Sunday, February 20, 2011

Windy walk on the Northumberland Coast

For todays little walk we thought we'd pop up to Low Newton by the Sea and walk south all along the coast till we got to Dunstanburgh Castle then turn around and head back...

As it was lunchtime we thought we'd pop into the Ship Inn at Low Newton and had a great Vegetible Soup and hot chocolate...

Once filled and inner bodies warmed it was on to the beach and follow the coast line towards the castle.  No snow or rain this time but the wind sure gave us something to work against.   In quite a short one hour we arrived at the castle then after a look up  the hill at the castle, take a few photos, we then headed back the way we came.    With the tide starting to come in and the beach slowly disappearing our return journey back to Low Newton was rather quicker as you can imagine,  once back a drink or 2 at the Ship Inn before heading home.

sealing yourself from the wind

nice flat firm sand to walk on

bit of wildlife to spot on the walk

some of the upper track is rather muddy

Below the Castle - Lava rock in view

made it to the castle

best speed up we are loosing the beach

Go to Northumberland to get Yorkshire Crisps

well deservered pint

where's the beach gone

last view of where we have walked.

Snowy Walk on Hadrian's Wall

 For this weekend walk, I thought I would do a bit of Hadrian's Walk.  As my Dad didn't have any Scout camps he decided to pop over from Wales and join me.

The plan was to walk from Steel Rigg, then along the ridges until we got to Housesteads Fort.

Start of the morning was rather late as we slept in a little, as the curtains were opened we got out first view of the weather.

"Oh bugger it's raining agian!" moaned my Dad, " That's 3 walks in a row, we are jinxed"

But if we can manage the walks on Offas Dyke with the weather we have had the last few times, a little bit of rain will not stop us.

So off we left in the car, the closer we got to the wall the rain had stopped and we started to notice patches of snow on the fields.  Which ment my Dad might get his wish at last, as we have never managed to be on the wall after it has snowed.

As we parked up at Steel Rigg and could see it wasnt a total wipe out but fairly well covered and should make the walk different.   So kitted out in out gear, waterproofs etc off we treked.

First milestone Sycamore Gap

Dad please as a kid

Onward we tred

 First stop on our little walk after a few up and down hills was Sycamore Gap, used of course in Kevin Costa Robinhood movie.

Which is quite funny as the means poor robin got lost on way home as he was nearly 200 miles north (and seeing as he would have got to England via the Channel) also when he is asked which way is east by Azeem played by Morgan Freeman, Robin points in a southerly direction.   Which means either poor Robin has a real bad sense of direction or a wicked sense of humour......

After a stop for a bite to eat and something to drink, not forgetting taking a few photos, onward and upward we went.  At the top of the rock climb we came across  a drywall which some of had collapsed so my Dad of course had a quick go of dry wall building to repair part of the gap.


While my Dad did his good deed for the day, I admired the views from the edge and of course took a few pictures and may be a few more.

From then on it was slg our way through the snow up and down the slopes until finally in the distance through a gap in the trees we saw the Fort, then once at the fort just a little walk down the hill to the visitors car park where the car was waiting to pick us up...   Not a long walk, not as wet a walk either but most enjoyable and was nice to see what it is like with the snow up on the wall.  As you walk along you with all your warm and waterproof gear you think of all those Roman Soldiers a few thousand years ago with there mega gear, tough life it must have been.

last little bit an we are at the carpark

Snow got heavy at some point

Monday, February 14, 2011

Observations as I people watch in a Café

Whilst having a bit of a shop in my local shopping centre, I stopped for a cup of tea and began the usual watching the world go by.
First thing I noticed is that I was the only bloke sitting alone and even though there was the odd female sitting alone, it is the bloke on his own that everyone looks at as though it is strange.
Is it because most blokes don’t go shopping unless they are dragged out by their partner or some social thing that says blokes sitting alone in a café are weirdoes and need keeping an eye on..

Though I did notice a lot more chaps out shopping on their own than usual, all popping into card shops, florists,  Jewellers and confectioners.   There must be a lot of Birthdays and Wedding Anniversary’s coming up.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Not easy Exercising and sticking to reasonable diet when on your own

One of the things about living on your own and all the people you are close to live a quite far away, is that it can be hard some days to make sure you get your exercise in and stop yourself from over doing the wrong food..
As I don’t feel comfortable going to gyms, that leaves lots of walking (luckily I am so far sticking to that, gets you away from the office at lunch anyway), then the idea is when I get home get on the cross trainer, the Wii Sport, plus other things you can do in your own home.   
But some days you get in after a long day, then one look at the cross trainer or the Wii step and you just seem to lose your energy.  There’s no-one but yourself to give you that little encouragement that may be needed that day (or a good bitch slapping if required).
With keeping to a reasonable diet can also be a trial, you are driving home then you remember you haven’t been shopping so the cupboard is bare; the temptation is then to think
So then it’s
 “By the time I have shopped, got home and cooked something it will be getting late”

“Do I just pop into the chippy to save the hassle?”

