30 June 2012

ARDF in Oldham - It rained

It rained in the morning

and more in the afternoon

Strange how the black ink does not run but all the other colours do.  I finished using "map memory" once all the contours and vegetation merged into one.  During the 80m race I heard the approaching thunderstorm over the radio waves - the crackle of lightning strikes gradually approaching - certainly concentrates the mind on getting finished in good time.

"Oldham became the world's manufacturing centre for cotton spinning in the second half of the 19th century."

Not least because the unrelenting damp climate and high humidity helped prevent the cotton yarn from breaking during spinning and weaving.

24 June 2012

Wigmore Rolls, Cross of the Tree, Yeld

Following on from the birthday helicopter flight over Croft Castle I took the opportunity of a window in the weather to go for a jog around Wigmore Rolls

It was very nice indeed - here is a link to my photos


and here is my route

Looking at the area on Google Earth and scrolling back through the years I think it is now the best it is going to get. Certainly better than several of the other forests around. There are some nice runnable patches of oak woodland, former coppice and mature conifer. Bramble and bracken free except for the south facing slope near White House Farm and a contiguous block of woodland - good for course planning - my circular route was 7km by GPS.

Still nice going even in late June. There are also lots of interesting gully and hollow-way features and one rather nice tumulus (a watch post I think from its position). The wood to the south looks nice - but it is all steep and not in public ownership.

Putting the issues of permission aside, parking would have to be in Wigmore Village with a walk in via the castle (I only saw one other set of tracks - if you don't count deer, rabbit, badger etc. - and the maker of these assures me that the strip between the castle and the main wood is nice open forest.

I don't think it is going to be practical or cost effective to map this to modern standards - but I was able to navigate around using the 1:25000 map
Why don't we do it the old way - get the paths and tracks and major vegetation in - this would be very quick using Google Earth (in historical mode) and then a car load of mappers for a couple of day to sketch in the small paths and some of the brown features.

We would need to get in fast as I notice some of the timber close to the road has been auctioned off - so felling is about to start.

and then a short drive to

The sign says "Cross of the Tree" - interestingly someone has been playing because it points you the long way round

As I sort of expected it is a cross roads with a big, old, tree.  Still in use as a notice board.  There is a letter box and a telephone box (traditional, red, looking for adoption since 2009)
 Once you are across the A49 its another world

Cross of the Tree - there are three "Yeld" Woods within a couple of kilometres - Pritchard's, Black and just plain Yeld Wood
What was Yeld?  There is Weld (Reseda luteola)which was a dye plant. Yeld is northern/scots dialect for a cow that does not bear milk - that can't be it. I guess it might be some alternate spelling of a Welsh word but it sounds plant/herb to me - and there is lots of evidence of monastic settlement in the area.

Yeld, Yeld, Yeld - I am just going to have to go back and have a look

A special birthday present

A 50th Birthday present from the Anderssons

I chose Shobdon Airfield - as this whole area of Herefordshire I know well, have run up most of the hills and worked close by for 4 years

RFTM - waiting for the engineering checks - note the test equipment "1965 or later United States Quarter-Dollar Coin"

Were away - its a bit windy and I am not going to get my hands on the controls until we are a lot higher up

Titterstone Clee Hill

Heading for the Kraftbury factory at Marlbrook

There is is - I worked here from 1986 to 1990

Its a Sunday - so only the operating shift in - and there is that new evaporator - the model it is replacing is my age.

Up the A49 - the Leominster Bypass was not there when I started work

Clent Hills on the horizon - better weather than Thursday

Bircher Common - a lovely place to live (if you can afford in) - I spend evenings mapping here in 1989/90

Nearly done - there is Shobdon Airfield

Straight lines - public right of way, curved lines - big boom on the crop sprayer

To stop the rotors - pull the brake handle
Don't even attempt to fly passenger one of these if you weigh more than 16 stone/100kg/220lb

The flight was with Tiger Helicopters

23 June 2012

Mille Miglia?

...and this is 40 miles of town and motorway driving after filling up
Stopping at Croome Landscape Park I noticed this impressive figure - and my Volvo is the size of a whale with a 2.4 litre engine and the aerodynamics of a brick - must be that 65l fuel tank or maybe my careful driving (famous last words)

Mille Miglia? : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mille_Miglia

21 June 2012

June Washout? June Jaunter!

