A happy dog

Garrowby Circular Trip Report

Today was the first of our team training walks for the next year’s TrailTrekker. We wanted somewhere not too far from York and that was a little hilly. I found a good route suggestion for a walk starting in Bishop Wilton, Garrowby Circular. Our intrepid band met up in Bishop Wilton early in the morning. We also had a couple of happy and enthusiastic dogs along for the ride. I had used ViewRanger to prepare the map and put it on my iPhone. As it was a short walk I didn’t bother with paper maps and a compass, and I didn’t take any food.

The weather was chilly but sunny, and we were lucky enough that it remained like that for the whole trip. We started off from outside the Fleece Inn and started up the steep hill out of the village. It was pretty muddy on the climb and I almost slipped over more than once. At the top the going got a lot easier and it was nice walk north to Kirby Underdale.

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After taking a few photos at the church we continued to Bugthorpe where we encountered the local hunt. There were a few followers that we chatted to on our way past; they seemed pretty friendly. The church was quite photogenic as well. After a quick break to grab some snacks from the local shop we continued on our way.

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The road took us to the turning south along the Chalkland Way and back to Bishop Wilton. We had walked about ten miles in around three and a half hours, so we felt we had earned our lunch at the Fleece Inn.

We are taking part in Oxfam TrailTrekker in May 2014. Please visit our JustGiving page and donate



Another TrailTrekker Adventure Awaits

After walking 100km in one day earlier this summer, I thought that I would never want to lace on another pair of hiking boots again. Fortunately, that feeling quickly passed and Wendy and I have had a few enjoyable hikes over the summer.
We obviously enjoyed them a bit too much, as we found ourselves signing up for another bash at the Oxfam TrailTrekker. It’s a massive commitment in time and effort, with the main aim to raise as much money as possible. As it’s traditionally a “giving” season at this time of year, I hope that quite a few people will consider donating at our Justgiving page.
We will be doing plenty of hikes as preparation for our adventure. I will of course be posting photos and maps of our outings, as well as begging for cash.

Plusnet Marathon Medal

Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon Race Report

Last Sunday was the first ever marathon in York. It was organised by the same people who do the mass 10k races throughout Yorkshire, so I was confident that they knew how to put on a good event. It started at the University of York and travelled into the city centre, past the Minster, and then going east into the countryside surrounding the city, as far as the famous battleground of Stamford Bridge, before returning to the University. The route was pretty flat, and the only significant hill was at mile 25 and a half. Thanks a bunch University builders!

It was also my first marathon, so I had no idea what to expect during the race. I made sure I got a lot of carbs in the night before and didn’t eat too much on the morning. Before the race started Wendy and I met up with the running club. She was planning to go to various cheer points and watch. After the obligatory team photo we got in our pens at the University of York and soon got underway.

My goals were to finish, then to finish under four hours. My dream was 3:50. I had worked out paces per kilometer, but I had forgotten them, so the Garmin wasn’t that much help for race pacing. However, there were pacers running with big flags on, and after five miles or so I caught the 3:56 pacer, so my goal from then on was to not fall behind him!

I made sure that I took water and lucozade at all the places offering it, and I had three gels throughout the race. I didn’t have any trouble with blowing up or hitting the wall. Maybe I wasn’t running fast enough for that to be a factor, although I did pass a few people who looked like they were in a bad way.

I felt really good at about a 5:30 min/km pace until about 19 miles. Then my right foot started to feel a bit sore. I worked out that it was bcause I had stuck to the left of the road for the race, and the camber had been twisting my foot. Moving to the other side sorted that out.

I was also really happy that it was a local race, as loads of my friends and their families came out to cheer me on, as well as random strangers giving high fives and shouting my name. Wendy managed to get to three places round the route, but couldn’t get near the finish line unfortunately. It was pretty cool that I didn’t know where she would pop up next; it added a bit of interest scanning the spectators as I went past.

I really started counting down the miles at mile 23. It was pretty hard going at that point. Then I heard “Eye of the Tiger” on a PA, and got a new lease of life! Going up the final hill wasn’t too bad, as the crowd was really screaming at that point and all pain was forgotten.

I finished in 3:49:13. I am pretty pleased with that as a first marathon. It’s also two years almost to the day since I started the Couch 2 5k as a 129kg (285lb) obese guy, so that was another nice anniversary.

Tough Mudder Shot Glass

Tough Mudder Yorkshire 2013 Trip Report

Last Saturday Steve and I took part in our first Tough Mudder event. It was up in the Yorkshire Dales, which happens to be one of my favourite places for a day out – an added bonus. Tough Mudder is an obstacle course over hilly and muddy terrain, with challenges of strength, skill and endurance. Some of them are famously sadistic as well – the Arctic Enema and Electroshock Therapy are notorious.
We arrived at Broughton Hall near Skipton quite a bit earlier than our 2pm start time, so took the opportunity to have a bit of lunch and watch people crossing the finish line after being zapped in Electroshock Therapy. It was pretty funny watching people go through it, but it was a sobering thought that we would be going through the same thing in a few hours.

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Bridleway Sign

Wetwang to Tibthorpe Circular Trip Report

I was at a bit of a loose end on an odd day off. My hiking boots were looking lonely so I laced up and went for a walk. I hadn’t been out in the Wolds for a while, so I decided that Wetwang would be a good starting point. This route is inspired by one from The Walking Caveman, the Tibthorpe Trundle. I altered it a bit en-route as I wanted to explore a bit more, so my version is a little longer, at around 13 miles. It is a very flat and easy route, with absolutely no scrambling and virtually no hills.

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Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping Trip Report

After having spent quite a few hours recently in the Yorkshire Dales, I thought a day out in one of our county’s other National Parks was called for. Leafing through the book of walks I saw an ideal route that took in Roseberry Topping and Captain Cook’s monument, with a bit of a hike along the Cleveland way for good measure.

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Drag, drop and paste images with Java Swing

Today I spent quite a lot of time researching how to implement drag and drop for images and files in Java, using Swing. None of the example code was quite what I was looking for, so I thought I would share what I have learnt. I made a little demo program that you can run from here. It’s a Java Web Start program that I self signed, so you will get a security warning. I also set up a GitHub repository with the code.

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