Saturday, September 30, 2006

Summary

The route had been interesting as you can see from this profile.

Distance 8.6 miles
Total Ascent 1201 feet
Highest point 664 feet
Lowest Point 172 feet

A good walk, but not one of the most spectacular on a grey afternoon. But the company was great, the conversation was fun (thanks, James) and the exercise was badly needed.


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Ground level

Back at ground level we looked back at the Downs.

We were tiring and a the faint whisper of a fine ale could be heard in the distance.


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Chalking down

The route back to ground level was a steep, deep cutting. It must be a torrent during heavy rain, judging by the erosion.

It was hard work. Very slippery, and very uneven.


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Perching Nexus

A number of paths, routes, and bridleways converge at the foot of Perching Hill.

The north face of the Downs stretches out ahead, but James and the Gorse Fox were about to turn left and plunge down the side of the hill towards the car.


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Perching

Heading back along the South Downs Way Perching Hill Barn could be seen at the bottom corner.

To the left of the picture the earthworks that mark the site of a the lost medieaval village of Perching can just be seen on the slope.

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Bushy Bottom

Arriving near Freshcombe and Summersdeane Farm Gorse Fox looked back along Bushy Bottom towards Summers Deane.

The grey sky flattened to landscape, but it still draws the eye through the valley.

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Thunderbarrow Hill

We crossed Thunderbarrow Hill, past the site of the Thunder Barrow and a Settlement marked on the map, but not visible from the path.

Gorse Fox commented "I wonder if we'll complete the walk without getting caught by the rain"

As he said it, James said "What was that?"

He had felt the first few drops of rain. We stopped and put on jackets, but nothing really came of the rain.

They marched on, and GF started identifying the steps that the opposition party should take if they actually wish to become a government. It's far too boring to relate now... but one day he'll write an entry about the steps he will take when the Gorse Fox runs the country.


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Southwick Hill

Turning north we climbed Southwick Hill and looked across to the east back over Whitelot Bottom, Cockroost Hill, and Cockroost Bottom.

After the next gate we would start out across Thunderbarrow Hill. It was a steady incline back up towards Truliegh Hill.

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Southwick Tunnel

We finally arrived at the point where the A27 enters the Southwick Tunnel.

GF has often wanted to walk over the tunnel, and finally he got the chance.

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Agritecture

James and the Gorse Fox arrived at Mile Oak Barn and Mile Oak Farm. The path seemd to differ from the planned route slightly, but after a few brief detours we found the right path and headed onwards towards Southwick.


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Tenant Hill

Tenant Hill stretched out below us, with neat rows left in the field by the farmer as he created the stacks of straw that still littered the field.

Truliegh Hill is in the background, with the radio mast peeping up against the horizon.

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Across Hazelholt Bottom

Passing Cockroost Hill and looking down over Summers Deane and Hazelholt Bottom.

The breeze was steady from the coast, but it was still dry and didn't look likely to turn to the forecast rain.

Conversation had moved on to James an Anita's discussed return to the USA.


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Protection

Not the classic landscape picture of the South Downs, but it still caught the eye.

James and the Gorse Fox were approaching Mile Oak, looking up toward Tennant Hill. Huge pylons marched across the Downs, and nestling in its base was this bush.

Interesting juxtaposition of man and nature.


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Adder Bottom

The Gorse Fox returns to the subject of Sussex Bottoms. This walk involved a lot of bottoms... but more on that later.

Scabes Castle is just south of Adders Bottom, but though clearly marked on the map, just appears to be the name of the hill as opposed to any real building or earthwork.


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Shoreham-on-Sea

From the top, with the aid of a zoom lense, Shoreham power station was silhouetted against the shimmering Channel.

Our route would be taking us in that direction, though not quite that far. Hearts were beating more slowly again. Breath was no longer coming in huge gulps, we were recovering from the climb... and setting south across the Downs.

Conversation ranged through the week's news. Tony Blair, David Cameron (two cheeks of the same bottom, according to George Galloway), the current inability of the Tories to mount much opposition, and the trouble that was whipped up by the media over the Pope's speech.

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North Face

The north face of the South Downs broods over the the Weald.

GF was puffing a bit, so another photo opportunity seemed like a good idea. Young James was fairing slightly better, but conversation was stilted.

