Monday, 29 December 2008

The light at the end of the dark?

I know, I haven't been on for a while, so I won't be surprised if no-one spots this post, at least for a while.
I have been through a dark patch, where I felt, well, hopeless, not only in regard to my walking, but everything in general.
I had one of those "moments of clarity" earlier today, where someone was moaning about having to do an activity they enjoy but on their own. The activity actually involves going somewhere with hundreds of other people, but the person in question was worried that they would feel lonely, or lost without someone they knew.
It just brought what I want to do into perspective, The Pennine way should take between 10-30 days, depending if you are gonna stroll or slog it out... Although on a sadistic note,
The Pennine Way record is held Mike Hartley, who ran the route in 2 days 17 hours 20 mins (google it, I didn't believe it either the first time I heard about it - Rather you than me mate).
I have decided on a few walks next year and will get my first experience of a wild camp. I'll also be doing some easier night hikes to renew what I learnt as a child.

I was talking to someone earlier in the month about charities. We were discussing about how the amount we'll all be able (or willing) to give this coming year will reduce due to the, dare I say it - Big bad recession.
I said that i would continue to support the UK stuff, children in need, cancer charities etc but that other fund raisers that send monies overseas would not get the same off me as they have had before (please note we are not talking large sums of money). The person looked at me like I had admitted to some vile crime. Why? I know that there are needy people all over the world, But it seems that that aid usually ends up in some dictators back yard, and not to the people who actually need it. This is because of the picture the media paints for us, but I want to know the monies are going to the right place. Before getting back to the reason for my post I just want to state that I do blame the media for the state of the UK economy at present. I know things were badly managed by banks and broker's alike and that the 'bubble' would have burst eventually, but how many people would have rushed to withdraw money from the northern rock if the guy on the radio hadn't told them to? Would the Halifax still be the Halifax in a few months, if the stories about short selling hadn't been plastered everywhere, leading to common folks like us to see them as an unsafe bet for our shares? no - of course we wouldn't.. Still, at least my credit card bill will reduce, Thanks to the Bank of England for that one.

I am more resolved than ever that I will make my jaunt up the country a reality, and that the date is still set for summer 2010. I guess this means I'm gonna have to take up jogging, cos I've not managed to lose any weight at all through 2008 (although Mr Cadbury may have made a contribution there). On a sadder, more personal note. Two of my friends appear to be splitting up permanently. This makes me sad as I like them both very much. You know who you are, and I just want to say that you have to do what is right for you and your family. If anyone disagrees, just politely tell them to get knotted.
I'll See you all sooner rather than later, hopefully with some more 'hilly' material ;)

Monday, 15 December 2008

Short update:

Just so everyone knows, I'm still alive, I just haven't been able to update blog for a while because i haven't done much of interest.
I had plans for a night hike and overnight camp a few of weeks ago, but this had to be cancelled.
I did spend a couple of hours walking the other week with my son, but otherwise it's been a bit of a bust.. Everyone has been ill, several times.
When something happens I'll be sure to update you all....
See you then,

Friday, 24 October 2008

Feeling Poorly sucks!

