The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trekmates Mountain XT Ultralight Gore-Tex gaiters

A while ago i was looking for a pair of lightweight gaiters. Well i eventually found a pair.
I got them from Dash4It, the map people.
They are Trekmates and are made from GoreTex, there is no specification i can find about which type of GoreTex it actually is but i will go as far as saying it's just like Paclite.

What i like about these is the breathability, the weight and the simplicity of design. I have no complaints at all. They do the job well.

To keep the weight down the underfoot retention is std bungee cord. The good thing is that it has a lifetime guarantee as do the gaiters. If the cord breaks you just email sales@trekmates.co.uk for a replacement.

The weight specified is 105 grams per pair which is remarkable for a full length gaiter. However they must have done some tweaking because mine weight just 86 grams the pair.

They are all one size but are available in Male and Female versions.
If you are looking for a new pair then be quick, you can pick a pair up from Dash4it for £33.75 with Free postage instead of normal £45. Here.



Disclaimer. I bought these gaiters with my own money and have no affiliation with Dash4it in any way.






Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Satmap Active 10 and OSX Mountain Lion

I bought my Satmap GPS a few years ago and i have eventually sussed out most things. I have never found it “Easy” as numerous YouTube review vids suggest.
To me it uses “Negative Logic”.
That’s my terminology btw for something that works the opposite way round to the way i think. For example if you want a route to “start" you press “stop”. etc etc.

Now like i say, i have got used to it except that if i don’t use it often enough i forget steps. Probably a sign of old age creeping on. The other thing is, i use it on an Apple Mac so i have an extra step to do to be able to get my .map and .gpx files into a folder on my computer that Windows users don’t. Again this is more a nuisance than a problem.

I waited for quite sometime before i downloaded the latest version of Apple Mountain Lion software, thinking that the longer i leave it the more glitches will be sorted.

Wrong!

The first usb connected devices i used worked ok. Apple mp3 player and Sony camera.
Then i plugged in the satmap active 10. It didn’t work.
I checked the Satmap website to see if it was compatable and low and behold a complete new set of software to download was there.

I ditched all my 32 bit versions except Silverlight and downloaded all the new 64 bit versions.  (Silverlight wasn’t included in the must download).

I tried the Active 10 now thinking all was fine. Wrong! It still didn’t work.
I emailed the good people at Satmap and waited.

In the meantime and purely by chance i was looking through System Preferences, Security tag, and noticed that Mountain Lion had changed my default settings so that instead of me being able to download Apps from “anywhere" i could only download them from the App store. Naughty Apple and very selfish. (Satmap, please add this issue to your download page)

I changed the setting back to Anywhere. I can make my own decisions "thank you Apple software designers!”
So after about an hour i retried the Active 10. The Satsync and File converter worked and i was able to put my .map files into file converter and the converted .gpx file into my finder folder. Great. Yipee.

Wrong!

I went to the Satmap website and opened Xplorer, My Xplorer and clicked Upload files.
I got the “Browse” box and clicked it. I searched my folder and i clicked the file i wanted to upload.
I got a Yellow warning triangle with an exclamation mark inside. I clicked on the exclamation mark and get a message saying “There is no path.” Wonderful.

I contacted Satmap again and told them all the above.

They came back quickly and told me to try and drag and drop the .gpx file into planner. It didn’t work.
They told me to go to planner and use the Upload arrow in the “Tools” on the LH side. I did, and it didn’t work.
They told me to email them the .map and .gpx files which i did and they said there is no problem with the files.
They told me to ditch silverlight and download the latest version. I did and it still didn’t work.
They told me to "set up a new account" and start again. I did and yes you guessed. It didn’t work.

So i tried it on a windows set up and everything worked fine. So i now know the problem has nothing to do with anything on the Active 10 device itself and its all related to Mountain Lion and Satmaps interface. It must be because it worked perfect on OSX Snow Leopard.

There’s nothing i can do at all. I am now in Satmaps hands. I do hope they resolve it quickly.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and less stressful. Ha! If only it was funny. My recent encounters with this device, On Line banking, my printer, my cookers programmer, my Macs video card, my Nexus 7’s 2 x failures, Vodafone PAYG, my broadband speed with SKY, leads me to believe otherwise.
I think the customer is being used as a guinea pig to resolve problems so that companies can release devices faster than their competition.

