The Vault Regulars

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The writing is on the wall.

Probably like most readers of the blog i wish the clock could be turned back. Back to my twenties when the body worked well and nothing was any trouble. Stupidly heavy packs, no mileage too much. Playing football, squash and climbing without a thought.
I eventually stopped playing football and started more serious climbing. It was a big mistake, at the time i didn’t realise how fit football matches and training was keeping me but once you lose that ‘Yard” you never get it back. I loved climbing though and used to climb all weekend without pain or a twinge and the harder the climb the more i loved it.
Eventually Sheila started climbing and she was very very good. Better than i was in fact. Ralph our friend and lead climber was twenty years older than me but as fit as a butchers dog, has many firsts accredited to him and could run up the routes we struggled with. He is sadly no longer with us but he would have been proud of us yesterday.

We started climbing again.

It has been a good 15 years since i last touched a rope and i was a bit apprehensive to say the least. Climbing was about the ratio between power and weight, like a good sports car. I used to weigh 66 kilos when i was in my twenties and now i weigh 76 kilos. The power wasn’t a problem in my twenties but now in my sixties it sure is. So lifting 76 kilos with no strength was going to be challenging.

We had booked a beginners course at Manchester Climbing Centre and we also had my daughter Lisa and son in law Andy with us.

I thought a climbing wall would be much easier than being on actual rock but it isn’t, i can assure you of that. We got kitted up and i found out that bowlines are no longer used to tie on. I had to be instructed on using a double figure 8 knot and was told bowlines were old school. Oh well. All things change.

We set off on a horizontal warm up wall before progressing to belaying each other and getting used to the gear and the different grades of wall attachments. All good fun except that i was immediately noticing  the lack of upper body strength. My legs were ok but my fingers and shoulders were already complaining.
I managed to get to the top of the first wall which i guess was around 30ft or so, the rest of the team did as well and Andy and Sheila were loving it. Lisa struggled a little but considering she has Fibromyalgia  i was impressed with her.

Then we moved up to single climbing on a wall about 50ft high and i didn’t make the top. I just didn’t have the energy to get there and fell off safely. Andy fell off as well and almost took me out on the way down. We were all struggling but laughing about it too. We eventually realised that it was going to take more than one session to get some upper body strength back.

Looking around i was the oldest person in the centre by a country mile. It was good to see so many youngsters and female youngster to boot doing so well. There were some good climbers in there.

Before our session ended Josh our instructor took us into the bouldering room. We found it quite difficult. Maybe because we were all knackered.
We were so knackered that when we had to sign the papers to say we had done a training session non of us could write, we were shaking so much and our fingers wouldn’t work.

But what a good time we had and a beer went down a treat. Oh and the lobster curry.
Here are a few images of the afternoon and thanks everyone.
Boy do I ache today.(Sunday)

The start, Josh on the left.
 Sheila on her way up.
 Sheila reaches the top. Well done.
 Lisa and Me giving the big wall a go.

 Sheila abseiling.
 Self climb and belay wall.
 The main hall.
 I think is was looking for the exit door.
 Andy bouldering.

 Lisa showing good style bouldering.
L-R. Me, Andy, Lisa and Sheila.
Lobster curry at the Spice Lounge, Manchester.










Friday, February 12, 2016

Brooks Cascadia 10. - for info only.

Just thought i would pass on this info as i know numerous readers do like Brooks Cascadia’s 10 trail shoes.

As i walked through TKMax in Manchester something grabbed me by the collar and turned me round to face a whole shelf full of these selling at £29.99. Lots of sizes but only in blue or red. Stores in other places may have more colour options and i guess TKMAX have them because Cascadia 11 is now out. (Obviously the 11’s came out after M and G did a review here.)

So i now own a pair of the C10’s.  I did need them and couldn’t pass up a bargain. Hopefully they last longer than Micks.
Don’t linger, they won’t be there long at this price.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Along the straight and narrow.

Thankfully after being unwell for a few weeks and lacking pretty much all motivation and energy needed to get outdoors i am slowly getting back to normal. Whatever my normal is, may be decided over the next few weeks with some tests that the doc has put me in for.

