Saturday, 28 June 2008

No Pasaran

I went on to the Syrup WordPress theme site to let the author, Nick, know about BG!'s problem. He's blocked from the site for "spamming", and so can't inform the author as his one point of contact (an online form) is on the site that he's blocked from. Yeah, kinda sodding stupid, 19th-century methodology, but it's Wordpress, so I really don't care.

Anyway, I leave a comment on the board. It spends ages failing to process the comment. So I find the guy's email form and send a message through with BG!'s details.

Later I check back to find that: You have been blacklisted from the website for spamming.

Here's the address, why don't you go and have a laugh.

The email page is at - and like BG!, I'm now banned from it for spamming.

Like I said, I don't use WordPress, so it's no skin off my nose.

The guy's stoopid software must do it by IP address rather than cookie, as I've just tried it with another browser, and I'm still being defamed as a spammer there (ooh, I wonder what the chance is of a no win, no fee case?).

Killed connection and logged back in again, and opened 3rd browser (IE), which fails to load the site, and logs it as:

This error (HTTP 500 Internal Server Error) means that the website you are visiting had a server problem which prevented the webpage from displaying.

Safari still wrongfully knocks on my door in the middle of the night and calls me a spammer. IE crashes as I load a few WordPress help pages. Which was why I relegate IE to my 3rd browser.

Anyway, if it was me, I'd lose the theme and go for something with customer support, where you aren't accused of anti-social behaviour by some stoopid defence mechanism, and stop worrying about it. Life's too short for this nonsense.

Here's something more thought-provoking from Spain: They Still Draw Pictures (Spain 1938). Sadly, something that kids probably still do in conflicts throughout the world today. There are more important things to discover and ponder.

May all be well and happy.

Friday, 27 June 2008


So, the pro-wild camping ePetition "only" got 2021 votes. Guess what? The governing Labour got about half that last night at the Henley bi-election.

Conservative 19,796
Lib Dems 9,680
Green 1,321
BNP 1,243
Labour 1,066
Source BBC News

Spookily, they got 1066 - which is part of Darren's blog's URL!!!  Cue the music!


There's been other things going on with the Campaign, including a call from the Mountain Leader Training England via Trail/Country Walking forum and Grough. Me? I'm tired of the nay-sayers, tired of poorly worded laws that people feel free to ignore because no-one's getting hurt, tired of the authorities lording it over the populace and yet losing records, pochling expenses, and failing to answer questions in the house.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Wild Camping in London

After the knockback from the English government, these Englishers are allowing an opportunity for a wild camp in the centre of London! Darren, get your quill a-writing on the application form.

This Government appreciates the potential benefits of wild camping

The Prime Minister's Office has responded to that petition and you can view it here:

This Government appreciates the potential benefits of wild camping in England and its attractiveness to campers who already have the opportunity to camp in the wild in Scotland.

The Land Reform Act in Scotland allows for wild camping, but the land issues and the legislation in England are somewhat different. The introduction of wild camping in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation and legislative change.

On open access land wild camping is prohibited under Schedule 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which lists all restricted activities. Therefore, new Regulations would be required to exclude wild camping as a restricted activity. Any change to the current rules on wild camping in National Parks and Ministry of Defence land would require new primary legislation.

The Government has no plans to allocate the necessary resources to consider proposals for such legislation at present, and is concentrating on following up the successful introduction of 750,000 hectares of open access land with new legislation on access to the coast in the Marine Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

Here's my thoughts.

1. No mention as to whom in the "government" or "Prime Minister's Office" wrote this reply.

2. It states that the land issues in England (no mention of Wales) are different to Scotland. if you keep saying it often enough, everyone believes it.

3. "The introduction of wild camping in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation and legislative change." Aye, you can't have a government do anything that would be controversial. Strange that us Scots managed it.

4. "new Regulations would be required to exclude wild camping as a restricted activity." Untrue. The Lake District National Park managed it with a few lines of text. Local Authorities can allow wild camping if they so desire.

