For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Two good friends


I have known Pete, who is a few years older than me, for fifty years. We climbed together in the sixties, and more recently Pete bagged over thirty Munros with me. Now we walk locally  at more leisurely pace reflecting our advancing years.

Pete on the Ben Lawers round
Pete  treats me with fatherly concern, offering advice and parental criticism. When motoring I am admonished for not taking off my coat, and mildly rebuked for slightly exceeding speed limits. When walking uphill I am advised about the merits of pacing oneself, and in my frustration and grumbling at slow recovery from knee replacement I am gently urged to be patient.

Around Easter I start wearing shorts, and don The Hat.

The Hat was bought in La Rochelle in 2005 on a sailing trip with my two brothers. Nick, the one who is now unwell, has been a great sailor, and when Previous Hat was blown into the briny he made an heroic man-overboard attempt at its rescue, only to be thwarted at the last moment  taking avoiding action against a delinquent motor launch - Previous Hat then lazily zig-zagged itself into the depths of the Bay of Biscay.

The Hat has since accompanied me on thousands of miles of walking in France, Scotland England and Wales, and I would be in mourning like Queen Victoria if I lost it.

The Hat on the last Munro summit (Sgurr Morr - Loch Quoich)

The Hat at John 'o Groats

Shorts and The Hat promote humorous disapproval from Pete, but half a century of friendship overcomes our few differences, and the  bond seems to grow stronger as we battle on beyond our three score years and ten.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Walking in the rain

Elsewhere I have said that to walk intentionally in the rain, the overall adventure must be large enough in scope to make that worthwhile.

Earlier this week I picked up my brother, who is not well, in Harrogate, and drove him to Hereford to visit brother number three for two nights; a round trip of six hundred miles.

Brother number three in his own post referred to my,  “...monster chauffeuring job”. For me I reckon the “...the scope” of the whole outweighed any adversity from the long drive a hundred times over.

Thanks to Mrs BB for feeding us all superbly.

L to R - BB, Harrogate brother, Sir Hugh



Thursday, 20 September 2012

River Sprint (2) with a good friend


When I was a youth in the Fifties/Sixties I was one of an assemblage who, during the week drank beer together and frequented the various jazz venues in the Bradford area where we lived, and most weekends made our way to The Lakes, to drink more beer and rock climb.

One of the group was Pete who now features in this post.

After the loss of my wife Ann I moved to Arnside in 1999.







In Arnside I joined the gym, and one day found myself sat on a rowing machine conversing with another member who turned out to be Pete. We had not seen each other for the best part of forty years, and neither of us recognised the other until conversation enlightened us.
Pete and his wife Liz bought a house in Arnside, and in the intervening years Pete and I have walked together, and he climbed thirty or so Munros with me.

Garnett Bridge
Yesterday was just another local walk we did together, continuing my exploration northwards up the river Sprint from Garnett Bridge.



















The Sprint from Garnett Bridge bridge

Lower Long Sleddale

The path/track does not follow close to the river, which was a bit disappointing, but the views were good compensation
Pole Position?
Getting back to the river

The river is less vigorous here, but it bubbles along like some kind of brown Champagne



Click to enlarge
There is  another 2.5km of the Sprint to arrive at Sadgill where the tarmac road ends, and a rough track climbs to become Gatesgarth Pass which then descends to Haweswater. I have often walked up that track looking down at the tumbling and hugely inviting river, much more exciting than the stretch walked on this post. I have it in mind to try and walk up the river itself rather than the track on my next visit, but I am not sure if this will be feasible - there is no footpath shown on the map, but I will give it a try.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Something from nothing


After my lengthy reply to Gimmer on the last post I emailed him saying that I would send him brief reports of my short local walks that have insufficient material for a post, but would be of interest to him because of his familiarity with the territory, and so I set to and wrote an account of a walk I did yesterday.

Often, when I write, I do not have a complete story in my mind, and eerily, and strangely, things emerge, and by the time I had done I thought it was just worth a post.

