Saturday, 30 June 2007

K-9 BSD-1

This just looks like so much fun.

The K-9 BSD-1 is a behavioral shaping device that can be remotely activated to eject a variety of rewards a short distance. This allows the use of positive reinforcement in a variety of different training scenarios with split second timing. Your purchase includes the device, battery charger, push tube and two remote hand held transmitters.

I wonder if we can get one for the office?

Spending 13000 pennies

Just seen the most expensive toilet trowel ever. ULA's Helix Potty Trowel. And to think that some people use a tent peg or plastic trowel.

Lightweight tents

I was reading an article in Hike-Lite's blog from last year, and a thought crossed my mind:

If English law doesn't favour wild camping, why should lightweight tents (usually associated with wild camping) be considered mainstream?

Yes, I know that carrying less weight overall means you can, kilo-for-calories, trek further in a day. But if you are trekking between pre-booked pitches, you might not be traveling as far as walk-til-you-drop wild campers.

Goji Berries

Went into Holland & Barrett and bought some goji berries (BBC page). If they don't give me laser vision by tomorrow, I'll never listen to advice from Mike again.

Also today, the polarising filter arrived from eBay, as did the summer diet book "The Paleo Diet for Athletes" by Loren Cordain & Joe Friel. I won't put a link in to Amazon, as they ran out and were waiting for reprint (I found out eventually) - since Easter.

I couldn't work up enthusiasm to buy a water filter today. I'll stick with the AquaMira drops until persuaded otherwise.

Glasgow Airport

Just hearing reports of an incident at Glasgow Airport this afternoon. Blazing car near terminal. two eye-witnesses being interviewed. Sounds like either a terrorist attack, or someone having a very bad case of road rage. Details sketchy at time of posting. I wonder what was in the boot of the vehicle?

Hope everyone is okay.

BBC News link

Bennachie 29.06.07

Photos from the amble up Bennachie. Advice from Mike - "if you don't take a photo of that, you might as well send the camera back" or "go on, set it to automatic, you know you want to". The sunlight was amazing.











Lesson learnt: two men shopping together in Tescos on a Friday night is never a manly thing to do unless the shopping cart is filled with beers, crisps and pizzas.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Bennachie 290607

First time up Bennachie in at least 4 weeks and who do i meet? Some folk from the OM forum. Mike looked on bemused at the cant we spoke. Tried some shots with new camera, see how they turned out.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Taster Session

Just back from a taster session at Transition Extreme. What a rush! I've never known my fingertips to have been given such a workout. 15 quid for a full hour and a half of bouldering and climbing; including shoes, harness and helmet (and chalk if needed). Great instruction, no rushing.

The belaying was easier than on the winter skills course, as the climber was above, rather than below me.

Handholds are smaller in real life than on the telly. And there are different type of grips. I managed about half-way up the orange wall in the climbing wall photo before the nerves kicked in, and my upper body froze. Hey ho. I've just got to keep pushing the comfort level.

Good luck to Jim, who's off to the Inn Pinn soon.


Clouds stacking up over Aberdeen. We missed the horrendous weather that flooded some of the UK this week.

Trail August 07

"Wild nights: camp high and wake up to the mountains"

Claire Maxted gets out wild camping, and writes a good article. Her tent-mates gave different perspectives on the trip, and it was good to be reminded of other people's experience levels.

The kit range was varied, but maybe recommending a 3-person 7kg tent for newcomers was over-the-top without explaining that you could spread the weight over the 3 hikers rucksacks.

Good advice on decanting tins to tupperware - this was aimed at newcomers (others might use ziplock bags instead). Using a urine bottle as a hot water bottle. And "do we take pyjamas". Cracking stuff, and the ladies deserved a front cover (why weren't they there?).

One failing - the law. As I recently said, I'm big on the legal side of things. So, what was the advice from the magazine (I assume they've run it past their lawyers): "The rights and wrongs of wild camping are hazy. From a legal point of view you should obtain permission from the landowner - though in many areas, such as the Lake District and Snowdonia, it is tolerated in the high mountains...". I've said enough on this law-breaking recently. If any of the magazines want to start a campaign to get civilised wild camping in the rest of the UK, then I'll happily sign a petition. In the meantime, the law isn't hazy, people just chose to ignore it for their own convenience. If you don't agree with the law, fight to get it changed or amended.


The second big article was on scrambling. I'll need to read that, as I'm off to Transition Extreme on Thursday for a taster session on their climbing wall. Shiver.


