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!