About Tideswellman / Old Man Paints

Blogger, Snapper, Optimist, Fell Runner, Walker, Father, LFC Fan. Derbyshire bloke. Tell it as I see it. I also paint miniatures.

A Year of Change: Part 2: Coming Off Facebook – Sort of

This is the second in a series of posts about changes that have affected my life in recent times, and how I feel about those changes.

The last year or so has been a year of change for me. A massive amount of change, in fact, perhaps the most change in a one year period that I can remember, and as I have said before, change isn’t always welcome, but more than often necessary.

Part of my general life philosophy is to keep going. There was a time in my younger years when I very much took things to heart and became incredibly sad and emotional about negative factors in my life.

As we age, most of us tend to develop a thicker skin and learn to shrug things off. You can still be mad or sad about things, but I prefer to move on and move away rather than prolong the suffering.

So Facebook.
Facebook came into my life in 2007, being an early adopter of many forms of technology due to the work I had heard about Facebook but had resisted joining because I was already a member of two similar sites, Friends Reunited and MySpace. My partner had joined Facebook and was telling me of how good it was to link up with old friends and share news and funnies with current pals and family too. I resisted further saying it was a trend or a fad, and it would most likely never catch on, ha! How wrong could I have been?

Myspace and Friends reunited bit the dust pretty quickly as everyone caught the Facebook Bug. Eventually, I succumbed to it and was very impressed initially. The sheer amount of features that were built into the platform made sharing content really easy, it was almost like blogging but on steroids, you could easily share whole albums of photos and really easy to share links and videos. Perfect, particularly for someone like myself who worked in tech and was always looking for new ways to get ideas across to new and wider audiences. If I’m honest these are still great features that I like about Facebook to this day.

My Facebook Early Wins

Everyone loves sharing
I was one of the early people to buy a decent digital camera and start sharing images on en masse. Back in the early days of the internet, most people had little cameras or used the crappy cameras on mobile phones, I love taking photos and started setting up albums to share with friends. I got plenty of positive feedback on my photos and artwork and that really was fun.

Also, I’m a bit of a rambling raconteur. You know this, that’s why you’re reading. Anyway, I had the opportunity to share written pieces and poems with people too. I mostly used Facebook Pages, and Facebook Groups for sharing written articles keeping my feed for personal stuff, believing that pages and groups were the best places to share stuff with people who actually care about “issue A” or “issue B”.

In the early days of Facebook, everyone was just learning the etiquette of it and sometimes people would share inappropriate posts by writing it or posting it directly on your wall. I quickly blocked that. Working in Education, as I was at the time, I didn’t need anyone I worked with seeing anything that was less than professional.

Life on Facebook was good, it was fun. Posting pics articles and links, chats with pals, what’s not to like?

As I say to my daughter though, nothing stays the same.

Facebook Changes upset users

Over time, Facebook began to change, constant feed changes, layout changes and algorithm changes altered both the look and feel of Facebook. It began to be fewer mates and more contentious stuff, a lot more video too. Let me point out that I fully understand why Facebook did this, I also appreciate that Facebook is Free, so we as users have no say really in such matters.

Facebook was moving toward monetising its content and so its algorithm was learning what we all liked and talked about so that it could serve ads and content that would match our interests. That’s how it makes money and stays in business.

As a political person, my feed became dominated with political material, this for me was the start of a very slippery slope. Never being one to hold back, I’d engage in deep, and often long-winded tirades about political topics, such as terrorism, racism, pollution,vegaism and just and just anything political in general.

As a child, I remember countless adults advising me with regard to conversation skills “steer away from Politics and Religion”. How right they were, why don’t we listen?

In fact, I remember a time when nobody really knew which way anyone else voted because it was considered a private matter. The only people who really knew how a person voted was themselves and the paperboy/girl who delivered the newspaper. From my paper round, I had a good Idea who was voting Labour and who voted Tory.

The internet changed all that because it gave everyone a platform.