Around the edges are lists of 6 train stations handy for the hills; 6 bivvy bags; hydration sacks; 30-40 litre packs (+/-15%).

Strangely, the result of a test on actual volumes of rucksacks versus manufacturers' claims only merited a half page in "The Knowledge". In the rucksack test, a line stating "Trail tested capacity" has been added.

Es Tresidder describes his recent record-breaking traverse of the Cuillin Ridge. 11 Munros in 3 hours 17 minutes 28 seconds. (link to Es' personal site)

Science of the hills seeks to explain questions like why the sky is blue, feet smell, and why we follow paths.

Torridon is the featured range; and the routes section features child friendly treks (sponsored by the 3-person tent from Blacks that Claire featured).

Trail forum

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Last Strides of the Big Walk

That's Alan Sloman completed his 1687 mile trek from the farthest South on Britain, to the farthest North of Britain; and zigzagging a couple of times to boot. On top of that feat, he has also raised £4,509 to date for Sue Ryder Care. It's not too late to add a donation (link from Alan's site).

Keep an eye on his site, I doubt it'll be his last post.

The PM is gone

Are there any laws that are suspended in this brief time between Prime Ministers? I think not, but it would be nice if there was some special dispensation in these special times of national importance.


Further to my inactivity on the TGO forum. Searching through the forum, I found reference to John being the person to contact. Looking through the profiles, Mr Manning was listed as site admin. His email address is in the "contact us" list on the website.

John's email reply was sent within 30 minutes of my request, and my login worked perfectly.

Well done, that man.

And in other news, both Tony Blair and Alan Sloman are completing a walk today. One to hand in his resignation as Prime Minister and the other to complete their Land's End to John o' Groats walk.

Well done, those men.

Monday, 25 June 2007

The Sound of Drums

Tappity tap
Tappity tap
Tappity tap

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Summertime Blues

I've been pondering over the last few days, and now come to the conclusion that I can't be bothered with the Wainwright Coast to Coast this Summer. Mainly I can't be bothered with the lack of wild camping. legal wild camping that is. Everyone tells me not to worry, the police have more to do with their time, etc etc. But it is a breach of the law of the land.

And I don't want to walk across a land that doesn't want me sensibly wild camping upon it. They might be happy with me paying for B&B or campsites, but I can't afford it. I also prefer the solitude of wild camping. I can't be bothered hiking across a country that declares such pleasures illegal.

That too rules out Offa's Dyke, and a Welsh coast-to-coast.

The fallback position was to tab it somewhere wild in Scotland and see how many Munros I could get to. Or chose a long distance trail in Scotland.

It isn't an anti-Welsh or anti-English choice; but why visit a country with the intention of breaking its laws? I have more respect for the law than that.


As I don't get up town much these days, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that Millets was still open in Aberdeen. So surprised that I called in to see what they had. Mainly the same ranges as before "Peter Lord" and "Craghopper" for example. But they have a better range of 'alternative' energy products than I saw in Blacks. The 'just add water' range had potential.

And then they have ArnyWear. Fashionable anti-bug cloths. At the moment, just cloths rather than clothes. I was tempted by the small one, use as a neckerchief. But I wanted to do some more research before parting with my cash. The Scottish midge has a nasty habit of not reading the labels.

Its 100% ecologically sound technology provides continuous protection against mosquitoes, midges, stable flies, ticks and other unwelcome insects and is suitable for sensitive skin and safe for children. (source)

The ifabric# technology used in all ARNYWEAR branded products has been clinically tested and proven by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to provide continuous protection against mosquitoes, midges, horse flies, ticks and over 3000 other varieties of unwelcome biting insects. (source)

Looks like I'll be back at Millets soon then.

Saturday, 23 June 2007


ClipBlast is a video search engine. Used it to find videos of:

Actually, I found little on ClipBlast. But, with more video hosting websites (e.g. coming to the fore, maybe it have more value in the near future.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Home from Home

Darren's round-up of the UK (and friends) outdoors bloggers is now hosted by The Outdoors Station.

The avatar chosen is from a photograph by Mike (who's involved in filming Stirton Production's remake of "Removals" - the first VanHorCom).

Brave New World

As the dissenting voices in the community step up to be heard, across in the USA, courses like "JMC163: New Media in Journalism" are being run at San Jose State University (syllabus). They have speakers like Robert Scoble and Steve Sergeant of The Wildebeat.

