Friday 25 June 2010

Another intermission


The car’s not ready. I have access to another. I am going to Wales.

In the meantime – here’s Fiona Apple and Elvis Costello. This is fckn brill….. watch it til the end, you have nothing better to do….   Ae Fond Kiss modernised..


Wales – Fingers Crossed

cymru4  tryfan and nant y benlog

Hopefully, there will now be a slight hiatus. The knipemobile is in for it’s operation and (fingers crossed) will be well enough to travel to Wales in the morning.

The venue for this week’s trip is the Over The Hill Club Spring Meet somewhere quite close to Llyn Ogwen. There will be a dinner and beer swilling.

Then, on Sunday, whilst the rest of the country (ie England) is watching the footy, I’ll be wandering up Mynydd Graig Goch with Fight Club Hiker and TGO Challenger Peter Crawford.

After that, I’m supposed to be heading South for a few days.

pen y fan from corn du

That’s the plan.

But whenever I announce a plan, it generally goes wrong.

Now that I’ve said that, it won’t go wrong, of course.

Now that I’ve said it won’t go wrong, it’ll go wrong…

Now that…….. (fade to close)

Anyway, if as many people as poss will keep their fingers crossed, that would be great, ta…

I’ll tell you all about it later

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Bolts Law Solstice Stuff

solsice eve sunset north pennines
The knipemobile, still  not yet being mobile, I was going to catch the bus to Stanhope and then walk up to Bolts Law for a bivi. As it happens, Maggie got home from Halifax and, after tea, she took me to Parkhead, just above Stanhope and I wandered along the old railway line for the three or four miles or whatever it is, and then through a bit of deep heather to the top of Bolts Law.
bolts law cairn
Bolts Law  summit is at 540 metres and it overlooks a substantial section of the Durham coastline, roughly from Gateshead to Easington. I could also see Cross Fell and as far South as Mickle Fell – and some hills which must be at the other side of the Solway. So – a big view.
I had a brew and rang Brian. He was in the bath. I could hear him bombing his rubber duck. He’d be here by eleven, after picking up Charlie from Westgate.
is he dead? bolts law bivi site
And so, me and the midgies kept a short vigil till it got chilly, when I climbed into the bivi bag and snuggled down. The midgies stayed outside, got bored and went off somewhere else.
I’d put a thermarest inside the bag and a very old sleeping bag with “Blacks of Greenock” written across the foot. Its a damn fine and toasty sleeping bag. I fell asleep, just after snapping the sunset picture and having a brief swig of Co-op Special 40% proof Not Highland Malt.
A couple of hours drifted by.
The phone rang. It was dark. “The navigator has failed to navigate” said the voice. “And we’re lost”
the sign next to it says "no dogs"
They described being near a chimney. I knew where they were – it was the lead mine flue chimney from a few blog posts ago (pay attention at the back…) and peering in the appropriate direction, I could see some headlights. I flashed me liddle petzl at them. The headlights flashed back. I gave further and better instructions and the headlights set off back up the hill.
An hour or so later, it was even darker and the phone rang again “We’re setting off” said the voice.
I kept a better watch and soon, two lights appeared on the track below. We signalled to each other for a while, then a light appeared close by and a voice I didn’t recognise said “Did you call the mountain rescue?”
Luckily, it turned out to be Colin, the landlord from the Hare and Hounds at Westgate. He’d brought Southern Comfort, sausages, bread and beefburgers.
Brian and Charlie turned up shortly afterwards with whisky, quails eggs (I kid you not) and chocolate biscuits.
A party followed
Some staggering was done. We pontificated and put the world to rights. There was a little singing – mainly from Brian. We had a small cooking fire on a rock and a catering style iron pan.
About dawn, Charlie and Colin set off roughly in the direction of Rookhope whilst Brian snored underneath a flysheet. I returned to my cosy bag – it being perishing cold just then.
About half eight or nine, in full daylight and warming sun, I brewed up again, had porridge and we lazed about for an hour or so.
rookhope inn
Eventually, Brian went off to find his car and I wandered down the hill to find water. There wasn’t any water. Its hasn’t rained, y’know.  There was some brown smudgy stuff in an old reservoir and some iron-red liquid seeping out of the ground, but the streams were dry. So I mooched over the moor and down the other side to Rookhope where the pub serves shandies and beers and there’s a bit of crack. I stayed a while. There were cyclists outside in their sexy pants.
rookhope to eastgate path
A hot afternoon’s wander down by the beck to Weardale and then along the flowery riverbank brought me to the cafe’s and pubs of Stanhope – ideal if you have a bus to wait for.
I was feeling specially fragged by this time – too much scotch and not enough sleep and water. So I’ve spent 24 hours dozing and drinking water and only I can now think of more walkies to do.
river wear near stanhope
The walking was 14 miles altogether with just about 800 feet of uphill…… 
So that was the solstice. I may have missed the crucial event.
I expect there’ll be another one along in a while.
Its all downhill till Christmas now, but…..
Incidentally, the photos are a bit limited as the camera doesn’t do night time. Hopefully, Charlie and Brian will supply a few piccies in due course. If there are, I’ll insert some more and publish some separately. There are no pictures of Colin and Charlie because it was mainly dark when they were there….
Worralaff, though..  We really need to grow up.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Dens and Horses

