Transylvania Green Way walking tour.

Today (30th Oct 2013)I ventured out of Bucharest to go with Mihal on his two day Green Way walking tour to Transylvania.

1-IMG_7279We left on the train in the morning with our first stop at Sinaia to visit the Royal Palace of Peleș Castle I’m sure culture vultures could easily spend a week here, for me, I just wanted to be on top of the magnificent Bucegi mountains that overlook it., although we did take a peek at the art nouveau exhibition.   Next stop on our whirlwind tour was Brasov where we changed trains for a small independently run train to  Zarnesti .

At Zarnesti it was time for some real walking in the The Piatra Craiului National Park, we ventured up the gorgeous limestone gorge with it’s documented rope climbs at Surplomba & Faleza Arcadel we turned around and walked up the hill to our nights accommodation at Pension Pepino in Magura. The landscape is very reminiscent of what Switzerland mountain villages must have looked like 50 years ago.

Geoff Jones on a rock

Geoff Jones on a rock

After an excellent dinner & good nights sleep  on a glorious day we ventured of again, up a very  steep slope  and onto a fantastic ridge with amazing views down to Zarnesti and across to a very rocky ridge in the distance. A splendid walk accompanied by a dog that followed as from Magura. We descended down to Bran admiring Dracula’s castle on the way. Then it was a bus to Rasnov where we walked up to the remains of Rasnov Citadel. Another bus ride and we were in Brasov and its splendid medieval city centre, another place I intend to revisit!

All in all a great two days of a whistle stop tour with excellent walking. A good introduction to Transylvania and Carpathian mountains. The price for just me was on the high side but obviously if you go as a group  of 4 or so it would be considerably cheaper. Mihal is an excellent guide, very flexible in accomodating your needs and speaks very good English.

The photographs of the days are here and here  and here is a overview of the gps trails.

tracks__1_.gpx-4

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A sculpture day

Auguste Rodin - Adam - 1881Yesterday I did an excellent walk with my Jesus Green Pool swimming friend Chris. I have been wanting to visit The Henry Moore Foundation site at Perry Green, so when a 25% discount voucher appeared in the post & also prompted by Chris wanting to do a longish walk for him :-) (but a walk Sally & I would consider a bit short at 13 1/2 miles) . I finally made it there.

We took the train from Cambridge to Bishops Stortford (equally fast frequent trains from Stansted airport & London). First part of the walk is along The Stort navigation past locks & narrow boats plus two nature reserves, although Chris didn’t have much time for bird watching, apparently walking and twitching don’t mix). After leaving the river and crossing the main line (trains every 3mins so don’t hang about on the level crossing)  we made our way over to Thorley with its delightful church we had a bit of confusion at Thorley Wash after crossing the A1184, but we took the track, rather than through down the private drive, which then transforms into a delightful old coach road.

We arrived at Perry Green and made straight to The Hoops for a pint & salad, a tad pricey but excellent quality.  Straight after lunch it was across the road to see the Moore / Rodin exhibition of  sculptures, totally stunning! & a must see. I thought artists were meant to be poor! However, according to Wikipedia he was paying a million pounds a year in income tax! Maybe we overpay for public works of art :-) The staff said it was OK to take photos outside so you can see some of them on Flickr.

A lovely walk back via SideHill full of bluebells (Chris pondered wether they were Spanish or Native) past enormous houses and then a lovely walk into Bishops Stortford through the sports grounds of the college ( a snap at £24,000 per year for boarders).

Chris treated me to tea and a chocolate brownie at the Host restaurant in Stortford. Then it was back home. an excellent walk on a perfect day. The walk is on Everytrail :
Bishops Stortford circular walk to Henry Moore  Centre at EveryTrail

 

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What happened to the daffodils on a Daffodil Dawdle?

Yesterday was Sally‘s big day of walking the Daffodil Dawdle, a marathon size walk that has to be done in 10 hours or less. Her concern wasn’t the walking but the test it presented in her map reading prowess. Fortunately at the 11th hour David emailed her a gpx file which we easily managed to load into her Viewranger app.

Sally & Gina I presume?

Since she was walking with her Twitter friend Gina I decided to stay at home. However, I couldn’t let her zoom 50,000 steps ahead of me in the Fitbit leader board soi decided to walk from Cambridge to meet her. With the combination of Latitude and the aforesaid GPX file I was able to ‘bump’ into them when they were 2/3rds of the way around. As you can see conditions were less than summery.

 

The conditions were pretty gruesome all round , the most hated part for me was the ice sticking to the heal of my boots meaning I had to keep stopping to hack it off :-( plus the paths were a quagmire in many places.

Daffodils I presume?

Overall I did 51,000 steps (However Sally still did 7,000 more steps than me). No daffodils, in flower,  could be found, just a few shoots.

Overall an excellent day out. Especially the warming soup & cake at the end thanks to our new found friend Jayne and the LDWA.

All my photos of the day can be found on that rubbish service called Google+ try looking here, Good Luck!

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Three Peaks & Three Gadgets

Moves storylineLast saturday Sally and I did the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk. A great walk it was too, especially tagging along behind two members of the LDWA who specialise in 100mile non stop walks. So we moved had a brisker pace and had fewer shorter stops than we are accustomed to with The Cambridge Rambling Club :-) The weather was very low cloud with 12″ or so of freshish snow on all three peaks.

The gadgets I was carrying where an iPhone5 with the Moves app running & the route in the Viewranger app (although not tracking). I also had the route stored in my Garmin etrex 20 which was also storing our track as we walked it. Finally I was wearing my trusty Fitbit Ultra.

I’m pleased to say they all worked flawlessly and all their batteries stayed live for the 11 or so hours we were out. I was also carrying my Canon 550D with a 18-135mm lens.

Moves

This is a very nifty app that automatically works out if you are walking, cycling or just sat in a vehicle! It works by using the internal GPS (battery only lasts a few hours) and also the various internal motion sensors. At the end of the day it produces a summary and storyline (see left image). For this walk (and to and froing  before & after) it gave a result of 58,499 steps, 25.7 miles in 10hours 29mins. You can also see the times we summited and the little stops we had.

I now use this app everyday the biggest disadvantage (apart from battery life – which to me is OKish)is that you cannot easily create a database of activity.

I kept the iPhone in an Aquapac case to stop water damage & also took a TeckNeti EP387 7000mAh external battery pack with cable. (Total weight 368gm)

 

 

 

Fitbit

Fitbit data March 16th

As anyone knows both Sally and I are obsessed with this amazing device.

This gave a reading of 60,600 steps, 28.6 miles. 523 floors climbed (5230 feet in normal speak) and 5340 calories burned over about 12.5 hours .  So it agrees very closely to Moves.

 

 

 

 


GPS

Using Ascent OSX app we get the profile and speed as:Screenshot_22_03_2013_14_47

Screenshot_22_03_2013_14_45

This worked out we had walked 24.8 miles in a moving time of 8hr 45min (average speed 2.8mph) with an ascent of 5,579 feet. So the other devices had a pretty good correlation. So the Fitbit really does work :-)

All my photos of the days walk can be found here.

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