The Vault Regulars

Friday, October 31, 2014

Just This and That really.

An invite from Martin Banfield to join him on a wee walk from Failsworth into Manchester.

Roughly (From Memory) the route that we took. 
Martins blog will include a more accurate trod along the Brook area.

I decided that i would travel to Failsworth from home on the new Metrolink from the centre of Rochdale. I hadn’t been on this route before so it had that feeling of exploration about it.
Its quite a meandering route and i was surprised that it takes over 1/2hr. But i suppose it has to follow the urbanisation to ensure it gets passengers to pay for the service rather than the quickest route.

Anyway it was a pleasant journey, through Milnrow, Shaw, Oldham, Chadderton, Hollinwood before alighting a bit early at Failsworth. Due to my disliking of being late i was particularly early, 1/2hr in fact.

After i finished reading The Metro newspaper and returned it to its stack on the station platform Graham appeared across the way. Graham is a Challenger and a regular on Martins walkies.
Then Peter from the LDWA and Martin and Rick arrived and Don also LDWA a few minutes later.

Rick, a walker, musician, Morris man and a mate of the missing JJ is always up for a bimble that includes a visit to the curry emporium This and That.
L-R Rick, Moi, Peter, Don, Graham and Martin.
Photo kindly nicked from Martin.

So the 6 of us headed off in the general direction leading us to the Rochdale canal. This goal attained, i was surprised that we headed in the opposite direction from Manchester. I didn’t say anything derogatory about Martins map reading and very shortly he pointed out this fact and that we were heading for Moston Brook.

Moston Brook has recently been an urban project to bring a green area back to life from what used to be a waste tip. They have done a good job but it still needs a lot of money spending on it. Our path was a muddy one with the occasional duck boarding across the boggier bits.

It was all pleasant walking and numerous feathered friends were spotted. Grey Wagtail, Goldfinch, Magpie, Crow and Kestrel.
The brook was relatively clean considering its environment and history and it eventually ended at a culvert. We could see no light at the end of the tunnel and decided that we wouldn’t “DO” it this time but wait for a warmer and shallower passage sometime in the future.

Away from the brook we passed numerous delightful car scrap yards, body shops, sprayers, tyre services, fly tipping etc and eventually regained the canal a few hundred yards west of where we initially joined it.
This time we headed in the direction of Manchester.

As with many canal walks, especially those heading into a city, there is much industrial archeology to view as well as the decay left behind from demolition and of course, urban squaller. Many of the old mills survive and have been turned into apartments and such like. I quite enjoy looking at local historical remains.

As we approached the city centre our way was blocked by bridge building works adjacent to Bengal Street. The 2 workmen just shook their heads sideways when we asked if we could go across. I think we could have gone, quite safely but it was a no no.

We had to detour quite a bit through the now delightfully modernised canal basin which leads to the Ashton canal and the rebuilt Islington for the towpath into town.
Town was exceptionally busy as we headed towards Shudehill and our goal of This and That.
I think we did the last mile in about 4 minutes, the aroma of the curry quickening our pace.

Three of our party had not sampled the delights of this establishment before and on first impressions i can understand it putting a few off but by the end of the meal all were in agreement that it was first class.
 Were going where!
 Ballet dancing through the boggy bits hidden by the Autumn fall.
 The footpath alongside Moston Brook
 The Brook disappears but Martin has spotted a Japanese sniper or was it Len?
 Back on the Rochdale canal and heading for Manchester
 An unusual pair of ducks. (Any suggestions of what they are will be welcomed)
 Modernised old mills
New Islington info.
This and That Curry

Thanks for the invite Martin. It was great to be out after a spell of working on the house. Have a good time in Madeira and we look forward to reading the story in due course.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Magnetic Declination.

Magnetic declination is not such a big thing in the UK because being a small island the variation is negligible.
But in other parts of the world there is a huge difference.

I was a little taken back when i realised that between the Outer Hebrides and the east coast of Scotland that there is a 3 degree difference.

