The Haunted House

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Castleton, Peveril Castle and the Devils Arse

Today Me, Neil, and Neils Dad decided to go up to Castleton. We were really keen to go for a walk up Mam Tor after our abandoned attempt the other week. The weather report said we should be ok so we gave it ago. They picked me up at 8.30 and we headed off. When we got to Castleton the sun was shining, which was a good sign. We got ready and headed off to the start of the walk. We started near the ruins of Peveril Castle and started our gradual asent up the hill. The walk took us around the back of the castle. Toward the front there is a big hole in the side of the hill, and the locals refer to this as the Devils Arse. No seriously, it is called the Devils Arse :-)

The shot above and below was taken as we walked up the hill behind the castle. This was fairly early in the morning, around 10.30, and the sun came out from behind the clouds which gave us some really good light for the shots. I think they came out very well considering I am using a small Canon Compact Camera.

We must have spent about half an hour here taking pictures, all 3 of us were loaded up with high tech cameras. I had a Canon Powershot A95 with the wide angle lens extender, Neils Dad had a Canon EOD 300d digital SLR, and Neil had his brand spanking new Epson RD1 Digital Rangefinder which is a great little camera, very high quality yet very light. I felt quite inferior as I had the least professional camera. But from the shots I took, I don't think you need a very expensive camera to take half decent shots. Although Neil has an excuse for the fancy camera as he does professional stock photography :-)

I got the shot above of neil changing some settings on his camera. At the time he was also getting attacked by a bee who must have thought his orange fleece was a flower.

The start of the walk progressed quite slow as we was constantly stopping to take pictures when the sun came out. But thats ok, none of us were in any rush to go home, so we made it into a photo shoot aswell as a walk.

Throughout the day I took 156 photos, admitedly, there are a lot of pics that didn't come out too great, but thats the beauty of digital photography, you can take loads of pictures with different settings and delete the rubbish ones later. I think this really helps you learn how to take great photos as you have the instant feedback.

By 12 we were all starting to get a little peckish. Taking photos really takes it out of you. In reality I don't think we was even half way around the walk, but the next part of the walk was the hill Mam Tor itself. We really needed to have an energy refill before we attempted the hill.

The photo above is of Mam Tor from a distance. I don't think the photo really does the size of this hill justice. It is really high, and steep. Now im sure if anyone who has been to the lake district reads this, then they will be going, "pah, thats nothing compared to the hills we have." and they are probably right, but I am not that fit, so I thought this hill was challenging.

A large part of the assent of the hill was paved with steps, this helped quite a lot, but there were also parts which were rock, with lots of loose pieces of stone. The picture above was about half way up the hill when we decided to take a 5 minute break. I think we took about 6, 5 minute breaks :-)

Once you are at the top the hill, the view is awesome. I was determined to get a picture of the OS landmarker above. The reason being, Neil took a picture of this sometime ago for his stock library, and the picture ended up being on the front cover of Country Walking magazine. Cool eh? I think this was the first picture Neil sold when he started his stock photography business, so how good is that, getting a magazine front cover. Well anyway, now I have taken a similar picture, that makes me a master photographer. Lol, well maybe not, but the thought was nice.

Once we had reached the top of the hill, it was all down hill from that point taking us back into Castleton town. This was a great relief to our legs, as we was all feeling very tired at that point. Once we made it to the bottom of the hill we had a relatively flat walk back to the town. Neil was convinced this was about half a mile. But me and Neils Dad thought it was atleast a mile if not more. In the end, we was right, Neil had read the scale wrong on the map, oops :-)

When we was almost back in the town, we came accross this little barn. And I think it made a great photo, the sun came out at just the right point, and because it was late in the afternoon, we got some good shadows.

Once we was back in town, we got changed out of our walking gear, and went to a tearoom for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, as we really needed the carbs boost. I had a slice of jam and almond cake, and it was very nice.

As I am typing this I really do feel tired. After getting home I went to the shop to buy some beers as I feel I have earned them. I am currently tucking into a nice bottle of Marstons Owd Rodger strong country ale, which is about 7.6% alchohol, so no doubt I will be asleep in a few hours :-)

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Fun Videos

Over the past couple of days I have been sent some fun videos. The first one is a fan made movie of a Star Wars light sabre battle, and the second movie is of a re-enactment of a Super Mario game. Click the links to view them :-) The light sabre battle is actually quite good, must have taken them a while to make it.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Early Morning Walk

Seeing as it is a bank holiday, I decided to go for a walk with Neil and Caroline. The plan was to go to Castleton, so they picked me up at 8am and off we went. When we left Belper the sun was shining, but once we got to Castleton it really started to rain hard. We went to a tea shop and got a cup of coffee and slice of cake and hoped the rain would settle. It didn't. Castleton seems to have it's own weather system. It could be sunny everywhere else but snowing in Castleton :-) We decided to give up on Castletgon idea, so we drove to Chatsworth house instead. Neil had a walking book that described a 7 mile walk around the grounds of the house so we drove to the car park and got ready.

luckily the weather held out for us and we stayed dry and warm. The walk started at the gardens by the house and then we ended up going of the beaten track on the rest of the walk described in the book. One part of it was quite steep, but not to bad. Certainly not as steep as what Castleton would have been.

