The Vault Regulars

Monday, March 31, 2014

Did someone mention a Challenge?

Fellow blogger JJ and I had a fast and furrious scurry via Aviemore to the Monadhliath where we met up with Mike (the Pieman) and Judith for a bit of a challenge reccy.
Well i’m back home now and it was cold, wet, and in some parts deeply covered in the white stuff.
All very challenging.
There is more to come later when i’ve dried the gear out, defrosted my feet and got the red way marker paint cleaned off my rucksack. And i promise not to mention turbines.
 Which way? Are you sure this is Lairig Ghru?
The new Burma Rd, we called it, straight across the centre of the Monadhliath.
Map and compass no longer required.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Tick key - mod

The Tick-key is a small light option to remove those pests of the outdoors., the Tick.
Last year i only had 1 tick, which burrowed into the back of my knee and i felt it in the early stages of getting its teeth into me and i quickly removed it with the key.

Then Stef at BG blog pointed me in the direction of Brian Green’s blog. Brian had modified the key.
Now the reason for doing it is so that you can get the key into those small awkward places that ticks like to wild camp for as long as possible. Generally the key will get at most ticks but i wasn’t going to take chances and so i modified mine to the same design as Brian’s. Thanks Brian btw and Stef for the heads up..

Here is my modified key.
It’s an easy mod, it took me 15 minutes max. A hacksaw, a drill and bit and a needle file was all it took. Oh as well as a piece of 1mm dyneema cord.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reservoirs and Mud

Clear skies, chilly morning and a busy journey for me on the motorway brought 9 male plodders together at the car park at the southern end of Rivington reservoir in Lancashire.
The route was put together by John Pickton and had replaced a previously organised route around Appley Bridge. The latter cancelled i believe due to the vast amount of mud.

Dead on 10.00am we set off and headed for the folly, a scale replica of Liverpool Castle built by William Lever, Lord Leverhulme.

Rivington Castle folly.
The path heading north following the shoreline was quite busy with dog walkers. The road bridge, the  Horrobin Causway between Rivington’s upper and lower reservoirs is a lovely spot with views up and down the waterways. Depending on the light you can get some lovely photo’s here.
Looking south down Rivington reservoir.
As is usual with the plodders walks as apposed to the LDWA weekend walks there was time to take photo’s and chat about the scenery without being left behind. At the end of the causeway a smart house has the Liverbird on the chimney wall.

John stopped at a very grand house on the west shore of the Upper reservoir and told a bit of a story about it being owned by a member of the Warburton family, the bread people. Obviously sarcasm was rife about needing plenty of dough, a large slice and a crust above the rest being just a few comments. We moved on quickly.

"The Street”, owned by the Warburton family we were told.

Further along on Heapy Fold lane offered a good place for a tea break on a dry grassy bank where Martin shared the renowned delightful fudge brownies.

We were heading for White Coppice, i had been there a couple of times before and its a well kept village with a cricket pitch on the village green. All very English. However there was a few obstacles on the way as you can see in the images below.

At this point my trail shoes were full of the stuff, and i could feel muddy water between my toes. I reiterate that once again Sealskinz socks are not waterproof for long. This was only my 3rd time of wearing them. (Cleaning them out at home later i found 2 leak points)
Considering White Coppice won the best kept village a few years ago it shows that things have “slipped.”

Passing a farm on route we were surprised to see Emu’s and goats and lots of chickens, rabbits and probably other species which went unnoticed. I liked this sign below.

A fine Christmas lunch. Do we have a big enough oven?

Lunch called and so we stopped at the cricket pavilion which was closed, as was the loo. But Martin produced even more fudge brownie to keep us going for the long talk back.
The opposite bank gave delightful views of Rivington Pike and Winter Hill as we made progress south.
We spotted White Mallard which Martin convinced us were albino, i still have my doubts.

It had been quite a day for spotting species and i’m sure Martin will have kept a list. There will be an account on his blog at some point.

Just before we reached the final 1/2 mile we passed a tea shop that just invited us in. Whilst we queued, our leader John, burst through the swing doors like John Wayne and said there was a revolt outside as some of the party wanted non of this nanby pamby tea drinking malarky and much preferred the cold stewed tea and coffee that they had brought with them in their flasks. John said that a vote had been taken to move ‘em on.
Well Martin was going ape when he found out that we had not been added into the vote numbers and wooden’ move till ‘eed had his tea.