5. The "open access land" in the Marine Bill will still preclude wild camping.

All in all, no surprise, just a shame that the government seem to be unwilling to change their tune. Now, I wonder how much business local authorities would lose if they illicit wild campers of England & Wales decided to obey the laws. But each to their own. I just love the nice comments that foreigners make about our access laws. Shame that the English government can't see it.

Keep an eye on for information on Stage 2 of the campaign.

Test message 6 pre tag

<pre>Http://,+-5.033+(testing pre tag)&z=12&t=h</pre>

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Another Test - Fuel Bottle

I've been running a test in the background for the last 36 hours. This time I decanted the contents of a Palmolive liquid handwash bottle, cleaned out the remaining soap and swapped a normal cola bottle lid for the scooshy one. Then I loaded it with 50% water and 50% meths and set off to one side.


36 hours later, still no leaks in the bottle. As shown previously, it all fits in to the Snow*Peak 900 cookset that I was using before the smaller Alpkit ti-Mug. 300ml. 30mls a hot meal. 10 hot meals approximately. Oh, and more anti-bacterial hand-wash lurking around the flat.

Hardly a SPOT-Killer

Yup, as you might be able to guess for the recent test messages, I've been playing round with emailing locations to Google Maps. Hardly a killer for the SPOT system, as you might as well text the grid reference and call for help to all your contacts.

So, how'd it work? Great help from as it broke down the code. As you can see from the test messages, Blogger had problems translating the emailed URL into a hyperlink. There seems to be a limit to the number of characters. As I could replace the blog title "test message" with another message, eg "all is well", or "hurt head but am okay", I removed the text from the message.

That leaves the remaining code.

This part of the code tells Google Maps to search for the following.

The number are the latitude and longitude. The degrees north+degrees west in a decimal format. On my Garmin, I can swap units to H D.D° and read off the numbers to 3 decimal points. In the earlier posts, I tried the - for west, but I think that is too confusing for me. Easier, I think, to use N and W for north and west.

The next code is the zoom level.

&z=9 zoom  ... level regional (example)
&z=12 zoom ... approx 1/50kregional (example)

And finally,

&t=p  ... terrain (example)
&t=h  ... hybrid (example)
&t=m  ... map (example)

Remember that the satellite image may not be available to some close in zoom levels.

Although it looks complex, once it works, you can copy/paste the code into other messages. You might find that longer code is allowed by your blogging software.

Test message 5

Test message 4


Test message 3


Test message 2


Test message

Http://,+-5.033+(this is the voice of the mysterons)&z=12&t=h

Friday, 20 June 2008

These are not the words you are looking for

The new edition of Trail magazine came through the letterbox today. Promising tests of ultra-light tents and backpacks, plus wild camping, plus a 9-page 'mission' on going lightweight.

As I'm not allowed to saw anything negative that may affect sales, all I will say is that there was no Akto tested in their test of lightweight tents. Heavier tents are tested. More expensive tents are tested.

As 'mission' - I couldn't get beyond the introduction. The wild camping laws are, again, incomplete. I felt my BP start rising and my leg twinge. Not a good sign. So I put the magazine away.

I feel the urge to thumb through "Lighten Up" by Don Ladigin and Ryan Jordan's "Lightweight Backpacking and Camping", heck, even Chris Townsend's "Backpacker's Handbook". I just can't be bothered with the over-dramatic stance that is taken. Hike your own hike. If you need someone else to tell you how to pick your own nose, you probably shouldn't be trekking out of site of a main road.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Why Do We Put Up With It?

Look at this link: fuel bottles.

Gas canisters are circular in section and fit nicely inside a cooking mug.

Why, when you switch to meths/"alcohol" stoves do you suddenly get something offered that looks like it fell off a Panzer in Rommel's DAK? For the sake of the 21st century, will someone not look at this glaring gap in the market and sell me the solution!

