Thursday, 28 August 2014

A spot of afternoon Geo-caching with friendly folk along the way...

            In from work a quick text to Lee to let him know I'm home and will be over to his house as soon as I get changed and get all my bike bits and bobs sorted. I knew we were just going for a nice relaxed ride locally so thought I'd take my big camera today and try and see if I could get some shots. Really it's just about practising with it, truth be known I don't have the patience. If something doesn't exactly work out of the box in my opinion it's broke. I'm one of those blokes that's more hands on. I hate reading instructions and find it boring when anyone tries toy explain to me about photography, what with ISO's, F Stops, apertures....Yawn! You get the picture. Point and click is about my stamp and I have to say in the past I have done ok.

Once at Lee's and he has his stuff sorted we head off along and up the Farmers Trail, it's a lovely day for riding, the sun is out and there is a slight breeze. Lee has an idea where he wants to go, however I persuade him to follow me as I want to show him some new trails locally. Lee's a dead funny lad, he always has this idea of where he wants to go and when someone takes him off the beaten track he kind of becomes uncomfortable. Maybe it's not on his Garmin which he rely's on so much, it always makes me chuckle to myself. Anyhoo Lee follows my lead and as we ride up different trails he comments on "Oh I've been on here" or better still "Ave neva been along here it's beautiful". This is what I like to hear, it's great taking people to new areas and letting them see that we live in such a pretty area when you get just outside of the hustle and bustle of our town.

Overlooking the pond
Some pretty flowers near the waters edge

I show Lee parts of Beamish Woods he has never seen before and and of course some he has. As we pass the big pond I take the opportunity to practice with my camera. We  then work our way along to the forges. In the Woods there is one particular sweet spot of technical riding. I am very pleased with myself today as I only had to get off once for this tricky section that was on a camber, and up a incline, covered in tree roots. I managed all the technical climbs, in and out of the trees and only fell off once, not being able to put my leg down on my Bartlett Tendon side.

Lee enjoying the beautiful quiet area
Pics a little blurry, but hey just practising!
Lee coming through the techy trail

 As we approach the Forges and Ousburgh Woods I give Lee a quick history lesson about the area. Lee is very interested in local history and he appreciates my small amount of knowledge. As we ride into Ousburgh I take the path that leads through the ford and stream as Lee heads over the foot bridge.
Once in the woods fully Lee is blown away by how beautiful the area is, all the ancient trees, the stream or burn as we call it and all the flowers, butterflies and other bits and pieces you expect to see on a sunny day in the woods. Lee comments on how he will now make this one of his more regular routes. It is really pretty and serene in these woods. As we come out at the other end we get on to a small road and have to climb a rather steep bank. At the moment I'm trying to practice more and more riding up hill out of the saddle using my Bartlett Tendon, why you may ask? Well I was contacted by a guy who asked is it possible to ride out the saddle up a hill. Yes it is, however it requires quite a bit of practice and energy. You have to concentrate on getting your pedal stroke right, keep your balance and have good endurance. My aim at some point is to make a small video of me riding up a few banks or hills. But hey that's for another day.

A short ride up the road and Lee says "hey why don't we cut down here and get onto the Bowes Railway Line, it will make our ride just that bit longer". So off we go down this road to our right looking for the sign post for the Bowes Railway path. It's not too far down the road, we both have to man handle our bikes through one of those stupid gates, you know the ones to stop motorcycles, the ones that actually don't really stop them at all, they just hinder everyone else. Anyhoo Lee is off up the path, me I stop as I see an interesting sculpture and get off my bike, then position it next to the stone sculpture and proceed to get some snaps.

Sandman Hoggar Ti
  I take a few pics and then just as I'm about to get on my bike a lady with a dog comes my way. "Ooh I will wait until you get away" she says "Otherwise he may chase after you". Just as I step over my bike and get in position the lady says "Eeeeh your amazing, riding a mountain bike and you've only one leg...amazing". "Aww thanks" I say and we go on to have a very pleasant little chat. I always appreciate and respect the people who are not stand offish and have the confidence to ask or take an interest when they see someone who maybe a little different. As I set off to leave I tell the lady my name "Oh I'm Glenn by the way" to which she replies "Oh Hi I'm Julie". " We are having a charity do at the Schooner in Gateshead" I say "your welcome to come along", then I'm on my way to catch up with Lee.

He is at the top of the road, having scoffed his banana whilst waiting for me. We then head over to another place I want to show Lee for a little jaunt. This is called "Hedley Hall Woods" I tell him and we again have to manoeuvre our bikes through a daft gate. It's just a little loop, but this place is lovely and quiet. I'm not sure if you are supposed to ride bikes here. I couldn't see any DO NOT RIDE signs, so that's good enough for me. Lee takes my camera and grabs a few shots of me and then we complete the loop, dismounting at the gate. As we approach the gate there is a man coming the other way. Awww crap is he going to be a cock, we have a 50/50 chance. This bloke turns out to be class he opens the gate for us and spends a bit time having a chat. Lee finds him amusing as this bloke is swearing like a trooper. We get on about how certain people can be stuck up and whine about us riding our bikes and he backs us up saying "you should just tell them to"...well the first word starts with "F" and the second is "off", I take it we have his approval to ride on.

