Saturday 16 December 2017

Cheviot wander

Recently Mike purchased an all singing, dancing winter sleeping bag. Of course now it had to be tried out in suitable conditions!
A trip to the Cheviots was planned. Given the sub zero temperatures being forecast, it looked as if were in luck.

 It was a gentle walk in and finding a suitable spot that was fairly level, had gorse and thorn bushes to offer a modicum of shelter and with running water close by we set up camp.
It was still fairly early in the day and the rest of the afternoon was spent drinking tea, snoozing and reading. There was a smattering of snow, sleet and freezing rain during the night. In the early hours of the morning the temperature plummeted. My water containers had ice in them. The tent froze, condensation on the inside and moisture on the outside of the flysheet meant that the tent was rigid with ice, interesting?
Having found a suitable spot for the tents, we decided to stay put, do a round of a few local hills with a light pack and return. Unfortunately I was forced to turn back after almost fainting. Blood pressure problems. At differing times in the past I have had both high and low blood pressure. Mike continued on while I headed back to the tent. Very frustrating, I had been looking forward to that walk. Mike returned early afternoon and an easy afternoon was had by all.
Tuesday saw the temperature rising and by Wednesday the weather was on the change. We walked back to the College valley by a circular route. Freezing rain, hail and wet sleet came sweeping in and a second breakfast in Wooler seemed a good idea. More winter trips are in the pipeline.

A few photos from my daily perambulations.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Quiet interlude

Things have been quiet here on the eastern coast. My swimming has continued, although of late it is more of a dip than a swim. This is partly due to a few early winter storms. It can be a tad intimidating, even in the shallows, when the big rollers come crashing in.

Grey morning, surf building up.

Mind, it is getting chillier. A week or so back I took part in a small charity event in Boulmer. Part of the do involved a swim in the sea. There was a blustery north wind whipping through the car park were we got changed. Temperatures were given as 3 degrees. Sea temperatures were rated at seven degrees. A few of us opted for a dip, just to show willing. A case of in, get wet, a quick dip and out. Hot soup and such were very welcome afterwards.

Receding tide, Boulmer.

Mike, Lucky, the intrepid dog and myself gave up any idea of spending a night on Lindisfarne. Parking restrictions every which way. Instead we spent a night at Ross Back Sands. Quite a chilly one too.


Recently I have upped my miles a wee bit when walking over for a swim. The average mileage was roughly seven miles. Now I sometimes increase it to ten.
Cozy dog!

Fishing boat, Blyth harbour.

There is little else to report. A couple of winter trips are in the pipeline. Winter gear is being sorted out. With frequent cold northerly winds sweeping the east coast, warmer clothing is called for. Friday is the first day of December and I shall be in for at least a quick dip.
 Stormy skies.

A heavy surf, big rollers breaking on the beach.

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Skinny dip plus.

Things have been somewhat quite on my front recently. Most of my walking has been local walks. Some walks, around five or six miles, have been combined with a swim.
After a layoff of many years, I find myself to be somewhat weak swimmer and lack confidence. However, I persist
Over the last week I found myself in a couple of challenging dips. Big seas and large rollers.
On those occasions i stayed in the shallows, playing tag with the crashing waves.
Wednesday evening saw me going in with the  swimming club. Friday, early morning, around six forty AM, saw me joining a few club members for an Autumnal Equinox swim. Chilly but a beautiful morning. In a mad moment, I then participated in the club's normal Friday swim at eleven in the morning.. it was a case then of nipping back to the flat to finish packing. Mike and I were off to Ross Back Sands for our annual pre skinny dip bivi.

The Saturday was largely spent drinking  tea, reading and maybe a spot of snoozing. Mike and Lucky headed off for a wee walk while I stayed with our stuff.
On his return, Mike went for a dip. Over the last few days I had been experiencing a few problems with my balance and my legs have given out once or twice. Possibly this is due to a recent increase in my medications? Wanting to make sure I was ok for the skinny dip, I avoided doing anything strenuous and that included swimming.

