Journal Entries

Finally made it to new hootoo!

Hello all!

With help from Peet and Z via the Gurus forum, I have finally been able to log in! I have been trying all week but for some reason it wasn't working. Not sure if it was my fault or a system error but big smiley - hug to Peet and Z for sorting it for me!

It's a shame to miss out on the first week of the new site, so please update me - what have I missed?

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Latest reply: Oct 23, 2011

Update for Elentari

Hi folks!

I haven't been around much recently, mostly because a lack of enthusiasm to contribute to the site before the move because we don't know how things will change under the new order.

I thought it was time for a bit of an update.

I've come back from a week in the Algarve (near Albueira) with 8 friends. We hired a villa and spent a lot of time at our pool and a day on the beach. It's not really my kind of holiday but we didn't hire a car (which was a mistake) so it was difficult getting around. We did manage to go to a waterpark and into Albufeira a couple of times, as well as catching a bus to Lagos in the hope of going surfing (we'd been told it was a good spot) only to arrive and find the sea as flat as a millpond.

I also ound out on Tuesday that my application for a small internal promotion was successful so I'm pretty chuffed about that! I don't know when I'll start or where I'll be based but it's more interesting work than I'm doing now at any rate. It's also a payrise, although after tax, NI, and increased pension and student loan contributions it will probably be no more than £80 a month extra. Still, I'll take it!

What have I missed here?

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Latest reply: Jul 28, 2011

New blog

Hi folks

Since I am looking for a job that will be a bit more creative than my current job, and preferably involves some writing, I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog which I can use as a sort of virtual portfolio. (In addition to my hootoo entries of course!)

If anyone is interested, the link is and you can subscribe by RSS or email.

Yesterday I blogged about bucket lists - ie. all the things you want to do before you kick the...

I'd love to hear about yours, either here or on the blog!

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Latest reply: Jan 3, 2011

3 Peaks Part Two: Scafell Pike

As you may remember from my last journal (F104967?thread=7634097) if you need a recap smiley - smiley) I am trying to complete the 3 Peaks Challenge. Not in 24 hours, because those people are crazy, but within a year.

Having climbed Snowdon in July, we set about organising the trip to Scafell Pike. There were several more people interested this time and we had enormous trouble booking a hostel. They either didn't have room for all of us or they were too far away. Eventually we found a farmhouse for rent for the weekend for £330, which split between 6 of us worked out as £55 for two nights. It also meant that we cooked our own food so worked out cheaper than the hostel last time anyway (you can cook at the hostels but we hose not to) and was much nicer!

We drove up on the Friday after work. Pete, the driver, didn't have a map or directions so we had no problem getting to the Lake District but once we got there we had a bit of a nightmare trying to find the place! We ended up trying to navigate by GPS on our phones, but there was no data connection in the hills so it wasn't easy! We were driving in the dark down narrow, twisty roads and often came around the corner to find sheep in the road, supremely unbothered by an enormous piece of metal with bright lights bearing down on them, and often unaffected by the horn either.

My friend Jim really wanted to come, but he had tickets for a gig in Wolverhampton that night. He decided he would come, but drove up after the gig and so didn't arrive till three in the morning! A vital piece of information was left out of the text message explaining where we'd left the key so he was hunting around the yard in the dark and had to ring three people before he got through and woke someone up.

Anyway, the weather on Saturday morning was glorious - bright and sunny and a complete contrast to the Snowdon trip. As we climbed, the view back over Wastwater was superb and we could even make out the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man behind.

We climbed up the Mickledore route, which involves some scrambling but when we got to the top of the ridge the view was completely worth it. Absolutely stunning. though it looked even better in real life.

It clouded over a bit as we reached the summit (which I was surprised to find was heaving with people) but we still had panoramic views as we ate lunch.

On the way down, we passed a long line of fell runners who were RUNNING up and down the mountain. The tallest mountain in England. 978 metres high. We found out later that the record for running up and down again is 49 minutes. The fell runners looked considerably more tired than we felt, which was nice I suppose!

On reaching the Farmhouse again, we showered, which is marvellously restorative after a tiring walk, then headed 350 yards up the road to the pub for dinner and some well-earned drinks.

Now we just need to plan our Ben Nevis trip for next year!

Discuss this Journal entry [7]

Latest reply: Oct 8, 2010

3 Peaks Part One: Mt Snowdon

Hi folks

A while back, I decided that I wanted to complete the 3 Peaks Challenge. For those of you who don't know what this is, it is to climb the highest mountains in England (Scafell Pike), Wales (Mt Snowdon) and Scotland (Ben Nevis).

A few friends were interested so we set about booking a youth hostel.

We arrived last Tuesday. The hostel was in a gorgeous spot, right next to a lake and with a mountain backdrop.

We'd booked a private room for the three of us rather than sleeping in dorms, and our room was in a converted coachhouse, not the main building. It had 2 bunk beds and a sink. The only downside was that the pillows were very flat and quite uncomfortable, because they'd been lain on so many times there was practically no stuffing left in the middle. Next time I'll do as my friend Chris did and take my own.

We headed to the nearest town by village by car to buy food for lunch the next day and to eat dinner. Lunch sorted (after escaping from the shop following a long chat with the friendly, talkative owner smiley - winkeye) we went next door to the pub he recommended.

As soon as I saw 'Welsh lamb' on the menu I knew what I was having! Welsh lamb tagine smiley - drool

Back at the hostel, we poured over the map and route directions. There are 6 main paths up Snowdon and we decided to stick with the one nearest the hostel, the Watkin Path, which was supposed to be the most difficult. We wanted a challenge, after all!

The next morning, fuelled up on cereal and a cooked breakfast, we set off. The start of the route was three quarters of a mile down the road, which was fine at the start of the walk but not so much on the way back!

The weather was extremely poor for much of the walk - heavy cloud, rain, even thunder and lightening and (briefly) hail! The final section of the walk was what we dubbed 'the Mt Doom section', because it looked exactly like the bits in The Lord of the Rings when they climb Mt Doom. It entailed scrambling up a steep section of scree where the path was often unclear - and this in the rain! At one point, the cloud was so heavy I could see no more than about 5 metres on either side of me, so when it then cleared very suddenly to reveal the valley, it was stunning!

At another point, we took a slight detour for a view of the Snowdon Horseshoe, which we couldn't see from our path.

At the top we could see nothing through the cloud, which was disappointing, but following the ritual touching of the trig point marking the summit and obligatory photographs, we headed into the new cafe there for a well-earned hot chocolate and lunch!

We decided to head back on one of the other paths before cutting across and joining our original route as we didn't much fancy heading back down the Mt Doom section in heavy rain. Still, the thunder and lightening that greeted us on the other path probably wasn't much better!

Arriving back, we were obviously quite tired so stayed in the hostel for food and a welcome drink.

Next up - Scafell Pike, probably in September, then Ben Nevis next year.

If anyone would like to see more pictures, if you are a facebook friend of mine there is a large album there, otherwise select shots (mostly from the brief intervals of clear weather!) can be found, as ever, on flickr page

Discuss this Journal entry [8]

Latest reply: Jul 19, 2010

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