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Archive for the ‘Travelling’

Another day, another geocaching event and my 500th find

August 07, 2010 @ 19:40 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, UK Trip 2010

Monday saw yet another geocaching event at the campsite, this one the Bun and Brew to Recover from the Post Mega Blues (GC28DDX). I started the day with 494 finds and had thought it would be fun to find 5 caches to bring me to 499 and make the Bun and Brew my 500th cache.

Naturally, this didn’t happen. Instead, Rob and I returned our kilts to the kilt store and then headed back to the campsite to go to the event. I met some more UK cachers and said farewell to some that I’d gotten to know over the last couple of days.

Heading out from the event, we went to the Leisure Centre next door to the Mega Scotland 2010 event location in Perth. The facility was pretty impressive with two waterslides that had sections that went outside the building, a giant pool part of which extended outside and had a curved section that had high-power water jets that sped the water along at high speed. Lots of people and lots of fun!

After the pool, we headed out to do a few more geocaches and I got behind the wheel for the first time in the UK. It didn’t take too long to get sort of used to driving on the left side of the road. The biggest obstacle to overcome was not finding the rear-view mirror where it should have been.

We found three geocaches before deciding to head back to the campground in Kinross, bringing me to 498 finds. After stopping at the Sainsbury’s in Kinross, we stopped to find a microcache at a nearby church (GC1WVG1) that we’d driven by a number of times during the last few days.

Finding the cache wasn’t terribly difficult and we bumped into one of the cachers from the campsite. When he heard that I now had 499 finds, he recommended a couple of geocaches not too far from the Sainsbury’s, so off we went.

My 500th geocache was Barts Road (GC2AF63), a geocache similar to my First Deacon of Golden Lake (GCW5JH) except with the added challenges of thorns and nettles. Logging the cache, we decided to do one more geocache – Welcome to Kinross (GC2AF5Q) – before heading back to the campground.

The Post-Mega Blues

August 06, 2010 @ 18:25 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, UK Trip 2010

image On the Sunday following the Mega Scotland 2010 event, Rob and I headed in to Edinburgh for some sight seeing. Driving to Edinburgh involved crossing the Forth Road Bridge (also Wikipedia), which parallels the Forth Railway Bridge. I visited the little town of North Queensferry, which is at the north end of the rail bridge, on my first trip to the UK, so it was interesting to see the area from a different perspective.

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and it’s steeped in history. The Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline and some many of the buildings are hundreds of years old.

After finding somewhere to park, we headed up to The Grassmarket and stopped in at Mamma’s American Pizza Co. for a most-excellent pizza. We then continued on our way and eventually found ourselves on High Street.

Stopping in at a few shops on High Street, we came across Royal Mile Whiskies.

We spent a bit of time in this store. I was trying to find a special bottle of whiskey on behalf of my dragonboat team and Rob was trying to find something to put in his brand new Clan MacKenzie mini-flask.

One of the salesmen spent quite a bit of time helping me find the right bottle, which included sampling a very good whiskey or two along the way. (Hey, I didn’t want to be rude!)

20100801-IMG_2847 Just as we were leaving, it started to rain.

We had been watching the rain approaching from the Firth of Forth, so we weren’t terribly surprised by this.

We continued up the street to the castle, stopping in to see how tartan cloth is actually woven, buy a few souvenirs and hide from the heavy rain.

Carrying on from there, we went to find the Crag & Tail (GCHXMH) geocache about halfway down the side of the hill the castle sits atop. Naturally, there were some nettles in the vicinity of the cache, but fortunately we avoided most of them.


We made our way back to the car and headed back towards our campsite in Kinross, just in time for yet another geocaching event, this time the Yorkshire Day, Away event cache (GC2B8N7), which was hosted by a number of geocachers from Yorkshire.

As with the other gatherings of geocachers at the campground, it was great getting to know some of the other UK cachers.

Mega events, mega sewers, and “Hey, what’s in your sporran?”

August 05, 2010 @ 15:53 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, UK Trip 2010

One of the reasons I decided to visit the UK this summer was to attend the Mega Scotland 2010 geocaching event (GC1XDQ0) in Perth, Scotland.

