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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Score on the Door for Two Thousand and Four (teen)

northumberland moors from hope fell

In the end me and the dog decided to go and bag Hope Fell which is a heathery top amidst heavily keepered grouse moors where a pooch is just not welcome at all. (Spaniels are OK, apparently). Based on the theory that all the local keepers would be busy organising chinless wonders to fire shotguns towards equally stupid and pointless pheasants and wouldn’t be venturing onto the higher parts where no ground-nesting birds would be nesting anyway, we thought it safe to have a short but illegal plod through a few hundred metres of heather for this bijoux TuMP. This was correct and I suspect that judging by all the gunfire coming out of local patches of woodland, that the pheasant population is somewhat smaller tonight that it was this morning. This doesn’t include the one that jumped out in front of the knipemobile as I was driving to Blanchland, although that particular one was living on borrowed time. Most of our walk was legally held on public footpaths and bridleways.

And that was it for 2014 (or, maybe 2015 if you read the previous post…  dhuhh).

We managed one tick today – to add to the 96 other ticks ticked in 2014.

And 8 miles to add to the 1146 other miles we did, plus 1200 feet of up, making 181000 in the year.

So, it was a reasonable total for a year in which I didn’t do the TGO Chally and failed to attend either the Ridgeway or the Isle of Man, both of which were on my List Of Fings To Do.

cafe akto glen mazeran

On the upside – The Virgin Money giving account holds £721 – or £828 with tax refunds or whatever they are – and there’s a couple of extras amounting to £60 from before the account was created. £370 of this came from Cafe Akto, which was quite good fun, too, but I didn’t ask for sponsors to keep the kit ON during the NE Skinny Dip. So, I’m relatively chuffed with this – and lots of thanks go to donators and specially Dawn for lots of gear and kit which was auctioned and to Andrew for various random donations and to Old Mortality for a donation, a visit during cafe akto, which cheered me up no end, and for a bit of inspiration when it was all getting a bit drab towards the end of the year. I still hold the contents of the Pietwoers Guardroom swear box in reserve, but I suppose that at some point I’ll have to cough it up. And thanks too to all the other peeps who put money into the account for various reasons.

And me and Bruno managed to finish the Wainwright Outlying fells list on Irton Pike in April. There was supposed to be a celebration but others couldn’t turn up in case they got their tent wet, or something……duhhh…

But attendance at Pieman-lead guided walks numbered 444 – mainly the same people coming back for more, though,  it has to be said. But the best “guided” walk just had me and Mick Catlin on it – a frontal assault on the North Face of Cauldron Snout. I think we were both pretty chuffed  with how this one turned out – you’ll have to read Mick’s Blog for more and better info here - mick's blog

blakethwaite bottom

And me and Dawn managed a successful trip into the Howgills before becoming blizzarded out of the Moffat Hills, almost washed away from the Shap fells (this was really really close, folks!), Influenza’d (me) off the Pennine Way Southwards from Middleton in Teesdale, blown off Cadair Idris – although this was mainly successful and finally, Through The Past Damply on a revisit to the Howgills. My advice is not to have your hols during a Knipe/Linney backpacking expedition.

superdawg in the snow

On the downside – I lost my lovely partner Bruno the Superdawg – just 38 days after he’d been diagnosed with lymphoma following a visit to the vet for an itchy ear. We didn’t manage to complete the bucket list and it all went far too fast – a lesson, perhaps, to get on with stuff while you still can. You may think that you have a tight grip on things, but you haven’t you know – you really haven’t.  You just don’t have time to relax – unless relaxing is high up on your list of Things To Do. (and why not…)

lucky the dog

This was all very lucky for Lucky the Pooch- a small black and white fighting dog who, gets spooked by unusual vegetables but otherwise gets his revenge in first should another dog dare to bark in his presence. Happily, he has a rosy view of humanity and he’s now fit enough for the hillwalks (although he does have a disturbing tendency to shiver with cold when we stop). And he really likes camping – actually, he really likes snuggling down and sleeping. This is A Good Thing. Lucky is an Irish dog, with an Irish passport and adopted in August through the Dog’s Trust. He has fighting scars on his muzzle, but he’s really very friendly. He is, though, a lazy git.

So that was that for 2014 – only the Hootenanny left to watch now.

Hope Fell was a good place to end on and we all look forward to a safe (ish) and happy 2015.

Hopefully (see what I did there) – I’ll see you all next year.

That’s tomorrow by the way……



Dawn Linney said...

Quite a year Mike. having an epic (or two?) certainly makes things a wee bit interesting at times???

christine hindle said...

Hope you have a great 2015, Mike.
Chrissie, Geoff and Tilly xxx

Meanqueen said...

Camping in the frost, I don't know how you do it. You must be as tough as old boots. Happy New Year.

Louise said...

Looking forward to reading about all your adventures with Lucky Pup. All the best to you and yours for 2015 x

Eeek said...

Really enjoyed reading your review. HNY xxx

AlanR said...

You done well Mike. All the best for 2015. Lucky looks a lovely pup.

Mike Knipe said...

Dawn - Indeed - what would life be without a bit of a challenge.
Chrissie, Geoff and Tilly - ...and maybe we can find some really spooky places... (ooer, what was that...)
Llona - I have a very toasty sleeping bag! (and a small dog, and a hot water bottle!!)
Louise - Lucky is looking forward to the summer, I think. But you'll be able to read all about it (if we're spared!)
Eeek - I'm glad you enjoy this rubbish. (still not enough eeees by the way HNY to you too!
Alan - same to you... Lucky is certainly a nice little dog - but with a dark side!!