Wednesday, 28 February 2007

I`ve been playing around with Windows Photo Story 3 which a program that allow the user to stitch photographs into a mini movie.

This program is more straight forward to use than Windows Movie Maker which I`ve used to put the video clips together.

My first attempt is from a backpacking trip in the Yorkshire Dales in 2003; the walk started at Settle Railway Station and finished at Garsdale Railway Station going via Malham, Kettlewell, Aysgarth, Reeth, and Keld.

The whole project took about an hour to put together. These two programs seem to give me plenty of scope to make the static photographs a little bit more life.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Free Tickets, Get your Free Tickets

A little birdie has told me, that The Outdoors Station's (that is Podcast Bob to you & me) next podcast will give listeners the chance to win free tickets for The Outdoor Show at the NEC.

The show runs from the 16-18 March 2007, so Bob's podcast should be up pretty soon.

All Bob's podcasts for The Outdoors Station can be found here, and the RSS feed for iTunes is here.

Monday, 19 February 2007


I guess that most of us take some form of camera walking with us; be it film or digital.

I have taken a digital with me for the last few years but it wasn't until my kids were playing about with the video mode that I thought about videoing walking trips. Although the camera is a 5mp camera the video is only able to do 320x240.

Obvious a normal video camera would be to big, even the little DV one's; so I looked around and found one of these.

It's a hybird camera; which means it takes stills, video, is a mp3 player and voice recorder amongst other things. At its highest still camera setting it is 5mp and records video at 640x480 and weighs 125g including battery and SD card.

Unfortunately; apart from videoing the kids I hadn't had a chance to use it on a walk until this past weekend. I used it to record this section of the London Loop.

London Loop Part One

London Loop Part Two

I was thinking about taking the camera on the Dales way trip but now I`m not to sure; as the amount of editing and processing for 12 minutes of video was quite time comsuming, I`m not sure how much time would be needed for a whole weeks worth.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

London Loop II

After having a fairly stressful week; I decided that I needed to get out for a walk.

I decided to start out on the London Loop again, I did the first section back in April, last year.

This second section is from Bexley to Petts Wood and is about 7.5 miles (I say about because going through Scadbury Park I got lost and must of added a couple of miles :)).

As usual the walk takes in some really nice scenery and some not. The main points of interest are: Foots Cray Meadows, Five Arch Bridge, Cray Wanderers Football Ground, Sidcup Place Park, Scadbury Park, Petts Wood.

Just outside Bexley

The first part of this walk is nice and pleasant, along the river Cray and into Sidcup. There are two nice Churches on route

Five Arch Bridge

St James North Cray

All Saints Sidcup

After Sidcup the route goes through a housing estate and then down to the A20 which needs to be crossed by subways. The route then goes into Scadbury Park which has hundreds of paths and is quite easy to get lost in. Once through Scadbury its across the A208 and into Petts Wood; from here it is straight forward to Petts Wood Railway Station.

Some more pictures

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Bad News, Good News

Bad News One

It seems as though mobile blogger is not working as well as I thought.

Sent four posts today; two actual blogs and two tests and only one of the tests arrived.

Bad News Two

I`m having trouble getting a cheap train fare to get up to Ilkley for the start of the Dales Way and it also seems as I can't get a cheap ride back from Windermere.

I suppose I can always go by coach

The Good News

My Scooter is fixed and back on the road. YAY!!!! This means not having to stand at the bus stop with hundreds of school kids and I get an extra hour in bed :)

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Rainy Days

Crossing Woolcombe beach just before the rain

I hate rainy days, or let me rephrase that. I hate walking or riding my scooter when its raining.

Today it is coming down in bucket loads in London. I`ve had to take my scooter in to the City to get a new exhaust fitted and it was quite scary travelling into town in the rain and fighting the jugganauts.

I don't mind the rain if I`m tucked up I my tent and it starts to rain; I quite like the sound of the rain hitting the flysheet, it can be very soothing.

There are days when I`m backpacking; that I would rather stay put in the tent than pack up and walk in the rain. It can be quite depressing, no views to see, the constant rustle of the waterproofs and that damp patch that maybe sweat or more worringly rain leaking in.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007


GateGate Hosted on Zooomr

I`ve just signed up to Zoomr after see Andy's post about it. Just testing the waters as I`ve an account on Flickr but don't use it much as I don't really like the way it works.

