At Christmas I received a bottle of mulled wine from work, which was very nice, however I don't really like wine so had promised to take it up for my Uncle Dave. Anyway as usual it had totally slipped my mind, until today. I thought it would be a good excuse for a ride out this afters, not that I need an excuse mind you as I'm really enjoying slowly but surely getting my fitness back.
So I popped the bottle in my Camelbak along with my camera and Gorilla pod. I didn't take my water bottle to save room, instead I just put a small water bottle in my bag along with the other stuff. I had checked to make sure my lights were charged as I wasn't sure how long I would be out, Oh and as always took my phone, well you never know do you?
I had a nice leisurely ride up to Anfield Plain, were my Aunty Claire and Uncle Dave live, trying to keep as much to the road and paths. I didn't want to get on any trails on the way up as I knew I would be hacky and didn't want to get Aunty Claire's house up the naff's. Once at my Aunt and Uncle's I had a lovely cup of java and a Dark Kit Kat Mmmm, bit of a treat as Ern never buys chocolate biscuits, says we are economising. God I love chocolate, but hey that's another story! I stopped at Aunty Claire and Uncle Dave's for a bit then got my gear on said my goodbyes and headed off, not entirely sure which way to go "Mmmmmm" I thought "I know I will go the clartiest way I can think of" so I headed off down a little ways on the C2C and then cut off and got on to this small trail which runs parallel to the C2C. This trail gets real dirty...I think it's because there is a lot of coal in the area and the coal seeps oil into the surrounding water/puddles. Boy it was a right mud and slush fest I was very proud of my efforts like, only stopping once and that was to take some pics. It's bloody hard work as an amputee trying to keep your balance in all this slippery stuff, but I rode it like a pro, well chuffed no falling off today haha!!!
The trail comes out at Ox Hill and the Ox Pub and from there I headed over to a place called Langley View. As a kid when I lived at South Moor we used to call the path that ran from the "Moor" up to Langley View "The Black Path", this was because obviously the path was Black due to it being right next to the coal slag heaps. At the top of the "Black Path" were 3 big concrete stones. These stones were pretty well known and people would often say "Oh I'll meet you by the 3 stones", well at least my family did.
I can remember my mam telling me of when we first moved down to South Moor from New Kyo, which is just past Langley View. At the time we didn't have a telephone, that wasn't to come along until later for us and then we were on a party line with some nutters from across the street. Anyhoo we had a back yard with a big brick wall around it. I decided I wasn't going to let this get in the way of me popping up to see my Nana and Grandad so got my hands on a broom and lifted the sneck off the gate and proceeded to head off out the gate with my red wheel barrow, spade and Blackie our pet Labrador. At the time there was as I've said huge big slag heaps running up along side the black path and as I walked up to my Nana's and Grandad's I filled my barrow up with bits of coal. I got up to where the 3 stones were and past them and continued on up to the railway lines. You see at the time there were lines running from down at the coast. This is where Iron ore was put on the train and shunted up to Consett and the Steel works. So I crossed the tracks, no trains coming, then crossed the main road and ended up at my Nana's and Grandad's. My Grandad was in his vest, braces dangling as he was having a shave. He had soap all over his face. When he saw me he said "Eeeh Glenn where's your mam" and looked towards the gate expecting my mam to come through. I replied "Oh I'm a big lad now I've come up by myself". My Grandad double checked the gate as he must have thought I was kidding, however sharp realised I was alone. He then called for my Nana to look after me and set about running towards my house to inform my mam, whilst still having half his face covered in soap and braces dangling. As it turns out my mam met him halfway and she was frantic thinking I had gone missing and imagining the worst. My Grandad calmed her down and they both came back to give me a stern ticking off. I can remember never going up the "Black Path" alone for years after this, because my mam had told me all about "Dicky Dark" who lived in the slag heaps...wow he sounded like a scary bloke the way my mam told it.
Now then were was I ahh yes at the 3 stones I headed down to the "Drift" and once at South Moor Park took a few more shots. I was going to go straight home as my foot was soaking wet (I am desperate for new shoes as mine keep leaking in and I get a cold foot, first purchase when I start work, nice new pair of Shimano Boots I have seen). I decided to call in and see my friend Carl, been ages since I saw him, which is a real shame as we used to ride a lot together and I kind of miss him. It was great seeing Carl, he's been getting a new car and I was letting him know how things were going with me, smashing to catch up, hopefully see him soon it's nice to keep in touch with old school friends.
From Carl's, lights on as it was dark and a major blast home, freezing foot in tow lol.