Archive for October 2012

Hartington YHA @ half-term – Part 2 – Overground

Posted by on October 30th 2012 in A bit of a rant, Great Escapes, YHA

Monday dawned still, dull and damp after a fair bit of overnight rain. There was a full cover of low cloud which threatened a drizzle that never happened. The tops of the surrounding hills were obscured. For some reason the weather's been like that or worse every single time I've been to the Peak District.

I was grumpy again, having had an awful night trying to sleep on the slightly-padded torture-rack that masqueraded as a bunk-bed. Maybe a hearty breakfast would cheer me up.

Well, no, it didn't. For a start they don't serve porage. After slumming it with cornflakes I queued for the cooked items only to be pissed off by the ignorant twat in front of me who decided to use the bacon/sausage tongs for the bacon, the sausage, the salami and then the cheese, despite the fact that there were other tongs set out for the latter two items. To make it worse, he dropped his cheese onto my plate and didn't have the manners to apologise to me, he just scraped it off and carried on serving himself. I hate cheese and I hate ignorant twats, so I felt a primordial desire to shove the contaminated tongs up his arse. He was one of the rich folk, he must have thought that his money meant that he had no need for manners. I resisted the urge to castigate him, deeming him incapable of understanding that he might be fallible. Besides, I've been taught that it's rude to mock the afflicted. When I got to the fried eggs there were two left, they'd been in the hot cabinet for far too long and were vulcanised rather than overcooked. Reaching the hot-drinks area I found that there was no white sugar - the staff hadn't checked and restocked before opening for breakfast.

It was a disappointing start to the day. Chris collared the receptionist and told her that two of our four bunk-lights were inoperative, and while she was there I chipped in with a complaint about the shaving-light. Said receptionist said she'd get things fixed.

After that we dressed for the great outdoors. A low-level walk was in order so we agreed a suitable route and set off. Here you go, here's a map, just follow the muddy-brown line. Anti-clockwise, if you please.



The first objectives were the pubs in the village - not for drinking, just for menu-reading. After sorting a venue for an evening meal we took the grassy/muddy footpath that leads southwards past Pennilow and into Beresford Dale.

The first pic-stop was at Pike Pool, where there is a slippery bridge. We didn't see any Pike:



A bit further downstream these Dippers (Cinclus cinclus) were intent on defending their territory:


I'm guessing that it wasn't the Dippers that put up this sign:

There was much to see at the bridge. It was mostly wet, mouldy or both:







The field at the southern end of Beresford Dale was somewhat waterlogged but crossing it was worth the effort for the views of the head of Wolfscote Dale:


Once through the marsh there was a significant change of terrain - fewer trees, more limestone, better paths. We spent some time snacking in and around Frank i’ th’ Rocks Cave:


Am I the only one thinking that I've seen something similar before?







From there we progressed downstream on a good path beside the river:


Luncheon was taken near the entrance to Biggin Dale, where there were fine views of Peaseland Rocks:

Further up Biggin Dale there's a cave that had to be investigated. The kids badgered me to take them in, we went about 25 yards before the water underfoot became water overankle and forced a retreat:

From there the route took us roughly northwards, past a nature reserve and the delightfully-named Ferny Bottom, until the point at which we escaped the dale and headed uphill towards the start of the enclosed track that led to Reynards Lane. The gate at the start bore a confusing combination of signs:



The way I read it, one sign says it's a Public Bridleway, the other says there's Negative Access, which at first sight seems to be a conflicting situation. After all, it is perfectly OK to walk along a Public Bridleway - see here.

Anyway, we passed through the gateway, walked the progressively-muddier enclosed path until it met with Reynards Lane, and carried on until we found a Public Footpath sign on the right indicating a route that, according to the map, promised to be a direct short-cut across a field to "Leisure Lane". We figured that the short-cut would be off-road and hence safer, so we went for it.

