A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Archive for the ‘Charity starts at home’ Category

Movember

Posted by Alan on November 27, 2011

Banner of Faces

All me, honest

This month I have been growing a moustache for Movember. To be frank I have probably been a little slack – the pictures above are only the first 14 days worth and I haven’t pushed the donation link enough yet…

So if you do have a few spare pounds in your plastic, please go to http://mobro.co/piepowered and put them towards some great causes.

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Bogle 2011

Posted by Alan on March 7, 2011

This weekend saw me tackling Manchester RAG’s famous Bogle event.  There are many variations on the ‘creation myth’, but what is certain is that some people walked around 55 miles home from somewhere north west of Manchester.  This is my second attempt – the first ended after completing the ‘south loop’, a distance of 29 miles.  This time, I am very glad to say I made it all the way around!

Fresh faces!

Fresh faces - at the very beginning, a mug shot with our walker numbers!

Starting from the old UMIST campus close to Manchester Piccadilly station, we were fresh and ready to go (despite rather stupidly having walked to Whitworth Park and back!). From here, the route takes us down through studentsville (Fallowfield), Northenden and finally Heald Green where checkpoint 1 provides a very welcome brief stop, nearly 10 miles out.

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 1 - still smiling. Tea is awesome!

From checkpoint 1, the route heads further out taking in Bramhall, Hazel Grove, Stockport, Didsbury and finally back up Oxford Road to the hub at UMIST – checkpoint 5. Here we took a decent break, having covered the 29 miles in just over 9.5 hours – an average of almost 3.5mph – which is really quite a fast walking pace to maintain! Leaving checkpoint 5 before 6am, this stretch is an infamous challenge amongst Boglers. 4 of the 5 miles to checkpoint 6 are up hill, following the Oldham Road to Failsworth through areas of Manchester that are ‘awaiting regeneration’.

Checkpoint 6

By checkpoint 6 (34 miles) the gruelling nature had set in.

At least the checkpoint is indoors! The next stretch is possibly the most difficult distance en route.  Checkpoint 7 is 41 miles in – yes – that’s a 7 mile stretch without a scheduled break.  It was during this stretch I came closest to quitting.  A chance encounter if a friend who was following the walkers on his bike provided some conversation and a welcome boost in morale. It was really nice to talk about cycling for a bit and take my mind off the various pains! Having reached checkpoint 7, I was now in good spirits – with a sandwich in one hand it was off again, for checkpoint 8 is just 3 miles further round. If I get that far, at least I can have a hot pie, I thought…

Pie

By checkpoint 8 however, things started to look up. The shop had pies!

Indeed I could. The man in the shop at Ringley stores was very happy to chat about the walk and very proud of his own certificates for keeping a Kidscan charity box in his shop! From here, the route is very much on the top of the hills.

Top of the morning

Top of the morning - high above Bolton and Bury, it did get quite pretty.

But with an up, there’s obviously a down. And then an up again – the Irwell valley brings you the ‘Hill of Death’.

Looking up

Looking up - "the hill of death". It wasn't so hard.

It’s quite steep, but I got through it thanks to a little musical inspiration from The Guillemots, managing the climb in a little under 10 minutes. Turning left at the top, it then really started to feel like I was heading home. Through several checkpoints and eventually onto the final stretch – the last 3 miles through Salford back to base. At this stage it really feels like there’s no point giving in no matter how slow the progress.

Old Salford

Old Salford - happily this stereotype is now rather rare

Liverpool St (picture above) is unremittingly grim.  Long, straight, and a mix of late 20th century flats, earlier terraces and some industrial sites (such as a scrap yard).  Here I gave up on music. Perhaps Portishead’s Third was just a little too fitting. Close to the centre of Salford I joined up with 2 freshers – who had absolutely no idea about Salford, or quays.  For the last mile we took it steady, finally crossing the Irwell, then Deansgate, then St Peters Sq and finally turning down the slope onto the campus.

