Camping, Walking, Castles, Two thirds my perfect holiday

Well my last post was all about the walking holiday I have just been on and many of you may say that, that was no holiday. Where is the beach or the pool, the cocktail bar, the sun etc. Well I’m not into any of the usual holiday spots and I do quite like the idea of hiking and walking and looking at the wonderful country we live in soaking up our rich countryside and heritage.

Now on the holiday I took last week, it was one of my first proper camping experiences, and while I feel I will not go it alone just quite yet, I did rather enjoy it. Not as much as staying in a hotel, and having a wonderful cooked breakfast and being able to fall into the shower but none the less I did not grumble and if I am to carry out the next holiday plan in a cheap manner then camping is the only way.

That holiday is again walking, but with the added obsession of mine Castles. Wales is littered with them, and before 2012 I wish to have explored most of them. The northern shore has been done, and thanks to last week I have now completed one of the mid/south part of Wales. Therefore I am now planning a camping holiday that replaces walking with looking at castles, and trains, bridges, and canals just to make it ultra geeky.

The following posts will be filled with the castles I wish to visit, and the start of this grand plan. What is worrying is the amount of people who also wish to take part in this little adventure. Not that I am complaining, as I need the people with tents and sleeping bags but most important of all I need the good company of my friends.

So who knows within the next week or so, I may be setting up camp waiting to visit many a castle.

I’m now off to read all about the castles I may visit at some point in the future.

Under Cavas, 3 Peaks, Several Castles, Motorway through City and Still Snowdonia Rules

Well if you have managed to get to the end of that very long impressive title, then just put a thought into me, and how I feel after the past two weeks. Earlier in the year I came out and said I had not had a holiday in over ten years, and so in March I decided to switch the phone off and pack the car and drive to Snowdonia in Wales. Five months on, and 2011 seem to be my year for taking breaks, as I have now clocked up six get aways so far with the latest two supplying the backbone of this delightful blog.

Day One

Day one was to be fun. I thought it would just be a drive up to Fort William, a whole six hours but never the less it needed to be done, otherwise my mate would be sat outside his tent all sad and lonely and would have to climb Ben Nevis himself. He had decided to  set off at stupid O’clock to get up there, to miss the traffic, I decided to leave at 10 O’Clock to miss the traffic and so after filling the car boot with my other mates camping gear, off we set.

The drive was going well, and the weather for once was holding out for me, as you may remember in past posts, when ever I’ve travelled on the M61 and M6 the rain has decided to fall, but this time it remained dry. However my bladder had other ideas, and the a stop was called for in my usual service station on the M6 North.

As I pulled out from the station a little engine light appeared on my dash, and being the driver who can’t ignore a little rumble or tick I had to pull over to get it investigated. So an unscheduled 3 hour stop in Carlisle was on the cards. The nice people at VW run a shuttle bus into the city centre, so you can have a look at what turned out to be a very nice city.

Now my thoughts of Carlisle up to that day, had been pretty empty with images of a dirty town. How wrong I was. Its lovely and I’m sure when the sun shines it sparkles. Our first trip was to head to the castle, and how nice it is to. I played the amateur historian once again and reeled off several what would become incorrect facts to my friend. The castle was a lot older than I had thought and the town and the keep had an extremely long past.

After a quick look at the station to watch some trains come in, and take pictures for my train nut friend, it was time to leave. I was quite disappointed by this as at 15.15 a steam locomotive would be pulling in to this wonderful ornate station.

After a long drive and the most peculiar motorway in Britain, and I am off course referring to the M8 that seems to drive not around but through the historical city of Glasgow we were on our way, and at 7pm we had arrived at the campsite.

Day 2

The next day at stupid hour we forced ourselves up and began the walk. Now if I was by myself I would have just carried on walking up and down, but with company, I tried to slow my stride and start topics of conversation. Now Ben Nevis is a pointless mountain, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was the biggest in the UK then no one would give too hoots about it. The view was nice in places, the walk up was dull and long and was extremely man-made for tourists, and the cloud filled summit put pay to any kind of achievement. We made it back to the campsite within seven hours which the notice board had instructed was the average time.

