Alport Castles

Alport Castles
Alport Castles

Today me and my dad went for a walk in the Peak District, to a part we’ve never been to before. At the bottom of the Snake Pass is Ladybower Reservoir and the Derwent Valley. On the moorlands at the top is a place called Alport Castles, a large craggy area that looks like a quarry but is actually a natural landslip.

The walking was fairly easy (which is good, it’s been a while since I’ve been out walking) and once onto the moorland quite flat and straight forward. Once at Alport Castles we walked back towards the reservoir and down to the road where, conveniently a bus turned up and saved us a long four mile trek.

A ramble along the river

After last night’s torrential downpour we woke this morning to thick cloud covering the valley. The sun was doing its best to burn it off, but by 10am it was still there (and still is now) so rather than doing a high level walk, we chose to do a low one.

After spending half an hour watching people climbing on the rocks just down the road, we ambled along the forest paths towards Les Houches, a village at the start of the Chamonix valley. The walk was fairly sedate, mostly flat and went through the forest on the side of the valley, which caused my GPS some trouble, as can be seen from the track.

Today’s GPS log is, again, included after the break, and once again LJ users should click the title to see it correctly.

Continue reading A ramble along the river

Into cloud cookoo land

Once again the weather in the Chamonix valley was excellent. Had we chosen today to ride the Aiguille Du Midi cable car, we would have been able to see right into Italy and Switzerland. Instead, we chose to walk into Switzerland briefly from the top end of the Chamonix valley.

After catching the sardine can bus up to Le Tour me and my dad started the long, but easy walk up to the pass between France and Switzerland, where there is a cafe and bunkhouse. In the Alpine style, we could have caught a telecabin (small cable car) and then a chair lift to the top, but instead used our legs and saved some money. A small group of Americans who were doing the Chamonix – Zermatt route started off by first catching the bus from Chamonix and then the cable cars to the Swiss border. No doubt they’ve now ordered the helicopter to take them down again.

Today’s GPS map included after the break. LJ readers, click the title as usual.

Continue reading Into cloud cookoo land

High as a kite

Today me and my dad went for a walk to Lac Blanc. We caught the bus up the Chamonix valley and then the téléphérique back down afterwards. I have four minutes of stomach churning cable car action, including disturbed passengers as the car lurched over its pylons – there’s a brief second where it feels like the car has come off its cable, it’s quite a jolt if you’re not expecting it.

All day we had excellent sunny weather, but were high enough that it was cool and breezy, with amazing views of Mont Blanc. Part of the route has some dodgy looking iron ladders to climb which was fun and we encountered some Chamois who didn’t need ladder at all, instead they simply ran up the rocks making our attempts look quite feeble.

Lac Blanc

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Alpine walking is so cool

For a start there’s the views. Go to Scotland and walk around, notice how it all seems so tall and pointy? Now come to the Alps… it’s huge! That white domed peak across the valley might look “a bit high”, but then you start to pick out details like cable car runs and three storey buildings… and when a three storey building appears as a 2mm high black blob on the skyline, the mountain suddenly snaps into scale.

The paths are great too. We went for a walk up the opposite side of the valley to all the high interesting stuff and were lead up out of a pine forest by a nice, neat, gentle path. It took us two hours to zigzag up it, but it was two hours of mindless trudging, rather than wading through knee deep mud and lumpy Scottish grass.

To make things even better, there was a cable car at the top. Two hours up, two minutes down. Awesome, I like that idea, I like it a lot. More please. Cable cars are cool, they feel exactly like the flimsy boxes they are, swinging about over the valley. There’s a moment of dropping as the car rolls over the end of the pylons that hold the cable up and for a second your brain tricks you into thinking you’re on a roller coaster. Then it sedately continues downwards as before.

My GPS worked very well and I have managed to put up a track of today’s walking. You can look at it here http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=38865

I took some great photos too. I can’t upload them from here though, the wifi isn’t that good and my dad’s Eee would have a fit trying to do it.

Chilling out and dog walking

In addition to Amy visiting this weekend, my parents’ dog, Todd has also been dropped off. He’s staying until Sunday when I have to take him back home. Amy’s dog Twinkle is also staying, so the house is full of inquisitive noses and wagging tails. You lie down for two mintues and a soft, cold squidgy nose comes to investigate.

Earlier we took them out for a walk around the midge-infested septic pool across the road. It’s a fairly nice walk through a forest if you mind the dog poo and local chavs.

Curry Club

Tonight was the monthy meeting of work’s curry club. The venue tonight was in the tiny village of Lepton, hiding in the shadow of the Emley Moor TV tower (a grade 2 listed building I’ll have you know). It was nice, the food being fresh, full of flavour and just enough to stuff you, but not so much that you felt ill afterwards.

I am now full of curry and off to bed.

Oh, and it turns out I’m off on a multi-day A-level PE hill walking assessment because I hold the required bits of paper. This is a good thing 🙂

Writeup of my holiday in Spain is complete

As some of you might remember, I went on holiday to my parents’ apartment in Spain during the beginning of August (which doesn’t feel like a month ago!) and have just finished collecting the diary entries and photos that I took. Follow the link below to begin reading. It has been split into several pages, one per day with a few pictures in each. I’ve done it as pages, rather than diary entries so that it doesn’t get lost.

Last year my parents bought an apartment outside Orihuela in Spain. It’s now finished and they have been going out to it every few months, bringing back photos. During the summer I also went out there for just over two weeks with my dad to see what it was like. We also went into the Sierra Nevada mountains to do some walking. In keeping with the last time I went to Spain – when I was about six – I wrote a diary and took some photos.

Spain 2007

Purple Haze

Today we went up Cabeza d’oro, a 1200m mountain overlooking Alicante. Despite being about the same height as some things in Scotland it was a very easy walk most of it being on paths that wind their way through old terraces, once used for growing olives or oranges. The farm buildings being ruins or people’s houses now.

We managed to walk to the summit in the shade, with the cloud cover not breaking until we were almost down.

In sharp contrast to the Lake District the area was silent with not another person anywhere to be seen. Until the sun hit the trees and the roar of chirping insects started up, that is.

Spanish hills are full of interesting things like ruined buildings and old caves. Right on the summit of Cabeza d’oro is a summit post with a small box to leave notes in. Just down from this is a curious collapsed well presumably for the stone building at the col. The building itself having a cave, which contains a small shrine and a mysterious tunnel in the floor.