Monday, 31 January 2011

What was your bonus for today?

A short change of topic before I finish the Edale trip, inspired by the latest post from Lovely Grey, click on her blog on the side bar. She talks about 'what next', after her recent holiday. Most people would be a little deflated when they return from a joyous well earned rest, knowing full well of the humdrum life apparently mapped out before them. But Lovely Grey, and myself, embrace each day as it arrives.

Every day I wake up with a new enthusiasm, I know it sounds corny but I feel happy to be alive. This week I am looking after Ollie and Alfie, the two black labradors. It doesn't sound particularly exciting, I won't be able to go very far, just lots of local walks tramping the same old ground. I will have to get up early because they will be wanting to do their ablutions, and I will have to take them out last thing at night, whatever the weather. They will want my attention and want to be with me, so that will restrict me a bit. My freedom which is so very precious to me, has gone out of the window.

But hey, look on the bright side. I always look for a bonus, something that makes me smile, something that lifts my heart. The dogs are gorgeous, they will want lots of cuddles because they will be missing Paul, and all that fresh air and excercise will get me off my bum and keep me fit. It is only for one week, and it is good for the soul to feel wanted and loved ocassionally.

There was another little bonus this morning. as we were coming towards the woods, a car pulled up and two strapping young men wearing running gear hopped out, with their dogs. They were wearing the skimpiest of red silky shorts, and tight fitting lycra vests. I watched as they ran off into the woods, what lovely muscular legs and pert bottoms, oooops is that sexist, ha ha. I almost forgot the age difference and ran after them ;o)

So, what I am asking is, what was your bonus for today? What has made you smile and momentarily taken you out of your environment. What have you seen or what has happened to perked you up? What has made you glad to be alive?

High flying over Kinder Scout

Seems such a lot of photo's in one day, so I thought it best to split it into two posts, so here is Thursday part two. Here I am standing on Jacobs Ladder, looking down towards where I have come from. Beyond the trees you can see the track, following me up is a group of four walkers.

The crazy paving makes a lorra lorra steps to climb.

I am even higher here and you get a better idea of the distance.

Now it is getting very cold, I let the other walkers pass me at this point.

There are a lot of unusual shaped rocks on the ridge, but I am not familiar with their names, to me they are just odd shaped rocks. The more experienced walkers could probably tell you what these are called. My fingers were frozen so I could only take one photo before I had to put my gloves back on again.

I was so very very cold, and it wasn't very pleasant. All my bodily fluids seemed to be exiting via my nose and my eyes. I couldn't see clearly through the tears, and I had to bung my nostrils up with screwed up bits of a paper hanky. I needed to get down quickly, so I excercised my right of freedom to roam, abandoned the map and went straight down.

The helicopter was still about, he must have done about fifty trips by now.

I joined Crowden Brook about half way down, and followed it to Upper Booth.

I decided I needed to stride out at a fast pace to get my body warmed up a bit, and realised I was heading for the field that the helicopter had been collecting the bags from. There he goes again.

Just missed him, maybe I'll catch him when he comes back.

Yep, I found the field, a man from the National Trust was there overseeing the operation. What happens is that the helicopter lands while the man on the ground hooks up a bag to it.

Then it slowly rises to take up the strain,

and up up and away it goes.

It takes less than five minutes each way.

The helicopter went away to get refuelled so I asked the National Trust man what they were doing, I thought they were making up some new paths, but that wasn't the case. He said the rocks are put into the gullies to help stop errosion. The land has been over grazed with sheep, so any rain that falls rushes down the gullies taking the peat with it. They have put fences up to keep sheep off certain areas, the rocks will slow the water down, and they will plant more grasses and heather to bind the rocks together.

Apparently this is cost effective because they are taking tons of peat out of the water lower down at the treatment plant at Ladybower reservoir, and the helicopter is the quickest way to transport the stone.
Here he is back again, it didn't take him long to refuel. These photo's are a slightly different shade to the previous ones as the sun has now disappeared over the horizon.

And he's ready for off. What an interesting day I've had, despite being half froze to death, and almost blown off the top of a mountain, ha ha. All I have to do now is walk back to the hostel. Wonder what's on the menu tonight? I know, can't be bothered to cook so it's a tin of mackeral fillets in tomato sauce, and a spud in the microwave ;o)

Sunday, 30 January 2011

A turning point in Edale

Thursday morning, the weather is forecast to be better today, a bit cold, but clear skies and good visibility on the hills. That sounds promising. The self catering kitchen is in a seperate annexe from the house, and as I looked out of the window I could see a plastic animal shelter with food dishes close by. There didn't look to be anything in the shelter, so I tapped the window and two big eyes looked up at me. A black cat poked it's nose out.