Every year since 1983 Harlequins have run the June Jaunter - a run over the Clent Hills.  I have been running since 1987 and tonight's race was the coldest and wettest I have even known - and for the first time the clouds were down over both Four Stones and Walton Hills...

A cold and wet Peter, marshaling at the 4-stones

It is mid-summer and that is Robert Vickers (organiser and competitor).  Robert is 20 years older than me but as we have 29 years of results I know that I am slower than he was at my age... more training required.

Pat Pay - Ex Harlequin.  Fastest time 30:32 in 1990 - exactly the same time as son Richard.  I note this year that Richard was given a head start.

It stopped raining and for about 5 minutes the summit was above the cloud layer

Looking towards Hagley Park* - We are only about two miles from the Black Country conurbation.  *No not that one in New Zealand - this one

Marshalling at 4 stones - I met the manager for Wetherspoons Oldbury (one of their most up market establishments) - Simon says I should pay a visit and while enjoying breakfast I should be a witness for his staff that he is capable of running all the way up to the top from Halesowen.  The restaurant is right next to where my family were living 'between the wars'.
My fastest time was 21:02 in 1990 - when the record was set (Barry Parkinson 18:59 which is stunning for 5km on rough paths and about 210m climb and descent)

20 June 2012

A little ambulatory therapy

or "I can't believe we are so close to Birmingham"

After several days of rain - the sun came out - and the meadows were looking stunning

Hazel coppice in Coalpit Coppice

No idea what this is - there was a lot of it about

Looking South West toward Pershore from Line Hill

I was wrong - this is Ragged Robin - it was getting windy and dark by now so I decided to make the motion blur an artistic feature

What is this vine - neither Black nor White Bryony.  Nor is it that unidentified vine from Kingley Vale.  If it is a grape then it is a pretty funny one.  I think it is a Hop

After two false starts (The Bell - Ladies Night and The Manchester Inn - rundown and not inviting) we came across the Swallows Nest in Romsley - it is part of a chain but the (overworked) staff were excellent and so was the food.  Above is my tomato soup.

The place was heaving - being the first decent warm and sunny evening for weeks (and it did not last) so I had to wait a bit for my poke belly, black pudding, apple ring and mustard mash - really very good indeed

Here is our route.  Chaddesley Wood has limited access - several parts are closed to all visitors - but it is still well worth a visit.  Dodford - diffuse village on the lower right of the map was a Chartist Settlement.

16 June 2012

Turn Marshal @ Parkrun

Not up to running this morning - so I volunteered to help at parkrun Cannon Hill

Quite daunting to have 300 folks charging towards you 60 seconds after the off.

Normally volunteer marshals do a lot of shouting-encouragement and clapping - but the folks in the house near my turn have complained that is disturbs their sleep-head teenage offspring (this is 9:15 on a Saturday after all) -  so I limit my self to calling out positions for the top male and female runners (for which I was, later, thanked)

I did have the chance to observe, contrast and compare runners and running styles

With most of the students gone away for the summer the elite were thin on the ground - some really uncomfortable looking running actions - and lots of looking-over-shoulder at the turn.

Strange how tiny 10 year old moppets easily outrun most of the twenty- and thirty- something ladies - is it low muscle fitness/strength combined with excess weight - or possibly confidence?  There were some father-son combinations running hand in hand and an amazing number of runners carrying water bottles - on a 30 minute outing - surely will make no difference - again this seems to be a generational thing - I see it at work - folks never without a drink in their hands or on the desk.

Colin Spears at Cannon Hill Parkrun

 There were a couple of Harlequins running - Colin Spears and Mike Abbott (who was also up for a session of British Military Fitness)

10 June 2012

..and so to Blenheim for Tri...

We are Blenheim, enjoying Capability Brown's lasting legacy...
...but what is going on here?
and here - surely when they dammed the river this sort of activity was not uppermost in their minds

It was the Blenheim Triathlon 2012

Erik was entered as a "surprise present" - 6 months of suffering and 100,000 calories burned in training...

Erik says "you can see my goggles and swim hat falling out of my wet suit sleeve. It was one of the tips in my Tri book to stick them in the sleeve. Did not work!"

...and here is the full photo album...

Tri-Erik - click the picture to open the album