SUN 27th March - Bike, Rugby, Bike, Rugby, Run

Luckily today we did not fall foul of the clocks going forward and managed to get up in plenty of time.
A brisk 12 mile (ish) ride to Rugby with my son, and a jolly fine game.
His team turning over the opposition in county competition 69 - 5.
Unfortunately I was told that there was no room in the car for me to return, because Lucy was off to collect a carpet from my Mothers loft.
I need to clarify this now. My mother does NOT have a carpeted loft.
It was our carpet that we stored up there about 4 years ago.

Anyway it meant I had to bike it back home.
Weather pretty OK, so I took the scenic route via hill and dale. I say hill and dale, but this being Cambridgeshire, this means finding a suitable contour.
Actually as you sneak to the Suffolk border, you can take in maybe 2 or even 3 contours.

Luckily back in time to watch the Northampton Saint's v Wasps game.
Thankfully a resounding Saints victory (especially after the last few matches).

It is at this point that dog reminds me he has not been out.

So back down the Fen again, with Mut and camera to partake of SPRING.
The blossom is just beginning to appear, and the fields have that early green tinge to them.
Indeed it was almost mild today.

When spring comes the little birdies tweet and frolic and look for a mate.
It doesn't always quite go to plan.

'Ready or not here I cooomm........Shit!'

You know who you are!
In current temperatures it would be hard to spot an offence!

Crispus Bagus Discardus
The snow drops are gone, but we saw a lot of blossom and daffodils.
Also a few species that are becoming more common.

And Mindelessus Carling Discardus

Both of these and others like Fantus Orangus Discardus are all related to

Yobus Dimwitus Wankus who is becoming more prevalent in places of beauty, but does not have the ability or wit to know where they are or why, having been fed a continual drivel of banal mindless celebrity crap by the media.

So anyway, after gnashing our grumpy old teeth we carried on with our game.

"Will you stop throwing this bloody stick in the water!"
I didn't. Straight back in. He enjoys it I know he does he keeps bringing it back.

And at the end the daffodils are in full bloom.

So back now, just in time for everyone to go out again (except me), which is nice

Unfortunately more work next week, and I really must cut the lawn, and re-roof the workshop, and knock down the old shed, and get rid of the old guinea pig cage, and sort out my phone, and .... Oh Grief!

The lawn is important so that I can pitch my tent and check it all out before the Challenge.



Thu 24th March 2011

I try to add a bit of humour and tongue in cheek stuff to the blog, but this is not the time.
I was not happy to find this out. Especially on my birthday week.
The scale of the scoped Wind Farm in the Balmacaan's is truly monstrous in both concept and morality. 
I have been fortunate to walk through here once before
after a tip from Mr Sloman who exalted it's beauty.
He was not wrong

This year I plan to go back. Originally I was going to go to Drum via Eskdale Moor, but now I am definitely going to do my Balmacaan route. I'll leave Eskdale to another time unless they bugger that up as well which is highly likely.
Even in mist with poor visibility the Balmacaan's have an aura about them, and I would agree with Humph's comment on the message board. If you can go then do so now before the moment is gone. It is a magnificent and sometimes spectral place. Sadly I have few photo's due to camera battery issues, but I have put some on and grabbed a couple off Geograph to show the beauty of this magnificent place. I'll be taking extra batteries this time.

I will repeat now an earlier comment I made on Alan's blog.
If you went into the British Museum with a sledge hammer and started smashing things you would get arrested for criminal damage. This is no different other than the fact it is endorsed by BIG business, Vote grabbing politicians, Greedy landowners, and is being bulldozed through (excuse the pun - not intended) with cunning handouts, and spin.

So if you are not sure whether to go have a look then have a peek at some of these images, and also at some of Alan's photo's on his blog.

Loch na Beinne Moire

River Enrick
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Roger McLachlan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Ford on tributary of the River Coilte
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Roger McLachlan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Loch a' Mhuillin and Meall a' Chrathaich
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Rob Woodall and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Loch Liath
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Loch nam Meirleach
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Rob Woodall and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Allt Bhlaraidh
The Allt Bhlaraidh carries water from the small reservoir, Loch Liath to another small one, Bhlaraidh Reservoir. The distant hill with a telecoms aerial is Sron na Muic the eastern top of Burach.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Trevor Littlewood and licensed for reuse under thisCreative Commons Licence.

