Thursday, December 22, 2011

Posting comments help.

Hi everyone.

I have been contacted about users being able to post comments on the blog pages; apparently quite a few have tried and nothing appears!

How to do it:

1. Post your comment in the comment box at the bottom of the page you wish to discuss.
2. Select your profile in the "comment as" drop down box immediately below the comment box. IE Anonymous etc.
3. Next select the publish button. This will refresh the page and normally send you back to the top.
4. Scroll down the page to the comment box and you will see a preview box and a word verification code, for security and to prevent spamming, insert the code an select publish.

Hey Presto and your comment is published. It won't appear immediately as it has to be confirmed by myself or Matt but as long as it's not spam we'll OK it.

I hope this helps. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Asia Fantasia Part 4. Laid back Langkawi.

Sam from The Gecko showing off his fire breathing skills

Our flight with Air Asia from Singapore to Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia was smooth, quick and easy. Once again we passed through immigration and collected yet another Malaysian stamp in the passports before getting a taxi straight to The Gecko Guesthouse at Pantai Cenang (all the taxi prices were on fixed rates!). I had emailed ahead to inquire about accommodation and we got a half decent twin chalet with a fan and a usable bathroom (unlike the one at the hovel in Padang!) for a princely £12.00 per night or thereabouts. The Gecko was a cool place with a decent hang-out area and a bar. We liked it immediately.
As usual we dumped our packs in the room and went of to explore. We had a walk down the main street to check it out and a look at the lovely 2km long white sandy beach. Oh yes! That'll do nicely we decided :)
Langkawi is an unusual spot; it has a very laid back feel to it, almost a Caribbean vibe and the locals are as chilled as you can get. Expect to hear the constant humming of Reggae beats everywhere you go if you ever get the chance to visit.
It is a stunningly beautiful place too with long ridges of Karst-like mountains and a lush green interior. Fortunately for us it was also designated a duty-free district by the Malaysian Government in 1986 and this meant that it was also a very cheap place to visit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Coming soon... :)

Bridge over The Daugava River. Riga, Latvia.

Hi folks.
I hope you have been enjoying my recent posts.
There are a few more to follow in the next week or so.
Asia Fantasia - Part three; should be the final one of that series.
A nice review of my short trip to Riga, Latvia over the weekend Including the Bobsledding! And quite a bit of Mountain Biking stuff - Trails & Tribulations - to write about, oh and a couple of Peak District hikes too. 
I'm also going to try and include a few genuine and honest product/hostel/travel reviews as well, hopefully some of you will find them useful.

Please try and support our charities for the Himalaya Quest if you can spare any change. Just £1/$1/Euro from every reader will add to up to a lot of money! You can use the "Please Sponsor Us" link boxes at the top of the page.

Don't forget that you can follow our progress daily on Twitter here:!/HimalayaQuest

And also view additional stuff and photo's etc on our Facebook page here:  
Feel free to click the "Like" botton if you err... like it!

See you soon q:)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Asia Fantasia! Part 3 - Yeehaw Singapore.

Exchanging bodily fluids with The Merlion at Marina Bay, Singapore.

Singapore is a revelation. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in South-East Asia I’m sure and possibly even the world! Seamlessly efficient in every aspect. We passed through the airport with ease, changed some money, and purchased an electronic ticket for public transport system in no time at all. The only slight hitch came when I realised I’d left my copy of Lonely Planet at the Bureau de Change and had to march back to find it. Fortunately, with this being saccharine-sweet Singapore, the lady at the counter had put it to one side for me. It’s a city taken over by the Stepford Wives! :D
We took the MRT train to the Tanah Merah interchange and then another on the North East Line to Chinatown.
Chinatown rocks again! I love the Chinatown districts of Asia (I may have mentioned that previously). We followed the map to the first hostel from Lonely Planet and discovered it was closed down so we headed north to the next one; The Backpackers Cozy Corner at Bugis Junction. We got ourselves a twin room with aircon for S$50 (£25) per night. We then headed back into Chinatown for a meal at the People’s Park Complex food court. Very nice food at a couple of quid each and cheap Tiger Beer in big bottles for S$5.00. We caught the metro around town and had a look around Little India; which was pretty impressive with all the lights up in preparation for the Deepavali Festival.

Little India preparing for Deepavali

Asia Fantasia! Part 2 - Sumatra, Indonesia.

Even Winnie The Pooh likes Indonesia!

Our flight from KL to Padang, Indonesia was short and simple; in just less than an hour and we touched down in another new country.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Indonesia's immigration service which was slow and boring! We filled out the obligatory entry card and parted with $25.00 each for the stamp on our passports before queuing patiently at passport control.
It seemed odd, in a good way, to be the only westerners in the airport, but I did wonder why. I exchanged a few Dollars for Indonesian Rupiah in the terminal and inquired as to the simplest way into town before running the gauntlet outside the airport doors; where we were met with the usual throng of taxi and minibus drivers, not as manic or insistent as some parts of Asia though which was nice. And as we had already taken the advice of the nice lady inside it was just a matter of locating which bus to board for Padang  Town Centre (40,000IR each, about £3.30). They don't like travelling with a half full bus though and we waited a little over an hour for another incoming flight before getting underway. It's no big deal though, you get used to the easier pace of life in Asia and just go with the flow. A few minutes after sitting on the bus we were approached by a couple of giggling girls and fielded all the usual questions about where we were from, where we were going and where we had been, before they asked if we would mind having our photographs taken with them. "Sure, why not!" we laughed; and posed away while they snapped away! I wondered if they thought we were footballers or something? Or perhaps they had been reading my blog! Hahaha.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Asia Fantasia! Part 1 - Kuala Lumpur and beyond.