As I mentioned in my last post, we arrived at the campground much later than we had planned. After setting up our tent, we did manage to meet a few other geocachers attending the Mega and most of them were quite impressed with the fact that I had a) come all the way from Canada, and b) driven up from London.

On Saturday, we staggered out of bed and headed to the mega event location in Perth. It was in a large community centre that normally has a curling rink and indoor lawn bowling green in it. We checked in and picked up our swag and roamed around the venue checking things out.

The travel bug table was covered in weird and wonderful travel bugs and there were dozens of people madly writing down the TB numbers. Getting between them and the table was a bit like getting between a pack of hungry dogs and a rabbit – a serious undertaking.

We also checked out the various vendors who were selling everything from containers to geocoins and everything in between.

At some point we grabbed breakfast before heading out to pick up our kilts from the kilt store (more on this in a bit).


Lies, damned lies and traffic jams: Driving to Scotland

August 03, 2010 @ 13:43 By: gordon Category: Out and about, UK Trip 2010

So, my flight from Ottawa to England was uneventful (generally, the best type of flight) and I was even able to sleep a bit. and we arrived about half an hour ahead of schedule. Clearing immigration and customs was the least painless experience I’ve ever had and I was basically standing on the sidewalk within five to ten minutes of joining the queue. Even the baggage retrieval was fast.

I called Rob on my cellphone and he gave me a “talk-in” to where he was parked and we were on our way.

According to all the route planning thingies, the trip from Heathrow Airport to Perth, Scotland takes 7 hours and 10 minutes. The most charitable way we can describe their accuracy, based on our experience, is with the phrase “they lie”.


And so it begins…

July 29, 2010 @ 20:56 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Travelling, UK Trip 2010

…my UK 2010 trip, that is!

It’s been about five and half years since I was last in the UK. That was my “Gone to England for a Pint, Back on Sunday” trip that saw me take a long weekend to visit my friends Rob & Yuki. (You can see all the posts related to that trip in the UK Trip 2004 categ

I’ve been itching to get back to the UK for a couple of years now, so when I saw the Mega Scotland 2010 geocaching event in Perth on the geocaching.com website, I bit the bullet and signed up.

So now I’m sitting at Gate 14 at YOW waiting for the overnight flight to London. After clearing customs sometime tomorrow morning, I’m meeting up with Rob and we’re setting off on a 7-hour drive to Perth in Scotland. We’re planning on camping in Perthshire for a few days, doing some geocaching, and attending the mega event (of course!). After the event, we may walk a section of Hadrian’s Wall, or at least explore the some of the Roman forts along part of the Wall.

After that, who knows? Rob probably has to go back to work at some point, so I may spend a few days with them before heading off for parts unknown.

Something I’d like to do

March 25, 2010 @ 16:58 By: gordon Category: General, Travelling

I’ve been fighting The Cold That Won’t Die this week, which has consisted mainly of sitting at home coughing and sneezing, interspersed by the occasional bout of dizziness, and all accompanied by a malaise. (Actually, I did go to work for part of the day yesterday, but the experiment was not a great success and it ended with a strong suggestion that I should go home.)

Anyway, to pass the time I’ve been thinking about something I’d like to do this summer. Coincidentally, the other day my friend Rob wrote about a couple of things he’d like to do this summer  and I was surprised to see that it’s really not that different from something I’ve been thinking about for the last year or so: namely, walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall.


2009: The year in review (version 2.0)

January 08, 2010 @ 13:04 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General, Meta, Travelling

I’ve been working on a summary of 2009 for a while, but version 1.0 just did not come together the way I wanted, so I’ve abandoned it in favour of version 2.0.  Hopefully this one works out a bit better.

2009 was a busy year for me on a number of different fronts.


According to my calculations, I posted 116 entries to my blog in 2009.

The Great OC Transpo Bus Strike provided almost limitless things to write about and generated a lot of traffic for my blog.  I almost had a bunch of buttons with my anti-ATU logo made so that I could hand them out to people. Fortunately, the union more or less saw the light and returned to work just before they were legislated back by Parliament.