So if you are in need to know what the declination is in your local area or if your planning a longer trip that needs careful navigation then this website may be of assistance to you. I hadn’t come across it before and so thought i would share it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple new os x Yosemite (Updated and success)

Warning. Do not upgrade your imac or laptop to Yosemite unless you are fully aware of what the consequences are for you. If you are happy with Maverick then stay with it.


Well i saw the new release and just as i did with the previous releases i just updated without going to deep into the changes.

So whats up?

Well you cannot go back to Maverick without a load of hassle if you find it doesn’t suit you. As i found out.
If you use iphoto as everyone probably does in OS X it is now linked with Aperture. So after upgrading to Yosemite i had to upgrade iphoto. This was fine, as it was a free upgrade.

But Aperture would not upgrade unless i paid £54.99!!!!!!!!!!

I very very rarely use Aperture, iphoto does pretty much all i need. So i thought Damned Cheek, i’m not paying £55. If i ever need to use an Aperture like piece of software i will use a freebie.


Now that iphoto has upgraded and linked itself to Aperture,  as soon as you launch iphoto you get a message telling you that some of your photo’s are in Apertures library and you have to upgrade Aperture before iphoto will launch.

Bloody Naughty Apple.

I don’t want to pay out £55 to upgrade Aperture, a piece of software i rarely use, but i need iphoto. I am in a catch 22 situation and i feel i am being mugged by Apple.

I don’t want to uninstall Aperture because i don’t know what damage i might cause.

Anyone got any suggestions. Please keep it clean. Thanks.

UPDATE 22nd October 2014.
I have iphoto working.


When i clicked to open iphoto from the dock i got a message to say cannot open library because Aperture needs updating. It seems for some reason that by clicking iphoto it defaulted to Aperture library first. Surely if you click iphoto it should default to iphoto library.

By holding down the option key and then clicking iphoto in the dock it brings up an option menu to chose which library you want to open. In my case i had 2 options, iphoto and Aperture. I clicked iphoto and it opened. I found all my “Events” were all over the place, not sorted by date as they were previously but this was easily corrected.

At least i have iphoto working and i havn’t spent £55. Why getting to this point has taken me hours to achieve when all i did was a simple upgrade. It beggars belief. We are not all Apple Genius’s. But i hope that by posting it here some other Mac users can save themselves some time and frustration.

itunes 12.0.1 has now updated itself 6 times and keeps on telling me to update it. It doesn’t clear itself after updating so i have had to suspend auto updates.

UPDATE 24th OCTOBER 24th 2014.
 Yesterday in the Apple store Manchester, i spoke with one of the trainers about my issue with Aperture. He fully understood the reason why i wasn’t going to pay £55 to upgrade and if i had taken my disc and licence number in with me it could have been sorted out there and then.
As it was, i was advised to use the Apple online chat support and take it from there, and if it wasn’t sorted out to go back into the store.

After an initial online chat with Mac support i was passed on to someone else and then had a telephone chat with another chap who then passed me on to someone else. You know the way it works.
So 1 1/2 hrs later i ended up speaking to a chap (name withheld) who worked directly in Aperture and did not deal with online or telephone chats.
He clearly explained the problem and the fact that even though i had purchased Aperture 2 on a disc, that by upgrading to Maverick i had upgraded Aperture to V3 as well. But that version would not work with Yosemite.

I explained that although i understood, i wasn’t going to pay £55 on top of my original purchase price  to get it to work because i didn’t use it often enough to warrant the outlay. But i still expected to use what i had.

He also cleared up the issue about Aperture future. Aperture is not being deleted but will not be developed further. Apple will still support Aperture for the foreseeable future.
A new piece of software will be coming out next year called Photo’s which may incorporate some of Aperture features.

I am kindly being sent a redemption code so that i can go into the App store and download the latest version of Aperture. Success.