dens and horses 003

I had a little trundle into Kittie’s wood at Crook today. This is land reclaimed from opencasting and also from Pease’s Roddymoor pit and brickworks. There’s a lot of industrial archeology in here – mainly bricks with the  word “Pease” stamped into them and various bits of iron and old heaps of clinker and ash…..


But now its a pleasant bit of woodland with a vast array of wildflowers around the edges. (I only took a picture of the buttercups… but there are others…) And horses. There’s loads of horses.

And then I came across what can only be described as a  “den”, or at least an ex- den. Then there was another. then there was one dug seven or eight feet into the shale of an old spoil heap. Then more. Each one signified by cut, burned and dead trees, lager  tins and empty bottles of that ‘orrible white cider that impecunious alcoholics drink, and old hearths and burned and general rubbish.

den one den 2

dens 3 dens 4

This is what I think:

I think the local eejits have been watching Ray Mears programs and decided to go off into the woods and “survive” Part of this survival appears to be the lighting of a big fire and then getting rat-arsed on very cheap and nasty alcohol.

There is no evidence that they tried to snare and kill anything – most of the local animals being horses as it happens….  but the damage done to the local trees is remarkable.

Incidentally,there’s nothing wrong with getting rat-arsed by the way, but lets have just a little bit of style fer  evvans sake…)

Clearly , they are a set of twats (lets not be generous eh?)

I have a bit of a problem with yer bush whackers or whatever they call themselves. It all seems really really pointless…

If this was a forum, I’d be a troll….

another horse

Incidentally – the horse in the very first picture – worra sweetie – I stroked her muzzle and scratched behind her ears and she dozed off. Like putty in me hands, she was…  Bless her lickle hooves….


Tuesday 15 June 2010


b runo and tammy

I find myself without personal transport at the moment, and the wife has gone off to visit her Dad in Halifax for a few days, so I have to dog sit (careful!) not just superdawg, who doesn’t really need dogsitting, but also Tammy our veteran and ever-so-slightly senile mongrel.

To be fair, Tammy spends most of her time asleep and, as she’s as deaf as a brick, doesn’t wake up unless you actually make a determined effort to wake her. But I wouldn’t want to leave her alone for too long.

So, I’m stuck as far as the walking is concerned. I can do local ones, but that’s it.

I will make it to a hilltop to witness the dawn after the solstice and I guess I’ll have to walk there and bivi till the sunrises. (Maggie will have returned by then…)  There may be others there too, we’ll have to see…

In the meantime, the car gets fixed on the 24th of June. I could drive it, but it might stop working as far as steering is concerned, which is a bit of a contra-indicator as it happens.

There are economic benefits to waiting till then. Its a long story. There might well be a rant about it quite soon.

I ought to be bothered about it, but I’m not really….

In the meantime, I’m planning to attend an Over the Hill Club “do” at Bettws y Coed followed by a few days in the Brecon Beacons for the hillbagging – provided I’ve got a car, obviously.

