Monday, 16 November 2009

The ebay red mist syndrome.

Quick post because I'm still laughing at the stupids who over-bid on ebay. Story is I'm trying to buy a roof rack for my car. There's 3 pieces that need buying, but I've worked out if I buy carefully I could save £20 over the complete roof rack system. So it's ebay for a Thule 753 footpack. I don't want to buy over £25 with £7p&p = £32.

However I watched these boozo's fight it out.

£37.09 + £8.04 = £45.13

Yet, had they searched they could have bought or best offered it for: £34.99 + £7.99 = £42.98

There's one born every minute!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Yeah - I'm heading for a heart attack!

I had a good bike ride on my single speeder yesterday and used my heart monitor for the first time. In 4 hilly places my heart rate topped 172 bpm, making the monitor warning beep like crazy. It's programmed with my age, height and weight. However the BIG place was the pedestrian Tyne Tunnel where I carried the bike down the stairs, cycled fast through the tunnel and carried the bike up the 100 odd wooden stairs.

It looked like I peaked at 177 bmp at the top of the stairs. According to medical reports this is my "heart attack" region. Using the formula for my maximum heart rate:

HRmax = 205.8 − (0.685 × age)


HRmax = (205.8 - 34.4555) = 171.3

So I am now dead and I have written this on my internet Ouija board.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Bike Porn - Totally Naked....of mudguards and rack.

Kona Jake

Shall I buy or wait?

I hate decisions!!!!

The curse of Malware and Microsoft

So, I'll come straight to the point - I visited a dodgy website. I was on Pirate Bay looking to see what's on offer and I clicked on a link - absentmindedly.  BANG! WHOOSH. BEEPS!!!!  My Avast! anti-virus had a field day after spending the last 18 months with little to do.

Loads of files were being sent to the Virus Chest. Although this is the free version, I had every confidence in it's performance and it's usually updated daily. I've also a hardware firewall and a software firewall to help things from finding a safe environment in my computer. However, things started to come fast and furious. 

I stopped the INTERNET connection. However soon after Avast! anti-virus became jammed and no amount of service stopping and starting would get it to update or run correctly. 

First port of call after I rebooted was the Avast website for information. Ha! The virus had hijacked the HOST file, the file had also lost it's security permissions. I wasn;'t able to change it directly although this may have been a Vista measure. Even when I changed it to the correct configuration, webpages for Avast, Microsoft, and any other help sites were blocked.

I tried my trusty PSList to view the running processes, this also was blocked. Task manager was blocked...It was starting to look very serious. Luckily I own a laptop and had to use that to connect to the internet. I found everyone recommended a program called Malwarebytes and I transfered that to my computer (very carefully - making sure autorun was disabled) by memory stick.

Once run, Malwarebytes deleted a lot of files. But, webpage was still being blocked. I used Hijackthis to view what was happening. I deleted a few files manually, but still no luck.

I was now able to run a full Virus scan in safe mode (F8), the main warnings were:


Win32:Malob-V (Cryp)


Lots of files with weird names like: ncxmareows.exe, a.dat, b.exe, c.exe....being found. A study of the internet revealed that the Vitur virus is a particularly nasty one to recovery from and I soon started to agree.

I was puzzled why I wasn't able to access PSlist and found that the c:\windows directory structure was compromised. An error showing "Access Control Structure (ACL) is invalid. Now this is getting a bit too weird.

A this point I made the decision for a complete re-install. The word on the internet showed that even a format wont take the malware virus down, it'll have to be a repartition, full formation and re-install. This was late at night and I decided to do one last thing before I accepted defeat, use the old command "chkdsk /r".

This morning after I woke, I also decided to take the risk of a restore point. If it failed I'd only lose a day. A massive download of service packs and re-installs of all my applications dreaded me. So, I booted up with the F8 and ran a restore to a week earlier. After 3 hours it finished. 

At the moment everything looks promising. All webpages look OK. Only time will tell.

Here's the programs I recommend:




If anything happens in the next few days I'll update.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Halfway Hause*

This walk was Mountainmanjunior's halfway point in his relentless pursuit of the Wainwrights.

5:45am 18th October 2009, I woke up tired and felt tired all day, don't know why but I did.