I think that’s part of the reason I am not your regular sized bloke, let’s just say for quite a while I had not been that good…

So far I have looked the other way,  

           “Get thee behind me Satan”.
Not always easy I can tell you, especially after you done a really long walk and you’re hungry (if walking at Blyth the chippy is next to the car park).
This evening as the weekend drawers near, I have this bloody craving for a Pizza and garlic bread…
But fear not dear reader, none shall pass my lips tonight.
God knows what I will have as I forgot to go shopping last night, but I promise I will try to be good...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

surprise in the wardrobe

After finding I could fit in smaller clothes, I thought tonight I would open the wardrobe as I knew there would most likely be stuff in there I haven't been able to wear for ages.

Well blow me I now have 3 pairs of trousers that fit me again, unluckily the shirts need a little more room. So hopefully in the not to distant future more and more stuff will fit again, though I don't think certain old styles will be reused. My sense style is naff not that bad.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pros and Cons of being single


  • No-one moaning that the toilet seat has been left up.
  • The bed is all yours, no fighting over the duvet and if you want to fart, go for it.
  • TV remote is yours and yours alone.
  • No getting told off because you forgot to make the bed.
  • No problem if you forgot to do the pots, you can do them later
  • You don’t have to feel guilty if you admire the look of a female as you walk past.


  • Always moaning that the toilet seat has been left up, as long as you don’t splash she will not moan too much.
  • Only a quarter the bed is all yours and your lucky if you get any of the duvet, unless your asked to give cuddles.   Farting in bed is dangerous, hers will be much worse than yours ever can be.
  • TV remote is only yours when she out, but don’t forget to record the soaps for her...
  • Getting told off because you forgot to make the bed. If your lucky she will have already made it though.
  • If you forgot to do the pots, you could do them later but she did them herself anyway.
  • You have to feel guilty if you admire the look of a female as you walk past, it safer that way.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Its not just women that get emotional shopping

As we still have the odd bits and bobs to get for our Nepal trek, my Parentals and I thought we’d pop to a few outdoor clothing stores, especially as they had sales on (and of course stop for a cup of tea every so often).

After spending the usual fun time trying on gloves and hats, my dad went to look at the trousers.   I followed behind thinking “one of these days they will make this stuff in real man sizes”.

treking ninja

Even my nephew likes to get in on the act


While my dad looked at this and that plus found new ways to wind up my step-mum, I spotted a pair of water proof trousers with elasticated waist that I thought may fit the more than average size waist.  So I thought I may as well try them on, as it was busy I thought it best to use the changing room (didn’t want to set everyone off with my sexy legs).   After slipping them on I found I had quite a lot of room at the waist so I thought “I wonder how close I am to be able to fit in a pair of Craghoppers?”, slowly I stepped into them, pulling it together to see how many feet I need to close them.

“Hey wait a minute the button reaches the hole and it goes in without straining”
“Wow the zip shuts all the way as well”

To my amazement I must have shrunk in the wash after getting soaked on the Saturday during our walk.  

The strange emotions I then felt, all I can say if I’d been a lass I would probably blubed my eyes out. (but as I am a bloke that ain't going to happen)

On the plus side I am now starting to be able to get the gear I want straight off the shelf.
On the minus side my current stuff is starting to get too big and I will have to spend money to replace them.  (As I was born in Yorkshire so that’s a terrify thought)

On a side note: after buying my new Craghoppers that fitted me, I find my Dad is over at the rucksack section advising people on what type is best for them (anyone who knows him knows what he is like), one of these days I am going to ask the shop for my Dads staff discount… 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

3 blokes go for a little walk in the Welsh hills

As part of my continuing training to get ready for my trek in Nepal, my Dad (Bernard “Grumpy Gramps”), Andy “The Birdman” and of course me “The Big Guy” decided to walk on part of Offa’s Dyke. 

“The Big Guy”

Bernard “Grumpy Gramps"  

Andy “The Birdman”
Starting just under Moel Arther, passing Jubilee Tower (  ) at Moel Famau and finishing up in a village called Llanarmon-yn-lal.