Finishing 21 hours and 44 minutes after I had set off, I had made it. So without further ado, here are the freshly crunched numbers:

Vital statistics

2011 figures 2009 figures
Checkpoint Arrive Depart time since last CP miles from last checkpoint Total Distance section average mph moving average mph Arrival Depart section average mph
0 00:00:00 19:33:05 00:00:00 0 0 0.00 0.00 00:00:00 20:10:00 0.00
1 22:28:17 22:51:33 02:55:12 9.8 9.8 3.36 3.36 23:15:00 23:40:00 3.24
2 23:55:26 0:09:44 01:03:53 3.6 13.4 3.38 3.36 00:41:00 00:55:00 2.95
3 1:57:30 2:08:07 01:47:46 6.2 19.6 3.45 3.39 03:08:00 03:22:00 2.93
4 3:43:00 3:55:00 01:34:53 5.2 24.8 3.29 3.37 05:33:00 05:50:00 2.52
5 5:15:07 5:51:49 01:20:07 4.2 29 3.15 3.33 07:15:00 2.35
6 7:31:57 7:57:10 01:40:08 5 34 3.00 3.28
7 10:21:58 10:27:38 02:24:48 7 41 2.90 3.21
8 11:51:41 12:10:17 01:24:03 3.1 44.1 2.21 3.11
9 13:38:33 13:57:23 01:28:16 4.1 48.2 2.79 3.08
10 15:33:54 15:39:00 01:36:31 3.9 52.1 2.42 3.02
11 17:26:55 01:47:55 2.9 55 1.61 2.89
Distances as per route notes, maybe rounding errors may exist

At the time of writing I had amassed £260 in sponsorship. You can still sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/AlanP-Bogle2011 with the funds going to Lymphoedema Support Network.

My feet are beginning to recover!

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Bogle Training Part III

Posted by Alan on March 2, 2011

With the event fast approaching, opportunities for training were getting thin on the ground.  So on Monday I walked home from work.  With the GPS tracker rolling I was extatic as I passed Dalston Junction station – apparently bob on 5 miles in 62 minutes. (Would have been 60 were it not for me having to wait for motorists at a few crossroads!!!)

Sadly plotting the map on google later… meant that I realised the gps is really quite inaccurate, especially when travelling through dense concrete spaces.

Nevermind. 4mph is still respectable for walking along in a suit!

Bogle is finally with us on Friday, which means you have just a few days to sponsor me before the event itself.  The bogle team themselves are setting up for a live news feed from the event – take a look at Bogle Live or follow them on twitter.

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Bogle Training Part I

Posted by Alan on January 23, 2011

This year sees the 50th anniversary of Manchester RAG’s Bogle. Since getting involved with Manchester RAG as a student and running their 2006 beer festival, Bogle has been one of those events on the calendar. I’ve helped a few times as a marshal, driver, co-ordinator and in 2009 I tried walking. Sadly that time I neglected to do any training so after 29 miles, at the 5th checkpoint I gave in.

This time I am training… alongside one of my team mates for this year, Richard.

St Stephen's Tower

Angry skies above St Stephen's Tower

So the basic premise was this – we walk from our flat to Cask, Pimlico. (You seriously thought beer wouldn’t be involved somewhere right?). This took us across Walthamstow marshes, through the back of Hackney, right through Smithfield Market onto the Embankment finally widing through the back streets behind the Catholic Cathedral to the pub.

Bus Abbey & Protest

The protesters were apparently not evicted on Friday as decreed by the media...

Cask is a fantastic little pub, serving a wide selection of food and ales.  Sadly for us we had essentially booked in for a (well-deserved and required!) pitstop for some food. And 2 half pints each. (It would be rude not to!)

Cask, Pimlico

Cask, Pimlico formerly Pimlico Tram

From here we headed south of the water to the places where Taxi’s infamously don’t go. Through Vauxhall, across to Elephant and Castle finally reaching the Draft House at Tower Bridge just as the sun had set. Cue more beer! Just the one pint though as after c. 17 miles we were both pretty tired. The calorific value of beer is probably helpful, but I am sure the alcohol isn’t!

Sadly recording all of the journey was a leap too far for my Nokia (it’s almost 2 years old now) – Sports tracker made it almost to E&C with us – it’s stats are below.

Statistics – recorded by Nokia Sports Tracker…
Distance recorded by GPS Average page Steps kCal burned
12.97 mi 16:01 min/mi 23995 1598
2.67 mi 15:00 min/mi 4707 328

Bogle is the first weekend in March so much more training required if I am to get around the full 55 miles.  Of course, sponsorship information will appear in due course… 🙂

Posted in Charity starts at home, Travelling around | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Movember

Posted by Alan on November 6, 2010

I am not going to change my facial hair right now, despite various pleas from some of my work colleagues! However, some of my friends are doing the Movember thing this year so you could always sponsor them a bit.

