Tuesday 30 September 2008

A short but enjoyable indulgence

I’ve taken Martin’s comments in the previous posting as good advice. So this one is a short(ish) but enjoyable indulgence. (enjoyable for me anyway) I’m in a positive mood as the car has passed it’s MOT (after having had £200+ thrown at it) and we’ve moved one step closer to having my mum’s two doodlecat-type cats rehomed (more dosh...) So, for the time being, they’re safe in a plush cattery run by a woman who seems to be obsessed by cats - always a good sign. And I’m on me hols in Wales from Saturday.

So here’s some less than serious underground pictures taken in leadmines at Nenthead. Such silliness…..

There likely be just one more posting this week and then there’ll be a two week interval. I’m just mentioning this so that you can organise something interesting to do whilst I’m away. I won’t be doing any mobile blogging due to technical difficulties (I haven’t got the kit and I’ve no idea what to do if I had….)

Saturday 27 September 2008

Gaping Gill

I found this reference in October’s issue of The Dalesman (we have a subscription thanks to the wife’s aunt and uncle who subscibe for us every Christmas)

Apparently, Specialist Measurement Devices Ltd have surveyed Gaping Gill main chamber and produced a 3D animated model. I for two think its rather fab. Have a look at

It may seem unlikely to those who know me as a wizened old Harold Shipman lookalike, but I’ve been in Gaping Gill main chamber a few times in the 1980’s with what was then Airedale Hospital Fell Club. (I don’t believe this exists any longer although several staff members are TGO Challenge stalwarts**) We used to go through to the main chamber after entering via Bar Pot when the winch meet was operating. Thus we’d be winched out for a small fee. Quite a scary and, always memorable trip. I still like dark holes and I can still discharge the need to visit such cold, damp and scary places by going into some of the pubs in Crook midweek….

** I’m talking Waggy and The Marshalls here – there may well be others…

I hate the word “Stalwart” by the way – it usually means some old windypop who made a lot of biscuits for church fetes but who has now passed on. I’m being very unfair, obviously.

Dammit... I mentioned the TGO Challenge again - I've been trying to avoid that till I know whether or not I've got a place...

Friday 26 September 2008

Visions of Swaledale

Just had a rather fab couple of days in Keld - with camping at the Keld mudsite and scoffing at the Keld Lodge - very good scoff, as it happens.

Any road up - I thought that I'd include a photomontageeroony of Swaledale, and I've borrowed a little cliche well used by peeps who take piccies.... I'm not using the other stuff about reflections or moods or the dark side of and all that artery hardening stuff.. Nope, its Visions Of...

We had two nice walks (me and Mike and Theresa from a go4awalk... the first being a classic and possibly traditional mope over the corpse route over Kisdon (you can't walk joyfully on a corpse road, surely...even though we did, quite) We had a little visit to the rather finely crafted summit cairn, and tea and biccies at the kearton tea rooms -- and back to Keld via Angram. All good, clean fun. 6 miles.

Walk two was on the CtoC path and then up to the fine and airy and not really boring due to the really good views summit of Rogan's seat - then via blanket bog to the even finer and yet more interesting top called Water Crag. More heather and bog and we descended via the archeologically archeological Gunnerside Gill, with it's archeology - and then back to Keld alongside the river, the fields sporting a fine crop of dead and dismemberred rabbits, or blind rabbits with swollen eyes who tried to run away but couldn't. Exciting and heart-warming stuff. A grand total of 15 miles
It strikes me, though that if the grouse shooting estates trap and kill all those stoats in those little traps on poles across it really surprising that the place is infested with rabbits, who seem to be paying the price in Swaledale at the moment. Somebody check my logic...

The pics are of some of the fine views seen, particluarly on day 2. You'll have seen the type of thing before. Its all a bit cliched, really.

Monday 22 September 2008

The Motherload

My Mate Brian rang me last night. We've had a couple of explorations of a small valley in the North Pennines recently and the last one provided us with lots of things to do - such as poking around in the leadmines and in the rubble of the extensive flood debris that lines the floor of this little dale. One (actually, two) of the things we found were some very large lumps of iron pyrites - fool's gold.... Any road up, Brian had been having yet another poke around this little gem of a place and had found an enormous lump of the stuff - and I'm talking motherload here, or , rather, these were his words. Its quite exciting to find a lovely great lump of shiny rock. The one I found the other day weighed in at just under 4kg, mainly due, I suspect to the damn great lumps of iron in it.

So, here it is in the blog. I'm not going to say exactly where it is, though, partly because some people in a pub seemed over-interested in our samples and there's also some wildlife stuff there which certain other people could well show an unhealthy interest in, specially as the place is quite secluded. The thing is, though - I'm going to have to go back there myself and have a look. Pics include some flood debris (fascinating, I know....) and the cairn (Marshall's Cairn) near the place and samples of the rock we've found.

