Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Big News!

Hi all.. There's Quite a bit to cover in this post, so I'm just briefly cover as much as I can.
I guess I'll start with the biggest news. I'm gonna be a daddy again :). Only this time It appears that I'm gonna be a father of Identical Twins!...
So of course I'm excited and we're nesting right now..
This has of course had an impact on "the walk" and I guess I'll roll it back at least a year.. or two.
I just can't get out at the moment, every time I get some free time, something breaks or I have to sort something out. It's frustrating - and not just for me. I've promised to take my boy camping and for the last 3 weekends, something has always come up.
I'm gonna be (hopefully) entering the 'relay for life' again this year, sometime mid July.
I still haven't had chance to try my new tent
My Jeanius jeans are still a top piece of kit, even if they've only got wet in rain in the town, not on the hill.
I've smashed up the old shed and dumped it in a skip (not as small a job as it sounds - It was full of old junk).
I'm worried about this Swine/Mexican Flu.. I was freaked by a video about the plague when I was a kid and stuff like this always scares me... I was tempted to stock up and cans of beans, water etc on the way home from work, but thankfully managed to overide the feeling. Though Ironicaly I notice, at this very moment that i'm drinking Corona! I'm gonna presume the alcohol can take care of any nasties, that and it'll have been brewed a while ago, before this all started (It's that or I won't sleep)..

Umm, I think that's it for now... catch you soon, T.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Where to start?

The weather has started to improve and we are starting to see the first glimmer of summer. This raises the question of where am I going to go this year? I see many recommendations, most are Welsh or Scottish mountains. These seem exciting, but I'm not sure I'm fit enough for one of these. Besides, I cant even pronounce most of these, so don't ask me to write them here. They look amazing, but as I'd have to travel hundreds of miles just for a night.... It just seems a bloody long way to go for a day out.
I have no doubt I'll be off tramping around the peaks and quite fancy going to see the crashed bomber on Bleaklow.
I just want to get out.. I get like this.. I'm the sort of person who bottles things up.. Anger and frustrations and so on. Getting 3 sheets to the wind a couple of times a year was my release valve, and I found that being in the hills also has the same effect, allowing me to get rid of these tensions, without killing my liver... The problem is that once I realise that It's time to go out, I need to get one organised and organised quickly.. This is never easy. Most of my friends think I'm crackers for going wandering on the hills rather than finding a good watering hole, and those who appreciate the scenery tend to have those sorts of calenders that are never empty, or just conflict with each other.
Maybe I should just go It alone? Maybe not... Being cut off from people just isn't the same unless I take others with me to share the solitute.. I know, That's a bit f*cked up, but that's just me. I've always been a bit of a social animal.
So... Where should I go. I fancy a change this year. Somewhere higher than i've been before..
I suppose I'm gonna have to learn those pronunciations.....

Thursday, 9 April 2009

I know, I've been missing for a while...

To be honest, I haven't done anything worth writing about. I have got a few new pieces of kit, I have a Quecha T2 Ultralight Pro (small, light, tent) and a pair of Jenius Jeans.. If you don't own a pair, buy some now - they are the dogs dangly bits! (see here: Alpkit).
I'm hoping to get out over the easter hols at least once, but I get the feeling I'm gonna be too busy with the house to go anywere (at least I'll still be burning calories).
That's about it for now, catch ya later, T.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

A night in the snow.

I've just got back from the first proper walk of the 2009 season. Me, Jim and Paul went bravely off for the night hike and it turned out to be one of the most unforgettable things I've ever done. The original hike was supposed to take place last year, but for one reason or another It couldn't happen. It was put back and eventually resurfaced ready to go last weekend.
One of the advantages was that It was a nearly full moon and this would help us navigate..
What I hadn't counted on was some of the most persistent snow in decades. Snow that in places could be measured in feet - not inches. Combined with the (nearly) full moon it looked incredible, watching tiny pencil lead thin trains winding through the valley, cars just a speck below. All three of us felt lucky to have been there, The chances of there being a heavy snowfall on a weekend with full moon... well it's just not very likely to happen again any time soon. The snow was great fun, and every now and then, one of us would put a foot wrong, and end up knee deep in snow.
(there were people coming off the hill that had ice axes and crampons before we left camp - these were not needed on the hill, In fact the most heart stopping part of the whole walk was on a small access road we christened 'the ice road'.. It started off compacted snow, then as it descended into the valley, it just became sheet ice. it was the only place any of us had a proper spill, so i suppose I must remember to pack crampons the next time i have to walk on icy roads).
The highlight? at the top of chapel gate, surrounded with what looked like Arctic tundra. Maybe having one of the busiest hills in England entirely to ourselves. Maybe it was just Jim's face as he looked back at Rushup edge from the top of Mam Tor and realised what he had just come over.
The walk was rounded off with a few pints in the nags and chip buttys.. Although I had to explain what a chip butty was to the bar staff?!.
The tent was cosy enough as I have a small tent heater, but we did wake up in the morning with frost on the sleeping bags. The kettle took bloody ages to boil as it was full of ice as well.
Oh, It was bloody cold, have I mentioned that?

Sunday, 25 January 2009


I've just got back from a Sunday dinner at mum's (curry, cracking - cheers mum!) and I'm getting excited about my upcoming night hike. It's not a big one, but it is the first time I'll combine several skills: Camping in the cold, hiking at night etc..
I'm really hyped about it and although there's only a couple of us it looks to be fun..
It's also the first time I'll be set free on the hills this year - I've not had chance yet so far, as attested by the lack of second rate snaps alongside my blogs..
Just wanted to pen this while I've got two mins really.
I'm also reading Watchmen - borrowed from my local library.. I'm enjoying so far, not sure how it will translate to film though.
Have a good night out there, where ever you are...T.