The class blog led me to "The Cluetrain Manifesto". This 95-point may illuminate people as to the link between social networking and changes in eCommerce:

Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations.

Like it or not, the world is changing. Comments on blogs, podcasts or forums are being hyperlinked to. We can make a difference. We can be heard. Organisations can have a conversation with customers instead of broadcasting en masse. Perhaps some form of democracy may arise. Some organisations in Canada are doing this, using new media for social communication.

A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark. ("Annie Hall")

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Same old same old

Andy's got an article across on his blog. It surprised me. Actually it disappointed me more than surprised me. I've picked up some of it from Bob's recent postings.

Anyway, here's my reply - over the top, as usual, but negativity gets me down:

I wonder when the backlash from the mainstream gear retailers/manufacturers will start? The ones who all stock/make approach shoes, and work with hi-tech materials to product lighter packs/clothing.

I suppose Harris Tweed and canvas makers will be rubbing their hands in glee. Okay, in extremis, but you get the picture.

And as to recording podcasts - maybe a sign of the 'digital divide'? Some people haven't got used to Web 1.0, and now we're starting on Web 2.0 - no wonder they get snippy. Allowing people to listen to an interview about a hobby/sport? Witchcraft. Or it'll be on an inhouse exclusive TGO podcast soon?

Or you'll be blamed for not asking properly, or going through a PA, etc.

In the end, this negativity puts people off organised events, purchasing gear, buying magazines, joining forums, and otherwise participating in hiking, wild camping, Munro bagging, or whatever aspect of outdoors life they enjoy.

The media (old and new) needs to grab people and invite them into the world-wide community of (hikers et al), and show the neophyte what's available, what's on offer, that they aren't alone. If all they see is bickering and destructive criticism, they'll just stay away and the only winners are the local gear shops - one of which tried selling a 70litre rucksack to a weekender (maybe the canvas tent needed the space?).

Frankly, I don't give a damn. I've got my kit, my style, and am happy with it. If someone thinks that tarps are the work of the devil and anyone sleeping under one is likely to wake up dead, then that's their opinion.

The fewer people who go out hiking, the more likely I am likely to get the hills to myself.

John has a long mustache

Yup, it is the longest day today, and it just feels like Easter was yesterday. The day drags on, but the weeks fly by.

Still, thanks to the joys of the Internet, I can look enviously at Batish and Tomoe's new home village. May all be well and happy.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Landward Ho

Further to a couple of earlier pieces relating to the BBC's "Landward" program's "wild camping" spot, my comment has been posted on their website.

I looked into this at
and found that if you behave irresponsibly, eg dropping litter, you revoke your rights under the Land Reform Act. If you are not behaving responsible, then you are not a wild camper, and you have no legal right to camp under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.
The Act lists rights that the landowner has to pursue the irresponsible person. Some of the actions might even be criminal, so the police will be involved too.
Stop calling these littering vandals 'wild campers' - they aren't.
As ever, if people actually read the laws rather than whinging about it, they might get some satisfaction. Take photos of cars, of people, of litter, and get the police involved.
Duncan MacLeod


Monday, 18 June 2007

Sober Thoughts

I picked up on this story via Two-Heel Drive. Cari 'Sandals' Tucker was medivaced from the Pacific Central Trail because of a blister:

I thought that I just needed fluids and would be fine, but after 5 liters plus high doses of a drug to raise blood pressure, I just kept deteriorating and about 7 pm, I was emergency airlifted to a larger hospital in Bakersfield. At Bakersfield, I spent 5 hours being stabilized in the ER, and then was transferred to the intensive care unit, where I spent a total of 4 days.

The source of the infection was probably a quarter sized blister on my right heel that didn't look any worse than anyone else's blisters--in fact, it looked better than most except for a slight red. I HAD lanced it and dressed it, and in the desert, it looked OK, but over the first 5 days of being in the hospital, it blossomed into a 2 x 3 inch lesion with red swollen areas up into my ankle. The cultures came back as a Staph infection and I had to have some areas of dead and dying skin removed. As far as it getting into the bloodstream--I guess I'm just one of those unlucky statistics.

Sandals writes about her rescue in full in her trail journal.

Top of her ten reasons not to get septic shock in the desert is:

1) In the best of circumstances, you have a 1 in 3 chance of dying (note: the desert does NOT qualify as the best of circumstances)

What an eye-opener. Glad to hear you're alive. Fun photos on the journal - the "Overindulgence" one just reminded me so much of Bill Bryson's dreams of food while on the AT.

