Thursday, 25 December 2008

Present Opening.

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas day, this is present opening time, as you will see we were blessed with many gifts.



This is Vicki opening her Digital picture frame.


Tom opening his squeaky toy.


Tippy opening her cudly toy.
Fallon opening one of her books.
Mum and dad opening a hamper.


Friday, 25 July 2008

Away For The Weekend.

Hello everyone, Bob and Tom are away for the weekend so I won't be posting anything for a couple of days. We are going to visit my parents, also tomorrow we are going hiking in the hills so lets hope the weather is nice. Not sure what we will be doing on Sunday but I will tell you when we get back. Bob.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Pics From Day 1.

Here are the first lot of pictures from my Pennine Way walk for you to look at. Here is me ready for the off, it was definately a woolly hat day on the moors that day.The first point of interest for me was the foot bridge over the M62. This bridge was built especially to carry the Pennine Way walkers over the motorway.
Below is an old packhorse road close to Blackstone Edge. Its said by some to be a Roman road due to the finding of Roman artifacts in the area, others say that the road you now see overlays the actual road used by the Romans. Whichever the case may be I can tell you its one of the better sections of the Pennine Way to walk on.
Below is a picture of Stoodley Pike, a monument which stands over one hundred feet in height above Todmorden in West Yorkshire. It was completed in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War. There was an earlier structure on or near this site to commemorate the deteat of Napolean however this earlier pike collapsed following a lightening strike and wear and tear from the elements which can be quite brutal in such an exposed position. On a clear day the pike can be seen for miles around, I arrived in heavy rain and mist so it didn't become visible until I was just a few hundred yards away. You can climb the spiral staircase inside to the viewing balcony which I did just because it had to be done and not for the reward of the view as there was no view for me.
Below is looking back across the Calder Valley to Stoodley Pike. The day was now clear and bright.
This is my pitch for the night at Highgate Farm, Colden. There is no charge for camping here and there is also a farm shop by the name of 'Aladin's Cave' in which you can buy whatever you need for your dinner and much more besides, you can even treat yourself to a beer as I did. This was the best pitch I had along all of the way. Which just goes to prove that the best things in life are free.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Day 14.

Day fourteen, my last day on the way started at 6:30 am, that was when I woke but I lay dozing for a while, it was hard to get myself moving, but I knew it was better to get going because then at least I would be warm. I just had chocolate biscuits for my breakfast this morning as I had no stove nor anything to cook but the biscuits were good enough. I started at 8:30 with a climb, on reaching the top of the hill I looked back to see who I assumed were my two friends from the B&B at Bellingham. They were a way back so I pressed on. There was quite a good path of stone paving which was a blessing. I had to try and be at Kirk Yetholm for 6 that evening so it just meant me maintaining a pace of 2 MPH which was easy enough to do so I wasn't under any pressure, I actually got a way in front of myself and was looking for a place to rest up a while. The trouble was when you stopped the wind was that cold you froze within a few minutes. I thought I found a good place and was about to settle down when I noticed a darkness approaching. I knew by now what this meant so I decided to move on quickly in the hope that I could reach the other mountain refuge hut I could just make out in the distance, and so rest up there a while. I didn't even make it half way before the heavens opened. It came on so fast and violent that my legs were soaked just in the time it took to get my waterproofs out and put on my coat, even so I still put on my waterproof trousers and rushed off down the hill from Auchope Cairn as fast as I could. It wasn't hard to gain speed as it was a steep slippery slope, the hard part was to try and not get too much speed up, or slip on my back. The rain was still coming down in buckets full as I burst through the door in to the hut. Inside there was one guy, he must have thought the devil was after me by the way I burst through the door. The guy turned out to be a volunteer ranger and it was good talking to him about various things. The peace was shattered when in walked four snot gobbler's from Surrey who were staying in their second home that they owned in the area - need I say more? The conversation now took a down turn, it seems they found it frightfully common to have a fish and chip van doing business within view of their holiday home, there then followed five minutes of debate as to who was going to have the last trout sandwich from their lunch box. I was glad to see the two lads who had been following me for the past couple of days come through the door, now at least the common people equalled the toffs and I no longer had to listen to their stupid plans to exclude poor people from area's of the Lake District by charging extortionate toll fees on certain roads that access popular beauty spots. Why do these sort think they have a god given right to have all the nice places to themselves? Especially when its people like them and their greedy ways that have turned the ugly places in to what they are today. Anyway the rain eventually stopped and they all cleared off, me and the ranger were the last to leave after exchanging views on what we'd just been witness too. The rest of the day was dry and I arrived in Kirk Yetholm at six as planned, Vicki and Tommy met me just out of the village and we all walked in together. I got changed and we went in to the Border Hotel for a drink and a meal which I think was much deserved. It had been a long hard two weeks of constantly pushing myself further and further, if you were to ask me whether I would like to start over again tomorrow then my answer would be no. If you were to ask if I enjoyed it, then yes for sure, it was a great adventure to a place everyone should visit but few ever do. I believe its why people go walkabout and the reason for Jesus spending time in the wilderness.