This view looked east towards the Devil's Dyke viewpoint.




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Fulking Hill

Having picked James up at home, he and the Gorse Fox headed to Fulking where we found a parking spot and togged up for the walk. It was warm, but overcast. A stiff breeze blew from the Channel. Rain showers were forecast, but rain gear was packed away in the rucksacks for now.

We stared up at the hill. Starting with such a steep climb seemed like a good idea when GF planned the route. But looking up at it now it didn't seem so smart.

The climb started by the pub, and we had had to stop several times on the way up. The village nestled at the bottom, and the Sussex Weald stretched out beyond. (Taking the photo could be construed as an excuse to pause for breath!).


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Fulking

The Gorse Fox had another walk planned, and calling yong James, agreed to share the South Downs for the afternoon.

The planned walk started at the village of Fulking (strangely, by the pub). It isn't shown on the map, here. It is deep in the lee of the Downs at the top right of the route... 500ft below the where the red line appears.

The route starts with the steep climb then circled clockwise past Adder Bottom, Cockroost Hill, Mile Oak Barn, and up over the Southwick Tunnel. Then turning back it heads back along Thunderbarrow Hill to Truliegh Hill, Edburton Hill and back down the north edge of the Downs to the car. Posted by Picasa

Eco-doomsayers

Via ASI, the Gorse Fox came to a speech by Senator John Inhoffe to the US Senate on Environment and Public Works.
Please take the time to read this. It is an expose of the existing media hype regarding global warming, and to use phrase that relates to the subject, reveals some inconvenient truths.

As the senator says:
The more the eco-doomsayers’ predictions fail, the more the eco-doomsayers predict.
And interestingly:
The alarmists freely concede that the Kyoto Protocol, even if fully ratified and complied with, would not have any meaningful impact on global temperatures. And keep in mind that Kyoto is not even close to being complied with by many of the nations that ratified it, including 13 of the EU-15 nations that are not going to meet their emission reduction promises.
But tellingly,
French President Jacques Chirac provided the key clue as to why so many in the international community still revere the Kyoto Protocol, who in 2000 said Kyoto represents “the first component of an authentic global governance.”
Well Jacques, this wasn't the topic, but how well are you doing on the EU Constitution? Er, failed. Right, so let's start on the world instead.

And quoting from Richard Lindzen, a meteorologist from MIT, discussing Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth", points out:
  • He promoted the now debunked “hockey stick” temperature chart in an attempt to prove man’s overwhelming impact on the climate
  • He attempted to minimize the significance of Medieval Warm period and the Little Ice Age
  • He insisted on a link between increased hurricane activity and global warming that most sciences believe does not exist.
  • He asserted that today’s Arctic is experiencing unprecedented warmth while ignoring that temperatures in the 1930’s were as warm or warmer
  • He claimed the Antarctic was warming and losing ice but failed to note, that is only true of a small region and the vast bulk has been cooling and gaining ice.
  • He hyped unfounded fears that Greenland’s ice is in danger of disappearing
  • He erroneously claimed that ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro is disappearing due to global warming, even while the region cools and researchers blame the ice loss on local land-use practices
  • He made assertions of massive future sea level rise that is way out side of any supposed scientific “consensus” and is not supported in even the most alarmist literature.
  • He incorrectly implied that a Peruvian glacier's retreat is due to global warming, while ignoring the fact that the region has been cooling since the 1930s and other glaciers in South America are advancing
  • He blamed global warming for water loss in Africa's Lake Chad, despite NASA scientists concluding that local population and grazing factors are the more likely culprits
  • He inaccurately claimed polar bears are drowning in significant numbers due to melting ice when in fact they are thriving
  • He completely failed to inform viewers that the 48 scientists who accused President Bush of distorting science were part of a political advocacy group set up to support Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004

Excellent read. GF commends it. GF's view, based on the balance of probabilities and historical precedent:

  • Is the climate changing? Of course it is. Its a dynamic system, and continually changes.
  • Is mankind the cause - No.
  • Should Mankind cut pollution? - Absolutely, that's good housekeeping.


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Friday, September 29, 2006

Eyes right

Gose Fox has commented before regreading the pleasure of wandering into the garden to select a fresh chilli from the plant and pop into the cooking. He had forgotten, however, the exquisite pain of rubbing his eye just after slicing said chilli. He sits here now with left eye closed and streaming... the memory has come flooding back!


