Sunday, 25 July 2010

Does my tongue look big in this?

Who cares how hot you get running when there is always a muddy puddle to relax in somewhere along the walk!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Bigbury Camp

Not too far from home is Bigbury Camp, an iron age enclosure on a hilltop in the middle of some woods.  This weekend, as part of the Festival of British Archaeology, there was an open day there with the opportunity to hear about how the site is managed and some of the archaeology, then to have a guided walk around.  So along with quite a few others I went over to take a look.

The area, to the north of Canterbury, is known as the Blean and is a huge area of countryside much of which is owned by the Kent Wildlife Trust.  They are in the process of clearing some of the non-native species like larch and sweet chestnut to provide a more diverse landscape that offers more to wildlife.
This is the slope up to the  "Annexe" area of the camp - the sweet chestnut coppice here was cleared only three months ago and regrowth is already about four feet high.  The plan is to graze the area with sheep and goats to keep the growth down and provide a different habitat for wildlife.  A side effect is that some fantastic views are being opened up, and it is easier to see the ditches and ramparts.

These aren't as impressive as other hillforts like Maiden Castle or Uffington from the same period of history, but it was until recently the only one known in the area.  A recent LiDAR survey of the area has potentially revealed another in commercially managed woodland nearby that archaeologists hope to get agreement to examine in the future.  It is possible that this is the location mentioned in Julius Caesar's account of his expeditions to Britain as the scene of a battle.  At any rate there is some evidence that the fort was burned down around that time and round houses were built in the nearby valley on what was to become the location of Canterbury.  Last time we looked around here it was hard to see anything for the trees - now it is an interesting and atmospheric location well worth a visit.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Two cheers for Google

While we were out cruising in June I left a GPS switched on to log our progress.  Having finally got around to looking at it, I saw there are tools around for displaying tracks in Google Maps as an interactive window so that you can zoom in and look at the satellite images with the track in place.  I can see how to do it on a website, but I can't work out how to get it into a blogger post.  So paraphrasing what my ISP's mail server used to say with bad email addresses:  I've tried this several times and I'm giving up now;  it didn't work out;  sorry.  Any advice from more competent readers is most welcome.

On another note, although GPS in itself isn't that consistent and accurate at measuring altitude, the profile from the data at least gives a sense of the climb up Napton flight, fall down the Oxford and Thames, and the climb to get back to the heart of the system.  I fancy I can see the long pound after the Hanwell flight as the first shoulder after the dip in the middle, but maybe I am imagining it.  As you can see from the scale, the variation in height is pretty trivial compared to distance, only about 200 locks! 

You'll have realised, I'm sure, that since this is posted at the time when most weekends would find us on the M1 heading north for the weekend that other priorities have us preoccupied for the moment. 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

A quiet weekend... the marina catching up on bits of maintenance and repair that come up after a longish journey of long days.  Sorry no pictures as mostly hands were too covered with Plumbaflue or blacking or paint or oil or diesel or dirt to handle a camera!

Also took the opportunity to meet a few fellow moorers at a barbecue to celebrate the opening of a new facilities block.  Still more to do, but it was still uncomfortably hot on Sunday so we set off home a bit early - only to find ourselves in a ten mile queue at Dartford because the Blackwall Tunnel was closed.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

While we're on the theme...

...of boat names, I snapped this one down on the seafront this afternoon. Some people really don't put in any effort at all. Add Image