With Flickr you can't put pictures into folders as such and just seeing if Zoomr is the same.

I`ve had an account on PBase for years but you can't direct link to pictures there but you can have different folders.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Mobile Blogger & Maps

A few posts ago I pointed out a smart piece of software for mobile blogging. I've used it a few times and so far have been happy with it.

Until today; I had some time on my hands, so start to write a piece on maps for the blog. I`d nearly finished when I hit the wrong button and lost the lot.

Fat fingers and tiny mobile's are not a good combination.


Up until a year ago, I always used paper OS maps mainly 1:25.

I now need to sort out the maps for my Dales way walk and can't decided which will be the best option.

I have a Harvey's Dales way map which covers the whole of the route but is in 1:40 scale. Although this is larger than the OS 1:50 maps it doesn't have as much detail as the OS maps and only gives a small margin either side of the route, so finding route off the main way could be tricky. One advantage is that the map is waterproof.

Option two is to buy all the OS maps that cover the way. This will probably work out quite expensive and if using the 1:25 could mean a lot of maps. I could buy the 1:50 but this would still mean a fair few maps and with both these options means quite a bit of paper to carry.

Option three is digital maps; I do have the whole country on digital but so far have only used them for route finding.

To cover the whole 81 miles; I would need 5 double-sided A4 sheets. These are printed at 1:50 but allow enough margin to get off the main route. One big problem with this method is not getting them wet as the ink will run.

I know there is waterproof paper on the market but this seems quite expensive, especially as the maps will only be used for one trip. I do have a laminator but I find that this makes the paper very stiff and not easy to bend or fold.

Maybe the best choice would be to take the digital printouts and the Harvey map and use the Harvey as the main map and use the printouts as back up for when the route is a little indistinct.

Oh well; I still have a few months to sort it all out.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Blogging and free gear

I was going to do a piece about free gear but after reading John's latest post over at Walkabout In The UK. I thought I’d combine a response to this with the free gear post.

John's latest post is: Podcast Bob, Podcasts, Blogs - The New Rock and Roll
Personally I see bloggers and podcasters as people who have a big interest in the things they are blogging/podcasting about but are never going to appear in regular print or radio because its such a niche interest.

People are probably reading that last statement and saying "Doh! that's pretty obvious!" but these people do have something to say and with the available software on the internet it's so easy for them to get their views out there.
With Software like, Skype, and Audacity; a podcast can be put together, it may not be as polished as Podcast Bob's or some of the other podcasters but it's a way to get the information out.

Blogger and other blogging sites is another way for the 'average Joe' to have their say. In the past, the only real likelihood of appearing in print was maybe on a letter page of one of the walking magazines but now through the medium of blogging anyone can express their views. Some of the blogging regulars have even managed to get published in TGO; now whether this would have happened without them blogging is unknown but it's pretty unlikely that the magazine would know that they exist.

So far; in the blogging/podcasting world, we have had Bob's wonderful 10-part TGO challenge podcast, Aktoman's West Highland Way mobile blog, and Weird Darren's Great Plastic Bag Test, and one to watch is Alan Sloman's LEJOG.

Personally I can't wait to see a videocast of a TGOC or another long distance trail.

Free Gear

At first this may not seem connected to blogging but bear with me.

BackpackGearTest is a site which has reviews of equipment, the good thing about this site is that anyone can post reviews and get free gear with a little work.

BGT is the brain child of Jerry Goller, his idea was to get manufacturers to supply equipment to the average hiker. The basic premise is that you test the equipment, write a series of reports (over a 4-6 month period) then get to keep the equipment.

There are some rules to follow but they are pretty straightforward. BGT have a user guide which helps you through the initial point of getting started.

I’ve been able to test nine pieces of equipment through the period; October 2002-March 2006. These have ranged from dehydrated meals to backpacks.

Now this is where we get back on to blogging; all of these reviews and test reports are written by average hikers but with an advantage of testing the equipment for a long period of time and this means that the reports are much more detailed than any report you will see in a magazine.

Here is a review on the Jetboil. Its amazing how much time and effort has gone into this review but it gives a potential buyer a very good idea if this piece of equipment is good for them.