So anyone out there who has Mountain Lion and Satmap active 10 and has had problems please feel free to get it off your chest. If you have a resolution please feel empowered to spill the beans. PLEASE.

Update:
Since this post i have now completely started again. Deleted everything and re-installed everything. I have upgraded Maverick and thought all would be well

Wrong. It still doesn’t work

I have been back in touch with Satmap Uk who replied saying they are at a loss as to why its not working and it will have to be passed over to the software developers and it may take months to resolve.
How do we get into this situation. This problem has cost me hours and hours. In fact no, days and days.
I don’t believe i can be the only one with this issue. I have very little 3rd party software and am just a home user with no networking etc etc. In other words i am the “Easiest” of users.

Monday, October 28, 2013

An Irk-some curry trail

This walk took place on Thursday 24th October 2013.

Readers will have noticed over the last couple of years that i became a member of the Timperley Curry walks that always terminate at This N That eatery in Manchester.
It's open to anyone really who wants to walk and chat to JJ, Martin, Rick as well as others who come along as commitments allow. And of course you need to enjoy a curry and a beer after.

What is surprising, no, amazing in fact, is just how much greenery can be found within the spokes we have walked from outlying areas into the centre of Manchester. For someone born and bred in Manchester i have had my eyes opened to the natural beauty and also the industrial and social archeology that prevails.

Today's walk was to follow the River Irk as much as possible and started from Heaton Park Metrolink station. The Irk starts it's life in Royton, Just north of Oldham and meanders it's way through to Victoria in the centre of Manchester where it joins the River Irwell.
For me our start point meant 2 busses had to be caught and then a walk from the south side of the park to the north side to meet up with the crew from Timperley who would be alighting the tram at 10.15am.

Heaton Park.
It was quite a nice morning, a little chilly but calm and with good prospects for improvement. I could just make out the mist rising from the overflow lake or the boating lake as it's better known.There were a few runners and dog walkers about as i made my way into the park via the Middleton Rd entrance, down the tree lined drive and past the old tram stop. Once at the boating lake it was good to see that the cafe was still open and with quite a few customers considering it was relatively early. (9.30am). The smell of breakfast cooking was a temptation but i resisted, took a couple of photographs and moved on. I still had a 15 minute walk to the tram station to do.

Heaton Park is quite well known for it's pop concerts and running races, it's charity events and it's a pleasure to walk round, it's also one of the largest municipal parks in Europe at around 640 acres. There is lots to see and do here and it's run by Manchester City Council. The website is here.

The park also contains the colonnade from the old Manchester Town Hall but we didn't pass where it has been re- located on this walk.

 (The drive)
(The boating lake)
Once at the Metrolink tram stop i had a 15 minute wait. I thought there would be a sandwich shop nearby and i was correct. One bacon muffin was had whilst passing the time until the others arrived.
It was good to see JJ, Rick and Martin. Martin was still suffering which a muscle problem which i must say looked quite painful at times. 
We set off back through the park with Rick in charge of proceedings. The sun was now up, strong and bright and the sky as blue as it could be and considering we are in rainy city, we had no heavy clouds.
(Heaton Hall)
The walk back through the park was enjoyable with JJ and Martin taking numerous photo's which i am sure will be available to view on their own posts of this walk.
(Martin stayed still just long enough for me to get a photo.)
Just prior to exiting the park via the Smithy Lodge, by chance the golfers cafe was open and so we had to indulge in a swift coffee. The bar was open and JJ spotted a ghastly ale pump. Joseph Holts "Smoothflow" bitter. Those words, "Joseph Holts and Smoothflow should never be said or seen within the same sentence. 

Anyway, we managed to get going properly and crossed the very busy Manchester to Middleton main road where after a bit of searching we found the path along the North bank of the River Irk. It was flowing quite strong and a walk through the deciduous forestry a pleasure. This area is known as Blackley Forest Nature Reserve. Until today i had never heard of it and just how nice it was came as a bit of a shock.