Day 13

Day 13 on the Pennine Way was a big day, I pushed harder and further than any other day on the walk to cover the 25 miles from Bellingham to Byrness, it was this or walk to Byrness and stay the night there and have even further to walk the next day. With me now being tentless I had to reach the shelter of a mountain refuge hut on Lamb Hill. At breakfast that morning I met a couple of men also walking the way although I'd never seen them before until they came to stay at the same B&B as myself. We left around the same time but they had some shopping to do so I was out of town before them and never met up again that day. The day passed off pretty uneventful except for the usual struggle over sodden ground under ever threatening skies. All morning was spent walking over mile after mile of wild boggy moorland, this was follow by a long stretch of forest on a good track which was very welcome as I still had 15 miles to go. At the end of the forest walk was Byrness and the start of the Cheviot Hills. The climb out of the village was a desperate affair up a steep slippery slope clad with pine trees at the top of which I collapsed and rested a while, eat some chocolate for energy and took a drink before setting off on the last 8 mile leg of the day, the time was 4:30 pm, I'd been walking since 8:30 am and there was still another 4 hours of walking to be done through a vast boggy wilderness. The track was easy to follow so that was a relief and once on the hill it would be hard to lose your way as in the main you had to follow the border fence between England and Scotland although there was a little detour to the Roman camps at Chew Green. Last time I was this way I pitched my tent at Chew Green, this time thought I had no tent so had to press on. It was absolutely bouncing it down with rain by this time, it looked like it had set in for the night, all around took on a gloomy feeling as I plodded on getting ever closer to my destination. I reached the hut at just after 8:30 pm, the rain had just about stopped, not that it really mattered now as I was well and truely wet. I phoned home to let them know I'd arrived okay and then had something to eat, after which I turned in for the night. There were no bunks in the hut, just wooden benches so I rolled out my mat on one of these and tried as best I could to get some sleep. It was uncomfortable and the whole night was spent fighting off the cold which was made worse by my wet clothing. I'd abandoned my sleeping back along with my tent. I thought that three layers of clothing on a night in mid summer would be plenty to keep me warm, especially in a hut as well but apparently not. It was a long night, one of those nights when you feel that you haven't slept a wink but I obviously did.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Day twelve on the Pennine Way has been a pretty wet affair, I spent the first few miles along Hadrians wall before heading off north once again, this time towards Wark Forest and beyond to Bellingham.On the way through the forest I met a girl walking from John O'Groats to Lands End which I thought was pretty neat. Its going to take her five months so I don't think there is any danger of me doing the same. By the time I have five weeks to spare I will be too old to walk. I've not seen anyone else walking the way today.I have to confess that as a spectacle I find the wall is cracked up to be better than it is, for me the inspiring thing is the countryside it was build in and also the amount of work that went in to building it. At the time it must have been a stunning sight. Now at best the wall is no more than six feet in height, what it needs are a couple of place to be restored to its original state just so one can get a true picture as to what its real appearance was.The walk throught the forest was very straight forward, the way being well sign posted. With the constant drizzle the long grass was very wet and in places the ground was boggy.After the forest the rest of the way was over farm land. I found a nice place to break by small river at Shitlington Hall Farm.The B&B I'm in tonight is okay, the room is nice and bright and there is a pub just across the road if one fancies a drink.Tomorrow I have a big day which will take me on to the Cheviot Hills, tomorrow night I will be roughing it hopefully in a mountain refuge hut.Bob.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Wednesday, day 11

Day eleven on the Pennine not so wet has been okay, a word of warning though to anyone thinking of walking the way and staying B&B, don't make your stop at the Twice Brewed Inn because the room you get for the price you pay isn't worth it. Its the worst B&B I've had so far. Apart from that the day has been okay although a little complicated at times as far as route finding goes. Today I left the Pennine hills behind, it seems a long time now since I was struggling along through the Yorkshire Dales in all that rain. Now I am at Hardians wall, it seemed more captivating the last time I walked the Pennine Way but then I'd never seen it before so I expect that has a lot to do with it even so it is a good stretch of the way with fine views all around. This morning near Lambley Collery I came upon a walker laid out flat on his back, it seems he was only resting but he seemed a bit strange all the same, I don't expect to see him again. Tonight I went down to the bar for a glass of cider and I met the guy from New Zealand who I'd last seen on Saturday in Teesdale so that was a nice surprise, I don't think I will see him again though as he isn't going any further, he only has a couple more weeks left so is going over to spend them in the Lake District rather than continue any further. I've met no one else from the past.Today I've walked 20 miles, the last part along the wall has been quite hard work with lots of ups and downs. It was funny because I met a few people walking the Hadrian's Wall Way and they were all huffing and puffing and it reminded me of how I was ten days ago when I first set off. I no longer have any trouble with hills other than they slow me down a bit but I can just keep going up them to the top without resting or running out of steam. My pack isn't quite as heavy as it was but its by no means light as I now carry spare clothes, shoes and such like instead of a sleeping bag and tent, I'm also carrying some food to try and save a bit of money.Tomorrow I'm off to Bellingham, I remember that as being a pleasant and not too difficult walk, hopefully I won't get lost in the forest.Bob.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