With this we headed off into Fort William, where a quick fill up off petrol and some scram and we were on our way to the Lakes. Now I’m not a big fan of the lakes, but the next mountain would change that. The trouble was I had to get their without falling asleep. My mate kept on over taking and getting in front, but we had the last laugh as we turned off on to the M74 where he just carried on (the reasoning is still unknown why the his TOMTOM did this), so ended up some miles ahead of him. We only realised this when he had sent a message to us commenting on the monsoon just after Glasgow. We had already driven though that about 30 minutes before which was not fun, and it still amazes me on the amount of people in hazardous conditions like that who still refuse, to reduce there speed and increase the distance, and turn on their lights.

As we drove through the lakes being stuck behind slow-moving cars, trying to overtake, or driving on single track roads, with horses and sheep in the way, my eyes were beginning to fall. We made it to the campsite, with a toilet about a mile aways from the tents, and no showers, but we had drink and a BBQ and that was all that was needed.

Day 3

I awoke to bright sunshine and a clear blue sky. It was 5am. I hurried off to the WC, and climbed back into my sleeping bag not in the WC I had off course walked back to the tent before I carried out this action. I had a feeling that this day was going to be a good one. When I woke again at 7.30 the sky had decided to darken, and the sun was replaced with heavy rain. the day could not get any worse. That was until my friend locked my keys into the car. Luckily my break down cover had just become active and after a 100 mile round trip the nice mechanic got in and unlocked my car. I was now determined to climb the pike no matter what, and so in the afternoon, we set off and clambered our way up the to the top.

Rather than boring you into the climb itself, I will post links to my friends site who details the walk. All I will say is that I kept on stopping as my legs were not in the mood for another climb and my other friend shared the same feelings. He even commented the next day that the best bit about the walk was the conversation about tax. Our other friend went striding ahead, while I took it slow and stopped to examine the rocks and the formation of the hill-side, after about half the route, we were getting into a rhythm even thou that meant, walking for a minute, stopping for 2, we were still making progress.

By the time we got down, food was in order and we decided another night would be spent at this campsite rather than the original plan to drive to Snowdon, as it was now late, and the thought of pitching a tent at 11pm was not an encouraging one.

Day 4

Off we set to Wales with a little detour to Barrow for a cooked breaky. We only did this, because I saw a sign that said Lancaster 40 miles, Barrow 9, and I was hungry and knew they had a means of cooking food. So I tried to get my mates attention in the car in front to tell him the new plan.

Now Wales is mine and my car and tent buddy favourite of all places. We joked it was like we were returning home. We talked about which path to take up Snowdon as there are several, and this was decided when we all arrived into Wales. We drove to the start of Pyg and Miners and then scooted down towards Watkins to examine the path there. Now I had done all but the Watkins route and this was the course we decided to climb weather permitted. All which was needed now was a Campsite. There are loads of these littering the landscape, and both me and my mate knew which one we wanted to stay in, but we still suggested other areas, before setting up camp underneath Tryfan.

The soil smelt like raw sewage, but luckily there was a strong wind to blow it away, unfortunately this was bad news for our other traveling companions and their giant tent which almost blew away. After a fifteen minute slog of all hands on the deck we had secured there home for the night in the strong wind.

Day 5

This would be the longest I had ever taken climbing this mountain, and it was mainly because I had company. After a quick indication into the car park, only to see that it was full, I quickly re-directed my route to the Park and Ride further down the pass. We spent about five hours walking the route and stopping to look at the views. my friend and I concluded that Snowdon rules out of all three, my other companion preferred the Pike I think, but he also prefers the Lakes in general as well. There is something about this mountain that I adore, and love, it has a strong hold on me, and a power which causes me to return. After talking with my friend, we both agreed, that the lure that draws me back could be down to the fact it is my first mountain I can remember climbing and ever since I got the train when I was a kid, I had wanted to climb her.

