Scribbler’s had a big juicy walk

Once again, the walks are going to dominate the blog. It’s the only thing worth blogging about at the moment, and it’s made me get the camera out, which isn’t a bad thing. I’m going to try to compress two walks into one blog post, seeing as I’m so far behind on talking about them. therefore…

6 days ago, I completed the impossible. Well, OK, I did it, so it wasn’t impossible, but to me, in my little ol’d head, it was. for you see, I managed to walk the entire length of the Hart to Haswell walkway. this is something that I have always wanted to do, but have never had the motivation to do it.

Oddly, the walkway doesn’t go anywhere near Hart (the small village on the outskirts of Hartlepool), and it doesn’t touch Haswell neither. If you’re travelling to the start of th walk by car, your best bet is to park at Crimdon, and walk over the footbridge at Hart Station (which is at least a mile from Hart). This gives you the opportunity to pass my most favourite signpost ever…

Unfortunately, the weather for this particular walk was abysmal, therefore there are very few photos. It was foggy and cold.

Probably the highlight of the day was this photo…

It’s Gary. Punching a horse. Oh, okay, he wasn’t really punching it. It was just a combination of low light and camera settings. Made me laugh though. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the huge beast of a horse in the same field, scratching its chin on the wooden fence.

In order to keep this short, I’ll but the rest of the informalities, as I’ve now got two other walks to write about. Unfortunately, the fog didn’t lift. It’s hard to explain how I felt after completing the walk. Exhausted, achy and absolutely overjoyed that I managed the whole thing. I’d been along some of the journey many times before, but never the entire 10 mile stretch.

Endomondo – Hart to Haswell (EDIT: You should be able to view this now – had the privacy set incorrectly!)

I’d be happy to do this walk again when the weather gets just that little bit better. I’m sure there was plenty I could have taken photos of, but thanks to the weather, I never really got the opportunity.

I got the chance, however, to prove where we were…

I’d like to finish, as is traditional, with a photo of a streetlight. It turns out, an old flickr photo of mine is No. 1 search on Google for “Revo Lucidor”. As these are becoming more and more rare in numbers, I was happy to find a few of them living on in Haswell.

_MG_8465 (resized for site)

That’s your lot. Next stop, Wynyard.

The long walks continue…

Wow. I’m officially two weeks behind when it comes to blogging.

From my previous posting, you’ll notice that I have once again been out on one of my long walks last week, with the company of Gary and Jamie S. This time, the destination, instead of a forest, was the complete opposite… a cliff edge. For you see, we were going to walk from the cliffs at Saltburn, to the relative flatness of the little village of Skinningrove, some three miles away.

Of course, before we were going to attempt anything of this magnitude, it meant a stop-off in Moddlesbrough’s Asda for some eateries. I don’t think I’ve ever been such a depressingly dull supermarket in all of my life. It was awful. the smell outside of the place, however, had me reaching for the Kleenex. Apparently, there was a chinese food factory over the road from the Asda. It was so nice, I was almost tentpegging. I bought the “packed lunch” for everyone… water, crisps, Opal Fruits (I refuse to call them St*rburst), and of course, sausage rolls. They were red-hot, by the way, so I had one of them before anyone else got them.

We arrived in Saltburn. I donated £2 towards the £2.50 parking fee. However, getting up to the cliff edge wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Well, it was, just an uphill one…

It’s not easy to make out in that photo, but there’s a wood ‘n’ mud staircase, leading up to the top of the hill behind the pub. All three of us were completely knackered by the time we got to the top of it. I think this added a mile to the journey. At least.

Within a few minutes, we began the journey along the cliffs. This was pointed out to us by a particularly interesting sign…

Now, some of you thought I photoshopped the image I uploaded to flickr of a Samaritans sign plastered on Tyne Bridge… nope, these things are genuinely located at suicide hotspots. Oddly, it’s an 0845 number, which means it’s going to cost you if you’re calling from a mobile. Surely paying for the phone call isn’t going to help if you’re about to throw yourself into the murky abyss…

Nothing much happened on the way there. I think I farted a couple of times (wait, think? I know I did!), and Jamie S managed to twat his head off part of a “modern art” sculpture…

I don’t understand what it was, or why it was there. The only animals we could work out included a starfish, a horse and a fox, though the fox could have been a cat. I don’t know. Either way, I missed a “You’ve Been Framed” moment, as Jamie S nearly fell flat on his arse, whilst still clutching that can of Relentless. It appears to be a permanent fixture with him.