This week I have been Battling 'man cold' This has meant lots of being generally miserable and doing little. I was, sadly still well enough to go to work. So I just turned up, hid in a corner and made liberal use of Project Gutenburg This is a great site if you enjoy reading. You can get the classics on which copyright has expired (Dickens, Verne, Conan-Doyle Etc) and you can read them online or download a copy to your PC or e-book reader for free...
Journey to the centre of the earth and lucosade had made this week bearable. Without them I would have been lost.
I Have just bought a new Waterproof jacket. It is a Sprayway Gore-tex one and looks great (as yet untested). The price was just £74.99, which I think is reasonable and i got a 250 gas can for my stove as it was the size i was missing, and well, you never know when size might be important... hehe..
Due to my malaise, It has lead to general feelings of the impossibility of the task ahead. It's just sooo far.. Just to make things worse for myself, I went online to see if i could do some kind of planning, What kit I might need, comments on how to plan it, where to stay, etc. All I found was that No-one who is fit, healthy and my age appears to do the Pennine Way. It seems there is some qualifier that states you need to be 13, or have a leg missing or just generally old enough to have a bus pass. Normally this would make me happier, I mean - if they can do it, it must be easier for me.. Surely.??
On this occasion All i could do was think how much more determined and organised these people seem to be. I wonder if they tried to organise this themselves? I noticed long ago that you can to the 'way' having a Baggage service that ferry's your bags an others that plan the whole thing for you (for an exorbitant fee of course) and so eliminating the need to carry your gear from place to place.
People also seem to use B&B's. This seems a bit like cheating to me though. I did manage to find a list of all the places to stay along the way (a lot!) but was by then, in no mood to wade through lists of places I knew nothing about.
Looking toward the kit aspect of things, I see some people take virtually nothing, using a small lightweight pack, and others take huge behemoths of a pack, taking every eventuality. I suppose I'll fall somewhere in the middle and by going out as often as possible I will teach myself to gauge just what I'm happy leaving at home. I like the idea of lightweight, or Ultra-lightweight, but like my luxury's too much. As one site talking about sleeping mats said, If you have to carry a little extra weight to get a good nights sleep, It's worth it.. This make sense to me. If you start each day tired, it's gonna be a slog. I suppose walking is just so individual that you can't ask someone else what they take as their list is gonna be completely different to your own.
I also note that when you buy kit there is a tremendously steep price curve. You can get very cheap kit that is good enough for walking the dog, But then it jumps up massive amounts, with very little kit choice inbetween. Everyone seems to own really expensive stuff and not even be slightly bothered.. Take the tents for instance, I like the sound of one by decathlon. It's light and should be more than fit for purpose, but everyone seems to own a "laser comp". The size difference? Not much. The weight is less, at around 2/3 the weight, But it is more than twice the price. How can I justify this? This seems to extend across all kit and worse, The jacket i just bought was £150.00 in 2004 when launched. It also seems that not only should I have expensive kit, but also that I'm expected to re-purchase because the fashion has changed? or a new type of plastic has come out that makes the zip quieter (Editing note, not the jacket.. this is from another piece of kit, It just stuck in my mind because of the riddiculessness of it). The zip quieter?!! What? I'm gonna be in the middle of nowhere and some company expects me to pay to reduce the decibels my zip makes? This is crazy...
I'm finished venting, so I'm off to make some dinner. Maybe I'll be back on later to let you know why a quiet zip is so important ;)
Ta-ra for now, T.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Top of the hill.

Hello folks, just a quick note about last Sunday. It was the first time my boy went up Mam Tor. There's no great story this time, but It's worth mentioning as It was his first real summit. We used the Mam Tor car park, so he didn't go from the bottom.. maybe next time, and yes that is actual sunshine on the top, and It's worth mentioning he also took a hydration pack himself (up, not down), so I was very proud of him.. Umm, That's about it. Enjoy the snaps!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