Let’s Debate

Platforms can be good and platforms can be bad. One platform I created on Facebook was the group called Let’s debate.
I created some basic rules, I thought they were reasonable enough, have a look…

RULES
****************

  • Any topic is cool…….So long as it’s general, ie not personal to yourself or Specific to a local area.
  • Please do not post regional (Hyper-local) topics, please!
  • Be respectful please, it doesn’t need to get personal
  • anyone attacking other members needlessly will be WARNED BY ANY of the ADMINS
  • Incidents will be reported to Admins. If the behaviour persists the offender WILL be banned.
  • Admin decision is final, this is the one thing NOT up for Debate on this board.
  • No Racism, Sexism or Homophobia, please.
    (Gender, Race, and Sexuality are, however, valid topics within common decency)
  • You must be 16 years old to join this group.
  • Each member should try to invite AT LEAST ONE other person.
  • You can edit your notification settings by clicking the settings button on the top right of the group. This will prevent your inbox filling up with unwanted notifications.

I invited lots of friends who had an interest in politics and it began, lighthearted at first, then it developed factions. The who board because chaotic, with people making outrageous statements and other people feeling attacked and offended. None of which was my intention, So I added admins or moderators, again though things go out of hand when certain members created more factions and schisms.

I had to be the overall authority on this, not a position I relished. We honestly had some great debates on there but in the end it became complicated, people spent more time phoning each other to talk about other members of the board than was healthy. Something was happening on the board that I’d not bargained for, actual human relationships were developing, almost mirroring real life, imagine a sort of virtual schoolyard if you will.

Many of my friends tend to have left-wing views, I’ve never discriminated and have always had plenty of pals with right-wing views too, because nobody is correct about everything all the time, and your politics doesn’t make you a good or a bad person, I think it just reflects your life experience.

Sadly the left and the right did not get on…and those with more right-wing views were regularly subjected to intense scrutiny and rebuttal of their argument, Sometimes to a point where it because toxic, quite a few people left the group, and they weren’t always those with more conservative views. I hated this and considered shutting the group down numerous times, but never did. At one point I relinquished admin duties for a long while only to return again at a later date because politics is addictive and hard to stay away from.

Over the years though, the group largely fell out of use and became very one-sided, no one posts on there now because we all pretty much agree….and I never wanted to create an echo chamber. Conservative-leaning people won’t join as they see it as a lynch mob, which is a real shame. I have to take the blame for not running it correctly. I honestly wanted to create a place where we could all debate and learn.

Moving it into plain sight
I started having conversations with a couple of the group’s members who were shall we say ‘very vocal’, they both contended that they prefered to debate politics on their main feed rather than in the group. I argued against this saying that it alienated all those who didn’t want to see it and those who were “on the fence”, against my better judgement though I soon followed suit and began making more political statements on my own wall. This is now a decision that I bitterly regret.

By changing the nature of my wall, from trivial friendly ‘generic’ human interest posts to those of a more political nature, I widened the audience tenfold but also revealed my politics to people who either didn’t want to know it or didn’t care…some people got sucked in.

Losing friends over stupid shit

During this time of creating a political maelstrom for no other good reason than I was a bit bored and wanted to create a bigger debate, I lost friends. I upset people by talking about some of my strongly held beliefs. such as:

  • – Brexit is/was a terrible mistake
  • – Trump is not fit to be the President of America
  • – One man’s Terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter
  • – Meat is murder
  • – ISIS was created by the West
  • – Racism is not dead, it’s alive an well
  • – Nationality is a made up, nonsensical concept
  • – Criticising Halal and not Kosher is hypocrisy
  • – Saying you love animals whilst still eating meat is hypocrisy
  • Sky TV, The SUN the TIMES etc all Brainwashing tools And other incendiary statements. many of which I’d alluded to in here in this post from 2011 None of which I’m willing to debate here and now.

    In fact, I’d like to TALK not ARGUE with anyone about these things, but only privately, I cannot take any more public shit storms!

I fell out with one chap about Brexit, Another about being a vegetarian, another about the definition of terrorism, another about the merits of Veganism, and girl about her comments on Halal. Let me be clear here. I’m not blaming those people, they are just as entitled to their view, as I am to mine. It’s just that Facebook facilitated the conflict. It’s not Facebook’s fault either, it’s mine, all mine.