It was all good fun. thanks to John for organising the day. It was 18.5km and no rain. I will put a route map up when i pinch it.
There are some pictures of the walk here.
Thanks to Martin B for allowing me to pinch the map from his blog!
Royalties are in the post.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A repeat journey - Almost.

My midweek walk to Littleborough and back had Sheila chomping at the bit to go and do it as well. So today we did just that. I did include a detour from the previous route and that included a short visit to Hollingworth Lake which is just south of Littleborough.

Also, during my Thursday walk around Manchester I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time. I managed to buy a new Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6 for £45.
It's an old model and it had only been in the shop on show, there was no software with it. That didn't bother me because I use iPhoto anyway. I was pleased it had the Leica lens.

So today's walk gave me the chance to try it out.

We started walking and within 5 minutes it rained, quite heavily. Rucksack down, waterproofs on. 10 minutes later just the reverse, rucksack down waterproofs off. It was like this for the next hour or so.

There was an official run on today. Asking one competitor we found out the run was from Manchester centre to Sowerby Bridge. That's 32 miles. Quite a few runners that we saw looked all in.

I'm not going to bore you with the walk detail because its no different to my previous one. However I do have a nice little tale to tell. Just before Littleborough, a bridge crosses the canal and heads up hill and across farm land before exiting on the main road adjacent to the lake. Just as we reached the high point we were met with a morass. It was everywhere and made progress rather precarious especially as Sheila only had trail shoes on. We tried to pick out the more solid looking bits but it was a loosing battle. The deep mud went on well into the farm itself and we were making very little progress. Then all of a sudden a tractor appeared, an MF 698. The farmer, an elderly chap, he was 80 years old, opened the door and shouted to us to get in the cab, which we did.
He was very apologetic and said it was all his fault it was a mess. He said he couldn't lift the scraper onto the tractor and he was just waiting for his son to arrive to help him.
He took us all the way through the farm and onto dry land. How kind was he.

At the lake the scenery was beautiful, we stopped for lunch for 15 minutes before the black clouds rolled in and gave us a few drops of rain. We quickly headed off.

Back on the canal we passed a field with some horses feeding quite close to the fence. Sheila went to stroke the head of one and inadvertently touched the electric fence. I bet you can imagine what was said. I couldn't possibly publish it.

Anyway here are a few pictures I took today. I must admit I think the results are better than my Sony NX9V.
I have noticed that focusing is a little slower than the Sony, but that's no big deal to me.
Slideshow here. There are only a few, honest.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Inov-8 Terroc 330 (2012 version)

I post this because i know people are keen to get hold of the old style Terroc 330.

Craigdon Mountain Sports have sizes 7, 8.5 and 9.5 left but are not cheap at £85.
Still if you want them then you have to pay the price. They won’t be here long and when there gone there……..

Hope this helps someone. Link here.

I was impressed.

Yesterday i had my monthly walk around the outdoor shops in Manchester, having a chat with “The Experts” and seeing whats new or whats on Sale.
I was looking for a pair of size 8.5 Brooks Ravenna 4 at a cheap price as they have now been replaced by the 5’s but unfortunately nowhere had this size left. I have a couple of leads to try so i am not giving up yet. If anyone knows where i may lay my hands on a cheap pair then by all means let me know.

Lots of new items are out for spring but i will just show here 2 items that caught my eye and having tried them on are now on my wish list.

First is the Rab Vapour Rise Lite Alpine jacket.

Vapor rise tops have been going for quite a few years and available in various guises. I was very fond of the 2011 or 2012 version and i almost thought Rab had blown it by changing it. However, i stand corrected, i was impressed with this latest offering. When my TNF Zephyrus starts to tire this will replace it. The staff in Ellis Brighams were very helpful.