Friday 19 September 2008

The Tongue Licked (Finally)

This was very much a last-minute "where shall we walk" type of decision. To climb "The Tongue" (She's a bitch an' she don't suffer fools gladly). So me and my pal Alan - who shares the distinction of having worse heart disease than I do (pacemaker... we are NOT worthy...) and superdawg, fresh from an unauthorised breakfast of cat biscuits he accidentally knocked over this morning... sorry, where was I? Oh yes, so the three or four of us, whatever it was, set out from Mungrisdale City Centre car park (please put £2 through the door of the funhouse, ta!) and soon afterwards were tackling Lawson's Couloir on the towering east face of The Tongue (she's a bitch etc etc blah blah...) This was a mix of steep grass, scree, some bracken and a rock.
Only a mere hour or two later and we were scoffing our turkey butties at the summit cairn (Look, Mrs Knipe bought a job lot of sliced turkey at Asda in Bishop Auckland due to the young (male) deli assistant giving her the eye. We've got tons of the stuff in the fridge. Its all right, but its just a bit too much like Boxing day.)
I hope they don't put the lad on fresh fish, thats all...

After this , we went over the lip of the Skiddaw Glacier over to the summit cairn of Bowscale Fell. And then, through incipient fog to Bannerdale Crags, which has dramatic views of crags and scary things like that.

Having licked The Tongue and failed to get the word "Gum" into this piece, despite trying very hard, we decided not to climb Blencathra on the grounds that this would just be showing off. So, instead, we went down an extremely attractive footpath to the foot of Souther Fell - famed for it's 1745 apparitions of Bonny Prince Charming's army prancing about , playing with their cannons and flaunting their muskets, to some biblious chap who had clearly just spent the afternoon in the Mill Inn, but who nevertheless reported this vision to the local press....
Its not famous for its very fine crop of sedges, which may well turn out to be a pity.
After a coffee stop, we assaulted the Northern Arete of Souther fell and descended the other side "with care".
And back to the Mill Inn for a light libation.

All cracking fun, despite the turkey overdose.

8 miles and 2100 feet of uphilliness and a 60 mile drive over the A66, which was yet more fun, specially as the price of petrol came down during the journey.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Day Bagging Trip to the Lowther Hills

Bruno searching for the trig point
Model of Schiehallion

This is much too far to drive for a day's bagging. I'd designed myself a 23 km circular walk starting in the middle of Mennock Pass and going around by Cairn Hill, East Mount Lowther and Green Hill. The first and the last of these three being the ones I wanted to bag.

But, as Dave Burns once said, "The michty plons ae mice an men aft invalve nice cheese". His brother may have used this phrase for another, similar one, in one of his pomes, or so it's said. Anyway, the point is, I got up late.

So, after a two and a half hour drive during which I overtook six tractors and sat at four sets of roadworks, I duly arrived very very shortly before noon - much too late to do the walk I'd planned and get home before the hoodies start to congregate around the garden gate.

So I replanned and made a short walk which bagged the very lovely Auchensow Hill plus Cairn Hill in walk one, and another even shorter one starting at Wanlockhead for the bagging of Green Hill in walk two.

It all went spiffingly spiffing. Auchensow Hill is a little gem of a round, grassy thing with very steep sides, and this was followed by a magnificent bit of fellwalking on a dryish, grassy moor to the even lovelier Cairn Hill - all of 449 metres high. The cairn is a bit pathetic for an ancient cairn, but I expect that when its a bit less dull and misty than it was today, there would be a fab view all around. A nice little ridge took me back to the valley and an estate road.

Some men were playing with their JCBs on the road and had completely blocked it and , basically dug it up. The driver stopped his machine for me and swung it around so I could get past. As I scrambled past, though, I happened to grasp the rock which they'd cut through - and put a big, bloody hole in my finger as a result. It'll probably have to be amputated, or at least there'll be a green line running up my arm tommorrow, and when it reaches my heart......

After this, I had a drive up to Wanlockhead and parked in a sort of devastated area.... (lots of devastated areas in Wanlockhead) - and had a poke around some lead mines and then steeply up on to Green Hill - at 588 metres, the summit of my explorations that day. This was a very short up and down sort of thing. Not good views, although a ridge running South and South-West from the top looked very attractive. Too late, though - I had to go home.

8 Miles and 2300 feet of climbing - which is a reasonable amount for 8 miles, I would have thought.

This would be an excellent area for anybody who wanted to do a short backpacking/wild camping trip - say, for TGO Challenge training (hmmm... rubs chin thoughtfully ....)

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Welcome to my pie

This is the first time I've tried to do anything like this. I expect that I'll probably forget whatever it is I've called the blog. I won't really have anything to blog about till tommorrow because tommorrow, me and superdawg are off to Wanlockhead to bag a couple of Marilyns.

I've got me turkey and a banana and some choccy bars and cake and I'll be off early in the morning.

In the meantime, here's a picture of superdawg (bruno) being excited about something.

It seems to be de rigeur amongst the bloggers who's blogs I read, to mention the TGO Challenge.

Well, I'm not going to do that....

Other than to mention that I've just applied to take part in the 2009 event. If I'm accepted, - and I manage to finish, this would be my ninth.

But I'm not going to talk about that.

I've got an outline route as well... not that I'm bothered. I mean, if I dont get on, I'll just do something else. And sulk.