Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Walking Yorkshire : Washburn Valley

The river Washburn runs in the next Dale north of Wharfedale, much of the upper valley is dammed to provide drinking water for Yorkshire, the valley is an attractive mix of steep moors, woods and water. There are four major reservoirs on the river Washburn, Thruscross, Fewston, Swinsty and Lindley Wood, all owned by Yorkshire Water.

There is a walking site on Yorkshire Water dot com which even has an mp3 download section for the Swinsty walk.

It's an overcast day today, but warm enough and still, the clouds give Swinsty a gunmetal look.

I parked in the West car park and walked through Swinsty Moor Plantation to the water's edge, across Swinsty Embankment (the 'dam') and around the reservoir, then into the woods at the eastern edge.

I kept my sandwiches for myself, unlike this generous chap seen trying to feed a sizeable flock of Barnacle Geese.

These ruins are on the south side of John o' Gaunt's reservoir and are known as John o' Gaunt's castle, they are the remains of a medievil hunting lodge built for the 1st Duke of Lancaster.

Gorse flowering on the banks of Beaver Dyke Reservoir. At the end of Beaver Dyke I left the Dales Way and headed south for Scargill Reservoir where I stopped and ate my lunch.

I have to admire our recent ancestors, when they built this reservoir there was no need to make any part of it as ornate as this bridge, it probably cost a lot more for all the stone cutting and carving and to put the matching top pieces all around the reservoir, but everything they built was made to be attractive and fitting as well as fucntional. I doubt that similar structures built today would have these pleasing lines or look so complimentary to the natural landscape.

Further on from the reservoir there is a collection of ramshackle huts and a radio pylon.

What strange experiaments were carried out here ? There was a distant rumbling, the sky darkened, I blinked and looked again......

......and then hurried on, away from that dark place.

On to the road for a short way to the Stainburn Plantation car park and to Little Alms Cliff.

It says on the map that there is supposed to be a cup and ring marked rock here but I had a good look around and couldn't find it, there is, sadly, plenty of more recent vandalism though. Hint for vandals, if you have some artistic talent and are about to add something to the environment, go ahead, if on the other other hand you are a mindless fuckwit, please do not scratch "Tez woz ere 06" all over the bloody rocks.

Part of the plantation around the Norwood Edge Transmitter has been recently cleared giving the ground a sort of post artillery bombardment look and feel, lots of big ruts covered by branches that you can easily sink thigh deep into.

There is a good view from the cleared area across to the Yankee spook base at Menwith Hill.

This tree in the fields below Scow Hall Farm must be the most popular local feeding spot for woodpeckers. Scow Hall farm is also home to Organic Dales Yorkshire Dairy.

This bloke is an annoying prat, he's been buzzing around various farms all afternoon, flying very low, flying backwards and sideways and generally just being a dick. You don't make friends by hovering in a noisy helicopter over barns full of nervous dairy cows, idiot.

Then it's back along the shores of Swinsty, this is a Great Crested Grebe on the reservoir, I watched it for a while whilst it dived for food, it could stay under the water for quite some time and would often re-appear over a hundred yards away.

This walk was about 19k / 11 miles, it is mostly on good paths with hardly any steep climbs, this area is on OS Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley.
I Think I'm Turning Japanese Emo

Now don't panic, but the little music chart above reveals that I spent some time last week listening to the highly emo My Chemical Romance. I'm alright though, I don't feel at all like self harming, or sitting in my bedroom for hours writing bad poetry and crying that nobody understands me.

I have seen this stripy pullover though, and do you think fingerless gloves would suit me ? What about a really long scarf ?

It's not OK, I promise. (<-- MCR pun there.)
Safe And Secure ?

How awake are you first thing in the morning ? I'm often a little bleary and muddled until I've been up for half an hour or so and got a mug of coffee inside me. However, my first job here at the club every morning is to open up, so when my alarm goes I get dressed, stumble round the building in the dark and open the doors and then remove the security post so that people can use the upper car park.

Yesterday I thought the padlock on the post seemed a bit stiff, it had been sticking a little the previous night when I locked it, so I gave the key a bit of a twist, and the bloody thing sheared off in the lock. It was only when I went back into the lit kitchen that I noticed I had brought the wrong set of keys with me, therefore the key that I had just broken off wasn't the right one.

Mrs YS had an early appointment at the nail salon, so I had to wake her up and tell her she might not be going unless she was going to walk to Burley. Mrs YS phoned Duncan, head of greens staff, who laughed like a drain at my idiocy, and who then came to our rescue with a pair of bolt-cutters. Just seeing how quickley those cutters got through the padlock makes you think though, if someone is determined to get in, it really is diffcult to stop them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yorkshire Soul's Quiz : Series 6

Yes, it's back already. I'll try the first quiz here on the main site, please play nicely and DO NOT PUT ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS!!

