Thursday, July 26, 2007

I love to go a-wandering...

Slight change of plan to yesterdays jolly jaunt out in the big wide world of no-cost entertainment for children in the school holidays.

It was raining, strops were thrown, dummies were spat, Suzanne stormed out of the house and went to work rather than tramp over muddy fields all day like the original plan called for and Jodie needed to buy a fleece to cope with this August weather of ours - a fleece in August, you could only be in the UK, or possibly the antarctic.

The train of thought went something like this - fleece needed, outdoor sports stylee shop needed for fleece, Cotton Traders have sale on, Cotton Traders in York or Castleford Designer Outlet, York has lots of walks on streets not fields, York it is then.

Downloaded a walking tour of York city centre and we were set for the day, rang Suzanne at work and with the mention of the word "shop" she was back around here within minutes.

Did the shop bit, bought the fleece at Mountain Warehouse, Cotton Traders being full of crap as per usual, and so we parked in the centre of York and set off walking...

...until we got to the Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in Europe built from 1220 to 1472, thats just the 250 years to complete then and then the bugger has the nerve to nearly fall down in the 1960's and spends all of my childhood and beyond encased in scaffolding while its massively underpinned with huge stainless steel rods and tons upon tons of concrete.

They now charge an entry fee to fund the ongoing renovation work, fifteen quid it cost three of us to get in, if they'd have stuck to the old method of asking for voluntary contributions then I'd have thrown the odd pound or fifty pence in a bucket so I supose they have a point.

Jodie and I did the walk up the teeny weeny narrow spiral staircase and across the roof edge to get to the top of the central tower and completely knackered ourselves in doing so, 275 narrow wedge-shaped stone steps so narrow that your shoulders touch the walls on both sides as you wind up and up, some might call it claustrophobic. Upon reaching the summit and the highest place for 30 miles around I was more knackered than I thought I'd be but at least I didn't sit down and not bother looking at the view like Jode had to, I can't believe I'm fitter than my 15 year old.

On the way down we were followed by a woman from South Africa who would not stop talking to me and who criticised our tradition of charging parking fees for cars (they don't in SA apparently) but who loved our public transport facilities (she actually said to me that they don't have public transport in SA except for buses "for the africans, so we don't use them"), I was nearly running down the teeny weeny narrow staircase by the time we got to the bottom in an effort to put space between us and her, she was a nut.

And afterwards the most perfect pub meal in The Dormouse at Clifton, I highly recommend this pub in the category of "traditional ale house with excellent chef", chicken, leek and ham pie, home cooked, hot and freshly made, as were the vegetables which is unusual at 4pm in the afternoon as most of what you get in franchise pubs is kept warm from lunchtime, not so at The Dormouse apparently and with its huge range of beers I recommend it to the house.

So we didn't get to hike very far, we didn't even do the recommended tour of York, but 275 steps up and 275 steps down the tower willl pass for a good days exercise for me and day one of our regular Wednesday trips out was voted a success, more to follow each Thursday morning.

And now a problem...

While in Mountain Warehouse I bought a map-reading compass in the sale, I thought it might be useful, on eof those compass things on a clear plastic plate with lots of numbers and things engraved on it, map reading for the use of.

How the hell do you use the thing ?

Is there a web site that teaches you compass using ?

PS - The piccie above shows Jodie admiring the choir thingys in the Minster, rather atmospheric I thought.


Ms Jones said...

There is of course many more skills linked to map reading and using a compass but many of us will never use them or won't use the skills often enough to....(google)

A bit like the Smoothie maker we buy & use just the once!
Sorry :)

Gary said...

The first thing I need to know - is the top of the map North :)

Ms Jones said...

tut... google it

Gary said...

Have just downloaded full instructions from The Boy Scouts web site (even eight year olds can navigate apparently) - I think I'll just keep asking the way.

Ms Jones said...

You're so funny, bet you haven't even got the right Boots! Anyway its going to piss down till August 15th-so GM TV said earlier today.

Maine said...

Using a compass is a bitch. Yuo'd think that it'd be far more intuitive than it is, but there are nuances involved that truly make it more painful than just being lost.

A few resources here, dude:

Good luck.

Gary said...

Thanks for the link Maine, having read all about "true north", "map north" and "magnetic north" I've taken an executive decision and decided that our walks will be limited to places that we can see in the distance, not to far distance.

I'd be a good military general me - "don't go too far lads, I can't see over that hill yet"