Met Ross at his parents house and parked up my car this time as he was bursting to try out his new Toyota Aygo (wouldn't have been great being a Yugo Aygo - wherever You go, I go! - OK it's not that funny).

We soon arrived at Glenridding despite the small engine of the car, proving that you don't really need big engines to motor along. The heart stopping point arrived very early in the morning even before we left the car park - £6.50 to park! This is disgraceful! 

After that blood rush we soon walked up to the first Wainwright which was Glenridding Dodd and wondered where the actual top was as it had 4 or 5 cairns all around. The actual top is the summit as the GPS track proved. From here there was a broad ridge walk up to a sometimes pathless Sheffield Pike and this was Mountainmanjunior's halfway point - 107th Wainwright. 

Up to this point the weather had been cool and slight breezey. We descended towards Lucy's Tongue (sniggers) and up "The Chimney" (more sniggering) on Stang. The higher we climbed towards Raise the worse the weather became. By amazingly great navigation (probably luck) we were only 20 metres off the summit of Raise in thick cloud. 

The summit of Raise was cold, wet and breezy, so it was no place to sit around. Ross set a course for Whiteside, which we found easily and then descended rapidly to get out of the wind and drizzle.

Although more sheltered, the weather was always present to some degree. We soon arrived at the mine workings and YHA and walked back along Greenside Road to the main car park.

It was a fairly short route at 5 hours, but that's mainly because Mountainmanjuniour's getting fitter, rather then a short route. Route was 8.66miles long and half of that was unpathed!

* -> A Hause is a Lake District term for a mountain Pass.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Throw it in the Binsey!

OK, so Mountainmanjunior beat me to the "Great Cockup" title race...drat! Congratulations on the 100th Wainwright, by the way. 

We parked the car at Over Water, a small tarn or lake in the Northern Lake District. For some reason, there was hundreds of geese in the same field as the sheep...A flock of woolly geese? Anyhow we set off and down the road, through a very small village and onto Junior's 100th Wainwright, appropriately called "Great Cockup".

The weather started off a bit "dreach" but improved in the that the sun came out later in morning.  

As you can see bright sun and grass blindness was the order of the day after the rain clouds blow away to God knows where!

This picture represents the sadness of a Wainwright bagger, alone on a grassy hill. This is the reality of the lonely monastic life that awaits Junior and his bagging ambitions.

That small bump in the distance is Juniors 105th Wainwright, Binsey. For some strange reason, my ankle was incredibly painful when wearing my boots and I ending up, to junior's amusement, wearing sandals. But, I still bagged the summit, despite being terrified of sheep shite being squashed between my toes!

A nice little day's walk in a secluded area of the Lake District, but to be perfectly honest, this area isn't probably going to be a frequent visiting place for me.

The car journey home was as I suspected, going North past Carlisle. The GPS unit actually made a good route bypassing Carlisle to the south. I only save 10 miles and about 10 minutes on our normal A66 route though.

One amusing thing that happened in Caldbeck and no pictures were taken, was having to stop the car to let a bull walk past. 

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Dithering in the Dodds at 99 not out!

Sunday, we set off early for a small car park 1 mile west of Dockray in the Lake District. We arrived just before 09:00am and soon set away down to Dowthwaite Head farm. I've never been there before and it was interesting to see loads of different breeds of sheep. Later found out that it was a breeding farm for sheep.

So, our objective was a five Wainwright set of Hartside, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson's Dodd, Great Dodd and Clough Head. 


The weather was overcast and cloud leveled at about the 750 metres region.  And easy approach through the farm led to a right of way path. It was here that Junior agreed to "guide" me so from this point he made all the navigation in a fairly tricky condition of cloud, drizzle and slight wind.

Like all cloudy walks that doesn't involve steep crags or gullys this walk was fairly straight forward and apart from a pair of mountain bikers nothing really interesting happened.


From Clough Head, we followed a straight line over rough ground to Mariel Bridge on the Old Coach Road. Here we saw 3 Land Rovers moving slowly along the bridleway. They stopped at the bridge and looked at a section of the road that was very churned up - I doubt they wanted to get the Landies dirty. 

Clough head was Mountainmanjuniors 99th Wainwright, I wonder what his 100th will be?

Sunday, 20 September 2009

How to explode your boots!