Why should I put up with jamming wee plastic bottles in the side, when the shape is determined by the size of the cookset (see yesterday). No doubt some people out there will be knitting their own fuel bottles, or are happy to carry lots of wee bottles, but not me. I'm too fashionable for that malarky.

So, come on, someone (Alpkit??) make my day.

This Podcast Will Save Your Life

Catching up with some podcasts, I got to this one from the "This Week in Tech" stable: "This Week in Law 14", with Denise Howell.

Although subtitled as "Managing the legal risks related for blogging and podcasting", it covers lots of ground, as much of the Web2.0 gamut that they can. If you write a blog, podcast, use photo-hosting, post comments, write on forums, then listen to this podcast ASAP: Blogger and Podcaster Liability

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

What's That, Mr D?


Not that I'm going stir crazy or anything, but it is my Snow*Peak Titanium Trek 900 cooking pot with the MBD Blackfly3 stove (in component parts for ease of packing) and a 300ml bottle currently being used to hold Palmolive antibacterial handwash. I replaced the squirty lid with one from a platy waterbottle. The next stage will be to see if it holds meths. It could be a short and messy experiment, but reckon it's worth it as this bottle holds 300ml, that's a usage of 30ml a meal, so 10 meals. 5 days. Approximately, as there may be some spare meths left after cooking.

For shorter trips, using the smaller Alpkit Mytimug, I have a semi-circular bottle which came in a set from Next. 100ml, so 3 hot meals. If it stretched to 4, that'd be ideal (Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, Sunday morning).

I don't like the idea of changing my cookset to suit the fuel container, so I'll need to think some more. That's if the bottles don't get melted by meths.

Rationale:  quite simply, I like having the cookset, stove, fuel and spork all together. Utilitarian.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Please Sir, Can We Have Some More?

I tried emailing O2. Once I had logged in, I had to enter my address again and DoB before I could contact them. They're happy to give me my bill with merely a login, but asking them something requires a higher level of security check. I felt in my place before emailing them. Like standing outside the headmaster's door. Cor gov'n'r, thank e for allowing me an audience...

I use my mobile phone when out hiking (e.g. in the Cairngorms). Whilst I appreciate there are blind spots in your coverage, and there are hidden glens, etc, what I fail to comprehend is the occasions that I have received a text (eg when on a hill), and try to send a reply. On many an occasion I have watched the signal strength drop through the bars until I can only send "for emergency use only".

Please, simply tell me why this happens? I hadn't moved. Presumably the transmitter mast hadn't moved either. But your service fails me.

I don't care that you knock the socks off other company's coverage. I just want to know why something that should be constant seems to be variable. From 5 bars to 0 bars. That's 100% drop in service.

It just gets frustrating. As you may gather.

I think that it will put your new gps-featured iPhone in doubt for use by the outdoors community.

I look forward to your technical explanation of the service fluctuation.

Duncan MacLeod

But when I tried posting it, I was told that the message was too long. No hints as to what I need to shorten it by.

I use my mobile phone when out hiking (e.g. in the Cairngorms). I notice that there are occasions that I have received a text (eg when on a hill), and try to send a reply. On many an occasion I have watched the signal strength drop through the bars until I can only send "for emergency use only".
Please, simply tell me why this happens? I hadn't moved. Presumably the transmitter mast hadn't moved either. But your service fails me.
I'd like to know why something that should be constant seems to be variable. From 5 bars to 0 bars. That's 100% drop in service.
I think that it will put your new gps-featured iPhone in doubt for use by the outdoors community.
Duncan MacLeod

We need as much coverage in the UK as possible. I think some form of sharing of networks may be in order. And then some private company to get better coverage out there. It'll never get to 100% coverage, but there has to be some technical breakthrough due. I mean, Marconi was working with radio outdoors after 1895. 113 years of development and this is where we are at.

There has to be a better way.