It seemed like an age until we arrived at Skinningrove. One thing became clear. The path, after this point was SHIT. It’s hard to explain. Actually, it’s not. It’s another one of those wood ‘n’ mud stair paths, covered in remants from a slagheap, and if your footing left you, the only way was down…

Awmazingly, all three of us survived, and we made it to the bottom. Slight problem was, it suddenly became apparent how far we’d have to travel vertically on the way back…

We tried not to think of that, and instead, headed into Skinningrove with the hope of finding a pub and something to eat. Both were dashed, when we found the town completely deserted, and the only pub shut. Luckily, we managed to find a cafe located in the local community centre. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t like these type of places. Fair enough, the cuppa I had was perfectly fine, but I felt a bit strange in there as an outsider. I did want food at this point, but it seemed that we were a bit late, so we just had our appropriate beverages and left with a smile.

I’m going to delete the previous posting, so this is the route we took there… Note, I forgot to start Endomondo until we were about 10 minutes into the walk.

So, off we went onto the journey back. None of us were looking forward to the journey back up that hill. It was dodgy enough going down. It would be even dodgier going back up with our weakened legs. The first step was to get off the beach. This was easier said than done, for unlike Gary, me and Jamie decided to walk along the beach. It was great until we tried to get up the sand dune.

I like the way I was more concerned about getting sand in my camera bag than actually getting up the sand dune. This was, quite literally, just the start. I soon realised I was in the same position I was an hour ago when I took that picture.

Words cannot explain how I felt when I got to the top of the hill. Well, they can, if I’m honest. those words are “out of breath, slightly light headed, and overall, amazed I did it without the use of a helicopter”. I wasn’t the only one, however… Gary appeared to be in a world of his own and/or partially unconscuious, while Jamie S spent the next half an hour sucking on his inhaler. Ok, slight exaggerations there, but that hill was something I don’t wish to repeat for a long time.

The wind was to be in our faces on the way back, which means that after the uphill climb, we also had to put up with the wind in our faces. Like everything else, however, the walk back was much better than the way there. We passed landmarks, and we were able to track accurately how long it would be before we were back on the comfort of terra firma. Once again, Endomondo tracked the way back…

You’ll notice the little section where I move closer to the cliff just after the two mile point. That’s because Gary fell over, and I wanted a wee.

The rest of the journey was bathed in the evening sunshine which slowly set against the silhouette of Teesside.

The photos for this walk are here

It’s forest o’clock!

OK, I’m really struggling these days when it comes to imaginitive titles. After my massively expensive shopping trip yesterday, it was time to do something entirely different, and that was to spend the day walking around Hamsterley forest. This time, I’d be with Gary (aka Flav), and, once again, Jamie S would be in charge of the transportation.

Unfortunately, the first thing I noticed on Thursday morning, was the fog. It’s the thickest it’s been in a long time. Thankfully, Hartlepool is on the coast, and Hamsterley Forest is many miles inland. I’d be hopeful that the mist would burn off. After a quick stop off at the town so Jamie S could pick up some Primark Plimmies, we headed off to Port Clarence to pick up Gary. Now, I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of this particular place, but it does have one of my favourite pieces of graffiti…

FUCK OFF

Awesome. It’ll always remind me of getting the No. 1 bus to Middlesbrough for jury duty.

The first step was to the petrol station. It was only fair that we helped fill Jamie S’s car up a bit. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a mortgage application form to hand, so I just handed him a tenner and hoped his car would get away with breathing fumes.

The journey there was brightened up with the discovery of the best placename of the day…

North Bitchburn. Awesome. Jamie S had to hold up traffic slightly while I took that photo. Unfortunately it was in the wrong direction for us, so the only thing I can say about the place is it has a wikipedia article that really should be tidied up.

