The Vault Regulars

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012


 Having done like lots of people do at this time of year. Been shopping.
One of the tactics that electronic product companies are using to seemingly make us buy is this "Cash Back".

 Now i don't know about you but personally if i walk into a store to buy a camera or a phone or similar item and it's £300 and then i'm told that if i buy that one i can redeem £50 from the manufacturer. It puts me off the whole thing and i walk away.
What is the point of me spending time filling out a form to reclaim cash that in my view i shouldn't be spending in the first place. Why don't they sell it for £250 and have done with it.
Can any blogger reading this, who has a financial bent please tell me where the logic is of this stupid (in my opinion) trend lies. I cannot understand where the benefits are to either party. I may be just thick but i won't buy a product that does this pitch and so we both lose out.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hartington - Pilsbury Castle circular.

 Todays walk (Saturday 8th December).
This was a short walk to see how i was shaping up after a bout of Flu, bedridden flu that is!
I was still taking the Lemsips and still had a bit of a high temperature and overall was still a bit shaky.

The day was crisp, icy in parts with blue skies and not a breeze. We didn’t have a plan and as we would be walking south of Hartington on the Sunday decided to walk north of the village today. The route north is not a route i had done before so there was lots of map reading to do and the occasional compass bearing.

Looking at the map i decided that going up the escarpment towards Sheen would be a good test and it was in that direction we set off.

 The route leaves Hartington on the lane behind the Charles Cotton Hotel and then turns north before the cheese factory. Then heads for the footbridge across the River Dove crossing a number of stiles along the way. Once across the Dove the path heads west to the top of the escarpment from where a number of paths join giving  the walk a number of route choices.
 We chose the route north passing through a mixed woodland where we found quite a few Chanterelle mushrooms. We didn’t pick any. Alway’s in view was Sheen Hill.
 Sheen is an ancient settlement with a number of Stone Age barrows. There was a settlement here in the 11th Century and most likely Sheen in ancient times meant “shelter”.

 The day was warming up nicely and although i had struggled with my breathing on the up hill stretch it was a delight to be out. The views all round are wonderful.
 Sheen Hill looking from the east.
 Chief navigator pointing out the obvious route.
We made our way, with no rush across to Harris Close where we joined the minor road for a short distance until the footpath marker directed us on a diverted route around some new stabling at High Close Farm. The owners have made a lovely job of the improvements.
From the farm the path drops steeps down to a footbridge back over the Dove to the hamlet of Pilsbury. It’s said you need a lot of “dough” to live here.
At the junction with the minor road just in front of the hamlet i checked the map and seeing that we were so close to the Motte and Bailey castle decided to go and have a look at the earthwork.
 On route the valley opens up giving grand views of Chrome and the Parkhouse Hills. Another day definitely.

 Our feathered friends posed quite willingly without fear. I think they must get well fed by the residents of Pilsbury.
 Pilsbury Motte and Bailey castle which dates from the 11th Century.
 View North towards Chrome.
 Anyone name the flower? No prizes.
 The light was just starting to fade as we approached Hartington from above Bank Top Farm.
Another view of the whole valley 
The water pump in Hartington Village where we found the general store, bought a couple of Huntsman pies and sat out the remaining light.

What a superb day and a beautiful walk. Not particularly long but so scenic. We will be back to walk some more here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Martin's Christmas mud fest.

 For the last week flu has taken over me. I missed a walk with JJ and Rick on a lovely sunny Wednesday and i was doubtful for this weekends Christmas walk, which Martin organises and which we had booked an overnight stop as long ago as last February.
 If we didn't go we would still have to pay the hotel. 
 I emailed Martin, just to let him know that i was still going and even if i wasn't up for the walk, i would still meet for lunch. I hate letting people down.

 So, Sheila and i did a walk on Saturday as a kind of "am i up to Sunday”, and i did struggle on even the slightest gradient. My breathing was a mess and the sweat was profuse. Fortunately the pace was of our own making and numerous coffee breaks were taken. I will do a separate post on this walk, next.

 The Sunday group walk is easy walking with little gradient and the actual walking only takes about 4 hrs. After a couple of whisky's on Saturday night i decided that i would do the walk. I really didn't want to miss it.
 8 o'clock Sunday morning, it's raining, that fine stuff that wets you through. We breakfasted, paid the bill and headed off to meet the 28 souls at a lay-bye on the A515. It was only half light as we pulled in to find the attendance already busy, with about a dozen cars neatly lined up.

