Sunday, 28 November 2010


For some time now, I've been going through old issues of Trail and TGO with a view to scanning pages I want to keep and throwing the rest out as they take up much needed space. Using a flatbed scanner for lots of pages is quite time consuming so the project was put to one side. Maybe I've come to this late, but I've "discovered" a much quicker way and that's to photograph magazine pages and then save them as jpegs into a directory for sorting at a later date. I've also started photographing other documents, letters received, etc. and then throwing the originals away. This method of "scanning" is fine where a true scanned image isn't essential or desirable and it's so much quicker. Here's an example.

Shoe Goo

I've just renewed an acquaintance with a product I used many years ago. As I walk to work every day and walk to most local places, my shoes tend to wear most on the heels and I end up throwing them away when only the heels are badly worn. I've just received, via an Amazon seller, Skate Slime, a tube of Shoe Goo.

This is amazing stuff. I just apply it to a worn heel and, within a few hours, I've got a few more millimetres of wearable surface. I shall reapply whenever needed and will also use it on the soles from time to time. It will also come in handy on trail shoes as it's always the heels that wear out first. Shoe Goo can also be used to repair many other things. Brilliant stuff.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Backpackers Rhayader/Elan Valley weekend

It was good to be out again. Some new faces, some not so new. The drive there was quite long. reckoned 2½ hours but it was actually three, all of it on the A4. Quite a good turnout, maybe about a dozen or fifteen of us. It was dark when I arrived at Gigrin Farm, Rhayader and I pitched the tarp in rain so it was good to get under cover and a meal on the go. Then off into town to, I think, The Crown.
Five of us walked together the next morning, Saturday. The rain had stopped. We followed the Wye Valley Walk, leading out of the south side of Rhayader to the River Wye or Afon Gwy, crossing the river by a swaying wire bridge.
Bridge across Afon Elan at SN965656
Cottage at SN959649
Looking across to Cefn Rhydoldog
Quarry at Cerrig Gwynion

From there we climbed up on to moorland and headed south west towards Caban-coch Reservoir, going into woodland above and to the far end of the reservoir. The views up there were wide ranging.
Bridge between Caban-coch and Garreg-ddu Reservoirs

Crossing the bridge at the end, we followed the minor road and, a little way past the farm at Ciloerwynt, we took the bridleway which doubled back at the rear of the farm, thinking we might find somewhere to pitch for the night. We found a reasonable place at SN882663 with a fast flowing stream a little way below. It was dark by 5pm so it was a long evening and night under cover.

Continuing on next morning, we climbed up towards the mast at Cwm Coel and then into woodland, eventually dropping down to the stunning road bridge dividing Caban-coch and Garreg-ddu Reservoirs. The autumn colours were superb. Over the bridge, we followed a cycle trail to the visitor centre at Elan Village. The café there was open for its last day of the season and served welcome cafetieres of coffee and bacon sandwiches. From there, we walked along a track alongside the B4518 back into Rhayader. 

Garreg-ddu Reservoir

Monday, 8 November 2010

TGO Challenge

Last year I was a Challenge virgin. This year, having been selected again, I'm going with a Challenge virgin, Sean Putnam. I wonder if the guaranteed way to be selected each year is to include someone who's never done the Challenge before?

So much planning to do now. Last year I took my tarp and, the weather being extremely kind, it coped very well. However, having seen the photo of Martin Banfield's 2009 Challenge with full snow conditions I may opt for a tent although, having said that, I used my tarp all through last winter, snow and all.

A route must now be carefully planned and submitted to the Challenge vetters for approval and comment.  Planning is almost as much fun as doing. More postings to follow.