After lots of stopping and taking millions of photos of the train, we were back on level ground, and it was off to Harlech to see one of my favorite castles, and walk along a very nice beech. With this it was time to say goodbye, and the drive back to Manchester, but with a quick pause to do a focus session and a meeting in Manchester I would be getting back in the car to drive to the Brecon Beacons.

Day 6

This is really Day 6 of a holiday, but it just makes the whole boring blog flow better, rather than putting Day 9, and having all you 3 readers go ‘what! Where did day 6,7,8 go?’

I picked my camping buddy up again, who had decided to forgo the train and hitch a lift with me, and so off we went at a steady pace of 60 mph which was making excellent results for my MPG, as by 200 miles I was had still not used half a tank. The MPG would go out of the window come the drive home, as the entire M6 was at a standstill, and the nice 2 hours from Birmingham turned into about four.

As we got into Wales, he decided on pointing out all the castles, and at one point I told him to keep an eye on the road as I turned my head to look at the castles myself. If there are three objects that would cause me to have an accident, they would be Castles, Bridges and dogs. In fact the week before, I told my friend, that every time I shouted dog (which would happen on more than one occasion and would often follow with me looking at the cute cuddly creature, then my passenger would shout ‘Road!’ this worked quite well, as he didn’t have much of an interest in mans best friend, but he seems to like a castle as much as the next man, and when I’m the next man, that is quite a lot. On this particular occasion, when I shouted out, keep and eye on the road, he was still busy trying to spot the old brick fortress as well, so for a while my little polo was flying solo.

We made it to the campsite and had burgers and cider to celebrate. The pitch was some way from the showers and the loo’s, so you had to time when you needed to go accurately, and incorporate the time it took to walk into your decision to go to the loo.

This camping trip was different from the week’s before, it was more laid back and casual, there was no rush to complete anything or to be anywhere, if we had woken up at 12, we would have done a shorter walk, where the week before we were aiming to be up and down mountains and at the next campsite, as we only had a limited amount of days to compete it all in. Therefore the drunken mess that occurred on the evening of Day 6 would have been very out-of-place on the previous days.

Day 7

We awoke, and started walking, and because we didn’t need to be anywhere the 16 miles walk lasted for a good eight hours, plus there were parts which were an absolute bitch, and made the mountains last week look speed bumps. I spent a large majority of the walk, with my heart pumping, as I have a phobia of sheep, and at one point as we entered a field filled with the woollen things, they all started to move, making that horrific noise, I was quite motionless. To picture the scene, imagine Jurassic Park, or a stampede of Wildebeest then multiply it by 1000.

We returned and had a good old pint in a pub then went back to the campsite to shower, being lazy according my friend I decided to drive to the shower block my friend decided to hitch a lift even after he had made the ‘Lazy’ comment. We returned to pub and had more pints followed by food and even more pints, followed by a good game of cheat, that still amazes me the amount of people who don’t fully understand the rules or the aim of the game. To put it simply it is to cheat, get rid off all your cards, by cheating, if you can’t go, because you have no fives put a seven down and say its a five. Easy! No?

Day 9

Was home time, and like with the lakes, we diverted our path and went in search of a Morrisons Breakfast, before heading off home. Myself and my companion, made another detour to a castle and we both wished we had more time to explore it, as it was an extremely interesting place.

To conclude, some of you may remember I posted a blog several weeks ago about the 3 peaks, and saying it would be a first real camping trip and I was unsure about the whole experience. Well in all honestly I did enjoy it, the people, the walks, the drives. I am now about to plan another camping trip where we do a spot of castle hunting and try to do all the castle I possible can. It was never the sleeping in tents that I had issues with, when it came to camping, more the fact of not having a telly in the room, or a hot shower a stones throw away. I don’t ever think I could do it by myself, not yet any way, so when my friends are all busy, it will still be hotels for me, but when there free, I can see me setting off and pitching in some field some where. The sweep stake is on, on how long it will be before I buy me own tent.


Ben Nevis

Scarfell Pike


A summary

Well it has been a mad three or four weeks in the life of me. Lots of stuff has happened. Lots of relationships have been formed. Many a good night and day have been had. Some very bad days have also followed, hearts warmed and broken but here I am on the other side and about to start the next chapter in this book they call life. So what did happen in the chapter titled June and July 2011.