 I switched off the car and watched the world disappear into a watery grey. I wasn't looking forward to getting out and putting on gaiters, overtrousers, boots etc etc. Gradually as 10.00 am approached, other bodies apeared from the sanctuary of the vehicles, so we did likewise.
  Hello’s done, we set off. First crossing the busy A515 and onto the the Tissington Trail, the old railway line. It was too damp at this point so i didn’t get a photograph of the trail. The rain eased thankfully as we turned off the trail and steeply down to the River Dove. This path is remembered fondly due to the fact that your boots weigh about a kilo more each, with the sticky mud that gets attached by the time you reach the river.

 The Dove, was high, fast and full of silt washed off the fell sides. A bit of a gap had been created on the downhill as folk picked there way cautiously to the river path.
There was more mud to come.
 The swollen River Dove

 Elevenses, showing how wet the area was, no one sitting down.
Martin and Sue distributed delicious Caramel and Chocolate shortbread with ginger and Fudge Brownies. Yummy. I resisted the temptation to try seconds as lunch was not too far away.
 Most of the walk consisted of chatting. Walks planned, the TGO challenge obviously, gear, illness etc etc. Martin introduced Jeff to Sheila and I. This is your blog stalker was the introduction. We hadn’t met Jeff before although i knew of him through his excellent and numerous gear sales on OutdoorsMagic. Good to meet you Jeff and i liked your Canon Camera.
 Onward through the extended river bed.

 The river and bridge crossing at Beresford Dale.
The dinning room at the Charles Cotton Hotel.
 The rain that had been intermittent during the walk thankfully had stopped by the time we reached the Charles Cotton Hotel for Christmas Lunch. In fact some blue ski had appeared and we actually saw the sun, be it briefly.
 The Charles Cotton looked after us wonderfully well and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. The dinner, 2 or 3 courses as you wished was beautiful and plentiful. Then tea/coffee served with mince pies. Time moves fast when you are having fun. We did a quiz which Martin had prepared and although there was some cheating going on from some quarters Sheila and I came runners up behind Mick and Gayle. We did have a bit of help from Jeff as well.
 Thanks to Alan,Judy and the staff at the Charles Cotton for making it a lunch to remember. 

We were not being rushed in any way but we had to get moving as daylight was going. It’s never nice getting back into wet gear after a couple of hours in the warm. But that’s the fun of it.
 Mick, Gayle, Graham and Martin on our route to Biggin
 Sheila and Jeff with his GG Gorilla pack.

 Quite a pace was achieved during the last 4.5 miles of the route, probably because the sky was getting darker by the minute. Last year the weather was worse on the return leg and we finished walking in snow showers. This time it was relatively calm and pleasant.

 Once we hit the Tissington trail again, the pace quickened even more on the good surface and before long we were back at the car just as darkness took over. It was so dark it was difficult to see who was who as we bid our farewells and said our thank you’s for a good day out. Considering how bad i had been during the week and how slow i had walked yesterday, i was pleased that i still felt good at the end.

 Thanks everyone for your company and to Martin and Sue for the Organisation. I think there were other bloggers in attendance too which we didn’t manage to speak with. If that was the case then we must apologise and make more effort next year. 
Looking forward to next year already.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A wintery local 10 miles

 Our Saturday morning 10 mile walk was a slippery one straight from the front door.
Sheila was sporting her new boots. Now that winter has arrived, she had decided that after last weekends very wet walk up Hail Storm Hill, that a waterproof, warm pair of boots was necessary. Hopefully i can persuade her to do a review on them in a few weeks time. They look good and are very light weight. She also has a new pair of gloves which i am very envious off, so maybe 2 reviews are pending.

 The sun had only just appeared about the horizon causing a lovely pink tinge to the cloud edges. The mist was still thick across some of the low fields yet others cleared as the sun warmed the air. In the cold misty fields the sheep had not yet risen from there slumbers and the tup was showing no interest what so ever. I don't blame him.

 The heavy rains of recent weeks had flooded fields that now resembled ice skating rinks with handrails full of frost. Proceeding along the Rochdale canal the ducks greeted us noisily but it was to no avail, we were breadless. They went back to bottom feeding.

 Dorothy was finding staying up on her feet quite difficult and progress was slow. We should have brought some shoe spikes with us but we didn't realise how bad it was going to be.

 One of the routes we use is usually very flooded and so today we changed paths hoping for an easier and dryer way round. It wasn't to be, it was just as wet and a lot of bog had been created by a herds of cows which were now comfortably inside the barn. Across the boggy land we made a mental note not to go that way again.
 The view over to Knowle Hill and Scout moor had the wind turbines bathed in sunshine. A bit different to last weekend.

 When we eventually reached Tandle Hill Park, via more very slippery Land Rover tracks,  it was unusually quiet, not that many dog walkers out yet. The cafe in the park was closed. What a disappointment. We usually stop here for a brew instead of bringing our own. We hung around hoping that the proprietor would turn up at any minute but it wasn't to be and so we headed off.
 We passed what looked like a TA unit doing some excercises. Good to see some hardy souls out as well as us.

