Saturday, 4 July 2015

We overdo our 13 mile moor walk and recover with Festival Of The Spoken Nerd

So, that Festival Of The Spoken Nerd download I mentioned a post or so
Steve Mould gazes dreamily into a nerdy campfire
(Photo by Kitty Walker) 
ago actually took six hours in the end. Our poor Osprey needed a good rest after all that effort and I was so relieved when the opening credits fired up successfully on Dave's laptop. The show was well worth the wait. @FOTSN got into the campsite spirit by tweeting me this photo of a 'nerdy campfire' from the show which will actually become a tricoloured fire tornado! More about that later and it's probably not a good idea to try it at home - not in your own home anyway.

Having ignored our own advice from the day before not to attempt a
thirteen mile walk on a stupidly hot day, yesterday we attempted a thirteen mile walk on a stupidly hot day. If you're following from home, Dave has, nerdily, plotted the route on this gmap so you can see more-or-less exactly where we walked. Footpaths did unexpectedly multiply and then randomly peter out, and several of their signs had bleached to invisible-arrow-white, so we strayed 'slightly' from the original plan, but Dave had chosen such a beautiful area of riverbank and then moorland that it really didn't matter. We set out from our pitch at 11am, returned at 6pm and covered about 13 1/3 miles with 45 minutes over two stops for a picnic lunch and a mid-afternoon apple.

The River Breamish burbled alongside us for the first half hour or so and,
These Christmas trees are too big for Bailey 
as other bloggers are posting Christmas In July at the moment, I'll join in with this Christmas Tree plantation we passed. A brief road walk, uphill of course, then a couple of minutes on a private road which allowed us to ogle a cottage with an incredible garden - veg plots, flower beds, greenhouse and sun room. It wasn't for sale! We continued ascending up a green wooded track on to the Harehope Estate whose sign welcomed us as long as we stayed on footpaths and didn't light fires. Fair enough! The sheep here were particularly ebullient and a couple even followed us inquisitively. Everywhere else they have just scarpered so this behaviour was a little unnerving. The woods faded to grass with bracken and then to bracken with heather. The moorland area resembles a large shallow bowl and we planned to walk a large circle around it before returning the way we had come.

Blawearie was our first landmark. The abandoned farm is now almost
Looking towards Blawearie 
totally derelict and only inhabited by sheep. Looping round towards it, we were plagued by flies, but the views were fabulous. Our exciting wildlife spot of the day was an adder. I didn't see it a first, blithely stomping straight past, but my footsteps must have woken it because Dave then noticed its movement just in time before he trod on it. We watched it for a few seconds before it disappeared into heather. Other sightings included swallows and skylarks, butterflies and bees, and a pale brown bird of prey which looked interesting but resolutely refused to fly close enough to give us any chance at identification.

Isolated on the moorland was this memorial to a Douglas Brown who
Douglas Brown memorial 
died in 2003. I haven't been able to learn anything about him, and we wondered if he had worked on this land or particularly enjoyed walking here. Another unusual sighting was five Other Walkers in the distance. We are so used to having Northumberland to ourselves that we were surprised and a little disgruntled to see them! Misanthropic? Us? By the time we could see Blawearie again we were getting weary ourselves. The ascents weren't distressingly strenuous on this walk and we carried lots of water including an iced thermos, but this probably was too much walk for us in this heat. We are both still suffering today so didn't mind being kept indoors by a torrential downpour this morning.

Fortunately we had a lazy post-walk evening lined up watching my aforementioned download of the Festival Of The Spoken Nerd show Full Frontal Nerdity. I haven't seen FOTSN since I went to Pi Curious at The Blind Tiger in 2012. Despite its suggestive title, Full Frontal Nerdity has less nudity than Pi Curious (i.e. none at all) but the trio are still very Very funny. I am more towards the 'ooh fire' end of the nerd spectrum so was chuffed to actually get some of the Real Science jokes and Matt's manually conditionally formatting a huge spreadsheet reminded me of creating endless audit templates at one of my old jobs. Excel wasn't made for that either! I still love Helen Arney's punning lyrics - she was the first of the Nerds I ever saw - and I giggled almost continuously throughout the show last night, only ceasing to gawp in wonderment at things I never knew. How far away is a safe distance from a hat-swiping smoke ring? Should I replace our awning light with a gherkin? Are we really all made out of spreadsheets? You'll need to watch Full Frontal Nerdity to find out!

Full Frontal Nerdity is available on DVD or as a download directly from
the Festival Of The Spoken Nerd shop. It's the perfect gift for your inner nerd, or the special nerd in your life and, as a reward for having read right to the end of this post, I will let you know that during July 2015 you can get two whole pounds off the DVD price by using the discount code KICKSTARTER during checkout. How can you possibly resist?!

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