Sunday, 29 July 2007

Simon's Seat with Nimmy

As Nimmy needed to be indoctrinated into the wonder of yorkshire, and as the weather was sunny for the first time in a month, we decided to go tramping with Mikey and Roo. The plan was to go to Malham and do the cove, tarn, Goredale Scar and Janet’s Foss, but after an hour’s driving we were still only in Harrogate (damn those people who live in inaccessible bits of central York), we decided to bale and only go as far as Simon’s Seat (again!).

For a bit of a change, we parked at Barden Bridge and walked the opposite way from normal along the Wharfe to the usual path up onto Barden Fell. Everyone enjoyed the steep climb up to the moor(!!),

and then we had fun playing on the rocks. Nimmy managed not to be blown away in the wind!

After some lunch, we headed south across the fell and along the edge of the valley where the Great Agill Beck flows. This is one of my favourite types of landscape - high, rocky paths through gorse and heather where there is only more fell out towards the horizon and the sky seems to dominate the view. Add to this a fern valley stretching below you and you can’t really beat it.

We ambled down the path, slowly losing altitude (and being grateful that we didn’t come up this way), until we reached a forest plantation – big cool, fir trees letting dappled light to the ground. It was wonderful to get out of the hot sun and cool down a bit. Ian said that it smelt of France, and it did smell quite wonderful - all warm and piney.

Then it was into the highlight of the walk – the Valley of Desolation. It was quite desolate. The path was over grown and step as we clung to the valley edge, gradually eeking our way down to the beck. The other side of the valley was stark and steep and could only sustain grass and a few precariously sliding trees. We stopped at the bottom for some tea and listened to the beck cavort over rocks and boulders.

Then came the easy part – over meadows (alongside what must have been a great waterfall could we have seen it) back down to the Wharfe. We followed the path a little to the south to cross at one of the Bolton Abbey maintained bridges and use their very fine loos. We were also compelled to buy ice cream – just to contribute to the local economy of course! The we wandered back along the Wharfe along the west bank, admiring all the trails and sculptures maintained by Bolton Abbey.

The Strid was very fine – a torrent of water tumbling through a narrow ravine – but if it had been the aim of my walk, I think I would have been disappointed. Maybe it needs more water. Then it was just along the meadows to the car for a welcome cup of tea.

Nimmy, if you click on the image below, it will take you to the albumn containing some of the other photos which you can download if you fancy. They are prettiest to look at in the slideshow mode.....

Simons Seat

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Team Racing

At 7:45 am, having spent a large proportion of the previous night rewiring a lighting board socket, on recieving a phone call from Hugh to say that his lighting board was now not working, and looking out into the rain with the knowledge that the BBC was predicting a whole 5mph of wind for the day, driving 90 miles north to Derwent Reservoir for team racing didn't sound terribly enticing!

But we went, and good fun it was too! Despite the constant drizzle, it only really rained properly on us a couple of times, and we hardly noticed as our attention was more closely focused on going as fast as possible and destroying the opposition!

There were four teams in total; YRISC, one from Scaling and two from Derwent. As per usual, the OD was slightly random - rules appeared half way through which hadn't mentioned at the start (apparently, going through the starting gate on the running leg was not on), and some of them favoured us (all the lemmings in our race were disqualified apart from us!), but I think that we missed out on even finding out about half of them.

We calculated that we had won 4 out of 6 races - having beaten one team on both attempts - but somehow that meant that we finished in last place.

But it was really good fun, especially in the last seconds of the final race, when Ian and I careered along the finish line on a starboard tack yelling at the top of our voices at the line of GPs on port heading towards us. Chaos ensued, and there was a ridiculous amount of tacking into each other's water, but by the time we were all over the line there was raucous laughter from every boat! That's what team racing is all about!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Wet Walks!

Tom, Mikey & Tassy, with Roseberry Topping in the distance

In order to make sure that we're able to participate in long hikes when we go to Canada, we decided that we should make sure we do plenty of walking beforehand. However, the weather being what it has recently, these have largely been soggy affairs, resulting in Tassy questioning the waterproof qualities of her walking boots!