 Derbyshire looks very dark at this point although North across Lancashire and East into Yorkshire was looking good. Quite a breeze was blowing and too chilly to hang around. Down and back onto more slippery tracks and homeward bound.
A few photographs of our walk can be found by clicking on the link below.

Photo’s link

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hail Storm Hill

Enough of stats now. Lets get back out there.

Today's walk was to the aptly named Hail Storm Hill. We set off a little late at 12 ish, we parked the car in a flowing stream.. It's normally a cart track but today with the persistent heavy rain, the track was flowing quite well.
 Opening the car door was a bit of a struggle, the wind was strong and before we got round to the boot our clothes were a bit damp. Quickly we put on our shell gear which today included my OMM smock. The one i had a problem with water ingress from the main zip a little while ago.
 Making some height along the good track up Rooley Moor, all around, the higher ground was shrouded in clag.

 At times we had a clear view across the reservoirs to Knowle Hill and the Scout Moor wind turbines.

 It wasn't nice walking, head down, rain in the face and eyes and the clag closing in. I wondered about calling it a day but it was good to be out, even as bad it was. 
 Not a soul was around, only us loonies. 
 The track has had lots of drainage work done recently with gutters cleared. Today they were flowing fast and noisily.
 Once we made the watershed we left the good track and headed east to Top of  Leach. It was very boggy but quite quickly the trig point came into view along with the boundary post and the wind shelter. 

There was nothing to see today except clag. It was getting a bit cold and Terry's gloves were no use what so ever. They were supposed to be waterproof but they have definitely had their day. We had a quick walk along the boundary path to Hail Storm Hill and although the odd turbine came into view the clag was not going to be clearing.

 Backtracking to the shelter on the Leach, we got behind the walls and had a coffee. I was glad i had brought the flask instead of our usual stove and pan. I also brought some of Sheila's Apple and Date flapjacks that she made yesterday. 
Thanks Louise for the heads up on the recipe.

 The rain was not letting up. Joining back on the moor track we found a brand new scissor jack and a length of rope. Obviously somebody in a 4x4 had got into the ditch and needed help to get out. I put the jack in a spot that it could be found if the owner decided to come back.

 About 20 minutes later we were passed by a 4x4, maybe it was his jack.
 We got a bit of a shift on as Terry's hands were so cold now. Mine were also cold but dry.
 It was great to get back to the car, get the wet gear off and finish what was left of the coffee and kit kats. 

 I now know my over trousers need re-proofing, but the good news is that the spray proofing i put on the OMM zip (Thunder Shield) and the vaseline at the zip garage seems to have done the trick. The smock didn’t leak whatsoever.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Do you check stats

 Last week when i was out with the East Lancs Plodders, i got chatting to Martin Bamfield about blogging and the why's and wherefore's of stats.
I look at stats occasional but not that often that it makes any odds to what i put in my next post. 
 Martin asked if i looked at what posts readers refer to most, which i didn't. I had no idea whatsoever. I had never actually looked at that statistic.
 He bet that readers looked at gear reviews more than walking topics. I couldn't argue against that assumption but i hoped that it might be 50:50. 
When i got home i checked out Martins assumption and was a bit shocked to see he was absolutely right. It wasn't even a close run thing.

 So for all readers who poopah gear reviews, take a look at the above stats. 

 I am not sure whether readers are saying they like gear reviews better or that more people search google and other search engines for gear and my blog gets highlighted. What ever the reason is, of which i have no control, i hope readers do find it interesting.

 It would be interested to hear what other bloggers think and how their posts are performing in respect of the Gear v Trail.

BTW Martin, it was September '09 the first post. Doesn't time just fly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fire Maple FMS-116T v ?

 I had an email recently from Ultralight outdoor gear showing the new Fire Maple stoves they have or are due in soon. I then noticed they had the Fire Maple FMS-116 Titanium. 

I recognised it as one i had seen last week when i was mooching around Manchester gear shops. 

Now i cannot say that the 2 stoves above and the one below are one and the same but the specification is exactly the same and it looks, exactly the same, and the weight is, yes, exactly the same at 48gr. 
A fantastic weight for a backpacking gas stove.

The only difference i can see, is the price. £34.99 at Ultralight outdoor gear, £24.99 at GoOutdoors and £16.00 at Sports Direct.

 I like UOG and GO very much, because they are good company's, i have ordered from them numerous times and will do so again in the future but i couldn’t let this go without highlighting it to potential gear buying challengers and other interested parties, obviously.

You need to make your own minds up.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Barley to Thornton in Craven.