Just a glimpse of a truly breathtaking, beautiful, wild and primeval place.

What will it all look like in 10 years time, and what will the next generations understanding of wild places be?




Mon 21st Mar - So Green it make one see RED

Having just read Alan's blog, it is NOT just the Scottish Hills.
Down here in the Fens they are also building a Windfarm.
They have used all the same hype and subterfuge and given wads of money to local councils.
Soon here as well, one of my rides will be marred by bloody great towers of so called GREEN Energy. 
But if you read their blurb, they are GOD's of goodness and light, and all the Greens consider it wonderful. That is because many of them never venture out into the real world.
Well that might be a sweeping generalisation, but it sure appears that way.

Here is our local blot on the horizon, and here the horizon is very flat.

My map of the approximate area

I am also impressed with how they cunningly disguise their map with a rather poor quality image. See how the names are almost impossible to read.

And look how wonderful it is (apparently)

You can see the whole sorry/cunningly worded saga here 
And Alan's PDF that he found HERE



Why does the office martyr struggle in to work?

You know who I mean. The person who is so sick and full of germs they feel the need to struggle in regardless (because they are so bloody dedicated), so that they can transfer their germ ridden nasal snuffling and germ sowing coughing to everyone else. 
A crime compouned by the modern open plan, badly air conditioned office.

'I could have stayed at home but I have so much to do and no one can manage when I am not there. (INFECTING THEM YOU ARSE). 

Cough Cough, sniffle sneeze.

What was the song
'Coughs and Sneezes spread diseases .........'


Nope, now within a week another 6 people will have it, and stay off work (hopefully).
Man hours saved by Typhoid Dan = 8
Man hours lost by Typhoid Dan's infection over the next 2 weeks = 40+

Well done you F*£$!ng Hero.

I'm off for a sit down.



Sun 20th Mar 2011 - A little ride and a little run
A little later today with the rising, mainly due to No 1 son (only son actually), having survived sleepover to watch UFC woke early only to crash on sofa. No 1 son is actually only son and would usually be playing rugby on a Sunday, but is currently recovering from rotator cuff and nerve damage injury to right shoulder. This is a problem with being a Flanker. He could have been a footballer and thus been able to feign injury whilst recovering from Prima donna syndrome,  but no he had to play a proper sport.. (I'll get stick over that one). 
Anyway, No 1 wife (currently only wife due to not being a bigamist or Mormon [note I am not saying that they are the same ok]) was selling cakes to raise money for Canada Rugby tour 2012, so breakfast duties fell to me.
So today's activities did not happen until after 2.00pm. The morning spent in domestic duties, (that's my interpretation), and slobbing about, plus selling my soul to Vodafone for 2 years for my daughters new phone. 
I am considering getting a cash slot surgically placed in my forehead. There are other options for the placement of this, but due to an earlier issue with Piles (let's not even go there let alone post images), the head seems a better location. Also this will stop me worrying about the economic implications due to removal of essential worry neurons, during the insertion of said cash slot.

So come 2.30 (ish) bike is ready, and I decide to head off to somewhere. This is difficult, because after the shock yesterday of discovering a CONTOUR, (Yes you heard it right) on my route, a lot of careful planning was required.
It was decided on a shorter route, because later the DOG (remember him) would require RUNNIES (that's like Walkies but a bit quicker), down by T'Mill.

So I headed off into deepest Reach and Swaffham to try and find a real WINDMILL.

The route went to Lode and then along the Fen River Way.
This is interesting because the river, which is Swaffham Bulbeck Lode is higher than the surrounding land and track.

It would be a nicer ride if you could actually cycle along the levied bank, but although you can walk along it, the track is 2½m below the top of the bank.

On the way to Swaffham Prior you can see from the track the great Swaffham Plateau, which rises to nearly 10m above the track.

