Monday, 25 November 2013

Weekend in Eskdale

We've gone off the Lakes. Always too busy. But ... an invitation from James to join him for the weekend at the Camping & Caravanning Club's Eskdale site did sound tempting. We'd nothing else on ... except clothes of course; we're not perverts, so, off we went.

We had a horrendous journey late on Friday afternoon cos of a nasty accident on the A590, 'hope no-one was hurt (update, thankfully only minor injuries). But we did final get there, tired and hungry. Pizzas were soon in the oven though and beer in the glass as James joined us for drinkies.

Next morning we had Scafell in our sights. In sympathy with the ageing boxer, Chrissie joined us for the first hour of the ascent before returning. James, his staffie Reuben, me 'n' Tilly continued towards the summit.

My beloved took this photo, then proceeded to tell me I looked daft!

James tried teaching Reuben some cool dance steps while descending Slight Side.

As we approached the summit we found more and more snow.

At the top James tried to get Reuben to pose for a photo but 'e was having none of it.

Tilly wasn't really bovvered either.

Our descent from the summit needed our microspikes and poles/axes.

It was a tough walk; took us over seven hours and we finished in the dark. It'd been great fun.

It's a great little campsite, with non of the usual club regimented pitch markers.

We're really NOT telly addicts but our new satellite system meant we were able to watch the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who on Saturday night. Such fun. Chuck in an appetising dinner, a few drinks and it made for a very satisfying evening.

On Sunday James had a long route planned. He'd booked Monday off. Sadly, we needed to get back home so settled for a short bimble up to Burnmoor and Eel Tarns.

After an enjoyable, relaxing wander Chrissie produced a delicious lunch before we departed for home.

A super weekend. Good company, great walking and a smashing site run by the friendliest couple. We'll definitely be back.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Passing time in the Cotswolds

Last week me 'n' Tilly took our lovely van back to its place of birth in Willersey, Gloucestershire so the nice men at Auto-Sleepers could replace the kitchen window surround, which, evidently, required ripping most of the furniture apart.

We drove down from the frozen north in the evening, availing ourselves of the electric hook-up outside A/S's service department. The nice men reckoned they needed all day and since they were kind enough to do the work for free even though the van's well outside their warranty, who was I to argue?

So, me 'n' choccy paws went for a walk.

Leaving the picturesque village of Willersey we passed the church.

We carried on across the fields to Saintbury and were both impressed by this sign.

Why? Cos it said nowt about dogs on leads ... which T and I found quite refreshing in a dog and master type way.

We seemed to be on this route.

Which was nice.

And there were lots of wide-open-spacey-viewy type bits, like this.

We walked up Dover's Hill, where I forgot to take a pic, such was my pleasure in the surroundings and then found ourselves on part of the ...

... which was good, cos that's where we'd planned to be. Always a bonus to find oneself to be where one'd planned to be. Mind, we were using Chrissie's clever Satnavvy thingy so no excuse fer getting' lost really. But ... you never know do you?

Shortly after joining the Cotswold Way we joined the Mile Drive, which seems to a wide avenue of trees which is ... a mile long.

It was both peaceful and autumnal ... which was good ... cos it was ... autumn (sorry).

We crossed a road at the top of Fish Hill and wended our way into Broadway Tower Country Park, the better to see ... Broadway Tower.

Which is interesting you see, because it featured in Michael Portillo's, rather quite good, Great British Railway Journeys on't telly just last night and, prior to last week, neither me, nor the chocolate dog nor, indeed, the oh-so-knowledgeable Chrissie, nor even Dixie had heard of it before.

"I've bin there", exclaimed Tilly as old Portillo climbed the hill, "just last week". And she was right.

Michael wasn't there though. If he had been I might have had a cup of tea with him, and Tilly MIGHT have shared a biscuit (or she might not've). Question - is not've a word? I think it is and Tilly agrees, especially re biscuits and sharing ... or not!

Anyway, back to the tale. We left the magnificence of the tower and trundled downhill, noting this lot en route.

They were deer ... not sure which brand.

On the way, we met a lovely couple from Moreton-in-Marsh with whom we chatted for a while. They were very friendly ... for southerners.

We were interested to see they build dry stone walls hereabouts. The stone's limestone, but of a warmer, honeyish hue, unlike the bright white of the White Peak. Somebody was making a pretty good job of reconstructing this 'ere wall.

And we came across these two bruisers, who actually looked very tired. I can understand why. One of 'em were consoling 'imself by scratchin' 'is ear on t'other's nether regions. Very chummy I thought, and left 'em to it. I did like their braces though.

Then we headed off again towards ...

Which was at the bottom of the 'ill.

We met another nice couple, who were exceedingly complimentary about choccy drop's figure, which I took as a compliment, cos that's what it was and so did she ... Tilly that is.

Broadway's famous for being very chocolate-boxy.

We found this ancient mile stone ...

