Sunday, 12 May 2013

Scottish Garelochhead 2 Day Marches - Day 2 5 May 2013.

Scottish Garelochhead 2 Day Marches - Day 2
Distance 33.5km Climb 542m
Sunday 5th May 2013

We all lined up as we had the day before, ready to face day 2 of the Scottish Garelochhead 2 Day March. The band started and we marched out the camp gates again to a salute.

We marched out the camp gates and crossed over on to the main road we turned left again and headed up the hill, the police motor cyclists were there as they were the day before.  We marched up the hill passed the roundabout and down the bank to the next roundabout.  Today instead of turning right we marched straight over this roundabout and headed West, the road soon turned South.  Again the route was a little up and down before starting to go up.  Groups started passing each other as they had the day before.

On the route up when the views cleared they were good.  Some groups were still singing and the atmosphere overall was a little jolly as this would be the last day.  When we started the weather was dry but a little cloudy.  It did not take us long to get to the first rest stop, we turned right up the road where the stop was.  Again it was cold so after a quick stop we formed up again and marched off.

Walking straight across the junction we followed the route that very soon started to drop down very quickly.  This was the hill we had been told was called Bastard Hill, not because of the route down but as this would also be the route back we could see why.  Anyway we had a few miles to cover before we would be walking back up the hill.  Again the views were stunning, we were again looking at another part of Loch Long.

Near the bottom of the hill we turned left and walked along the top track towards Cove.

Along the track the weather changed and we could see the mist coming along the loch.

4km later and we arrived at Cove for lunch.  Again the band were playing us in.  Lunch was in a large hall, very civilised sitting on a proper chair and eating at a table.

When we left Cove and walked in a Northerly direction by the loch side the weather changed.  The view was closing in due to the mist and it soon started raining.  Another 4km North then we turned right and started up the Bastard Hill, up, up and up up again we marched.  2km later we were still climbing up the Bastard Hill but very close to the third rest stop, which was the same as the first due to the route.  Everyone we saw at the rest stop was in high spirits the Bastard Hill had been conquered, this was the last stop, next stop was the finish.

Again we did not stop for very long before we formed up again and set off.  This time we picked up the pace a little and passed quite a few groups.  We reached the roundabout at the bottom of the hill, and were flying, just a short climb and we were at the roundabout less than a km from the camp.  We could hear the band as we approached the gates.  Not only the band played us in but we were met by cheering and clapping from other groups who were still near the entrance.

On day 2 we had covered 22 miles (33.5km) in 7hrs 19mins.  Another good day walking, and qualification for The Nijmegan March 2013.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to the previous day.

Scottish Garelochhead 2 Day Marches - Day 1 4 May 2013.

Scottish Garelochhead 2 Day Marches - Day 1
Distance 46.4km Climb 811m
Saturday 4th May 2013

Earlier this year, I met with a friend, Tim, who gave me the opportunity to join him and some others on the Nijmegan March.  I had heard about the Nijmegan March a number of years ago. The Nijmegan March is a walk ran for military and civilians alike.  Here I was with an opportunity to do it.  Part of the qualifying entry to The Nijmegan March is that you need to pass a qualifying march, one is ran in Germany, another in a place called RAF Cosford and the third is at Garelochhead in Scotland.  This is called the Scottish Garelochhead 2 Day Marches and was the march we were going to do.

We drove up to Garelochhead on the Friday, on arrival our team manager booked us in and we prepared for the next day.  Saturday day 1 of the march, the weather was nice and clear when we started.  As we marched out, the band played and we received a salute, some groups were singing and laughing and having a jolly good time.

From the camp gates we crossed onto the main road and turned left and walked up the hill, travelling in a North/North Westerly direction.  Just under a km from the start the route took us past a roundabout and we started down hill slightly.  Police on motorbikes kept the roads clear and directed traffic around the groups.

A further 2km on we arrived at another roundabout and took the right turn.  Walking in a more Northerly direction.  It was along here a couple of groups decided to pass us.  Nothing to worry about.  It was along here I took a couple of photos of the views.