Of course, if you are designing a cash-cow, then, moooo

Cartophiles of the world, arise!

I love maps. Maps hold information, and information is power. When in the outdoors, it can be the power of life and death. Or simply finding a decent, comfortable wild camp hours before arriving in the area. It is almost magical.

The new iPhone also worked its magic on me when I was off ill. I found out about the launch accidentally when looking at my O2 phone bill. It launches on the 11th of July this year. Shiny. By the time I had finished watching the keynote speech, I was hooked. Heck, Jobs had be hooked about 25% in.  (link)

The big draw? Assisted GPS (dfn). This will allow so many new applications to be developed as to be unimaginable.

For me, I want to be able to link a live trail-log to blog posts. In English: I post a blog entry from the trail, and the system updates a map with a flag to allow users to click and read the blog post. An old-school version of something similar exists on this blog: My Munros map. It is clunky and requires 2 apps to get it updated. Not very WebGeo.

So, what I want to be able to do is:

1. Write post in a decent editor. Add photos to it. Be able to send post direct to my blog.

2. I want to be able to add my current location from the GPS system to the post and have this used by the software (i.e. I don't want to have to type in long old-school lat/long numbers).

3. I want that data to be added to a map on my blog (I'll accept some initialisation if required).

The details of the map (probably Google Maps), won't be as good as the Ordnance Survey, but it will be good enough to allow people to read that I'm okay/moaning/singing/sleeping in/changing plans (delete as applicable) and see where abouts on the trail that I am.

Of course, for this to work out in the real world (i.e. not within the proportion of the country that the telephone companies can be bothered to give cellular access to). I think that OffConn needs to step in - but they'd have to climb out of the pockets of the companies and start standing up for the citizens that pay their wages.


Some GeoBlogging links (old-school definition on Wikipedia)

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Friends Reunited

Tiso's just called, and Akto inner is back from repair n ready for collection. Woohoo.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Not cool at all

No, Darren, it isn't cool. 1000mg of different antibiotic tablets 4 times daily. I'll be rattling by the end of the week. Plus it is agony to walk on. And there's my new trail shoes gathering dust. Och michtie me. And I've not been on a computer since this all started on Sunday night.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Blackfly 3 arrives

Hobbling to the door i collect a couple of parcels. One was the order from Tinny at minibulldesign. For the first time in ordering from the States, i wasn't hit with import duty. I hope he was able to reclaim for the one that went missing in transit. I may try using it to boil water for a lemsip later. Also in the parcel was 2 fuel bottles, extra spare wicks and metal roll for a windshield. 

And the other package? Two FT-17s and a Charron a/c from the Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company. If i didn't have to keep my feet up and rest,

There was also an envelope, which turned out to contain OL 28 Dartmoor. It reminds me of the moors back home - but without the firing ranges.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

New Trail Shoes

Decided to buy a pair of trail shoes. Went for The North Face's Hedgehog GTX XCR. 15% discount in Tiso's on all TNF products. I'll try them out on Bennachie later in the week. Wowser.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Hiking the Guilt Trip

Robin went hiking recently in the Cairngorms National Park. he felt that he hadn't spent enough money in the local community, and wondered if he was a "parasite". I followed a link up to Andy Howell's posting, which links in to a podcast that I have not yet listened to, Mark Richards talking about "The Outdoor Environment".

For me, it was all one push too many. I've come across the sign in the local corner shop: "due to government pressure, we are now charging 5 pence per carrier bag". Then in my local Asda I was forced to 'beg' for a carrier bag to put my shopping in. This from a place that uses a warehouse where the roof void is being heated but not used. I see it all as companies hitting the punter. Me - if you treat me like that, I just walk away. It is called bullying. My reaction is fight or flight. We can only fight against companies ripping us off by hitting them where it hurts.

Here's what I left on Andy's blog:

“Pick on someone else, sunshine.” - that’s my first non-censored thought.

