Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Cat Owners – Keep Your Windows


Time for something a little different on the blog, but I think it is worthwhile broadcasting to a wider audience.  If you are a cat owner, especially a young and small cat, read on.  I could save you from a great deal of heartache.

Gilbert and Sullivan.  They are both in there - trust me

Gilbert and Sullivan. They are both in there – trust me

To put it succinctly, tilt and turn windows (you know the ones, the have a handle which can turn into three positions.  One to close, two to open like a door and three to tilt open, leaving a small gap at the top), are a danger to cats.  Especially small and curious cats.  

How do I know this?

I found out the hard way a week ago when I returned home from work.

I had left a window open on tilt in the kitchen and one of my cats in the house in the morning.  There is no easy way to say this, but I found him trapped in the window and completely lifeless in the afternoon.  He had obviously got out that way and had got stuck coming back in, wedging his body in the small gap.  I won’t go into details, other than to say it was apparent that he had been there a long time.

My new shadows.  They followed me round the house

My new shadows. They followed me round the house

His name was Sullivan and it is no exaggeration to say that I miss him terribly.

I’m going to indulge myself (because I can) and give you his story.  I make no apologies for the sentimental nature of this blog post!

I adopted Gilbert and Sullivan from the Cats Protection League in January (they were named by the staff at the centre).  I had been thinking of getting a cat for a long time, and finally decided to take the plunge.  A visit to their rehoming centre ensued, and I went in to meet the cats.  It had been my intention to adopt only one, but these two caught my attention as soon as I saw them.

They were two gorgeous black cats – brothers – and were very close, so were to be homed together.  They were very nervous, not angry scratchy nervous like some cats can be, but run away and hide nervous, Sullivan much more so than his brother.  Gilbert, on being offered some chicken, decided that I wasn’t such a bad sort after all – at least until it had all gone!

In short they stole my heart.

So, I got them home and they spent the first couple of days on top of a kitchen unit.  Scaredy Cats!

It didn’t take long for Gilbert to settle, but Sullivan was a different cat altogether.  It took him over a week to feel safe enough to come down from his hiding place when I was in the house, and even then, he would scuttle back up there if I made any sudden movements, or even stood up from my sofa.

If I sat quietly in the room, the two cats would reward me by playing together, thundering round the house like a couple of hooligans!

Hooligans in Action

Hooligans in Action

Oh so gradually, he came to trust me.  A slow process indeed.  If I startled him in any way I would get hissed at and he would go back to his perch atop the cabinet.  My secret weapons came into play here – little fluffy balls of catnip (he would pick them up like a dog carrying a ball, and play with them until lost under the furniture) or a simple shoelace – he just couldn’t resist chasing it.

Gradually he allowed me to touch him and the penny seemed to finally drop a month or so ago.  The change in him was unbelievable, demanding attention, wanting to play (all the time) and enjoying neck and chin scratches.  He also seemed to garner great pleasure in chewing my fingers!  In the end, I would scratch him just below the tail, he would flop over and play with my hand when I tickled his tummy.  I had gone from being a scary monster to complete trust in just a few months, something that, especially in the early days, I though might never happen.

He was still a nervous wee thing, though, and anyone strange coming to the house, would see him make a quick exit to a hiding place, until they had gone.

Throughout all of this, both cats maintained a very close bond (although Sullivan did seem to have knack of irritating his brother, and would get a clout round the ear on a regular basis).  They would often sleep together, and Gilbert spent a lot of time grooming Sullivan.

They both have brought me a lot of joy in the short time that they have been with me, Sullivan especially – it was so rewarding seeing the total change in him.  He really was a character, as thick as mince, but a character nonetheless.

He died on Friday May the 23rd 2014, getting trapped in a tilt and turn window.

The hole he has left has been huge – the big consolation is I still have his brother, Gilbert, who is a delightful little cat, and a real character in his own right.

I would however, much rather still have them both.

If you are a cat owner, please, please, please never leave a window open on tilt.  You may just save their life!

Sullivan - sadly missed, but never forgotten

Sullivan – sadly missed, but never forgotten




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2013 in review



Goodbye 2013 – A few stats from the past year



The sun going down above Bishop Wilton


A very big thank you to all who have followed trailwalker since the very first post away back in 2010, the Borders Abbeys Way walked in glorious, but cold, February weather (an unusual occurence in Scotland – good weather!).

It’s amazing to think that in April the blog will celebrate its fourth birthday, and in that time I never thought that I would have over 200 people following (quite possibly unintentionally…but still).  In that time we have blogged around 700 miles of trails (that’s going by official distances and not counting diversions, getting lost and finding campsites/accommodation etc).  I dread to think how much beer has been consumed in those 700 miles!

I still have one last trail from 2013 to blog – the 80 mile Westmorland Way from back in October (oops – really must get round to it) which will hopefully arrive in the new year (it will…honest guv).

Once again, thanks for reading.  I hope you all have had a very merry christmas and have a phenomenal new year.  Here’s to 2014 and plenty more miles under the feet.  Any suggestions for the site would be gratefully received

Happy Hiking 2014 from Trailwalker!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,700 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I’ve not posted on here on a while, but a quick note to mention my walk on Offa’s Dyke starting tomorrow (15th June).

Hopefully a full report will be forthcoming, assuming I manage to stagger my way to the finish in 13 days time!

I’m also doing the walk as a sponsored event for the Kirkintilloch Band, details of which can be found at http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/kirkielondonfund

Thanks for reading and see you at the end!

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It doesn’t seem that long ago, the day I stepped off on the North Downs Way on my first ever days trailwalk.  Over seven years later and 10 trails completed, it seemed like  a good idea to revisit some of them with a potted photographic history.  Having had a guddle around on You Tube got me thinking, why not cobble together a slideshow of some of my favourite photos of these walks.

I don’t profess to being a fantastic photographer, (thankfully there has been some improvement over the years), but these pictures are more a visual record of what has passed.  More importantly they jog the memory of these walks, recalling sights and sounds otherwise long forgotten (although passing the naked rambler and his girlfriend on Hadrians Wall will never be forgotten!) and providing some inspiration and anticipation for what is to come.

The slideshow is somewhat experimental and is the first time I have tried something like this with iPhoto.  It didn’t work out quite how I expected, but it seems to have turned out reasonably well.

Included are photos (in order) from:

North Downs Way
Hadrians Wall
South Downs Way
Borders Abbeys Way
Dales Way
St Cuthberts Way


the Cumbria Way.

Hope you enjoy!

Walking 2004-2011-Large.m4v

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It was a fine day in South Lanarkshire after the snow and chaos of yesterday.  By and large the region missed out on the road chaos that was occurring just a few miles North in the central belt with the roads relatively clear.

Looking back down the Carnwath road

The scenery was what can only be described as achingly beautiful, especially when some freezing fog was beginning to form in the low-lying areas with the sun lighting the snow filled trees perfectly.

The crow just happened to fly across as I took the picture

In the garden (unfortunately no photos) the Chaffinches were having a convention with no less than twelve attacking the fat balls and feeder along with some Starlings, Blue Tits and a couple of Rooks.  Hopefully a little helping hand with the day temperature hitting -10ºC

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Hello world!

First post.

Hopefully this will become a record of all long distance trails walked by me.  The first is the Dales Way which, hopefully, I should start working on shortly!

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