Sunday 13 June 2010

The Lead Mine Trail

bolts law summit
The knipemobile is on the waiting list for an operation and so was unable to provide transport today. But I managed to prevail on Maggie to take me and superdawg to Edmundbyers so I could walk the Lead Mine Trail to Cowshill.
It was a wet start. This was followed by a damp middle and a soggy end. Luckily , I had brought an umbrella which was in use for most of the day.
moors at edmundbyers
The Lead Mine Trail is really three circular walks but the main spine of the route follows the line of a pre-railways packhorse route from the mining grounds in Weardale at Cowshill and Rookhope towards the Tyne. The packhorses travelled in trains of up to around 20 ponies and carried smelted lead ingots and, probably returned with supplies for the Dales people. Packhorses went out of business after railways and improved road systems were introduced in the early to mid 19th century.
in the groove
Much of the route is bridleways, but there’s some roadwalking and , illogically in my view, a section of public footpaths. The footpaths could easily be converted into bridleways and, thereby giving owners of ponies the opportunity to follow this ancient horse route. There was one illegal cyclist, but , to be honest, I couldn’t see what detriment he was causing. Conversion to a bridleway wouldn’t do any harm to the economies of Cowshill, Rookhope and Edmundbyers either….
Any road up – me and the dawg set off in the rain from Edmundbyers on my adopt-a-path route – a nice groove in the heather which gives easy and quick walking for a few miles.
the flue
After crossing the Blanchland – Stanhope road, the actual paths and the guide map (wot I bought from Stanhope Tourist Info centre) – disagree on the route. So I got lost for a bit.
There was a dam with a goose and three gooselets on it. They squawked in goosejabber at me…..  The photo I took wasn’t very good, so you’re not getting to see it…
the flue chimney
Then I had lunch inside the chimney, out of the drizzle , then I got a bit lost again and, eventually found a good path heading straight for Bolts Law summit. The chimney, by the way, is the terminus of a long flue which comes up the hillside from the North. The long flue was constructed so that lead fumes would condense-out lead which could then be removed by a small person (i.e. a child) with a pick and a bucket.
Bolts Law is a cracking summit with a trig, a cairn and big views North and East – a fine spot to watch the sun come up, I think – more of which a bit later.
The trail then drops down to Lintzgarth and climbs back up through a nature reserve to join a long section of tarmac. There was no traffic, though, which was nice.
road to rookhope
As the rain got its act together, we passed over Race Head at 580 metres, our high point, and down through the mining grounds to Cowshill.
Anybody intent on collecting a few bits of purple flourspar would be well advised to visit the footpath just above Cowshill. Its illegal, mind, and you could get into bother collecting pretty stones like that..
As I arrived in Cowshill, I could hear the bus reversing and, so, with a lot of luck, me and superdawg were transported swiftly back to Crook for the cost of just over four quid.
It was very wet.
It was 14 miles and 2400 feet of uphill.
Did I mention how wet it was?
Its an interesting walk but you need to sort out the transport logistics. Sunday buses from Cowshill are every two hours and the pub was closed…. 
And the walking is very easy – just one very short boggy bit.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Two Crows

Just a little light entertainment before the next walk

Mind out for the crows, now......

Friday 11 June 2010

TGO The End

cameron moves in for a peck
After a slightly earlier than intended start and after a light breakfast of an energy bar and a cuppa, I marched off towards the sea.
I’d told the family that my eta at Scurdie Ness would be about two o’clock. It soon became clear that I’d be there long before that, so I started to ring their phones. Nobody answered. I texted. Empty bucket.
I crossed Rossie Moor (a fine bit of heathland if ever there was one) and tried again with the phone. Silence.
montrose basin in sight
I came across some Angus road men mending holes in the road.
One of them smiled broadly, showing his tooth.
Infer eggwump narr treddly worvace kigglie nobs?” he exclaimed.
“Toon exter otter spoon TGO elsie tanner invertebrate” My knowledge of the local dialect is patchy, as you can see.
Ah!” says he, smacking down a spadeful of tarmac. “Esher twangle gollum Scordie Ness…..Park Hotel heh heh heh….”
I tried another text. Zilch. A lighthouse came into view.
The phone rang. I told the wife I’d be there at half eleven.
In the end, I arrived at Scurdie Ness at eleven and was greeted by a large black bull and some seagulls.
scurdie ness
I met elements of the family at Ferryden and the dog and the wife at Montrose, but the moment had passed.
Later, though, I got me kiss off Cameron McNeish, and me plaque and a bottle of fizzy. And a fine night of boozing followed well into the next day.
in the park not sure who the security blokes are
There was a fruitless search of Montrose for a kebab shop or, indeed, any kind of food, involving the Fight Club Hikers and meself, but in the end we just had to repair to the campsite to finish off Peter’s brandy supply. We seem to have been shadowed by a police van for a while…. There was inebriation and random acts of harmless violence quite similar to those at Stonethwaite. (see the daunder report)
And that was that. This is the end. I am now a Leg End, along with many other Leg Ends past and future.
I’ll probably have a year off next year before I embark on a campaign to do twenty TGO Challenges. The new TGO editor is, I have to say, quite a bit prettier than Cameron and the kiss will be more betterer.
Todays pics are mainly from Martin Banfield and Adrian Fortune. Thanks Martin and Adrian.
The end.