Must be a TGO diary

Andy Howell's finished his TGO Challenge diary for 2007. You can read it here. Cracking photographs too.

Blogging News

I missed out on hearing that I got a mention in "Blogging News" March. Thanks to BG for the heads up.

Blogger in Draft

In line with the Google Labs idea, and then TestTube for YouTube, we now have "Blogger in Draft", where folk can try out updates before they get released to the masses.

Label Cloud

After discussions on the blogger forum, I've started to add tags (or labels) to posts. Mainly because I thing these 'tag clouds' look neat. I won't bore people with the term 'folksonomy', as I think it is yet another made up phrase to make new media sound more important than it is.

I used the coding by Seige, found here (which in turn is a hack from phydeaux3).

At present, I've given it a home at the bottom of the sidebar. It may be moving.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Trampled by Copyright

John Hee pointed out the "Gentle art of tramping" by Stephen Graham (1936 1927*). Sadly it looks as if someone's bought up the copyright (or otherwise got it taken off Project Gutenberg). So, whilst waiting for a cheap reprint, it is nice to see that other works by the late Mr Graham are still available there (link).

Stephen Graham looks like he lead an interesting life. Journalist for The Times, he was in Russia in 1915, and wrote some books on the country. Later serving with the Scots Guards in the Great War (link).

And, as these things happen, they brought me to Jim's "Wandering the World" blog. The link? Well, Jim mentioned here because he wrote about Dan Price's book "How to make a journal of your life".

*edited after John's comment. Sources 1, 2.

Surf's Up

Mike offered to show me how to use my new dSLR, so we went down the beach and took some snaps. As some were taken by Mike, you might see them again on his blog. No doubt they'll look better over there.

All taken with the Canon EOS 350D, and standard 18-55mm lens. Some shots had lighting tweaked in Photoshop Elements, and the last one was just a way to use a blurred photo which was taken by me when standing on the running board of the car to get some height across traffic as the light faded. More experimentation required. Resisting the temptation to just turn the dial to the automatic settings.








New Namches

I had problems with the Montrail Namches upper pinching at the toe, so I ordered the next size up (from Fast & Light). These were redelivered by the Post Office yesterday, and I've been wearing them round town this weekend. Hopefully I'll get up a hill with them next weekend.

Putting them on this morning, I noticed the colour co-ordination with the X-Socks Air Force 1. Purely accidental. The earlier, size 10 pair were the yellow/green colour.

Montrail Namche


I'm still inactive in the TGO forum. Here's the message I get:

Sorry, but your password cannot be retrieved because your account is currently inactive. Please contact the forum administrator for more information.

I have done so, and am still waiting for activation. Maybe it's being blocked by the spam filter - which is strange, as other sites get through to my email account. No loss, as I'm focusing on other things these days, staying away from online discussions, and living in the real world instead.

Finally got round to buying the domain name. Click here to try:

Yup, just unframed web forwarding, but it's a start. Google Analytics has been mentioning it as a point of entry for a while now.

Sirje Hansen

Thank you, Sirje.
Sirje Hansen

Why go into the wilderness?

I empathise with these words from Mike Clelland's introduction in "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backpackin' Book" (link)

Why go into the wilderness? The natural world can be hard work, frustrating, and uncomfortable ... but we go nonetheless. What pulls us there, to a place that we sometimes perceive as unwelcoming? For me, and maybe you too, there is a very real tugging at the soul, a deep-rooted desire to find something, to achieve something ... a metaphysical fix of some sort.

The oppressive influences of our modern society keep many of us from being our real selves. We continually react not to Mother Nature, but to Mother Culture, and we take on identities and personalities not our own. But when we step into the wilderness, we temporarily liberate ourselves from those influences. There is a very real value to time spent in the wilderness. Perhaps we can begin to discover a little more about our real selves. Maybe we'll get some reassurance that there is something behind it all, and that it's good.

Lightweight Rant

I just caught up on Alan Sloman's day 100 rant (full text). I'll focus in on these paragraphs written by Alan:

So, Cameron, LW Bob, Chris T and other lightweight zealots - if you read this - take a long hard look at who your audience is, and then think hard before advocating the complete lightweight solution. The important thing I am stressing here is the audience; the readership. Not all are as experienced as Cameron and Chris and they should take care when blindly following TGO's latest direction in kit selection.

