Saturday, October 23

Body and Mind


Started this October weeks break on Teesside with the family, just for a couple of nights, as they hadn’t broken up from school yet. Having lived the vast majority of our lives within sight of Roseberry Topping, I for one had never been up it, so Sunday afternoon we all went for a walk, bagging the geocache and trig point at the top. Teesside rescue and the air ambulance were on manuvours at the same time, which made it even more exciting for the little ones.

We had enjoyed another brief visit to the dales during the summer and still wanted more so we went back to Hawes for a few nights. We paid a visit to the Yorkshire Falconry centre and both got the chance to handle a barn owl, the barn owl is one of the prettiest of all birds. This was followed by a visit to Ribblehead viaduct for a couple of geocaches, got caught in one hell of a downpour but not without seeing the most vivid of rainbows.
The following day was a sunny blue sky day but very cold, I went on a geotrail up Pen-Y-Ghent, the first time I had listened to music whilst on a walk, always thought that it a little strange, but after my last walk on Hill of Fare which I found slightly boring with no birdsong around.

We broke the return journey up by calling in at Edinburgh, two days bagging a few caches and visiting some art exhibitions.
“Another World” was a spectacular exhibition of Surrealist art at the Dean Gallery. I have had an interest in the surrealist’s since I was at Art College, never thought of myself as any sort of an expert but I did surprise myself at how I was able to put the artist’s with the various pieces.
I am particularly interested in collage and assemblage, I was surprised at how small some of the collage pieces were, must have been reproduce large in books, there were also some works by Joseph Cornell, love his assemblages as well as photographs by Paul Nash, I feel one of his images in particular has influenced my photography in a big way.
The Edward Weston & William Wegman exhibition came as a bit of an anti-climax the following day, but I have always liked them both, the Weegman giant Polaroid’s were stunning, sure I would have thought more of it all if I hadn’t enjoyed the previous day so much.

Tuesday, October 12

1972 was a long hot summer.

So off to the Dales and Edinburgh next week but in between time, out and about in the little Micra with it radio now working. Loch Strathbeg is just south of Fraserbrough for a bit of caching and bird watching, an interesting place as its a RSPB site in the middle of an abandoned airfield.
We had a great time driving up to it, listening to the past top twenty charts with Dale Winton, reminiscing wildly about 1972, cue Silver machine by Hawkwind.

The following weekend off, to Edzell, mostly to capture the autumn, but a little caching, we swore always to bring the binoculars from now on  because as we went about we saw Buzzards, a couple of Roe deer, some albino Pheasants, a Barn Owl hunting, a Red Squirrel and hundreds of Geese coming in for the winter.

The Rocks of Solitude.

We are also over the moon as our Blog has been recognised, gave me a boost to keep it going,

Dear Carlotta,
Congratulations! Jen here, and your blog, Friends of Carlotta, is a Master
Blog of Geocaching!
We've scoured the web looking for amazing blogs that not only are great in
content, but informative and helpful when needed.  And we've determined your
blog to be such!  We like to call it a Master of its category!
You can see your blog and others at:

Tuesday, September 28

Fitness regime and a long weekend.


Started a new fitness regimen, also decided to learn more about navigating with map and compass after my experiences during the summer, bought a great little book called The Ultimate Hiking Skills Manual by Chris Bagshaw. full of info on both subjects. Anyway along with the terrain 5 geocaches I have in my sights I also plan to do a bit of Corbett and Munroe bagging.

A long weekend off so we went over to the west coast, taking the road along Loch ness which I had never driven so far. We stopped at the CC site at Morvich, a truly stunning location surrounded by Corbett’s and Munroe’s, teaming with bird life, think I caught a glimpse of a Peregrine at one point, we will certain visit this site again.
On the Saturday we went to the palindromic village of Glenelg, one of the remotest places on mainland Britain. Visited a couple of Pictish broch’s around 2000 years old before moving on to Glen Shiel. Weather for this time of year was very good, autumn wasn’t as far along as I thought it might be, there were still swallows around.
Sunday I took a walk to the Falls Of Glomach which is Britain's tallest waterfall at 370 feet high, they are rather isolated and is a 10 miles walk, climbing up to 1700ft and a 7 hour round trip. 

We bought a new car, well new to us, will get me out onto the hills a the Jeep was unreliable.

Sunday, September 19

Hardraw force.