Glug, Glug, Glug.

Dan (my son) and I had enjoyed a really amazing trip to South East Asia at the beginning of the year taking in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia over a six week period. We experienced some amazing stuff (and not just culturally I can assure you! The partying was pretty outstanding, very much helped by some of the great friends we made along the way) including Halong Bay, The Cu Chi Tunnels, The Golden Standing Buddha, Toul Sleng Museum and The Killing Fields, The Temples of Angkor Wat; the list goes on and on really. Not to mention the Khao San Road (backpacker hub of the universe); The Songkran festival (and the partying that goes with it) in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and Koh Chang, Thailand, oh and the Scuba Diving too; along with attending the traditional Thai wedding of my dear friends Stumpy & Kitty which was truly a beautiful celebration and a memory I will cherish forever. I doubt I will ever top that trip; as much for what we experienced, but also the fact that I got to do it with Dan; that was very special for me. After getting home it took us both a while to get back to reality and we both moped around for a good few weeks until we gradually resumed normality.
I still had some annual holiday outstanding that would allow me to take another trip for twenty days and I decided to book a flight to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur (KL) and take it from there. As it turned out the best flights where to and from KL so I booked myself a seat with Emirates for the 27th of September flying out of Birmingham and returning on the 16th of October.

Monday, October 24, 2011

UK Bikers sign here! E-petition for increased access.

I saw this on someones Facebook page and nicked it because I like it! :)

This has been highlighted in this months Mountain Bike Rider Magazine and I think it's worth signing! A guy called Rob Sutherland created it and it requires 100,000 signatures for it to be debated in parliament, so please get signing! :) I reckon there are enough mountain bikers in the UK to make this possible.
Click on the link below to go straight to it.

Increased Access for Mountain Bikes

Responsible department: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Designating mountain bikes in the same category as horses is wrong and provides a barrier to the lawful pursuit of a healthy past-time. In many parts of the country there simply is not a legal network of trails open to cyclists, or too little to be meaningful. Cyclists should be allowed to use the footpath network to pursue the sport of mountain biking, this would help to promote activity amongst young people, especially as the roads become increasingly congested. Shared use of all paths and trails has been successful in Scotland and could be throughout the rest of the UK. It will spread the density of mountain bikers further reducing the potential for trail conflict and the (disputed) erosive impact of bikes on the trail surfaces. There are no costs involved (we don't need special gates or access) this is just a re designation exercise to make a bicycle an extension of a pedestrian on the footpath network (with the exception of roadside footways).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lots of photo's on Facebook!

Hi Everyone
I have uploaded a selection of photo's from our South East Asia trip on to the CTR page on Facebook, feel free to check them out and don't forget to "Like" the page if you... err... like it! :D Plus lots of other images on there from our other nonsense!
Click here for the images!
I've added a few on to the end of this post to give you a little taster :)
Lot's of regular updates on what we are up to on there too.

Don't forget we also update regularly on Twitter too, just click on the link on at the side of the main page or in the top right corner.
And feel free to sponsor the good causes we are supporting with The Himalaya Quest!

Pantai Tengah, Langkawi, Malaysia.
Danny & me posing with the smoking volcano that we weren't allowed to go up!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Return of the Langkawi Beach Bums.

Hi folks.
You'll be pleased to know that Danny and I have arrived home unscathed from our South East Asia trip; and with a few escapades under our belt and a few stories to tell too :) I'll try and blog something later this week when I recover from the jet-lag. Door to door it's taken us 26 hours to get home from Langkawi Island, Malaysia and we are knackered! Plenty of cool photo's to share with you all if nothing else.

I also forgot to mention, before we went away, that I have now posted an introductory blog-post to the OceanRidge website. Please feel free to check it out here
Thanks to Chris and Euan for the opportunity to spread the word.

On the good news front Dan Thompson has confirmed his offer to supply us with Rab Jackets and Sleeping bags for the Himalaya Quest which will save us a lot of money each and means we can concentrate on other stuff. Thanks Dan :)

Please try and sponsor our worthwhile causes for The Himalaya Quest if can afford to. Just £1, $1 etc from every reader will make a huge difference to kids that are supported by Rainbows and Whizz Kidz.
And remember that you can follow our regular updates on facebook and twitter if you want to.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Hope Valley Challenge 2011.

Checkpoint Charlie. Registration Desk at Hope Valley College.

What a day!

Number of slices of cake consumed = 6 (Plus a slice of Malt Loaf and a Banana)
Number of drinks of pop = Lost count
Number of punishing climbs = 8
Number of punishing climbs ridden all the way up = Not many!
Number of fast, dangerous, whooping descents! = Loads :)
Number of 'over the handlebars' incidents = 1
Number of portions of soup and bread roll's consumed at the end = 2
Number of Mitchell's minging farts on the way home = At least 53!
Number of gas-masks required for Mitch's farts on the way home = 1

The sun shone, the trails were dry and everyone had a smile as wide as The Vale of Edale at the end! Read on...

Friday, September 23, 2011

And then there was even more!