I have within me the ability to ignore such comments and opinions, I can turn the other cheek or look away. Except, I do not. I have long refused to let what I believe to be bigoted opinions to go unchallenged. I cannot help myself but wade in, and I argue so forcefully and so relentlessly and so mercilessly, that I lost people.

Maybe, really it’s for the best? Perhaps I don’t need people who hold such opposing views in my life? However, I cannot help thinking though that without debate between opposing positions there can be no understanding or mutual respect and ultimately no compromise.

So, I decided that I was going to delete my Facebook Profile. That was March 2018.

Within a couple of hours, I realised that wasn’t actually possible or practical.

I manage quite a few Facebook pages for other people, in addition, I get some key updates about Fell running etc from Facebook that I cant get elsewhere.

In the end, I simply stopped posting on my wall and removed my profile picture. I make no secret that I muted all the people whose content was repeatedly irritating me. I’m sure I reside on many muted lists.

Now I just read Facebook occasionally, and only post on one or 2 tech related threads, Tidza pages and the running club. I have resolved never to return, but one should never say never.

Many friends implored me not to leave, saying I was one of the few passionate voices, but I had to resist their call because I need my sanity back.

Replying to everything I don’t agree with online, was and is toxic. Getting upset and angry about vile comments, toxic, sending out strong responses, toxic, pointless, time wasting and toxic. I wasn’t enjoying life because I was angry.
In all honesty, I’m still fucking angry, angry that people stomp off instead of being mature and agreeing to disagree.

One adversary once said to me, “you think you’re better than us”.  No, I just want better for me. If I don’t like something I’ll try to change it, if I can’t change it I’ll walk in the opposite direction. Anyone who actually knows me knows that i’ve never given a damn about what other people think of me. I’ve always tried really hard to do the right thing, occasionally I mess up, i’m human. You have to take me as you find me.

Since I stopped posting on Facebook I feel better, much better, and Twitter is next for a good clear out. My plan of keeping my twitter account non-political failed slightly by a recent uptick in Brexit related posts, and anti-Islam related posts …to which I had begun rebuffing. I will be stopping that very shortly.

In conclusion friends, I urge you to remove toxicity from your lives. I’ve been happier and more focused on things that actually matter since coming off Facebook. You just cannot convert people who are entrenched in their opinions, whether they be left leaning, right leaning or on the fence, so best to focus on your own journey and wish them well in theirs.

So was I right …or should I have stayed, or perhaps I’m just being a big manbaby?   Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

If you like my stuff, don’t forget to follow:
on Twitter @tideswellman and Instagram @tideswellman

Kinder Scout With Dean Read

I was lying in bed after a particularly exhausting week of work when I received a text, a bit out of the blue from Dean Read.  I’d messaged him a few days earlier, commenting on his videos, and suggesting that we meet up and go for a trek somewhere. We’d talked about going walking together before, but for one reason or another, we hadn’t managed it.

Dean has, over the last few years amassed a fantastic YouTube channel with lots of videos of walks across the Peak District and beyond. You can see his work at peakroutes.com and deanread.net.

I was naturally pleased to be going walking with someone who clearly has a detailed knowledge of our local area and also a keen passion for it, as well as a passion for sharing that passion with other people, who might want to know more or who perhaps aren’t able to get out to the higher, more challenging parts of the Peak District.

We settled on a route around Kinder and Dean came up with the final route, being as he knows the area and is the more experienced of the two of us.  Even though I have lived in the Peak District for most of my life, in recent years I’m discovering that there’s still a huge amount of it that I still haven’t discovered fully.

Barber Booth

After a bit of a kerfuffle to begin with I finally met Dean at Barber Booth car park, we climbed over the Stile at the bottom of the road near the railway bridge and headed on up towards  Kinder Scout over the fields.

As we climbed we talked, covering a multitude of topics from walking, vlogging, family, diet and exercise and other topics. Dean is an easy bloke to spend time with, and easy to chat to with for sure, and I felt like I’d known him for ages.

We were instantly immersed in nature after a little lamb came up to us for a snuggle, and then further up the track, we spotted a small Common Lizzard on the flagstones, that was awesome for me as I’d never seen a Lizard in the UK before.

