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Blog (2016)

30 December 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, looking back over the year there have been some good walks. Probably the best was Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike in the Lake District. Moving house has cramped the walking a little but needs must. I have had a number of really nice emails from people complementing me on the website and/or thanking me for walks. I have replied directly to all such emails and these are really, much appreciated.

Unexpectedly and unsolicited, I have had three offers to buy the website. I have kept a note of the names in case I change my mind but at the moment, I do not want to sell. We never therefore got as far as discussing price but I doubt I will be joining the ranks of Bill Gates anythime soon!

I would really like to update the website to some more modern software but so far have not been able to decide which to use. Some advice has been to use Wordpress or Joomla but I have yet to research. No-one has actually complained but I would like to make the site more compatable with tablets and mobile phones, what I believe is referred to as having a  "responsive" website. Unfortunately, I am not a "geek" (no offence) so anything is going to take some learning. I could buy in expertise (as long as it did not cost too much) but I feel I would lose control then. Anyway, I feel if I managed to sort out MS Front Page with no experience, I should equally be able to sort out something else. My requirements are very straightforward and I am not looking for anything "flash". I work on the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid)!

To all who have used my walks, thanks for the support and happy hiking for 2017.

10 December 2016

You may remember that there was a campaign to buy the Lake District mountain Blencathra from the Earl of Lonsdale, the money to help pay death duties. After a long series of negotiations, the Lonsdale Estate found another way of covering the cost and elected to retain the mountain ownership. This left the Friends of Blencathra (FoB) "holding the baby" in the context of many thousands of pounds, raised in donations (including a small amount from me!). Determining what was to happen to these donations has been the subject of very protracted discussions with the Charity Commission.

Originally, only donations over £10 were to be refunded in the event the deal fell through and I think those under £10 were to be donated to appropriate charities, after deduction of costs. Also, lots of people said they were not concerned about their refunds and wanted the money to be donated to such as Mountain Rescue and/or other worthy causes.

However it looks as though there are quite tight legal restrictions on how money must be used or refunded.

As of 8 December 2016, it appears that all donations that can be identified, including those for £10 or less, will have to be refunded, less costs. FoB are awaiting final agreement with the Charity Commission on processes etc. Whatever happens, FoB must have quite a formidable task returning the funds.

It looks as though there will be a claims arrangement with anything unclaimed or disclaimed being the subject of an obscure legal process, the cy-près doctrine (French for "as close as possible"). In effect, this seems to imply that such funds can be redirected but only to purposes close to the trust's original goals. The trustees have to make a formal application to do this, I think to a court.

It all looks very much a nightmare. Presumably FoB trustees will have to be able to prove they have taken reasonable steps to let all contributors know about the process so one hopes they have kept adequate records! The clerical work involved must be tremendous. Very much a cautionary tale for anyone else planning such a project!

24 November 2016

Following suggestions from visitors to the site, I have created a Walking Time Calculator. This uses a remotely hosted spreadsheet. I will be stating the ascent/descent figures on future walks, where this is significant. I am starting to retrospectively insert this for previous walks on an "as and when" basis so it will take some time. I am starting off with the most popular hill walks and will then move to other hilly ones where the calculation might be more important. Feedback on how well it works would be appreciated so I can refine the calculations as necessary.

30 October 2016

I had an interesting question emailed to me this week; namely if one only has an OS grid reference, how does one easily find the relevant OS map. It struck me that I have never tried to find a map this way. I know the map(s) I want because I am going to a specific area, not trying to discover the right map from an abstract OS reference. The questioner had evidently emailed Ordnance Survey four times and they did not even seem to understand the question. My first thought was that I had no idea.

The OS website only invites you to "Enter location or map number". Now to most people, "Location" means a place name. However I discovered that if you enter the OS reference, the site does tell you the map. It would be helpful if OS added "or OS reference" to the box!

I mention this in case the information is of use to anyone.

12 July 2016

Ain't life a bitch! Was looking forward to a holiday in the Lakes this week to do some more walks. Car ready packed etc. Then overnight, laid low by some evil bug, so trip cancelled. This just after moving house so, all things taken into account, not a lot of walking is being done at the moment. Still, things could be worse - I could be a Labour party leader (not)!