Here's a Photo of my old Salomon X-Adventure boots. In the middle of Scotland, the whole boot just came away like it exploded. Notice the heel section and how they caused a complete devastating catastrophic failure ;-) 

Great boots, sadly missed.

Still ain't fixed - Vista SP2

So now I've upgraded to Windows Vista Service Pack 2, I'd have though they would have fixed that blasted file size/Explorer refreshing fault....Nope it's still there, have a look at the picture.

Notice how the file size is 233KB, yet the status bar shows 1.91MB. All I did is cut the picture and saved it, yet Windows failed to update Explorer.  Arhhhhh.  I hate that.


Friday, 18 September 2009

Upgrading my GPS contouring the easy way!

A friend emailed me with details of a GPS user who's been integrating openstreet maps and the Scottish Mountaineering Council's hill contouring software.

Mmmm....I remember the the first (and last time) I did this on my Garmin 60CSx and it was a bit of a slaver. I seem to recall having to modify the computer's registry and uploading the .img file into Garmin Mapsource. Having to merge 2 different images I certainly didn't have the patience to do this myself.

So, with trepidation, I read the instructions and within 5 minutes upgraded with the new contours and Streetmap! Easy.  Er, so easy it was actually just overwriting the existing one GMAPSUPP.IMG on the Microcard inside the 60CSx. As the card is 2Gb and the image was less then 200Mb, that still leaves me with huge room for waypoints, tracks etc.

Wow, what a difference, my GPS can now read roads and streets with some paths as well as the usual contours. Still not as good as an OS map, but for the cost of 5 minutes time it's certainly worth it and much better then paying £100 for Garmin's official Topo software.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Vista now updated with service pack 2 - doh

Yesterday morning my Vista Home edition was upgraded with Service Pack 2. Straight away my computer started to get strange fits. It's booting up slower. It seems to copy large files slower...Mmmmm I seem to have found a pattern here!

This is now getting beyond a joke. First with opera now Vista, my brain can't take all these changes in!

Monday, 14 September 2009

4 Deweys kicked in the Howgills

So, these 4 Howgill Deweys are the remnants of our last unsuccessful attempt a few weeks ago. A simple route involving a few steep slopes and longish unpathed sections.

We started at a small place called Bowderdale and set of on a long fairly straight ridge. The weather was cool, slight breeze and cloudyish. West Fell was soon approached and bagged before we headed to Hazelgill Knott.  We then reversed slightly and descended by an un-named gill to Langdale (not the more famous Lake District Langdale). 

After a 10 minute stop for a veggie sandwich (for me that is), we walked alongside West Grain for a few hundred metres to stop at a steep but short climb onto Simon's Seat. After descending that, a simple traverse around Docker Knott lead to the final Dewey - Hand Lake.  Now the fun began!

The first problem we encountered was Langdale Beck. A quad bike track basically encouraged us to look at a crossing fairly near to it so as to help climb a fairly steep hill side. We spent at least 10 minutes trying to find a suitable crossing point. Mountainmanjunior, finally and carefully crossed upstream. I found a nice crossing that was narrow, but deeper. I only had 3 large stones to use, but the first one was very mossy....yes! I slipped and ended shin deep in the water. Luckily I had a trekking pole to steady me from not slipping head first.

The look of horror on mountainmanjuniors face was either concern for my well being...or more likely... not having a camera ready and taking a photo! Well, it's only wet feet. After this my feet squelched a bit, I'm just thankful it wasn't winter.

The next problem was the straightish walk back to Bowderdale. The map showed we required to walk south of the farmers walled fields, but we soon got entrapped in many of them. Luckily only 1 barbed wire stone wall and 1 rusty gate need to be climbed.

Looking at the gpx file on Memory Map shows a fairly good straight route back despite the walls and finding suitable gates.  Not a bad walk.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Finally cracked the Opera 10 captcha problem

OK, this works now for me.

Enter into Opera address box: opera:config#history%20navigation

click the "Show all" box to reveal all preferences.

Right down near the bottom of the page look for "Wand Autosubmit" in the user preferences section.

Untick this box as it's default is to submit.

Save that section and close down Opera and restart it.

Now try and login into a captcha website.