Mark – http://uk.movember.com/mospace/1064846/
Jiten – http://uk.movember.com/mospace/527386/
Billy (cowfish) – http://uk.movember.com/mospace/524396/
Simon (8cw) – http://uk.movember.com/mospace/621300/

Maybe later this year I might do something…on the inverse. Sponsored shave for the new year anyone? I’m not sure I’d really really like the cold chin through…

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Supporting the marathon

Posted by Alan on May 3, 2010

Being midway through the marathon I got to see some of the clear up, the bit most people forget! So this is a brief pictorial to say thanks to all those people who make sure all the running and fundraising happens.

St John's Ambulance - on bicycles

St John's Ambulance - on bicycles

The roadsweeper tractors

The roadsweeper tractors - note the runners in the top right hand corner

The scrubber - removing the extra road markings

The scrubber - removing the extra road markings

The ambulance folk, doctors and nurses

The ambulance folk, doctors and nurses

The barrier removal men

The barrier removal men

The bin men

The bin men - I hope that bunting is going into the recycling!

…and to everyone else off camera.

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2010 London Marathon

Posted by Alan on April 26, 2010

Not in the mood for lots of words tonight… so here’s a pictorial review of the London Marathon from the shots I got.

London Marathon, Near Tower Hill

London Marathon, Near Tower Hill

London Marathon, near St Katharine's Dock

London Marathon, near St Katharine's Dock

Beware the flag!

Beware the flag!

The Fastest Man

The Fastest Man

Many Runners

East Smithfield - Many Runners

Caterpiller chain

Nothing but the road

Nothing but the road

The Angel of the North

The Angel of the North

Richard Branson, Butterfly

Richard Branson, Butterfly

Getting there...

Getting there...

I took a ton of photos – the full set is on flickr but I’m going to add a second post here soon – with some of the elements of the marathon less celebrated – the support crews captured in action.

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Do Do Do The Conga

Posted by Alan on April 2, 2010

If you’ve been in London this week you may have been asked for some loose change by people with buckets. The Easter week sees Meningitis Research Foundation descend into the city with a few students and a lot of enthusiasm. This year they managed an awesome £50K but still had some energy to expend with a conga.

St Pauls and the Millennium Bridge

St Pauls and the Millennium Bridge on a typically grey day

Sometime after 12 we form up ready to start. And off… mid bridge we stop and time warp for just a few seconds…

Time Warp and St Pauls

Time Warp

And so 40 or so made it to the north bank without any sway of the bridge and another year was done. With thanks to Ragabonds for organising the conga again.

Full flickr set of photos is now online…

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Sunday Lazy Sunday

Posted by Alan on April 12, 2009

Mmm. Lazy Easter Sunday. In fact, pretty lazy Easter break.

It’s all been a bit quiet after the hubbub of applying for a proper job at TfL instead of just being a graduate. The good news is… aside a little red tape, I’ve got the position. Just need to sign the paperwork (currently in the custody of Royal Mail) and its sorted.

The last week of lent brought LOOT to London and I was around on the Wednesday to swap buckets. The clever chaps and chapesses managed to bag Meningitis Research a very cool £29K on the Wednesday alone. And who says we are in a recession?

Of course, LOOT means the Millennium Bridge conga. 36 people over this year – see the photos above. Much Bambi burger was then consumed by all and sundry to recover from the strenuous exercise.

Tomorrow brings a bank holiday. Just in time to finish off the ironing and get ready for another quiet week. Maybe I’ll even tackle the multimedia overload which constitutes my CD collection.

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March Madness

Posted by Alan on March 30, 2009

Quick picture thread tonight on some of the mad March things I’ve missed out. Very careless indeed.

Bogle 09 – some more photos.

 

Big Dave at Bogle - Manchester Uni

Big Dave at Bogle - Manchester Uni

 

Bogle 09 - Welcome to Macclesfield

Bogle 09 - Welcome to Macclesfield

Illuminating eh?

 

Lights at the Camden Centre

Lights at the Camden Centre

Lights at the Forum, Kentish Town

Lights at the Forum, Kentish Town

Lights at the Royal Albert Hall

Lights at the Royal Albert Hall

And lastly… some epic fail:

 

5 a day Fail!

5 a day Fail!

Estate agent trying to be clever fail. It was like this for over a week!

Estate agent trying to be clever fail. It was like this for over a week!

 The last one is actually from February but had escaped…

Danger! Fail!

Danger! Fail!

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