I must admit that even though it has been a trial of persistence i am pleased with the attitude of all the people that i have dealt with in the Apple organisation.
I am also lucky that i don’t have a full time job or otherwise i would not have had the time to spend sorting it out and i probably (being a bit more affluent) would have just paid the money.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Boli 5 Litre water tank.

 For the last couple of years i have been using a Platypus 3 Litre water tank on backpacking trips.
I have found it a very useful piece of kit. That’s down to the fact that for an overnight camp i only have to fill it the once. A bonus once your settled in the tent.
The 3L has for some reason been deleted from the Platypus range which now only comprises the 2L and 4L in the tank models. Why Platypus have decided to ditch the 3L is beyond me as i have found it perfect.

Platypus tanks.
  • The 2L weighs 66 grams and costs around £21
  • The 4L weighs 103 grams and costs around £26
You have to be prepared to take some stick with the Platy version as it looks like a ladies handbag. (See image below), but who cares.
Then i came across the Boli 5 Litre collapsable water tank and although i am not in the market for a replacement tank right now, i thought i would share it with readers who may be, as the spec. and weight of the tank is excellent for such a capacity and the price is outstanding.

Boli 5 Litre water tank.
  • Boli 5L water tank weighs just 69 grams and costs £6.99. 
That’s quite a saving on both weight and on the wallet.
 You may think that 5 Litres is too big, but in reality you only have to fill it with enough for your requirements and the tank rolls away and weighs so little when stored in the rucksack.
In comparison it weighs the same as the Platypus 2 Litre.

I think its great value for money and a viable alternative to the more expensive offerings. Ideal too for  D of E groups.

Available from Amazon here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Defeet Dura Etouch gloves.

 Winter is approaching and soon we will be wearing gloves again. The trouble with wearing gloves on the hill means that if you regularly use your smart phone as a GPS, or have a touch screen stand alone GPS or even, God forbid, that you need to use your phone to make a call, then you will know that you have to take at least one glove off to carry out any function.

The Defeet Etouch gloves have now resolved that problem. They are smart phone sensitive and will work on your touch screen.

Defeet are made in the USA and are usually associated with biking gear. They are readily available here in the UK and mine are from Evans Cycles and cost £16.99. If i had been a little more astute then i could have got them for £14 online.

I have shown bright colours here in the image so that the silicon rubber palm grips are visible to the reader. Alternative colours available are Black, Blue, Red, Ocean Blue, and in Hi Vis there are Green, Yellow and orange.

The gloves are touch screen sensitive thanks to conductive thread that is woven into 3 finger tips. The index finger, middle finger and thumb. So using the phones zoom features for example where 2 fingers are needed is easy.

Usually biking gloves have gel padding for comfort but these havn’t and therefore are ideal for hiking. They do have silicon rubber blobs on the palm and along the fingers which are great for keeping hold of walking poles in the damp.

The gloves are not fully waterproof but they are toasty and make good liner gloves for those really wet or bitterly cold days out. They have good dexterity and performing simple tasks like getting money from your pockets, opening a flask or sandwich box, operating a camera for example can be done easily.
Fit wise they are close fitting but not overly tight. Obviously they do need to be a close fit to make the best use of the touch screen property.

40% Cordura, 32% Coolmax EcoMade, 20% Nylon, 7% Lycra and 1% Silver AG.
The face material Cordura is robust and abrasion resistant.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Aclimatise Merlin Smock

It seems an awful long time ago that i was initially involved in this new waterproof smock.

This post is not a review as i did reviews on the prototype some time ago and i took a version on the 2014 TGO Challenge with great success. In fact i thought that it would have been released in May but it didn’t happen due to further trials.
The only noticeable difference from the prototype is the addition of the 2 Napoleon pockets and the coloured zips.

A link to the web site is here LINK which gives all the details for any readers interested and going off the comments on the earlier review i guess there are quite a few.

Merlin smock (photograph from official webpage)

A discount of £40 is offered to purchasers for a limited time. Just put itsmagic14 into the relevant box when ordering.

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