Edale

Looking back toward Edale from the path out of Barber Booth

Edale Head

Edale Head

Brown Knoll & Edale Head

We headed onto the hard flags toward Brown Knoll. The flagstones are a topic that divides opinion, some people like them and some loathe them. As a fell runner I’m really not at all keen, however, I do see the need for them due to increasing amounts of people who are walking and cycling in the area. Without such measures, the erosion would be devastating to the moors. So a necessary evil in my opinion. From there, we continued on towards Edale Head.

Edale Head

Kinder Low Trig

Kinder Low Trig

Kinder Low

As you get up toward the top we passed the top of Jacob’s ladder, I hear a lot about this being a challenging path to walk, I’ll look forward to trying it one day. We pushed on a little further to the Kinder Low Trig. Dean did a bit to the camera and then that’s where we took a break and had some lunch.

From there, we pressed on, heading up to Kinder Downfall, although the day was hot, the views were a bit hazy over toward Manchester. We did get a great view of Kinder reservoir though.Kinder Reservoir

Then, further on, we had a nice view of the Mermaid’s Pool too.Mermaid's Pool Then further on we were treated to the great escarpments of the downfall, there were some seriously big rocks all stacked up rather precariously.

Kinder Downfall & The River Kinder

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Kinder Downfall

Cliffs at Kinder Downfall

Dean Read exploring kinder downfall

Dean Read exploring kinder downfall

After doing a little scrambling and exploring at the downfall we moved on, up the River Kinder, and marvelled at its unusual river bed. It had literally worn its path through the gritstone. Leaving a course, gritty sand as its bed. I was amazed at how little water was actually flowing so early in the year.
Rover Kinder Panorama

from there we moved through the Groughs, looking at the great work being done by moors for the future All along the Groughs, there were signs of the repopulation work they had done putting back heather and Sphagnum Moss. There were mini dykes holding pools of water helping to form new peat bogs.

Then we reached the official summit, which was actually little more than a lonely tussock of heather on a raised but of peat, no more than about 3 ft across. You could easily miss it if you didn’t have a map or GPS bearing. We meandered on coming eventually to Pym chair. There is another Pym chair in the Peak District, the other being at Goyt valley. Names tend to get re-used around here, just as there are 2 or three “Back Tors”, and several “upper towns”.

Pym Chair - Kinder

Pym Chair – Kinder not Goyt

Woolpacks

Next, we came to the Woolpacks.  The woolpacks are a huge collection of extremely weathered rocks, they look as though they are made from a different type of rock to the Gritstone we see all over the moor. Perhaps someone will set me straight on that but I thoughts they seemed a different type of rock.  Anyway, they are so intensely weathered that they had some fantastic shapes.

this one reminded me of a Baluga Whale

Baluga Whale?

It seemed to me that there just couldn’t be any more treats and surprises. I was wrong.

Crowden Tower & Clough

We came next to Crowden tower with its spectacular views overlooking Edale and the deeply carved gully that is Crowden Clough. We decided to climb down the clough, just for the hell of it.

Crowden Clough

Crowden Clough

I hope that you enjoyed these photos and my account of the walk. If it was a bit too long for you, please feel free to watch the video. There’s a transcription below for those who need it, and the video has closed captions. (subtitles).

Please leave a comment on the post –  follow the blog or Subscribe to my Youtube Channel.

Video Transcription

PG: Hello there, Tideswellman is back out on the moors. It’s been a long time I know, but finally we’ve got some kit that’ll do the job and we are out on Brown Knoll. I’m very pleased to introduce to you, a chap who I’ve been trying to get out walking with, for a long time, Dean Read of Peak Routes.  Hi Dean,
DR: Nice to finally meet you mate,
Pg: Yes, Really good, do you want to tell the viewers, where we are going to go today?

DR: the plan is, quite a rough plan, we parked down at Barber Booth, we walked up to Brown Knoll, and head on up to Kinder, Downfall, maybe across to the summit and then, see what happens from there. It’s gonna be a good day!

PG: so there you have it, we’ll be taking footage as we go along and I hope you enjoy this walk with us.

Here we are at Kinder Downfall, we only have a trickle today, but that does not detract from the awesome beauty of what we are looking at.