One of the best things we did was join the Caravan Club and we started our tour with a call off at there site in Edinburgh, its always nice to break up the journey down to Teesside. We had always been put off by a negative experience we had at one of their sites a couple of years ago, not the CC itself, but its snotty members. Anyway we have used a few of the sites and everything was great, most of the members and particularly the quality of the sites.
After a visit to see the kids and a night out glamping with the grandkids we went off to the Yorkshire Dales. Stopping at the CC site at Hawes we explored the area for a few days, I got to climb Inglebrough at 2373 ft / 723 m, one of the Dales three peaks, hope to do the others sometime as we both enjoyed the are and agreed it warranted more time, also neglected some of the pubs in Hawes.
We moved south to North Wales, stopped at a C&CC site near Bala, visiting places like Beddgelert and Betws-Y- Coed, we hadnt been here for about 20 years. I finally managed a climb high enough to warrant a recording in my Munro Magic page, the Glyders are 2 mountain tops with some fantastic terrain, there is also a few geocaches up there but due to the extremely poor visibility I was only able to find 2, the experience has also made me gain more navigation and pathfinding skills. I really want to return to this area sometime so I can get to see it properly.

Glyder Fawr
We then moved back north to the Lake District, near to Kendal, really would have liked to do a bit of exploring and geocaching in Kendal itself, but the day we went we spent nearly 2 hours trying to find a parking place before giving up. The CC&C site at Windermere, we didn't like it too much, they put us in the family camp area so lots of kids about, the only plus it that it has a bar on the site itself. I climbed Loughrigg fell.
After a few nights in the Lakes  we moved on to Garlieston, Dumfries and Galloway, a loverly quiet CC site on the edge of the village, pub was very close, should visit again.
We had hoped, a spur of the moment thing, to drop into Edinburgh for a couple of nights on the way home, but it was full due to the festival, no accommodation to be had so we went to Alva nr Alloa. This CC site has a fantasic view of the Ochil hills, we did a bit of geocaching in the area, I would have loved to explore the hills more and will its a good spot for stopping off on the way home.
Finally it was Gathering in the Glens, geocaching meet, we walked part of "Jocks road" .
I really must write these up at the end of a day, this has taken me weeks.

Friday, July 16

Wet week on Skye

The Cuillin ridge.

With some of the north west of Britain suffering drought, other areas basking in the mid 20's, I chose the part of the west coast of Scotland where it never seems to stop raining.
I started my summer holidays off with a stop in Poolewe, where I hoped to climb a hill called An Teallach, the weather report was for 100 mph winds on mountain tops, even keep on the lower slopes it was hard sometimes keeping my feet. In the end I had to contend with a couple of pints of ale named after said hill. I maybe should have known as I had a puncture on the way there, foreboding.

I took the coastal road south to Applecross, a mecca for some people, mostly motor bikers for the Alpine pass approach to it, or exit as it was for me. I stopped for a couple of night and I did see a least one sunny half days here.

Then onto Skye, 3 nights at Glen Brittle, site is a bit basic but I do love it there. Again waited almost a year to come and climb the Cuillin ridge and again the weather beat me back. I expect doing this solo would have been a little foolhardy given the poor visibility. I did spot another route up, in fact it would have been my decent, but it looked better doing it that way round. again I got half way up and was able to do a bit of a recon, next year or maybe even autumn. 
After that Loch Gershornish, a great cc&cclub site with new and improved facilities. I did a lot of driving around, small walks, a few geocaches. This was all to culminate in a walk along The Quiraing, again the weather was atrocious, I had only done about 1/4 of my intended walk, I got as far as The Prisoner, then turned back soaked, not quite ti the skin but I would have been by the halfway. Besides all that I could hardly see a thing, the odd dark shape loomed out at me now and again, but I was missing most of what the place had to offer.

Off somewhere else in the coming weeks, surely the weather must be better.

Thursday, May 13

3 years of geocaching.

A meander on Morven.

We have now been geocaching for 3 years and that anniversary almost coincides with the 10 years since geocaching was invented, we have thoroughly enjoyed it and really its not exaggerating to say it has changed our lives, it has spurred us both on to make or support minor changes in our lives that then flourished into real lifestyle changes. As a thank you we decided to try and put something into every cache we found this year, tired of finding bits of tat (usually paper tat only good as holding moisture in a cache) in some of them, one example went something like "took £2 coin, left business card from local fishery". Inspired by the geocaching snippet from Splinterheads I bought a 100 plastic finger rings from ebay, really quite cool seen them for £2 each in shops, they can even fit in a film canister. We still might take something from a cache but would put something more in its place.
Here in Aberdeen we had 2 extra days off within a 3 week period, one a local Aberdeen holiday ( yay for Aberdeen) and May day. On the first long weekend off I climbed Morven a local Corbett with a geocache at the top, our 770th, weather. The following holiday saw us in Glenmore, camping on the banks of Loch Morlich at the foot of Cairn Gorm. 

Evening light on Loch Morlich.
We went on a walk right round the loch chasing a small trail of caches, as well as the both of us climbing a nearby Corbett, Diane's first, with which she was really proud. Later that afternoon we went along to a nearby cafe with wi-fi, I logged the caches and made uploads to Flikr as Di watched the birds and a red squirrel feeding.
As we left for the Mayday weekend a trail of geocaches was put out leading up Mount Keen, the most easterly of Munro's, hoped it would have kept a while but no someone else had planned to do one of our caches close bye and extended his visit to take in these caches, hoisted on my own petard. All the time into early May and still walking in snow.