River Sprint - south from Garth Row

A pleasant two hour, unhurried amble, following the east bank of the River Sprint from near Garth Row heading south towards Burneside, and then back up the western bank.

The route strayed from the river in places onto virtually untrodden lanes and a bit of rarely used tarmac. The river is aptly named, and difficult to see in anything but short sections, because it is largely hidden by mature trees in a mini gorge, running vigorously with sparkling light brown clarity conveying that familiar thrill of seeing fast moving water fresh from the hills.

I met a local, pleasant, middle class guy with his collie dog - he lived in one of those comfortable country cottages half a mile away which he pointed out to me - the sort of cottage affordable for a well pensioned professional. Further on I saw a romantic looking couple ahead of me, but they turned off into the woods...

Back up the western side of the Sprint I finished across rolling open fields with distant views of the hills above Staveley and Long Sleddale.







Friday, 14 September 2012

Fit for purpose?


Replacement knee surgery reduces me to writing about football. 

I do not like football.

Football is admittedly  a good spectator sport, but the people involved at professional level, both players and administrators repel me, and in any case I prefer to be doing rather than watching.

Continuing my persona as Grumpy Camel my moan concerns the familiar manager interview about a multi million pound transfer, whilst in the background his team are seen on the pitch “training”.

I have never seen anything that resembles hard work taking place in these scenes - they are all prancing about in some sort of slow motion, vaguely raising legs, or side stepping, mincingly, like a bunch of pansies.

Compare that with a similar interview with a boxing manager where his protagonist is seen bouncing medicine balls off his midriff, or stressing out press-ups at at sixty to the minute, or murdering a punch bag with zebra like blows, with the rapidity of a sub machine gun, and sweat pouring out everywhere.

I reckon footballers are like rare vintage racing cars, too expensive and vulnerable to be driven fast round a circuit, and lavished with far too much admiration.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The shape of things to come?

In comments on my last post I promised my follower The Crow an update on my ten month old granddaughter Katie so here it is Martha.

Katie is now walking, but in an emergency she reverts to the rapid-crawl. I'm not sure what happened next after this incident, but I don't think the police were involved.


The youngest shoplifter?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Grumps, red words, and phrases


Why do news programmes need to have their correspondents standing outside the appropriate government department building when its incumbent head is under fire for some misdemeanour? This often happens in inclement weather, with idiots passing in the background girning and arm waving.

In those circumstances we have the prime minister uttering the euphemism invariably meaning the minister is on the way out,

 “John X has my fullest support.” 

For sometime I have been weary of the unimaginative overuse of the adjective “amazing”,  used by inarticulate sports persons, interviewed by inept presenters, and  by every other celebrity, in every other sentence,
“What did it feel like when you were crossing the line?”

“Amazing.”

"What is it like to have your first number-one?"

"Amazing."

Chambers Dictionary gives an obscure definition of "amazing" as “bewildering” which may be appropriate in many cases.

My daughter bought a child's first book for ten month old Katie recently featuring pictures of animals with captions - I have now been christened Grumpy Camel. Perhaps I should change my gravatar?

Grumpy Camel
From time to time we are inflicted with buzz words and phrases in politico-speak that irritate me.

The hospital spokesperson, after the media have identified five hour average waiting times in A & E says,
“Plans have been put in place so that this never happens again.

 I’ll bet!

A prime minister, or CEO after a tragic bereavement,

“Our feelings are with the family and friends.”

Well that’s ok, but if he really means it, can’t he use some more personal words instead of repeating, word for word what others have said for years gone by?

The latest phrase that is now being overused, and blindly copied by officials in power, occurs when, for example the new building that has been erected has to be demolished because it does not conform in some way, and £20m of taxpayer’s money has been wasted. The official defends the organization's position by saying,

“ We now have a robust plan in place (guess what?) to ensure this does not happen again.”

One of my dictionary definitions for "robust" says "over-hearty". Hmm?