As I see it, it is far more important to be fit, slim and expereienced in the hills than it is to carry the latest lightweight tarp. TGO should be ramming this message across rather than their current lightweight gear fetish month after month.
Mainly because it reminded me of Ryan Jordan's disclaimer at the start of "Lightweight Backpacking and Camping" (link):
Your mama ain't watching out for you. Don't be an idiot. is not intended for beginning backpackers or those that otherwise do not already know how to stay dry and warm in inclement weather, possess wilderness survival skills, and know how to recognise and avoid dangerous situations. Therefore, be warned that you must exercise your own judgement in evaluating the accuracy, applicability, and utility of the information provided herein.
I used to carry a Berghaus Antaeus 65 litre pack [1.95kg], a New Ilanos tent [2.5kg], a big bulky synthetic sleeping bag, 2-pot cookset and even tinned food. This was only 3 years ago.

Pack is now the Osprey Atmos 50 litres [1.45kg], and the Hilleberg Akto tent [1.5kg], sleeping bag is lightweight down, stove, fuel and utensil are now all inside the titanium cookset, and food is never tinned.

Three years ago it was a struggle hauling my overnight gear up the side of Ben Hope, but with lighter gear and lower volume, I was able to trek across Scotland at Easter.

I'd hate to see the dumbing down of outdoors mags to cater for the possibility that someone thinks they might be able to get to the top of Everest in a pair of trail shoes. But I'm not that way inclined, so I'll say: keep up the good work, TGO.

Pick up the techniques and gear that suit you and the terrain/climate you'll be hiking in. Waken up to the possibilities on offer and think about your kit. I use visualisation techniques, and, unlike some people, I definitely don't rely on weather forecasts to help chose my kit. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Landward 8.06.07

I finally caught Landward's article of wild camping. It started by stating that the reporter like wild camping, but land was being spoilt by irresponsible campers, and one of the common groups were youngsters in cheap, almost-disposable tents. Comments from folk like "no respect", "breaking gates and cutting down trees for firewood", and that the landowners had "no problem with responsible people". One farmer said they were clearing 1 1/2 tons of camping rubbish a year, and that the government would need to "revise the Access Code to properly define wild camping".

There was a report on the 60 square mile fire in Galloway, started by a camp fire. The solution given was to use a camp stove.

Hebe Carus of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland was interviewed and described how people should camp responsibly. (link)

The article ends with the admirable wish that people would "take only memories, leave only footprints".

Well, I think my previous article had said it all. The misguided blame of the Access Laws wasn't tackled. In point of fact, one chap suggested better definitions be given in the Act. It looked okay to me. Why shouldn't landowners ask the police to investigate criminal damage to their land? Down in England&Wales, the discussion is on the police and landowners preventing hikers from wild camping in the wild lands, in Scotland it seems that people are happy to blame the government. Nobody in the programme stated that the following remedies were available in the Act:

What to do if you encounter irresponsible behaviour
6.13 If a person is behaving irresponsibly and damage or significant disturbance is being caused, then you could ask them to modify their behaviour. If they refuse to do so, and this damage or significant disturbance continues, then they would not be exercising access rights responsibly and so they could then be asked to leave. If an individual does this persistently over a period of time, you could seek an interdict against that person. Never use force.
6.14 If a person’s behaviour is criminal, you should contact the Police.

From Scottish Outdoor Access Code (PDF link).
As an interesting point to note, and in line with something that BG said to me last weekend - there is nothing in the sections above that limit the remedies to the landowner or their agent. Why shouldn't citizen-wildcampers not report the criminal actions of other to the police and landowner? We all do it in our daily lives when we see crimes...don't we?


Privacy Zone 3

And finally, in these days of long lens cameras, phone cameras, spy-in-the-sky cameras - why is it so important to stop people being able to see your Castle?

Photos on Flickr or Google.

And here's a sample of the security fence (photo). I hope there's more security than that, as it wouldn't stop a determined criminal. Of course, due to press coverage, some reporters have discovered what wealth is stored in the castle. That's the down side to privacy cases - the first victim is the person's privacy.

As to the issue of planning permission - I'm surprised that permission was granted so easily. Once something is physically present, it is difficult to fight the status quo and get it removed.

Ah well, it keeps the lawyers off the streets. And soon those parts of Scotland not covered in super-pylons, wind turbines and poly-tunnels will be fenced off.

Marguerite Grimmond will be glad to be leaving.

