Thursday, 31 December 2015

Christmas presents


On Boxing Day, we exchange Boxing Day presents. These are generally of a more lighthearted nature than the main Christmas Day presents.

This year we bought W. a present which, once assembled, inflated,  and correctly ballasted, and the radio control mastered, provided much amusement.

video



It is now New Year's Eve and the family have departed but I am still left with the helium filled monster which floats round the house in ghostly fashion, often impeding my movement from room to room and frightening the life out of me.


I am awaiting his collection now by daughter High Horse because I reckon Shark is going to feature at the New Year's Eve party at Arnside Sailing Club tonight which my offspring will be attending.


Yesterday I caught him halfway out of the front door making a bid for freedom.

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CHRISTMAS DAY



Which one next?



All those expensive presents and a liquorice allsort wins the day

Lakeland wilderness

My friend J (bowlandclimber) who comments frequently here is launched on visiting the hills in Wainwright's "The Outlying Fells". I have owned the book for years and regard it as Wainwright's best.  In my younger years it provided the basis for six mile runs on the hills, and the book is filled with many of W's quirky comments, for example, the Woodland Fell chapter:

"The road to the north forks in 350yds beyond a postbox (where the author posted his 1972/3 tax return)..."

W describes the book:

"being a Pictorial Guide to the lesser fells around the perimeter of Lakeland written primarily for old age pensioners and others who can no longer climb high fells but can still, within reason, potter about on the short easy slopes and summits of the foothills"

and:

"...physical and other disabilities may develop in later years. Bodily ailments may occur in spite of healthy exercise: legs tend to become rickety and bones brittle; or half a century of pipe smoking may play havoc with the wind; or a street accident may curtail freedom to walk  and climb in comfort; or over-indulgence in sexual activities may have robbed the limbs of energy (perish the thought, but it had to be mentioned), Or domestic difficulties, an unsympathetic family or a shortage of cash in old age  may rule out the longer expeditions. Senile decay may set in but is unlikely in a seasoned fell walker. Rigor mortis is the one great disability to fear, and avoid as long as possible".

All use of punctuation and caps as per W.

Our target today was the Potter Fell chapter, and I was recruited because I suspect J had read W's advice: "North is a wilderness... a no-man's-wasteland. Therefore it behoves a walker subject to sudden maladies to endure a companion on this expedition, however solitary he may be by nature".

Well, for me J is the ideal companion. Any potential adversity is regarded as a worthwhile challenge, and he is always the first to see a glimmer of blue sky, and when the going gets really tough his amusement and laughter just increase.

J has written an excellent account of the walk and I do not wish to repeat the anecdotal content again which was surprisingly fruitful in view of the remoteness; there is a potential problem of creating two almost identical posts when walking with a fellow blogger, hence my reason for focusing here more on the background:
 https://bowlandclimber.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/pottering-on-the-fells/

Suffice to say that although short in distance this walk incorporated some wild, and often pathless, and rarely visited  terrain with a really remote feeling - as good a walk as I have done for some time, and just what was needed after the festive season incarceration. Thanks J.

Catching a burst of sunlight on the distant fell

The flooded Winster valley and Arnside Knott across the bay - my house nestles there somewhere

The ridge between Longsleddale and Kentmere illustrating the wilderness nature of our walk. The next photo shows the southern end of that ridge and reveals the view up Longsleddale

Looking up Longsleddale from Ulgrave's cairn

This steep view with a full on 3D effect down into the lower end of Longsleddale appears suddenly and impressively as one arrives within just a few feet of Ulgrave's cairn and combined with the view up Longsleddale provides a touch of drama to this excellent round.
Gurnal Dubs - I have done many paintings with Photoshop on the computer and this was one I tried but never finished- I just couldn't seem to capture it the way I wanted - below is the abandoned attempt.



I could not get rid of the space at the end of this post.












Saturday, 19 December 2015

He's "been" already

I can't believe it is ten days since my last post on 8th December. I have been  busy with the new WC installation upstairs, and also some extra Katie minding sessions covering for High Horse's after school activities.

Pete and I did manage a wettish walk on Thursday 10th December, but this Thursday 17th it rained all day and we drove to B&Q at Lancaster to pick up the final bathroom fittings for my project and then we were off to the Christmas gathering at Pete's wife Liz's art class.

Wet walking with Pete - reflections under the M6 


Twas Speech Day, or something similar for High Horse, so I had to look after K until  7:00pm - she had a long day and fell asleep like this about 5:45 watching C Beebies - I ended up with severe pins and needles in my arm by the time HH arrived

My finished throne room

Merry Christmas everyone - he doesn't come down the chimney at my house

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Bad weather induces expensive diversions

It is nearly a week since my last Thursday "walk" with Pete. Weather and a new DIY project have delayed a post.