Kylie?………   Kylie….. hello…..?

Thursday 10 June 2010

TGO back to the Crematorium (for you my lad….)

angus ploughing
Today was road walking day. First of all, after a substantial and well cooked full Scottish breakfast and a lovely poo, I walked quiet roads and country lanes to Forfar.
In Forfar, I visited a tea room and was warmly welcomed.  I’ve often found Forfar friendly before on Challenges (This sentences has been provided by the society for sentences with lots of F's in.) and today was going to be no different.
Apparently, the Maggie Hem’s landlady the previous night was one of the customer’s sister and the tea shop owner’s cousin. Its a small world innit?
I pressed on to Lethem. Lethem was supposed to be my destination for the day and I was going to try for a B&B somewhere, but after a couple of beers in Pub A, which closed suddenly, I transferred to Pub B for another cuppla sniftahs and then pressed on, it being early.
angus landscape
I’ve done this before on this route. that night I’d ended up camping in the grounds of the Angus Crematorium – a quiet spot. It was entirely possible that this would be today’s outcome too.
I invaded Friokheim (pronounced Freek’em). Pubs A and B were both closed and it started raining really heavily. I thought of waiting till Pub B opened and , maybe , getting a bed there, but the Crem called from afar and I did what I’d done previously.
I went to the village shop, stocked up on water and beer and sandwiches and beer and beer and trogged off towards the Crem, stopping only for a brief conversation with a friendly cyclist who was intent on taking pictures of a local rainbow.
I didn’t quite make it to the Crem. A forest ride beckoned and I sneaked off into the woods and found a pleasant clearing with flat grass out of sight of the busy road.
I put up the tent and gorged on beer and sandwiches and beer and whisky and bits of cheese and some blue fluff and a spider.
Later, in the half an hour of darkness that descends on Scotland at this time of year, an owl hooted very close by, and deer barked at my tent and a fox did screachy fox noises for a bit. It was the noisiest night I’d had since Spean bridge.
I don’t think Kylie would have had much chance of finding me in  there anyway.  Even if she’d been bothered to try.
Damn that gamekeeper with his off-road driving skills….

Todays pictures are courtesy of Adrian Fortune,  Mike and Marion Parsons and an old one of mine that I found from 2007. Same route at this point…

TGO – Glen Prosen

I left Kilbo at a reasonable hour and wandered down the glen. There’s very little route choice here – just follow the track which joins a road. Its a beautiful glen, spoiled only by a very aggressive farm dog and his slightly more diffident pal. Make no bones about it, this dog will take a chunk out of you if you turned your back.
We left him in charge of the road outside the farm, feeling very proud of himself for seeing us off. I suspect that sooner or later, this pooch will get his boss into serious trouble.

As I came to Dykehead, we were chased for a seat on a bench by some veteran ramblers from Montrose, who seemed desperate for a chat. being from Montrose, of course, they were well aware of the walk I was doing. I think, maybe , I may have overdid the banter…
peter pan
 I plodded into town where I was met by the Knipe clan, including a very ecstatic superdawg. We had a dinner at the Thrums Hotel and they all went off to Johnshaven, leaving me to a shower and a night in the bar with me maps.
Another shower – that’s three altogether. And a bed! A real bed…!  With a telly…!

Today’s picture is from Martin Banfield.
Thanks again….