Following from my last post I had a long talked about fishing trip planned with one of my oldest and best friends, Paul 'Pip' Truscott. We had been, kind of, arranging this for a couple of years.
Pip and I are both members of a long established and well respected organisation called The British Carp Study Group (BCSG); it takes quite a lot to be accepted as a member and it is something we are both very proud of.
The group has it's own complex of waters in the very beautiful Colne Valley in Hertfordshire very close to London and I am lucky enough to have a membership for it. Pip can fish it for 4 days a year as a guest.
We work opposing shift patterns so Pip had booked a few days off work to allow us to go together for a social trip. I can fish it anytime so I arrived early on the Sunday morning to check it out and to find how it was fishing from anyone who might be there. Pip, as a guest, wasn't allowed to fish until midday on Monday but had planned to come down on Sunday afternoon and camp for the night.
It was slow according my mate Pete who was set up on "The Point" swim. One other guy was fishing further around the lake in "The Roundabout" swim. Neither had caught any Carp.
With a good south-westerly wind forecast I decided to set up in an area I knew well called "The Winter" swim. I baited a couple of spots and then waited for Pip to ring me before meeting him at The Village cafe in Harefield, a couple of miles away. The day was quiet and we enjoyed chatting and winding each other up as usual.
05.45am Monday morning and my left-hand bite alarm was singing it's wondrous song as a fish tore off in to distance; I shot out of my tent, picked up the rod and set the hook with a firm strike.
This was clearly a big fish and we battled for about 15 minutes until I managed to draw it into my landing net. I had a quick look at it in the half light of dawn and realised that it was a very big fish.
I left it resting in the net whilst I sorted out the weighing gear and camera etc. On the scales it pulled the dial around to 36lbs 2oz (16.3kg) and was a fish known as "The Half Linear" due to it's scaling pattern; I carefully placed it into a special retaining sack in the water and recast the rod. 45 minutes later and the other rod is away (I usually fish with 2 rods), Pip heard the bite alarm and came wandering down just as the fish was ready for netting. "Have you got one?" he asked. "Sort of" I replied; "I've got two". Pip took a look into the landing net and proclaimed it a big 'un! (In language I can't really print here in case children are reading).
He lifted the scales and read out a weight of 37lbs 12oz (17.1kg) and was another well known fish by the unusual name of "Codzilla"!
That's the biggest brace of Carp I've ever caught in an hour in England!. We photograph it and returned it to the water before doing the same with the one I had retained earlier.
The fish known as "Codzilla" at 37lbs 12oz from Korda Lake, Hertfordshire.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where does the time go?... Where was I?

Where was I?... Oh yes the bank holiday weekend.
For a change the bank holiday weekend had actually fallen on my days off ; which I think was the first time this year! Friday-Monday off work meant that I would be able to do something cool with friends.
Mid-week prior I had managed to hit one of my swimming targets, which was 2 miles (3.2km) in the pool and I was really pleased about that because I had to dig deep, and fight off cramp for the last 20 lengths or so, to achieve it. I followed this up with another hour and a half in the pool with Dave on the Saturday morning; and Dave, being Dave, forces the pace and makes me work much harder than I really want to!
Sunday morning I had arranged to meet some old workmates, Paul, Nelson and Stenno, at the McDonalds at Branston around 08.00am; before heading off to Cannock Chase for a friendly burn around The Chase Trails on the mountain bikes. I've spent a fair bit of time at Cannock this year but the trails are so good now that I don't really tire of them. We've also been shown a few "local" additions by our mate Mark Bishton (Captain Slow) which adds a bit of distance and variety to the rides.
So with a quick Latte for me and a bit of breakfast for the guys we headed off towards Rugeley and the trails.
I like riding with these guys, it's nice to catch up and there's always a bit of banter along the way. They all have young families too and don't get to ride as often as I do, which is a shame, but because of that they are always enthusiastic and the ride is always enjoyable. And someone usually falls off (usually me!) just to add to the merriment :)
A quick change in the car park and one last smoke for Nelson, which I'm sure he regretted later, and we hit the trails with bravado!
Paul (looking fresh), Nelson (clearly regretting that last cigarette) and Stenno (looking...well?...Knackered!)

Where does the time go?

Where does the time go indeed?! I could do with an extra day in every week. I've had a busy old month or so since my last blog post, not all of it exciting though; but then quite a lot of it has been fun too!
I continued to run and swim, for a couple of weeks, along with my regular mountain bike forays to trail centres and national parks; although I've just had a couple of weeks rest from the swimming and running because I was having a few aches in my dodgy leg and a long-standing problem with my right shoulder (rotator cuff) has been playing up a bit too. Sometimes you have to listen to what your body is telling you and ease off a bit (especially at my age! Hahaha). It's been nice to have rest, I much prefer to be feckless, irresponsible and lazy if I can get away with it!
Silly Sally & Anita the Man-eater glamming it up at The V Festival
My less than lady-like friend Anita Barley wanted to go to The V-Festival at Weston Park and convinced me that spending £100 for a one day pass was a good idea, and as it turned out it was a pretty good idea. So along with Anita and I went her son, Callum, his girlfriend Sian, and our friend Sally and we met another friend of mine, Sue Schmoo, when we got there; Sue had a weekend pass the lucky devil. Me and 3 hot chicks, bonus! :) Unfortunately I had to leave early to get to bed for a 04.30am start for work the next day and had to miss the late evening Danny Byrd set. We saw sets from Fun Loving Criminals, Wretch 32, Aloe Blacc, Cast, Example, Tinie Tempah, Morcheeba and a few others, we got soaked in beer a few times and ate extraordinarily expensive Chicken Noodles in a day full of glorious sunshine. So glorious in fact that it was a veritable 'Hotpants-Heaven' everywhere you looked; why even when matched with fancy festival wellingtons it was a good look for most. I even woke with a perfect 'Goggle-Tan' the following morning from wearing my sunglasses all day, that'll teach me for posing!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New page added! :)

