Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Nora Batty and a couple of dotterels

Celebration time. 200 up on the year list after 2 dotterel last night and quite a few red grouse today.

So, from Bakewell made it to Abney Moor and found the otterel with the help of 'the mouth from the south'; a nickname for a birder who with his mate, Mark ensured that we saw the birds. Actually after searching with Mark and Jo [Of Pies & Birds blog] from Sheffield and listening to the shouts from the fore named birder, the two dotterel flew quickly to the north and seemed like they were off for good. Still with the great reed warbler in the morning well chuffed with the day and well worth the 60 odd miles cycled. [199]

No room in the Youth hostel at Haversage so camped in what I thought was an empty field.

Wednesday 19th May 2010

Today started strangely with a cascade of water heard from my sleeping bag at around 5.00am. Turned out to be a rather large horse having a pee next to the tent!

Up onto the moor east of Lady Bower res but no montagu's harrier. There was a pair of ring ouzel though and lot of red grouse [200!!!] and curlew.

About 6 miles further and a phone call from Phil Andrews to say that the montys had been found. Must be honest and despite wanting to go, too exhausted from yesterday's efforts to face the 25 mile round trip. Will probably regret that later but at the moment sitting here in Holmfirth's library seems like the wisest decision as I still have Saddleworth to negotiate this evening.

Crossbills and siskin, cuckoos and stonechats; decent birds well seen and another celebration after a phone call to my fabulously brilliant daughter, who's just passed her driving test first time. Well done Rebs! I failed mine once because I didn't have a driving license.

To Holmfoirth and a cup of hot chocolate in Sid's Cafe, exactly as one might see it on the tele in Last of the Summer Wine. Then invited in to look at Nora Batty's kitchen by two lovely people from Middlesborough, Geoff and Margaret Johnson.

Even bought a new pair of trousers at a charity shop. The previous pair were a tad dirty. The lady who served me, Jan Widdop, has a son who teaches at The Bromsgrove School, about a mile away from the school I'm absconding from at the moment, Rigby Hall Special School.

Right 100 miles in 2 days. Not bad for an old slaphead of 53. [birthday next month so start saving up].

Off to Compo's chip shop for tea then over Saddleworth Moor, an RSPB reserve towards Oldham. Need to be at Martin Mere near Southport for Friday morning.

All the best everyone,



  1. Hi Gary,

    just found your blog from Mark's blog "Pies and Birds". I am looking forward to going backward through your blog to date and going also going forward from now! 53 is not so old; I have a couple of years on you, but then again I am not trying to bike 200 miles a day!
    Wishing you good fortune, good weather, good biking, and good birding,

  2. Gary. Great to meet you at the Dotterels. If you're passing through Sheffield and in need of sleep, food or anything then give me a shout. Good luck. Mark & Jo

  3. Congrats on the 200 - really good going. Was at Pulborough yesterday were we managed to meet up. You've covered some miles since then!