Saturday, July 29, 2006

Norway, here I come!

ONE sleep left!!!

Yes - that's ALL there is, and I will be aboard THIS baby, heading for my dream destination - NORWAY!

I've been checking the forecast, and have all my fingers and toes crossed that we'll get clear days to take all the pictures. This will be my last post (cue bugle) before I go, so I'll no doubt have a picture or two to blog when I get back.

To all those of you at work -


Wednesday, July 26, 2006



Here are a few pictures of butterflies, taken in a NOT lovely position, but they ALWAYS look lovely to ME!

The bush they are on is a Buddleia.
If you can, set one in your garden - it will pay you dividends when you SEE the huge array of butterflies and moths it attracts!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

That special feeling

There's a very special feeling that only people who have done something like a long distance walk get. When you have tramped, day after day, from one side of the country to the other, and THEN.........THEN you see that glittering expanse ahead - well, I really can't put it into words how that makes you feel! Maybe this picture will convey it somehow?
Of course, for every up, ther's a down - natural really. You DO feel quite depressed when it hits you that the sojourn is over :-(
The best way to combat this, I always find, is to plan the next one! One persons view of how all this feels is at;
I have written several diaries myself on some of the LDP's (long distance paths) I have done, and intend to put them on here.........WHEN I get time!!! LOL
(NB - diaries are NOW on Blogger at;

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Some like it hot

I know it's a bit blurred - but I just wanted you to see how bl**dy hot it was yesterday, and they are saying it's going to get even HOTTER today - PHEW!
This was taken in my car around 1:00pm, and it remained at this temperature for about 3 hours. I think last night was one of the most uncomfortable of my life, even though I had a fan going in the bedroom ALL night, and lay on top of the bed.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Some like it HOT!!!!!!
And today, if you're one of those people, it was JUST right for you. For me - I HATE it when it's like this. Today showed 36C on my thermometer, and that held for at least three hours. Thank God for air con', that's all I can say!
As you can see by the forecast, it was only supposed to go up to 32C, and they are saying 34C for tomorrow, so I'm wondering what it really WILL go up to?

GOD Caruthers, the heat and the flies!!! (And those DAMNED native drums). LOL - well, that's how it feels here, it is REALLY hot (although my mate Ed in Utah poo-poohs our temperatures, regularly sending me HIS weather forecast, which has temp's akin to Hades!).
Yesterday I had a day off from walking, and went to the great Ashbourne Highland Gathering.
This event, in its 22nd year, is a dream if you like all things Scottish. If you don't, well I suppose it would be a nightmare. Me? I fell in love with the skirl of the pipes when I walked the coast to coast walk, and heard a lone piper playing in the Ennerdale forest. To me, it sounded ethereal, romantic, drawing and sombre. It REALLY fitted the scene. I was told later by my B&B hostess that he played there regularly because his wife HATED the pipes, and wouldn't let him play near the house! (Damned sassenachs!).
The day at Ashbourne starts around 10:00AM, and there are dances, highland games (watched over by none other than mr Geoff Capes, our very own strong man (retired). Geoff holds the record for tossing the stone, which is a bit like putting the shot, but a more 'pure' version, using a real stone. The record has stood for a very impressive TWENTY TWO years!!!! Now, when you think how many really strong men there have been in recent years, particularly the Scandinavians, that is some record!).
The day progresses with all sorts of side shows, from jugglers to magicians, folk bands to fairgounds, and ALL in a village fete setting. If you're within striking distance of Ashbourne, the date for the 2007 show is SUNDAY 15TH JULY 2007. WELL worth a visit. Put it in your diary.
The best, though, is saved until last. ALL the bands, from grade three up to grade one (genuflect here) mass on the parade ground, play before the crowd and the Chieftain Then, en masse, they proudly march through the streets of Ashbourne (closed off) and play their hearts out! God, the hairs on my arms are standing up now just THINKING about it! Anyway, there's a very old pub in the town centre called; 'The Green Man and Blacks Head' (not very PC, I admit, but I really care more for history than PC), and the pipe majors (they're the ones who twirl the fancy chrome sticks at the front of the bands) try to THROW their batons OVER the pub sign, which goes from one side of the street to the other, about the height of the first floor windows. If they successfully throw it over AND manage to catch it, they win a huge bottle of Scotch whisky. Those that dare NOT to 'have a go' are heartliy booed by the huge crowd that gathers to watch the specatacle!
It all ends around 7:00PM, and a damn good day was had by all.

Countdown to cruise - THIRTEEN sleeps!!!! :-)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

YIPPEEEEEE!!! The weekend is here :-) I live for the weekends, and I reckon the government should allow SPECIAL dispensation for folk like me to retire early, say - thirty-five? Who wants to be at work, when you can be enjoying life?

Today it's a friends birthday, and she's being given a surprise party at Butterley railway museum; (

It's what they call a 'champagne breakfast'. Sounds good - I'll have some of THAT then!

