Saturday, 1 January 2022

Two Thousand and Twenty Two


JJ Crossing a wobbly bridge on the 2021 TGO Challenge

I've neglected the Pieblog for a while - apparently, since August. But now, there's a New Year's Resolution to start to write again.All the pictures in this blogpost are from 2021, although this is not to say that no pictures are available from 2022, cos there are - it's just that they're not really very interesting. Today's walk was just this afternoon's doggy walk from Pietowers to Fir Tree and Cold Knott and Kitty's Wood; just six and a bit miles in quite nice weather, nothing too exciting, really, so I probably won't ever mention it again. There's a short walk tomorrow too, just about 5 miles around the River Wear at Durham. It's a Crook Ramblers walk and, I suppose breaks the mileage duck for some people. I'm trying not to get too excited about it and I've not mentioned it to LTD in case he can't sleep for thinking about it. At the moment, (subject to an AGM in February), I'm secretary and also temporary footpaths officer for Crook and Weardale Ramblers and, whilst the power and control is going to my head, I'm quite enjoying it and, as it's coming up to this Group's 50th anniversary, I'm hoping to be able to do some significant stuff to celebrate it. Readers who are still awake and/or not wandered off surfing a bit more web, will now have realised that the point of this blog post is to look forwards, and, maybe, back a bit.
Winter 2021 near Brancepeth

On the subject of Blogger - none of the pictures in this blog post are in the order that they were selected. They appear to have been randomly selected by Blogger itself and trying to move them to where they're supposed to be just makes more of a mess. This may well be one of the reasons I drifted off from Blogger. 

Any road up, what else might happen in 2022, apart from Rambling with Crook and Weardale Ramblers and Rambling on about the Rambles. 

There's also the Long Walks. Me and LTD and Li Yang and Diane and David have managed a long walk , more or less on a monthly basis during 2021. By long, I mean 20 miles at the shortest. Subject to lockdowns etc, we managed nine of these last year. There are no definite plans , though for any in 2022, except to say that most of last year's were designed and arranged at quite short notice and were mainly in the North Pennines and Yorkshire Dales. Both me and LTD are in our "senior" years and I'm really very pleased that we're both still up to the job.

Me and JJ (JJ and I) in the beach at Lunan Bay Angus at the end of the 2021 TGO challenge

Then there's the TGO challenge. As I write this rubbish, my route sheet for my proposed walk across Scotland in May 2022 is resting gently in the email in-box in the hostel at Newtonmore, waiting to be sent to a vetter who, once he or she has finished crying and slapping his or her head in disbelief, will come up with some advice or even instructions for me to take head of. Last year's was Covidded into mid June (in order to feed the midgies which had all been having a tough time too) and me and JJ walked from Oban to Lunan Bay on a relatively short easy route which was mainly a result of various circumstances, which, in the end, turned out to be Just The Thing due to JJ just having had a hole drilled in his neck by a neurologist. It was good fun anyway and we camped in some cracking spots and met but a few other TGO challengers. In 2022, my route is a solo effort, and, should I finish it and/or otherwise survive, it will be my 17th TGO challenge. I suspect that JJ's route might coincide with mine at some points. It might be useful for any tyro TGO-ers to follow the progress of my planning and training for this walk. The route is from Dornie (think Eileen Donan Castle on Loch Duich) to Glen Affric to Fort Augustus to Newtonmore to Braemar to Glen Esk to Stonehaven and is about 240 miles in 13 days. I have a couple of backpacking shake-downs planned for the physical and also mental bits of the training - hopefully, one quite soon in the Howgills.

Camp by Loch Dochard in the Black Mount, Argyll 2021 TGO

JJ heads off towards Canada - Oban harbour 2021 TGO Challenge

Next thing is the Hill-Bagging. In 2021 I managed to bag 107 hills altogether- and this means hills that I've not climbed previously.  This is not specially remarkable and I'm hoping to improve on this a bit this year. Last year I managed to complete the Nutalls with the exception of Pillar Rock, the prospect of which scares me witless. The TGO challenge should bag a few new ones, but I'll need to do some trips similar to trips I did last year such as the walks/camps around Comrie and Moniaive, hollibobs in Wales and day walks in the Lakes, Cheviots and the Borders and, if I can be arsed with the A19 traffic, North Yorks Moors
LTD in the Howgills

Bagging in Cumbria

There's other stuff too - For the past few years I've been taking part in the North East Skinny Dip, which happens around the equinox  each September and consists of increasing numbers of daft buggers... of people stripping off and running screaming into the waves at Druridge Bay. This is, believe it or not, great fun and it's all proceeds go to Mind, a charity which I've supported on and off on the very blog. In 2021, 850 people did this. That's 1700 buttocks (I'm assuming that almost everybody taking part had two) More people ought to be brave and do this - apart from anything else, it's superb for body confidence and even superberer for the mood. (No comments about the spelling here by the way) So, there'll be more of this sort of thing.  I'm not sure why this isn't titled the "Great North East Skinny Dip" bit there it is. Backslaps for Northumbria County Council for their attitude to this, since they provide space for camping and Druridge Bay is their land anyway. I should add that "some |" people have regular skinny dips in Druridge Bay pretty much all the year round. Local dog walkers seem to be resigned to this.
I trusted that this shot was far enough away from anybody to be sure that no actual bits could be seen and recognition would be very difficult. I should add that anybody trying to spot naughty parts or identify anybody needs to get a life, grow up  and have a serious word with themselves

Some Crook Ramblers in the Lake District

More other stuff - Last year me and Dawn, and, occasionally including JJ and Margaret managed a trip or two away. Dawn's camps are just that - easily accessible "wild" camps which are necessarily discreet and quite good, restful fun. LTD thinks they're great. I had a couple by myself last year. The pic below is a gill at Arncliffe which contains a remarkable, deep pool of sun-warmed water (in summer!) Its a spectacularly beautiful spot. I camped there for 2 nights and one chap and his dog swam in the pool on the first day  and on the second day, a family spent the afternoon sploshing about and exploring the gill. Other than that, me and LTD had the place to ourselves.
Static wild camp at Arncliffe

Galloway with hill-top windfarms

It's on Wales!

Thats about it, folks. I'm hoping to post more regularly with progress, specially around the TGO challenge  preparations. Obviously, this happens in May, so there'll be other stiff too. All I need to do now is survive............. (double jabbed and boosted and LTD has had his worming tablets


John J said...

Nice. Very very nice.

Dawn said...

Wonderful stuff Mike, impressive.