Wednesday, October 27, 2010

English Shores and walks

When I travel I think a lot. About why we do things, both simple and complex. Here are some photos of some places I walked whilst in England

It funny how just the simple act of "walking" can make you think....

Walking and bird watching are very popular in England for a number of reasons.

Its a great excuse for a walk and it makes you stop and search for birds, which means you have to really look at everything...

I makes you appreciate the environment, and leads to healthy discussion about global warming, manmade impacts and the like..

Sometimes it makes you appreciate the smell of salt air, of farmers ploughing fields, and of good friends

Who are always in search of that something over the horizon...

And coming back to the Black Dog Inn for a pint in front of the coal fire!

A sincere "thank you" to Jim, Pam and Ken who put up with me almost every year and show me sights I will never forget.
Pam has broken her knee cap in a fall and I wish her a speedy recovery. Also a HUGE "thank you" to Worzel and Trudy for providing accommodation during the volcanic eruption and getting me to the airport.
Lastly a BIG "thank you" to the people I met, will never know, yet extended me every courtesy at every opportunity.. from the best pies shop in the world- Mables Pies, to even the co-op staff.... Lets not forget the Black Dog Inn- superb food, the best ales and friendly service..I hope to get back to Shetland soon too!

Heres to the next beer on Askam Pier!

Monday, October 25, 2010


These are my Scarpa Attack walking boots. I bought them 25-30 years ago and they have been a faithful, comfortable travel companion. They have covered many local and international national parks. Sadly, whilst in Cumbria, walking Skiddaw Peak, I ran out of traction and the descent was awkward. It was time to retire them. They cost me $300.00 all those years ago, that was a lot for a school boy.

These are my new Scarpa Walking boots! Amazing! they are ready for walking immediately,(no breaking in), and offer me more support for my ankles. Whilst I do not think they will last me 25-30 years, I am sure they will last a while with care! They cost me $350.00.

These are my new Black Diamond walking poles. Whilst ego prevented me from using these in the past, a purchase of a single pole in Cumbria taught me the benefits of using them, especially with the arthritis I have. They provide stability down hill and reduce fatigue by about 10%. They also fold up pretty small too!

This new equipment was tested on the weekend and will allow me to enjoy this....

And this, for many years to come! My only sadness is- the boots are no longer made in Italy but rather Romania. Still... better then being made in China IMO...

The short walk in the rain on the weekend proved the boots comfort and the poles improvement in stability, so I am a "happy camper"!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


On the weekend David and his mate went into the "Devils Wilderness" to catch yabbies for their fish tanks. For my overseas friends, yabbies are a freshwater crayfish, like a lobster. They are generally blue or red in colour and vary in size. They have the capacity to live in water with very low oxygen, mud and can survive out of water as long as their gills are moist.

The yabbie in the tank. ( dreadful photo and will find another soon)

The boys brought home a very large one (about 25cm) and placed it in Dave's tank.

The following morning Dave had found it had got out of the tank and was climbing onto his bed! The nippers are strong enough to take a finger off!
I thought Dave looked a little "green"....

I don't think the yabbie was happy with its new accommodation so today we will return it to its water hole.....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Summer is Coming!

I have posted this before but Matthew from "No visible Lycra" blog asked me about our Python. So I will tell the story:- Monty was discovered in our hedge by me, several years ago, and I was lucky not to have injured her. I called the National Parks to have her removed as I was concerned for her safety as well as the safety of my small dogs and cats. They came and took her away. 3 months later she was back.

I later learned that they are extremely territorial, stress when removed and unless you move them over 15km ( 10 miles) away they will make every effort to return "home". So- we have learned to live with her. She lives in the roof of the house, lifting a tile to enter and exit and she hibernates above my head in the TV room. Sometimes you can hear her moving about- she sounds like a heavy rope. I will often find her draped in a hedge, (of which i have heaps), or in the grape vine, or lounging in the gutters of the roof grabbing some sun. We live right on the edge of the National park, (called the Devils wilderness), and we had a major problem with possums, bush rats and mice. Not to mention poisonous snakes too.

Monty ( as we call her), cleans them out for us and has grown into a mature full size python that does not seem too worried by us or our dogs. I sometimes have to move her in order to trim a hedge- this she does not mind. Yesterday my eldest daughters boyfriend saw Monty- and jumped out of his skin...hahahaha! I hope Monty is with us for years to come.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My truck in Australia at Webbs creek

Within the woodlands flowery gladed
By the oak tree's mossy moot,
The shining grass-blades, timber-shaded,
Now do quiver under foot;
And birds do whistle overhead,
And water's bubbling in its bed,
And there for me the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

Webbs creek itself.

When leaves that lately were a-springing
Now do fade within the copse,
And painted birds do hush their singing
Up upon the timber tops;
And brown-leaved fruit's a-turning red,
In cloudless sunshine, overhead,
With fruit for me, the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

Oops! Me in the Lakes district North England in winter...

Let other folk make money faster
In the air of dark-roomed towns,
I don't dread a peevish master;
Though no man do heed my frowns,
I be free to go abroad,
Or take again my homeward road
To where, for me, the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

Frankly, I love this poem. It is so much of who I am... ( yes I know thats my truck and I love it too!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The week that was

Dave preparing the mountain bikes before we set off.

Dave and I did a Mountain Bike ride through the Wollemi National Park, starting at Mountain Lagoon- a beautiful spot. Not a difficult ride, but a few hills to keep you on your toes and fresh mountain air to keep the lungs invigorated.
The Lagoon itself.

My Cannondale is going well, with the service on the front suspension making a real difference in rebound and dampening. Money well spent to make it a pleasure to ride once more.

Later on we went fishing along the Webb Creek, where a flat head was caught. A fraction undersized it was returned. A cup of billy tea boiled on the back of the landcruiser hit the spot at the conclusion of a top weekend

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Koala Bear Grilles"

Well, its the long weekend and its pouring. So here was our choice- sit around, or get out and do a bush walk. No contest! Time for a bushwalk. Disclaimer:- The area we walked in is dangerous. People have died and have been lost in this area. Last year an English tourist did the walk we have done but ended up lost in Cedar Valley.Its important to:- 1. Plan your walk and never exceed your fitness level. 2. Tell people where you are going, including family, friends, the authorities eg police, national parks. 3. Walk with a minimum of 2- preferably 3 walkers. 4. Always carry water, enough food for emergencies, fire lighting abilities, first aid kit, and carry the correct clothing. 5. Never exceed your abilities and, if in a group, NEVER walk off, or get ahead of the slowest walker. 6. If you get lost- don't panic, rest, think and relax. The best outcome is one without panic. These basic skill will help you survive and enjoy our rugged wilderness. I hope you will take these following videos in the light they were made!

Our walk commenced at the Golden Stairs descending into the Jamison Valley, following the old railway track towards the 600m ascent to the Ruined Castle. What most people are unaware of is the history of this region and if you look carefully you can see the remains of buildings, fireplaces, and shale mines. There is even one mine you can crawl through from one side of the Narrow Neck cliff line to the other side emerging into the Megalong Valley, its hundreds of metres long and is for experienced cavers only!

It was not too long before we had reached the top with rain bucketing down, wind and clouds racing across the sky. A quick snack of oranges and an energy bar, and we were ready to return, all our clothes and belongings soaked and boots full of water. We picked off leeches when we got home. A top way to spend a few hours!