Earlier I saw somebody trying to climb up, there. Wow!Good effort! And some others over here, I think they are going to have a more tricky time, as they have taken a more difficult line, unlike us who are on the top.

DR:Easy win!

SO we are here on the top of Kinder river. the downfall is behind us there. If I turn the camera round, you will see the river, and it’s quite extraordinary really as it’s just flowing over the top of stone. Slabs of stone,  and the water level is super low already and it’s only May.

There is hardly any flow at all. I’m not used to seeing the rivers this low, there is still some life in there though, I’ve seen a few water nymphs and freshwater shrimp. There’s some kind of creature skimming around in there, I don’t know what it is or if you can even see it , it’s so small, but there is LIFE!

This is what we are having today, Life, a fantastic walk over Kinder Scout.

We have been walking fora bout half an hour now in these Groughs (Gruffs) . Which are little channels in the peat and they are everywhere, and go off in all directions and in bad weather people who are underprepared have been known to get very lost in them. Thankfully we’ve got GPS and Maps and a bit of experience about where we are going.

As you can see, this brown soil is the “Old Kinder”, Dean was telling me about how “Moors for the future” have been working really hard to repopulate this surface with heather and gorse so you see the green moor we see today. Apparently, it was previously all like the brown soil we saw in the bottom of the Groughs there.

There’s not much variation in the landscape, so you could easily end up walking a good kilometre in any direction with no discernible landmarks. So you have to know what you are doing.

So there it is,
the most impressive (sarcastic)summit of Derbyshire. this tussock of grass and Peat is the official summit of Kinder Scout.

Wind and footsteps noises –
Now for the first time we have a cool breeze, I don’t think we have had a cool breeze in all the time that we have been walking, it’s been pretty warm.

Those of you who aren’t from the Peak District, and who know me or follow on Facebook or Instagram, if you are ever planning a trip to the Peak district, Kinder Scout, Edale, Hope Valley, these are the areas that you really must make a bit of time to visit.  Give me a shout if you are up here, I’ll happily come with you.

As you can see it really is a landscape to die for. *Laughing not sure that’s the best metaphor.

DR: Perhaps not die. To live for!

PG: Now we are coming into an area with all these weird rocks. these are the Wool Packs.

I guess you can see why. Once upon a time wool would have been gathered up and left on moors for collection in big bundles. I guess they do look a bit like…..Whoooargh (FALLS)

I’ll keep that bt in, walking and filming, lol, the pitfalls!

It’s almost like a Neolithic landscape, It looks like stone henge or something like that.

DR: it looks like they have been dropped here from a different universe!

PG: Fantastic

Now we are on Crowden tower. Look at the view, if I can get the camera up high. I’ll go to the edge and you can look over my shoulder down into the valley. The camera never ever does the view true justice to what I can see with the eye.

We are on the final bit of our walk now, this is Crowden Clough, and we are going down there, where the water goes, or should be going there isn’t much today. If you come here at this time in November there is a healthy flow.

I just want to take a second to say, how completely blessed we are, I don’t like to say that often, it’s an overused phrase on the internet but I think we are blessed to live in a place like this, where you can come out a few miles from home and have all this on your doorstep, FANTASTIC!

Down and down and down we go.

This is quite a good climb, particularly for me, Dean’s been on this route before many times, he seems to have handled that with no problem so I’ll give it a whirl.

There you go, we have just come down there. I feel quite happy with that.

After quite a good climb down, we finally found the water. Look at that, crystal clear! And there you are…We are down.

The stream has split off into 2 forks, we followed that one, and we are back down. It was quite challenging!

Walking through the bluebell woods now at the side of the Crowden brook and we have just come down from the clough, we are in the shade at last, out of the exposed Sun as you can see the beautiful bluebell wood and are making our way down to the road. soon we we will be back where we started.

there you go have a look at that old telephone box, it still has a working phone, beautiful, you dont see that very often these days.

And here we are, back where we started. Barber Booth.


Closing comments:

Just walking down now from Barber Booth, I have just left Dean Read, and we have had a fantastic walk. We started around this area, and we’ve been up onto Kinder, as you’ve seen through the video..we’ve done a good loop and down then clough.