For the latest of these aquatic adventures, we decided to involve some up/down-hill and not just along, as this is likely to be the bit that results in pain & suffering if unpractised. So we decided to do a walk up Roseberry Topping and along to Captain Cooks Monument, on the top left corner of the N York Moors. This was a walk we had done once before on a VERY cold, wet & windy February day. However, despite being mid-July this time, both the cold, wet & wind were all present in disturbingly similar amounts!!

Wet Walk!!

As before, we all nearly got blown off the top, and took brief shelter in the lee of the hill to drink some tea before continuing (Mikey and his brother Tom, who accompanied us, are both Tanin addicts and required a fix!).

Tea at the topMuch as wet walks are fun, we decided to cut it short by a third in favour of getting back to the ice cream shop before it closed, for a very fine '99' (who says you can't eat ice cream in the pouring rain?!) and several quarters of various boiled, sugared sweet-shoppy goodness, which they also sold inabundance (we plumped for dolly mixture and strawberry bon-bons).

All in all, a fine walk!!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Busy, busy, busy

What a busy day! At 9:30, I was singing madrigals to accompany the St Luke's coffee morning. It was actually really fun - six of us ploughing through our old favourites and some new ones, and then bashing out some jazz standards. They weren't quite so successful - although my sight reading isn't bad, it does sometimes rely on the fact that I know what it is supposed to sound like. That way, I can take a good guess, and know if I'm right pretty quickly just due to whether it sounds right or not. But when we are singing fruity jazz chords, and I don't know how the song goes anyway, I've got no idea whether the modulation that has been effected by my bluesy notes was intentional or not!

Then Ian and met in town for the fearsome task of shopping. We couldn't go home until I had posh shoes that could be not only worn for a wedding, but also ceilidh-ed in, and we both had suitable fancy dress for Roo's Buffy the Vampire Slayer party. Shoes were dispensed with pretty quickly (thank goodness!), but fancy dress took rather longer. It didn't help that every time we had an idea, we had to retreat to Borders to look up the character in a book to check that we hadn't missed a vital detail.

We literally gulped down some pasta and pesto at home and then drove to Emma and Neil's. They are making a crazy move to Luton (our friends have all the best taste in towns!), since Neil has got a new job in Watford. They are off on Monday, so there was just time to say goodbye and have our 3 monthly Ethan viewing! He's almost 1 now, and is actually like a real person.

Several games of cow racing on the Wii later, we dashed home, into fancy dress and out to Mikey and Roos. Ian wowed the general public with his interpretation of Buffy, and I was scared by how at home in a dog collar Jim looked! We all sang the musical episode really loudly (and at times tunelessly), and a good time was had by all. We didn't have time for any kitten poker - maybe next time.....

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Adventure! Adventure!

Route Map

After much debating about how much holiday we had left, whether we could fit any time off around work commitments or if what money we had, we eventually agreed that we didn't care about any of the above and decided to go on an adventure!

Having crossed that hurdle, we then entered into the even more lengthy debate of what to do and where to go to do it. This was a typical Tassy & Ian extravaganza with lists of pro/cons, costs, considerations, baseless assumptions and the like!

Eventually it was whittled down to two options. But which one to choose? A trip from Seattle across Idaho and down to Jellystone and then back across through Nevada and Yosemite to San Francisco; or a round trip from Seattle up into British Columbia to Yoho and Banff, up to Jasper and back down through Vancouver?

The first one was the original favourite, but gradually we came round to the (more expensive!!) option of the Canadian trek - the "Mountie" (see I think the thing that finally swung it was the included overnight Canoe trip, where we pack all our camping equipment etc. into canoes and paddle down Clearwater Lake to a remote beach where we camp for the night!!

We've also added 3 days in Seattle after the trek so we can do such things as overdose on caffeine whilst sampling the million varieties of coffee and visit the Centre for Wooden Boats ( where you can hire out beautiful wooden boats by the hour and go sailing on Lake Union!

So it's booked - an 18-day adventure!