About 12 we stopped for some lunch. Caroline made pitta breads filled with home made coronarion chicken and they were very nice :-) After this much needed energy boost we continued the walk. At the top of the hill the views were very nice. The sky had some menacing clouds which made the view even more interesting.

On the last quarter of the walk we came across this cool viaduct looking thing with a water fall dropping down from it. Wasn't expecting to see that.

As we approached the end of the walk we saw the sign below saying 'Look out! Children Everywhere'. We was half expecting to see loads of zombie children scurrying around, but no, there was a small petting zoo around the corner.

The whole walk took around 3.5 hours to complete and my legs were killing me afterwards. We headed back to the car and drove to Matlock so we could go to the shops before they closed, then we headed back to Belper.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Another Useful Service From Google

Well Google are at it again with another really cool online service. Not only do we have the standard search, gmail, news reader, Google maps, and Google earth. We now have the Google Calender. As the name implies this is an online calender you can use to organise your daily tasks. I've only been using it for a couple of days, but what I have seen looks really useful. The calender coupled with gmail basically means you have an online version of Outlook, so you can access your calender and mail from anywhere.

One rather cool feature I like is that you can set up multiple calenders which you can view next to each other, so for example I have set up a personal calender and a work calender. I won't bleat on too much more about it, just give it a try for yourself.


Easter Break

It's been a while since I last posted what I have been up too. The beginning of this year has been very busy for me. At work we have started 3 new computer games projects which are coming along really well. Unfortunately I can't talk about them yet, but they should be annouced at the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) trade show in May. When these announcements are made I'll post links to details about the projects.

Apart from work I have also been busy writing my own pet project which I announced earlier on this blog. This leads us up to the Easter break.

On Friday night Neil and Caroline came around for dinner. I made a lamb creamy curry, chicken pathia and red chili potatoes. They seemed to like it :-) After dinner we drank lots of wine and then watched Batman Begins on DVD. I still think this is the best Batman film that has been made.

Yesterday Me and Amanda decided to go to Alton Towers for a bit of rollercoaster fun. It was a bit of a risk going as we was expecting it to be really really busy, but luckily it wasn't. We think everyone must have thought it would be busy so decided to stay away. Well that was good for us, because the longest we had to queue for a ride was 30 minutes which really isn't that bad.

One of my favorite rides, AIR

The main new ride at Alton Towers this year is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ride. I initially wanted to go on this ride because it was new, but when we saw the queue we decided against it as we would have been waiting 2 hours. Amanda's auntie was also at Alton Towers and she queued with her son for the ride. And to quote her reaction to the ride after waiting hours , "It was utter shit, and the monorail from the carpark to the park was more fun." So I am certainly glad we didn't bother. Now, I know it is a children's ride, but waiting hours for a fancy love boat style ride doesn't seem worth it.

We managed to get on lots of rides though, we headed straight for the forbidden valley and went on Air, Nemesis, and the Runaway Mine Train, then went to go on Spinball Wizzer. From there we went to Ug land and went on Rita and the Corkscrew. Then we went to the X Sector and went on Oblivion. We then had lunch and met up with Amandas Aunt. From there we went on Air again, then went on Duel (the ghost ride) which Amanda was scared of :-). After that we did the water rides, so we went on the River Rapids twice and the the Log Flume, and as usual I got totally soaked.

A car about to drop on Oblivion.

We ended up staying at the park until closing time. Instead of getting stuck in the queues for the mono rail we all went and got a cup of coffee and a cake, waited for the queues to ease down and then went back to the car. By the time we got home we was totally knackered, having that much fun really takes it out of you.

Today we are going for lunch at the Strutt Arms in Milford and will then probably chill out this afternoon. I want to start watching the FireFly box set later, either that or we will watch King Kong as Amanda hasn't seen it yet. Tomorrow I am going out for a long country side walk with Neil and Caroline. I have not been on a walk for ages so am looking forward to it. I'll post any photos if I take any decent ones. I think we are going to Castleton, so that means walking up Mam Tor which is a really evil looking steep hill. My legs are aching at the thought of it.