 (2 images above. Following the River Irk through Blackley Forest Nature Reserve.)
We came through the forest at Blackley road which we followed for a few hundred yards to pick up a footpath through Blackley Vale. The path led to a bridge over the Irk which would have taken us into Crumpsall but we were trying to follow the river as near as possible. The route led us back up to Blackley Rd and Delauneys Rd from where we could get back to the river side.
(JJ showing that his running days are not over or are they?.)
We had to leave the delights of the woods due to a new housing estate near to Blackley Village. The massive building Hexagon Tower dominates the skyline. The home of Scientific Innovation.
(Considering how long this building has been here it is in very good condition. It was formerly owned by the giant ICI corp.)
As we came out through the estate, which was actually quite nice and quiet the path was a little difficult to pick up. Martin and JJ found one route while Rick and Myself found the "Gates" as was on the route map. It led through a number of ponds at Harpurhey which were all quite "filthy" with dumped waste materials. A shame really as this could be made to be a very nice nature reserve.
We passed the Smedley Hotel which was looking quite smart before entering Hendham Vale and Queens park.
(Smedley Hotel)
Queens Park was one of the first Municipal Parks created in 1846 designed and laid out by Joshua Major. There used to be an old hall here but it has now been demolished. Someone decided it was a good spot to have a brew. Martin handed out the chocolate brownies and I had 4 pieces of Sheila's fruit cake. A lucky guess at the numbers.

(The railway arches over the Irk at Queens Park)
At this point we thought our route into Manchester had been thwarted. The path had a "Footpath Closed" sign but no explanation or detour. So i stood ceremonially and declared the footpath open. We had no problems getting onward.
We were closing in on our destination. Rick had a couple of points of interest he wanted to see which were Sandhills and Angel Meadows. I admit i had never heard of them.
Heading along Danzig St. we came across the unusual sight of 1/2 a submarine on end. It is described as an absurd piece of Jules Verne style imagery symbolising "emergence". It has nothing to do with war and it's named "Dreadnowt".  It's painted by HMG paints and is used to commemorate events like the Olympics, England etc etc.
(The "Dreadnowt")
We now made our way upwards along sandhills. Rick explaining that this area was where the stone was quarried for Manchester's St Ann's church and also the Roman Fort at Castlefields. All very interesting.
We emerged at Irk Street with its fine arched brick railway viaduct.
 (Sandhills and Danzig St with Manchester CIS buildings close.)
(The arch at Irk St.)
Under the viaduct we turned right past a number of car repair garages, down some very old stone steps, across a corbled yard and up more old stone steps to reveal what is now a small public park known as Angel Meadow and St Michaels Flags. Again i did not know this park was here. And so close to the city centre. The area itself in years gone by was a very affluent area. That was until the Industrial revolution which then introduced poverty and squalor. 
(One of the entrance ways into Angel Meadows and St Michaels flags)
The church of St Michaels and All Angel's was built in 1790 and was said to be one of the most ugliest churches built in Manchester, in a notorious and overcrowded part of the city.
The land adjacent to the church was to become the largest cemetery in Manchester. Used to bury those with no family place or the poorest of the poor.
There were also institutes for abandoned, neglected and destitute children and one of them still flurishes as a teaching facility today. The Ragged School for working girls.
 (Charter St Ragged School)
 (Zoom shot of the wall plaque)
 (The rejuvenation information board)
 (Nice to see the old factory has been modernised and is now apartments).
This is a very interesting area of old Manchester but sadly we had to move on. Our route now took us past the fantastic new CIS building. Only recently finished and looking in my opinion one of the finest modern buildings in Manchester. How CIS managed to acquire the funding when they were 700 million in the red is a bit of a mystery. I'm sure you and me wouldn't get funding if we had no money.
(The magnificent new CIS building)
I should have taken a shot more from an angle as this photo doesn't show that the upper terracing and smoke stacks very well. From some viewpoints it takes on the look of a large liner.
When i look at the ugliness of Beetham Tower and No.1 Piccadilly, this building is so architecturally pleasing. 
Upon arrival at This N That i thought we might not get a seat. It was as usual, very busy. But the good thing about the place is that it's mainly full of office staff that have to get back to work. By the time we were served we had a table.
I had 3 curry's, chicken, lamb and spinach and a mixture of boiled and pilau rice. Cost £5. 
Once again we all slipped up and forgot to get a photo. Next time we will.