The only downside is that ALL wand passwords are now manual click to enter - doh.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Ignore the previous post

The Opera 10 solution I found doesn't work on captcha enabled websites. Opera somehow saves the previous captcha word and enters it in that confirmation box.


So, the question I have to Opera is: Do any of your programmers and testers have accounts on captcha enabled websites?  Answer must be NO!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Opera 10 and that damn new Password Manager!

Update: Solution doesn't work correctly!

So you've just upgraded to the new Opera 10 Web Browser and immediately hate the new too. But this is not a grumble blog ;-)

The main reason of this blog is a serious problem with the password manager, that used to be called the Wand. On some websites you need to enter a confirmation word or number to login. Usually you'd click the wand to populate the username and password, then enter the word manually.

However, with the New Opera 10, it executes the website username and password immediately using " " as a word in the confirmation box. 

Right, I've sorted this problem out. Here's the example. 

1. I cleared out the old wand password and site for and opened up the login page for
2. I entered Username and Password to bring up "password manager" and saved.

(At this time the for sites like thebox, it still wont work because it executes " " as the word in the confirmation box!)

3. Close down the tabbed page and open a new page -
4. Now ENTER the confirmation word BEFORE....
5. ....clicking the wand and you should now login OK.

The last 2 steps are opposite to what I suspect me and others have been doing in the past.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Howlup in the Howgills

Teamed up with Mountainmanjunior for a 6 dewey bag in the Howgills, however, things didn't go according to plan!

Original plan was to do 10 Dewey Hills in 1 long hot, sunny summer's day, but getting time away and with persistant bad weather ment this wasn't feasible. So, I planned a shorter vistit to the Howgills with a 9 hour maximum time budget including travelling. There was 2 routes, a longer west route and a short east. The west route incorporated The Calf, a Trail magazine 100 hill and one Mountainmanjunior hadn't climbed before.

The weather didn't look good to start off with but by the time we parked and set off from Cross Keys near Sedbergh it wasn't too bad. Cloud level looked to be about 500 metres. We climbed alongside a full flowing Cautley Spout waterfall and followed a wet path to The Calf.

At the top visablity wasn't good as we set off in a North-West direction heading towards a Dewey called Linghaw. THIS is were it all began to go wrong. 100 metres from setting off from The Calf's summit the track split into 2, but for some reason we didn't see it and followed the White Fell path which slowly went at 90 degrees to the path we should have taken. It should be mentioned that the main path doesn't exist on the 25k or 50k maps, just a district boundary line shows.

It was 15 minutes after leaving The Calf's summit I realised something didn't figure out. We agreed to go down a bit further and try and find exactly where we were. Recalculations came left and right through my head, but a decision had to be taken. I decided to continue down, pick up a well worn path and skirt along Fell Head.

I felt a bit sorry for Mountainmanjunior as it was a long drop down, but we had a nice sheepfold at Long Rigg Beck to have Lunch in, which if we had stayed high up we wouldn't have ;-)

Having a good look at the GPS, I think we might only have lost less the 100 metres height, if so that wasn't a great deal. Eventually we arrived at Linghaw and quickly moved onto the next Dewey, Uldale Head. The path leading to this hill was very narrow in places on steep sided hill. The wind started to become strong and unsettling in places. A steep path lead up to Uldale Head. Near the top the weather started to come down and at the top a full blast of strong wind and rain caught us out.

Back down it was clear that I had miscalculated the route completely and we were running out of time and energy. The other 4 Deweys were now thrown out of the window and it was now a question of the quickest way home!

This was the worst possible place to decide to abandon the route. There was 2 ways back to the car. My thought was to cut through 2 dales, but this ment 2 steep descents and ascents, it would have been much shorter and quicker, but much more energy sapping. Mountainmanjunior, looked at the map and decided the best route for him was to follow the ridge back to the The Calf, so that's the route we went.

Following this route in the cloud wasn't easy and we soon got a little lost. Again, we failed to see a track leading to Bush Howe. My GPS showed we were about 400 metres past the Bush Howe path. The contour map on my GPS kept coming up with an error "Void, no map data" so I wasn't able to program a waypoint. The actual GPS data was correct so it was the contouring software at fault. We lost 13 minutes looking for the correct path (this would have been crucial later on in the day for me - read the end paragraph).