A busy week so far.. I have found out that taking my mum shopping for walking gear is dangerous - she loves kit as much as me, I've remembered just how wet walking in cloud really is, had my first urge to just keep going indefinitely and gone for a wander to stave off boredom...
Firstly the shopping.. I went to Sheffield CCC to get my mum some boots, after over an hour we left with a new pair of boots, a new waterproof jacket, a sit mat, a couple of books on local walks, a 25l pack and a small sigg flask.. I managed to (only) get some cleaner and re-proofer for my jacket (a really well timed purchase).
On Tuesday we went to Derwent and walked from the car park, past the dam and up toward Margery hill.. We got to the peak of the hill in sideways rain, that was very fine but so persistent it was like walking toward someone with a hose set to 'mist' . I looked toward lost lad and I just wanted to keep going. The view sucked me in and said, why not? I'm sure you've got time, just keep going and enjoy. Again I had to be back to pick up my boy, so with reluctance and frustration we turned and went back down, leaving time to eat at the bottom. I had also brought my new tarp to test and we threw it over one of the benches in the car park. We were a real hit, (though one poor fella got an ear-bashing from the missus, "if we had one of those, we could sit outside too!". I have a small stove and we made pasta, tea and coffee, sat under the tarp in the dry and watched the world for a little while while we digested. The tarp is great. I would recommend one to everyone, They are handy and anyone who has put up a tent a couple of times can erect one very quickly (snigger).... as we left the dams, I tempted fate a little too much. As we were approaching the A57, I said "we've had a really cheap day out.. just petrol, parking and 68p packet and sauce pasta from Morrison's.
Then some one turned on the LOUD switch on my car BBBRRRRRUUUUMMM!!!
The exhaust fell off.. I had to drive through the peace and quiet i loved, then through the centre of Sheffield, then through Rotherham and then pick up my boy from school, all the time
sounding like a boy racer..... Not fun.. AT ALL.
Today I went to get the car fixed and a job that should have taken 20 mins took hours, due to parts that didn't fit (apparently my car has an odd-ball exhaust bore)..
Thankfully I had left my boots in the car and so I went for a walk up through Canklow woods, I set a new time, but didn't have a pack. It's nice to know I'm finally getting a little fitter..

P.S. Hi Shani!.. you wanted a mention and so here it is. I love you Wifey lady. x

Friday, 3 October 2008

About Moi.

Hi! Someone has gently mentioned that this all seems a bit impersonal, so i thought I'd fill you in about me. I live In Rotherham, (contrary to what Jaimie Oliver wants you to think, I can cook. Rather well.. I don't live in a burnt out Victorian terrace with a pit bull and have "love" and "Hat" on my knuckles.. (It is commonly believed that anyone who has this tattoo immediately loses a finger in an industrial accident.. and you thought I'd just misspelled hate..)) I have the Pennines within a short drive and Edale is about an hour away in the car. The part of Rotherham I live in is fairly rural with woodland and farms within sight of most of the windows in the house. I keep no pigeons, nor do I have a whippet. I work in Sheffield for a well known Bank and Because of this and years of education I am able to count up to and beyond nine (see love and hat comment above). I drive an old 1.1l Saxo which enables me to park with little fear anywhere in the city. I have had notes from car thieves asking me to upgrade, but i have ignored these to-date. I love (apart from being out doors), films, music and gadgets. The reason for this Blog is to track my adventures and misfortunes as i learn and train to 'do' the Pennine way in a couple of years.. If anyone wants to ask anything or has suggestions/ improvements, feel free to leave comments.. ;) Thanks, T.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

A Wander On Stanage Edge.

Last week I took my mum out for a wander. She said she wanted to go somewhere flat-ish, so I had to find somewhere. After lots of searching on the OS map I thought Stanage Edge looked about right. The only thing we had to be aware of was time. ( I had to drop my little lad off at school, pick up mum, go to where ever, walk, walk back, drive back, drop off mum and pick up Ben by 3pm)... The plan was to leave the car park, go to the res, up past Stanage Pole and back along the cliff tops. The first problem was that my mum has some light walking gear, but no proper boots. as we crossed the road and looked in the direction of the brook it was way too damp for her footwear.
So we became Ramblers for the day and made our route up as we went along (keeping a close eye on the map.. just in case). We walked along the gravel path, then turned right into the heather and went around the larger boulders right at the end. (If you're about to start ranting, we were careful to follow sheep tracks and do no damage).
We followed the cliff tops until we were not far from the pole when we decided to scramble down a cutting in the cliff and down into a small wooded area. We found 2 boulders just right for seats and I unpacked the gear for dinner..
(At this point I should note, that I knew this would not be - no offence mum, not a very strenuous walk and so I had loaded up the pack with all sorts of kit to test and Included stuff I would never normally take to add some weight.. I had nearly filled my 35 ltr pack :)

So we had Freshly cooked French onion soup with ciabatta bread, eaten from a hiking table.. hehe.
After sitting around for a bit, we set off to walk back along the bottom of the cliff to go back to the car.
Seconds later it became apparent that this way was going to take much longer and so we had to scramble back up the cliff, so we could walk back along the top. This worked fine and got us back with time to spare to pick up my son..
It was a good day out in the end and as always, as we started to get back to civilisation, The sun came out....