As most people from the UK will know this Saturday was very wet and extremely windy, so before we even started we knew this wasn’t going to be a simple stroll.  Seeing as we do have a few brain cells between us (some more than others) we where kitted out in more than just a pair of trainers, jeans and a thin jacket, which is what you do hear about when the rescue services have to go fetch people as they went so unprepared.  Grumpy Gramps has been walking these hills and others in the Snowdonia area for nearly 40 years and The Birdman at least 15 years so there was no worry of getting lost and not what to expect.

As we walked into the field there before me was the first obstacle, a rather steep hill “oh bugger, here I go again” I thought.  A rather few huff and puffs later the first of many steep hills is over, I look back the way we came then think of how much further we have to go (Bugger that not a good idea to do that).

looking back, Moel Arther in the background

The way forward, will it ever end
 Now on these exposed parts we started to feel the force of nature first hand, the wind hitting us from the side so hard it almost pushed you over.  Already you could tell a wetsuit would have been a better idea as the wind pushed the horizontal rain and hail towards us like a constant barrage.

Andy seeing if he really can fly like his Hawks

I knew I should have brought a snorkel

Up a slope down a slope with the weather as our faithful companion, then back up again.  Finally in the distance as the mist briefly began to clear we could see the Jubilee Tower on top of Moel Famau.

Finally the mist clears enought to see our desination

Jubilee Tower

Now it was time to get some shelter from the weather and have something to eat.
Hmm I have earned this

Weather closes in again as we take our rest

All too quickly our brief but welcome break from the wind and rain is over and onward we had to go, a nice leisurely long downhill section towards Loggerheads car park.  With new spring in my step I walked through the car park to again look up to yet another steep hill to walk up “Bugger, Bugger, Bugger” as usual went through my head.

Loggerheads another milestone but still more hills to climb

Bugger Bugger Bugger

Though it felt like it was taking forever, the top of the slope finally arrived.  A happy cheer from all as this meant for the next mile or so it was either downhill or flat…


So after a few miles, plenty of cattle grids, gates and one very dodgy country road to cross, we began the final leg of the journey but oh buggery bugger and an extra large side of bugger that meant one more flipping hill to walk up.  As we got to the top of a grassy knoll there in front of me is an even bigger hill “Dam and double dam” I thought, “No worries” my Dad explained (with one of his rare smiles, which then makes you wonder if he is taking the pee) “we will be following the path around that hill and then follow the road down to the village”.   So again onward we slogged and our other constant companion the weather reared its ugly head for one last bout of showing us how much of a windbag it is, though by now even though we wasn’t cold there wasn’t many dry places on our body, as the wind had forced the rain right past our waterproofs as though it was rice paper.. 
Suddenly before me is a sign for the village “yippee”, I look up and to see the others at the top of the path and shouting down “nearly there now”, yeah I am sure I have heard that somewhere before (said the actress to the bishop).  Thankfully as I hit the top of the slope, down below us was the village, though we still had to had another 2 miles to go most downhill on the road leading from the hill to the village, relief finally set in
“Well bugger me, I made it”…
First sign for the village

one last push

Wet, tired but happy we made it

I can see the village at last

Friday, February 4, 2011

Something that came in my head while walking along the coast

The Lonely Walker (22nd January 2011)

The lonely walker treads the path,
no company but his thoughts and an Ipod.
As each foot moves a little closer to it's destination,
thoughts flow of peoples past and present.
Events remembered from then and now,
where will it all lead he does not know.
The only path that he knows the end of,
is the one he’s walking on.

Countdown has begun

Well about 7 weeks left till I start walking on the Annapurna Circuit, most of the gear has been bought and tested. 

I even managed to find a down jacket that fit me in the end, of all places a Harley Davison Bike shop.

Trying to get in some  mileage everyday and much longer ones at the weekends.  On the plus side I am losing weight but on the minuse side, I am going to have to add a new hole for my belt as my pants nearly dropped in the middle of a park...

Still in my head are those thoughts:
  • "Will I make it all the way around?"
  • "Will the Altitude be too much for me?"
  • "Oh I hope I dont get the runs!"
  • "I wonder what the food will be like"
  • "Three weeks with my Dad, if I survive this I can do anything"

This weekend will be really trying the mileage as I do part of Offas Dyke Path, passing Jubilee tower in the middle.   Lets hope the weather is not like 3 weeks ago up there, side on speeding rain is no picnic I can tell you..

Reaching Jubilee Tower on the Offas Dyke Path in January 2011