Sorry I've been away for a while folks, I've had a busy old time but I'll be adding a couple of new blog posts very soon, plus one for the Oceanridge site too.
In the mean time I've added a new page for your (hopefully) enjoyment. It's an old tale I wrote a couple of years back but I thought it might be worth sharing again on here. Click the link below or use the button on the toolbar at the top of the screen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sponsor announcement: OceanRidge

Chris Port and Euan Moir from OceanRidge have been in touch and have generously offered to help us out.
I met Euan at the Cliffhanger Festival in Sheffield a few weeks ago and spent a bit of time chatting to him about what they were doing as a company and about what we are going to do in The Himalaya. Amazingly Euan remembered our chat (from what must have been loads he had that weekend!) and Chris emailed me via Facebook a few days ago and made the offer of assistance. He has also very kindly offered me a section in their blogging pages too, so you will be able to read more of my nonsense on there soon! How lovely for you! :D I've also got to start video blogging some stuff for their YouTube channel too.
These guys are developing some really cool stuff and the OceanRidge brand will be a household name in the marketplace before very long. Feel free to check out their pages and view the kind of stuff that they are up to here:

Euan manning the OceanRidge stand at The Cliffhanger.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Running The Gauntlet!

Daim cake. Quality nosh :)
It's seems like ages since I sat down and wrote a new post. (Indeed it is ages now I've just checked the date of the last one) I'll bet most of you are glad about that, not having to sit through another Cottam'esque epic-ramble-about-nonsense! :D
I've been Running The Gauntlet in all kinds of ways in the last couple of weeks; it's an exciting life this blogging malarkey.
Since the last proper post a few things have moved on a bit, we've now joined the Twitterati as @HimalayaQuest as you may have seen on the blog; I've completely changed the route of my regular 10k run after some lovely free advice from the guys at Torq Fitness and Ikea have stopped selling Daim Cake! (It's an outrage! Luckily Sainbury's and Tesco's sell it too so that's a relief for sure, phew!) :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sponsor announcement. Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.

I'm very pleased to announce that Dan Thompson of Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd has kindly offered to help us out with some of their gear.
Equip own prestigious outdoor brands Rab, Podsacs, Lowe Alpine, Outdoor Designs and Integral Designs.
I have added a sponsors page here for anyone wishing to view it with links to all the brands.

Please don't forget to sponsor us for our charities from the links at the side of this page.

You can follow our progress on Twitter @HimalayaQuest by clicking on the icon at the top right of the page and you can see more of our antics and photographs on our Facebook page from the link also on the right of this page.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tweet Tweet! Twitterati.

Tweet Tweet A Woo!

You can follow Chase The Rainbow on Twitter @HimalayaQuest

For bang-up-to-date nonsense please follow!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alas poor Seigfreid, I knew him not well.

Blimey, I don't where to start. I've been a very busy boy these last few days.
I know, I'll start at the beginning; if I can remember it! I can't even remember where I left off last time.
I'm very pleased with the "Please sponsor us" buttons that Matt added last week; I'll be even more pleased if someone ever uses them :D
Where was I... Yes, Friday. I was late finishing work on Friday which was a bit of a bummer really because I had scheduled (In my mind) a 10k run, before going out on the town to get drunk and embarrass myself with my lovely friends Anita Barley and Krusty McBurton. "I'll just have to be a little bit late for our shenanigans" I told Anita on the phone. She gave me a stern telling off and told me in no uncertain terms not to do it again. She's a bossy madam that one.
And so to the run; I struggled a bit for the first couple of miles to get into my stride. I've had this problem since re-starting training, after to a long lay off due to debauched traveling around South-East Asia with my son Danny and my niggling injury which I may have mentioned in previous posts (Yeah yeah, we know. Enough already... OK don't get stroppy! :D).
South-East Asia; now there's a story that needs telling! Perhaps I'll leave that one for another day :D

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What a truly sad turn of events for the Norwegian people.

Having witnessed the events unfolding in Oslo yesterday, in the UK media, I am left aghast and speechless.
I was very fortunate to visit Oslo last year; and a more beautiful and welcoming people it is hard to imagine. It is one of my outstanding travel memories.
The Vigeland Park, The Edvard Munch Museum, The Fram Museum, The National Gallery, The Viking Ship Museum, The Nobel Peace Centre, The view from the Opera House and many more wonderful attractions all done with Norway's understated charm; the list is a long and glorious one. Oslo is one of the most outstandingly beautiful cities in the world and the Norwegian people are some of the most relaxed and charming people I have had the pleasure to experience. I thank you for the cherished memories.
I cannot begin to imagine the pain you are suffering. You have my most sincere and heartfelt condolences.
Love to you all from the guys at Chase The Rainbow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More fireworks required please! :)

I’ve had another busy week blissfully wandering through my bubble of a life. If only work didn’t get in the way, it would be a truly harmonious existence. Internet stuff has seemingly sucked up much of my precious life since this embryo of an adventure started to take shape. This blogging malarkey can be very time consuming and along with my butterfly-esque social life I have almost no time at all for sleeping!

Matt has now added JustGiving buttons in the  'Please sponsor us' box on the right, so that all you lovely people can make very kind donations to our chosen charities; Rainbows Hospice and Whizz Kidz. Please consider splitting your donations between the two charities if you don’t have a personal preference. Unfortunately it isn’t possible to have a dual page and so they are both done individually. Sorry about that. Anyone wishing to donate to Wilco’s cause can contact him direct on

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fame at last! Ugly mugs appear in local newspapers.

