Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Commuting from Preston to Manchester

Posted: February 1, 2012 in Random

This is *kind of* a travel blog post – it’s not about fun, recreational travel, rather its about the necessary evil that is my daily commute. Just over four months ago I decided to take on a job in Manchester, 34 miles from my house in Preston. I was under the impression this would not be such an arduous task – how wrong I was! The two years I’d spent driving/getting the train/Merseybusing to Liverpool University were an absolute doddle in comparison – mostly because lectures never really started until 11ish so I generally missed rush hour. But the M60. THE M60. I try to avoid the M60 if I can help it these days, but sometimes it’s just there and it spills over onto the comparatively empty A-roads that I prefer to go down. Just ugh. Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned about commuting to Manchester from Preston in the past few months.

1. The train costs more than you’d think. £239 for a monthly season ticket. Daylight robbery.

2. The tram costs more that you’d think. £50 for a monthly season ticket. See above.

3. A diesel car is the best thing money can buy. Seriously. I’ve got the fuel costs down to £180 per month.

4. If I travel outside of peak times, stress levels decrease considerably. This leads to 12-14 hour days but this is preferable to spending 5-10 hours of the week twiddling my thumbs on the M60. And on that note…

5. If I travel on the A580, stress levels decrease considerably. There is no need for the M60, no need at all. It’s been put there just to wind people up. I hope they don’t ever get round to turning it into a toll road – if they do then we’ll all be screwed.

6. Buses really don’t run all that regularly up here. The X25 is looking like it could be an interesting service, except it shouldn’t really take 2 hours to get from Preston to Manchester by public transport. Or indeed by any transport. Sometimes it does.

7. I read somewhere about people that CYCLE from Preston to Manchester. Much as I’d love to be the kind of person that can cycle 70 miles a day I just… *sob*… not now.

8. Podcasts are your friend. You can learn some cracking things from podcasts.

9. Spotify is a bargain, and the Belkin tunecast is a beautiful thing.

10. The M60 motorway – have I mentioned it? Evil bastard road. Oh and people love to have accidents on the M60 as well. I don’t think a single day’s gone by without somebody causing an obstruction on the M60. Learn to drive people!

So that’s the Preston-Manchester commute in a nutshell. It takes me 45 mins each way if I travel to Manchester outside of peak times, by car, but travelling in rush hour generally takes double that, sometimes even more. It is a massive undertaking. In fact it’s torture – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. And by the way, I am from London, used to get the tube in rush hour from North-South London every day. My commute these days is much MUCH worse. Good luck to anyone that wants to give it a go.



Posted: July 3, 2011 in Random
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Yesterday we planned to conquer Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England. Unfortunately we didn’t quite make it as one of our party (me) was a letdown (was sick). We made to the top of Sty Head before aborting and heading back down the valley to Wasdale Head. Although we were initially disappointed at not reaching our intended destination, it made for a lovely summer walk, and it meant we finished earlier than expected, giving us valuable drinking time! Made the obligatory stop in the Wasdale Head Inn, then a stunning drive to Broughton in Furness along a remote road for a pint in the Manor Arms.

Wasdale is a truly beautiful part of the country. Each time I’ve been to the Lake District recently it’s just got better and better. Coniston, Ullswater, Derwent Water, Windermere, Grange, Grizedale, Kentmere, Helvellyn and now Wasdale Head. Best thing about it is it’s less than 2 hours drive from my house, so I’ve no excuse not to become a complete Lake District expert.

Here are some pics.

Trig Point at Helvellyn Summit

Trig Point at Helvellyn Summit

Cor blimey. I was duped into climbing up the 950m Lake District peak Helvellyn this weekend just gone. Helvellyn plus the legendary Striding Edge. About 750 metres up my partner turns to me and says “you do realise this is the hardest one don’t you?”, meaning the hardest Wainwright peak to conquer. This was just after the bulk of Striding Edge and just before having to climb up a very scree-ey, almost vertical part of the hill. Not fun. The descent was even less fun. But I’ve done it and I just thought I’d scare (ha ha) SHARE some pictures on the blog. You’ll see from the photos why I was happy to put myself through such abject torture.

Sca Fell on Saturday. Meep.

Lovely Map of Yorkshire

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Random
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The parish maps are really cool too. Yes I’m a geek.

OK I’ve been dithering long enough. I’ve had this blog set up for months with the intention of adding lots of insightful UK travel information to it, and still haven’t got round to it. In my defence, it’s because I’ve been busy doing field research, literally researching a lot of fields. In the past few months I have seen a lot of the best things the UK has to offer in the way of tourism, including:

– Walking. Me and my friends signed up for the Malhamdale Meander, a 23 mile hike round the parish of Malhamdale in the Yorkshire Dales, taking in epic features such as Malham Tarn, Malham Cove (of Harry Potter fame) and a death-defying (yeah you heard – DEATH-DEFYING) scramble up Gordale Scar. To prepare for this activity, we did:

– More walking. There was a 20 mile trip from Southport to Seaforth that we embarked on. It’s a beautiful stretch of coastline punctuated by sand dunes, nature reserves, the odd ‘Danger Zone’ and many statues of naked men. I can’t speak highly enough of it really – if you find yourself in Merseyside, as I used to regularly, go to Formby, Crosby and Southport. Of course the Friends of Real Lancashire will have me for saying those towns are in Merseyside. But they are though. Before the Southport-Seaforth trek we engaged in:

– Some more walking. The Kentmere Horseshoe was its name, it left us in a lot of pain. Sorry there’s a musical on the telly and it made me do a little rhyme. Blimey it was hard. That was only 13 miles (only) but it involved climbing a total of 9 Wainwright Peaks. We managed 6 of them before having to rush down the hillside at a rate of knots, wade through a reservoir and finish up in the dark. My esteemed colleague flashed me a fair few “I kill you” looks that day. And before that there was lots more walking, and I’ll go into depth about all those walks at a later date. For now I’d just like to welcome one and all to That Travel Blog. If I don’t update this blog for another six months, there’s a whole heap of exciting travel content at the following blogs.

Wales Blog

Scotland Blog

iknow this (see what I did there) because I’m about to be writing it!