Our onward and last port of call was my favourite pub in Manchester. The Ape and Apple. (But keep that a secret). We didn't make an afternoon of it, just a taster before we went in our separate ways.

A most enjoyable route on a lovely day in great company. Thanks Rick for putting the route together.

Note.
I will put a map here.  I am currently having problems with Satmap and Apple's OSX Mountain Lion software. Hopefully it will be resolved asap.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thieveley Pike from Shawforth and back.

Sheila and I were at a loose end today (Sunday). We had no plans. I emailed Martin on Saturday evening, just on the off chance that he was doing a walk that we could latch onto.
Back came the reply. Yes, meet you outside the Big Wellie at Tyndrum at 9.30am. That's roughly about 277 miles from home.  That wasn't what i was actually thinking, but kind to be invited anyway even if it was a bit tongue in cheek. He was on a TGO challengers reunion weekend.

So we set the alarm and when it went off we just turned over. We could hear the rain on the open bedroom window. An hour later we decided to make the effort whatever the weather and get out there.

"Where are we going", Sheila said, as if i had a plan.

I decided to go to Thieveley Pike on Todmorden Moor, a walk which i had never done before, but start it from Shawforth where i knew there was a good car park and just about the right distance for a days walk.
We had been driving for about 10 minutes when something jumped into my brain about tea bags. "Did you pick up the green tea bags" i asked Sheila. You can guess the reply. "No i thought you did."
So we had a flask of hot water and no teabags. I don't mind hot water to be honest but Sheila said we will buy some when we pass a shop. Which we did. In fact it was a bit of bargain too, 100 green tea bags for £2.

It wasn't raining as we parked up but just as i opened the boot to put on my walking boots and gaiters it started to tipple. Typical. Waterproofs from the off.
It was dark, the edges off the clouds tinged with light from a sun we probably wouldn't see today. The roads were flowing and the spray had to be avoided as we crossed the main road to a landrover track leading to Higher Hogshead and Green Brow, 2 hill farms. Crossing the open fellside with its coarse grass and ruts full of water. It was a good job we had put gaiters on which by now were also covered with overtrousers.

Fortunately as we approached the ridge line which is also the county boundary and part of the Rossendale Way, the cloud base was high so although it was lashing it down we had decent visibility. That was apart from the areas which were getting the worst of the rain.
 (View South, Whitworth in the foreground and Manchester Town Centre behind)
(Zoom shot taken from same place as previous image) Manchester looks a bit wet.
Our route followed the boundary line North. Many of the boundary stones still prominent. We splodged along the path or watercourse as it was today, until we met with the A681.  All the way we had the incessant banging from shotguns. The noise carries so far. There were many cars up in the quarries behind the Astronomy Centre or Observatory which ever you prefer. The shotguns we guess was from a clay pidgeon shoot.
(One of the many boundary stones. T for Todmorden i presume and the other side was S but i'm not sure what the S is.)

The rain got harder and the camera was put away, the surroundings disappeared for a few minutes and then re-appeared as the wind swept the rain cloud across the moor. We stood and watched one area bright then disappear in a blanket of grey.
We came to a really high stile which we crossed to reach the A681. It's not a particular busy road on a Sunday and so we had no problems walking the few hundred yards along it before we picked up the footpath across Todmorden Moor.
Up until then we had seen no one. Here at the lay bye there were a few cars parked with folk still sat inside them as though they were thinking "Do we have to go out in that and look at them two daft beggers looking at us, they looked soaked".

I checked the map as numerous paths and tracks criss crossed, we headed for Hill Top farm. Then we spotted a rare sight of what looked like a Boar. Unusual to see one just wandering along a quarry road. Maybe the shooters scared it off the moor.