Some say that on a misty night you can sometimes see the Old Grey Man of Ben McA'Swaffham.
Actually I might be getting that mixed up with somewhere else.

Anyway, remember the Windmills? Well, I did find one in Swaffham Prior. Indeed two.

Now as far as I can make out these old WINDMILLS have a distinct advantage over WIND TURBINES (da dah daaaaaahhh!).

Firstly they were used for something that benefited much of the local community. And also after use, they can be converted into either a tourist attraction or even a domestic home. To add to this, they were NOT built in clusters of 20 or 30 or more.
I fear this will NOT be the case with the dreaded turbines.

It was a nice little bike ride and I got back just in time for everyone to leave (apart from the dog).

Later that same day ..........

The sun was going down on the Fen horizon, and number 1 dog (yep you guessed it, only dog), was waiting to be taken out. So as the sun set, we wandered down by the Mill (yet again).

I could only find this little stick

It's reet purdy at dusk.

So over and out. Have to go and do some work for the rest of the week to help pay for Harriet's phone, and my children's taxi service.

Happy Days....



SAT 19th March 2011 - A jolly nice ride to Wicken Fen

Lucky I am writing this here, and not on the Challenge message board. I would get accused of being on the wrong board. Imagine asking about lightweight waterproof jackets on a message board about the Challenge, and then saying I wanted to use it to run and cycle in.
I'm over it now, it was weeks ago, and I did get the Montane Litespeed jacket. Just perfect for my needs. 

What can I say about the rugby! Bloody horrible, wasn't worth coming back to watch.
Ill disciplined, and embedded in the set piece. A fine example of why the current academy method of bringing on players , and their lack of ability to play what is in front of them when the set piece plan fails. I could go on and on, but it would just depress me. 
It is like the world cup cricket, again we will rely on another result to enable us to win the 6 nations. The fact we are relying on the French to help us win is even worse. We are going to go to New Zealand and beat all those Southern Hemisphere teams. Pah!

Read a bit of Chris Townsend's book last night.
Definitely worth having on your bookshelf. Packed full of good information and photo's, and a must for any hill walking in Scotland, and an excellent pre Challenge read.
The writing style is a little clinical at times, but do not let that put you off this very good book.

So anyway, onto my bike ride earlier today which was excellent.
No dog today, he went off with Lucy. He's so fickle, just because she had some dog treats.
I knew a girl a bit like that once, and I don't mean she was a dog, she went of with someone else who had treats. I guess they had bigger treats than me, but that's another story!

Headed off from Bottisham at about 1.30 from the heady height of 9m. (part of route above)
It is road to Swaffham Bulbeck, Swaffham Prior and then Reach, but after that track and trail.
The weather was Spring sunshine, from Reach there is now the new Cycle route via Anglers Fen, 

Anglers Fen

and new National Trust bridge 

View from the new bridge crossing Reach Lode
then over the lode to Adventurer's Fen & Burwell Fen where the height plummets to -5m.

Adventurer's Fen
The new path is nice easy going, a far cry from the muddy boggy track of 2 years ago.
Much of the land in Adventurer's Fen is being reclaimed as natural Fenland, by stopping the pumps from draining them. This is still in progress, and is part of an active plan to reinstate natural Fenland and develop a wildlife sanctuary. A far cry from the Monadhliath mountains where the opposite policy of destroying wilderness for the sake of economic gain. Is GREEN the new BLACK in Scotland?

View fro the bridge crossing Burwell Lode to Wicken Fen
I had a very interesting conversation with an old farmer whilst standing on the bridge talking about how things had changed over the years. Just before Christmas he had been skating in this river, and in his youth had often skated from Wicken to Ely along the rivers and Lodes.

There is an abundance of wildlife in the Fens, and today the reed beds shone in the sunlight.

New River near Wicken

The old track from Burwell Lode to Upware sits in some really beautiful marshland.

At Upware there are many narrow boats, and even here, the land either side of the road is marsh.

About 40k by bike through easy cycling and some beautiful landscapes.
I enjoyed the ride, but it was not worth coming back for the rugby.

Maybe Wales v France will be a better match?

It wasn't!