A good photo of the grit/gravel bin
A good photo of the fire hydrant sign
The route now still heading North took us down hill towards Loch Long.

Walking along the edge of Loch Long the views were stunning.  More groups passed, some singing and very loud, all part of the March experience.

Loch Long
Loch Long
We followed along the edge of Loch Long for approx the next 5.5km, before the route turned right and we started walking up hill.  A very steep hill.

At the top we reached the first rest stop, we had a quick stop for water before forming up and marching off to the sound of a few cheers and hand clapping.  The sun was out and it was starting to turn warm.  It was now our turn to pass a number of groups as we left them at the rest stop.  We were now heading in an Easterly direction along Glen Douglas.  The route was fairly flat with a little bit of up and down, not enough to really cross a contour line.

It was along here we passed some highland cattle.

Just over 7km from the next rest stop we started walking down hill and caught our first glimpses of Loch Lomond.

The route then took us down a fairly steep bank and we passed through what appeared to be a garden before we crossed to a path that ran next to banks of Loch Lomond.

I have walked beside Loch Lomond a couple of times but mainly on the other side as part of The West Highland Way.  Follow link to my last WHW. Today we were heading in a Southerly direction beside the Loch and the weather was now turning cold with a few splashes of rain.  We were heading towards Luss approx a further 5km down the loch side for lunch and our second rest stop.

As we arrived at Luss the weather turned really cold.  I put on some warm clothes and had my lunch. The admin tent nearly blew away.  Due to the cold we did not hang around, once we had fed and completed our admin we formed up and marched off, again to a scattering of cheers and hand clapping.

We were still heading South, still next to the loch.  We were constantly passing groups and groups were passing us, as we and they slowed and speeded up along the route.  Along the loch I tried to capture some of the views.  I saw a strange figure standing on a pillar in the loch.

We followed the loch for approx a further 5km and passed what I think was a golf course.  The route then returned to the main road.  After a short while we came across the police escort again who were stopping the traffic to allow the groups to cross the road onto the Glen Fruin Haul Road, East.

As soon as you start on the Glen Fruin Haul Road the route is up, up and then up again.  We passed another couple of groups and settled behind a group that were still singing.  I am not sure if the singing helps but we seamed to climb up at a very steady reasonable pace and soon reached the last rest stop of the day.

It was very cold and as before after a quick stop we formed up and marched off again.  The route was mainly level now with a few parts that were up and down, especially towards the end. We dropped down to the roundabout we had passed earlier in the day.  There was just less than a km to go and as we approached the camp we could hear the band playing as each group entered the camp to a round of applause.

This was the end of day 1, we had covered 29 miles (46.4km) in 9hrs 24mins.  After a few stretches to take the sting out of tired muscles, we had a meal and prepared for the next day.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to Day 2 Scottish Garelochhead 2 Day Marches 2013

Jarrow to North Shields Pier - Tyne and Wear 11 April 2013.

Jarrow to North Shields Pier
Tyne and Wear
Distance 20km
Thursday 11th April 2013

I had walked through the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel many, many times before but this was the first time I had done this walk.  I walked through the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel, Northwards, and turned right at the top of the bank, usually I turned left toward Newcastle but not today, today I turned right and followed the sign for the cycle route 72.

Tyne from the South side of the Pedestrian Tunnel
Tyne looking South from the North side of the Pedestrian Tunnel
North side of the Pedestrian Tunnel
The road goes past a couple of factory units and looking over to the left you could see the new Tyne Vehicle Tunnel.  At the bottom the path then turns left up past what used to be The Duke of Wellington pub which I noticed is now an Italian restaurant.  The path starts to climb a little here and at the top still following the cycle path it heads along a main road towards the Royal Quays.

From the Royal Quays I headed South, down a bank, past the North Sea Ferry terminal towards the river, where there is another quay.  This was the quay where a few years ago we took the children to see HMS Illustrious on a family open day.  The problem was when we got there they were not letting anyone on, so much for an open day.