Wednesday 9 June 2010

TGO Its just one day after another

And so, following technical difficulties with the sleeping bag it was bright and early the very next morning when I failed to awake.
It was quite a bit later when I failed to awake again.
And then suddenly, I found myself in Bill and Stan’s kitchen with a bacon butty in one hand and a hot cuppa in the other.

Today, I wandered over some Munros and ended up at Kilbo and put the tent up. I didn;t see any Banfields.

This post has been heavily edited, but its Ok cos nobody reads it anyway....!

Tuesday 8 June 2010

TGO day the next – Callater

callater lodge
After much messing around, shopping, breakfasting, snoozing and so on, I packed up the tent and wandered off in the general direction of Callater. At Callater Lodge I was given a cup of tea, which was nice.
After this, I erected the akto and had a bit of a snooze in the warm sunshine  and then , sans pack or anything much, I wandered off over the moors and up the nearest Corbett – one Creag nan Gabhar (My grandmother’s talkative cliff)
a lancashire monologue in progress
It was a lovely clear evening and I could clearly spot the lights of Stokholm from the top. I hung around a bit on the top, noting the erratic progress of an arctic hare doing a bit of late grazing, and then retraced back to Callater where celebrations were just beginning.
Another boozy night ensued. There was singing and Lancashire monologues. I was the music man and I came from down your way. When , after a substantial while, it started to become a bit maudlin, I crawled off to bed.

I failed to find the main entrance to my sleeping bag and eventually gave up and slept underneath it.
I awoke at 4:00 am in a pool of my own whisky (the bottle had leaked)
I strongly suspect that I’d had quite a good time.

Thanks for todays pictures go to Shirley (Peewiglet) Worrall. Bless 'er

TGO Chips and Boozing

In the Mar Lodge kitchen
Eventually, having learned icy water shrivels yer bits lesson (one again), I filled up the primus kettley thing, warmed the water up a bit and attacked meself with a pack towl and some hotel shower gel. This worked a treat, as it happens, thanks for asking. I even managed another shower later on. I’ll have to be careful of me natural oils….
I crossed the Geldie and wandered up a bit of moorland to find the path to the Linn of Dee and then blasted Eastwards in the TGO migratorial drift towards the Braemar chips and beer establishments.
Entering Mar Lodge
I met the Parsons once again and had a brief discussion with some old folks who told me that the night before the town of Ballater had received a bit of a pasting from an energetic thunderstorm. The water had been up to the old chap’s chest. Almost as high as the top of his trousers, in fact. I continued Eastwards – calling in at Mar Lodge which appeared to be occupied by surly people in tweeds with a marquee and deerburgers. Yes, it was the British Deer Society, dressed to kill deer despite the fact they were having a picnic.
Mar Lodge
The kitchen of Mar Lodge was occupied by multiple Challengers, swigging tea and scoffing biccies. I joined in with Gusto (he’s one of the Italian TGO-ers….)
Fife Arms
Soon, I was in Braemar where I had some pints and some enormous fish and chips at the Hungry Highlander, and then up to the campsite where I recognised, off a walking forum, the diminutive figure of Fight Club Hiker walkingirl aka buzzingirly aka Gill Mott. And with her was Ukmase aka Paul Mason. We greeted each other like people who had only ever met on a walkingforum and I went and put up me tent and had a little whisky party with some TGO-ers I vaguely knew.
John Jocys at the Hungry Highlander
Later, I met up with the full complement of FCH-ers, now including Titaniumdude aka Patrick Burrows and Peter Crawford aka Peter Crawford. They seem to have been enjoying themselves and we had a bit of a boozy-do.
Bingowings played and Sloman and the Wiglet jived.
We all got rat-arsed.
Thats what you do in Braemar.

Today’s pictures have been generously provided by Andrew Walker, Mike and Marion Parsons and Shirley Worrall.
Thanks ever-so, peeps.

During the night, during a short bladder emergency I thought I recognised Kylie's distinctive snoring coming from another tent. Nah....  

Monday 7 June 2010

TGO Off we go - Up the Minigaig

TGO Campers by the Geldie- courtesy of Andrew Walker

Having spent a quiet night with the wrong kind of spirits, I started following the beck or burn upstream. The idea was to find a certain re-entrant and follow this uphill to where it was crossed by the Minigaig path.