Ten minutes later one of the staff came to feed it. There was two cats, she said they had turned up one day, doesn't know where they came from, and they stayed. She is the only one who can touch them. This photo is of the main building, behind you can see the rolling hills. My room had a big bay window facing the front.

Today I am going to imagine I am starting the Pennine Way, I wonder what it would be like to get psyched up for it. I left the hostel in the direction of Edale. It's a well defined path, as the hostel is used by many long distance walkers.

This stile made me laugh, the upright stones are placed so close together. Thin persons with small rucksacks to the left, not so thin persons with huge rucksacks to the right.

After twenty minutes I came into the village via this narrow stone bridge. Single file please.

The official start of the Pennine Way is this pub in the square.

And opposite the school is the first signpost.

Well this is going to be easy to follow if it is all like this. I think it is in their best interests to make the paths more pleasant to walk, after all a lot of businesses in this area need the tourism to survive.

There was a lot of buzzing going on over my head, a small helicopter was flitting backwards and forwards every few minutes, carrying what looks like bags of stone hanging underneath it. I wondered if it was to repair footpaths on Kinder Scout.

At Upper Booth I took a wide track heading towards Jacobs Ladder, and came across a farm with a row of out buildings. There was a small information centre which I didn't bother with, and a man trimming up some wood with his electric saw. He had a big pile of logs which had been cut into flat discs, he was roughly rounding the edges.

I had stopped to ask him about the helicopter, but I also wanted to know what he was making. Oooh, I am nosey. He had a fascinating story to tell. His name is Robin Wood, yes really, and he makes traditional hand turned bowls from local wood. Here is a selection of his tools which he made himself with his own forge.

When the bowls are ready they have to dry out for three months, then they are oiled and made ready for use.

Robin sells his work all over the world, and holds workshops on carving and turning, which are very popular. He has also written a book about it. I would strongly recommend a look at his web site if you want to know more, there is a link to his blog from there, and links to films on youtube of him working.

Robin is a really friendly man and has a passion for his work, I was so lucky to meet him.

Next I reached Jacobs Ladder, this little bridge is at the bottom.

The side of the bridge looking up the stream.

The wind is starting to get up a bit now and it is getting very cold, must press on, I have a bit of a climb to do now.

Part two of Thursday to follow.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Edale and beyond

Edale Youth Hostel is not in Edale, it's about a mile away at Rowland Cote near Nether Booth. I arrived at 10.30 am and set off at 11am through a stile and across a bridge over a stream, heading towards Clough Farm. Skirting round the edge of Nether Moor, reaching Jaggers Clough, no sign of Mick though, groan, ha ha.

The weather was damp and heavy mist, it wasn't long before I had to put on my waterproof overtrousers. These signs are everywhere, lots of interesting information to be had.
On I rambled towards Haggwater Bridge, crossing the stream.

I crossed the main A57 known as the snake road, past Hagg Farm, an activity centre, then turned left to Rowlee Farm.

Some of the footpaths were heavy going, they were so eroded that the path was often three feet lower than the rest of the land. Stumbling over rocks of various sizes was no fun.

There was a lot of tyre tracks and hoof marks, I don't know how horses manage, clever horses. At one point a quad bike rider appeared dressed in full waterproof gear and helmet, he wasn't racing so probably a farmer inspecting his stock. I need some crampons here.

I was coming down this bit of tarmac road towards a farm when two farm hands opened the gate and out poured a couple of hundred sheep, spilling onto the hills. I stood aside out of the way, didn't want to get bowled over, ha ha.

This little bridge is called Rowlee Bridge. I came from the right in the picture, and sat on the low wall for a sandwich nibble. It was a bit windy so it was a case of back to the wind and hood up. I found very few places to rest awhile and get out of the weather.

I came back to Haggwater Bridge, through Blackley Hey Wood, and continued along the old Roman Road. I was intending to take a path on the right to bring me down onto the road, but somehow I missed it, and carried on along the ridge to Fulwood Stile Farm. The scenery was very nice, but I kept looking down to the road on my right and couldn't see a way down.

When I got down to the road I had gone a lot further than I intended, almost to Hope, and time was running out. The safest option was to walk back along the road to the hostel. I had no lights or torch with me so I let my red scarf dangle front and back, hoping that would be enough warning to traffic not to run me over.

At last I was coming up the drive to the hostel, the light was disappearing over the horizon.

What a welcoming sight, the glow of the hostel lights. Now what shall I have for dinner. I just fancy a tin of hot potato and leek soup, with some sprouts and carrots that I cooked last night at home. Warmed up and eaten out of the saucepan, just like home from home, ha ha.