Non-stop rain prevented walking, but I had the idea of visiting Force Mills where a dramatic little stream bifurcates and tumbles down a hillside in the archetypal Lake District hinterland twixt Windermere and Coniston lakes. I reckoned it would be verging on uniquely spectacular with the nonstop downpour.

Photographing the stream from below is fraught with disappointing results because the camera just cannot capture what the eye sees here but we drove to the top where the water tumbles over the edge and got a few decent shots at the risk of writing off the camera with rain ingress. I wish I had experimented and used manual override to increase shutter speed and thereby sharpen up the fast flowing water, but at least I have a reasonable record.

My dormer bungalow has a landing between the two bedrooms with walk-in storage cupboards with sloping roofs on either side. I am installing in one of these a bijou WC and handbasin facility so that my nighttime geriatric requirements will be ameliorated.

Awful picture (rain on the lens - my excuse),  but it shows the two streams. The next ones are taken from the top before it flows down. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Where the main straem goes over the edge


This and the next two - looking upstream




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The WC and handbasin are going in the left hand side. The chipboard floor was not level so I had to create a new level floor.

You can see how much out of level the floor was near the torch light - it is propped up a couple of inches or so within an 80cm. spread


Plywood floor and Vinyl tiles have now been added

Downlighter lights have been added, there are two more in the roof at the top of the photo.
The WC will back up onto the rear wall. The walls will be cladded in upvc cladding.

Phil the plumber has just arrived and I have to go for a pre knee op appointment at the hospital at 2:00pm. When I had the other knee done, the time between the pre-op appointment and the real thing was so long I questioned the point of the pre-op thing, but we will see.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Three northern pensioners claim second ascent of Easington Fell

A call from Bowland Climber (John), had me out on a good nine miler on Sunday. Panic ensues when I have to go south from Arnside into heavy traffic and big town country. John had invited friend Barry whose passion for rocks and minerals had been the subject of anecdotes from John over the years. That was fine so long as Barry didn’t expect me to carry back half a hundredweight of his samples in my rucksack - he turned out to be exceedingly good company and the three of us tramped around, up and over and down the other side of Easington Fell for six hours or so with non-pausing conversation (of the highest high intellectual value of course) - for example, are Higgidy pies good value, and do you walk faster using the 1:25,000 map than you do with the 1:50,000?

I had offered to chauffeur with my car from Longridge to Grindleton, and that might have been a good idea in retrospect  After much driving through scattered villages and country roads in John’s car we eventually arrived at Grindleton. On a steep hill in the village John stopped to survey for a parking spot. When he tried to restart we were informed that the gearbox had long since given up on first gear. It was touch and go boosting revs and torturing the clutch to move off up the hill in second gear - thankfully we were not reduced to manpower.

A series of  footpaths shown on the map, but only identified on the ground by numerous stiles took us to the furthest edges of civilisation.

Leaving behind the grazing pastures we entered  the land of bogs reeds and tussocks and battled on before summiting Easington Fell where lunch was taken. Barry tried to convince John that he had some moral obligation to share his Higgidy pie, but John was not persuaded.

Now, John's predilection for adventure identified a return route on the map dropping into a steep sided, tree filled ravine. There was the merest semblance of a path, but an atmosphere of no human visitation since about 1700.  Ed Stafford struggling down the Amazon from its source sprang to mind.

John had done a selling job on the phone, tempting me with the fact that Easington Fell is a Marilyn, but I saw that I had already ticked it off on the list. I had no recollection of climbing it, nor did any recollection return on this Sunday, but when I arrived home I found the reference here to its ascent in March 2014 hidden away in a post covering several events on different days:

http://conradwalks.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/roads.html 

My approach on that day had been from the opposite direction not far off the road - a quick up and downer, so that probably explains the blank in my memory. Anyway, it was worth going there again in excellent company and with magnificent views across to the main peaks of the Yorkshire Dales. First gear was not needed on the return journey.

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The problem with chopped off text seems to have sorted itself



Map courtesy of Bowland Climber


The horse whisperers

Barry pedantically follows the Country Code keeping exactly to the footpath

The stile constructor's version of Spaghetti Junction

John decides to go walkabout.
 There was a danger of disappearing entirely in the bog here 

The distant summit of Easington Fell, and I was getting hungry

In the wild ravine.
 It was possible to walk underneath this stile without obstruction to the other side of the wire fence
 We could only conclude somebody had a lot of spare wood to use up

Monday, 23 November 2015

Test for chopped text

This a test to see if my text is being chopped off at the righthand edge when I post from my iPad using Blogpress. That will mean I have to do quite a bit of typing so I can get a few lines I. I then intend to add a photo, although there is no option for adding captions. You just have to use normal text under the photo.




This a photo of a tractor. I want more than one line here so I can see if any text is missing.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Pete and Crosthwaite, and two Marilyns



Thursday 19th March (with Pete)

Our weather forecasts are becoming surprisingly accurate. I think the  Met Office recently invested in some expensive computer stuff. Rain was predicted up to 11:00 am and it stopped precisely at that hour as we pulled into a lay-by to start our Thursday walk, and again, as forecast, sunshine prevailed for the duration.

