Saturday, 16 February 2013

Another Place

Went over to Liverpool today to see Joe.  Called in at Eighteen Bikes in Hope on the way to buy a new tyre for the bike, after yesterday's aborted ride up to Stanage pole, where I couldn't get any traction in the snow (took an hour an half to get the office).

Redmires yesterday morning

The track to Stanage Pole

By this morning more of the snow had melted but someone had dumped a pile of cotton wool in the Hope Valley.

Hope Valley this morning.  Win/Lose hills, MamTor
and Kinder Scout on the horizon

We drove out to Crosby to see Antony Gormley's cast iron men on the beach, in Another Place.  I've been wanting to go here for some time now.

Reflective Man

Sinking Man

Green Man

America is that way, Man

Reflective Man (again)
Being cast iron, they have been quite aggressively corroded by the salt water, resulting in very flaky skin.  They are solid but eventually, I suppose, they will just rust away and there will be no indication they they ever stood here.  Some are farther out and were half submerged.  They are quite extraordinary and wonderful.  It is altogether a quite extraordinary place, with the cranes of Liverpool docks so close and the hills behind the north coats of Wales off in the distance.  It should like to visit them in the summer.  I imagine the feel of the place might be quite different.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Not TGO Challenge Preparations

I was feeling fairly relaxed about our planned Fort William to Montrose cycle until I started reading on blogs that the Challenge was only 13 weeks away.  That means our trip is only 14 weeks away.  Eeek.  We haven't been out on the bikes for nearly a month, so as soon as this snow clears it will be time to man up, I guess.

We're still grappling with the logistics of getting the bikes and trailers to Fort William  and the car to Montrose.  The current plan, such as it is, is to drive to Glasgow where Hilary will take the car onto Montrose and I will get the Train to Fort William.  There I will hire a van, drive to Montrose to collect her and the stuff and we'll drive back to Fort William and return the van.  And then the fun will begin.  It's not an ideal plan but better than trying to get two bikes and trailers by train from one end to the other. 

Before all of this however, we will be heading over to France with the bikes for Easter, making a return trip to The Vosges, where had a few good days cycling last March (some of it in snow).  I never did get round to blogging about it but here are a few pics.

Snowy forest trail above Belle Hutte, Vosges

Lunch Stop
Chillin out at the bottom of the Belle Hutte ski lifts
Above La Bresse
Creux Chêne refuge on Le Circuit des Chapelles, Val d'Argent
A chapelle on Le Circuit des Chapelles
Me trying to get closer to Jesus.  He's perched on the top of the pinnacle but my faith (in the rock) wasn't strong enough!
French Hairy Vaches - but it feels strangely like being in Scotland!
At Easter you need to beware of giant chickens
...and scary rabbits

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A blustery walk

Looking out of the bedroom window this morning to see the trees leaning over at a jaunty angle and birds whizzing past at excessively high speeds, I decided to abandon the idea of a bike ride and go for a walk.  The walk turned into a bit of thrash though the trackless expanse of heather and bogginess behind Stanage Edge and known as Hallam Moors.

Heather.  Spot the bunny.

I startled a hare in its white winter coat as I plodded though this lot and it startled me.  Battered by the wind, my cognitive processes seemed to have slowed down and I couldn't to begin with understand why there was a cat up here.  Anyway, it ran off before I could get the camera out.
A walk just isn't a walk without a stream to cross. 
The tiny blip on the horizon is the shooting hut I was aiming for

I was aiming for a shooting hut, just near to Stanage Edge but it never seemed to get any closer.  In the end I opted for some schoolboy geometry and dropped a perpendicular from the Edge to me and took that as a bearing to aim on, as being the shortest way out of this mess.  At times I was tempted into the sedge, which looked easier walking than the heather but I just ended up with wet feet.

Stanage Edge near Crow Chin

I could see walkers in the skyline and eventually reached the edge after going though an interesting and not at all pleasant wind speed curve, which got increasingly steeper as I got closer to the edge and then dipped down as I walked underneath the updraft before picking again right on the edge.  I suppose I should illustrate this with a graph but, trust me, it really isn't worth it.

One of them cup things.  This one is no. 12.

Stanage Edge

The plantation at Dennis Knoll and part of my cycle route to the office (on warmer days)

I stopped to peer down at High Neb Buttress (VS 4c) which I led about 25 years ago and thought that I probably wasn't going to do it again.

High Neb Buttress

The hard bit, as I recall,  is getting off the ground and that's followed by the scary crux which has poor gear.  Well it might be OK with cams but I didn't have any of those fancy mechanical things and relied on good old hexes and rocks.  Then again, the first ascent in 1915, by a Norwegian called Ivar Berg, was probably done in nailed boots and used no gear at all.  He solo'd it!

I stopped by the steps down to the Plantation area to watch a couple of mountain bikers ride down.  Well one of them rode it and the other walked.  I've yet to do clean descent of this.  I always wimp out on drop just before the corner, never quite trusting in the physics.  This chap did it with quite a bit of style, I thought, especially given that his mate was standing in the way, right on the corner.

Then it was past the Pole

A lonely looking Stanage Pole
and down the Causeway back to the car, home and soup :)

The Causeway (now closed to 4x4s) down to Redmires

6 miles and 700' (ish)