Tuesday, May 5

Pains, plans and pleasure

Despite an ideas bin begging to be let loose into the wilds of Blogland this last weekend has been spent on one of my least favourite pastimes -pc configuration. After several weeks of trying to get to grips with some twisted bastard offspring from the Linux family I finally gave up and decided to replace it with Windows.

I'd held off wary of the rather specific requirements - to whit cutting down the Windows image, and running the applications from removable media. The Windows load was simplicity itself; But then isn't that usually the way? The post load configuration and subsequent customisation became a drawn out battle of wills. Not helped by the tendency of many apps to happily offer installation on the removable SD card, and then proceed to use the primary drive once running - sloppy programming. And with a 2G limit on this drive space is limited.

(To think I once developed large commercial systems running from a 720k floppy disk, the other floppy drive being used for the operating system. No hard disks in those days young lad)

As a result it seems that a large part of my weekend was spent hunched over a small white Netbook, cursing with far too frequent regularity, and mood darkening by the hour.

On the plus side the little bugger now performs like a dream and Linux installation/upgrade woes are now a thing of the past. A lesson learnt. (And I wondered why I put it off. Hmm)

But enough of this 'time saving technology' talk (Ahem) I'd better try to catch up with the various messages received recently, and some other stuff.

The Dartmoor trip report seems to have been useful to a few of you out there. Driving over Dartmoor roads can give a brief taste of its nature, but once out on the moor itself the truer feeling of the area starts to be revealed.

Yes its boggy in places. Off the tracks, especially at the wrong time of year, the going can be difficult. And the ill famed Dartmoor mists are as bad as they look. But the area is rich in archaeological & historic remains, as befits an area once densely populated. It seems there's always something new to uncover, man made or natural, every few miles. And for that alone I'll keep returning until the magic wanes (if indeed it ever does). It's also an area where that particular feeling that comes with uncovering a wild & remote place just seems so easy to find. Finally the southern climate means warmer weather, even if that can arrive as rather more rain than is required at times.

Geoff from Backpacking In Britain (essential reading if you are looking for wildcamping route ideas) asked about a GPX file for route tracking. It's not something I presently use, my GPS usage stops somewhere around capturing the distance/time data. Its main use is as a Grid Reference backup to supplement map & compass skills. But perhaps its time to look into its uses a little more for future trips, so thanks for the idea.

The Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock? Been worn a couple of times, but despite optimistically wishing for rain - no joy as yet. I've not found it particularly over warm to wear, but then the side venting system means it can be worn fully ventilated. Roll on the next backpacking trip - for a proper test.

Which brings me to plans.

As everyone else girds their loins for this year's TGO Challenge (my entry being almost subterranean on the 2009 reserve list) I've instead booked my train ticket for a solo Lake District wildcamping trip in late May. Rather than cover distance this time I'm toying with some gentle intra-tarn exploration. To revisit some old haunts; To track down a few of the less well-known pools spotted in the past, either when out, or during my various researches.

A place to travel towards each day but at a pace that leaves time to wander in wonder & spend some uninterrupted time under canvas, high on the fells.

Finally a truly delightful and most unexpected pleasure.

Around this time last year I wrote a short piece about one of my favourite authors - Thomas Firbank. Not one you'll find listed in the regular walking must read lists, despite being the first to record an ascent of all of the Welsh 3000s in less than 9 hour. More once of life's adventurous spirits.

Opening my e-mail box the other day I discovered a lovely note from his daughter thanking me for the article. It felt very karmic, as I seem to have been tripping over the trail of the man in so many places, over the years.

His on-line life story (obit) (wikipedia) gives a taste of some of his adventures, but you'll need to read his words to get the feel of the man himself (Highly recommended)

I'm not sure quite who exhibits the same restless spirit these days. But its an unquenchable drive that so few seem to show, or harness now. Not without the 'advantages' of TV/Celebrity as the cost.

A subject screaming for a Biography recording a life lived to the full.

Any takers out there?

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I have read and enjoyed "I Bought a Mountain", but was not aware of the others. Thanks for that I will look out for them.

On one of your other issue, which distribution of Linux have you been using? I am currently using Ubuntu (Linx Mint) on a laptop, but have left Windows on the other PC which the family use.
Linux - I never did nail it down; Its the one supplied with the ASUS EEE "G surf netbook. A great machine other than that
A good read is one of Jim Crumley's,'A High and Lonely Place'. No challenging routes, no tops that must be bagged, just a saturation of mind, body and soul in the more remote parts of the Cairngorms. This man is a person who cares deeply for the region and wanders solo through them summer and winter. Possibly some will not agree with a few of his scathing remarks on the ski industry or for his call to restrict access by removing car parks etc. However,it is a challenging book to read. Dawn.
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