I am now on day 10 of my Pennine Way journey and things have greatly improved from last week, it did rain today but it was nothing like I had to endure last week. If I had to endure a weeks rain on this journey I would rather it had been this week really as there was more things of interest last week and they got passed by in the main simply because it was too wet to stop and enjoy them. Anyway I will just have to make the most of this week and for sure its not totally lacking in attractions like for instance tomorrow I will get to visit Hadrians wall and today has been a pleasant walk along the river South Tyne from Garrigill to just north of Slaggyford. There were lots of wild flowers along the river bank, I also saw a Heron and watched some fish in the river whilst I had my lunch break. Yesterday was spent crossing the high fells from Dufton to Garrigill, unfortunately there was mist on the tops so I didn't get to see a view. Thats twice I've crossed over Cross Fell now and neither time have a been able to see more than a few yards in front of me. Vicki was still with me yesterday, she went out for the day on her own and then had a little walk up the hill to meet me as I finished off the days walk.On Saturday, that was day 8 of my walk, was the best day so far. I walked from near to Middleton In Teesdale to Dufton and it seemed that around every corner there was something to delight you. It was quite a long walk but it didn't seem so because of all the things there was to stop and look at, it was also quite a nice day so that made loads of difference in being able to stop and look. With taking a day off on Sunday I am now out of touch with the people I was walking with last week, not only have I not seen any of them but I haven't seen a single person all day, not out walking the Pennine Way. I did see a boy near to Merry Know Farm, it was one of those places where you virtually have to walk through their garden. I managed to find my way into and through the garden in front of the house and I was I was just standing looking at my book to see where I should leave for the fields again when this boy came out wanting to know where I'd come from. I pointed out the route I'd taken and he quickly pointed me in the right direction, which without interruption from him I'm sure to have discovered for myself but I guess it was good of him to be so prompt and eager to save me from going astray. Tonight I'm rested up in a B&B as I will be for the rest of the walk except for the last night when I will be sleeping rough, more about that in due course though. Because of the extortionate cost of B&B I've cut the cider rations, also I just managed to resist going next door to the pub for fish, chips and mushy peas, it was very hard though. I can't believe they can charge so much for what they offer at these B&Bs, but I guess its either that or back to the tent.Well I'm off to get another cup of tea so I will sign off for today.Bob.

Water proofs a must

Robert all ready in his water proofs ready for day 10 of his pennine way walk. there is some info on Vicki's blog.

Friday 11th it could not have been any wetter

Day seven on the Pennine Wet was WET! If anyone thought this was going to be a picnic they were wrong, there are no teddy bears around here. This is trial by water, day in, day out. There is nothing I have with me that isn't wet by some degree. Even my boots gave up the fight today which was understandable because for the whole 20 miles of todays walk one or the other of them has been up to the ankle in mud and water. It hasn't stopped raining for one minute since I set off to the time of writing this. I've seen no one all day apart from the family guy sticking his head out of his tent when I left thiis morning, then when I got here a kind lady in the caravan next to my tent made me a cup of tea.Unfortunately I have to go now ass the battery is nearly out on my PDA. There will be no more updates for a few days now until Vicki returns home. Bob.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Thanks for your best wishes Elaine, they're much appreciated, Bob.Day five on the Pennine (not so) Wet has been much better, the best day so far. I'm feeling much stronger now and so I'm able to push on for several miles at a time without needing to take a break.Today I could have lingered as the walking was good as was the weather but everyone I met told me this wasn't going to stay this way so I pressed on in the hope that I could beat the rain. I was intending to stay the night at Hawes but decided to go o couple of miles further to Hardraw. This meant me missing out on fish and chips but I made up for ir when I got here by having a pint of cider, I think after the days walk I enjoyed the cider more than I would the chips anyway. I'm camped up at the back of the pub so I think I may pop back for another one before I turn in for the night. I arrived here just in time to beat the rain, I got my tent up and went to look at the highest waterfall in England which is in the grounds of the pub, by the time I got back it was spitting with rain, now its throwing it down but I don't mind as long as its stopped by the morning.I spent quite awhile walking with a Dutch man today, he too is walking alone so I think it was nice for us both to have some company. I've not seen the man and two boys today, they were in the same camp as me last night and were till there when I left this morniing.So tonight I'm camped near to the highest waterfall in England and with luck tomorrow night I will be camped next to the highest pub in England.
Day six on the Pennine Way was wet(just for a change) LOL! I climbed Great Shunner Fell in very heavy rain driven by a strong cold wind, thankfully the rain eased in the afternoon on the walk to Keld and then on to the Tan Hill Inn. The climb up Great Shunner Fell was a pretty desperate affair as you can imagine with no reward of a view of any kind on reaching the summit. I phoned home then got on my way as I was frozen by the wind blowing through my wet clothes. Once through Thwaite the weather started to pick up and continued to improve for the reat of the day and tonight is quite pleasent. Because of the weather and everything being soaking wet I ask at the inn what accommodation they had to offer, I felt the price they were askng for a room was a bit much and was going to take a bunk in the bunk house but then I decided to give myself a break for a night so now I'm living it up in my own room in the inn. I haven't bothered going down for a meal, mostly because my clothes are half rotten after nearly a week of being wet, also I think I probably spent enough on the room so I've just had my camping food in my room. Also last night after writing my report to you I went for another pint of cider which was very good, I was about to return to my tent when this guy came in and started talking to me about my walk, he seemed quite taken by what I was doing and called his wife in to come and meet me. He then saw my glass was empty and bought me another drink and he and his wife joined me and we had several more drinks and didn't get back to my tent until gone ten. They were also staying in a tent near to mine but I didn't get to see them this morning before I left. Today I arrived here at the same time as the dutch lad I met the other day so I had a drink with him before he went on his way, I don't expect to see him again as he will be a way in front of me now. A short while ago I saw the man with the two boys outside the inn, not sure if they're in their tent or the bunkhouse, I haven't seen them to speak to for a couple of days now. I will be a bit later setting off tomorrow as they don't start breakfast until 8 and I'm usually getting away by that time but you can't have everything, at least I will start the day with everything dry.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Day 4 Grey Grey and more Gray