Next may come as a bit of a shock to some because i saw these Nevica Nevis shoes in Sports Direct. Yes i know lots of people like to have a dig about Mike Ashley bla bla bla and how he’s ruining Karrimor etc etc. But i disagree. Karrimor were down and out and most of what was on offer was rubbish. But i find the new gear is ok and sometimes you can find some of the Japanese Karrimor which btw is highly regarded over there.
But onwards, I was really impressed with these trail shoes from Skiing gear company Nevica. Having tried them on, very comfy and the sole unit looks excellent. I cannot say further than that because i obviously i havn’t tried them in the field. But i put them up here because they are only £20 and i think a bargain worthy of consideration.
I would also like to say the staff in SD were also very helpful. Is Nevica now part of the Ashley brand? I guess they must be.

 Nevica Nevis
Nevica Nevis excellent sole unit design.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Where shall i go?

I was up early, its becoming a habit.
A lovely blue sky spring day flooded in when I opened the curtains. I must walk today, it would be a crime not to.
I set off with the thought of just doing our usual 10km route with maybe a few hilly extensions that Dorothy doesn't appreciate.
Getting on the towpath of the Rochdale canal at Slattocks I turned and looked at the wind turbines on Scout Moor. As ugly as they are the sight of the hills was pleasing. Cloud thin and whispy.
The Rochdale Canal at Slattocks with Castleton church spire in the background.

I pondered, in two minds about what to do. It would be better walking in the direction of the hills I thought. A quick check to see if I had any money with me and a desicion was made. I would walk along the canal to Smithy Bridge and get a train back.
The sun was behind me and it was good to feel it. I had my TNF Zephyrus warm smock on as a rain free day was forecast and i had no options of swoping it. I did have 500ml of water and an orange so enough for this walk and so off i went.
The new houses going up where Whipp and Bourne switchgear used to be are progressing well and some now occupied.
Castleton greeted me with a strong aroma of bacon cooking from a road side cafe. I resisted the temptation and carried on.
Unfortunately the canal banks between Castleton and Sandbrook are disgusting with litter and company waste and I expect all parties are refuting ownership. However the canal banks are the responsibility of the Waterways and I think they need to get there act together here.
At one point i thought i was in Tibet when i came across this prayer tree below.

Just as you reach Sandbrook the canal towpath takes a diversion and it isn't signposted as to where walkers need to go. I knew the route so it was easy but its far from clear.
Back on the towpath and heading for Rochdale. I passed a number of old mills that still had a chimney intact. Fred Dibnah must have glared at these for years.
Once across the A664 the view opens up towards Blackstone edge and I was glad to get away from the smells of industry. What used to be green belt is now being converted to housing. I hope they have put good drains in because its a bit of a wet area from what I recall. A footpath blocked off by the builders again with no signage as to where a diversion was.

Soon I walked past Clegg Hall, an exceptional building built in or around 1610. I wondered what the local populous thought when they saw this building going up.

It was built by Theophilus Ashton who was a lawyer living in Little Clegg, a few hundred yards further on. The Clegg family after which the village and hall was named never actually lived in this hall.

The old textile mill next door to the hall has now been sympathetically converted to apartments. Built by Joseph Fenton around 1811 as flannel making mill.
The walk along with this section to Smithy Bridge is a delight and all too soon the railway station came into view. After a drink I wondered whether to carry on to Littleborough or get the train.

Smithy Bridge - up for sale?
 I carried on. The breeze had picked up quite a bit and although I had taken my jacket off earlier I persivered with just a base layer. At Littlebourgh quite a few walkers alighted from the train and headed off mainly in the direction of Blackstone Edge. I looked over for a second or two and thought they were in for a clear but very chilly blustery day.
Littleborough with Blackstone Edge at the back.
Having checked the train times I had 40 minutes to wait. I headed over to the Co-oP for a sandwich. I had a wander round and then decided to walk back to Smithy Bridge instead of waiting.
Once at Smithy Bridge I didn't even stop, I just carried on and walked all the way back. Almost home I still hadn't eaten the sandwich I'd bought in Littleborough. As I passed a lone bench my head said "stop and eat your lunch" but my legs said "don't you dare". The legs won. I was getting a bit leg weary.
 Canal side Polyanthus
 This Grey Wagtail followed me for quite some way and although continuously moving on i managed to get one picture.
 Nearing home these Cherry trees are well in blossom and below the grass is in fine fettle.

Another surprising day out. I certainly had no intention of going this far but I'm glad I did.
I might walk into Manchester tomorrow.

