Tod to Hebden and back by bike 24/11/12

After pimping up our hair, Chris and I cycled along the canal to Hebden. It was really cold and our fingers only got warm when we stopped. I managed to get my wheel stuck in a rut in a very cold run off from the canal. Having just had to have a new wheel after my ridiculous episode with the bike on the roof rack last week, I had to ease the wheel free whilst getting soaked through as I didn’t want to incur any more expense. I’ve been really obsessive about making sure the bike is properly on the rack too. Triple checks. Wearing trainers meant that my foot was cold and wet. Winter cycling is a wholly different game and not something I’ve ever done much.
We have discussed footwear quite a bit. Chris has some overboots but they weren’t with her yesterday.
Arriving at the Alternative Technology Centre, we first got some hot chocolate and a piece of tiffin to share. Then we got stuck in pimping up our now totally filthy bikes with LED wire, I think that’s what it is, it’s basically wire that lights up. We wound the wire onto the frames and then glued it in place with a hot glue gun, that was good fun, I’d never used one before. By the way, don’t stick your finger in the hot glue because it hurts! Sometimes, I think only half a brain is in place.
Nancy came along and had a hot chocolate too and some of the tiffin went her way. She said all the right things about our hair!
Next Chris took me to the bike shop, here I bought waterproof socks and some proper cycle shoes, which were straight on. Chris also got socks and put them on. The man in the shop was a bit of all right which made the shopping a most enjoyable experience.
Then after shoving some food in our faces rather hurriedly, we whizzed back along the canal to Tod with dry and warm feet.
We had a drink in the Bear, mine was hot apple juice with a cinnamon log in it. Lovely. Then Chris went to do her stewarding for the Valley of Lights parade and I cycled back to the car, did my triple checks on the bike and then home to wash it off. All my gear was incredibly filthy so this seemed to take a long time.
The night cycle ride where we get to show off our bikes is on Thursday.
I didn’t take any photos as I was too cold.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Hollingworth bike circuit 18th November 2012

Chris and I did a two hour circuit from the visitor centre car park. It was lovely and sunny but chilly. Lots of dogs taking their humans for an airing. We went to lots of reservoirs including Norman Hill and Piethorne and a little one the map just called Resr.
It was my turn to fall off but it was a soft landing in a cold, wet, muddy puddle. I must have been looking especially weedy as 3 kind men helped me get the bike over 3 different gates. This was a permissive route along bridle ways so the huge locked gates were annoying.
We got back to the cars and got the bikes loaded up. At this point I told Chris I’d got the knack of getting the bike on the car!
We had a drink in the visitor centre cafe, very nice espresso. Then we set off, as I drove towards the car park exit the bike fell away from its central strut. We both stopped and I created a nice little traffic jam because those leaving the car park were unable to mount the pavement.
Chris held the bike steady, mainly with her head and another kind man came and yanked the bike out of its stuckness fortunately leaving Chris’ head intact. I was a bit stressed at this point and although I managed to thank him, I was upset because I’d seen the bike’s back wheel bending so it didn’t sound very gracious.
I moved the car and let the traffic jam go. Then we put the bike in the back of the car. I drove home and got the bike washed. The back wheel was badly buckled so I got it back on the roof rack. I know where I went wrong as I’d failed to tighten the central support strut properly.
I later went to collect Carol from Halifax in the car and the bike was fine on top so I have learnt how to do it properly.
Today I took the bike to the shop and it will be ready on Thursday and fortunately not too expensive a repair.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Widdop and Hardcastle Crags

I got the bike on top of the car relatively easily. We parked in the upper car park at Hardcastle Crags and set off along the road turning off before the steep zig zag section.
Went up to the first Gorple reservoir and then to the second. Here we decided to return to the first and fork to get to Widdop.
Then crossed the road and along to Walshaw Dean. Turned right along past some farms and a tiny hamlet. Chris came off her bike as we crossed the path to give way to some cyclists coming up. She hurt her ribs and her hand was sore but she soon got back on. Then we headed down down to Gibson Mill. Here we had to stop to sample Nat Trust cake and tea. It was ok, my first time in the mill. Now need to return to see round it.
Then a short walking section to get back up to the top car park.
Managed to get the bike back on the roof but less gracefully this time.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Bristol 5-8 November 2012

Monday 5th
Trains all went well as both were late, in Leeds I arrived and departed from the same platform which is good as I have had to run up and down those blasted steps countless times.
The train from Leeds was very cold so I arrived in fish finger state, got a taxi up to my hotel in Berkeley Square and checked in to a very cold room. Half an hour later I was in a different much warmer room slowly thawing out.
The Berkeley Square Hotel is Georgian in facade only, having been the YMCA in 1952 and I’m in the basement.
As it was a fasting day I did an online tutorial for my OU work and then got settled in. I popped to Sainsburys for some fizzy water and wine which I then drank.
I feel like I almost recognise bits of Bristol but it’s so different from when I lived here and I can’t remember how it all joins up. I lived here for about 3 or 4 years. It wasn’t a great time for me and included a year with a person who used to hit me. Guess what I would do if I saw her now! So slightly mixed feelings for me. I had some good fun here too.