Privacy Zone 2

So, why is the previously-mentioned Gloag case so important? Well, it allows landowners to play the system. What's to stop a landowner from extending the ‘Sufficient adjacent land’ and 'policies' (allowed by the Land Reform Act) to include all of the wild places they own? Under Sheriff Fletcher's decision, very little, if you can show that you are concerned about your right to privacy. (link to full text)

para 63

...the court had to have regard to what the home owner contended was sufficient land adjacent to the house for the purposes of the exemption and where there was credible and reliable evidence that a particular use of a particular part of the land adjacent to the house contributed to the enjoyment of the house of those living in it, and that for uninvited strangers to have free access to that area of land would disturb that enjoyment...

In these days of quad bikes and mountain bikes - what one person considers 'adjacent land' (allowed by the Act) for enjoyment is different to what you might consider. If someone enjoyed letting wolves roam free on their estate, there seems little to stop them fencing off a large section and just releasing the hounds - just so long as you can see it from your own house, or summerhouses (part of the 'policies' allowed by the Act).

I have no intention to visit the Gloag home, nor walk around the unfenced sections. But other cases are coming to court, and there is the chance that case law will continue to knock holes in the law.

We've already seen that with wild camping - but I covered that in a previous article.

Privacy Zone

Relating to the fencing off of 12 acres of Kinfauns Castle, preventing access to some native woodlands. The local council (Perth & Kinross) and The Ramblers Association said that access rights applied within the boundary. The owner, Ann Gloag, disagreed.


The Scottish Land Reform Act (link) - relevant sections...

From Part 1. Introduction, section 1.1) Statutory access rights and responsibilities

People only have these rights if they exercise them responsibly by respecting people’s privacy, safety and livelihoods, and Scotland’s environment. Equally, land managers have to manage their land and water responsibly in relation to access rights.


2.11 Access rights do not apply in the following places

Land on which there is a house, caravan, tent or other place affording a person privacy or shelter, and sufficient adjacent land to enable those living there to have reasonable measures of privacy and to ensure that their enjoyment of the house or place is not unreasonably disturbed. The extent of this land may depend on the location and characteristics of the house (see paragraphs 3.13 to 3.17).


Part 3. Exercising access rights responsibly

Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind

Houses and gardens

3.14 For this reason, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 states that you cannot exercise access rights on “sufficient adjacent land” next to a house (this also includes a caravan, tent or other place affording a person privacy or shelter). This means land sufficient to allow those living there to have reasonable measures of privacy and to ensure that their enjoyment of their house is not unreasonably disturbed22. There are two important things to remember:
you cannot exercise access rights in this area of “sufficient adjacent land” and so you need to be able to identify such areas; and
when exercising access rights close to a house or a garden, you need to respect the privacy and peace of people living there.

3.15 ‘Sufficient adjacent land’ is defined in this Code as normally being the garden around someone’s house. For most houses, this should be reasonably obvious on the ground: a formal garden next to the house and surrounded by a wall, hedge or fence. Some houses might have no garden at all or be located right next to a road, track or path. In some cases, the garden might be near to the house but not adjoining it or it might be more difficult to identify, perhaps because there is no obvious boundary such as a wall, fence or hedge. Things to look out for in judging whether an area of land close to a house is a garden or not include:
a clear boundary, such as a wall, fence, hedge or constructed bank, or a natural boundary like a river, stream or loch;


3.16 Some larger houses are surrounded by quite large areas of land referred to as the “policies” of the house. These are usually areas of grassland, parkland or woodland. Here, too, you will need to make a judgement in the light of the particular circumstances. Parts of the policies may be intensively managed for the domestic enjoyment of the house and include lawns, flowerbeds, paths, seats, sheds, water features and summerhouses. Access rights would not extend to these intensively managed areas. The wider, less intensively managed parts of the policies, such as grassland and woodlands, whether enclosed or not, would not be classed as a garden and so access rights can be exercised. In these areas of grassland, parkland or woodland, you can also exercise access rights along driveways, except where the ground becomes a garden, and pass by gatehouses and other buildings.


Now, I don't know if public rights of way have been blocked. The fence itself was given retrospective planning permission after being erected with no planning permission (BBC) - other sources say that permission was fast-tracked (The Scotsman).

Under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights "Right to respect for private and family life" (link). A fence around a property gives the owner privacy.

Fair enough.

  • Full text of the Sheriff's decision (link)
  • ScotWays news (link).
  • "The Courier" from Tayside & Fife (link).
  • The Guardian (link).

Landward 15.06.07

BBC programme had a good article on theft in the countryside - from farms and a forestry firm. One farmer said it made him suspicious of people coming up the road, as the criminals had carried out a reconnaissance raid and came back later.

