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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!

So have a rummage around the old cat basket and enjoy your time with us!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mexico to Canada with John Manning

Just caught up with this on John Manning's Blog. John was TGO's deputy editor (Deppity Dawg) and is a fine outdoors journalist.

John is giving a talk on his epic Pacific Crest Trail walk on March 26th in Stainforth - details below. And it's in the middle of stupendous walking country, so we'll be toddling along. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Snow Joke!

I received the little piece below in an email this morning. This is for every southerner who has been lured by the delights of living in the north :-)

DEC 20th It's starting to snow. The first of the season and the first we've seen for years. The wife and I took out our hot toddies and sat on the porch watching the fluffy soft flakes drift gently down clinging to the trees and covering the ground. It's so beautiful and peaceful.
DEC 24th We awoke to a lovely blanket of crystal white glistening snow covering as far as the eye could see. What a fantastic sight, every tree and bush covered with a beautiful white mantle. I shovelled snow for the first time ever and loved it. I did both our driveway and the pavement. Later that day a snowplough came along and accidentally covered up our driveway with compacted snow from the street. The driver smiled and waved. I waved back and shovelled it away again. The children next door built a snowman with coal for eyes and a carrot for a nose, and had a snowball fight, a couple just missed me and hit the car so I threw a couple back and joined in their fun.
DEC 26th It snowed an additional 5 inches last night and the temperature dropped to around minus 8 degrees. Several branches on our trees and bushes snapped due to the weight of the snow. I shovelled our driveway again. Shortly afterwards the snowplough came by and did his trick again. Much of the snow is now a brownish - grey.
 JAN 1st Warmed up enough during the day to create some slush which soon became ice when the temperature dropped again. Bought  snow tyres for both our cars £500. Fell on my arse in the driveway. £100 to a physio but nothing was broken.
JAN 5th Still cold. Sold the wife's car and bought her a 4x4 to get  her to work. She slid into a wall and did considerable damage to the right wing - £200. Had another 8 inches of white shite last night.  Both vehicles are covered in salt and iced up slush - that bastard  snowplough came by twice today. Where's that bloody shovel.

JAN 9th
More f####g snow. Not a tree or bush on our property that  hasn't been damaged. Power was off most of the night. Tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and a paraffin heater which  tipped over and nearly torched the house. I managed to put the flames out but suffered 2nd Degree burns on my hands. Lost all my eyebrows and eyelashes. Car hit a flipping deer on the way to casualty and was written off.

JAN 13th F****g bastard white shite just keeps on coming down. Have to put on every article of clothing just to go to the post box. The  little buggers next door ambushed me with snowballs on the way back - I'll shove that carrot so far up the little @#*#ks arse it'll take good surgeon 6 hours to find it. If I ever catch the arsehole that drives the snowplough I'll chew open his chest and rip out his heart with my teeth. I think the bastard hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shovelling and then he accelerates down the street
 like Michael 'f*****g' Schumacher and buries the f*****g driveway again.
 JAN 17th 16 more sodding inches of f****g snow and f*****g ice and f*****g sleet and god knows what other white shite fell last night. I am in court in 3 months time for assaulting the snowplough driver with an ice - pick. Can' t move my f******g toes. Haven't seen the sun for 5 weeks. Minus 20 and more f*****g snow forecast!!!
(original author unknown)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Free Digital Mapping in the UK?

Picture of OS Map CoverIn November Gordon Brown, our esteemed leader, announced that the Government wished to make some Ordnance Survey data and some products free to the end-user.

Following this announcement, in December last year a consultation document confirmed that the 1:50,000 ‘Landranger’ and 1:25,000 ‘Explorer’ maps would be included. The proposal is for these datasets to be released with few restrictions on re-use. Maybe none at all.


Well, the real objective has nothing at all to do with us, the outdoor enthusiasts. Our benefit is a welcome side effect. It is to make the mapping freely available to organisations that might use it for mapping crime statistics, house prices, recycling targets, flooding reports or any other of a multitude of uses.

Much of the OS revenue stream will remain, and may become more expensive to compensate. The proposal is for the withdrawal of the least detailed mapping, so the sort of large scale mapping for property registration, developers, builders, surveyors etc will remain as paid-for data. However, the so-called "low resolution" data happily includes the 1:50000 and the 1:25000 scales, which is about as detailed as we're ever likely to need outside a street map.

The digital mapping publishers must be quaking in their virtual boots, and one wonders how they will justify the cost of their software without the highly lucrative sales of OS licensed product. Paper map publishers, less so maybe. A Harveys map is still the bees knees.

Obviously, to preserve the excellent paper maps and fund future mapping, the OS will require a considerable subsidy from the government (i.e the taxpayers of this fair land) to compensate for the loss of revenue. That's you and me, but, wonderfully, everyone else and every business and banker in the land as well, so only pence per head.

It's not often that I find myself the recipient of government largesse - in fact most of my business life seems to have been spent funding folly after folly by our commercially inept politicos - so in this case I'm prepared to put my capitalist principles to one side. Bring it on!

So well done to Grough Route for being at the forefront of free digital mapping. Right now it's a bargain £1.50 per month for the whole of the UK at 1:50000 AND 1:25000. If the proposals for free access to this dataset go through, then it will be free.

What now for Anquet, Memory Map, Quo etc?


Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Mournes in Winter

The wall which the stile crosses is around 51/2 foot in height

With almost 2 weeks of a continuous freeze & with one abandoned trip to the hills already. Due to the roads being impassable around the 2 relative hills we wanted to climb on the Tyrone Donegal border, we were keen to get out.

Crossing the Mourne wall, where even the stile is buried

As we drove up towards the Ott Mountain car park, we were met by a road closed sign, due to the snow & icy on the road. Luckily we were in a 4 wheel drive vehicle - though this had not helped the week before - and we made the car park fine, with the only other vehicle in the car park being a land rover. We geared up whilst watching a few other drivers appear out of the mist & struggle with the icy conditions.

Snow & Rime sculptures around the gaps in the wall still showing

We made the Mourne wall in good time, despite the mist and snow conditions under foot, with the pacer poles helping to pull ourselves out of the deeper drifts.

We decide to follow the Mourne wall, well what little of it was actually showing above the snow, to Slieve Muck via the minor top of Carn Mountain.

The snow drifts by the Mourne wall were deep enough for the construction of snow shelters, with several of differing quality being passed on our way to Carn Mountains summit. Visibility was not the best and at a couple of points started to turn into a white out accompanied with the ubiquitous wind driven snow. A Quality day then!

We descended from Carn Mountain in deep snow, before turning a small out crop on the ascent of Slieve Muck. Anywhere ground which had been blasted clear by the wind, was covered in thick water ice, the gullies on Slieve Commedgah must have been in fine condition for ice climbing. Or indeed anywhere in the mournes was for those wishing to practice their crampon work.

We crossed the wall and walked the short distance to the summit Trig Point, just as the snow started again. Ski shades on, we walked into the wind and snow, returned over the wall and descended back to Carn Mountain, only stopping for a quick lunch break, before descending over Ott Mountain, back to the car park, passing ski tracks on our way down.

On the Summit of Slieve Muck in an incoming snow shower


Friday, January 1, 2010

Lake District Floods

Here's a few pic's of the floods in Lake District this November, all are from around Derwent Water and Keswick

Ashness gill, where it entry's the the grounds of Derwent Water YHA

Ashness Gill from Ashness Bridge

The lane way at The Ings

The River Greta starting to flow over the wall by the bridge near the pencil museum

The Greta

The Borrowdale Road by the Derwent Water YH