I should explain to those who don’t know, that The Minigaig is a very old route which goes from Blair Atholl to Kingussie – bypassed in 1728 by the military road over Drumochter and, at 26 miles, is ten miles shorter. Basically, its now a narrow path, but it does lead to just over 2700 feet which is not much lower than my first target of the day – Leathad an Taobhain – a Corbett just a few feet short of 3000 feet.

But first, considering that I’d last had a shower at Spean Bridge, some echty-blob miles away, (plughole bunged up), I was smelling a bit like a Yak Herder’s Jock Strap after a particularly hot summer in the Gobi, and , coming across a deep, green and inviting pool in the burn, I thought what a ripping idea it would be to have a dip.

Luckily, it was just before I’d got down to getting some fresh air to the naughty parts that Mike and Marion Parsons turned up. A few minutes later and there could have been ribaldry and rude jokes at least. They soon passed on their way, though and I tiptoed breathlessly in ever so gingerly a little bit at a time till the pain got too intense, then I scrambled out again using some quite rude words, I’m ashamed to say.

So I didn’t stay in very long. In fact, I hardly got wet at all. I thought I’d resolved not to do this kind of thing. There must be a better way. The best option would probably be to wait till August when the water might have warmed up a bit.

The Minigaig took me easily up to it’s high point, crossing just the one snow bridge, and off-path, the going was fairly easy on short heather and I was soon perched on the trig point of Leathad an Toenail. A fine viewpoint.

Onwards and sideways, I crossed the moors and by doing a bit of contouring, I avoided climbing up anything which wasn’t a Corbett and after a brew and an unplanned snooze, I came to the head of Coire nan Cisteachan (The pass of the chesty cough) which had a large party of German DofE expeditionists and their English trainers. (People who train, not shoes. Trainers are all chinese nowadays anyway. I mean shoes…) Anyway, we had a bit of a chat then I marched off to dump my pack at the bottom of Beinn Bhreac – another just-short-of-3000-feet Corbett – which I bagged easily (without the pack). The walking up here is remarkably easy underfoot on short, dry heather with few peat hags or boggy bits.

I headed down Coire Creagach and found the River Feshie, where it began to rain on and off. I followed the Feshie which, for the information of future TGO-ers, has many cracking camping spots – and, where that river turns North, I turned East across a short boggy bit to find the Geldie Burn.

The Geldie also has many grand camping spots and, after a while and in an incipient thunderstorm, I finally gave up, put up the akto and had me tea. I was about 3km short of Geldie Lodge where more TGO-ers were camped, and I could see a couple of tents on the sides of the Allt Chaorainn. People were heading for Braemar. We would all arrive tomorrow afternoon.

The thunderstorm developed nastily somewhere else. It was all quiet up the Geldie.

Apart from the snoring of a dozen or so noses and the windypops of those who had managed to consume vegetables…



As Jeff Chaucer used to say, when in doubt, resort to fart jokes.

More pictures will be added to this post as soon as I, or Jean Turner find any. If anybody has pictures of the Minigaig, Leathad an Taobhain or Beinn Bhreac………

Thanks to Andrew Walker for the couple used here.

And another thing - You might notice that the style of this posting is different from the others. This is because my windows livewriter seems to be broken. It can't find the server or something. I might try again tomorrow, in which case ignore this note....