A pleasant walk on roads near Crosthwaite:


Pete thinks I have disappeared

Unusual waterfall


One for Alan R. This appeared to be in current use
- stripped down for racing?

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Saturday 21st Nov.



The first snow of the year arrived. I motored to south Lancashire for two Marilyns near Rawtenstall.  That area features old mills, and much industrial heritage going back to the 18th century nestling in valleys and surrounded by upland, moorland hills scattered with old tracks and quarry workings.



Hailstorm Hill gave me some hard going over snow covered reeds, tussocks and heather until I got onto tracks, but these were also tricky with ice and snow, and I had a few slapstick moments teetering and gyrating with walking poles flying through the air, but fortunately I avoided hitting the deck. The summit was unidentifiable on a mile long, half mile wide stretch of desolate moorland half a mile from any of the tracks. I managed to get the GPS over the spot height shown on the map, took a quick photo and retreated.


A quick drive took me to Shawforth on the A671 from where I ascended Freeholds Top on tracks and paths with a final trek across pathless moorland again with a good covering of snow.








My route went up the side of the snow covered reservoir onto the hills



The featureless summit of Hailstorm Hill

Summit of Freeholds Top - motorcyclists approaching in second photo


I have had a bad time here with Blogger. The photos took on a life of their own and refused to go where I wanted them and then, if I wanted to add captions they just diasppeared, The above is the best I can do, so I'm leaving well alone.

NOW I SEE ALL MY TEXT IS CHOPPED OFF AT RIGHT EDGE - HAVE GOOGLED - OTHERS WITH SAME PROBLEM NO SOLUTION UNLESS GOOGLE DECIDE TO FIX IT - SORRY FOLKS.




Monday, 16 November 2015

Diversions

A combination of  poor weather and other circumstances seems to have kept me indoors for a while. That means I have turned to various diversions:

1.  A new Photoshop painting.

Based on Small Water (nr. Haweswater - Lake District)
I have reduced pixels by half for the blog - original would be a bit sharper - CLICK TO ENLARGE
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2. At the request of daughter High Horse I  made a rubber band pin board for Katie.



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3. And more Photoshop playtime - have you noticed my new avatar?




This was the orginal but the figure was too small on the avatar so he had to be cropped


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Friday, 13 November 2015

Running out of routes

Thursday walks with Pete continue. Yesterday I was able to put the OS mapping on my new iPhone 6s Plus to the test. I have bought Memory Map OS Great Britain Complete at 1:25,000 in addition to the 1:50,000 which I already had. In the past I have not favoured the 1:25,000 because, even though the scale is larger, a lot of the print is small and difficult to read. With iPhone the map can be magnified enabling easy reading of even the tiniest detail, and that combined with the huge advantage of showing field boundaries now makes it a winner. Another amusing feature is the illusion of travelling faster over the ground on the larger scale. The only remaining disadvantage is that I do not get a good mental picture of the lie of the land, but it is easy enough to switch back to 1:50,000.

I have been using a combination of the old iPhone 3 and my iPad Mini. The phone screen was a bit small and the iPad a bit cumbersome. The new iPhone Plus with its 5.25inch screen is ideal, fitting into map pockets in my various jackets and shirts, and I have bought a waterproof pouch and lanyard (Vansky - IPX8 certified to 100ft) - I reckon that should cover me for the kind of walks I do, but I have doubts about 100ft being adequate for a TGO Challenge - some of those Scottish bogs...

Pete’s rheumatoid arthritis has improved over the months with the treatment he  receives, but we are keeping walks to under 5 miles, and also, in view of saturated fields and muddy paths, we are keeping to Tarmac. I am running out of routes near enough to home to be practical with those parameters, and this Thursday we did a rare repeat. Fortunately I had little recollection of the walk.

I have just looked back at the post and find I was holding forth on the subject of finding new routes then. Click to have a look if you want.

"Where to Next" Jan. 2014

I see also I took the same picture of the River Mint this time, and oddly, the same picture of the same moss covered wall, also photos of stone stiles on both occasions, but I had no memory of the close proximity of pylons to our route. 

This time I was attracted by the long ridge on the south of Borrowdale which I ran a few years ago and also walked on a  fine day with daughter, High Horse.

Old screenshot of Memory Map on my computer showing the many routes we have walked. There are more that got deleted, and others outside this area

River Mint near Patton Bridge - this and the moss covered wall almost identical to photos shown on post January 2014

Moss covered wall - similar photo last time intrigued my American readers


As we approached I reckoned these two pylon lines crossed, one running under the other which is unusual but confirmed a little further on - click to enlarge



Whinfell Tarn (again)

Blue is our Patton Bridge route (clockwise)
Red dots show the fine south Borrowdale ridge. There is a good return track back down Borrow Beck