 "Would you care to take some photographs from inside", a voice from behind me said. I turned to see a well dress chap stood by his car. "I can open up if you like". I thanked him but declined his offer as it was getting close to our walk meeting time.
 I had spent the last 20 minutes or so wandering round the lovely little church and grave yard at Thornton in Craven. This chap was well spoken and dressed like a country gent in breeches, brogues, long green socks and a coat similar to  a Burberry car coat. 
 "It's not my village but it's my church" he told me and with this gave me an interesting 5 minutes conversation about the history of the place.
 It goes back to the Doomsday book, there was a Saxon church here before this. The well which was refurbed in 2004 has been here since the 10th century. The roof and nave has been altered, see the old roof line, he progressed. The tower has been rebuilt and it took a number of winters to do it, you can see that from the differing stone work inside. Did you see the old lettering on the tower and the bells...... Ok must go, friends are here, we are off for a walk he said as he toddled off. Well if that's the gear he walks in, lets hope he never goes out with the plodders. Mud mud glorious mud etc etc..

 All walk participants arrived, togged up, bladders emptied, we set off in half the cars to Barley. Reg leading today's trek which was the last leg of the Lancashire trail, started at the large car park (Cost £1) with the very nice cafe.
 Now the observant ones of the congregation will probably be wondering why the Lancashire trail ends up in Thornton In Craven which is infact in North Yorkshire. Well the reason being, is that the sizeable car parking space is outside the church which is only 100 metres across the border. There are no passports required and as long as you get in and out quickly none of them Yorkshire folk will know your from Lancashire as long as you keep schtum. Well apart from Reg, who is from Yorkshire but is leading the East Lancashire plodders. All very confusing isn't it.
 The walk, ah yes the walk. I almost forgot about that. 

Well as is usual there is a group photy but we set off without mention. It didn't last long, Martin, fellow blogger from Timperley fame was waiting until we got clear of the car park to spring in front, call a halt to proceedings whilst he set up the self timer, adjusted focal distance, checked the light meter, cleaned his boots, got the little un's tut front, big un's tut back. You know what he's like. Then strobe flash, click, all done. Onward passed the Outdoor centre and through a beech and spruce wooded bit which was very pretty with all the leaves on the ground, covering the mud wallows waiting to catch the odd walker out. 

 Passed Hollin Top and onto Bank End we dropped down south to the Black Bar Rd which we followed for a short distance before stopping for a quick break before heading north again following Blacko water to meet Wheathead Lane.

 Quite a muddy path took us past Admergill farm and an even muddier path which Martin sadistically smiled and photographed while the less nibble clung onto the barbed wire fence. A herd of water buffalo watch perplexed at the escapade. 

Once through the quagmire, knee deep in parts, we ascended to and crossed the A862 where a short ascent brought us to an old quarry where it was decided to take lunch. It was a bit nippy where the majority dropped rucksacks and so i repositioned myself about 25yds further on just on the lee side. Soon joined by Martin so that i wasn't Billy no mates. The Moorcock Inn looked ominously close but post lunch we headed away from it, east, towards Gisburn Old Road, where after taking pictures of Laurel and Hardy sat by a pond we turned down Lister Well Road, a green lane heading for Barnoldswick. 

En-Route a couple were intently perusing the map, rucksacks off and looking a bit vague, the chap asked us where we were going and on the reply of Thornton, there seemed no connection, as though we had said Beinne Eighe.

 At the bottom of the lane the B6251 was quite busy and noisy but the leaders on point, shot off across the road and headed for Dye House Farm. After about 100yds there was a shout from the back. "Oye we're not going that way". Yes you've guessed, Martin and I and 2 others had to march back up the hill to the road and take an adjacent path over Hurst Hill to the B6383. Now this was a wide busy road and if it didn't say "B" road on the map you would have sworn on oath it was an "A" road. We bravely negotiated death, crossed and walk on a good path down to Cockshot Bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool canal, where a vast number of narrow boats were moored for winter. Some even wrapped in plastic.
 Our leader, that's Reg, took the decision to stop for a last break and Martin dispatched the remnants of his lovely chocolate brownies. See we can do cake Louise!
 We even had a discussion about recipes and Carrot cake and all sorts of yummy things and then we were off again.
 Passing Kayfield farm, again it was quite muddy but the farmer had very kindly split a straw bale over the worst of it so that we passed easily and cleanly.

 In the next field it was a surprise to see an Alpaca.
 And then 4 inquisitive donkeys marched us through the next field which brought us nicely back to Thornton In Craven church before it got dark.

 It had been a good day, no rain, good company, well led apart from when those in front had no idea where we were going. Loads of different fungi was noticed today. In the main unidentifiable (by me),so i have some searching to do.

 14km, 412m of ascent. 4hrs 39mins including stops. Ave speed 4.1kph.

Another take on this day out and some more photo's will be found on Martin's blog Postcard from Timperley.  when his write up is posted.

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