Monday, 15 September 2008

The first and last day of summer.

This Saturday I returned to Edale with James (Top Lad) and we went for a wander up Grinds Brook. We set off pretty late and got about 2/3 of the way to the summit before turning around.
The original plan was to go up Grinds brook and back down the path near Crowden Clough, but in traditional family style we arrived late, and upon pitching the tent, the sun came out and we had the first (and last day of summer). Making us immobile for about an hour, just eating some sarnies and soaking up the rays..
By the time we’d got moving, it was quite late in the day, so we just took map, compass, waterproofs and small water bladder.
The walk was great and the weather was amazing. We followed the brook as far as we could and then went up the side until getting to the path, as it passed through the woods then along the path, into the park and over the small wooden footbridge. We did use the map a few times, but mostly to show Jim some rudimentary compass/map skills. Later we went down to the riverbed and scrambled up there for a distance. Sun on our backs, water all around and because it was late, the hill to ourselves. Perfect!

I had planned for us to walk for another 30 mins or so, but we encountered a sudden rush of walkers coming the other way.. Common sense prevailed - bow to the more experienced and so we turned around and went down before we ran out of direct light. In total we were walking for about 2 hrs.
We arrived back at the Nag's and had a couple of jars before going back to the tent to make our evening meal (sainsburys Thai green curry with ready to wok noodles.. V. Nice, I recommend to anybody camping. Just heat the sachet of sauce and take off the heat, add noodles and allow to warm through. Jim's idea - total winner).
Jim has never been to Edale before and so we went to both the Ramblers and back to the Nag's head. Due to this, late supper did not go quite to plan.. Some very nice dehydrated mushroom pasta was served to the god of drunken clumsiness.. Although a pain to clear up properly, we were laughing uncontrollably for about 1/2 hour after giving that final high point to a great day.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Beginning

I decided last year that I should go back up Kinder for the last time with my Grandad. He took me first when I was 5 and now I was returning the favour. He had died not long before and taking some of his ashes seemed fitting (he virtually lived in Edale as a young man and loved being on Kinder).
I started re-kitting myself for walking and remembered how much I love walking and camping. Something i had eschewed for well over a decade now. As I started to spend way too many beer tokens buying kit I wouldn't need (nor did I take on that trip) I thought about walking the Pennine Way..
It seemed so simple, Buy a lightweight tent, find some other nutters and just set off. Ensuring my place in the family history (No-one else has done it).

The first Hurdle came when i went up kinder For the send-off. I went with two of my cousins, their dad and a dog (which was white and had curly fur.. not a good colour to take on the dark peaks. It looked like a small sheep by the time we got down)..
Setting off from the car park at Upper Booth, we walked down a small road, than along a stream. It was all so relaxing and fun and peaceful, until it got steep.. no, near vertical.. I loved every hard fought meter of altitude but By the time I got to the top of Crowden Clough I was Half dead.. Gasping for breath, bright red and dizzy from hyper-ventilating, I was an embarrassment.
My cousins and their dad were all fine. The dog was the only other unfit member of the group. I know this from the way he was panting as hard as i was ;)
Around this time I remember Sitting at the top looking down on Upper Booth and thinking I'm gonna need to be A LOT fitter if I'm even going to consider this for real.

The rest of the trip was great, Kinder was in one of it's nicer days, dry and easy transit across the top. Sadly this also meant there was no water on the downfall, but also meant we could stand between the kinder gates for photo's. As it was dry, grit and heavy wind ensured we were all scoured before we came down the Jacobs ladder.
On the way down we passed loads of Sunday walkers, no pack, no map, no water, Girlfriend in tow (some in heels)!
As I passed these, I wondered if they were going to die, or if I might have over packed just slightly more than i needed for this trip...