Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Hi de Hi!

Summer Tour to Cornwall 2013

Our first campsite in Cornwall is back to last year's at St.Ives, Cornwall.

This is a Temporary Holiday Site run by the Cornwall Camping and Caravan Club – based on the fields above the St.Ives Rugby Club. The benefit for us is we can park up the van and use a shuttle bus to get us down into town @ £1 a go.

Looking NE across the campsite – see the rugby posts and the mobile phone post (so excellent mobile and 3 dongle signals!)

Looking across to Godfrey Island Lighthouse

Low tide at the harbour
I've been in the sea each day so far – twice swimming (no surf) and yesterday body boarding in 3ft waves. I have the benefit of my old wetsuit to keep out the wind/cold!

Our pitch with wetsuit drying (fire bucket)

It's been really windy high up here on the hillside – so much so that we gave up trying to get the tent up!

A deflated tent! We then packed it away again!

Rain and sun!

After rain earlier today, it has brightened up and the wind dropped – so no.2 go at putting the tent up. Success!

Tent pitched and wind break doing it's job!

X marks our spot!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

National Treasures!

The Garden of England – July 2013

We have started our 'holiday season' (I know – us retired folk are on permanent hols!) with a trip to Kent. We stopped with an old university friend from our Exeter days and were blessed with lovely hot weather.

We are long-time members of the National Trust and, in some years, it is fair to say we contribute more than gain. This July though, we went to three NT properties in as many days!

Looking down at Scotney Castle - link

Looking across the moat. The Castle dates from the 14th Century – though was probably never finished. Various wings were added as improvements in the 16th and 17th century as a family home. In 1843, a 'new' house was built by the owners on top of the hill, dismantling part of the old Castle house for stone.

The ruined part of the Castle House

It is interesting to learn that Margaret Thatcher rented a flat on the Estate here in the 1970's and 80's as a weekend escape from her Westminster life.

The next day, we went with our hosts to Bateman's House. This was the home of Rudyard Kipling from 1902 until his death in 1936. It is a gentleman's Jacobean house from the 17th century with a 'modern' garden. Link

Looking across the lovely rose garden to the house

What was as interesting is that the National Trust run a working flour mill – operational on Wednesdays which is why we were there.

Kipling had taken out the waterwheel and placed a water turbine at the edge of the mill pond to run a generator to charge batteries – in turn giving electric light.

The National Trust have re-instated a (smaller) water wheel complete with the running gear and the mill stones. Result – stone ground flour!

From the mill pond level
Looking up at the wheel and water turbine pipe squashed together
Water flow – milling underway
Running gear below stairs
Our friend – the miller – explaining how it all works
The grain hopper and mill stone underneath – enclosed for safety and to reduce dust?

On the third day of our National Treasure tour, we had an extended visit to Ightham Mote – a fantastic medieval moated manor house dating from 1320. Link

These photos don't really do the building justice – what a fascinating and well preserved building. Ightham Mote was the subject of a special Time Team programme about it's restoration.

All in all – a very pleasant (and hot!) trio of treasures and a great post for my 100th!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Pleasure (and Pain)!

Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon 6/7th July 2013

Daniel and I were Team No. 475 in the Carrock Fell event which had 151 entries.

We last did the Saunders in 2003! This event was part of our plan to try out our kit choice and food, improve our mountain navigation and test ourselves for mountain fitness in advance of our October Event.

Unpacking the car on the Friday night
The Event Centre campsite in early morning sun

Our start was later at 10.00am – already the sun is really hot

Our course went up the diagonal path round the fell edge and then climbed up to Black Combe.

Looking back down on the Event Centre
On the fell top – looking north

The Lake District

Day 1 was 20.2km long on the direct line route with 805m climb. So we probably covered 21km plus or about 14 miles.

We came in 102nd from 135 finishers in 5h 38m.

Getting the tent out at the overnight camp

Packing up ready for Day 2

Day 2 was given as 17km long with more climb than the Saturday at 840m.

All the teams start together, so there is a lengthy procession of teams and the need to map read is minimal – especially as the weather was so clear.
Day 2, Sunday, was extremely hot and even though we ran as much as we could, other teams were overtaking us.

Coming over the top heading south – back to the Event Centre
Black Combe screes

Heading over to White Combe

Looking south to Morecambe Bay

Looking down at Whitehall Knott where we are heading

The pain of blisters!
Yes, we go down there!

Final run in – it was hard!
On Day 2, although we ran as much as possible, we came in 4hr 31min in 119th place, and therefore slipped down the order.

Overall, our 10hr 10min gave us 112th place out of the 130 teams that managed to finish.

We were also in the Veterans Race with a combined age of 100 – this gave us a better result against runners our ages of 43rd out of the 53 Vet Teams that finished.

It was a very pleasurable mountain event despite the pain of blisters and the exhaustion from the heat and effort needed.