Now was a long boggy trot back to the Calf and down the same route to Cautley Spout as before. At the top of the waterfall the rain came down heavily and soaked all my gear - Scotland all again!

My home by 5pm deadline was way way off the mark. It was now 5:45pm back at the car. I didn't have a rest and as soon as Mountainmanjunior packed up his gear, off we went.

I dropped Mountainmanjunior off at his house as the clouds started to really turn black. At Easington Services the heavens opened up - possible the worst for a few years. The traffic on the A19 was down to 30mph, the road was flooded and visiblity was down to 20 metres at best. For approx 10 miles the traffic was almost at a crawl, many drivers heading into laybys with emergency lights flashing. Even a Range Rover was unable to overtake me. That was SCARY!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Scotland Failures

This blog is mostly as a reminder for me what NOT to do. It's been a while since I was in Scotland and a few years since camping out for more them a few days.

1. Boots - utterly crap, soles too thin and not waterproof enough. Ended up with hammered soles and blistered toes. Top priority to get suitable ones.

2. Really needed a bigger tent then my Vango 150 1 man tent. I need one with a porch to cook in and probably put a bike in. Will buy one if needed next year. The Vango is good, but with the rain pouring down there's not much space.

3. Maps - why I didn't bring extra maps is beyond me! I always carry lots of alternative maps and guide books, this time I seemed determined to the point of being blinkered on a certain number of Munros! Bad mistake, I must be more flexible.

4. Car - the Ford Focus is nice to drive and very economical. However, with the bike and all the gear, I couldn't help fancy a medium sized van. Again ground clearance caught out the Focus and I broke a plastic bracket near the front bumper when the car grounded on a bit of rough road.

5. Food - no problems. I liked the Coucous mixed with Thia curry and Tuna that Mountainmanjunior recommended. Really need to take more Mint chocolate biscuits. Never eat them at home but when camping...yum yum.

Also had the worst buns ever. I bought them in Cannich and they were like the bread Gulag prisoners would have rioted against!

6. Clothes - No faults. Jacket hood is still too big but can't do anything about that.

7.  Sleeping bag - not warm enough, will need to upgrade my basic sleeping bag someday. However, it works well with my fleece liner.

8. Comment from Mountainmanjunior.."Some nice pics, I will be interested to hear about the campsites etc. Could be a place to start my munro bagging"


Cannich is an excellent site and one of the best locations for mountains in Scotland. Open all year round!  Fancy snow camping?


Morvich is expensive, but a good location  (but not the best) for mountains in Glen Sheil. I didn't like the fact I couldn't park my car next to my tent. Seperate camping/parking I'm afraid.


Nice big open site, ideally suited for a large number of Munros! Only downside is it's difficult to find and there's a long narrow road to get to it.

I can't think of anything else, if I do i'll update in a new blog.

Paddy Fields of Scotland

Just back from Scotland. What a disaster in many ways. I always try and avoid. July & August as it's the busy season for tourists, midges and stalking (of the deer type).

This August is also wet....very wet. In fact, it's like the paddy fields of Asia, but with Munros in them.

Here's a brief blog day by day:

Sat 8th August 2009.

Drove almost 8 hours to Cannick campsite. Very tired and very boring journey. The entrance to the campsite has the worst pot-holed road I have ever driven on. Soon they were to fill up with water!

Sunday 9th August 2009 

Arrived 8:55am at the gatehouse to the famous Glen Strathfarrar estate. The gate lady came out at precisely 9am and issued a road permit to me. Only 25 public vehicles a day are allowed on this private estate, so get there early. There is no restrictions if you walk or bike along the Glen. However, beware of the stalking season - that's why I picked Sunday (traditionally no stalking on Sundays).

Mountains climbed - height in metres:
Sgurr na Ruaidhe - 993
Carn nan Gobhar - 992
Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais - 1083
Sgurr Fhuar-thuill - 1049

Glen Strathfarrar is really very beautiful and a great pleasure to drive down.

Monday 10th August 2009

The campsite at Cannick is excellent for access to Glen Affric, which is a long Glen running West-East  and can be cycled along. However, my eye caught on 2 Munros.