I just want to say thanks very much to Dean for showing me that route, we’ve been in touch on social media for a long time and finally, we got to go out together for a walk today. He’s an incredibly knowledgeable chap and terribly humble and it’s been a real pleasure to go trekking with him.

Dont forget to subscribe – or click the next video box if you enjoyed this film.

A Year of Change: Part 1: Becoming A Vegetarian

The last year has been a year of change for me. A massive amount of change, in fact, perhaps the most change in a one year period that I can remember.

Change isn’t always welcome, but more than often necessary.

Part of my general life philosophy is to not look back. Being a lover of history, and of documenting it, I do look back occasionally, but only to record and reflect, I rarely look back with regret. this is the first in a series of posts about changes that have affected my life in recent times, and how I feel about them.

Becoming a Vegetatian

In 2017, a friend casually suggested that I watch a video called “Dairy is Scary“.
(WARNING ADULT THEMES)  Read about the topic instead?

Normally, I’d never watch anything like that because it seemed to suggest that animals might be hurt, or not treated nicely in the video and I’ve never been a fan of hurting animals. Most of us aren’t but we pretend it’s not happening.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I watched the video and I didn’t like what I saw. Well, actually, I liked the way it was put together but it just horrified me. It made me think very differently about the way that animals are treated in the name of the greater good.

I’ve eaten dairy products since I was a child, just like the vast majority of people. I also enjoyed eating all variety of meats derived from farm livestock.

After a few days reflecting on the video, I started thinking more about how I aspire to stop eating meat and all animal products.

One day at work, we started talking about cruelty to animals and I mentioned that one of my long-term health ambitions was to become a vegan. Sadly my proclamation was greeted with the usual ridicule. Indeed one colleague baited me saying that there was no way I could do it because I liked my Sausage and Bacon butties too much. He was right about liking the butties, but wrong about whether I could do it.

Right there and then I said, “I’ll start by going vegetarian right now”. Again, it was laughed off, but that was June 2017, and I’m still a vegetarian, and certainly not looking back. I do not miss meat of any kind. In fact, the thought of eating it makes me feel ill.

I had no real issue giving up Meat and Milk wasn’t such an issue, as I knew there were plenty of substitutes. Nowadays my replacement milk is oat milk, it’s delicious and has a very similar texture to cows milk, with minimal flavouring. I wasn’t so sure I could give up cheese and eggs. this has proved difficult, but I’m sure now that it can be done.

This change couldn’t have been done without the help and support of my partner of course who, in her younger days been vegetarian and so has endeavoured to research, cook and prepare many fantastic vegetarian meals. Thanks to her great research, We’ve also been trying more and more vegan recipes over the months, and I feel much more confident that the transition from Vegetarianism to Veganism could actually take place sooner rather than later now.

Talking to others about Vegetarianism

By and large, I have avoided too much public comment on the subject. I had 2 conversations on social media about “not eating meat” which ended in disaster. I’m no stranger to controversy, particularly on political matters but in both cases, I didn’t look for confrontation. It’s my policy to not tell others what they must do. Everyone has to choose for themselves what they do with their lives but that won’t stop me speaking candidly about what I believe and why I have chosen this path.

hypocrisy

One old friend made a facebook post about “Vegan Zealots”, in this post, he went on to say that he loved animals but wouldn’t be dictated to by zealots. I decided to point out what I saw as the flaw in his argument, I said:

“You claim to love animals, and yet you’re complicit in their deaths so that you can eat them and wear them, that makes you a hypocrite.”

Just reading that, I imagine a few people are getting mad. But stop! I was exactly the same as my “friend” I loved animals but was complicit in their deaths, and actually still am as a vegetarian.

It doesn’t change the fact that to say you “love animals”, and then eat them for breakfast dinner and tea, makes you a hypocrite, whether you like that label or not.

I don’t think that I am better than any meat eater because I’m not. In fact, I’ll never try to convince anyone to become veggie or vegan…its up to you. You want to eat meat, do it, but if you proclaim to “love animals”, you may be called a hypocrite. That will smart, but it’s the truth. You’re stuck, you can either do nothing and bury your head in the sand. Trying hard to convince yourself that meat and dairy have nothing to do with animal cruelty, or you can try to work out a plan of action to disassociate yourself from it.