My thanks to Paul lynch of The Ripley & Heanor News and The Belper News for featuring The Himalaya Quest 2012 in this weeks editions, although I'm not sure about the bit that says I'm super-fit! Hopefully I'll be just about fit enough to complete the challenges by next February :D I like being called an action man though, unless he was referring to me being not very tall and that I actually resemble a child's toy in which case... Hahaha :)
Robert Butt is mentioned as being one of the participants unfortunately Robert had to decline due to work circumstances, which was a shame because he would have been a great addition to the gang.

Yesterday was a blast, I went down to Cannock Chase in the National Forest and with The Milky Bar Kid - Leigh Townsend - and did a full circuit of The Follow The Dog Trail and The Monkey Trail followed by a second circuit of 'The Dog' just for good measure, about 22 or 23 miles of good riding. We set a decent pace all the way around and I only fell off once and Leigh twice, which is a good result for us! Leigh was pleased to set himself a new personal best time on the first circuit at 2 hours 7 minutes which is pretty respectable for a man who shamelessly enjoys lots of beer and kebabs; although we don't go out with the intention of timing our runs it's nice to know how you are progressing. The trails at Cannock are a credit to The Forestry Commission and the local trail pixies, who have done a wicked job over the years establishing and improving the rides. The 2 interlinked trails offer sustained singeltrack pretty much all the way and have several fast and exhilarating downhill sections that are so much fun that you come out at the bottom smiling and whooping! We are regular visitors and love spending a bit of time down there. It's very good training too. The on-site bike shop (Swinnertons Cycles) at Birches Valley is well worth a visit, they even have a bike wash area, and the cafe pulls it out of the bag too with great food and drinks.
There's even a decent 'Go Ape' if you fancy hanging around in the trees for a few hours, the zip-line is great fun.

Some good news to follow soon, hopefully, with a possible sponsor announcement.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The 5 Musketeers have a few up's and down's.

Once upon a time in Derbyshire, England...

 Well! What an epic day I've had today. Are you sitting comfortably children? Then I'll begin.
Yesterday, after an especially busy morning, I gayly trotted up to England's finest National Park (The Peak District) taking in the scenic route across Beeley Moor just to make it all the more rewarding. I arrived in Hathersage about 4.00pm, and thinking that my riding buddy Mark Franklin would still be still be out and about plundering the peaks finest descents, I called in at the Outside store for a coffee and a look at all the shiny wonders in their lovely shop. Why I even treated myself to a splendid new tee-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "Optimism can take you anywhere"; and if I do say so myself I look particularly dandy in it. Oh yes indeed.
Feeling rather pleased with myself I then detoured around to the crags of Stanage Edge and Upper Burbage to see if it might be worth and hour or two's climbing later in the evening. Unfortunately the sun was shining and the car parks were full so I trundled down to the Hardhurst Farm Campsite near Hope; to set up home for the night and to meet Mark. With the formalities dealt with we headed to the nearby Travellers Rest for a couple of beers and some trail fuel. Mark had a delicious looking Chicken Tagliatelle with Blue Cheese Sauce and I opted for the Home Made Lasagne and Salad; well eventually I did, because I kept getting distracted by the very attractive bar-lady and kept forgetting what I wanted. It's just a shame she didn't seem so distracted by me! I should have worn my new tee-shirt that would have turned her head let me tell you.
We spent the evening talking nonsense as only blokes can do, especially when helped along by a couple of flagons of fine ale, before turning in for a restful night under the stars. The local sheep however had other ideas and decided amongst themselves to hold in impromptu, and most likely illegal, Rave Party in the adjacent field. I'm pretty sure they were drunk too and were having a jolly good giggle at our expense. That will teach then for eating our kids I'll bet they were thinking! The Rascals.
What with me snoring away in the next tent poor old Mark must have had a terrible night.
Dawn came and went, (lovely girl) and news filtered through from the rest of the gang; Mitch Bryan was definitely coming and  Mark Bishton and his mate Charlie were going to be a bit late. We were prepared for this though because Bishy is always late.

To avoid any confusion with the two Marks, Mark Bishton shall henceforth be referred to as either Bishy, Captain Slow or simply The Captain as whichever is my wont.
With the team assembled, a mere 45 minutes late, we forged gung-ho out of the campsite. Mark Franklin had devised us a devilish route for the day and we'd be damned if we didn't succeed.
The only obvious 'spanners in the works' to this audacious plan were twofold; I hadn't had a proper ride in anger for months due to extended holidaying and a niggling leg injury and Charlie hadn't ridden since last August due to an interesting 6 month stay in West Hollywood, California; generally cavorting and partying for the whole period, and had only arrived back in the UK a few days ago. Such trivial banalities weren't about to dent our enthusiasm though.
The climb up Win Hill was merciless and no kind of a warm up I can tell you. Charlie and I even laboured behind Captain Slow and that really is pathetic. The reward for this purgatory is one of The Peaks' classic descents; The Beast. A rocky, loose and fast blast down through dense woodland. On the way down this triumph of nature I managed to park my bike in a dead stop against a gigantically large pebble, and flew gracefully over the handlebars. Taking a quick look around I realised nobody has spotted this so decided that discretion was the better part of valor and kept my mouth firmly shut, omitting to mention it to boys waiting at the bottom. The Captain wasn't so lucky :D. Mitch, Mark and I waited for an eternity for Charlie and The Captain to appear and when some time later The Captain trundled shakily around the bend our giggling began. Battered, bloodied and bruised; The Captain sheepishly told us of his spectacular ejection from his bike. Sympathy not being one of our more gentlemanly traits we amused ourselves for ages at his expense.
Immediately following this hard but heavenly descent is another punishing climb; up the opposite side of the valley past Hagg Farm. Once at the top the going gets a little easier for a while by traversing the ridge across to a very fast (Mark clocked 41mph) fire-road descent down to Fairholmes Visitor Centre at the top end of Ladybower Reservoir. Several miles then skirt around the banks of Derwent Water and Howden Reservoir up to the Slippery Stones bridge. Then the fun begins again.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Different strokes.