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Google Reader

Gorse Fox uses Google Reader as an RSS aggregator to keep track of the various blogs he likes to read. Google have released a new version over night with a new user interface. Gorse Fox likes it. It addresses many of the frustrations he had with the original version.


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Black hole

The Gorse Fox was considering the radio. (Strange things invade his mind as he drifts off to sleep). Why does radio become a black hole of utter tripe at 19:00? Gorse Fox is usually on the last leg of his drive home from Worcester... the 19:00 News comes on, then nothing... well nothing worth listening to:
  • Radio 2 - Bob Harris' Country; This should be illegal. It's bad enough that Country music exists, but to allow it to be played on public radio is a disgrace - it should be limited to consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes.
  • Local radio - fatuous patronising airheads doing phone-ins about the colour of people's socks, whether dogs should have bow-ties, or something... there is abviously a glut of "stupid pills" going around, and people are becoming addicted.
  • Radio 4 - The Archers; come on! just how sad do you think GF is? How many years has it been going? Even violent prisoners get to the end of their sentence at some point.
  • Radio 1; well that's beyond the pale 24 hours a day
  • Radio 3; fine as long as you wish to drop off to sleep - that isn't recommended whilst driving, however.
  • Radio 5 - Probably the only real contender (particularly when there's a football game being broadcast), but can't be heard properly because the AM signal boosts and fades in the evening.
Well, it give the GF a chance to listen to some CDs.


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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sigh

Ah! Peace has broken out. Sir Lancinglot's suits have been found. They were mixed up with another order. Deep sighs of relief can be heard across the South Coast.

Missed Call

Gorse Fox missed a call from Beloved Aunt whilst away in Worcester. She has confirmed the numbers of Canadian attendees at Urban-cub's wedding. Not as many as we had hoped, but all very welcome... and the countdown continues.

Just to add to the stree-levels we just heard that Sir Lancinglot went to check on the suits. Though ordered many weeks ago, the store has no record of the transaction. Fortunately, Urban-cub still had the receipt and faxed it through. GF would not like to be in that shop if Urban-cub has to pay a visit!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Victim

The hotel had obviously selected GF as their victim of the week. What with the trouble when checking-in, today he had trouble checking-out. Their computer had registered the rates incorrectly, and wouldn't accept a correction. Their back-up was also wrong. In the end GF left them to it, and told them to send the bill to his home address once they had managed to sort it out.

Being a devil for punishment, he then booked in for next week!

Aubergine

A pleasant evening was shared with a colleague in Tewkesbury. We went, again, to Aubergine. This small bistro on the road south, almost opposite the Abbey is such a pleasure to visit. The staff are charming and fun, and the food is both excellent and well presented. Queen Victoria presides over the proceedings with good humour and a friendly manner.

Always a pleasure. (Though closed for annual holidays next week).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Vendors

Today the Gorse Fox was at the last of a series of sessions where we have allowed vendors to clarify their understanding of the request for proposal that we have provided them, on behalf of The Agency. It is remarkable, looking back over the last week, just how much variation there was between the candidate vendors. Some were arrogant, some tried to change the process, some were enthusiastic, and some just confused. Now that the process is under way it will be interesting to see what they come up with in the next few weeks.
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Monday, September 25, 2006

Mixup


Gorse Fox, having started out at 5:15 this morning, was keen to get back to
the hotel. The hotel, however, seemed less keen for GF to stay. The
reservation he made in person whilst staying last week had not been
registered. Oh yes, and they were full.

The receptionist was deeply embarassed as she had written down the
reservation... and even found the booking sheet. She called the manager and
tried to find space. GF thanked her, remained calm and started to think
about a Plan B.

They came up trumps, and GF got a room freed by an early check-out. It was
also an upgrade. That's good customer service.

Autumn

Autumn is gathering momentum. This morning's drive to Worcester started in the dark and ploughed through gentle mist as the road led the Gorse Fox towards Worcester. It was still dark as he passed through Winchester, but was getting light soon after. Here and there trees were beginning to turn, but they have yet to reach their full autumn splendour.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gullible?