Sunday 6 June 2010

Superdawg reviews Supadog

supadog 001
Bruno feigns disinterest…..
Alert readers with good memories may well remember that a while ago I received a huge bag of Supadog dog food which I promised to review. The bag is now almost finished and it’s now time for me and Bruno (aka Superdawg) to say what we thought about it.
Bruno has very simple ideas about food, as it happens. He’s not picky. His views are either scoff whatever it is as quickly as possible or express the view that whatever it is is not suitable for dogs. the latter category mainly involves citrus fruit. So, with Supadog – Beef in Gravy flavour, he was quite enthusiastic. And he’s remained enthusiastic right through the bag. He loves it. He just wolfs it down.
a milisecond later
Shortly after……
As for me, if he’s happy, then so am I.
The only thing that  he has a beef about (see what I did there….?) is having to wait for it to cool. The food is a dry food and the “gravy” element is released by adding a quantity of warm water and stirring it up a bit. And then there’s a wait for it to cool. During this wait, I am afraid to say, the dog goes a bit mental. He doesn’t see why, having gone to the effort of filling his bowl, he has to wait any time at all. In the end, I just added more cold water and let him have his evil way. A bowlful takes around ten seconds to scoff, followed by thirty seconds of violent licking to make sure no atoms of nutrition remain in the bowl.
greenburn 008
He’s very happy on the stuff and he remains capable of a twenty-miler over the highest bits of the North Pennines with no ill-effects at all.
As far as he’s concerned, he’d quite like another bagful.
cross fell 016
The food is made by Burgess Pet care and they do other styles and flavours, plus food for cats and wabbits and other furry things.
Follow this link for more fax and info
You know me – If it wasn’t any good, I’d have said it wasn’t any good.

Saturday 5 June 2010

The TGO Tale Continues Further

Thanks to the generosity of fellow TGO Challengers, I have just nicked off with 27 pictures. These belong to Peewiglet, Andrew Walker, Marion and Mike Parsons and Adrian.  Jean Turner is looking in her photo collections and may well be able to fill in a gap.
I’ve already added one Mike/Marion Parsons picture to the “Disaster Looms” blogpost.  I’ll hang on for a bit to see if Jean finds anything, then we will be marching manfully  up the Minigaig, forging over the Feshie, carousing at Callater and peripatetically pedestrianising in Prosen  (sorry about the last one….)
Needless to say, I’m chuffed to bits about this.
(c) Andrew Walker
Ginger biscuits as eye protection at Mar Lodge (Can’t be too careful) Courtesy of Andrew Walker
Its just like the Challenge – it gets a bit difficult for a bit, then, maybe with a bit of support (bless ‘em…sniff….) it becomes clear that a finish is likely.
Watch this space.

Not that one, this one…..  dhuhh….

Friday 4 June 2010

At the Barber’s

I feel good!
Today, I had a very little, or at least relatively little trundle around bits of Alston Moor with Brian. Some sitting about was done. Bruno was quite pleased to be along after such a long gap.
alston moor and happy dog
In fact, to celebrate, he chased a deer for a while, but losing sight of it, he followed the scent, but in the wrong direction. I was quite pleased when he returned to me on a recall, even over quite a large distance. So no harm done, and the lad got a bit of praise too, which always cheers him up.
by the nent
at the mine
We were, in fact, killing time whilst waiting for the arrival of the Alpaca Shearer.
Alpacas have an odd way of communicating, they sound a bit like a charabanc full of old ladies going “Hmmm” in a kind of bemused yet vaguely amused kind of way.
the waiting room
And so the alpacas were herded into a sheep pen and the Shearer gave instructions on which direction he wanted them sent within the fold – sheep pens have a direction, y’know – for the processing of sheep for some kind of treatment. Or alpacas. Today it was clockwise.
the first cut is the deepest
So I guarded an exit and Brian herded the animals through the pen and, on appearing at the other side, the shearer and his assistant ambushed them, and bundled one out to be strapped to a table for a haircut, toenail maintenance, inoculations and insecticide rub. Many objected  and some just took it like an alpaca.
One by one the gentlemen (they were all boys, or at least ex-boys) were given a right going over.
only three left
The shearer’s three sheepdogs hid under his van and came out now and then to stalk the growing herd of gawky shorn mini camels.
These animals are just a bit strange. They are curious and nervous and the niggle and kick each other.
And occasionally, they spit. They spit a large quantity of green stuff which, in my case, appeared to be semi-digested nettles and some other green stuff. And they spit a long distance. Brian got it in the ear, I got it at the back of the neck and the nearby tree was sprayed a few times.
The process looks cruel, but apart from the indigity, and being scared for ten minutes, no harm was done and, after a minute or so grazing, they seem to have forgotten all about it. They live in and for the moment, it would seem.
two of the sheepdogs
What fun. I don’t believe the alpacas enjoyed it much, but it did make a change from slugging through the blasted wastes of Caledonia with a dead camera.  Its working now, almost anyway. It just takes pictures. You can’t do date set up or change the type of photo you want or anything. Point and fire with face recognition and auto-flash.
Whatever next?