Setting off, very cold. Self photos make my specs look bigger than I think they are.
So many bikes
Before I mess it up

Tuesday 6th
Woke in the early hours to furnace radiator! I’d thought fireworks would keep me awake but the basement meant I heard nothing at all, fab as I hate firework explosions.
Breakfast of fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts and yoghurt. Waffles, mushrooms, beans, tomato and egg plus a mini pastry.
Down the road to Boston Tea Party for an espresso and back to the square for my course just a few doors up from the hotel. A Canadian called Steve to teach us. He’s great and really knows his stuff and makes it easy to understand. Quite a lot of talk for the morning. Lunch had not been ordered so we go to Pret (a Manger) and can have what we want within reason so I pick a yummy superfood salad. We take these back to the classroom to eat. I then go out the back to Brandon Hill to look at the Cabot Tower and find I can go up it so yes of course! Good views from there.
Finally get to shoot some footage. We get to use nice big camera and a Kodak flip type. We take it turns to film, be filmed and hold the reflector shield.
Some more chat then some more shooting. This time I go out with the boys with the Kodak.
Each time we review the clips and Steve critiques them. One of the boys I”m working with is very experienced already, however I still get to play so overall ok.
We finish up much later than the advertised time so I change and then head up to Redland. I wonder if I ever walked round Bristol at all, it all seems like I remember it through a big fog. My plan is to eat at Wilks veggie resto and then walk down to the Watershed. Wilks is unfortunately shut on a Tuesday but opposite on Chandos Road is a resto called Moreish which I remember from my researches. So in I go and it’s very nice, the food is good, and I don’t get made to feel weird for being on my own. I am offered free wireless which allows me to post a photo of my beer on Faceache. I have Wild Hare which is a Bath Ale accompanied by root veg soup, lovely, then goat’s cheese tart with lots of Mediterranean veg. All very yummy and quite reasonable, especially when work is paying. Work is getting off very lightly with me having 2 fasting days while I’m here.
I walk down to the Watershed, admittedly having to check my phone for directions slightly, although my nose does get me to Christmas Steps, I’ve always liked the name and the steps are just the same.
A swift half of Bath Ale Festivity porter which is malty and nutty before going in to see dire film Keep the Lights On which makes me cross but have a nice chat with a couple of boys (my age boys) afterwards. As Carol would say, “anything in trousers”!
Walk back up Park St very fast, I really love feeling so fit and healthy now!

It’s the twirly thing on the phone
Where the course was
The hotel
Cabot Tower
Wills Tower
White Bear
Bottom of St. Michael’s Hill

Wednesday 7th
Just fruit and yoghurt for breakfast today. Hotel espresso was rubbish. Up the square to start the day. I am straight out with the boys for our big video project, we have various rules but the main one is no more than 10 mins of footage. It’s quite hard to actually get much time individually with the kit, and it does seem to be that boys think they know more both about filming and about software (later) than people they perceive to be girls. Every single time I’ve tried to learn about filming, this has been the case and I am VERY bored with it.
I do manage to learn a bit despite all this but it’s not easy when I only get a few minutes on the camera. It makes it all a bit more stressful than I would like.
Lunch is sandwiches and I have some of these although am fasting today. I also have a couple of biscuits and later some fruit and nuts, yes I know, but I’m not going out for dinner.
After lunch we edit our footage using Adobe Premiere Pro which is nice software, this would be better if we could just edit the bits we had individually filmed without sharing the software. I suppose what I would have liked would be for us each to have a camera, this would give us more time to practise and we wouldn’t have to wait whilst taking it in turns. The sharing didn’t really work for me.
Finish up with our film reduced from 15 mins to 5. It’s actually better than I thought it would be.
The course has been very good but I would have liked more time actually filming and more time on the software.
Bye byes and then back to the hotel. I am expecting to go to Bristol Explorers’ Monthly Social but I’ve got the wrong day and that’s on tomorrow. After checking out a few things, I download a movie and am going to stay home and relax…