Well if yesterday turned out nice today turned out to be completely different to what I anticipated.
I had been considering a night on the town last night and a hangover today, along with a trip to the local swimming baths to blow off the cobwebs. However; Danny, my son, had other ideas and called me yesterday to see if I would pick him up from a rave in Birmingham at 05.30am this morning. Being the fool that I am, I agreed! I'll never learn :D
And so it was at 04.00am this morning that I dragged my weary bones out of bed, had my usual bowl of cereal/raisins and some fruit juice for breakfast and headed out the door for the hour long drive to Brum.
A quick call in at the (Markeaton) McDonalds Drive-Thru for a Latte should liven me up thinks I and so it did, eventually. However... (there's a few of those today!) I was beaten to the line by a considerable lady in a 4x4, who proceeded to dilly and dally over the menu for an eternity; I wondered if she was considering whether to have all of the menu or just some of it, but judging by the bag she was handed through the kiosk window I think she went for all of it just in case. And this is at 04.45am on a Sunday morning! By the time I received my much needed caffeine boost a mere 15 minutes had passed, 15 minutes I ask you! 15 minutes is a long time twiddling your thumbs at 04.45am on a Sunday Morning :D The queue of cars behind me had reached a biblical 9 by this stage, I wondered what they were all making of it. Not much I should imagine.
Anyhows nothing else of note occurred and I arrived back home at about 07.15am. By 08.30 I was back out the door and burning around the local bridleways on my beloved Mountain Bike (Pegasus; because it's like a flying horse!) and taking the scenic route to the swimming baths in Ripley.
I whizzed into the car park, propped Pegasus by the bicycle racks and pulled out my lock. However...(Told you!) I couldn't get the key into the hole and after stubbornly making a number of attempts I drew the conclusion that I may have brought the wrong key. I'm having a bit of trouble with keys this week.
So, putting on my best forlorn face and explaining about my complete lack of any discernible intelligence, I politely asked the young lady behind the counter if I might be permitted to leave Pegasus in the foyer? Hmm... after a brief consultation with the manager it was agreed I could leave it in the kitchen area out of the way. Marvelous. I skipped happily into the changing area and then plunged headlong into the busy pool.
About 10 lengths later I got a twinge of cramp in my left calf, bloody buggery bugger. I pulled up, massaged it for a while and decided to spend 20 minutes or so doing the walking exercise that Dave has been trying, it turns out it's pretty effective too; although I did get a few strange looks from some of the other swimmers.
Feels OK now thinks I, so I swim some more. 5 1/2 lengths later the right calf knots into a proper spasm and I lunge for the edge of the pool before I drown and try not to cry like a little girl. So that was the end of that.
Half a recovery shake and a latte in the foyer and I'm off on my trusty steed once more. Yay :)
A fast blast down the Greenway, a loop of the reservoir, and a few road miles to the fishing tackle shop in Somercotes to drink free tea for a short while. Another fast blast down Somercotes Hill and into Riddings Park for a few laps of the new BMX track with the kids. It's time I grew up someone said to me recently; not while I'm having this much fun I won't! Yet another fast blast down into Golden Valley and along Stone Row to the Cromford Canal. Down the towpath, round the reservoir and back onto the towpath once more. A call in at my mate Neil Truscott's house for more free tea (I like tea) and a refill for my water bottle and I'm off again, up Monument Lane onto the bridleway, past said monument and away towards Aldecar. Half way along I bump into another friend, John Brooks, and we chat briefly before I zoom off down a likely looking track; very steep, very long and very fun. At the bottom it turns in the wrong direction and I have to crawl all the way back to the top. it was worth it though :) Whee! Back on track, down through Langley Mill, along the Erewash Canal towpath and up the long climb from Shipley Boat. I find a way, cough, into the old American Adventure theme park and play around on the stair-sets and drop-offs for a while having loads of fun before lapping the lake and climbing up through the woods in Shipley Country Park. By this time I'm starving having eaten precisely nothing at all since 04.00am. Malnutrition was setting in. I think about calling in at the Visitor Centre for something to eat because by this time I'm fading fast and in danger of never making the last 5 or 6 miles home due to imminent starvation.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Turned out nice in the end! :)

A lovely day for it I'd say, whatever it is you're doing.
Me? Finished my last night shift at 06.00am, stayed in bed way longer than I meant too and dragged my fuzzy head into the world at the crack of 12.30pm. Spent a pleasant hour at my parents showing my mum how to do simple tasks on the internet for the umpteenth time this week/month/year/lifetime and then called in at Planet Carp in Nottingham and whiled away an hour or two talking nonsense, fishing and holidays. As it happened an old friend of mine, Jim Russell, was in there too; which made it all the more enjoyable.
Called in at my mate Mad Dave Martin's house (he really is mad as a rattlesnake) on the way home and chewed the cud in the 'Man Shed' there for a while before leaving with a great big bundle of home grown salad for me tea :) Cheers Dave.

