Saturday, March 31, 2012


Been a while since I went beer hunting or indeed "ticking" for that matter.

A "ticker" for those that don't know, isthe closest thing the world of beer gets to a train spotter or anorak.  Tickers drink beer for the benefit of having put a tick beside that beer and adding it to their ticked list.  I've seen tickers at beer festivals having a single sip, yes just one sip of a fresh glass of beer and then getting out their rucksack, funnel and plastic bottle and promptly decanting the foamy brew, and labelling the new plastic bottle before stashing it back in their knapsack of destruction for consumption at a later date.

It's a dog drink dog world!

Me?  I like beer.... I LOVE beer.... my only problem is that I HATE being drunk.... it's a real quandry.

So, for a change, today, we visited The Nook in Holmfirth (land of a million Summer Wine tours) for their "Madchester Spring Beer Festival" - and yes, rather obscurely for a Yorkshire pub, their main selection of beers on offer were sourced from Manchester and its surrounding districts.  The exception to the rule being the beers from The Nook's own brewery.

I tried a chilli beer, a chocolate cherry stout, a pale blonde ale, a brace of golden ales, a black stout, and a dark ruby beer.... a really nice variety of flavours, aromas, colours and strengths.  A Saturday afternoon treat.

I didn't tick any beers, I didn't make a single tasting note on the supplied beer information sheet, I didn't decant any beer to bring home with me.... I emptied each glass before venturing on to the next level.

so now you know....  beer is good... there's a lot of variety, you don't NEED to stick with mass produced alcoholic drinks..... and you can take your dog to the pub with you!

I should also mention - I think it's only fair and prudent - that it was ME who put "Remember You're a Womble" on the jukebox!!  Sorry, but, to the woman who sang the song the whole way through, I have to say I knew someone other than just me would appreciate it.

When  you drink beers of this variety and quality, it's fair to say that Britain really HAS got talent!!

It's a yes from me!

Friday, March 30, 2012


After the long walk I went on yesterday it's been difficult to muster any enthusiasm to do very much at all today.  I even managed a little lie-in until 9:15am which was nice!

At the point where I sat down to watch a little bit of TV and subsequently got cramp in my legs, I decided it was time to go and have a little walk and try to stretch out those aching muscles.

Spent the rest of the day searching for a variety of containers in various locations and am pleased to now state that I've managed to clear the three most troublesome caches that I've encountered in my local area.  All great locations and all quite tricky.

One of them was a tiny magnetic box stashed in a speed limit signpost.... one was a 1 litre tupperware box stashed in and amongst a bunch of rocks at a quarry..... and the final one was a 35mm film canister stuffed inot the base of a tree and covered over with a rock.  Funny old game!

The only "outstanding" item of geocaching activity left on my "to do" list is this bloody trackable item that is attempting to journey around all the cricket grounds..... so far it's only been pictured at Old Trafford and I'd dearly like to get a picture of it outside Headingley, but it hardly seems worth the journey for the small amount of geocaching kudos it might generate.

Anyone going anywhere near Headingley in the not-too-distant future?

On the plus side, I've spotted my first wild garlic flowers and bluebells in the woods today.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Feeling the heat....

A long day in the saddle today... we walked around Rishworth Moor, which, when you put it like that, doesn't sound like much.... but boy, was it hard going?

A brief summary:  11.2 miles with 1573 feet of ascent.

We started above Baitings reservoir and climbed the sharp steep section up to Blackwood Edge.  We followed along Blackwood Edge Road (which is actually just a ridge path) past Dog hill and Joiner Stones.  We then made a slight balls -up when the GPS threw a wobbly and we ended up "yomping" across open moorland to reach Oxygrains Old Bridge before clambering back up the clough to Green Withens Reservoir by just after lunch time.

Rounding the reservoir we picked up a geocache at Hanging Rocks and another one a bit further along the track.  Then it was on to meet the M62 at the spookily named Lads Grave - litter, noise and pools of stagnant water typify this section until we meet the Pennine Way and a stunning footbridge that spanned the M62 at Windy Hill.

We turn with our back to the M62 and head uphill along the Pennine Way reaching Robin Hood's Bed and Blackstone Edge - Both truly stunning millstone grit outcrops with far reaching views across Littleborough and Oldham across fields of tumbling boulders - awe inspiring and a real contrast to the depressing M62 meeting.  We drop down off the Edge and join a packhorse route at the 600 year old standing stone Aiggin Stone.