From Berkeley Square
Old Vicarage, now a solicitors’ office
The boys – Darcy and Andreas

Thursday 8th
Last night I watched Seven Pounds which sounded good in the reviews as it said it had a twist and I would be very surprised. Only if I was very very stupid. Another one worth missing. How did I manage to pick the only movie about organ transplants. Some footage of people on dialysis, but don’t bother watching it just for that!
Today I felt tired and ready to go home, first a nice fruity breakfast plus some small but delicious pastries. I checked out and left my case at the hotel. Then a proper espresso at Patisserie Valerie (just as well I am full) and a bit of shopping. I picked up my case and got a taxi to the station, ate my large bready thing with veggie sausage and hummous in it which came from a nice shop on the corner of Berkeley Square.
Bristol still seems very foggy to me and I think I walked round with my eyes shut before. It’s gone bike mad, there are literally hundreds of bikes whizzing around everywhere. I used to cycle when I was here although went off it a bit after getting knocked off near Old Market by a woman who worked for the police, the only witness was her pal who also worked for the police, so although she admitted she hadn’t seen me at the time, when I wanted her to pay to repair my bike and my jeans, they all closed ranks.
All the trains did what they should and I am now glad to be home.

Back to real life
University Music Faculty
Watery chap
Fighting chap
Temple Meads station, how fab is that?

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Walshaw and Top Withens 4th November 2012

I left home in quite thick fog, with the intention of really having to navigate with no visibility. As I drove up to Blackstone Edge, the fog thickened, but by the time I reached Widdop to park up it was a lovely sunny but cold day.
I headed up to the Walshaw Dean reservoirs, I got stopped by a couple wanting to know where the nearest food could be obtained. Fortunately the pub was still in sight. They’d come all the way from Haworth without food, map or compass. Admittedly this is a section of the Pennine Way that is well marked (some of it isn’t and requires map skills) so it wouldn’t really have been a problem, but they didn’t actually seem to know where they were even broadly and said they were aiming for Colne! The only good thing was they were togged up for the Arctic!
I then did something I’ve done before that was wrong! There is a footbridge over the drain that says “walk this way”, at least it does to me, despite looking old and knackered and unused and so I did, although part of me knew it would be troublesome. It’s followed by a section where you climb the steps in the wall, teeter spread-eagled on the top and then plunge down the other side. I actually got over fairly gracefully this time, crossing the raging torrent to the drain and stopped for a quick lunch in the sun. I then headed for a Land Rover I’d seen before lunch on the basis that it was likely to be on the track. This was preferable to the wall retreat option. The Land Rover had moved on but the track was there and this quickly got me back where I wanted to be.
I stayed on the Pennine Way and walked until I could see Top Withens and the valley to Haworth. It’s a great bit of featureless moorland and so good for testing out navigation accuracy and techniques. I did some ground to map bearings and a 2 point resection.
My timings all worked out and I got home just as darkness came along, time for a quick shower, nice grub and then back out to see Fairport Convention at Hebden Bridge Trades Club, just 34 years since I last saw them at Cardiff Uni. Simon Nicol has just emailed me to say I can put a video I made of them doing Fotheringhay on YouTube!

I like playing with the twirly camera on my phone!
Walshaw Dean upper reservoir
Top Withens, supposedly Wuthering Heights (I ask you!)
2 Walshaws and a Gorple reservoir
Spot the birdy
Steps up the wall, higher than it looks
Do NOT cross this
Fairport Convention – Ric Sanders, Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg and Chris Leslie

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Dry Mere and the Roman Road 3rd November 2012

A very short walk, taking advantage of the time I get to myself while Carol is plugged into the machine away in Leeds!
I picked up Babs and we drove to the start of the walk and then walked it in the reverse of what we did back in July. The weather seemed much nicer today although it was cold and the wind was bitter.
We did the walk as fast as we could to facilitate me getting to East Leeds on time. There seemed to be a lot of people out. Babs very similar to Carol in wanting not to meet anyone on walks!!
We had a nice time catching up and in some ways the views are better this way round. There is a very boggy bit at the bottom of the Roman road but this has now been improved with some drainage channels.

I had a feeling I looked remarkably silly even in the nice new jacket!
Dry Mere
Just a cairn
Across towards Todmorden
Babs’ new wellies, she is very proud of these!
The white blob sticking up is the trig point being cheeky

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.