Day four on the Pennine Wet has been wet! Everyday so far has been wet but today it made a special effort. It showered all night so when I woke and it was dry I went to get packed up as quick ass I could before it started again but I was too late so went back in my tent to sit it out but it didn't stop so oit got to the point where I pressed on regardless or stayed put all day, so I pressed on.The da started with a big climb to the top of Malham Cove follwed by two more big climbs over Fountains Fell and then Penyghent. Fountains Fell was just a hard slog in driving rain, the wind was bitterly cold when I reached the top. By now the rain had found its way in to everywhere so to stop long on the top would have seen me perish from the cold so after phoning Vicki I pushed on back down and then up to Penyghent, at times a near vertical climb in heavy rain and strong wind. All this climbing was for no other reason than to get to my destination because all around there was heavy grey damp mist so no views to be had of any kind. I did manage to take a few pics but I don't know what they will turn out like as the camera was under restricted use because of the rain.When I went to pay for the site tonight the man at the farm seemed to think I'd been here before. He is right of course but he must either be thinking of someone else or have a really great memory because it was over 20 years since I stayed here, I didn't shatter his memories though.I had some bad news today, it seems that Vicki's boss can't manage without her all of next week so our holiday together is to be cut short which is a bit disappointing.If there was one word to sum up todays walking I would say that word is GREY. Its been draining of both body and mind, Its all part of the experience though.

Day 3 wet wet wet

Day three on the Pennine Way has been wet, so there is nothing new to report there. Today its been showers more than persistant rain, this meant putting on waterproofs and taking them off on a regular basis until I got fed up and took shelter if there was any. I usually managed to find a tree to hide behind or a bridge to hide under and if it wasn't raining too hard I just ignored it as the heat from my body soon dried it from my clothes.I've seen the guy with his son's a couple of times today, they travel faster than me so we tend to keep passing each other along the way, we even had a little joke this afternoon, I'd always seen him as an over serious person up to then. I think they must have found a different campsite to me because they aren't on this one.Today the way has been mostly across farm land as I crossed the Aire Gap. My legs are starting to feel much stronger, most hills I can plod up now without needing to keep taking a breather. The rucksac is the worst problem at the moment as it weighs really heavt at times, I think some of that is because of all the water in everything. I had to pack my tent up wet this morning so that was extra weight to start with.I managed tp phone home this morning and got a nice surprise. As you know Vicki is coming to spend the weekend with me, the good news is that she is now going to be staying the whole week with me. I will carry on the walk of course but instead of spending everynight on my own in this stupid little tent I will spend it with Vicki in a B&B. The bad news for you of course is that she won't be able to keep you posted on my progress. Never mind I willl be able to do it when I get back.As I arrived in Malham tonight I was approached by three young giirls looking for the campsite, after consulting my map I Ipointed them in the right direction before setting off there myself, from the noise they are making it seems they have bags of energy left.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Well day one on the pennine wet has been - WET! This morning was the worst, it came on just after crossing the M62 and it didn't stop until after Stoodly Pike, it was real mans rain too, I managed to keep pretty dry though. I met a man who told me it would get better later, he wasn't a weather guru or anything, the truth was it just couldn't get worse, unless it came on to snow. Anyway it did pick up later and even with the way the weather was I enjoyed it.My boots are working out okay, no blisters or sore feet. I got to the camp at 4PM, they haven't charged me for camping here but they have a little farm shop so I bought some beer and chocolate.I just got my tent up and someone else came to camp next top me, he is going the opposite way to me though.Since then another lad has come plus an older man with two boys.I was pretty glad to get here as I was beginning to tire, I don't think it helped with all the water soaking in to everything also I was a bit tired anyway from the early start, I am going to get an early night tonight as there isn't much to do.
My second day on The Pennine Way has been wet. It didn't rain as hard as yesterday but its rained for longer and there has also been thunderstorms.I left camp this morning ar 8 just after the guy from Scotland left, he was heading in the opposite direction to me so I won't be seeing him again. I didn't see the man with the two boys untill later in the day, they passed me and then I repassed them and met up again later at the place we are camped at tonight, They aren't very talkative. I've not seen anything of the boy from London since last night.Today has been spent walking through Bronte country first with a visit to Top Withens and then the way went past Pondon Hall which is reputed to be 'Thrushcross Grange' from the book Wuthering Heights. I'm finding theh pack is still weighing heavy, inparticular on my shoulders and I can feel all the muscles in my legs but hopefully this will improve with time.Tonight I'm camped on someones front lawn along with the man and boys plus another guy who is travelling in the other direction.Tomorrow promises to be a bitg easer day which will take me to Malham, hopefully the weather will also be better as everything is damp and this is also adding to the weight of the pack I'm sure.I'm going to make some hot chocolate and then get off to bed ready for another early start tomorrow.

Friday, 4 July 2008

I'm Nothing Special.