There's a French market in Wirksworth today, and as I love France and all it's food etc, I'll be going to see if I can pick up some treats. Tomorrow, it's the Ashbourne Highland gathering. I've been to this for the last couple of years, and I love it. You have to like bagpipes though! Luckily, I do. I'll take a picnic this year, as it really looks like picnic weather, and just have the whole day there. The day finishes with the band majors trying to throw their batons over an overhead pub sign for the prize of a bottle of best malt Scotch whiskey, no mean or easy feat, I can tell you.

ONLY two WEEKS tomorrow (or, to measure it officially, fourteen sleeps) until I go to Norway. Have you ever been so excited, you could burst????

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hi, here we are on day three (or, rather, here I am - NO guest book signings, so I am probably talking to myself - but they DO say it's the only way to get any sense!)
Another lovely day. Azure blue skies here, with a bit of a breeze. Too strong really for a BBQ, but I hold great hope for tomorrow. It better be good, as I have got the meat etc in now, and will put stuff into marinate in the morning. Don't you just LOVE outdoor cooking and eating (or it is just a bloke thing?).
I had a good walk around Eyam, (pronouned eee-m) on Sunday. It was only 11 miles, but enough in the heat. My brother Colin and I started from Hathersage, and did a circular walk. We had lunch on the seats in the village square, and a welcome pint in the Miners arms (reputedly haunted by two lost female souls). There's a very good list of previous landlords - quite an impressive record - hanging in a frame on the wall.
I really want to add more pictures to this blog, embedded in the text, but each time I add more than one - they ALL appear at the start of the page - REALLY annoying :-(
I wish someone would give me a clue!
A close friend of mine is doing the coast to coast walk on her own, and I've just seen the weather forecast for the next few days - hot, hot, HOT!!!
It's Ashbourne Highland gathering this weekend - Scotland brought RIGHT to our door here in Derbyshire. It's a really good day, I've been for the last two years, and I wouldn't want to miss it now! Ashbourne is a pretty good place, I wish I could afford to live there, but alas, house prices reflect that it's a nice place in a nice location, hence mega-prices! They have the famous 'Shrovetide football' (or, rather, ROYAL shrovetide, to give it its proper titkle). What do you MEAN, you've never HEARD of it?????
See YOU, Jimmy!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Another lovely morning dawns here in God's own county. It's just a shame I have to work! No matter, only NINETEEN sleeps until I go on a cruise to Norway - and BOY - I can't WAIT!!! This will be my third cruise, the others were taken for the ship and experience on board - this one is a dream location. There were three places in my 'wish list' to go. First is New Zealand (south island), second was Peru (Inca trail), and third was Norway and the fjords. Now I am about to realise that dream, and I'll be going on this baby! (see above).

Monday, July 10, 2006

My first blog

Well, this is my FIRST go at 'proper' blogging. Here's a picture of me and my brother, Colin. We are on holiday in the south of France, that's why we look so happy! We have walked three times in the Pyrenees in the last four years.

Here I am looking towards the Med' on a PERFECT day.

Here we go - my first blog! This is me, the name's Les, and I am, (on this date - July 10th 2006) 52 years old.
I LOVE walking/hiking/rambling - call it what you will, and get out almost every weekend. I have been doing this as a hobby since 1986, and it helps to keep me fit. I also love photography, which goes hand-in-hand with walking, and have a substantial library of pictures from everywhere I've been, expanded even more by my foray into digital a few years ago.
I live near the Peak District in Derbyshire, and that's where most of my 'home' walking is done. Every year though, since 1991, I've done a long distance walk, usually lasting around ten days, and usually accompanied by my best friend and brother, Colin.

The walks I/we have done so far are;

Offa's dyke.

Pembrokeshire coastal path - 170 miles (twice)

The English coast to coast walk - 177 miles

The Scottish coast to coast walk (Southern Upland way - 212 miles).

Dales way - 95 miles, started in Shipley.

Wicklow way - 82 miles.

Cleveland way + Tabular hills link walk - 156 miles

And my very favourite, and in my opinion, the best British walk there is;

The West Highland way - 95 miles - (four times - yes, I LOVE it). The first time, we did Ben Nevis as well (most do this). The second time, we did the Aonach Egach ridge - supposedly the best ridge walk in this country, and it WAS spectacular. Diaries of some of these walk can be found here;

Colin & I have also been to the Pyrenees four times in the last five years. It's a walkers paradise. We did the Basque region for two years, walking about 180 miles of the GR10 LDP on the first visit, then, thanks to two very good friends, Brenda and Mannes, have explored a lot of south eastern France, Roussillon area. We are deeply grateful to Brenda and Mannes for making this dream come true.

I hope to add to this blog on a regular basis, and will try to create some sort of album for the pictures, but for now, that's it!

Day one - SORTED!