Sir Lancinglot explained that he had visited the greyhound track before. Whelk asked what could be expected. Straight-faced, Sir Lancinglot, said "The last race is always the best. It's the Shitzu race". Whelk looked surprised. Who'd have thought they had a race featuring massage?


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Racing Terminology

Gorse Fox, having studied the form book noticed the interesting racing terminology used to describe the runners. Some examples:
  • Easy-paced bitch has not been lasting home, needs trouble behind
  • Bitch is quickly making up for lost time
  • Came with a wet sail late on Tuesday (err, what?)
  • Met an in-form bitch earlier this week (and?)
  • Old-stager is showing signs of wear and tear (GF knows how he feels)
  • Has not been sending out the right signals
  • It's never comfortable viewing for her supporters (Hey, GF is a Spurs supporter, he knows what that means).

Cake

No self-respecting birthday celebration would be the same without a cake and candles. Cousteau-cub is not a great lover of cake, so this was more of a gesture than a real culinary masterpiece. Posted by Picasa

No jockeys

Taking things very seriously (not!) the card was studied in great depth. A tote runner came to the table to take our bets. GF has never been much of a gambler, but as it was a special occasion he splashed out £1 on each of the races. The others also made secure investments of varying degrees.

GF was spectacularly unsuccessful, getting 2 winners and 10 lasts over the course of the event. Whelk was most successful with 3 winners, but she was the only one who came out on top. Posted by Picasa

Something Different

As the Gorse Fox explained on Friday, it was Cousteau-cub's birthday on Friday. For the past few years she has been away in Thailand for her birthday, but this year she was home.

We asked he what she fancied doing and she suggested... lunch at the Greyhound Races.

Well GF and the Silver Vixen had never been grehound racing before and with free admission on Sunday it seemed like a good idea. We arrived as the track opened and settled in to the restaurant overlooking the track. There was the Silver Vixen, Cousteau-cub, Whelk, Sir Lancinglot, and of course, Urban-cub. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Route Summary

A good walk, complete.

Distance 9.5 miles
Total ascent: 1105 ft
Max height: 701 ft
Lowest point: 145 ft

And, significantly, it ended by a pub! It seemed hard work compared to some of the walks, and because that area has so many wooded areas the views were restricted at times.
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The George


The George
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A welcome site. The Gorse Fox's car was just round the corner. A foaming ale was calling his name. GF slipped through the door.

"Afternoon" said the barman
"God, you look knackered" said the woman by the bar.

Gorse Fox explained the route he had taken and tried to look spritely. He failed.

"Ten miles" said the woman. "I do it on my horse, though some people use a quadbike" pointing to a chap sitting nearby.

Gorse Fox said he'd seen a quadbike up near Great Down, and it seemed to be herding pheasants into a wood. The chap sitting nearby asked exactly where, so out came the maps

"That bugger's rustling my pheasants" he said. "I'll be having words with him".

GF finished his beer and left.

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The Rookery


The Rookery
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The home stretch.

Halnaker Windmill up on the distant hill, Eartham nestling at the bottom the path.

It was becoming a bit of a slog, but the scenery had made it all worthwhile.

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Inground Plantation


Inground Plantation
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The distant views towards the sea looked across the trees.The low sun cast deep shadows in the distant Wide Ham Beeches.

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Nore Folly


Nore Folly
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Heading west from Slindon the GF passed Courthill Farm and cottages. To the north-west Nore Folly nestled in the wood.

The bridleway was thick with mud from yesterday's rain and the going was heavy. Only a mile or two to go, but the GF was getting a little weary.
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Slindon


Slindon
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
Eventually the Gorse Fox got to Slindon. Quaint flint-covered buildings littered the street before GF ducked back into the undergrowth.

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Great Down


Great Down
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
GF veered off course for a while and found himself the wrong side of a fence. This involved either retracing his steps or leaping athletically over the barbed wire fence.

He decided that, all things being equal, he would leap (superman like) over the fence. packing everything in his bags he prepared himself, took a brief run up and found that gravity can be a bit of a sod. GF's adonis-like frame failed to leave the ground. This would take a rethink.

Eventually he decided to climb the fence, and gracefully made his way to the correct side of the fence. On the right side, GF headed south across Great Down. A couple made their way towards him, making the most of the warm afternoon.

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