Shortly after, we arrived at Hamsterley Forest. The car park was literally nothing more than a few mounds of earth and a bit of gravel. Saying that, it looked newly constructed, so they’ll probably put grass over the top of the mounds to make it look a bit more attractive. The question is, what route were we going to take? There was the blue route, which was a piece-of-piss 1 mile journey around Bedburn Beck. There was also the orange and red walks, which were longer. Of course, what’s the first thing three blokes do when entering a forest? No, not that, you pack of pervs. You go and have a play on the swings of course….

To be honest, I actually want one of those swings. They’re pretty awesome. One thing I don’t want, however, is a fireman’s pole, though Gary appeared to thrive off them…

Riiiiiiiiighty-ho. Moving swiftly on, we began to follow the orange path. According to the signs, it was a decent length, and would have taken a perfectly acceptable amount of time. Of course, there were distractions and diversions….

The biggest distraction had to be when we accidedentally walked off the beaten track, and found ourself in the middle of a mountain bike course…

Eventually, we found our way onto the correct path, mainly by chance. Something came darting out of the trees near the bottom of the path we were heading. I think my first reaction was “Woah, what the fuck was that?” It took me a few moments to notice it had a red collar on, and was a dog. Eventually, the orange path just sort of fizzled out. It headed into some fields with picnic tables, with no clear path on where to go next. Therefore, we just made up our own way back. We knew which side of the ‘river’ we needed to be on, and thankfully, there was a gravel path leading back in the general direction.

We were right, it was indeed the correct road, and we ended up back at the swings. Jamie S was so delighted by this, he surprised us all with a beutiful rendition on the tubular bells…

Truly haunting. Jamie S and Gary continued to make use of the “obstacle course”, with hilarious results. It had been a good walk, and it’s only thr second time I’ve been able to use Endomondo properly…

endo

Well, I say properly, it would appear I’d had it set on “running” instead of walking. Never mind.

We headed back to the car, and discussions on food were next. We’d passed through a village that appeared to have a nice chippy, so off we jolly well went. and could we find it? No, is the definitive answer to that. We passed through all manner of villages and small towns, looking for a location that would serve us deep-fried potato chunks. Eventually, we ended up in Durham city centre. A bit of a way out, but hell, there was bound to be edibles there.

At this point, Jamie S informed me of his purchase at the Metro Centre the day before. He had bought a bottle of… “scent”. I don’t know what you call it. It’s not aftershave, it’s not deodorant, but either way, it was presented in a large box, and price-tagged at £25. My jaw initially dropped at the time of purchase, but by jaw dropped even more when it explained what was in the box. A blue, glass bottle, no bigger than his inhaler, with 30ml of expensive guff inside of it. That was just under £1 per millilitre….

So, I got ripped off with onion rings, he got even more ripped off with… I don’t know. Our thoughts turned away from small bottles of smelly, and we walked around Durham looking for an eaterie. We ended up, ironically, at Burger King. The irony is, that there has been plenty of discussion recently about my refusal to eat burgers. It seemes foreign to some people that you can live a life without eating a burger. I’ve managed 31 years so far… I do have to wonder, if I’m the only person to ever enter Burger King and not actually order a burger… instead, I ordered large fries, and a portion of onion rings… which cost a third of what they cost me at the Metro Centre. They weren’t as nice, however.

After screaming at traffic on the way out of Durham, we headed back home. After all, he had to get changed for the night out…

Those damned onion rings…

For those of you who see me as a bit of a miser, someone who would drop a penny and have it hit me on the back of the head, you’d be surprised to learn that I’ve spent a “considerable” amount of money over the last couple of days. Plans were made a couple of weeks ago, by Dick Brown, to go out on the lash on Thursday, 3rd March. This involved also getting me some new clobber. I’m not the most fashionable of people. If it’s not folded up on a shelf in Matalan / Primark, I just don’t bother with it. I’m too old to be “trendy”. Mr. Brown offered to meet me the day before, and offer me his infinite wisdom when it comes to all things fashion…

I could hardly wait. Jamie S came to the rescue, and announced that he was going to the Metro Centre with another one of my “work colleagues”, Davvi, and that we were more than happy to tag along. I think my exact words were “Woohoo!”

