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Doodlecat's Homepage

Picture of Doodle - a 
black cat

Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

I would love to be able to say that Doodlecat is all my own work, but it isn’t. Much of the outdoors content is courtesy of the splendid people who participate in the annual TGO Challenge (there is a section entirely devoted to this unique event) and many others.

To help in tracking down that elusive morsel on Doodlecat, the search facility under the title bar above is tailored to help you find it, either on this home page (Doodlecat's Blog) all the rest of the site (Main Site) or – if all else fails - the internet!

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

A new walk - and more about mud.

The latest in the series from Mike Knipe - the February Walk in the Howgills - is now published in Random Doodles.

If you're new to Doodlecat I'll just explain that Mike Knipe (pictured opposite with 'Superdawg' Bruno) has written up a walk a month exploring these "other fells" east of the M6, and they appear here at the beginning of the appropriate month. Not only do you get an excellent walk described, but the feel of what it's really like to do it ... plus a bit of philosophy from time to time.

I must go and give one of these routes a try myself, or at least get somewhere, anywhere, peaty for our TGO Challenge training walks. Yes, I long for the northern hills with their peat hags, bogs and crags. A day out and just a rinse under the tap cleans your boots.

Not in Suffolk, nor in Cambridgeshire.

This is a terrible time of year in East Anglia, as wherever you go the soil is a gooey clay, usually mixed with chalk. This amalgam produces a mud with the twin properties of being extremely slippery and amazingly adhesive. Add in a few ploughed fields and you're soon walking with feet that weigh an extra three pounds each with the accumulated clag. To make matters worse, the mud builds up on your boots in an outward direction, giving you feet the size of dinnerplates. You can't help getting it plastered up each leg. And it sticks like s**t to a blanket. Then, if you don't set about scraping and scrubbing it off as soon as you get home, it sets like concrete and nothing short of a jackhammer will shift it.

A public footpath, Cambridgeshire clay and Alan Sloman enjoying a 'green lane'

On the positive side, slithering about with feet that weigh several pounds must do wonders for the legs. Maybe we are getting more, not less, benefit from living in the lowlands and we'll pound through the Highlands in May with legs like Arnold Schwarzenegger's. Pleased to report that Alan didn't get any mud on his new rucksack.

We've got a long weekend in Scotland next week, and it looks like snow. Oh yesssssss!!



Blogger Martin Rye said...

Are you lads short of a bit hill fitness then? Have a good training walk north of the boarder.

February 1, 2009 at 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They may not be in a fit state to walk anywhere!
Some good Claret and a selection of Malts, combined with a Champagne breakfast may well keep them semi static!

February 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Oh dear, Derek. That's let the cat out of the bag!

No, we're not hard men (not sure about the women) and, no, we're not going on a winter backpacking weekend. We are off to celebrate Derek's 80th birthday (happy birthday, Derek). Derek & Marian have laid on two days of superb hospitality and we are really looking forward to it.

But surely developing an appreciation of the finer malts still counts as training?

And a walk or two might be squeezed in .... ;-)

Ah, Miss W has just assured me that a walk or two WILL be squeezed in!

February 1, 2009 at 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you please stop this promotion of the Howgills as somewhere to go walking. It's a horrible place which consists of miles of empty hills with steep valleys, bog, no people and me. I would suggest that for a better experience your should try the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales, more your kind of thing, burger vans, pie shops, pubs and plenty of people to ask for directions when you get lost.
Mr. Grumpy,
Sec. Keep the Howgills People Free.

February 1, 2009 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Mike Knipe said...

Y'see Grumpy, the writings about the Howgill fells (wherever they are, hah!) are designed to put people OFF - thereby leaving the place empty, windswept and folorn, and occupied only by wild-eyed gesturing hermits rambling incoherently and dementedly about how one day they intend to traverse Glen Feshie with a new stove....

February 2, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

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