Ilkley Moor

Today, I had such a brilliant day, despite the wind, we went out as a university group for a hike on Ilkley Moor. It was a beautiful day! We got our maps, compasses and walking boots and had a fab day with great company. I love my university course sometimes! 


Kanga Valley Railway

Hop on the train at Pathankot to take the 164km journey to Jogindernagar, India. You will not be complaining about how slow the train on the Kanga Valley Railway takes (approximately just short of 10 hours) because of the amazing views to take in along the way. Encountering 33 stations and 970 bridges, people marvel at the engineering involved. The trains are simple but characters and culture are magnificent; stalls on the platform, cups of tea passed through train windows and Hindi songs being sang for tips. Travel past beautiful orange groves and tea gardens, playgrounds were children take their school lessons, low-forested hills and snow-capped mountains.

The most amazing thing about this experience is that it has an astounding price. A ticket for this train is 35 rupees, equivalent to 42p! Astonishingly, not many tourists take this train; only a fraction of the amount of people that take the celebrated ‘toy train’ up to Shimla, about 70 miles South.

The stretch of 18 miles from Mangwal to Kangra is the most picturesque with the majestic Ban Ganga Gorge and the deep Kangra Chasm. Approaching Palampur you will be presented with snowy peaks, 15000-16000ft in height. From here, the line runs parallel to Dhauladhar range (much nearer than any other railway in India).

If you need any more persuading, just look at pictures online, its breathtaking.


Idea from The Week Magazine

Day out to Otley Chevin and an encounter with Storm Doris

This blog post is to write about the day I had today at Otley Chevin in West Yorkshire, and it may give some ideas on teaching map reading and orienteering. 

We do physical education with outdoor education at Leeds Beckett and one of our modules this semester is called ‘OAA Journeying’. This basically consists of going away in a small group for 2 nights. We can go wherever we want to go, as long as one of the nights is wild camping. So for ‘practice’ for this residential, as a seminar group, we are going out and experiencing days full of maps, compasses, gale force winds and rain, sounds like fun right? 

Our lecturers today thought it would be a brilliant idea to take us all to Otley Chevin. For those of you who haven’t been there, it’s a huge area consisting of crags, walks, hills, woodlands etc. and also has a few huts, for seminar work (or for arts and crafts for brownies and scouts-but were classed as ‘too old’ for that (maturity is arguable though)). 

We ran up to uni at half 8 this morning in the beginnings of the wonderful storm Doris. We were drenched. We hadn’t even  got to the place where we were going for the day yet, and my hands were turning blue and my muddy walking boots squelched through the sports reception as we went to meet the rest of our group. 

We got in the mini buses on the way to the Chevin, and took the 20 minute drive to get there, before all running into the hut for shelter and warmth as soon as we got there. 

Our first activity was drawing a map. We had to draw what we thought the map of the room we were sat in would look like. We had to decide what would go on the map and how we would portray the different heights of things. It was quite interesting to know about different shadings and how that puts across how tall something is in comparison to other things. We then moved on to map symbols.

This might seem quite simple, like I have seen hundreds of maps in my life but matching up 52 map symbols to their descriptions was harder than I imagined! This is great to do with any age because you can progress it or regress it to fit with their ability. What we didn’t realise was, was that there was actually a small number on the corner of each laminated card, and the map symbol and the description actually had the same number as each other on the card, so it could have been so much easier! (Yes we are third year university students and didn’t even realise!) 

Next of the agenda was grid references. Playing bingo for this was so fun. We had a map between two, and our lecturer read out a grid reference, which we had to find on the map, and shout bingo when we knew what it was. I WON A SPORK. 

Me and Ash then had a 10 minute conversation about how it is actually a fork, knife and a spoon so should be a snork, but then I thought ‘why does the fork get most of the name’ so my name for it was a snook. Any suggestions on names for a contraption that offers a fork, knife and a spoon just let me know!

So with a little competition involved this got fun! Next was dinner time, I brought cooked pasta (I forgot a fork that morning so actually had to steal one from the food court at university…turns out because of my snook, I didn’t need it).

After dinner, we got in our residential groups and went on a 1.2km walk. We were all given a map and a way to walk, to get to the east side of the Chevin. We got there in good time, 10/10 for top navigating skills to me!

While storm Doris brewed on and made herself louder and clearer, we worked out our pacing for 100m, so we could work out our distances. Turns out my pace for 100m is 71 paces, one of the highest numbers in the class which means I must have small legs, brilliant. 

For this, our lecturer had marked out 100m, which is easy to do by finding landmarks on the map suitable for the activity, we all then walked together. The pacing is every two steps, so you would only count your right foot, for example, when walking between the two points. 

Orienteering was next. And it had started to get cold. We went through using a compass and the best analogy I got from today was ‘keeping red Fred in his shed’ when matching up the north arrow to the red arrow below it on the compass face. It was very easy to pick up but I have done it multiple times before. Experiential learning is key for this though. People will only learn orienteering if they have a go. 