Riding in Hedley Hall Woods
Out the saddle on the trail
Having fun
Back on the road for a wee while I spot a combine harvester in the field and see a shot I want to take, unfortunately it takes me ages to get my camera out of my back pack so I miss it. I did manage to get one or two, but not the ones I wanted.
I got a brand new combine Harvester I do

 Continuing up the road, we come onto the Causey Arch Road and then head up towards Tanfield Railway. Lee wants to look for a geo-cache nearby and also has an idea where to stash one of his own. We spend a little time down near the train sheds, just looking around and had a small chat to some volunteers as they were leaving. Time to head off in search of this geo-cache.

Lee getting ready to blitz down the trail
Off he goes
A little way down the trail and Lee says "it should be somewhere around here
". The clue is something about used to be a tree, but now is wood or something like that. I got it in my head that the cache would be in a tree stump. We searched for quite sometime both getting nettled yet again, it's a regular occurrence with us now. I then spotted what appeared to be like an old railway sleeper and some other bits of wood right in the undergrowth, behind this small tree, or bush. "I reckon it's in there somewhere I said" and so we both headed into this tricky spot, what with nettles and prickly bushes, it was a proper nightmare. As I got near the wood and had a good look I spotted a small container fixed to a wooden post. "there it is Lee", "Lee jokingly saying his now favourite phrase when geo-caching "awww man it's never me" and we both shared a laugh.

Geo-cache logged we set off to find a spot for our own. Again Lee off in the distance me trailing behind. I stopped as I saw a lovely photo opportunity and "agggghhhh, again missed it". That's the only thing about riding and having something like a 35mm camera, it takes ages to get your back pack off and then take the shot. Anyhoo I'll just explain the scene. A beautiful golden field, that had been cut recently,blue skies and the sun at just the right angle to make the field glow. There was a group of crows I think you call it a murder. Did you know that you call a group of ravens an unkindness or a conspiracy. As I approached they were all in a huddle, then as I stopped to take of my back pack they all bloody flew away. My idea was to get a shot of my bike with the golden field in the background then clap or shout and get the crows to fly...Oh yes I'm very creative in my own mind at least lol. Never mind you just have to make do with a picture of my bike and no birds.

Dang it missed the real shot, this one will have to do
Lee was now at these local ruins. He was searching for a good spot to put our cache. I said "what about those stairs" ( there were some old stairs remaining in the derelict buildings). Well the next 15 minutes or so were spent trying to discover a path way to get to these stairs without being nettled. The bloody things were everywhere. Finally I found a path, however we had to walk all the way back around the field and come in from the other side. Even this path to the stairs was like "Nettle city" as Lee put it. We spent another 5 minutes or so deciding on a good spot and then a clue. I suggested a good spot to Lee and he got nettled yet again in the process of putting the container in position and covering it up. I then came up with what I thought was a good clue..."Stop and stair-down and West". Get it "Stair instead of Stare". I tell you I'm a genius lol.

A pretty Thistle
WoW this was scary I hate heights
At the top now time to sit down before I fall off lol
The derelict building with stairs
   Ok job done. I inform Lee "I'm starving" it's time to head home. All I have had all day is 2 Nutella and baby bread slices, oh and one of Jennifer from work's delicious buns. We set off in the general direction of home, nettled to bits but content, it's been a "canny ride" (Lee pulls the water out of me as apparently he says this is how I rate everything "canny like")  As we head down the trail towards this little country lane that will take us up the steep bank and the level crossing at Tanfield Railway we notice a man scavenging in all this rubbish. We exchange pleasantries, however I am not happy at what I see. Whilst this guy isn't doing anything wrong I am very annoyed that someone else has fly tipped in this area. There was already a pile of rubbish that had been tipped about a year ago, and now this other pile of crap. Both Lee and I got off our bikes , like I say I was proper mad. I asked the lad "do you mind if I have a quick look through the stuff" to which he replied "No of course not". I wanted to see if I could find any paper work or receipts because if I had I could hand these in to the Police or council as I think people who do this kind of stuff should be heavily fined, it's disrespectful,lazy and can cause harm to the environment and wild life. It had been quite obviously some kind of builder who had dropped off all this rubbish as there were screws,saws, old bottles of glue and other solvents, drill bits, pieces of old wood and alls sorts of other building stuff, way too much to list. I decided to call the police on 101 and they said unless I had seen the incident it was a council matter and they would try and put me through.

Anyhoo long story short, well looking at my blog, Long I have rang Gateshead Council  today and explained about the fly tipping site and they are going to arrange to have it cleared up within 7 days...Result.

I'll have a little rant now... Ok cyclist's always seem  to get a bad rap, expecially mountain bikers. We are told we can't ride here or there, based on laws about footpath's that go back to the middle ages. Yet in my opinion we actually take more care of the environment and our surroundings than the majority of other people. We face constant flak from whiney people who prefer to go around polluting the place with motor vehicles or letting their dogs poop all over trails. My biggest bug bear being those people who actually pick up their dog crap then proceed to scatter the bags all over the countryside as they can't be arsed to find a bin. Omg you have done the hard part just take it with you and dispose of it properly. Ok that's me done I feel loads better now and will continue to ride where I like in a respectful, non-threatening manner lol


  1. Replies
    1. Ha Ha Al, oh I can come up with loads more but didn't want to come across as some old fart! lol