If communities want to sponge off of hikers, provide something in return else get off my case.

People drive through regions and I don’t see stop-search brigades going through glove compartments and picnic hampers.

Local communities “stick the knife” in their local shops by going to their nearest mega-super-store instead. Opening hours of remaining shops reflect the local desires and not those of the occasional passing hiker.

I’m tired of people forcing their guilt trips on to me. Maybe we could all do what Dave Gorman did in the USA - and only support Mom-and-Pop operations when hiking. But that would include getting to/from the trailheads too.

For what it is worth, I recycle what I can, walk where I can, and spend money in the local communities. Not because I am forced to, but because I want to, and the option is there for me to do so. And I'm watching "Primeval" on tv instead of a high-carbon-footprint imported show.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Musings on Today

I did not go to a gear shop.

I did not stop at a chippy.

I did not write a gear review.

I did get a lot of work done.

I did start on my next batch of barbed wire defences.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Bennachie 050608


Left car at 7.15, the entity that is i as a ball of sweat arrived at summit at 8.05. A dog barks from a farm somewhere below me. The steady roar of the traffic miles away. The approaching bank of sea fog. An aircraft flies out from Dyce, as my right far tries to locate the warble of a moorhen. The woods below me are full of birdsong. A ghostly whisp of cloud is carried on the air just below eye level. Someone puffs and pants on the rocks behind me as his Irish-accented pal is presented with the view. Time for me to head back as people talk about flirtatious emails.











36 minutes to get from Summit to car park.

Why did I suddenly feel the urge to head for my local hill for the first time this year? After a long day at work, I thought of a nice cool shower, or a cold drink, or a large pack of crisps and veg out. Then I thought of all three together. A straw in the can, and did anyone make waterproof crisps?

At which point I thought that I needed to break the vicious cycle and fight through the numpty drivers (speeding on all roads, driving along 2' away from the read of vehicles at speed: I just find it all so tiring). Quick tea, and out.

Kit: Montrail Namche, Mountain Hardwear Trek trousers, Airforce X-socks (they don't work for me on long treks), "life is good" non-wicking statement t-shirt, Montane windshirt (with plastic water bottle, camera, mobile phone, Tikka plus headtorch - just in case).

Last visit: good grief, it was in August last year!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Bucking Horse Day

Yippee, it is Bucking Horse day across on the Vacana. See if you can't recognise your students in this tale from the Buddha. Link

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sky

Spurred on by George's video postings, I wheeched together the few video clips I'd taken last weekend, and hoyed them into a clip on YouTube. As noted from London, you can select to view the videos in "high quality". It obviously takes longer to download, and is still at 320 x 240 pixels, but should be less "blocky". Of course, the GIGO principle still applies.

Updated My Munros map list.


Higher quality version now available (640x480 pixels, click the link that says "Watch in High Quality", just below the video) . There's no way to select the HQ version without going to the website, or changing your YouTube settings (see link).

Sunday, 1 June 2008

On Your Marks

Between getting up early to do some marking, Darren phoning about cameras, downloading a new podcast channel that George found, and watching some lightweight backpacking on dvd (the 1970's show "Kung Fu"), oh, and getting some WW1 French figures prepped for varnishing ... I don't seem to have started my marking yet.

And now, catching up with the videos that Cameron posted about the TGO Challenge (pt 1, pt 2) - there's Darren, there's the unsurpassable John Manning, Chris Townsend (I think, is in shot at the Montrose dinner scene). As one chap said "you have to be strange to do this".

As the commentary for part 2 ends with "are you up for it?" - Yes, I am, but just can't afford to take 2+ weeks of unpaid leave off work.

I look forward to seeing the "Adventure Show" coverage, but have a suspicion that it is just going to be snippets during their 1 hour long show rather than the main section of the programme. They tend to focus on mountain bike races, ice climbing championships, and the like. High-adrenaline races. But I'm happy to be proven wrong.

Right ... about that overwork ...