... and this nice sign. They didn't have any Sandeman's port though. In fact, they didn't have much of anything cos it wasn't a shop anymore.

We ate our lunch on a green in Broadway, got temporarily misplaced (despite Chrissie's Satnavvy thingy) but then Tilly found the path back to Willersey (hence this pic of the south-bound end of a north-bound lab).

Back in the village we located the New Inn, which had been recommended as dog-friendly by the nice folks at Auto-Sleepers ... and it was. So I was forced to drink two pints of very pleasant Donnington beer and Tilly made friends with a yellowy-type lab called Jenna with whom she shared crisps, mini-cheddars and water and then we walked back to where we'd left our lovely van. And the nice men had fixed it all up for us so we celebrated with tea and stickies and spent another quiet night on their hook-up before returning home the next day.

What fun.

Hmm ... there's something fishy about this

There was an excellent weather forecast for Tuesday of this week so me 'n' the chocolate dog invited Bernie to join us for a wander up to Mermaid's Pool. As the lovely Carol Kirkwood had promised, it was indeed a beautiful day.

Walking from home, up through the village we took the path to the bottom of William Clough before branching off up the Kinder River to Peter Nook Wood. Ascending through the wood we emerged at a stile then straight up the grassy slope to the Pool.

Tilly had a swim.

The two of us tried to look photogenic.

Then, by mutual agreement, we struck off uphill to meet the edge path. Taking a break along the way.

After that, it was down via Sandy Heys and home for tea and stickies.
Life's hard.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Paramo recycling event

Between us Chrissie and I own an obscenely extensive wardrobe of Paramo kit (aka the best waterproof outdoor kit in the world, bar none).

Recent events including both of us slimming down to new, gorgeously svelte shapes and a desire to update and rationalise our wardrobes has led us to offering you lucky people out there the opportunity to own some of the kit worn by our famous selves AND get to own some of the best outdoor kit in the world at bargain basement prices. How could you resist?

First (and second) up then are two Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smocks, both mens: one medium and one large. Follow the link for full details. Here's a photo of one of ours.

Both of these jackets were bought a while back but have seen very little use. They look as if they're about six months old; pretty much in "as new" condition. They're a current Paramo model but not in this, highly desirable, colourway. Today, you'd buy one, discounted, for around £198. Either one of these can be yours for just £75 ... yes, you heard me right, only £75! We'll even chuck in the postage AND the packing. I'm not gonna describe the garments technical details 'cos you can find them on Paramo's website and you'll find reviews via Google etc.
Next up is my (Geoff's) beloved Paramo Aspira Smock.
Now then, this is NOT the latest model as seen on the website, but the previous one, which has pretty much an identical technical specification. I've had this jacket, man and boy, for, I guess, 10 or 12 years. It's seen me through thick and thin, right up to serious Scottish winter conditions and never let me down. Really, it should be in a museum, such is its experience. However, it's in really good condition with no significant damage, tears or whatever. It's a medium size and will be freshly cleaned and reproofed before sale. A new one, which I've just ordered, is costing me £239, with a great discount. The RRP is £300. This is a top spec mountaineering jacket and I'll let it go for £50 inc p&p. That's around a fifth of what my new one is costing and offers someone out there, maybe not a Paramo convert, to try this fantastic gear for a small outlay. Believe me, this jacket may look a little tired but it's still a bombproof performer. It took me around Arran in storms just last week without getting wet. Be quick, or you'll miss this bargain. Why am I replacing it? Just cos I fancy a shiny new one.
Finally, here's my (Geoff's) spare pair of Paramo Alta trousers.
I have another pair of these ... don't ask. Keen eyed Paramo aficionados will note the blue and green Paramo label, indicating the age of this venerable garment. These are the forerunners of the current Aspira trousers and have braces, reinforced seat and knees and full length side zips allowing you to attend to all your toilet needs without undressing or undoing the braces. Sized medium they'll fit 32-34" waist 'cos they have an elasticated waistband. They're really old, like me, but again, like my Aspira smock, in good serviceable condition. Everything works. Yours for ... £30 inc p&p, cleaning and reproofing. Be quick! Note, they do not have the foam bits which go in the knees and seat; always found these a bit superfluous and I've lost 'em. 
Postage and packing will be included, as I've said, to anywhere in the UK mainland. For anywhere else, please ask. No offers thanks; these ARE bargain basement prices folks.
Contact either me or my delicious, slimline wife via either of our blogs or either of our twitter accounts. For Geoff that'd be @GeoffCrowther1 and for Chrissie, @Chrissiedixie2.
UPDATE, 11.11.13: The large Velez smock, the Aspira smock and the trousers are all sold. Thank you Christian and Jenny. I hope they give you good service. I must admit, parting with my Aspira smock will be like saying goodbye to an old friend; we've seen such adventures together. May it serve you well Christian.
Still available, Chrissie's medium Velez Light Adventure Smock. Someone must need this bargain buy.