The rules are.....

Don't provide lists of possible answers.
e-mail your answers to on/by Thurs 8th Feb
All entrants go into the league table and the new % score table, two ways to win this time!

The first round then, identify these 10 classic, or not so classic, sci-fi movies from the picture provided, to make it just a tad harder they're all in black and white, have fun.











Good luck.

Please don't put answers in the comments, the quizzes take a bit of time to put together and it just spoils the fun for all the other players, e-mails only please.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tonight We Will Be Serving Flambeed Bees

Problem Bees ?

All you need is.....

- 30 feet of rope
- 1 large barbeque
- 1 science project board
- miscellaneous rags and a bedsheet
- large quantities of dangerously flammable liquids.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ted Nugent Is Gay ?

Say it isn't so. I found this rather oddball Christian site trying to steer 'the kids' away from gay music, I don't agree with some of their choices so I've sent them a helpful e-mail to clear up a few points.......

"Hey Donnie !

When I went to see Marilyn Manson he got hold of one of those light sticks and shoved it up his arse, is this gay ?

Also on your gay list, Ted Nugent ? You must be kidding, The Nuge is surely the least gay bloke on the planet, Cat Scratch Fever ?

Motorhead ? As Lemmy says in 'Shake Your Blood' - "I like to see the women naked, I'm not in denial."

Hope this helps,

God Bless, Mike J"
Book Review : Exultant - Stephen Baxter***
Destiny's Children Book Two

Much like Coalescent, the first part of this trilogy, Exultant works just fine as a stand alone novel. It is set in the same time line as the first book, but twenty five thousand years into the future.

Mankind is locked into a seemingly endless war with the alien Xeelee race, the war has been fought across the galaxy for thousands and thousands of years. Humanity in this far future exists only to wage war, and at the grinding, billion killing face of the war are the fast maturing child soldiers, bred to die.

Baxter has a good look at the issues of war, its pointlessness and endless waste of life, but, this is rather a weak book. My physics isn't quite up to scratch for this, and for pages at a time you get bombarded with fairly complex astrophysics as Baxter explores possibilities for the birth of the universe and relationships of space and time. Hard going in parts and it did detract from the story.

The story is, Star Wars with time travel, oh yes, there's a giant joke, supermassive black hole = death star, even down to puny human spaceships firing their weapons in one desperate attempt to destroy Darth Vadar the Xeelee.

Woven in with the main story is a possible birth of the universe scenario, which does make sense in the end but does also rather come across as an afterthought, like something the author thought "Hey this is a good idea" and started to put it in half way through the book. As always, this contains a super abundance of clever ideas but in Exultant they don't come across as well on the page as they have in some of Baxter's previous novels.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Land's End to John O'Groats 3
Poundstock, Cornwall

All this exercise, why am I not as thin as a lat ? It must be all the wine and food I consume. 26k travelled by hiking, rowing and x-training over the last two days gets me to the village of Poundstock.

The name of the village comes from the Saxon for cattle enclosure, and a cattle fair has been held in the village on Rogation Monday for as long as records exist. The village church is dedicatd to St. Winwaloc, a church has stood on this site for around 14 centuries. In 1357 the assisstant curate, William Penfound, was murdered by pirates, his body was found in front of the altar and local folklore claims that his ghost is sometimes seen around the church.

Tragedy seems to go hand in hand with the Penfound family here, Kate Penfound tried to elope with John Trebarfoot, but her father caught up with the fleeing couple and in the ensuing swordfight all three suffered fatal wounds.

This charming little image is a painted warning to Sabbath breakers from inside the church.

Before dinner there should be time to look around The Gildhouse and see how the restoration of Cornwall's oldest church house is coming along. There is even a small cinema, The Rebel, if I find the time.

For dinner (and accomodation) tonight, I might pop in to Bangors Organic Restaurant, slow cooked rabbit marinated in olive oil, thyme, juniper berries and orange, with dressed green salad leaves, then char grilled 7oz local (Trekennard Farm) sirloin steak with pan fried field mushrooms, sautéed potatoes and stir fried mixed spring greens followed by treacle tart with clotted cream, mmmmmmm goood.

Total Distance Travelled = 120 kilometers

Rowing 54k
Walking 19k
Running 9k
X-training 10k
Cycling 28k

This is where I have got to on a map of Cornwall.

Poundstock on a map of the British Isles.

This series....
Part 2 Cornwall St Teath
Part 1 From Land's End

This wildlife photography lark (see, bird pun there!) is harder than I thought, I managed a semi-decent shot of this Dipper having a bath in the Wharfe, but oh dear, the list of things that flew away before I could get close......

