Peaky Blinders!


Good morning folks

I trust this finds you in outstanding form.
Here is your weekly round-up of goings-on, temporarily in Blighty!
A cracking week, busy as a busy bee, all good stuff.


It has been an emotional week, I’ve been on my own for a chunk of it, so a lot of reflection has been going on. England (especially the Lake District and Yorkshire) is a very, very beautiful place. I love it here and already have that sinking see-saw feeling that our jollies are halfway through.


Coming back here makes it harder to go back to Lima.
I absolutely love my job in Peru, and that along with my colleagues/mates, is the only reason for going back. The city of Lima drives me up the wall, I’ll be honest, it is chaos redefined and sadly it probably always will be, nothing in my power (or anybody else’s) will change that.
When I come back here, to fresh air, P&Q, unrationed tea, my family, my mates (and despite my 38 house moves), this is essentially my home.

What if my dream of a move to the fabled city of Arequipa never materialises?
How long can i keep sane in Lima?

It will be hard to get back on that plane in 2 weeks time, and not only because my bags will be overloaded with Yorkshire Gold tea and Daddies Sauce :-)
As I said, it’s been a reflective week.

This is the Monday morning blog for you…


I love Leeds!


It is a city I moved to when I was 20 and in my numerous house moves, Leeds was a major part of my life as a young man, (now I am a reminiscing 46 year old!)

We first moved to Yorkshire from Cumbria in 1987, to sunny Tadcaster which is almost slap-bang in the middle of Leeds and York. York is a very beautiful city, but something about Leeds draws me there a bit more.


On my Blighty trip last year, I was amazed to see how much Leeds had changed.

Millgarth cop shop has gone to be replaced by the swanky John Lewis. This time it just looks much more modern, especially places down by the market (and I used to work in a bookies down by the market years back and some parts were a bit of a dump, not any more!)

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I took the ladies into “town” on Monday to change some readies (Soles to Dollars to Pounds) and for a bit of shopping (and still have the terrible “oh the guilt, the guilt” feeling!)


Resisted the urge between the Casa de Cambio and the bank…

The Nipper was most impressed with/terrified by the dinosaur in the Trinity centre :-)

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On top of that, Leeds United won 4:1  MOT :-)

Alpkit :-)

I popped down the M1 to visit my mates at HQ.
Alpkit are a great company who I am proud to be associated with, (even if it is just doing a bit of writing for them now and again, I do love them!)

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Alpkit have grown and grown and grown, from a small mail order company operating out of Ilkeston, to a much, much bigger organisation with an on-site factory, two stores and a massive range of products.

I had a good old chat with Nick, Ben and Col. It was a great morning and of course I headed home with some AK goodies :-)


Check out their website at ALPKIT.COM

Rock + Run :-)

Another company I love is ROCK+RUN.


Rock + Run were pioneers in the climbing/running industry.
I won a t-shirt in the 1985 Loughrigg fell race (which still fits me, I was a lanky youth!)
Basically I am a gear freak. R+R sell some awesome kit and have some brilliant deals.

I popped in for a cuppa and a chat with Greg and Andy and the the team, always good to catch up and of course, temptation got the better of me (again), I fear for our luggage weight on the way back to Lima!


Check out their website too at ROCK + RUN.


The ladies have gone to Germany for a week, so after dropping them off at the station at crazy AM on Wednesday morning, I had a free rein!


First stop – The Lakes!


Rock + Run is based in Sandside, Cumbria, a place where my Grandad lived and a place where i spent much of my early life, it is a top spot in the Southern Lakes. I then embarked on a very real trip down memory lane. From Sandside to Levens to Crosthwaite, where I lived as a lad and then down the coast to Barrow.

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At this point I realised I had made a terrible mistake in my hurried and haphazard packing :-/


The plan was to head into the centre of the Lakes, camp, go for a run, do some shopping and then go to a lecture on Friday night and then back home. Exactly where I’d camp was a decision I hadn’t made and sometimes no plan is a bad plan, especially when caffeine-deprived! This resulted in a higgledy-piggledy tour of the south, west and central Lakes. I stopped for a kip at Cockley beck and then started packing, when I realised I had no lighter! Not for ciggies, but for cooking and brews.

Head into the fells with no hot sustenance or find a lighter?

The quest for a lighter began at Cockley Beck and finished 1.5hrs later in Ambleside!
By now it was getting late and I dashed up from Dunmail Raise to Grisedale Tarn to catch the sunset, just!