Anyway today I turned left and walked by the quay towards a very swish looking marina (Albert Edward Dock).

Looking South towards the South Shields ferry landing - what is that on the right?

Shields ferry

I sat here at the marina for a short while watching the seagulls before walking across the marina gates and continued along by the river.  The path then turns up from the river and took me back up to the road.  Where I had to climb over the road barrier to get back on the pavement. It was along here I could see that a lot of land had been cleared next to the river and looking through the fence I could see the old dry docks and lay out of some roads.  An area of massive development, ready for some new building work.  Due to the fencing I had to follow the road around this area, between some work units such as crane's and some small factories.

After the factories I crossed a main road and walked between houses before arriving at another main road.  Where the pedestrian signs showed me the way down a steep bank towards the ferry landing.  At the bottom I choose to turn right, East, towards the Fish Quay rather than left, West, towards the ferry landing.  I would walk along there on the way back.

I walked passed some closed and derelict factories passed then passed a pub which had an old dolly outside. The dolly was a figure that at one time would have been on the front of a ship.  Then I was on the Fish Quay.  I remember coming here as a child, where it was full of fishing boats with boxes full of fish.  Today there was only a few boats, perhaps it was the tide?

Panoramic view from the Fish Quay.
Fish Quay looking towards the mouth of the river.
There were quite a lot of people walking about around here, despite it being a cold day.  A few fresh fish shops were open, as were some of the restaurants and cafĂ©'s.

Continuing along by the river, I saw a few people with children playing on the sand, and men digging around old tyres near the waters edge.  From here I continued along the promenade beside the river towards the North Shields pier.

The path then turns inland a little and starts climbing up a little towards the Admiral Lord Collingwood monument.  I left the path here and walked along a grass path which came out at a carpark with a good view of Tynemouth Priory.  Keeping to the side nearest the river I dropped off the road down a steep grassy bank to a little sandy beach that came out on the far side to the start of the pier.

Walking along the pier it was very cold.  It had two levels, the bottom level had a sign saying it was closed but it was full of fishermen.  Some had cast out two lines.  I stopped for a few minutes when I saw someone pulling in a catch.  He wasn't very impressed because he dropped it back in quicker than he pulled it out.

North Shields pier

At the end of the pier I looked to see if I could see the seal that I had seen around the South Shields pier the day before but no, perhaps it was because the sea was a lot rougher.  I saw a little fishing boat going out between the piers and it was doing some steady bouncing around.  They must be really tough men, the men that go out on these little boats to catch fish, you have to take your hat off to them. 
From pier looking Northwards up the coast
Tynemouth and Priory from the pier.

I like the panorama effect as you can tell by the number of photos I have taken like that.
South Shields pier with Lizard Point in the distance from the North pier.

I walked back along the pier, and dropped down to take some pictures from the side outside of the pier.  After a few photos I climbed back up the steps to the pier and followed the road towards Tynemouth.  Again taking a grassy path I came up behind the Admiral Lord Collingwood monument.  Admiral Lord Collingwood took over from Nelson after he died at the battle of Trafalgar.  A very interesting and large monument.

Admiral Lord Collingwood
The view Admiral Lord Collingwood has

I had my sandwiches at the Admiral Lord Collingwood's monument, it was too cold to hang around for too long so as soon as I finished I headed back down towards the River and started off for home.

I walked back along the Fish Quay and instead of going up the bank I went to the Ferry Landing, and took a couple of photos.

Looking East from the North Shields Ferry Landing
Ferry coming from the South Shields Ferry Landing.
From the ferry landing I found a path up towards the route I had walked out on.  When I joined the path of my route out I turned and headed back along the exact same way I had came in on and headed home.  Although cold it had been a good days walking. I had covered approx 20km.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow links to other walks from Jarrow.
Jarrow to Newburn via Gateshead return via Newcastle River Tyne 29 June 2013.
Jarrow to Penshaw Monument 18 Sept 2015