As for my exercise regime? Nothing for a couple of days, you naughty boy, due to some muscle soreness after my last run (and a couple of 12 hour night-shifts).
Tonight however I almost excelled myself. Set off for a run down the lanes around Kilburn and Horsley but pulled up a couple of times because of some tightness in my left thigh, and massaged the muscle. I reckon I must over-compensating a little for the injury. I also nearly ran into a lamp-post whilst admiring a vision of blonde loveliness in the beer garden at the Coach & Horses.
I got my first shout today from and old school friend, Craig Weston, who was filling up his car as I passed the petrol station at Lower Kilburn. And then to top it all off with the proverbial cherry I was almost overcome with joy as the heavenly scent of cow manure drifted wantonly on the Summer breeze, as I hot-footed it up the Pit Fields and back to home. 7k give or take.
Plenty of stretching and a delicious 'For Goodness Shakes' Banana Recovery Drink and here we are. They are delicious too, I don't know how I never discovered them before; I bought 5 Banana and 5 Superberry flavoured ones from the Rat Race stand at Cliffhanger last weekend because they were on special offer. Man what a result that was, £1.00 each no less and worth every penny. If you are out there training give them a try you'll be impressed. I'll definitely be buying me some more of those!

If I can I'll drag myself to the pool tomorrow at the ungodly hour of 09.00am ("On a Sunday"? I hear you roar!), then do as many lengths as I can muster before packing my tent and heading off into the Peak District NP for a couple of days R&R with friends. Mountain Board? Check. Mountain Bike? Check, Rock Boots? Check. You'll do for me then.

Wilco got in touch to say he has an interview with a sporting website in Holland on Monday, which he hopes will get us a lot of publicity. Sounds good to me.
He also tells me that he is exercising at a rave in Holland tonight, with lots of beautiful girls. I must have heard him wrong.

Dave has been to the pool again and knocked out a nifty 40 lengths before doing his resistance, water-walking, exercises. That's about 10 more lengths than i can usually manage before being sick! :D Pretty impressive for a dude who takes pride in doing no exercise whatsoever, unless online gaming or fishing count?. Well done mate. I feel your pain.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WOW! 1000+ Views in less than a week :)

Wow, I really can't believe that the blog has received 1000+ views; in less than a week since launching!
Amazing. Thank You Everyone who has taken the time to look.

According to the stats there has been a lot of British and Dutch interest as you would expect really, but also from as far away as the USA and Alaska, Australia, Sweden, Chile, Italy, Germany, France etc

I wasn't going to blog today but I had to after seeing the stats counter go over 1000 :)
Anyway, day off for me today from training, legs are aching a bit too, so it's recovery time until tomorrow morning when I'm at the local Swimming Pool for a few lengths.
I must say I find Swimming the least enjoyable exercise that I do and it's also the toughest, I come away feeling really done-in but i know how good it is for me so I can live with a bit of boredom.
If only it were warm enough here in the UK to swim outside more often; then I would enjoy it a whole lot more!

Wilco Voulon and I have been in constant contact since he confirmed his place on the team for The Himalaya Quest, he has arranged several media appointments in Holland and has asked me to provide information for the articles. Sounds like we will be getting plenty of coverage over there, which will highlight what we are up to and bring in plenty of traffic for the charities. Well done mate :)

Justgiving links to both the UK charities and Wilco's chosen charity being put up on here very soon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

1st run out on my nearly good as new leg!

Popped out for a 5K run tonight to see how my leg holds up, it came through fine, it's just the rest of me that didn't, so I'll up it to 7K on the next one and then stepping up to 10K twice a week if everything stays good :) Strangely I ran the whole way with the song 'Puff the Magic Dragon' going round and round in my head, weird.
So if you see a wobbly forty-something huffing and puffing along in skin tight compression wear, singing along tunelessly to Puff the Magic Dragon, give me a honk and I'll exchange it for a friendly wave; if I can raise my arm up far enough between gulps.
Lost my spare key, out of my trainer, on the way round and had to climb the fence into my back garden, and then through a very lucky open window into the house. I meant to lock it too before I went out and forgot to do it. Phew!
I then pulled off my trainers whilst writing this up and magically found it in the opposite shoe! I think an application for The Magic Circle should be flying off forthwith.
Fortunately and perversely I actually enjoy running, although it doesn't seem half as much fun as yesterdays Slacklining session or the blast through the woods on my bike, or a session at the climbing wall for that matter. I might do more of those instead :D. Am I talking myself out of running???
Note to self: find better place to store door key when running.
If you see a wheezing thirty-something with dodgy knee's bobbing around in the pool at Ripley Leisure Centre give him a shout too, we need all the encouragement we can get; PLEASE.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Photo's done :)

Dave and I met the photographer from The Ripley & Heanor News today and had the photographs taken to go with the article. This weeks issue hopefully.

I've started increasing my training schedule, if you can count slacklining with Matt all day as training! :D
I have also been out on the bike though for a couple of short but high intensity sessions in my local woods.
My poorly leg is responding much better, now it's been rested for a few weeks, since falling off at Cannock Chase; and the free massage I got at Cliffhanger really seems to have helped too. You can't beat free stuff :)

Dave 'dodgy knee's' Slater is starting his sessions tomorrow with some Swimming followed by Water-Walking; which the Physio recommended to increase the muscle tissue around his knee and give it more support. Turns out it's a great aerobic exercise too which burns around 250 calories in half an hour while supporting the joints using the body's natural buoyancy. Bonus. (That's walking in water by the way, not on it!)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Third member of the team announced for The Himalaya Quest

I am very pleased about this. I can formally announce that the third member of the team for The Himalaya Quest is my very good friend Wilco Voulon from Zwolle in the Netherlands.