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A wet dawn turned into a very wet morning so I mooched around Keswick, bought a pair of (bargain) shoes from KONG (highly recommended. Brilliant service from Ian), then magically the clouds dispersed and the sun came out so I headed into the fells, still caffeine-deprived (I was so caffeine-deprived that I never thought to buy some coffee in Keswick, but did have a lightning cuppa at the Square Orange).

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This year i have done very little hillwork, so I was always going to get well and truly spanked. I’d forgotten my chewy bars, so only had one diddy flapjack and 4 gels (one of which I lost en-route). I thought I’d be fine…


The route was round the Coledale Horseshoe, a mere 10 miles/5000ft, what could go wrong????

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The rain came and went and came back again and went again. I was going ok up Grisedale Pike  but by the time I got to Grasmoor I was going backwards, the dreaded bonk was setting in!

I fired down my mouthful of flapjack and two gels and felt ace for an hour, then started going backwards again, one last gel! I must have dropped it somewhere coming off Crag Hill. I plodded on down to the car and scoffed 2 Pot Noodles, 2 Pepperamis, some porridge and a pint of tea in quick succession, then felt sick!


Forgetting my nausea for a moment, i had a huge Cumberland sausage & chips & gravy for tea!


The main draw of the trip for me was a lecture/talk/presentation by Joss Naylor and Nicky Spinks.

“Who???” you might say. Two of the most legendary long distance fell runners of all time.
Joss is 82 now, but still runs up and down the hills. “The greatest of them all” was how Olympic gold medallist and London marathon man Chris Brasher described this hard-as-iron Cumbrian.

Nicky Spinks is an incredible woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, which she fought and beat and then set about beating all the long distance mountain records going. In the process becoming only the second person to run a DOUBLE Bob Graham Round and the only person ever to run a DOUBLE Ramsay Round (56 miles/28500ft climbing, twice!)

Only 126 people have got round the Ramsay Round ONCE, so doing two laps is simply unthinkable!


It was a brilliant, humorous evening and I had the pleasure of chatting with Nicky afterwards. (I met Joss after the Wasdale Race in 2001, he is an inspiration).


Heading back to Yorkshire late at night, despite being full of caffeine by now, I had my pants pulled down in spectacular fashion at Scotch Corner service when I naively filled up with juice at £1.48 a litre, ouch :-(

Session on!

The reason for my midnight dash across the A66 and down the A1 was to be back in time for the session of the year!


The highly anticipated 11th of August Leeds tipple was a day/night out I had been looking forward to since last year! A great turnout by the BL lads and honorary BL lads.

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Cheers to Dave for the pics!

We tippled our way round a crawl of all-new (for me) boozers around the river, then I had to sprint for the last Coastliner bus. Brilliant to see all my old mates. Needless to say Sunday was a complete write-off!


The ladies are currently in Germany.


Raider’s round-up…

Included on my trip down memory lane was a visit to my beloved Barrow RLFC.


I hadn’t been to Barrow for 20 years, although it is in Cumbria, it is not a place you would normally go to. As Audrey Roberts once said in Coronation Street, “Alf took me to Barrow-in-Furness, it’s like going to the end of the Earth and then going 20 miles further!”

It is a long ride out on a dead-end road, but I was after a Raiders top.
Barrow is a mass of retail parks and supermarkets, but by riding round and round I spotted the floodlights (50-50, Barrow also have a football team) and by sheer luck i found Craven Park, which was completely deserted!


As I had no phone/internet, it was looking like a wasted trip, but then I spotted a bloke pulling weeds out of the pavement, so I asked him if he worked there, not only did he work there but he was the new Stadium director, Joe Slater!


I had a long chat about all things Barrow RL and he then gave me directions to the club shop, where I had my blinkers firmly on.

On the pitch this weekend (a match I would have gone to, but was back in Yorkshire) it was the start of the “Super-8s”, where the mighty Shipbuilders beat Rochdale Hornets 17:10, keeping alive hopes of surviving the drop from the Championship.

Onwards and upwards!!!

I stand corrected!

I apologise, my shocking memory has been letting me down!


I always said that my primary school only had 35 students, this was based on my illogical calculations of there being seven years in the school and me only remembering 5 names of people in my year.

7 x 5 = 35

However, I have been told (put right) that there were nearer 70, so maybe I need to have my rose-tinted spectacles measurements remeasured.

My apologies!


A huge THANK YOU to my mate Les, for the fancy Rington’s tea and the BMC buffs, you rock mate :-)


And finally…

Just to give you an idea of how amazing Nicky Spinks is, here is a short VIDEO :-)

Have an awesome week!

Johnny (on his tod this week!)

p.s. Apologies for any typos, especially “i” instead of “I”
I am still getting used to a Mac-a-doodle-dandy…


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