The footpath headed over a low blind brow and towards an obvious convergence of walls that funnels traffic into another enclosed track which is Leisure Lane, bounded by walls and wire. It was obvious that cattle used this route quite a lot - the wet ground was hoof-pitted, and the further we went the deeper the mud and shit became, but we could cope with a bit of that. We were, after all, in cattle country. Up to that point, the walk had been a pleasure.

But there was worse to come...

A hundred or so yards along this crap-fest there was a short gap in each of the enclosing walls, presumably the gaps had originally been gateways, here's an aerial view of the place...


And slap-bang in the middle of the path, twixt the two wall-gaps, was a large round steel cattle-feeding trough-type thing. Now, the contraption itself wasn't an unavoidable thing - yes, it was an obstruction, but in theory we could have just walked past it. The problem was the shit-zone around it, there was more cow-shit and cow-piss than water and there was more water than mud. It was gut-retching stuff. The shit-zone diameter was about 30 feet which meant that it blocked the footpath and extended into the fields on both sides and up the lane both ways. The depth near the middle was about 2ft.

We couldn't climb over the walls because of the wire, so we had to wade or retreat. The kids had had enough of the day, they just wanted to finish the walk ASAP and the hostel was just 400 yards away. A retreat to the road and the ensuing detour would have been too much for them.

So we waded. We tried to keep to the deep mud rather than the sloppy shit but the bad stuff was unavoidable.


The last bit of the walk was awful. The stench from our crap-covered clothes was horrific. There were tears. Clothes were ruined.

Back at the hostel we had to be hosed-down before we dared to go indoors. Many of the socks had to be bagged & binned.

In the dorm some things had improved. We now had a working shaving-light. Oddly, they'd only fixed one of the two duff bunk-lights. "Close but no cigar", as the saying goes.

And folk wonder why I don't like the Peak District.

We dined at The Charles Cotton Bar that evening. Great service and great food. We'd earned it.

Top Tip: If you're dining there and want a proper filling meal, get there in time for the day-menu - lashings of real food at good prices. The evening-menu is that Norbert Quizzine stuff - great-tasting items but mini-servings on maxi-plates with maxi-prices.


To be continued...

Hartington YHA @ half-term – Part 1 – Illumination

Posted by on October 28th 2012 in A bit of a rant, Great Escapes, YHA

It was a fair Sunday afternoon when we arrived at YHA Hartington. The relatively-short drive up had been uneventful apart from a minor nav error when we missed a turn-off and had to make it up as we went along, but all was well in the end.

While Chris got us booked in I raced off towards our room, in need of a loo. We'd been assigned the "Short Horn" (no giggling at the back!) dorm in The Barn, and after crossing the courtyard and climbing the stairs I was pleased to find this promising sign on the corridor's fire-door:



Beyond that fire-door was a corridor with a locked private room, two dorms and then another fire-door, which I went through searching for the loo. I didn't find it, though, so I went back to the second fire-door and found that it bore this promising sign:



Of course, said loo wasn't in the corridor that time either. Seems that they'd changed the building layout but neglected to update the signs. Eejuts. In the nick of time Chris arrived with the dorm key and access to the en-suite, thus averting a colonic crisis and saving me an unpleasant evening in the laundry-room.

After we'd got settled into the dorm (about which there'll be more later) we dressed for an evening outdoors and met up with the Maynes in the main hostel building. Their plan was for us to head off to Matlock Bath to see the illuminations and the parade of illuminated boats. I'd invested in some A-Z Adventure Maps after the reading Alan's post about them, so we broke out the White Peak map to help us to get there:


Of course, most of Matlock Bath just had to be off the edge of the map  🙁


Anyway, Geoff did the driving and Sarah did the navigating using a proper atlas, so we got to Matlock Bath without getting lost or falling off the edge of the world. After a meal at the chippy there was time for the kids to have a session in the adventure playground down by the river:


The light from the illuminations made for some unusual pics, such as this long-exposure shot of some ghosts on the swings:




Theresa Green

After that we bagged ourselves a good spot at the riverside so as to get an uninterrupted view of the parade of illuminated boats.

