented increase in workload as a result of the recent severe weather conditions, this has meant we have been unable to dedicate the time we would normally to resolving enquiries."

So, just WTF do they think we've been doing for the last seven weeks? Huddling around an oil-drum brazier in the lounge, burning the last few sticks of furniture in a vain effort to fend off the effects of the "recent severe weather", wondering if the fitter's ever going to arrive?

Get real, National Grid. Think about it - if we were still disconnected, don't you reckon that I'd have been raising Heaven and Hell on the phone  every day for the last seven weeks? And how on Earth would the meter-reader have managed to take the quarterly reading a couple of days ago? Check your records - your fitter eventually resolved the matter on the 17th of December.

Eejuts.

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Patterdale Meet – Sunday

Posted by on February 11th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

After a good sleep we woke to overcast skies and low cloud. Frank and Mike left soon after breakfast - Mike needed to be home for his Sunday dinner, and Frank was on a promise.

I considered my options... I didn't have time for the walk that I had intended to do on the Saturday, and I wasn't entirely sure that the steamer would be sailing anyway, so I headed to the north side of Ullswater. Approaching the NW corner of the lake I spotted a familiar campervan in the car-park - it was Phil, chilling with a newspaper and a smoke, and considering what he would do with the day. As I left him he seemed intent on getting on the water to do some pike-fishing.

I said my farewell and drove a short way up the Dockray road to get a feel for the weather. It was going to be a grey day...

 

Ullswater and St. Sunday Crag from the Park Brow on the Dockray road

 

Gowbarrow fell was the obvious target. I left the motor in the NT car-park and made my way up to the open fellside above Aira Beck, with the bands of cloud clearing occasionally to allow more views back to Ullswater and Glenridding:

 

Ullswater from the slopes of Gowbarrow Fell

 

Further up the clag was constant and the tangle of paths was confusing so I needed to pay more attention to navigation. After finding many a false summit I reached the top and managed a pic just before the sleet started:

 

The top of Gowbarrow Fell

 

I beat a hasty retreat down to High Force where I mingled with the sightseers to get a snap of the falls before getting back to the car:

 

High Force, Aira Beck

 

It was nearing time for lunch, and I just didn't fancy sitting in the car to munch the remains of the food-stash. I studied the map and took a chance on a little top that I'd noticed before but had never considered visiting - The Knotts, just outside Watermillock. I parked up on roadside to the west and scrambled (trespassed?) up a steep wooded slope for five minutes to reach a barrier of gorse and a barbed-wire fence. No matter, I just walked alongside the fence until I found a section that collapsed, and then it was a two-minute stroll to the top.

And what a fine top it is. Not so low as to feel surrounded by fells, and not so high as to feel detached, it has soft grass, a significant cairn and is a fine place from where to view the fells around Howtown:

 

Hallin Fell and Ullswater from The Knotts

 

After lunch I descended northwards on a fair track that led me to a caravan park, so I legged it down their driveway to the road to avoid trespass hassles. It was an hour well-spent.

I was feeling good and I still had time for one more short walk. The only other Wainwright nearby and still to be ascended was Little Mell Fell. It's not the most photogenic of places, so the only pic I took was of the top which is fairly devoid of features. I walked a small loop around the summit, searching for views, but there was little to see through the mist. The whole round-trip from The Hause took just under an hour:

 

The top of Little Mell Fell

 

And that was it. I changed my boots back at the car and went home.

It had been a great weekend, in good company, and I was pleased that everybody got to do a bit of what they liked. Bagging-wise, I'd been up four Wainwrights, of which two were new to me.

Unlike the others, my Sunday dinner wasn't waiting for me, and I wasn't on a promise 🙁

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Patterdale Meet – Saturday

Posted by on February 10th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

The morning was bright and sunny with a low mist when we prepped for our days out. Mike was going out on the water, having brought his self-built sea-kayak "Tootega". Phil would be joining him on the water. Frank was happy to accompany me on a walk from Howtown back to the hostel via Hallin Fell and Beda Head (Wainwrights that I'd not been up), so we made off to the Glenridding boat-landings to catch the first steamer to Howtown. Somehow we managed to pass the pub without going in, despite the enticing aroma of another cooked breakfast...