Satmap said it was 24.5km. The map below says it was 24.3 and the Ascent figures are strange. Naismith was a bit slow but not far out.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Otley and Chevin

The weekend didn’t start too well. My fault, i packed the car up and we headed off, just as we hit Bradford area one of my brain cells kicked in asked “did you put your walking shoes in the boot”. Answer no, i left them in the porch.
So it meant i had to buy something to walk in that didn’t cost a great deal. I managed to pick up a pair of Saucony fell runners for £25, i was ok with that.
I had never been to Otley before, it has a nice river, The Wharfe, with a footpath along both banks. lots of interesting alley ways, corbled streets and squares, loads of pubs and cafe’s, a camp site and well, almost every other shop you can think of.

Many information boards can be found showing Otleys history and especially the paper and printing trades. Otley is also on a link route for the Dales Way.
 Otley Market Square.
The River Wharfe with storm swept tree. The building behind is part of the old paper mill. Now demolished. These buildings have been Gr.2 listed and so have to be kept. Paper making in Otley goes back around 300 years.
Our plan for Saturday was to do some short walks along the Chevin Tops and basically just walk wherever paths went for as long as time allowed. Its a good idea not to have a fixed route some times.
It turned out to be a very nice day with great views but my it was windy.
The Chevin escarpment is really steep from Otley and although this wasn’t a problem we wanted a centrally located car park so that we didn’t have to use public transport.

We parked up at Surprise View car park across the road from the Royalty pub which has just re-opened after a couple of years closed. Grid Ref: SE 205 440. Wow it saved us some up’s. Many people were out with or without dogs and lots of runners were using the fine open ridge for exercise. The views were superb in all directions but it was a shame the wind was so fierce.
 View from Chevin ridge across Otley and Wharfedale.

 At the high point of 282 metres on the Dales Way and Ebor Way.

 We headed off west in the direction of West Chevin Farm where we turned onto a lower path that skirted the ridge line. There were lots of paths that were not on the map and we had to be a bit careful because we didn’t want to loose too much height. Glaciation or the remnants of glaciation were everywhere with huge erratic boulders waiting to be inspected.
 One of many erratic boulders 
 Following the escarpment now in an easterly direction it wasn’t long before all the tracks headed back up towards the ridge again and the wind was really getting strong. Sheila spotted a common lizard scurrying away and it disappeared into a crack way before i managed to get a photo.
Our route still with good views across to Almscliffe Crags and further towards Harrogate eventually became Millers Lane i think it was called and crossed the main road at Danefield House.
 We now entered a very popular park circuit. Lots of people about. Many runners and marshals too.
Somebody had been very busy doing sculptures, there were numerous. I will put them all on a slideshow at the end of the post. At the trig point we stopped for a coffee and to review our options of  a route back to the car.  The trig point is now completely surrounded by trees with no view to any other hill possible.

 Me, sporting a new Osprey jacket kindly supplied FOC by Aclimatise. I will do a review on it when i have had the chance of some wet weather. First impressions are that this is a general purpose, everyday type of waterproof. Not a backpacking jacket, although it could be used in the colder months. A little on the heavy side but not ridiculously so. 750 grams. Its comfortable with the soft lining that resembles Paramo linings in some way. Waterproof zips, double storm flaps over the main zip and an excellent hood. More to come.

We headed back towards Chevin Rd East through Caley Deer park and Chevin Forest park on good well used paths. Once at the road we crossed a stile and across open fields where the views opened up again eventually exiting onto York Gate. Walking along York Gate can be quite dangerous, its a narrow road and very fast in parts it doesn’t leave much room for any driver error.
The pull of the Royalty pub was too much and we called in to see what it was like. Unfortunately most decent drinks were off leaving only keg lager and bottled beers. The service from a young lad was at best rude and if this is what it used to be like then i’m not surprised it shut down.

So it was back to our log cabin in the woods and a chilling night.

Slideshow click here.

The route map.
We started at the “P” to the right of Your Route legend. The distance was just under 10km but the Naismith’s time is only calculated. We were out for just over 4 hours and enjoyed the walk.

One thing which was brilliant was that not a single wind turbine could be seen. Long may this remain. Well done Yorkshire.

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