Category Archives: Travel

Ben Nevis – conquered

[Full set of images available on Flickr]

Well, that’s another one of those nice things ticked off a list. I’ve been to the northernmost point of mainland Britain, the eastern-most & southernmost parts of Australia, the southernmost part of continental Asia, the highest point in IndoChina (although I believe that claim’s disputed)… and now I’ve been to the highest point in Britain as well.

Thank you to all those who sponsored me and helped raise money for the St Andrew’s Hospice – a genuinely good cause, with lovely staff who did a great job in organising today’s fundraiser. With 200+ schoolchildren and staff scrambling up the mountain they made sure everyone was accounted for, shepherded and got home safe. Obviously, the Ben Nevis mountain staff also deserve thanks, as do the St John’s Ambulance staff and everyone at the Ben Nevis Hotel

Top of Ben nevis
Top of Ben nevis

who fed and accommodated us at the end of it all. And even let the staff have a free shower!

To paraphrase the great Douglas Adams – the first 1000 feet were the worst. And the second 1000 feet. They were the worst too. The next 1000 were no fun at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.

Then it started to snow.

Only a slight dusting, but enough to make the stuff which had already been lying somewhat more slippery and the last couple of hundred feet more of a challenge. Up until then, I’d be taking a layer of clothing off every half hour. The sun was out, my balding pate was getting redder and sweat was running down my face.

That last little hike was probably the hardest purely as I had to spend as much time looking for footprints to stand in as I did making sure I didn’t slip backwards more than I walked forwards.

There isn’t a whole lot at the top other than a pair of stone… somethings and a tiny shack. And a great sense of achievement. Oh, and a corking view.

I made it up early enough that the clouds were only just coming in, so managed to see in all directions. The snaps (link at the top) should give you an idea of the incredible scenery on the way up and from the peak.

The journey down was no cakewalk either. As well as the skiddy snow, my legs were somewhat achey. The muscles I used on the way up were very different from the ones I needed on the way down! This was partly a good thing as I had developed a hell of a pain at the top of my left leg – something I’d not had for many years, but that’s because I don’t exercise enough. Going downhill stopped this particular pain, but allowed many others the chance to surface. Joy.

Still, I made it up and back again in a little under 5 1/2 hours, which I’m quite pleased with. The nice staff at the bottom gave me a little medal and – more importantly at that point in time – juice, energy bars and a banana.

A shuttle was taking people back to the hotel where we got to freshen up and fill up on “proper” food before the journey home.

A very hard slog, but all the best things are worth the effort.

If you feel the need to donate to the charity, by all means drop me a quick email or contact them directly via the web link above. I’m sure they’ll be happy to take your money!

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Sponsor me!

The steep south face of Ben Nevis from Sgurr a...
The steep south face of Ben Nevis from Sgurr a' Mhà im (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s not often I’ll ask for cash, but I’m doing a sponsored walk up Ben Nevis on May 6th and I need to raise £90 before then. If anyone would be kind enough to sponsor me a few quid, please let me know and we’ll work out how to get the dosh to me.

Obviously, if you’re local then I can just get the cash. Anyone else can probably get it to me via bank transfer or *spit* PayPal. If you’re a UK taxpayer, make sure I get your postcode and house number as well so we can claw more back off the government!

Oh, the cause – it’s St Andrew’s Hospice. Not one I’ve been associated with in the past, but one that the school I currently work at raises a fair bit of money for.

Thanks in advance, folks.

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Don’t pay “Parking Charges”

The post originally located here has been removed due to a threat of legal action from lawyers acting on behalf of the “people” mentioned in it. More details, in a moment, but in the meantime I heartily recommend you visit one of the four mirrors listed below to view the document as it was published. These sites either have their own legal teams or their hosts (unlike mine) deemed the take-down order to be complete nonsense and ignored it:

OK, the whys and wherefores.

The issue I had was with [company name removed so I don’t risk allegedly defaming them]. Their lawyers are M Law. I am hosted on a One&One server.

According to M Law I defamed [company name removed so I don’t risk allegedly defaming them] in the post. They complained to One&One who, due to the fact that “as an ISP Provider, we have legal obligations in accordance with the Godfrey v Demon Internet Limited 1999 case law to ensure that all the defamatory posts have been removed, or litigation will be pursued against us not yourself.”

Do note that the major point here is “defamatory posts”. The post was not defamatory. At most it was allegedly defamatory. No judge had looked at the case, someone had simply complained that I had not put [company name removed so I don’t risk allegedly defaming them] in a good light.

I will not make further comment about [company name removed so I don’t risk allegedly defaming them]. I will not make any statement about them. What I will say is that whatever I do say would be in the public interest as they are a company who many members of the public deal with regularly. The public is allowed to complain about poor service, or quality of goods. If they didn’t then every single reviewing website or publication would be impossible to publish. BBC‘s Watchdog and Which? magazine could not function.

This is what I believe would be the result had the alleged defamation claim been taken to court. Instead, both organisations seem to have jumped the gun and proclaimed me guilty without a trial.

However, it seems that One&One don’t grasp this and neither do M Law.

Further, I don’t want to lose my entire blog which was the threat laid against me if I didn’t remove the post by midday on 25th October 2010.

All of the above is stated fact, at least as far as I have been able to ascertain from the limited information supplied to me by both the solicitors involved and my web host, despite several requests for more detailed information.

I have not defamed anyone with any of the above text. I leave it to the reader to make their own judgement, research as they require and – for instance – do a Google for the relevant companies. I’m sure the evidence will be enough for you to make your own judgements.

It has been suggested by more than one quarter that, in fact, by making a claim that I was (without due process) guilty of defamation, I myself have been libelled. This is something I am investigating. After all, if a newspaper reports someone as a thief, for instance, before the case has gone to trial and a verdict found then the alleged offender can sue.

Incidentally, prior to the takedown order my blog post had been read approximately 40 times.

As of the post being replaced with this explanation, it had 427 hits. Plus the MSE mirror was over 280. And Shelli’s blog hits had trebled.

Several statements spring to mind, but the two choicest are:

OWN GOAL

and

SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE FOOT.

So that’s why I can’t mention Parking Eye on here any more.

Whoops.

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