Our de-briefing has given us a better idea of what food to take and we do need a modern mountain tent. Of course, being fitter and lighter will also help?!!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Summer Cruise 2013 – Summary

Birmingham Canal Navigations – June 2013

This was a new area of canals for us to explore, with some favourites along the way.

We use the Shropshire Union heading south as a sort of 'lollipop stick' before heading on the Birmingham Circuit.

Stopping off at Norbury Junction is always pleasurable and has good moorings, TV signal and the little shop/café and the pub!

Stopping off at Norbury Jnc.

For the record – here is the summary of our Cruise:

We covered 162 miles across 12 canal navigations

This meant we did 187 locks and passed through 6 tunnels

We took 28 days – though 9 of these we stayed moored and chilled!

The engine ran for 98 hours when travelling and another 17 hours to generate electricity when we were moored up.

We went to 2 Wagner operas in Birmingham and to the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society Boat Festival at Pelsall.

Although it had it's moments, it was an enjoyable and interesting journey.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Last Day of our Summer Cruise 2013

Summer Cruise 2013 - Tues 2nd July

Day 28: Down through Audlem, to our home berth at Overwater Marina
                 3.5 miles and 15 locks in 4 engine hours

The weather forecast said heavy rain later!
We enjoyed a leisurely morning and set off in again in a queue of boats.

The 15 locks down through Audlem are generally in good condition. One feature is the amount of excess water coming around the locks which maintains full lock pounds – a good thing, though means that when the lock paddles are opened, the water pours round!

True to prediction, the rain came and heavily!
We pulled over at lock 5 and let a shorter boat with 3 crew pass – they were pushing us at each lock.

At lock 6, the hire boat crew behind opened the lock paddles on a full pound which created a torrent of water over the bypass weir. This caught Chris (steering) by surprise as she manoeuvred to come into the lock and the boat got swept onto the weir – and was stuck!

I was not a happy Captain! Eventually we got pulled clear with help from the hire boat crew! The day was supposed to be an enjoyable end to our cruise! The heavy rain, getting stuck and feeling cross about that meant the opposite.
I steadily worked our boat down the locks and felt better for that and met the owners of a tug that also moors at Overwater. We arrived at the Marina and I did a perfect entrance onto the service dock for a pumpout.

Onto our mooring berth and we reversed in, again pretty well ! At least all finished well!

2 Days left!

Summer Cruise 2013 – Mon 1st July

Day 27: Moored below the Adderley Locks
               15 miles and 10 locks in 8 engine hours

It's a fair run from Norbury Junction northwards, much of it in open farmland.
It starts though, with Grub Street Cutting and the iconic High Bridge.

Hidden in the woods is a vintage car – photo not that good from a moving boat

The canal has also long lengths of moored boats and so a reduced speed extends the cruising time.

We arrived at the Tyrley Locks and went down with a queue of boats and followed on in a pleasant cruise to Market Drayton.

Market Drayton's WWII history

I had intended to moor at the top of the Adderley Locks but when we tried to get into the visitor moorings, the (in)famous Shroppie 'shelf' kept us a good 2 foot out. Our tyres are at 18” so no good for this!

So, we went down the 5 locks at Adderley and got the last mooring spot.

Norbury Junction – on the way back

Summer Cruise 2013 – Sat 29th June

Day 25: Norbury Junction for the weekend
                  10.5 miles and 1 lock in 4 engine hours

I went into town for some shopping and considered whether to stop on for the British Lions Test in a local pub. With the 'window' of getting cheap diesel at Wheaton Aston before it closed and that we had no TV or 3-dongle at Brewood – it was off we set.

Interesting looking barge – we followed this up into Birmingham 2 years ago

The long straights – typical of Telford's modern design(1835 Brimingham and Liverpool Junction Canal)

Equally, a straight route means cutting abound – here at Ryehill Cutting near Br.No.23

'Thomas Telford' watches over us as we go under Bridge 25

On the way up, I noticed a boat at High Onn Wharf from Valencia Wharf – home of the Les Allen Yard – our hull builder. Having been on the Birmingham Canals and spoken with boaters from the Allen Register, I've improved my skill at spotting an Allen built boat.

Here is the one at High Onn Wharf (for canal boat anoraks!)

Typical Allen bow

Typical Allen counter

The desire to shorten navigation route (and therefore save valuable travel time) required all of Telford's engineering ability to pick the route through undulating terrain.

Here it approaches Gnossal and the band of sandstone traversing the Shropshire plain.

Narrow cutting approaching Gnossal Tunnel

This is a 'rough cut' tunnel showing the sandstone rock

Emerging into the sunlight again!
Possibly blocks of stone were cut for use on the canal elsewhere?

We arrived at Norbury Junction for the weekend – good TV for the F1 at Silverstone and the Tour de France! And a pint of ale.