It started off by working on Music Boxes for Manchester International festival. For those who are not in the know then this was basically an idea to place thirty plus shipping containers at media city and turn them into performance spaces. The ones that were cut open and stuck together were never waterproofed, and the Manchester rain decided to test how tolerate we were. The Manchester sun also decided to pay a visit to test how much heat we could take. If it wasn’t roasting in the tin cans then it was a mad dash to move the electrics out-of-the-way from the deluge of water that found away in through the cracks. However the children had a good time, and new friends were found and relationships grown from people who I had only seen as work colleagues, but being stuck in a container site for fifteen hours is like touring, to learn a hell of a lot about those persons and friendships are formed and made stronger.

In two off the containers we had a Belgium from my favourite city in Europe. Oliver was a legend. the only people who topped him was Ali from Teacup who helped me to put any weight I was shedding by cycling into work everyday with all the nice ice cream and gooey chocolate brownies he stocked, and the wonderful Italians, on whom I will be paying a visit, as every night with them and Umberto in particular ended in a mess. They also entertained during the day.

There were several late nights and with start times of 8 in the  morning, being faced by several shows and 150 screaming kids I am surprised we got any work done rather than finding a darken space and sleeping of the festival hang over but we managed it, and rewarded ourselves by getting invites to several after show parties with free drink and food.

I  achieved sleeping of the festival hang over today, as for the first time I slept till noon. To make myself feel better I decided to go for a run. Now I have been testing my foot and trying to nurse it back to health for the last several weeks as I am running the Great North Run, and today I managed a whole 6K with no pain. I hope it keeps it up. I am looking forward to running those 13.1 miles. I almost withdrew as I had been offered a job touring the country that would have meant travelling from Newcastle to Norwich to start work at 7am on the Monday. With some clever planning I worked out a way, and accepted the job. Emailed to get list of tour venues to find a reply saying ‘Thanks but we have given it to some one else’ but at least I can continue with my running and focus on my sponsorship.

The wonderful work colleagues I have spent time with have already helped me raise £35.00 so only another £550.00 before I meet my target. For those who wish to help in this raising money lark, then you can either text LDEX73 (with the donation amount £10 or £5) to 70070. Or you can click on this link

During the work and playing, I also got to see some wonderful shows and meet some very famous people. Dr DEE was rubbish and hopeless, it upsets me to even spread the news on what a terrible opera and theatre show it was. I however did enjoy the wonderful Dr Who show from PunchDrunk, I would not have paid the £25.00 to see it, but never the less it was a good show, luckily I got comps.

I now as I write this, feeling a little disappointed, and down due to some things I won’t go into, I am also feeling very excited as I will be driving up the old motorway to Fort William to climb Ben Nevis and then back down to do Scarfel and then over to Snowdon. It will also be my first proper camping trip, which I am a little nervous about. But I will give me foot a rest from running and batter it to death with walking over 40K up hills and across country and then when I return I can push the training hard as I only have 2 months left before I am at that start line, and hopefully something will come up and I will have good news to tell my friends.

Here’s to the next chapter.


Now this is not about my close friends. This is about those group of humans that for some reason you shared something in common at school. I was a little bit of a loner at school and it wasn’t really till 6th form where I came into who I am today and met lots of new exciting people, who accepted me and introduced me to new music, films, comedy etc. They were a good two years, with a good holiday abroad. This time would be ended when we all went to uni.

The majority of them went to Lancaster or Manchester, and would often travel home at the weekends. Often I would come home at Christmas or Easter and catch up with them. ‘Seen any films recently? I would ask. Yeah we went to Parrswood. Would echo the reply. Now I lived right next to Parrswood and not once did they feel it would be a good idea to text or phone informing me of the plan. To them, even those that were studying in Manchester it seemed such a large place that was miles away from Macclesfield. Where Parrswood was near Stockport and therefore near there home town. Where in fact Parrswood is next to Burnage and Didsbury and is closer to where I use to live. Not that those who had gone to Manchester ever phoned me to meet up. Thats a little unfair, one did.