I’ve found that people get defensive about “their right” to eat meat. Well, I’m not stopping you from eating it, but why does the argument that it’s immoral upset so many people? At least hear the arguments.

Every person on Earth must do what they believe in their hearts to be what is right. That is what I’m doing.

Over the years I have campaigned against racism, discrimination, and talked and written at length on the horrors of slavery. It’s my belief that eating meat and dairy, actually contributes to a system of slavery for animals.

I don’t want to be a hypocrite, that’s why I’m taking steps to become a vegan.

Do Vegetarians and Vegans Change Anything?

vegetarianismI fully accept that my becoming a Vegan won’t change the fate of billions of animals worldwide, but what it will do is remove my money and endorsement from that system of animal slavery, torture and death.

Anyone who cares to speak to me about such things and agrees with me, and then embarks on a similar course, is one less person/family who is making a change for animal welfare, as well as their health and conscience. In fact, it’s already happened, one friend told me that by me raising awareness about why I was becoming a veggie, inspired her and her husband, and they are now both Vegans and thriving.

This post isn’t a crusade for veganism. There are plenty of better writers, nutritionists and animal rights people who can do that better than me. This post is just about my journey, and becoming a vegetarian is only one part of my journey toward a happier me.

Feel free to comment. Happy to debate with anyone who doesn’t share my view, but let’s try to keep it hate free.

Related Links

Arguments For /Against Vegetarianism
Dairy is Scary The Guardian.
So you want to go Vegan but love Cheese

A Silly Trip To Fell Running Hell

Today, I had a proper nightmare on my run. I haven’t had such a run for a long time. The problems were many and all my fault from start to finish. It just goes to show, that even after a few years of running, you can still get it badly wrong if you don’t plan it properly.

Fell Running Mistake #1 – The Distance

I have been toying with the idea of doing a half marathon equivalent on the fells. I’m sure I can do it just based on other long runs I have done before. So I thought this might be good practice.

However, I didn’t measure the distance first, and I was way too ambitious with the distance given that I haven’t done a really long run for a while, and I’m as big as a barrel after Christmas.

My route was 19k with 250m of elevation. What was I thinking? Really? Hubris, pure hubris!

Fell Running Mistake #2 – State of Mind

I really wasn’t that up for it, I’d planned to do a simple park run in the morning but due to ice, the thing had been called off, frustrated and tense, I was desperate to get out and run hard no matter what. In addition to this, I forgot to pick up my inhaler, I am a long time asthmatic. 90% of the time it NEVER troubles me…whenever I run without an inhaler, it bites. Must be psychosomatic, but it can be a real pain and a bit of a worry if you’re on your own.

Open fieldsSometimes, It’s best to just have a short trot out without too much pressure. Runs are always harder when you’re not in the mood, so why put added pressure on yourself by not knowing the distance and conditions?

Fell Running Mistake #3 – Not properly Dressed

You can never mitigate for the conditions when fellrunning, just a few weeks ago we were out on a run and it was just chilly, 30 minutes later it was snowing really heavily. I always have a decent jacket and hat, but almost always forget to take my gloves, today was no exception. It wasn’t too cold on the hands, but, it could have been especially as the wind started pick up. I didn’t take a headtorch with me, I should have because the route was more challenging than I thought, thus I was slower, it was getting dark by the time I hit Elton.

I did have my bum bag with FRA kit on me and thankfully didn’t need it. The wind was blowing quite a lot as I climbed the first hill up to the trig, but thankfully left me alone after that.Aleck Low Trig 600047My issues arose from footwear. A few weeks ago I picked up some Walsh PB Elites. I’ve only used them once, on soft fields and damp woodland trail, they were brilliant. Today, they weren’t the right shoe.

Firstly, the Walsh is a very flat shoe, and there was a lot of hard trail and tar in today’s route. Also, today’s route had a lot of saturated mud and hard rocky limestone paths. The mud was almost pulling the shoes off, and the rocks were giving my feet a pummelling.
My left feet was sore before I went running, it was much worse after. My Fellraisers always protect my feet from such conditions and are not as shallow so hold the foot in place much better than the Walshes.

