Outdoor Excursions

It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out-of-doors and, hopefully, they will continue to inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.

Category: Website News

Lazy loading

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

It may be autumn now and the nights really are drawing in on us but I still have walking ideas. They are fairly local, which is useful given the times in which we find ourselves. For instance, I have another idea for a walk between Whaley Bridge and Macclesfield: this one would go via the Goyt Valley instead of Taxal Edge where the previous ones went.

There is another and that brings me to recent wanderings. One of those took me from Leek to Buxton via Ramshaw Rocks. Since the day became dull, I would like to go back to those rocky outcrops again to come away with better photos. The route could be varied according to available hours of daylight if so needed.

Other rambles did better with sunshine. One took me around hills near Church Stretton in Shropshire while another gained me my only exposure to sea air of the year so far. That was around the Great Orme near Llandudno in Wales and it rounded off an extended bank holiday weekend that also featured the aforementioned Shropshire and Staffordshire/Derbyshire hikes. All were good for my emotional well-being during what has been a very tough year.

As a dark patch continues to lift, I also got in some website tinkering and that explains the title of this post. Some may not have heard of the term but many will have encountered the behaviour: a web page that does not load all at once but only when a visitor scrolls down far enough to need the outstanding sections. That is called lazy loading and I decided to try it out with the images on this blog. If it is too much of an acquired taste or is too distracting, just let me know and I will make adjustments. Otherwise, the tinkering and the toddling will continue.

Cabin bound

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

The title of this post could have been “Cabin Fever” but there is a good reason why that is not the case. It is true to say that February’s weather has not been inspiring this year with a storm arriving most weekends but there is also the draw of indoors activity and the need to attend to working life matters too.

There also has been some tinkering on the technology side and that also applies to the operation of this website too. Most of this is behind the scenes and all of that is about keeping out unwanted visitors, spammers included, so that things run more smoothly. The appearance on mobile devices is another matter that needed attention and things should appear better on smartphones after the remediation.

Along the way, there was much to learn and there always was another thing to try. that may remain but, COVID-19 permitting, there is a need to get out of doors too. With the debt caused by the purchase of a new camera now paid off, any better weather in March could be used using an old trick of mine: booking an associated night in a nearby hotel. After that, there is the Easter weekend which rather spoiled me last year while I was in Edinburgh. Some pondering and planning lies ahead.

Photographic recollections new and old

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

During March, I made a start on two new photo albums to the gallery on here. One is made of photos from a trip timed between Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017 while another collects ones from a trip made in August 2008.  As well as being separated by nearly a decade, they also represent two very different stages of my life.

Though on the cusp of what we now call the Great Recession, the earlier outing took place in simpler times compared to today. My personal circumstances were more straightforward back then too and they facilitated many a trip to Scotland. Included among those was a week long escapade that took in Skye and the Western Isles so it was not before time that photos of the latter made their appearance in their own album.

Though some of the exposure conditions were more challenging, photos of Mallorca took less time to make their appearance in the photo gallery. Meeting strong sunshine somewhere in wintertime made for an unfamiliar experience so the resulting photos are the result of a learning experience in a part of the world that I reckon many find challenging to capture photographically. Blue heat haze was part of the challenge as was the combination of scrubby vegetation and bare limestone rock. Even so, my hope is that a good start has been made.

It was only at the start of the month that I finally got to publishing these new albums on here. Even with an ongoing sabbatical, the need for rest slowed down the processing of image editing and the adding of descriptive text. Even now, I find myself yearning for another sabbatical though financial discipline needs restoring first.

Additions, revisions and other diversions

Friday, August 19th, 2016

With things weighing on my mind, this has not been a summer full of getaways like the one two years ago though local walks and outings have been known to happen. Last summer was one full of cycling and this one has not gone like that for a number of reasons.

That is not to say that there have been no thoughts about trips away and I am wondering about a mid-winter getaway while pondering what 2017 might hold. Things might remain uncertain for me but looking through magazines to collect website links has been setting me to thinking. Some of these have been outdoors magazines while others have been travel ones so quite a selection has built up for clearance and I am glad to have filed things away for most of the backlog by now.

Most of these pertain to visitor information that I am filing away for reference as well as adding to the travel section of the website and some trails have been added to the More Walking & Cycling Ideas page. There are some that don’t fit as easily and ones like Get Ireland Walking, Britain on Foot, and Walking for Health fitting into the activity encouragement category, something that I probably need at the moment. Then, there are conservation organisations like Buglife, RSPB, BirdLife International, Scottish Wildcats, Vincent Wildlife, Vincent Wildlife Ireland, Scottish Beavers and Hedgelink UK that I also found in Ramblers’ Walk magazine. These are a reminder that we cannot forget about the natural world about us no matter what comes our way in life.

Another diversion has been a BBC documentary series on New Zealand, a country that I would not mind seeing even if the distance there means that it is not an essential destination for me. Still, it is good to see what is there it appears to be a greener counterpart of Iceland in many ways. My mind is getting used to roving around the world now but I still should rove about Britain and Ireland when the opportunities arise. They may have a use in soothing my spirit over coming months.

A few new photo albums

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

After last year’s overseas excursions, I finally got to internationalising the photo gallery. Photos from two visits to the Isle of Man are in their own album and ones from a business trip to Sweden are in another. My trip to Iceland last July yielded a bumper crop of photos as did that to Switzerland in September.

Stories of my Manx excursions already appear on here because I was following the coastal path around the west and south-west of the island. More urban sights are there to complement the in the gallery. There is not so much of the outdoors on view in the Swedish album since it was a business trip allowing evening walks around Södertälje and Stockholm. Also, I could have done with a better camera too but went without many hopes and with a life change in front of me. The tale of those wanderings is to be found in the travel section of the website so it has not been lost to online posterity.

In contrast, the Icelandic and Swiss escapades came after an even bigger life event. There are plenty of views of Icelandic countryside to go with those of Reykjavik even though the level of outdoor wanderings was not as extensive as those that have taken me around Britain. The Swiss outdoor incursions were more so thanks to the efficient public transport system that got me from Geneva to Zermatt and to Grindelwald, albeit at a cost. The sights that I got to see easily compensated for this though and I hope what is on view shows them at their best. Their stories has yet to be told in full on here and I already have the beginnings of those entries in place.

What I also hope is that more overseas explorations follow these. Norway, Germany and Austria are in mind and, out of curiosity, my mind has taken to explore the prospects of American, Canadian and Kiwi escapades. With what I have ahead of me already this year, I need to temper any soaring ambitions. Once outstanding personal matters are settled, only then can I really begin to dream about heading outside of Britain and Ireland again. In the meantime, the home countries still have a lot to offer me and parts of Ireland as yet unvisited by me may see my footfall. Reining in dreams can be good.