Now this post comes out of the fact that when ever I do pop home I get hassled that I should come home more and we should all meet up more. Now this seems nice, what I recent is the fact that I’m the one doing the travelling. Why can’t they travel to Manchester to see me. Oh hang on, this is why the issue grates on me, they do… They just don’t tell me. There have been stag doo’s, Birthdays, trips to the IMAX, meals, shopping trips, concerts, all of which we could have met up before, during or after and nothing not one phone call, just found out later in the year about it when I go home to see them and ask what you been up to?

The reason why I have now decided to write this, is because I was enjoying a drink at the Town Hall, where across the crowds I saw what resembled some people who looked liked my Macc mates. I went up to investigate further and I concluded that they were indeed my mates from back home. Pleasantries exchanged, the conversation ended with them saying, ‘We’ll have to meet up properly again soon when you’re back in Macclesfied’ I gritted my teeth and agreed. The sheer fact that they were up for the Chorlton Beer festival and didn’t even acknowledge I was about pissed me off, this was only enhanced by the fact the greeting started with “What are you doing here” eer I don’t know I live here, so I’m having a drink. If I was back in Macc and bumped into you, I wouldn’t ask what they were doing there.

Maybe these people are the reason why I respect and love my friends that I have now and get so peed when there not about. But it really does annoy me that it’s a 40 minute trip and whenever I’m back home I also text them, when ever I’m going to a city or town with work, I always phone or let people who I know who live there know I’m coming in case they want to meet up. I don’t just stomp about on their playground and then when I see them instruct that they should make more of an effort to meet up, and text them when I’m back in Macclesfield for a drink.

The sad truth is, when I did last meet up with them, I felt a felling of emptiness and started questioning what we had, and still have in common. It’s funny how you move on from friends, but still hold them in high regard as they were your first closest mates, whom you shared a common pain with, that of growing up.

But they say your friends for life you meet at university, and now you have developed as a person, you make friends not because you both find history exciting and you’re rubbish at P.E and are considered to be nerds and have just happen to be placed in the same classroom or form so decide to forge a friendship on shallow facts, you form friendships on a higher level.

Mates come and go, friends will always be around.

Whats been happening!

Well I’ve been working like a dog that is for sure. Over the past what feels like a month but as turned out only to be two and half weeks I have been pulling 15-16 hour days, feeding cable through, running the site, tripping the power operating the shows, acting as front of house. Within that time I have been coming home and in bed by 10 and up by 6.

Some of my friends pissed me off when they tweeted about their long tech week…. which would have mostly consisted off sitting down. I was also quite annoyed that a message on Facebook too several of my friends was sent out trying to organise a get together. It didn’t materialise as I knew it wouldn’t and this caused me to be quite angry for some reason. I even twitted ‘Fuck my friends’ which one brushed off knowing me and the situation the other text me to ask for more info.

Anyway there is now a week left to go on my contract and the house is a mess. I’m looking forward to getting into Marko and driving on my favourite of all roads the M6 to Fort William, and then back down to the lakes and finally to the best holiday destination of mine the wonderful scenic landscape of Snowdon National Park.

But what about you running I hear you say. Well, my foot is still there and is still in pain. I have been keeping it iced and rested, but have also now started to do some small runs on it, so we will see where it goes. My sponsorship is at 4% of my target, which I am of course a little bit upset about but hopefully it will pick up nearer the time. My new work colleagues have all agreed to sponsor me, so hopefully that should push up the target a little bit

Anyway not much to update as I have been a busy bee and as such have neglected the house work, so need to pay some attention to the state of the house.

Bye for now.

And so it begins

Today I had a run, and the training began. My foot is a little sore after the short 3k run, but at least it is not as bad as it was.

I have been keeping my fitness up by cycling to work, so hopefully come September I will be ready. The short run today I found was easy, and was not tired, so give it another couple of weeks I should be back to running 10K very soon.

The sponsorship is going slow, so once I get into my training scheme I can start to focus on raising all that money so start to get your wallets out please.

Anyway got to go, see you soon.