Thanks everyone for your best wishes, they are much appreciated and for sure they will help me on my way over the nest couple of weeks because for sure there will be times when I will be needing the encouragement. I guess there are many of you who do not know that on such walks as this you experience every sort feeling there is to feel from the depths of dispair to the highest high. There are times when you will struggle like you never struggled before and then there are times when it comes so easy that you can't believe it. But whatever the situation I will be sure to remember you all and try to keep you informed of my progress. If the technology works I hope to email Vicki from time to time who in turn, if she has time is going to post it to my blog.
During the preperation for my adventure lots of poeple have said to me how they wish they were doing it too. Okay, some of you like Phil for instance don't live in this country and some of you may have some disability preventing you but I know many of those who have had wishes to join me have no such problems so I say to them have a go because there is nothing special about me, I wouldn't even say I'm particularly fit, just active. I may not even make it the whole way but at least I will have no regrets. So why not just have a go, start out as you did when you were a baby, take a few steps and increase it each time. Soon you will be walking for a whole day and from there you walk for two days and so on until you went and did a whole long walk. That might sound simple and thats because it really is that simple, if you have the will the hardest step you will ever take is that first one.
It sounds to me like you had lots of fun on your walks Phil, everyone should have as many 'Last Of The Summer Wine' moments as possible.

Bob.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Distances.

Tonight I'm going to list the mileage and dates to the different sections of my walk along the Pennine Way. I hope to keep Vicki posted as to my progress and in turn if she has time she will let those of you who are interested know how things are going so I hope some of you will visit me along the way and even add the odd comment too as I'm sure it will be a great encouragement to me, or better still email me direct as I can recieve emails on my phone. You will find my address in my profile just click on the word 'email' or copy and paste this address robertharrison3@yahoo.co.uk .
First of all I will just point out that because I want to spend a day with Vicki and also the first part of the walk is close to my home and so I walk it regularly I'm starting my journey along the Pennine Way at the 31 mile mark.
The walk will start on the morning of the 5th July and will be 13 miles in length which will take me to Colden at 44 miles
6th July will be 17 miles and take me as far as Lothersdale at 61 miles.
7th July will be a bit shorter at 16 miles and this will take me Malham, a place I always look forward to visiting. http://www.malhamdale.com/
8th July will be 15 miles and will take me to Horton In Ribblesdale at 92 miles. http://www.aboutbritain.com/towns/horton-in-ribblesdale.asp
9th July will be an easy day of just 14 miles taking me to the market town of Hawes. http://www.stockdill.freeserve.co.uk/hawes/
10th July will be the longest day so far at 19 miles and this will take me to the Tan Hill Inn which is supposed to be the highest inn in England, the pitch is behind the pub so not far to stagger back to the tent, we will be at 124 miles by this point.
11th July will be an even longer day than yesterday at 20 miles and this will take us to 144 miles and the village of Holwick.
12th July will be 18 miles and will take us to 162 miles and the village of Dufton which is where I am to meet Vicki that evening. There will be no camping tonight as we have a B&B booked. This day will be a good day provided the weather is okay because I know from past experience that the walk will be full of interest. http://www.visitcumbria.com/pen/dufton.htm
13th is a day off.
14th July is a very short day of 10 miles and will take to the Greggs Hut and my first wild pitch of the walk
15th July will be 17 miles and will take me to Slaggyford at 189 miles.
16th July is another day of 17 miles and during this day I will reach Hadrians wall so although the day will start a bit dull it will end with great interest, tonights camp will be below the wall at a place called Once Brewed at 206 miles. http://www.hadrians-wall.org/
17th July will be 19 miles in length taking me to the small town of Bellingham.
18th July will be the longest day of the walk at 21 miles and this will take me to the Roman camp at Chew Green on the border between England and Scotland, my second wild pitch of the walk at 246 miles.
19th July 16 mlies taking me to just beyond the Cheviot Hill which again will be a wild pitch at 262 miles.
20th July and the last day of the walk will be just 8 miles to Kirk Yetholm at 270 miles.
All distances are based on those given in A Wainwright's 'Pennine Way Companion' guide book, this is the guide book I will be using along the way.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

What I Carry.

To night I'm going to show you what I will have to carry with me when I go for my walk next week. I've numbered each item to make them easy to identify, you may need to click the picture and enlarge it to see the numbers more clearly though.

1 Rucksack

2 Sleeping bag - this is my down filled bag, I have a fleece one which is a bit lighter and would probably be good enough for this time of year but last week we had some quite cool nights so I thought I wouldn't risk it as there is nothing worse than lying awake because you're cold.

3 This is my sleeping mat, again it is the heavier of the two that I have but by far the more comfortable so I will suffer the extra weight.

4 Is my home made Yew walking pole. I do have a proper alloy walking pole but don't find it as nice to work with.

5 Is my tent.

6 Are the tent poles in their bag and wrapped in some plastic. I have this plastic sheet to put under the ground sheet of the tent just as a precaution really as the ground sheet on light weight tents aren't very thick.

7 Is just a little pouch with headache pills and bandaids and things that I might need but usually don't - as long as I take the pouch.

8 Three spare gas canisters for the stove.

9 Are my waterproofs, coat, trousers, gaiters, and gore-tex inner boots which I shouldn't need if my new boots do what it says on the tin. I'm not taking a chance on that though as wet feet are very bad and wet socks even worse when you have no way of drying them. With this set up I've crossed rivers that have been knee deep and still kept everything dry so I know it works.

10 Is enough food for the week, that includes the green pouch below the packets with the number 10 on it.

11 Maps and guide books.

12 Cooker and its carrying bag. I just use a basic camping Gaz cooker. There are probably better these days but it still works and has not let me down or anything in all the years I've had it plus I still have four new gas canisters so why swap it yet.