Our final task was an orienteering challenge in our small residential groups. We had one hour to find as many points on the map as we could. We absolutely bossed it but counted our points wrong at the end. I wouldn’t say I was competitive, but it still makes me angry when I think we were cheated of the prize. I really wanted that prize biscuit. But I know we won overall, so pride is good enough i suppose..but I can’t dunk pride in a brew! 

Otley Chevin is a great place to go, whether for educational purposes with a group of people or even taking the dog for a walk or going on a stroll! A few crags for the climbers around here too. There are a few decent walks around there and plenty of orienteering challenges to conquer, some harder than others! Absolutely beautiful sites from multiple places. Remember to check the weather though, you don’t want to be battered by a storm like we were! Hopefully Doris will be gone soon! 

Hayley and Ash travel to the cinema to see Hidden Figures 

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 


Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson) Dorothy Vaughn (played by Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe) were absolutely brilliant in the whole performance. 

Especially the young Katherine Johnson. She was portrayed as clever, genius and damn right beautiful, but she was also shy and just wanted to be recognised for her brilliant work! Dorothy Vaughn helped all of the other ladies feel like they are worth something and used her genius brain to make a move in the world of physics and mathematics for black women. Mary Jackson, fought for her freedom and won. The first black female engineer to work for NASA. 

The Director, Theodore Melfi, really put across an amazing picture. The emotion went from happy to angry to cover-your-eyes-I-just-cannot-watch moments! There were numerous times I nearly burst into tears, happy and sad! The contrast to how the blacks lived compared to white people and the incredibility of how they fought for what was right. In the film, there was also a few times were a scene really made a statement. When a white male finally ran the same path as the black glorious Katherine Johnson, they were finally equals. Really spoke out to us.

In reality, myself and Ash only went to see this film because it had Jim Parsons in it, playing Paul Stafford (also Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory). He didn’t disappoint. Even though I expected him to say ‘Bazinga’ or sing ‘soft kitty’ or do his door knocking ritual, he was still a brilliant actor! 

Can’t believe that he constantly winds Howard Wolowitz up about being an astronaut though and now he works for NASA!*

*If you don’t watch Big Bang Theory you will not understand that joke**

**if you don’t watch Big Bang Theory then I suggest you start because you will not regret it in the slightest.

Anyway, I have definitely gone off on a tangent here, but I would definitely recommend this film. It is moving and emotional and really opens your eyes to a true event that once took place in America. You see characters develop, grow and bond with other characters that makes a brilliant story. 

100% go and see! 

Hayley and Ash travel to the cinema to see La La Land

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 
We would give this film three stars. 
It is honestly one of the weirdest films I have ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are amazing. They’re so good at what they do and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t slightly (okay greatly) fall in love with Mr.Gosling. They really showed there love by just looking at each other. 
However, besides the fact Emma and Ryan did a brilliant job, and a lot of work clearly went into the production and story etc. it was still…wrong. The music was a bit lame, the songs were not rememberable, even though I was constantly humming that tune he plays on the piano when I got home. The ending wasn’t brilliant either. I longed for the happy ending and was disappointed. 
I’m also very confused about the era of the movie. The clothes they wore and the cars they drove were 60’s-80’s, except the car she drove which was more modern..and she had an iPhone too. Like I was expecting Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley to make an appearance but wearing chinos and dabbing, it’s just..odd. 
Parts of the film were magical, and it really kept me hooked and watching, making me long for a relationship like theirs throughout. Why can’t Ryan Gosling beep his horn at me and tap dance with me? It’s really not fair. 
I would recommend seeing it if you like musical romance films. 
The one thing it really did do was live up to its name…La La Land. 

Ghost Town in the Rockies

A remote area in Colorado contains the small town of Dunton which was founded in 1885 by gold miners. It was abandoned in 1990, but the hot springs carried on attracting visitors until 1994 when a German entrepreneur bought it and turned it into a luxury resort. It is said to have exquisite food and incredible service with no end of outdoor activities. With it being a two hour drive to the nearest town, you really feel like your part of American History. Each cabin has luxury facilities, beds, underfloor heating and baths surrounded by windows overlooking woodland. A library is available with a full collection of a variety of books, a big leather arm chair and a wood-burning stove.

Dining is communal which may put some people off but the characters you are likely to meet in a place like that could be extremely interesting. Outdoor activities are frequently undertaken by people staying here. Hiking, cycling, riding etc. or enjoy some nice yoga in a beautiful place. Campfires in the evening, roasting marshmellows after watching an old American western movie. You can fish nearby and there are plenty of walks to complete. Why not visit the World’s smallest sauna which is situated in a wagon on wheels!

This is the only Colorado resort to win an award and many packages are available. Cabins, glamping and visiting the Dunton town house. The town is so close to the San Juan Mountains and just steps from the West Fork of the Dolores River. Prices are a bit high but it is a beautiful place, full of character, portraying a different view for a romantic or family holiday.

I am writing about this place because I am looking for places to go when travelling, when the time comes. Idea for this place came from the week magazine.