 

White Lion, Patterdale

 

At the landings we hit a snag - the first sailing was cancelled due to fog on the water. If we had waited for the next sailing then we'd have been short on time for the walk, so Frank suggested going up either Sheffield Pike or Birkhouse Moor (or maybe even both) instead, as he'd not been up them before. Sorted. We started the long trudge up towards YHA Helvellyn and the old mine-works, with me listening intently to Frank telling more tales of climbing and of shagging.

Very occasionally Frank stopped (walking) to draw breath, so I took advantage of such opportunities to take some pics from the zig-zag path:

 

 

 

Views of Catstycam +/- Frank

 

After taking a deliberate detour up the spoil-heaps we found a nice spot for a breather and a brew, at some old mine-workings near the dam just above the Swart Beck ravine:

 

 

The view from the top of the ravine

 

After a dryshod crossing and a trudge through some virgin heather on Lucy's Tongue we gained the ridge-path where the views were superb:

 

Glencoyne Head

 

 

More views of Catstycam -/+ BG!

 

From there it was a gentle stroll to the summit, as demonstrated here by Frank:

 

Frank strolling on up towards Sheffield Pike summit

 

The views from the top were impressive, so the camera came out yet again. Here's a 300-degree panorama, you'll have to click it to see it in detail:

 

Ullswater - Hart Side Panorama

 

We counted many folk on Helvellyn and its satellites:

 

Folk on the tops and ridges

 

but despite getting a nice view of Ullswater, we couldn't see Mike:

 

Ullswater from Sheffield Pike

 

On the way down to Glenridding Dodd we passed a potentially-good wildcamping spot:

 

A quiet, sheltered place

 

before getting a good look at the Dodd itself:

 

The High Street range above Glenridding Dodd

 

After more talk of climbing and of shagging we reached the top of the Dodd which gave us views forwards to Patterdale and backwards to Sheffield Pike:

 

 

Patterdale and Sheffield Pike from Glenridding Dodd

 

The rocks of the summit-cairn are obviously volcanic in origin...

 

🙂

 

The final pic of the day was of the view over Glenridding:

 

Glenridding, Place Fell and the Head of Ullswater

 

We descended The Rake above Blaes Crag and steeled ourselves for the road-walk back to the hostel, but got side-tracked while trying to pass the Traveller's Rest pub. A cool drink, a real fire in the bar and the Six Nations on the telly were just too tempting. As we were leaving, Frank spotted Mike and Phil in the lounge, so we had to stay for another drink. Just to be sociable, of course. The delay of our departure had absolutely nothing to do with Frank detecting the presence of a fine young lady who surely must be the one-and-only Melanie Frontage.

Anyway, I digress. After the beers/leers Mike gave us a lift back to the hostel where we collaborated to produce a hearty meal for the four of us. Frank cooked a seafood pasta dish and provided some nice wine, I provided a toffee pud with custard, boil-in-the-can caramel stodge and Jaffa Cakes, and Mike brought snacks, dips and beer. Top stuff! Frank retired early in preparation for his planned Sunday activity (I bet you can't guess what that was), while the rest of us stayed up chatting until it was time to sleep.

To be continued...

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Patterdale Meet – Friday

Posted by on February 9th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

First up - an apology for the choice of post-title. Mike nabbed the best one for his blog. My only other alternative was "The Good, The Bald and The Ugly" and I didn't want to go offending anybody...

Anyways, late afternoon saw me, Mike Bell and Frank Adams meeting up at YHA Patterdale for a weekend of doing "stuff" around Ullswater. I'd had an earlier start than usual which meant that I had time to grab some pics on the way up from Windermere to Patterdale via the Kirkstone Pass. There wasn't much snow on the tops but they were quite picturesque despite the failing light:

 

Looking towards Threshthwaite Mouth

 

The Ill Bell Ridge

 

Middle Dodd

 

After we'd got ourselves sorted at the hostel we headed off to the village in search of vittles. A glance through the window of the White Lion revealed a few folk inside enjoying fine food, but we pushed on to the Patterdale Hotel to see what they had to offer. The beer was OK but the place was eerily quiet and the food a tad pricey, so we supped up and went back to the Lion where we had good meals and fine beers. We had a good moan about all sorts of things, and Frank entertained us with his tales of climbing and of shagging. Mike's paddling-friend Phil joined us for some beers before we rolled back to the hostel for more chinwagging and to sample various breeds of alcohol before lights-out.

To be continued...

A fine weekend

Posted by on February 7th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

Just got back from an excellent trip to The Lakes.

It'll take me a while to get the report finished, until then you'll have to make do with this preview of the highlights:

 

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