Along this packhorse route heading towards Baitings Reservoir again and it feels like the home straight, but it's an optical illusion (with 3 miles left to go).  We meet up with the Rishworth Drain and turn right towards Flint Hill.  I think this is where Richard sank in a peat bog and he was actually starting to get drawn in!!  We contour around Warm Withens Hill and start the final weary descent down Cat Moss and back to the car.

We are ALL (dogs included) shattered after a harsh day in the heat amongst sun bleached, tinder dry grasses and heathers - tired eyes, tired feet etc etc.  Fantastic walk though.

See also:  Flickr photo set for today!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I'm turning into a geo-nut.

Been out hunting geocaches again today.  Sought five and found only three.... one of the ones I didn't find is actually starting to drive me Miss Daisy!

So, you're unfamiliar with the geocaching thing?  It's like following a treasure hunt, with no map, and usually no treasure at the end of it all.  Still interested?  Read on MacDuff!

You will need....  one GPS enabled device (I use my mobile phone) with a piece of software called "Viewranger"; One account on Geocaching ; Several crappy plastic things; and Ikea pencils!; Optional - A pencil sharpener or penknife!

So you head over to Geocaching website and set your account up.... you look the the maps of where you want to go for a walk and see what caches are located in the vicinity and you input the co-ordinates to your GPS enabled device (I use my mobile phone).

Then you go for a walk, using your GPS enabled device (I use my mobile phone) to home in on the co-ordinates you've picked out.

You reach the right area and turn over a few stones, get stung by a few nettles, scratch your head, have a drink, get ready to leave then at the last minute stumble on the correct location and get hold of the cache.... note this is caCHE which is in no way related to caSH!!

Note:  Before digging out the cache - please ensure you are not seen by "muggles" - the non-geocaching community!

Usually the cache is a Tupperware box with a book, a blunt Ikea pencil, and some *crappy plastic toys in it.... half of the time it will be waterlogged.  You laugh at how silly this all seems... You sign the (usually) soggy log-book to say what fun you've had, put everything back in the container and stash it back wherever you found it..... and continue on your walk! 

*If you want to keep any of the plastic crap in there you must replace it with item of similar or greater value!

Whe n you get home you simply update the website to say if you did or didn't find the cache.

It's free - it's harmless, it's global and it's a good way of enhancing any walk.

As my old meerkat friend would say "squeak squeak" because meerkats actually can't talk

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And now you want to bust my balls?

What a scorcher of a day!

It's not even the end of March and once again spring has become this season's summer.  To sunny to take photographs, too hot to go walking, and fishing?  Well according to my "fishing weather" website the "bite" forecast is "terrible" and it was never that bad when the ponds were frozen solid.  It's a write-off.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a bit of sunshine.  I can potter round me garden, water me fruit trees, turn the compost in my wormery over.... no end of diversions to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace with a cold glass of pop, but today is different.... today I have an appointment.... a "revised" appointment that replaces the appointment I managed to miss last week.... with my osteopath!!  Time to get snapped, cracking and popped.

She's a lovely lady my osteopath - She's polish, short of stature, but immensely powerful.  She throws me round the room and jumps on me in ways that would see any other lady thrown across the room with the sheer recoil from my gargantuan frame!  Not so for Agnieszka.  Over a period of a few months she has rendered my spine as supple as a rattlesnake.

Whilst manipulating my skeleton we chat about this and that - it's usually a diversionary tactic on her behalf so you don't tense up at those crucial moments.  We talk about websites, about Poland, about fishing, about my blogs (she is VERY interested in the concept of Random Shopping Mr. Bertram!) and so on and so forth.... we chat and crack and bend and natter for a good hour and then it's time to go.

I've had both knees done and my back done first to the left and then to the right and then the big one - right down the middle!!  I'm pleased to see that simply moving into position these days for the "pops" my spine is so free it readily submits before hardly any pressure is used - I'm free!

Out to reception.... so that's thirty eight quid for today and seventeen and a half for missing your last appointment!!  Hang on.... I went in there and she tried to break my back.... and I come out here and .... well, read the title Anne!

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's been a long time coming....

... but we're here at last.... you wan' it? We got it.... Rock City!!

Hello fantastic punters... let normal service resume!

Been out walking and geocache hunting today.... here's a little routemap for you to peruse at your leisure. It's about 6.75 miles with approx 739ft ascent - which is plenty on a hot day like this.


Hunted a grand total of eleven geocaches and only found seven - good haul for the day though!

And THAT, as they say... is THAT!