13 Is the pan for boiling water, thats the only cooking I will do, a blue plastic mug, a plastic bottle with powered tea or chocolate, not decided which yet. I don't carry milk so whatever I take will have to be ready to go by just adding water. There is also a yellow plastic bowl in the picture but I don't think I need that as you can eat the food straight from the pouch.

14 Water carriers, a plastic water bottle which I will carry full during the day to drink from and a water bag that will only be used in camp unless the weather is hot and I need to carry more water during the day in which case I will put a drop in the bag, you have to be careful how you pack it though as it could easily puncture.

The only other things that I will carry that aren't in the picture is a wallet with some beer money, my new satnav, camera and mobile phone. At that (With the plastic water bottle full) the pack weighs in at 40 pounds, I know the army carries more but I'm not on a route march so I don't want to go any higher than that if I can help it. With the lighter mat and sleeping bag I could probably have kept it down to around 36 pounds. My new boots are over a pound lighter than my old ones and its said that a pound on the foot is epual to on the back so I reckon at that rate I will be jogging the Pennine Way.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

A Key Feature Overlooked.

There isn't much to report at the moment, or perhaps the truth is there is as much as usual to report but I'm not really in a reporting frame of mind.
One thing I do want to add that I should have done in my last post and that is to show my new PDA keyboard closed up. Such was my frame of mind at the time I clear forgot to show you its key feature which is its ability to fold up and be compact enough to slip in to your pocket or handbag which ever takes your fancy. As you can see from the picture below, when folded its small enough to fit in to the palm of your hand.


...and for those of you who weren't paying attention the first time here is a picture of it unfolder with PDA in place. The beauty of it is that there is nothing gimiky about it either, the keypad is nice to use and I can quite believe what Woody Wilbury says about Adam Hart-Davies writing his books on one. I've not attempted to write a book on mine but I've written emails and often use it to send a text message instead of using my phone keypad. For that sort of thing though you need to have your PDA connected by bluetooth to your cell phone.



Last night we booked two nights bed and breakfast in Dufton which is where I will meet up with Vicki in the middle of my walk. I think I now have everything I need for my walk. I've been testing my new boots and they seem fine. I've been using them on dog walking duties and I wore them all day at work last mowing day and there was no problems at all but I didn't expect any as I never had any trouble even with heavy leather walking boots, they fit well and feel nice to wear.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Thanks For My Presents & Best Wishes.

Hello everyone, Thanks Blackswamp_Girl, Lois and Merle for your best wishes. Not sure if I was being melancholy or what last night, just saying it the way it felt really. I didn't write the poem by the way, I just put it in the right place at the right time.

Anyway as you will see below I got some really nice presents for my birthday, this first one, a hand held Garmin satnav to take with me on my walks, this is from Vicki, I think she just wants to make sure I can find my way home! She also bought me a few other things too
This next present is from Fallon and is a portable keyboard for my PDA. It all works cordlessly you just sit the PDA on the stand at the back and it connects itself, no wires or anything which is very handy.

Below is a picture of what its like with the PDA in place. She didn't buy the PDA, I've had that a while now. She did buy me a bottle of whisky as well though.
Below is a picture of some new walking boots, my parents and sisters family have helped pay for those as a birthday present. I needed some new ones for my walk as my old leather ones were starting to wear out.
This next present is from Jo and David, its a very nice set which has already been put to good use at work, the pruners will be in more or less daily use and are very sharp so I had better watch my hand for sure!
I also got some cards from various people so thanks also for those and the email from Vicki's mum which was a nice surprise.

Friday, 20 June 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB

Today Bob is twenty one and some - HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB!

I'm thinking tonight that I need to find some new friends cos I'm sitting here at home alone on my birthday drinking from a bottle with no label, I don't even know if I'm going to get drunk! All I'm sure about is that its clear with a fizz. Three cheers for Tommy thats all I can say - okay so he's like the rest of them and not speaking but at least he tries...

So what have you done to change your ways....
the tightness in your chest....
the fear that you will die....
it is a few years ago now....your friends have long forgotten your fears...
and your solitude has returned....the loneliness of the single bed
the meals for one....
nights of searching....and drinking scotch alone
have returned


so what have you done
to change your ways
to live your life
have you made a move
to leave behind the life you ran away from
or have you nurtured
that which you know best
lonely nights
in a cyber world
bottle of scotch
with just one glass

Monday, 16 June 2008

Daily Stages.

Hello everyone, I haven't posted for a while, mostly because I've been busy planning my walk which is due to start on the 5th July and finish on the 20th. I got my pitch lists (places along the way where I can pitch my tent) from the backpackers club so I think I now have all the daily stages planned out. The longest day being 21 miles (3 days from the end) and the shortest and last day just 8 miles, all the rest being somewhere in between but mosly around 16 miles which will be okay. Vicki is coming to join me on the weekend in the middle of the walk and I will have the Sunday off and we will go round and visit a few places and have dinner out and what have you. I've given my gear a quick check over to make sure everything is that and working that I will be taking with me, I have it packed in my rucksack and so far it weighs in at 35lbs or 16kgs. It would be nice if I could keep it at that but there are a few things still to be added. That weight includes a weeks food plus a bottle of water so the more I eat the lighter it will become.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Can Anyone Help?