It was pleasant bivi though, despite a bit of condensation. Our day was enlivened by the flights of geese passing overhead. Skein after skein filling the sky. The air loud with their gabbling and chatter.
Saturday afternoon saw us setting up camp at Druridge Bay in  preparation for the dip in the morning.
A night of little sleep, quite a few folk like to party. However, Mike and I were conscious by five in  the morning.  A cup of tea and in the early, pre dawn light we headed off to the beach. Crowds were already crowding the narrow strip of beach. The tide was high and there was a bit of a swell.
As the sun peeped over the horizon everyone stripped and hundreds of naked bodies hurled themselves in to the briny. Shrieks of laughter and cheers filled the air. It was a good dip, one I enjoyed. My actual time in the water was not that long, roughly between fifteen to twenty minutes. Unfortunately I did not manage much on the photo front. Mike, over on, has far better photos.
All in all, it was good fun. A big thank you Mike.

Just to round things off, today's conditions for swimming. Also, with a falling tide, A fairly large  swell was running.

Monday 11 September 2017

Lleyn Peninsula

Recently John Jocys, re JJ, a squeezebox virtuoso  from the depths of Manchester, had spent some time backpacking on the Lleyn Peninsula. Impressed by the rugged scenery, he planned a return visit. This time Mike, LTD, (Lucky The Dog) and myself were invited along. After a flurry of e mails, dates and times were agreed upon. John was bringing his caravan and we had agreed to meet up in the village of Llanystumdwy. Mike and I arrived mid afternoon in the village. Checking out the caravan site designated by John, we found he had not yet arrived. Further enquiries indicated he had not booked either. Despite a very poor signal, Mike managed to contact John, he was still on his way. We decided to check out another caravan and campsite in the village. Not marked on the map, with less facilities than the larger one, but cheaper too. That is were we ended up.
  Lunch break stop on the way to Wales.
Looking over toward the Mersey.
It began to rain as we set up camp and we retired to JJ's caravan for tea. The rain, heavy at times continued all night and on through the morning. The original intention had been to leave the cars and caravan on the site while we spent a few days backpacking. The rain saw those plans being scrapped.

A very swollen river by the campsite.
The decision was made to go for linear walks instead. By early Tuesday afternoon we set of in light drizzle. Leaving one car in Llanbedrog, we then headed on to Abersoch. From there we  headed back, starting with a lovely beach walk.
Stranded jelly fish
A lovely beach stroll.
It was then a steady walk up a leafy lane, turning off to head up to Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd.
View back toward Abersoch.
The rain had stopped as we approached the trig point. The sun filtered through the clouds. A bench provided an excellent place to sit, enjoy lunch and admire the wide open vistas.
A long, steady descent saw us heading back to Llanbedrog. Once more the views were excellent.
Llanbedrog is well worth a visit.
The tide goes out a long way here.
Wednesday saw us navigating down very narrow roads to leave one car at Aberdaron and the other at Whistling Sands, our starting point.
The first thing we found was that the coast path signs were, at times inaccurate and vague. Some pointed in the wrong direction, others had us struggling to make sense of their directions. The maps and the actual signing often at odds with each other.
 There was a blustery wind blowing but the views were excellent.. The countryside here is reminiscent of Cornwall. Small fields enclosed with earth and stone walls, all laid out in a higgledy piggledy fashion.
Following the coastline here does mean a fair degree of ascent and descent.
Mike having a map reading tiz on Mount Pleasant?? Lucky just chills though!
A variety of fungus were quite prolific in many areas.
On the last couple of miles, with time getting on, we abandoned out attempts to follow the coast path, taking to the road back to Aberdaron.
Thursday saw us using just the one car. Our destination was Rhiw. Initially we started off following a sign posted circular route. However, we wandered off for a lovely wee scrambly walk up a rocky rib. There is actually a path marked on the map. Faint on the ground though. A hill fort and hut circles are marked on the map in the area of Mynydd y Graig.
We follow a bouldery rib.
Heading up through the rocks.
Our meandering led us up to the trigpoint on Mynydd Penarfynydd.
 We headed back following part of the coastal path. A fine walk.
All week I had been hoping to fit in a swim. Having finished our walk early, we headed off to Porth Neigwl. Hell's Mouth in English. A westerly wind was blowing directly onshore. Large breakers were rolling in from quite a  way out. Notices warned of dangerous currents and rip tides. It did not feel safe to risk going in on my own. Mike and I settled for a paddle instead.
The bay, Hell's Mouth.
On Friday it was just a case of packing up and heading home. Many thanks to John for the use of his caravan as a tea drinking, food cooking and eating base. Thanks too for the ginormous breakfast butties.

Figure above Llanbedrog.


Possibly a chapel? Llanbedrog.
Large slugs abounded on the campsite.
Trwyn y Gwyddel in the distance.
More fungi
LTD, Lucky the dog.