Anyway Martin B sent us an invite to join him and Sue on a slow 18km walk around Macclesfield. Please put your hand up if you have ever been on a slow walk with M. No takers then i presume.
Rumour has it that even when he is asleep the legs keep going and Sue has them attached to a turbine which powers the fridge freezer and the front door bell. Just thought i would mention it.

As it happened Sheila had a bit of a mishap at Metafit class and pulled a muscle in her side which kiboshed any idea of even a slow walk at the weekend. Why do we put ourselves through hell to keep fit.

So i broached the subject with M of maybe a curry walk before they fly out to Canada on Friday for more jollies. All spur of the moment stuff but it happened today (Tuesday) and JJ came along too, which was good.
It was decided to walk into Manchester from Timperley which is around 15km and on the straight and narrow Bridgewater canal.

After 2 hours of public transport travel i eventually reached Timperley. The distance from my house to Martins house it is approximately 14 miles. That’s how bad travelling in Manchester has become at rush hour. 7 miles per hour.

A reviving cup of coffee to fend off suicidal tendencies was had and then off we went. I had packed full wet gear as per last nights BBC forecast which was wrong, it was a jolly nice morning, clear bright and sunny but with grey clouds in the distance and in the direction of our walk.

I didn’t take many photographs as this route has featured on numerous occasions on the blog. However we had a bit of a meander towards the end and the photographs below are from that meander.

These curry walks are always good for banter and catching up on numerous topics from Investments right across the spectrum to backache and back again. And much about gear and the TGO Challenge of course.

Where the Bridgewater canal lock joins the Manchester Ship Canal (Lock 3) we dropped down to walk along what was the bustling Pomona Docklands area. On the North side of the water much redevelopment has taken place but on the south side only dereliction remains. A footpath of sorts was constructed a while ago with decent stone and fencing but has lapsed into decay. The path terminates at dock 3 where a bit of a muddy scramble up an embankment brought us back to what used to be a dockland service road. The skies were looking ominous and i though we would get a down pour but it held off.

Much work has been done around this Pomona area to fence people out but not enough to actual stop them properly and so the old service roads are still used by walkers, joggers and dog walkers. Some actual ground works seem to have started at the Manchester end. The land is owned by Peel Holdings, Network Rail and GMPT. The area is a real mess with much fly tipping and the like so it will be interesting to see over the next few months whether they make it a park land for the people or will it be more financial. Knowing Peel Holdings background i doubt it will be park.

Coincidentally i read that in 2011 the Greater Manchester Ecological Unit did a survey of the Pomona area. They suggested that the site should be considered as a site of Biological Importance. For nature conservation. However, in January of 2011 90% of the trees and vegetation on the site was removed by the owners and so rendered the survey moot. Nuff said. (Info from here.)

It has been many years since i had walked along this short section of canal and it was good to see that the old Woden Street footbridge (built in 1873) is still standing. This is more widely known as Mark Addy bridge and the original rather than the new one which passes above the Mark Addy pub in the city centre. This is the point where the River Irwell and the Ship canal combine and where you can see the River Medlock join.

This area was also the site of where The Ordsall Beach was going to be. A tongue in cheek story of giving the land back to the people of Salford. They called the bridge Ha’penny bridge. Was it once a toll bridge i wonder?

Leaving the canal beyond the viaducts of Rochdale Canal Lock 1, we walked through Manchester’s Roman History in Castlefield, another area where intentions we well meant but have not really taken off. The area is well supplied with food and drink but still shows industrial tiredness. The building work of the massive viaducts and the cast iron bridges are magnificent and need to kept in good order. Lots of people were taking photographs rather than just passing snaps like us.

Across Manchester we made it to This and That curry house where Sheila joined us and we had a very nice mixed curry.
 New builds on the North Shore. Manchester Ship Canal Exchange Quay.
 View down towards Pomona Docks. Manchester Ship Canal.
 Ominous skies at Pomona No. 3 dock.


 The graffiti along this wall covers the names and plaques of all the mill which used to be here.

 Approaching Woden street Bridge, 
 Walking into Castlefield, Manchester

Birds Merchant Bridge with the old Whitby Bridge behind and the ugly Beetham Tower hotel.

Martin B’s blog post is here with more images.




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