21 June 2016

Never move house! I have just been through it and am still living in chaos. BT was a nightmnare to deal with and I had no service for a week, despite plenty of notice. Yorkshire Water on the other hand were a joy to deal with. With packing up before the move and trying to get the new place and its garden sorted, there has sadly been little time for walking so entries have been a bit sparse. I will get back to it eventually!

9 May 2016

Weird bubble nearly gone (see below). It is like having a spirit level in your eye - at least I know when I am stood straight! Vision gradually improving though eye bloodshot and not nice to look at. Wearing close fitting sunglasses when out to protect the eye. Stevie Wonder comments wearing thin!

4 May 2016

Had my eye surgery yesterday (see post on 30 March below). Floaters removed, cataract resolved and epiretinal layer peeled. All under a general anaesthetic as I don't think I could lie still for an hour! Needed a good sleep anyway! I now have this weird bubble in my eye, which should dissipate over the next few days. Cannot do any energetic activity or drive for a couple of weeks, so hiking on hold.

28 April 2016

Two new long distance footpaths due to be launched shortly:

1) The Ulswater Way. This 20 mile walk uses existing footpaths to circumnavigate Ulswater in the Lake District. It has been developed by a combination of the Lake District National Park Authority, "See More Cumbria and the Lake District", The National Trust, Eden District Council, Ullswater Steamers and the Ullswater Association.

2) The Welcome Way. This is a 28 mile circular walk, developed jointly by Walkers are Welcome in Otley, Burley, Baildon and Bingley in West Yorkshire. It is due to be launched by Kate Ashbrook, Patron of Walkers are Welcome, President of Ramblers, and General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society, on the first day of the Otley Walking Festival, 25 June 2016 at Otley Parish Church at 9:30am. A 50 page route guide will shortly be published.

2 April 2016

At the end of March, the bodies of Tim Newton and Rachel Slater from Bradford were discovered on Ben Nevis. The couple were well experienced, well equipped but had been swept away by a huge avalanche. Converseley, a few days later, one (admitedly contrite) Sara Albone climbed the mountain in trainers, clad in shorts and carrying only a selfie-stick and weekend bag, basically on a whim. She became stranded by sudden bad weather and but for being found by  climbers who gave her clothing and escorted her down would most likely have died of hypothermia. Temperatures down to -15C that night were likely.

Mountains are no respecters of people so you have to respect them! Take care.

30 March 2016

As I don't like endless scrolling pages, I thought it was time to rationalise my blog pages so I have separated my entries by year. In the unlikely event that anyone wants to track back, see table above. I could delete the old stuff but in some ways, it records the history of my site and I think of it as something of a diary. I have kept the "My Cabbage and I" page as a separate entity. It records my double heart by-pass operation for anyone interested or who might be having to go through it themselves. I know it is a mad title but the text explains the "logic". I have added a "QED" entry today.

Having thought I had had my share of operations, I now have to have one on my eye! The main reason is that I have developed a huge floater which was supposed to "settle down" according to a consultant I saw 2½ years ago. It has not changed at all. There are also now early signs of a cataract. Additionally, I have a slight contraction of the epiretinal membrane. This causes distortion of vision, especially for reading. So, whilst the surgeon(s) is/are in there anyway, they may as well do everything! Maybe I will have X-Ray vison afterwards. Superman watch out!

Maybe I will do another medical blog - "Eyes of March"?

Is it true a trainee ophthalmologist is a pupil? Are all female ophthalmologists called Iris? Such fun.

17 February 2016

Just returned from a great two weeks in Lanzarote. There is some superb walking there and the island seems to have discovered the potential tourist attraction for walkers as fingerposts are popping up all over the place. Between about October and February, my Lanzarote walk pages feature heavily in the statistics.

24 January 2016

The Lake District and Cumbria has been through an horrendous ordeal over the December/January period, because of flooding. Businesses are really suffering because some visitors seem to have virtually abandoned the area as inaccessible. Yes, the main A591 is closed to private vehicles between Grasmere and Keswick, because of a dramatic landslip but there is to be a park and ride service with pick up points at Keswick, Legburthwaite and Grasmere, operating via an upgraded forest road at Dunmail Raise from the end of January. The Lake Distrcit is open for business and you can divert round the blockage. Up to date information on what is happening where can be seen on the Westmorland Gazette website. Please do not foresake the area just because of the more sensational storys in the media.

All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.