On a happier note, White Park Cattle - a breed about 4-6,000 years old in Britain (chap from the Society said they were around at the same time as the Beaker People). The term sirloin was first used on the meat of one of those beasts.

The video diary was by a young gamekeeper from the Borders, his plea was for scientists and environmentalists to speak more to these folk. Controlling foxes and crows, keeping nature in balance.

BBC Outdoors site.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

David Caruso

Spotted someone familiar when watching the first part of "Rambo" last night. TV was, as ever, dire, and that was the best thing on. Says a lot. Like I said, noticed someone familiar. No Net access and a text to a mate failed to resolve it. But, yes, it turns out that David "CSI Miami" Caruso was also a cop in the first Rambo movie. He was also in "An Officer and a Gentleman", but even better - He played the leader of the Shamrocks in "Hill Street Blues". From many years ago, I still remembered the bowler hat, but not the actor. So, here's a link. Excellent program, I'm glad the studio didn't cancel it. (opening credits)

No remember, be careful out there.

Monday, 11 June 2007


Walked off dinner with a saunter round the golfcourse track. A few rabbits scurry away, and an oystercatcher runs up and down the man-made rises. The trouser press in the hotel room is the Corby 3300 model C.

Solo Tick Checking

I'd thought of this technique before, but tried it for real at the weekend, and it seemed to work. Instead of contorting yourself trying to angle a mirror to those difficult to reach places trying to see if it is a mole or a tick or your imagination playing tricks, use your digital camera. Just take a steady picture of the area. You'll probably need the macro switched on. That way you can also zoom in to see more details. Not much help when you have to remove any ticks found though; oh, and delete the photos to free space on you card and for sake of public decency too.

Lakes - Sunday am

And then he said, "How sweet it were
A fisher or a hunter there,
A gardener in the shade,
Still wandering with an easy mind
To build a household fire and find
A home in every glade.


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What days and what sweet years! Ah me
Our life were life indeed, with thee
So pass'd in quiet bliss,
And all the while" said he "to know
That we were in a world of woe,
On such an earth as this!"

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Text source: William Wordsworth "Ruth"

Lakes - Saturday eve

It wasn't Darren after all, but Lay. For Darren's health and being worried of a relapse, he'd decided to stay down in the valley at Easedale Tarn. BG and Lay were staying down there. Because of lack of mobile phone signal down in the valley, Lay had walked up to tell us.

Chatting amongst ourselves, Geoff decided to stay uphill, while the rest of us headed back down to Easedale. As he'd miss it later, I left him with a cupful of saké.


We passed back down through the weird Herdwick sheep. That lamb just looks wrong. I wouldn't have been surprised if it started bleating out "Mammee".


Back down at Easedale tarn, the tourists were away, and found pitches quite easily. Lay used a 2-skin tent; Dawn had a single skin tent; John and I both had Aktos, BG/Stef had a hooped bivvy, and Darren a tarp. I'd swapped out the OMM foam mat that I used on Friday night with the Insul-mat (far more comfortable).


Settled in, fed and watered, it was time for the gifts. Spiritburner had sent a second Bellingham/BPC buff to me weeks ago, with a note to Darren (the buff-slayer). (WD's diary)


Most folk were in bed as soon as it got dark. I think the heat had just sapped people's energy.

Lakes - Saturday pm

We set off towards Easedale Tarn, but soon left Darren in tree-shade, where he could listen to the brook babbling, and write poetry whilst awaiting a cooling breeze. Pushing on, I wasn't prepared for the amount of people heading up the well-made footpath.


I certainly wasn't prepared for "Flo" (as I named her), who walked past, lifting her flowing skirts out of the mud. Later on it turned out she was there for a photoshoot, as "Heathcliff" was already at a boulder on Easedale Tarn awaiting her. Oh, and that's Geoff taking his ease on the grass above her.


So, John, Dawn and myself pushed on to Codale Tarn, where we'd meet the others later.


What amazed me was how angular the whole region was. Down in the valley was Grasmere. Somewhere. We hadn't walked that far, and it was gone from view already. As were the majority of people.


At a rise at the eastern end of Codale Tarn, we set up pitches, and Geoff appeared, quickly putting up his tarp.


When getting water from a small waterfall in the tarn's feed-stream, Dawn and I noticed someone approaching. Darren? Then Dawn pointed out that if it was Darren, where's his pack?