Tom a' Choinich - 1112
Toll Creagach - 1053

There is a longer route involving 5 Munros but that's a big day out and I'm still trying to get fit. This is where the fault of my boots happened. The initial track is a rocky landrover road. My boots are fairly thin soled and after 3km the soles of my feet were pummelled. It was like someone hitting them with a hammer. Instead of the soles pivotting over the rocks, they were getting pressed down onto the rocks. Ouch!

Tues 11th August 2009

Again arrived at Glen Affric to finish the 3 Munros in the group. The weather wasn't too bad to start off with, but as minute by minute came on the rain started.  Basically after slogging up a ridge and arriving at 900m height, the wind and rain was annoying me. I looked at the map and immediately decided to retreat. I had and have no regrets. Arriving back at my car, both little toes had large blisters, which were to prove painful over the next few days.

Every picture tells a story...The ridge over my should was my target. 

Wednesday 12th August 2009

Moved camp to Glen Shiels. On the way I bagged 3 Munros parking near the old military road at Loch Clunie. Again the weather wasn't good, with rain, showers and wind. But at least it was breaking out in sun every so often.

Carn Ghluasaid - 957
Sgurr nan Conbhairean - 1109
Sail Chaorainn - 1002

Later on I eventually found the camp site at Morvich and it was an expensive one at that £9 per night...Ouch!

Thursday 13th August 2009

The Glen Shiels hills are big, I mean BIG. With my blistered feet the South ridge was far to long and the Five Sisters route was also a bit to far. The Forcan Ridge with it's steep scrambles wasn't on either as my boots would be crap at climbing. So, it was Ben Fhada (Ben Attow). 

Ben Fhada - 1032
A Ghlas Bheinn - 918 

Actually, this was a great route and Ben Fhada was a huge lump of mountain almost Alpine in parts once you started to get into it's centre Choire. The was a difficult descent to A Glas Bheinn and long descent from there to a forest track that pummelled and bruised my feet all over again!

Friday 14th August 2009

RAINED HEAVILY ALL DAY. Got fed up, packed up and went to Fort William. Walked around the shops trying to make up my mind what to do. The Information Centre had a weather forecast and it wasn't nice...rain for the next few days.

Finially decided to camp at Roybridge, rather then go home. I was wet, tired and my feet were badly blistered. 

Sat 15th August 2009

The day's rest yesterday di me a world of good and I decided to do a double Munro of :

Chno Dearg - 1046
Stob Coire Sgriodain - 979

The drive to the parking place at Fersit was horrendous, very narrow roads, tight bends and rough roads. The weather was just cloudy to start off with but soon the showers came. The lower part of the hill was a paddy field of water. Everywhere was water. My feet soon got drenched and it became a full on slog upwards.

Sunday 16th August 2009

Strong winds and heavy rain all night and early morning. Couldn't get out of the tent until 9am. Listened on Fort William radio for weather forecast and it said...RAIN.

Decided to come home and be damned!

Friday, 24 July 2009


It's been a month since I went on a hill or mountain. Just making sure you know I'm still alive....JUST!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Monkside Dewey habit

On top of Monkside.

So, it was a bright sunny day. Plan was to bag a Dewey hill in Kielder Forest. 

I started off just south of Kielder castle and cycled past Gowanburn. It was here that something didn't "feel" right with the route, but I carried on. Later I found that the Border County Ride track had been re-pathed closer to Bakethin Reservoir then my old map showed.

The forest tracks wasn't a problem until I stated the climb up Pleshetts towards Wainhope, then a very stoney track made cycling hard and it was soon off and giving the bike a push; when the pushing stopped and the cycling began it was in the granny gears. 

The final section to the top of Monkside was steep track and loose gravel making pushing the bike even harder them pedelling it. What an unusual top Monkside is! It's paved with blocking and has electric hook-up points. To all intents and purpose it's a caravan site!  Strange.

The bike ride back was fast, furious and dangerous ;-) It was in some sections here that I found the "proper" Border Ride Route.  All told about 4 hours in the sun, but I was knackered.

From Monkside overlooking towards Pell Fell.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Top 5 people I hate!

Ok, pop pickers, here's the countdown to the top 5 people I hate most.

Number five: A certain fuzzy haired family that live in Jarrow.

Number four: Politicians who lie once they've been caught cheating.

Number three: Banks.

Number two: Drivers who drive right up your arse.