Hello everyone, today I have a bit of a different post to make. Last Saturday I went walking in the hills of the Peak District National Park which is near where I live. Whilst out on the high moors above the Derwent Reservoirs I came across a memory card that is full of someone photo's. I realise this is a tall order but I would like to return the pictures to the owner unfortunately the only clues I have are in the first picture below. There are several pictures of this guy and in this particular picture I can make out 'Montrail Ultra Running Team' written across the front of his top. I've Googled 'Montrail Ultra Running Team' and visited a few of the links but they haven't really been a lot of help although on one site I found a picture of a guy by the name of Steve Reifenstuhl who sort of looks similar to the guy in the picture also his surname could resemble the one on the wrist band the guy in the picture is wearing but that could just be wishful thinking on my part. Anyway if anyone knows this guy or has any ideas how I might get in touch with him, or even put me on to somene who can help it would be great to hear from you, either leave me a comment or email me, my address is in my profile.

Does anyone recognise either of these two people?
(Click the pics for a better look).

Bob.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Gardena Aquazoom 350/T

Of late Tommy has been sulking quite a bit and I didn't know why until I got Matron's comment to my last post and then I realised that he was feeling like he was missing out with Tippy having all these good idea's on gardening tips and getting all the praise. It reminded me how just before I had to delete all those blog posts Tom was doing his own little bit by road testing various gardening tools and items so that if it came with a star rating from 'Tommy's Trusty Tools' you would have an idea what you were getting. Anyway as I say we didn't get very far with it at the time so to keep him happy I am going to start it up again now. The first item he wants to tell you about is a sprinkler.
We got it one day last year, Tommy insisted on taking a trip to the garden centre – he just loves that place y’know. He isn’t actually allowed inside, I’m not sure why as he is way better behaved than the kids which ARE allowed in. Anyway he told me what to get so I nipped in and got it for him. As you will see below it’s a really nice Gardena sprinkler, it even has a timer so he can set how long he wants it to run for then he doesn’t have to leave off half way through the motor racing to switch it off or anything – is that cool or what?

Look at this! Its a Gardena Aquazoom 350/T
This is the timer control, you can set it to run all the time or anywhere from 5 minutes to 120 minutes. As Bob says this is very handy to save you having to get up and turn it off when watching the racing or if you prefer you can put it on before going to bed and it will stop itself and as you know the night time is the best time for watering. One thing I will point out though and that is it can only turn itself off and not on. The control is easy and simple to use, you just turn it one way for on all the time and the other way goes on to the timer, the further you turn it this way the longer it stays on.

The bottom control allows you to control the flow of water from off to full on this is good because it saves you having to go back and forth to turn it off when you have to move it and you can also regulate how much water goes on, Bob likes this as it saves him getting wet when he tries to moved it still switched on, I think it's boring though and spoils my fun. It is a very good and useful idea though.

The top control regulates how much ground is watered length ways, this control is easy to use even with the sprinkler working which is good as you can easily fine tune it to put water just where you need it and so not waste any.

This control sets how wide you want it to water, there is one at each end of the sprinkler bar and all it does is turn the knozzles outwards so widening the area covered. Again its very easy to use and can be done so with the sprinkler running.


All controls are in orange, it seems well made out of plastic, only having had it one season I can't say how durable it is but Gardena seem to have a good name. It wasn't cheap at £49.95 but for what you get I think it's okay and it puts the water where you want it so if you're on a meter you will save there. There are smaller versions also one like this but without a timer which are obviously cheaper so if you already have a water timer you could get one of these instead.

Bob & Tom.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Planter Tip.

Tonight Tippy is going to show you a little something we put together the other day. Me and Tom went to the garden centre as Tom wanted some bonemeal so while we were there I decided to buy some pots to do something I've been thinking about for a while now. I was just going to get three ordinary clay pots, it doesn't really matter what the pots are like as long as each one is smaller than the other, the reason for this will become evident in the next picture. As it turned out there were three pots that both fit the bill and that took my fancy.

If you start off with the biggest pot and fill it with potting compost and then take the next size pot and just put it on top of the one you just filled and lightly press down, this will both firm the compost in the lower pot and also mark where the pot will eventually sit. There should be a part all the way around the lower pot that the second pot didn't touch and this is now where you need to put some plants, I used Busy Lizzies but you could use begonia's or sat Petunia's, trailing Lobelia would be good too. When this is done then you do the same thing again with the second pot first of all filling it with compost as with the first. If you planted the first pot right you should be able to just sit in down on top of the first pot without damaging the plants. See the picture below.


For the third pot you can finish off with the same sort of plants if you choose, I decided to put a Fuchsia in the top pot as I felt it would just give it that bit more height. Below is the finished article although I'm thinking I might see if Vicki can get some some trailing Lobelia from the shop as I think it would be better with something flowing down a bit although in time the Busy Lizzies will grow up and fill out.
This next picture was taken later on in the summer and shows you how it all worked out.

All the best,
Bob.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Queen Mary's Bower.

I've sort of not stopped all day today yet the day has only really been partly productive. The first part of this morning was spent watering and feeding the greenhouse plants, I also had to spray against white fly using Vitax Organic spray. I'd rather not spray at all but if I didn't the darn things would wreck everything and I only sprayed the Fuchsias and the Pelergoniums which seem to be their favourites. If they start to get on the tomato plants I'm going to try the 'Natural Born Killers' remedy which is where they send you cards with the parasitic wasp Encarsia formosa on them. You hang the cards up amongst the plants and thats it apparently. The Vitax Organic is supposed to be okay to use on food crops but it would be better to go with the wasp thing if it works. I think you have to get the timing right though as it only works when the temperature can be kept at a minimum of 16C, also I would have thought you need to have a certain amount of infestation to start with.