Collared Doves

Perhaps I should consider getting a coat that isn't fire engine red when I'm trying to stalk wildlife.
Storm Damage

Trees ripped up and snapped in half along the 11th fairway at Ilkley Golf Club, well at least none came down across the course, that would have been hard to shift with the ground as wet as it is.
Betcha Tony Bliar Won't Like This Site, that's right, someone is setting up a Wiki especially for leaked government documents, not much on it yet though.

I suffer for my art I do. I'm lying there on my belly, on the muddy grass at the side of the path, breathing out to make the shot look all misty and neat when this voice says...

"Are you all right ?"

Little old ladies can really creep up on you.

Walking Yorkshire : Ilkley Moor, Addingham Moor

The first walk of the year, the weather is fantastic today, cold and crisp, still without a breath of a wind until you get onto the very top of the moor, perfect winter hiking weather.

Home turf for this walk, around the well trod Ilkley Moor.

Standing stones in the Darwin Millenium Gardens on the edge of Ilkley Moor.

The wireless station at Whetstone Gate on the top of the moor.

This is the edge of last summer's burn, but lots more damage has been caused to the moor by vehicles. If you can see in the photograph, there are numerous tracks and channels made by vehicles which have churned up a sizeable patch of the moor above Cowper's Cross. I have no idea why this should be, surely the ground can't have been dug up by vehicles fighting the fire, the ground was too hard for that. Only 4WD's and tractors could drive around up here, can anyone shed any light on this damage ?

On other parts of the moor there is more ongoing damage caused by bikers, it's quite obvious that some people are out on the moor in wet conditions and they come downhill with their brakes on, skidding all the way. A group of five or six mountain bikers can easily tear all the grass off a path in this manner. There is quite a bit of this damage on the paths leading up the moor from the old reservoir building opposite the old college building.

Burnt heather.

Fire damage on Ilkley Moor. After last summer's moorland blaze there was some knee-jerk fundraising which gathered a pile of cash to go towards regenerating the moor. In my experience, nature tends to heal itself fairly well, granted, if theis were a forest then it would be handy to plant new trees, but on a moor, won't nature just find its own way ?

Even in the worst parts of the burn there are signs of life.

This is right in the worst part of the burn, and even in the middle of winter (or such winter as we've had anyway) nature is repairing itself, there is moss growing all over, small shoots of grass are showing here and there and tiny plants like this are begining to reclaim the black scar at the top of the moor.

Perhaps te money raised last year would be put to better use building some decent quality paths like those on well walked hills in the Dales, to stop walkers and cyclists causing further erosion damage to parts of the moor.

This is wreckage from a Halifax bomber that crashed on Ilkley Moor on Jan 31st 1944 after its crew became lost whilst trying to find Yeadon Airfield. The crash killed all the 4 Canadian crewmen onboard, the sole RAF member of the crew died from his injuries the next day in High Royds hospital.

There is a memorial stone further on that says this....""When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave life today".

Sheep in a barn on Addingham Moorside, its compulsory to take photos of sheep you know.

This walk was about 11 miles at a very steady pace, more of a stroll really, although I did get a sweat on plodding up Ilkley Moor. The weather made it perfect, if not for the hard frost then large parts of Ilkley Moor would resemble a marsh after all the rain that has fallen here in the past few weeks.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Interview With CJ Wildheart

Go here.

"Our last album, a lot of people said that it was too commercial, too poppy and they really wanted to hear the riffs, if they wanted riffs, once they hear this they’ll be sick of it, absolutely sick of it."

Not me, I love big riffs.
Beefy Beefy

This is what Ginger and Random Jon were on about at the gig the other night, he's taken a lot of E hasn't he ?!
Land's End to John O'Groats

Charting my exercise journey across the UK. A big session yesterday, 28k cycling, pushed me on to the village of St. Teath, where I'll stop for a pint at the White Hart and have a stroll around and a prayer in the church of St. Tetha.

St. Teath's sporting claim to fame is that the first recorded game of cricket played in Cornwall was played in a field behind the pub here in the village.

Tinted lithograph print of the church of St. Tetha by J Ferguson c.1880

Total Distance Travelled = 94 kilometers

Rowing 52k
Walking 2k
Running 9k
Skiing/X-training 3k
Cycling 28k

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My House

The clubhouse at Ilkley Golf Club, my house is sort of nailed on to the back, out of sight.
The Waters Receded

Do you remember the two bridges I posted pics of last week ? Well here is one of them yesterday....

If I had been standing here to take last week's photo, I would have drowned, what a difference a few days makes to the Wharfe.
Ice In The Sun

This is about all the winter we have had so far, to see some rather good ice patterns pop over here (Tame The Shrew) and scroll back to a post called 'The Artistry Of Jack Frost'.