Sunday, April 25

Easter Fortnight.

Valley of Rocks.

In an attempt to gain better weather for our Easter break we decided to go South, Devon or Cornwall was on the cards for a possible summer trip but we changed our plans pulling it forward, so off to North Devon. We even managed to squeeze an extra day into our plan and took the opportunity to drop in Morton Hall again on the way down, got in a few local geocaches before retiring to the Stable bar for one of there loverly meals. 
Maybe it will be the last visit here, on reading the booking confirmation email, a little later once booked in, I saw they had wanted to charge £3 for Felix the cat who travels with us, can not understand why as he takes no advantage of any of the facilities on the campsite and bring his own cat litter. 
After sleeping later than intended we set off for Hayfield,a long drive, a sneaky little multi-cache right outside the campsite satisfied us for that day and off to The Sportsman, an inn serving very good food, fine ales and our friend Tom works there. 
North Devon was our next stop for a whole week stopping at 
Umberliegh, weather wasn't the best but not the snow they had back in Scotland. Explored a little of Exmoor, Exeter, along with an interesting area called Valley of Rocks and a village called West Down where someone has laid 105 geocaches along the west down way. Needless to say we didn't attempt to go for them all, but did manage 21 a record for us for one day. 
Heading back up North we called in at Formby nr Liverpool, stopped on a friends drive and visited the beach, there we did an earthcache where we had to find some prehistoric mudflats at low tide, this ephemeral  fossil had the foot prints of ancient people and animals. Final stop off on the way home was Moffat, meeting up with the kids, who were once more staying at St Marys loch. We all went for a walk up the Grey Mares Tail falls to Loch Skeen, once there I decided to leave the group and go on to a high terrain geocache, avoiding yet more snow however the uplands of Scotland are arctic. We also found the cache that we had looked for exactly one year earlier and quite easily, as is often said by all in the geocaching game, sure I'd looked there before.
From now on I must try to write posts for the blog more timely.

Sunday, March 14

Happy first birthday, blog.

Over looking Loch Muick.

Its been a over year since I started this blog and its proved very useful as an aid to my failing memory of where we have been and when we where there.

Always seems a long drag from Christmas up to Easter, but the days are getting longer, if only it would stop snowing, we are just about to go into March and its snowed every week since before christmas. We have however managed the odd days geocaching in between the blizzards and a hill walk and no doubt we will get a chance for a couple more leading up to Easter.
Currently planning our next big trip all the way down to Devon with a few stops along the way and having got the van through its MOT, started giving it a spring clean in preparation. Devon looks promising for the walking and geocaching and we are both more than ready for a good break.
I started this entry a few weeks ago and the weather is slowly picking up. says there are now 1 million geocaches active across the world ! "We have our work cut out for us" says Carlotta and I am aiming for 1000 caches by the end of the year.

Saturday, January 9

Winter is snow joke.

Approaching Carter Bar 

The snow started to fall the minute work finished and the holiday break started, it didnt seem to be a problem at first but as time went on and the temperature remained around freezing it became evident we weren't going to get the van out of its compound. The owners of the compound at Dyce caravans placed a notice at the gate not allowing anyone to remove there caravans and motorhomes which was understandable given the state of the ground, nothing less than an ice ring, however the lack of further information or contact details was very much lacking, to this end I think I will look at an alternative provider. 
By Boxing day we had given up on the whole idea of the motorhome but were still keen to get out and about so the alternative was the jeep and I had to come up with some alternative accommodation. The journey down to see the kids was tricky going, especially as we reached the Scotland / England border at Carter Bar on the A68, with cars struggling to get along in both directions I put the jeep into four wheel drive, something I had never used till now, we sailed through getting to our journeys end 3 hours later than expected but safe and sound.
A few days on Teesside with the kids including a visit to Durham. Geocaching was limited and very difficult, the snow made it a very wet and cold business.
Off to Edinburgh for new year but instead of our usual stop off at Morton hall being in the camper, we stopped in a wooden wigwam, nothing more than an insulated shed really but very comfy, warm and had a television.
Didn't go into the capital of hogmany for the celebrations themselves, the bar at Morton hall is great, big open log fire tasty food and the guys behind the bar are welcoming.
Took a couple of walks, new years day we went over too Holyrood park and the following day along the Water of Leith, that was a particularly blizzardy day and again the geocaching was hard with such a white featureless terrain.
It snowed a lot over night, the motorway had been closed down and it took me over an hour to deice the locks of the jeep, but all in all it did us proud. A week after returning home and the motorhome is still inaccessible at Dyce as its still freezing conditions.
No big plans till Easter which is well over 2 months away, must get in a few hill walks, maybe a weekend away as the light nights come in.

Suzuki jeep and wigwam.