The second part of the morning was taken up at B&Q, I went to buy some paint to finish off the earns I started at the back end of last year. Vicki came with me as she wanted some paint for the sitting room so by the time we got that done it was time for a spot of lunch.

After which I spent the rest of the day planting up the memorial beds in the walled garden. I used the Border Princess Dahlia's at the front with some Nicotiana's for scent at the back. The Nicotiana's didn't do well at all last year, they came down with what looked like blight to me although it was the first time I ever saw them fail in this way, they always seem a reliable plant to grow. Anyway I will see how they go on this time, hopefully this year won't be as wet because I don't think that did them any favours.

Below are a few more pictures from the walk the other Saturday. They are taken in Chatsworth Park and I kept them back because I wanted to show you this seperately. The stone structure is whats knows as Queen Mary's Bower and if you click on the picture below it should enlarge enough for you to read all about it, if not let me know and I will copy out the writing so you can read it properly.

This is the view from the Bower looking towards the cricket ground.
Inside the bower there is this flight of stone steps leading down in to it, wouldn't you like to go exploing down there? I would but unfortunately there is a big iron grill over the hole.
Well thats all for today, Vicki wrote quite a bit of stuff on her blog yesterday so if you want something else to read go and see what she put, there is a link to her blog in my sidebar.
ATB BoB

Friday, 30 May 2008

A Pint At The Strines Inn.

Hello everyone, how are you today? Here are the final pictures from last weekends walk.

From Burbage Bridge car park we continue in a north easterly direction to the next edge, this one is around 4 miles in length and is known as Stanage Edge and will take us to the A57 road.
After a very short climb we gain the edge and seem to be on top of the world with excellent views all round. We are now in to wild desolate country, the wind on this occasion being very brisk and with a cold bite to is so much so I decided to get down amongst some rocks to finish off the last of my food.

One of the many views along the edge, not a good picture I know, the light was very strange. Thats my excuse anyway.

We are now approaching the last three miles of the walk, we're headed for the centre of the picture, the A57 road can be seen crossing the centre of the picture. Here we can look over the wall at the Strines and Dale Dike reservoirs in the distance. We are now walking on a tarmac back road that will in a mile or so deposit us outside the Strines Inn and our destination for this walk.
The Strines Inn. I didn't actually take this picture, I was that desperate to get inside for a pint of Fosters that I completly forgot to take a picture. There again maybe I was just so overjoyed to see Vicki that I just never thought! Anyway she had brought my mum and dad plus Tippy & Tommy along for the ride so we all went in for a drink before heading off back to my mums house back in Rowsley which is where I started from that morning.

This walk was 19.5 miles in length and took 10 hours and 20 minutes at an average speed of 2 MPH. I could have done it quite a bit quicker but I had plenty of time so didn't rush and took plenty of breaks.
Bob.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Edges.

Hello everyone, I can't pretend that I'm very happy tonight so I think I will just get straight on with telling you about the pictures.

After the climb out of Baslow you will find yourself on a high gritstone edge over looking the derwent valley. In this picture we're looking back over where we have walked so far.
This is looking down on the villages of Curbar and Calver.
After Curbar Edge we enter Longshaw Country Park which if I rcall right is now owned by the National Trust. Its pleasant walking along a good level track, becareful where you sit down and rest though as the place can be crawling with wood ants, especially when warm and sunny.
I will show you this little path because I thought it idylic wandering through the trees and down to the stream the way it does. We won't be taking this path today though, instead we turn in the opposite direction and head towards the main road to Hathersage. For any Robin Hood fans Hathersage churchyard is supposed to be where Little John is buried.
We don't go near Hathersage on this occasion, instead we follow the track below Burbage edge...
...where you will be able to watch in awe the climbers on the rocks. People are not meant to be in such places and it shows.
Finally we reach the car park at Burbage bridge where there is an ice cream van waiting for you, don't be too long about it though because there are still some miles to be covered and we want to be there before the pub closes.

All the best,
Bob.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Baslow.

Hello everyone, thank you for comeing to read my blog. Take a look at what I found when I checked out the conservatory this morning. For those that don't know I will tell you that its a Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise plant. This plant was one of only a handful of indoor plants that was still alive when I took over the gardens here and this is the first time its flowered so I am really pleased.
Tonight I am going to show you some more pictures from the walk I did on Saturday. This will take us through part of the village of Baslow as we start the hardest part of the day, the climb up Eaton Hill and then Bar Road to the gritstone edge which we will follow for the rest of the day - more of that tomorrow.
This picture was taken on the bridge over the River Derwent, this is where we leave the river which we have been following from Rowsley. Note the row of thatched roof cottages on the left of the picture.

Leaving the bridge we head straight across the green in front of us to cross the busy main road. If you fancy a break this is a good place to take it as there is a shop, cafe and a couple of pubs just around the corner to the right, the shop being on the left where the bus is parked.

Once across the main road we start our climb up Eaton Hill at the top of which we turn right on to Bar Road.
We exit Baslow on this road, which is at first has a tarmac surface but this soon becomes a narrow rough track always climbing but nothing too serious.
Part way up there is a spring in a shady spot, a nice place to stop and catch your breath. I removed my fleece and took a drink, not from the spring though but from my water bottle.
Now we're almost onto the open moorland and the worst climb of the day is over. Tomorrow we will see some wonderful views so please come back and take a look with me.
Bob.