Wilco is a fantastic addition to the team, he has a great character and will inspire us all with his determination & fitness; and his sense of humour. (Just look at that tee-shirt. He made it himself too!)

He has a strong military back ground and is a fine athlete. He will be a tremendous asset to the team during the trek.
Wilco has travelled the world both during and after his military career (I first met him in France when he was on a fishing trip).
He is currently working with Autistic children teaching them sports and recreation; and is also training for a triathlon in his home country.
This also means that we have to really step up our training or we'll never keep up with him! Ouch :D

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bio's updated :)

Chase The Rainbow/Himalaya Quest February March 2012

Mount Everest Base Camp Trek.
In February and March 2012 Neil Cottam, David Slater, and hopefully one other person, all from Derbyshire, are undertaking a difficult and unsupported, late-winter trek to the Mount Everest Base Camp area in Nepal.
Flying in to Kathmandu at the start of February we will have a couple of days acclimatizing to the time difference and the altitude before catching a bus to Jiri. From here we will start the trek on to Lukla and through the region taking in such iconic places as Namche Bazaar before winding up at Gorak Shep. We will then ascend to the Kala Pattar viewpoint (5554m) to take in the sight of world famous Mount Everest summit pyramid (you know the one, the classic photo with the plume trailing away from the summit!). Hopefully the weather will be clear and we can experience a great moment.

Weather and time permitting we will then have an extra day's trekking to visit the Base camp itself, after which we will descend back to Lukla for a return flight to Kathmandu. We anticipate that the trek will take around 21 days, unless of course the passes are blocked with snow! :)
The other guys will then be returning to the UK, leaving me to prepare for "The Worlds Highest Mountain Bike Race", suitably acclimatized for the altitude I hope.

The Yak-Attack, The Highest Mountain Bike Race in the World

The Yak Attack Starts with registration at the Kathmandu Guesthouse on March 2nd.
Commencing on March 3rd the race is a 12 day, Eleven stage event over 400km with 11000m of ascent! (but what goes up must come down! Whee!) With stages ranging from 17km to 67km; unfortunately not all the terrain is rideable and I will be shouldering the bike and hiking up some very difficult sections of 11km or more :( Why am I doing this??? :D
Only 30 competitors are allowed to enter; 15 Nepalese riders and 15 International riders. Only 8 international riders have finished The Yak-Attack unsupported in 5 years. My goal is to finish it, preferably unsupported but just to finish it will do.
I have no illusions about winning this event because I won't. In fact it's unlikely that an international rider will ever win it. The altitude problem is a huge barrier.

We will be adding links for our chosen charities shortly and a Justgiving page for each one so that you can donate to our causes if you wish to. Please! :D

I will be blogging regularly on what we are up to and how our training is going before the event and hopefully during our time in Nepal too, that does depend on access to and reliability of the internet in Nepal though!
We will also be adding a Twitter microblog shortly as well.

Welcome to Chase the Rainbow :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cliffhanger festival, Sheffield this weekend.

Don't forget The Cliffhanger Festival this weekend, with something for everyone who likes outdoor adventure sports. Climbing, Mountain Biking, Kayaking, Slackline, Caving, Bushcraft, Tons of stuff!
The UKs Biggest Outdoor Show for Outdoor People.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Corporate support needed, please!

Himalaya Everest Base Camp Trek and Yak-Attack high altitude mountain bike race in aid of Rainbows Hospice and Whizz-kidz. February/March 2012
If anyone has any contacts or can help us with support for equipment please let me know.

Garnering media interest! :)

Just had a call from Paul Lynch at the Ripley & Heanor News for some information on the trip and to arrange a photograph. Little acorns and all that!

Hopefully I can get the Mountain Biking  and Outdoors press involved too to try and raise awareness.

Chase The Rainbow. Almost ready to launch!

Hi' I'm Neil Cottam and this is going to be a blog for my team mates and I to tell you all about Chase The Rainbow and the events we are and challenges we are undertaking in aid of worthwhile causes.

The page is a bit basic at the moment but we are working to get it something like ready for Friday 1st July.

Thanks to Webmaster Matt Haynes for his ongoing help with all the web stuff, I can't do it! :D
We will be adding links to Rainbows and Whizz-kidz plus a link for sponsorship and donations too. Please dig deep for such great causes.

I will launch with full details of our Quest and hopefully be able to confirm all the team members.
Currently I'm entered into the Yak-Attack High Altitude Mountain Bike Race from March 2nd 2012 to march 16th 2012, and I'm being joined on the Everest Base Camp Trek by Dave Slater and hopefully a couple of others (we really need 3 people for the trek) from a projected start date of 5th or 6th February 2012 for approximately 3 weeks! Hardcore winter conditions with a bit of luck! :D Hahaha.
My training program should start in earnest on July 1st but it might limp along for a bit because I'm currently limping along from a Mountain Bike accident at Cannock Chase a few weeks ago!

For anyone that's interested it's the Cliffhanger Festival in Sheffield this weekend (July 2nd/3rd)  Check it out loads of cool outdoors stuff going down including a few of my favourites; Mountain biking, Climbing, Slacklining, Fishing, Camping, etc.