I wrote about dragon boating, chasing weather balloons (and here), Rogers’ decision to remove WPBS from their lineup and their subsequent decision to not remove it and celebrity deaths. Climbing, photography and the weather also featured among the things I wrote about.

Jayhaed Saadé The year ended with a couple of entries about the pirate radio station run by Jayhaed Saadé, a fourteen-year old spoiled brat in Greely. After being presented with not one, but two, cease-and-desist orders from Industry Canada, he pulled the plug on his illegal radio station, put the equipment into “third party storage” and posted an apology on his website. However, within a few days, he was back on the air and the apology was removed from his site. He’s back in the news as a result of being back on the air, but the media coverage is not as flattering and fellow amateur radio bloggers Bob and Darin have both written about him. (Bob is even quoted in the Ottawa Citizen on this matter.) Sooner or later, Industry Canada is going to confiscate the $80,000 worth of equipment and probably levy some pretty stiff fines, too.


When I think about the travelling I did in 2009, I find myself thinking about the trips I took for work. I went to Montreal in February for a couple of days to observe focus group testing and then headed straight to Toronto for the weekend to visit my relatives. During the summer, I headed up to the cottage a few times. October saw work take me to Sturgeon Falls, Sherbrooke, Halifax and Winnipeg. The first two were just before and after Thanksgiving, while the last two were in the same week. I was able to head to Halifax a couple of days early and had a great time visiting Peggy’s Cove while I was there. In early November, I ended up in northern New York state while chasing an amateur radio weather balloon. The last trip of the year was to Mississauga for Christmas with my relatives.


It was a busy year at work, too. My first survey report was release in February and I had a couple of other articles published, too. I also did a fair bit of travel, with the five trips I mentioned above. Most of the trips were to monitor telephone interviews for my survey – I was the person who was “monitoring this call for quality purposes”. (It’s not quite as creepy as it sounds.)


But 2009 wasn’t all work (even though it felt like that at times), I had some fun, too. I steered the Singapore Slings at three dragonboat festivals last summer and I’m looking forward to the upcoming season. I went climbing at the climbing gym about once a week and went climbing in the Gatineaus a few times, too.

I logged 55 geocaches in 2009 and went to two Go And Get ‘Em events. I hid my first geocache in about 3 years for the fall GAG.

April saw me replace my faithful 2002 Tracker with a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe. Up to then, I had been a dyed-in-the-wool GM owner, but with all the chaos in the North American auto industry, and the fact that the GM vehicle in the same class just didn’t compare, led me to stray from the flock and look at Hyundai. I don’t think I’ll be back any time soon.

ARRL Field Day 2009 was held at the end of June and the Manotick Amateur Radio Group set up a station at Long Island Marine. I headed down on Friday and operated one of the radios for most of the weekend. The weather was great and a good time was had by all.

I went to a couple of days of the Bluesfest last summer and saw KISS in concert for the first time. Though I wouldn’t classify myself as a die-hard KISS fan, I have to admit that the show was pretty impressive. I even posted a few pictures online, too.

Speaking of music, I also took part in Ring To The World, a biennial handbell festival that was held at Carleton University in June. I had the privilege of playing some amazing music conducted by some top-notch conductors, who just happened to have composed the pieces we were playing. Lots of fun and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Looking ahead to 2010

There are lots of things I’d like to do in 2010. I’ve already committed to steering for the Singapore Slings, which can’t come soon enough. Climbing in the Gatineaus (and elsewhere) more often is definitely on the list. It would be nice to do a little more geocaching. I got out golfing quite a few times last summer and I recently got a new set of hybrid irons, so I’m really looking forward to get out more often in the upcoming year.

I’ve been wanting to visit my friends Rob and Yuki in the UK for a couple of years now. There’s a geocaching mega-event being held in Scotland at the end of July, so I might just combine the two and visit them in Cambridge before going to the mega-event. Time will tell… 🙂

So, what are you looking forward to in 2010?