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Lakes - Saturday am

Having packed my kit on Thursday, it was a simple matter of changing after work on Friday and then to drive down to Grasmere. It gave the new satnav system a workout. It coped well. Another Garmin unit that I trust. My only issue is that I can't listen to the directions and listen to music at the same time - my hearing isn't what it used to be.

Parking at the back of Dove Cottage (some dead poet lived there once)[when they were alive]{not that someone dead could 'live' anywhere}<look it up yourself if you don't know who>, and tabbed it to Alcock Tarn in the torchlight. It was bright enough that I just used the red light to pick out the path under my feet, and the sky-light was bright enough to find the path in the distance.

I found Lay's tent, and set up my pitch. The others were over there somewhere, I couldn't see them and had already decided on my pitch.

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The views were stunning, and quickly my allocation of "wow" and "sheesh" were used up for the day. "Perfick" was added; it seemed appropriate. No daffodils though. And the clouds all had company.


Breaking camp, we went different ways down to Grasmere, and I tagged along with Dawn and Darren, as I could offer them a lift into Grasmere, and be directed to a better car park.


We met up at the Miller Howe cafe - as the day got hotter, it was only chucking out time that really got us moving. Darren was already worrying about a relapse, and was planning on sticking to the shade as much as possible.


R-to-L: Lay strikes a pose, John stitches his trousers, Dawn has noticed the camera, and Stef continues in his usual relaxed manner. Geoff had pushed on and would rest further up the trail.

Ikea jigsaw

New bookcase plus hiking gear will fit. A central depository for my outdoors media. Something other than the floor of various rooms. Huzzah to the garmin satnav unit for directing me this weekend. Much better than trying to drive and navigate at same time.


Busy morning in Grasmere. Back at Miller Howe cafe. Spiffing. Race meet on too. Busy place. Nice to relax and watch the world go by.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Lakes 090607

Codale Tarn. Stunning views. Everything is familiar but different. Rocks more jaggedy. Sheep are a strange breed. Shame that the water in the tarn can't be trusted. Landscape seems to have been concertina'd by geological actions. Wow, sheesh and perfick.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Apple eNews 7/6/7

Just got the weekly Apple eNews through, and the pick of the podcasts is: Backpacking Light Magazine. Well done, folks.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

TGO Website reLaunch

New TGO website has launched, now with added sticky content. It certainly has people talking about it, and it only launched yesterday.

Good luck, and it'll be nice to see how the site develops.

WD got a post in on the forum first. I was rebuilding my computer at the time, or working, or speaking to WD ... hmm, did Darren call to sidetrack me? Life is too short for such thoughts.

Oh, if you aren't familiar with TGO magazine, just pop over to the site and have a shufty at who's involved, and what they do. It's nae rocket science.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

School of the Moon

"School of the Moon: The Highland Cattle-Raiding Tradition" by Stuart McHardy (link).

Could be coincidence that this book caught my eye and my wallet, just a week before going for a hiking visit to England. The introduction to the book is a background to Highland life, the rest of the book features over 40 stories of creach (raids) by cateran (warriors). The names and places are familiar Grants, Chisholms, Camerons, MacDonalds and Rannoch Moor, Glen Shee, Lochaber, Kintail.

The book title refers to the school "where the subject was cattle raiding and the classroom set in the moonlit nights of autumn."

Hmm, could it be coincidence that I'm developing a taste for home-made beef jerky?

Hex Stove

Despite comments on OM about hex stoves, when I saw one for 4 quid, I thought I'd give it a go.

The HiGear stove fits nicely into the SnowPeak mug and leaves enough space for a pie-foil windshield, sponge cleaner and folding spork.

The unit sat well on top of the stove in its semi-open position.

I poured 0.6 litres of cold tap-water into the pot and put in one of the supplied fuel tablets. It lit easily enough with a jet lighter. I noted that the base of the metal stove gets hot.

After 10 minutes the fuel tablet ran out. The water had not boiled, but was hot enough to make some cup-a-soup with. As noted on OM, there was a black sticky patina on the base of the mug. I didn't notice a strong odour though.

A few hours later I decided to use 2 fuel tablets to see if I could get the water to boil. With two tablets, the flame was more intense, and the tablets didn't last as long.

After 5 minutes, the tablets had lost so much fuel that they dropped through the holes in the base-plate and on to the wooden board I had placed as a work-surface.

The experiment ended when I poured cold water on the burning fuel to stop the flames from setting the board alight. If that had been dried grass ... well, I'll leave that to your imagination.