Fell Running Mistake #4 – Route Not Reccied

I did plan this run using a map, and had my map with me….but I suppose this WAS the recce. That said if I’d have reccied it before I would have certainly made route changes and opted for the Fellraisers over the Walshes.

If I’d have reccied the route I’d have known that the stream in clough woods was totally flooded. Never seen that before, it’s usually a dribble. Tonight it was flooded over the path least 6inches deep. I tried to go round it and discovered a marshy area. I had to bite the bullet and go wading.  I really need to do a refresher navigation course with Pete Hawkins, and remember my map.

Catalogue of errors – Follow Basic Safety Steps

1) Tell someone your route, I did not.
2) Take a head torch – I did not
3) Take your life-saving medicine – I did not
4) Anything over 10k, take some water – I did not, luckily I was able to eat some snow, and wasn’t dehydrated according to my failure to create yellow snow, a bit further on.

Other Pics:

Limestone Way

Despite all the horrors listed above, I have to see this as a learning experience. It’s a good reminder that man is NOT greater than the environment, and to be prepared, even if you feel confident, don’t take silly chances, even experienced fell runners can die in unforeseen circumstances.

Related Links
Navigation courses
Fell Running Kit List

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Oker Hill Trig & Beyond

Oker Hill is one of my favourite local fell running destinations. Oker Hill is a relatively small hill that extends from the side of a larger bank. It sits between Darley Bridge and Wensley, Or if you’re heading on the back road from Matlock, just above the Hamlet of Snitterton.

It has a white painted trig point that makes it clearly visible from both high and low viewpoints around the Darley / Matlock area.

My usual route to the trig starts at the Church Inn, Church Town, Darley Dale, I follow the road around the corner past St Helen’s Church, turning immediate right over the fields past the dog kennels. Follow the path across the first field and you come to a broad arable field on the floodplain.

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Head toward the Cricket ground and this will bring you out at Darley Bridge. Head over the Bridge and swing left down the lane called Wenslees. You’ll have the River Derwent on your left, just after the Water Treatment plant, take the stile through the fields on your right.oker-hill1.jpg
Most of the year, this field is boggy, expect wet feet, if you don’t have waterproof footwear. Fell runners do not care about such things, we welcome wet feet.

You’ll come to a small stile, go over and up the next field, it brings you out on a farm track called Flint Lane, Turn right, about 10 meters on your left, take the next stile and go up the next field. This field is steep and undulating. Depending on the time of year, there may be cattle or sheep in the field.  If you have a dog with you, ensure it’s on a lead to avoid spooking the livestock. I have been chased by bullocks in this field so beware.

As you climb to the top of the field there’s a gate on your right, keep going up, under the Hawthorne trees, and you’ll see the land on your left rise sharply. Up and up and you’ll come to what looks like a little ski slope. If you’re fit, you can run up this in one go. If not, you know you need some training. It’s a short but steep hill and when you get to the top you reach the trig point and are rewarded with fantastic views.

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South Darley Church

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Looking towards Wensley

I really like this little route because it gives you a reward, without killing you in the process. A relatively easy trig with great views, but you still have to make a bit of effort.

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After you’ve caught your breath and taken in the view, head along the undulating path toward’s the big tree, you might spot a rabbit or two if you’re lucky.  At the big Sycamore tree, there is a little shrine, I don’t know the detail behind it, but someone either loved this place or lost their life here.

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Now follow the path past the tree, through the scrub and you’ll come out on the other side of Oker, to your left is an old derelict barn and your way back.

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Oker Hill, Head down toward the barn.

Head down toward the barn, you can now turn right into Oker and take the bottom route or head left and you’ll be heading back the way you came, just slightly lower down the hill.
Look for the shard.  The shard is just my name for a sharply pointed guidepost on the path, resembling it’s more modern, London counterpart.

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All you have to do now is follow the path, you’ll come out at the foot of the steep incline up to the trig. Go back down, retracing your steps and back to the pub for a well-deserved drink.

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