Everything was arranged, including the times to get picked up, even down to the budget I was willing to spend. I had a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Brown was going to drop out, so I dropped some bait on Twitter after I’d gotten in from work…

Waiting for @thedickbrown a.k.a. Gok Brown to work his designer magic. 6:29 AM Mar 2nd via web

Sure enough, when it came to getting picked up at approximately 1PM, I was broken the ‘bad’ news, that he had indeed dropped out….

On a scale of 1-10, @thedickbrown is a pussy. 

I’d like to say I was surprised. I really wasn’t. That means, there were three of us left. Me, Jamie S and Davvi. Therefore, we left Hartlepool, sans Barney-Rubble-With-A-Beard, and headed up the A19/A1 to the CENTRE OF METROS!

So, there we were. In the North East’s largest shopping centre, ready to buy clothes for the night out of awseomeness arranged by Dick Brown. Where was our first stop? Yes, you’re entirely correct – a record shop named “That’s Entertainment”. And I’ll tell you something, it’s absolutely superb. It’s where all of the old CDs go to die. Nowhere else on this planet has a shelf full of “The Awards 1989”. I’m quite sure it’s the first time I’ve ever walked into a shop and almost lost the entire contents of a testicle. Needless to say I spent ~£25, and walked out with a bag of CDs that would weigh me down for the rest of the day. I didn’t even touch the DVD section.

The time I spent in there was disputed. Jamie S claims I spent an hour in there. I reckon it was shorter, as I would have spent a hell of a lot more.

The clothes shopping began, and I entered shops I normally wouldn’t dream of going into. The reason for this, was every pricetag appeared to be 10 times more than I was willing to pay. Take the jeans for example. Maybe I’m missing a trick, or just not getting the joke, but why buy “distressed” jeans? As in the ones purposely ripped / faded? The more I try to get my head around it, the more I think that they’re so scruffy, I couldn’t even wear them to work. Why would I want to spend £80 on them? I’ve got jeans that I wouldn’t even leave out for the poly-bag

An amusing episode occured in Foot Locker. Jamie S saw some shoes. They weren’t bad to be honest. Black and yellow “Penguin” things. He goes off to the counter… and after a hell of a lot of rummaging, it turned out they only had the left shoe in stock. Oh, my *sides*. I must admit, that’s happened to me before in shoe shops, but it still remains a mystery how / why it can happen.

After many hours of shopping, all three of us were hungry and dehydrated. Unfortunately, my suggestion of heading to the indian restaurant (which I didn’t know existed, until I smelt it, and instantly lost the contents of my other testicle) was rejected, meaning we had to go to a “normal” place. I’d heard good things about Frankie + Benny’s, as in nice food. Unfortunately, nobody told me about the price.

The beer was £3.10 a glass. I’m not sure if this is a record for what I’d paid, but I wasn’t too bothered. You’re in the middle of a shopping centre. I just wanted my throat wetting. The cost of the starters / main course were reasonable, I suppose, but the mistake *I* made was when the waiter asked… “Would you like some onion rings?” The room fell silent. I’m sure there were people gesturing me to say ‘no’ on other tables, but I must have interpreted it as a bout of wind. Surely they were complimental. I can’t think of anything cheaper to make. Yes, I ordered the onion rings. Some guy, three tables away just shook his head. The look of disappointment on the other two’s faces made me think instantly that something had gone south.

The meal came. I went for the steak, medium, well-done. It arrived, and it was delicious. The onion rings weren’t far behind. there were literally 7 of them. Davvi had one, and found them too spicy. I must admit, after one bite, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Unfortunately, the bill was next, after we’d gorged ourselves.

I’m not too bothered about everything else, however, the onion rings were… £3.55. No, I’m not shitting you. Three pounds, fifty-five pence. For 7. OK, they were the best onion rings I’d ever had, but that’s not the point. They must have saw me coming. (insert ejaculation joke here).

I didn’t mention that I did actually find some decent clothes in this whole trip. I also found a new jacket, and £3 Primark plimmies to top off the look. It can’t have all been expensive…