On reaching Hill Top Farm the path goes through the farm yard. Just as we entered and closed the gate we spotted a big German Shepherd dog. It ran over to us followed by 3 yapping Jack Russell terriers.
It was a scary moment but thankfully the German Shepherd was really nice and friendly and the terriers just yapped. The owner came out and called them back and apologised. We had a bit of banter and then went on our way through the mud and what ever else you find in farm yards.
Once again we got battered with a heavy downpour. The weather was being quite capricious today. We came across a group of horses which were stood like statues against the wall. even as we walked past they hardly moved a muscle.
(Walking through the fields past Hill Top Farm)
Then the rain stopped suddenly and the sun came out. It must have lasted all of a minute because across the dale we could see the next wave of rain coming for us. We spotted a group of about 6 people up on the skyline but by the time we got up there they were away down the Burnley Way.
(A rare bit of brightness.)
We had some good fortune as we made our way to the top of Thieveley Pike, it stopped raining! 
Some of the surrounding hillsides were still getting the worst of it but for now we were happy. As we passed what we think was the position of the old beacon the trig point came into view. The top was used in times gone bye as a beacon point. 
 Was this the site of the old beacon?
 (Thieveley Top 449m)

(View from the top. Burnley in the valley and Pendle Hill beyond.)
The views are really nice from the summit especially across Cliviger and it was a shame that we couldn't see the truncated spurs which were left from the ice age. They are located on the Clivager side and we were not heading that way. Another time.
We did a quick tour of the top, but didn't find the source of the River Irwell and then headed back south east. We followed the Burnley way and just before we left the shelter of the wall for the open moor we decided it was a good time to stop for lunch.

(The view East from the summit. Cant Clough reservoir to the left and the Coal Clough wind farm)
We found a sheltered spot and broke out the sandwiches and hot water. Sheila went quiet and then said, "I've left the tea bags in the boot of the car" Would you believe it. So we ended up with just hot water after all. Although i have to say the yoghurt and honey cake she made was brilliant. We must have cake.

We stopped for about 15 minutes and glad to say it still wasn't raining. We picked up the path (Burnley Way) and headed off to the next top. No name, just marked as 432m on the OS map. At the top the path turns sharp north east down to the A646 road. Our route which was basically straight on and down to the land rover track which runs parallel with Greens Clough. Getting down was quite tough going with lots of ankle twisting ruts and bogs. Care was needed and we were glad to reach the stile just before Hill Top Farm. Once on the landrover track it was easy walking back to re-join the A861 road.

(Heading for the un-named top of 432m)
(Picking our way carefully across to Hill Top Farm in the distance)
The rain was holding off and visibility was good. We had a good view of the Observatory and beyond to Stoodley Pike. 
 (Todmorden observatory)
(Stoodley Pike)
We were now following the path known as Limers Gate. Plenty of cows were around and plenty of mares and foals. The amount of broken drainage pottery is amazing along the route. How it all got here i don't know or why.
The sky was brightening up with some breaks in the cloud showing patches of blue. The view across Gorpley reservoir was very pleasing and we made a mental note to come back and do a circular walk including the reservoir soon.
 (Big cows)
 (Mares and foals)
(View from Limers gate path across Gorpley reservoir with Stoodley Pike in the distance)
We soon came to a cross roads sign which was our point to leave the path and head up hill and once again cross the boundary wall and the path heading back to Shawforth. 
(The weather is improving from the limers Gate path)
Dropping down onto the Shawforth side of the valley the sky once again turned dark and it looked like we were going to get another soaking, but it held off at least until we made it back to the car. Incredibly within about 2 minutes of getting back to the car the heavens opened. 

 (Dark over Whitworth)
(Friendly pony in need of a hair cut.)
Oh, we did find the tea bags. Sheila had put them in the inside pocket of her waterproof jacket, in a plastic bag and so had carried them all the way round. Now i could say something here about memory loss but life (mine), is too short.

Mileage - 16.2 km
Time taken 5.5 hours. including stops.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fungi in Tandle Park

I should be typing a post about a lovely walk around Buxton, Taddington and Wormhill today but Sheila has had a bit of a bug this weekend which prevented us getting out. The Buxton walk was an invite from fellow blogger Martin Banfield. We were all packed, cake and sandwiches made and train tickets bought too.
So today i needed a bit of fresh air and headed off to my local park. I had only been going 15 minutes and the sweat was an obvious a sign that i had not escaped the virus. As soon as i got to a bit of a hill my breathing was awful. I sat down for a little while and decided not to go home but to just slowly wander through the park and photograph some Fungi. I believe this is Fungi week.

Although i posted some photo's in an earlier post i was still amazed at the variety that i found.
Here are a few images below and for anyone who wants to look at some more, there is a link here for a slideshow of what i found today.
Link to photo slideshow
At most i was 2 miles from my front door. It's a wonderful park.












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