The Wildebeat have a podcast with Jerry Goller (show no.3) and it also seems that some of the testers are now getting to go along to the Winter OR 2007

All this goes to show that there is more portential from blogging and podcasting to come. Hopefully the bigger players will see this and start to use this untapped resource and give Darren a press pass :)

My BGT reports are here (if anyone is interested :))

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Guitar Hero

Absolutely nothing to do with walking but this is one great guitar solo.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Alan's lost tent

As anyone who is reading Alan's blog you will know that he has had some trouble with the tent, he ordered from the USA.

Although this is a major problem: some people are finding a funny side to the situation, (probably one of his friends)


Saturday, 3 February 2007

Meet the Backpackers Poster

If you click on the picture you will see a larger version showing all the details.

Backpackers Club

As you may or may not know; I`m a member of the Backpackers Club, infact I`m the liaison member for South London.

Although I don't put on any weekends, I do try to support the club as much as possible.

Below is an email I received from the Northumbria group, most of the interest is about the upcoming AGM in April.

Northumbria group Club liaison: Bryan Crick and Ross Mellows

website & e-mail address for Bellingham agm weekend


Northumbria group monthly meetings are every 1st Tuesday from 19.45hrs.

Next meeting February 6, 2007 held at The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne
grid ref: NZ 250 638

Five minutes directly east (to the right) when leaving the mainline railway station and Metro station at Newcastle Central.

Please note: access from the south is barred to vehicular & pedestrian traffic on the High Level Bridge till around 2008.


At our meetings the usual topics of conversation are about backpacking, the weather, and who's just been to America.

Plus: The Bellingham agm weekend. Update report and discussion. Your questions are invited.
What would you like added into the programme for the Bellingham weekend? Your sugeestion to put up for discussion, please.

"PASSIONATE ABOUT BACKPACKING". Having gained the backing of the regional development agency One North East, who have come up with the slogan "Passionate about backpacking" we'll be discussing how the Northumbria group and the Club at large use this accolade and support to develop wider awareness of backpacking and help the Club in a membership drive?
We hope all members will take advantage of the involvment and services delivered by the Regional Development Agency - see the notes & website address below.

LOCAL BACKPACKING ACTIVITY. It's already known that one group of members will be backpacking the Hadrian's Wall Trail, anyone looking for help or advice may call on us and we'll do everything to help.
We'll also be pleased to put Club members' questions to the information officers and appropriate management at the One North East headquarters.
write to: or contact Bryan or Ross.

For the Bellingham weekend, anyone walking-in, or planning to stop-over after Sunday, we'll try to give help and information - please ask.
Please register you starting out point and we may be able to organise a cheery welcome.
For getting back home, if you need local transport information, then we'll help you.

THE BIG WALK. One member, actually walking-through, is Alan Sloman, reaching Bellingham on the Tuesday before the agm and heading for a TGOC loop and then John O'Groats. Catch up with his Blog, which is a right good read.

READING MATTER. For local routes - a book to check: The Roman Ring, looping to the south of the Wall from Lanercost Priory to Halton Chesters, with the mid-section of the Hadrian's Wall Path, produces a long walk equal in length to the full National Trail - for most walkers this will be the dream ticket to savour in a seven-day trip.
The Roman Ring by Mark Richards is published by Shepherd's Walks. price £9.99 ISBN 0-955262-40-2
online: or phone 01830 540453


contact point: Peter Lumley desk is 0191 488 6718

NOTES about ONE NORTH EAST and the countryside
Visitors to the area will find two guides developed by the North East's Regional Development Agency, One North East, helps them tune in to the attractions on the ground or open to public viewing. There's a walking guide and a cycling guide.The cycling guide, is published by One North East in partnership with sustainable transport charity, Sustrans together with the assistance of regional partners including Forestry Commission England.
For a copy of the cycling guide call 08701 601 778 .
For a copy of the walking guide call 0870 225 0129
or visit

Regional Image Strategy (RIS) This is raising the profile of the region nationally and internationally, increasing awareness and understanding of North East England as a great place to live, work, study and visit. The highly successful Passionate People, Passionate Places marketing campaign was recognised as the World's Best Regional Marketing Campaign at the World Travel awards in 2005. Perceptions of the region are being rapidly transformed as a result.

Join with us . . we're Passionate people . . .