The evening was spent in the lounge, reading magazines, and planning the next days walk. I sat on a big comfy sofa next to the heater, bliss, and started to fall asleep at 8.30pm. The feelgood factor I get at the end of a hard days walking is well worth it, I sleep like a baby.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Lulu's back in town

Do not fear, Lulu is here, ha ha. I used to be called Lulu, my best friends mum could not say my name, so she said, 'I shall call you Lulu', and she did for many years. So, Lulu's back in town. The hostel was very good, I had a room to myself again, I love it when it's quiet. It's not a good idea to stay at Edale in the spring/summer months, full of school kids, oh my, what a racket. There was two of us on the first night, and five last night. It is up a long drive on the side of a hill, and hidden in the trees. The staff are smashing, and two feral cats live there.

I walked 30 miles over the three days, with a heck of a lot of ascent, 5683 feet according to I did go up Hollins Cross and Mam Tor again, couldn't resist it. Boy was it cold though, it was flippin freezing. My fruit juice was freezing in the bottle, had to break the ice at the top to drink it.

I called in at Tesco's on the way back, and spent the grand total of £5.10 on my veg for the week. Cauliflower, sprouts, potatoes, salad, swede, mushrooms, stir fry, plus a loaf of bread, chicken for the cats, and a large carton of plain yogurt, all reduced, yipeeee!

I've been sorting the photo's out, I'll put some on tomorrow. Goodnight.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Feeling a bit Peaky ;o)

Something I spotted while out today........

Tesco have decapitated their three wind turbines. I wonder why? These are positioned in different places in the car park, you can see a headless one on the right, the mast is still standing. Perhaps they have discovered that they don't generate enough electricity to run the store, or maybe they are going for an upgrade, with the deluxe version arriving shortly to replace these. Or maybe they have been removed because they are afraid the tops might fall off and kill someone. After all, just before Christmas the whole of the canopy across the front of the store fell down under the weight of the snow. Luckily no one was hurt, perhaps that has put the wind up them a bit, and they are taking no more chances. Ha ha.

Just a bit of an update here......I am pleased to report that Rocky, little scruffy dog, has had a bath, he smells lovely now. I took him a walk yesterday with Henry, and brought him back here for half an hour untill his owner returned. She has been seen taking him a walk, so maybe things are looking up for the little fella.

Remember My Beasley, the big ginger cat who wouldn't stay at his new home, no matter how many times we took him back.

I saw him this afternoon, he lives with Janet and Paul, in their multi cat household. He is obviously very happy and contented because he hasn't made a bid for freedom in ages. Just to be on the safe side though they have had him microchipped. Isn't he gorgeous.
Tiger and Lilly are still at Sue's in one of her pens, awaiting rehoming. Sue put them in with Willow a young female, and they all get on fine, and play together.
My bags are on display in the Arts Centre, along with about ten others. They are centre piece at the moment, but may be rearranged because they are expecting some more to come in. I must say they look pretty good, and in my opinion are better than most. I think one artist has cheated a little because her bags are completely covered in fabric and sequins, non of the original canvas is visible. She might as well have made her two bags from scratch and hidden the canvas ones inside. I will take pics of them when the rest are added to the display cabinet.
I'm off on a walkabout tomorrow till Friday, hoping this nice weather keeps up. I'm booked into Edale Youth Hostel in the Derbyshire Peak District for two nights. Lots of good walking round there. Not sure if I'll get onto Kinder Scout though, depends how boggy the moors are. I have already done Mam Tor, Hollins Cross, and Lose Hill, so maybe I'll be looking around Ladybower Reservoir. Edale of course is the starting point for the Pennine Way, only 270 miles, I'll maybe set off from there and pretend I am doing the full Monty, ha ha. Anyone fancy joining Me?

Monday, 24 January 2011

Pay attention you lot

Right, now you are sitting comfortably I'll begin. Pay attention, these are the rules. Glad to see you have brushed your teeth this morning Ollie.

We are going to walk up this path, and I don't want any paddling in the mud, have you got that. Alfie, you are not listening, face forward please. There will be no digging in rabbit holes, and if you do a poo please wait by it untill I come and pick it up. Don't just run away because then I won't be able to find it.

This morning we have a new friend joining us, welcome Henry, and don't sniff round Alfies behind too much, he doesn't like it, he can get a bit grouchy. If we are all ready we'll get off. There will be a break for treats in 20 minutes, and if I call you back I want you to return to my side immediately, not when you feel like it. Have you got that?

Oh God, doesn't he faff, it will be lunchtime before we get going on this walk. I'm getting fed up of waiting, yawn.

OK boss, I've got it, now can we go?

Ha ha, what a palaver. Last one into the ditch is a sissy!

Come on chaps, I'm ready for a cuppa, get a move on. Ollie will you stop jumping on Alfie, one of these days he's going to get really annoyed and give you such a nasty bite, don't come crying to me about it.

Oh I give up, total hooligans, never do anything you tell them !