Where has all the danger gone?

I'm sat here listening to Maddona on the tv, and it occured to me..
Where is man's prediliction for dangerous things?
Everone seems to be obsessed with living forever and if not forever, then a good chunk of it.
We banned smoking anywhere that is warm when we are out and about and people are already making remarks like "Why do they have to smoke out here? Where are we supposed to sit out here? Why can't they smoke somewhere else? Blah, blah, blah)..
Soon it will be the turn of the common pint. Mark my words, in a few years - not to far from now, your beer will need to have etched on the glass, near the logo: BEWARE!!! ALCOHOL CAUSES YOU TO LOSE YOUR INHIBITIONS, CAUSES HEART CONDITIONS, FAILURE OF THE LIVER AND DEATH!!!!!
It will only be a short hop before they ban drinking in pubs (believe me - it will happen one day) and they will all be converted to curry houses, or into some pseudo-fashionable flats in the town centre..
Not convinced? Think about our forebears. There was nothing wrong with having a pint whenever you wanted, and if you go back a couple of hundred years, people drank nothing but tea and beer because the alcohol and boiling killed bacterial and viral contaminants.. But someone wanted their beer stronger and this lead to it's downfall, along with the fact that most people now operate some kind of machinery or other, even if is as simple as a car.
Beer used to be much weaker and people drank it all day, with few ill effects, (I'm sure I read somewhere that ships used to add some rum to the water barrels to help prevent it spoiling). Then people wanted it stronger and stronger. Now we see yoofs walking round wiv ther special brew etc..
They are drunk and cause trouble and people assume that it is the fault of the alcohol and blame that. (this is not a new idea, look up prohibition or league of temperance on the net).
But it is not the alcohol's fault, just as it is not a gun's fault if it's use kills people (yes, they're banned too).
People will do anything to shift the blame from themselves, or others like (or unlike) themselves.
The man who invented dynamite got a nobel peace prize.
This invention opened so many doors for the human race, the building of dams, digging of tunnels etc...
But, it was misused and then it had to be regulated, banned from the masses, allowable only for the select few chosen to be responsible enough.. Are you not responsible enough to account for your actions? Are you enough of a man (or woman) to hold your hand up and say " yes, it was me, I F**ked up"...
Of course not. No-one is. We are told all day that we are not responsible for our actions. We are told what to do and think in regard to this.
Got a speeding ticket? It's not your fault, you have a psychological condition that means you are more likely to break speed limits.
Murdered someone? That's fine, it must be your parents fault.. for.. some..reason??...
Which brings me back to the point. Beer and other delights don't have much longer left. They will slink off into the night, no longer acceptable by the people of the time.
What will follow? fatty foods? any machine that produces an exhaust? coffee and tea?
Do you care?
I do. That's why I still smoke, drink and enjoy my life. I get one shot, the same as you. No matter how long it is. I plan to spend as much of it as possible, not depriving myself of things that give me pleasure.

Oh, and as a final note, remember that most of the great exploration of the world was done by people who spent the day drinking, smoking and taking laudenum.. Perhaps that why we have lost the desire to explore. Being too busy worrying if broccoli may contain carcogens to go out and enjoy the time we have left....

Friday, 23 January 2009

The moon and the black man.

I have been watching the U.S. recently with interest. Mainly because I am proud of them. I watched snatches of the recent presidential election with the "I know where I was when it happened" kind of moment.
The last time I saw American history unfold like this, it was the sight of falling masonry.
This moment is just as memorable, But this time It is a moment of a very different flavour.
I know that there are the doom-sayers saying that it is a vapid thing, full of publicity and a new image for America to project.

I have noticed that the man in question has already started putting plans into action that he promised. whether he will continue to do so remains in question.
I think that whatever happens and for whatever reasons this happened for, it will make the US a stronger place for all of it.

Decades ago America did something...
Something that changed the way we looked at the world forever... It put men on the moon. There are people who say that this never happened...

I choose to believe that it did. Not because anyone can prove this, but because I find the world a better place when we achieve such incredible things.
So I choose to believe that this man, Obama will be good not just for America, but for the rest of us around the world.

Who knows what will come of this. I sure as hell don't. But at least we're pointing in the right direction.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

New Stuff...

You've probably noticed by now, but my blog now has a new look and I've added some toy's down the side bar and at the bottom. There are no adverts, nor sponsors. Though you can now subscribe to the feed by RSS etc. Also - if you want to, you can nowbecome an official follower of this blog.

Why do I want to do the pennine way?

Why am I doing it?
I'm not entirely sure. It's one of those idea's that just won't leave me alone. I have become almost obsessive about it, reading other peoples stories about when they did it, Contemplating which bits of kit to take with me, how long I'm planning to take etc. Maybe it's because I've never really achieved anything that really means something. I know I'm a good father and I'm not too bad at being a husband, but they are everyday things and family has always been important to me.

My job does not really challenge me. I sit at my desk every day and talk to people, try to solve their problems (which is nice) and do "would you like fries with that" add-on sales (which destroys my soul one tiny chunk at a time). This is not something that I will be remembered for, nor should I be...

Am I doing this so that my family in generations to come will say, "grandad walked 270 miles"? No.

I guess I feel drawn to it, as I mentioned earlier I tend to daydream about my walk. A Doctor might say that It is drawn from a need to prove myelf and distance myself from my working life and I guess this is true, but not right.

I am doing the pennine way, because I want to and that is reason enough for me.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas and new year, see you all on the hills soon.