Number one: Doctor's surgury receptionists!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Shocked and Saddened

I was shocked and deeply saddended by news of the death of a friend and ex-workmate David Steward late last year. I've only just been told the news.  I worked 5 years with Davie and he had the driest humour man can think of. Apparently he collapsed on a nightshift at work.

Cannot believe he's gone...RIP Dave, old mate. 

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Single speed racer

This morning I changed my singlespeed bike's tyres to more "tarmac" friendly tyres, but still mountain bike derived. They have deep treads, but no knobbly bits. So, this afternoon, I decided to go for a speed run. Immediately the tyres made the bike faster. The pedelling was easier and the rolling resistance was noticably smoother.

So, what time did I do my standard run in? Mmmm...interesting, 1 hour 10 minutes.  Less then 5 minutes from my fastest in its 24 geared version.  However, that 24 speed time was done on slick 1.5 inch tyres!!! 

So now, I'm off to buy another single speed convertion for my other rear wheel, the one with slicks on and I bet I'll beat the geared bikes time next week ;-)

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

A load of Baltics


Yesterday I went to the Baltic Art gallery in Gateshead. Yet again, in my opinion, it has consistantly failed to reach a standard of exhibition that an 11 year old couldn't fail to reproduce or exceed.

What a waste of time. What a waste of space. What a....(fill it in yourself)

Whatever your interpretation is of Art/Modern Art there has to be skill involved. Whether this skill is visual or representation it should be skill. Throwning bits of coloured paper, stringing cotton string from one wall to another or hitting nails into the floor is NOT art, it is crap and a waste of money!

Let's start a campaign "Do not donate money to crap Modern Art"

Grumble off.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Sunday on Sunday Crag

Yesterday, me and Mountainmanjunior decided to climb a rough and rocky route over at Patterdale.  The day started hot and sunny and got hotter and sunnier! From Patterdale we walked up Grisedale valley, which is one of my favourites in the Lake District. At Eagle Crag we took the steep route up the right leading to Nethermost Cove, a scoop gauged out by a huge glacier. To the right we could see ants of people climbing Striding Edge. Moving leftwards we could see grags and steep rock. To our left we climbed to the beginning of the ridge leading up to Nethermost Pike.

By now every bit of breeze was welcome as the sun was almost at full "British" power. The descent from Dollywagon Pike to Grisedale Tarn was steep and brutal.

At Grisedale Tarn I showed Ross the Brothers parting stone. This commemerates the last meeting of William Worthsworth and his brother, John.  Wordworth's brother was later lost at sea in 1805.

From there a slight path leads to St Sunday Crag, at 840 metres high the sun blazes down at you - almost the Lake District "death Zone". It was here we parted briefly, as I went a small distance to a "Birkett" hill and Ross would take the normal path down. After about 15 minutes we met up, but this time poor mountainjunior was limping - his reoccuring knee problem. With that, we decided to be safe and miss the last 2 Wainwrights and slowly walk back to the car park.

Ross licking his lunchbox, like the old dog he is! And.....

...Having embarassing stains after licking his lunchbox - Mmm...we shall say no more.

The final view from Birks, looking over towards Ullswater.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Bungle in the Jungle

This is a short video of the Rumble in the Jungle that my blog refused to upload this afternoon.

Howdey Howtown

It was planned to do a long route over at Coniston, but I under estimated the lenght, so I informed poor Mountainmanjunior of a change of route at 07:00am in the morning. Poor chap, I think he was dissappointed. So, it was 6 Wainwrights in Howtown, Ullswater.

The day was supposed to be bright and sunny, but a lot of cloud and cool breeze didn't look like it was going to be blazing hot as we set off from the bottom of Hallin Fell. I've done the route before but cannot remember much about it.

We arrived at a small footbridge and looked up at Swarthbeck Gill, for some reason that usually happens to me, I said, "Fancy climbing that?", "yep" came the reply.

So we started a scramble that was definetly harder then Sharp Edge or Stridding Edge. It looked like it was hardly ever climbed and there was at least 3 bad steps with loose rock, gorse and moss covered rock. Once up, the rest of the route was normal with the sun now shining a bit brighter, but the cool breeze still obvious by the use of out windproofs. It was only back at the car where there was shelter from the wind did we sit and sun bathe...abait not in the nude ;-)