The first offering was a simple affair in the traditional style with proper candles in glass jars:



The others had battery-powered lighting and greater levels of complexity:














 Not a boat


It started drizzling just as the parade ended so we called it a day and went back to the hostel.

Back in the hostel we chilled for a while. Well, the others did... I was busy getting annoyed at the state of the dorm. The window safety device had no lock and hence was useless for preventing the window from opening fully:


The window closures were also knackered, one good pull from the outside and the window would have opened easily:



This is the hook on the back of the toilet door:


That's the toilet door with the broken lock, BTW.


The towel-ring was holding on by the skin of its teeth:

It's a good job I don't shave, as this light didn't work:

The glass shelf was loose, sloping away from the wall at 20 degrees, and so was no use for items such as mouthwash bottles and stand-up toothpaste tubes:



 Accessing the top bunks meant risking a nasty burn from the stupidly-located and unshaded hot light-bulb:



Talking of lights, two of the four bunk-lights didn't work. I suspect that the lack of bulbs was part of the problem:



The bodge to the shower-mixer was pure pragmatic genius - a triumph of plastic strapping over proper safe repair work. I pity the poor bugger who's in the shower when this lot falls apart:



And last of all there was a surplus of apostrophes:


Apart from that lot and the dangerously-loose radiator, all was well.


To be continued...

The Curate’s Egg

Posted by on October 24th 2012 in Great Escapes, YHA

Just got back from a three-night stay in the Peak District.

It was good in parts.

Other parts were shit.


And, just for a change, it wasn't my shit!

Stay tuned for the next mediocre instalment.

Radiotext fail

Posted by on October 17th 2012 in My vids

I can do without this sort of confusion in the morning:




A class act

Posted by on October 11th 2012 in My vids

Band Night at the local high school* is always a great occasion, the talents of the pupils really do get let loose on the audience.

There's always a good mix of genres - some jazz, some thrash-metal, some pop-classics (usually played by the staff) - but IMO this performance was head and shoulders above the others:



Just in case you're wondering, it's a rip from the DVD that I bought from the school.

Four times I've asked the copyright-holder for permission to post it, and four times I've had no reply.

Hopefully the maxim "Qui tacet consentire" still holds in these matters.

* years 7-9, ages 11-14

Let’s Rock!!!

Posted by on October 9th 2012 in Maps, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)

Not this:



That's just a screenshot of the BGS Geology of Britain viewer, you can load the viewer in you browser by clicking here.

You can also generate embed code for sticking interactive maps into blog posts, just like this:

 That's where Ken was a few days ago.

 The BGS also have a few apps for iPhone and Android, I have both the iGeology and iGeology3D apps on my HTC Wildfire and they've been useful for info when out and about. I'd imaging that they'd look and work really well on an iPad or an Android tablet but I can't verify that as I own neither.

That said, the iGeology app works a treat on the XP laptop when running in the BlueStacks App Player:

Cock of Arran

It's a nice bit of kit to have around if you're into that sort of thing.

If it would work in/with Memory-Map etc. then route-planning according to geological features rather than by topography would be a doddle.

Time travel

Posted by on October 4th 2012 in Bargains

Way back on August 15th I pre-ordered Prometheus (DVD + E-copy) from Sainsbury's (they had an offer on and I had some e-vouchers and discount-codes to use, so it cost me next-to-nowt).

The official release date is October 8th.

Today's date is only October 4th, yet Sainsbury's have just sent me an email to say that they've already put my pre-ordered DVD in the post.

How does that work?

Beeb boob

Posted by on October 3rd 2012 in On the box

She's worked for the Beeb for over a decade and they still can't get her name right:


Does anybody there ever check these things?

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