2011-02-03 53 -1
In a car-park behind Jonas Court, one of a number of blocks in one of Sheffield University's student accommodation areas.
Monty appears to have been the only known attendee.
First thing in the morning required Monty to be in Sheffield City Centre for a meeting, and the afternoon needed him relocated to the far north end of Sheffield. As per the previous Thursday, this left him with the perfect opportunity to put himself On The Spot for any Sheffield-area meetup not too far South, West or East of the city Centre, and as long as things did not over-run. Movement would be via car, given how it would normally have been that anyway, but could be made a bit easier by choosing a slightly different parking spot in the morning to expedite a shorter trip from centre to Sheffield's leafy western-suburbs, rather than having to barge all the way round in a possible tight schedule.
Infiltration of the destination was to be ad-hoc. A brief electronic overhead surveillance of the ground revealed that the target point was outside of a building (and, without a GPS available, this was going to be the only verifiable point, unless someone else turned up, although a compass was to have been brought for any ready-reckoning necessary) but it wasn't certain what access, if any, could be had.
Having had recent employment in the University, Monty found himself still possessing a valid (apart from being expired) University ID card, so had entertained thoughts of bluffing his way past security with it, if challenged. Although, if he was honest to himself, he'd probably take the approach of taking a few minutes to explain his quest, should there be any official barring his way, and see if the officials concerned might look kindly upon it. In the event of unattended fences, gates, locked doors or attack-dogs, he'd be calling it quits and instead heading for a bend on a public road indicated to be nearest the spot in question.
In lieu of a GPS, the maps, guides and additional equipment to be taken on the expedition were:
The day's timetable was very similar to that of the previous week's, when a certain novice geohasher had managed a dash up to make his very first meet and back, in-between other commitments. But the geohash today was possibly even more fortuitously positioned for a quick jaunt. Not perfect, because Sheffield as a city is an amalgam of ancient settlements, modern development and a mish-mash of road systems across and around its hilly gradients, only some of which have been purposefully designed for the influx and outflow of contemporary traffic patterns. But that's probably academic.
Normally, the day's travel would have involved parking up at the NE side of the city-centre (just close enough to be handy, just far enough away to avoid parking restrictions and charges), and briskly walking down one short hill, along an ancient stretch of floodplain that is now a effectively a High Street with little in the way of local housing, across the river and up onto the hill upon which most of the City Centre sprawls. With deference to today's geohash being placed out in the near-western suburbs, the usual plan was changed, and a slightly early arrival allowed the scouting out (after a couple of disappointments) of a more apt parking spot. The qualities required were mainly that it be hedged towards the west of the centre, actually within the encircling arms of the ring road, free of charge, free of any current vehicle and (of course) legal. A tall order, normally, except that the trump card was that no more than two hours parking would be required. And so the third choice of site gave up its valuable prize.
The morning meeting was quickly dealt with, although not without a little wait to begin, and so as the clock passed 10:30AM, the one-man expedition could be already found beyond the ring-road, travelling up towards Fulwood Road, the one which would pass across the uphill end of the target site. Traffic, however, was soon even more sluggardly than expected. The cause for this was to be found at the top end of Weston Park Hospital, where a bus was stood in the middle of the onward-bound carriageway, hazards-a-blinking. Oncoming traffic was letting the queued-up vehicles through gradually, however, and once past the bus (where it became obvious that it had damage to its offside and front, with shattered glass upon the roadway from a collision with another vehicle that must have already been moved) there was little to hold one back. Save for the sundry traffic and pedestrian lights around Broomhill, which thankfully were not at their worst. (That kind of experience was well known, as a past place of employment was located up one of the side roads.) Still, it's quite possible that the walk from the city centre to Broomhill, at least, might have been quicker than the car journey ended up being. On a one-way trip with no regard to getting back again afterwards, of course.
Now sufficiently far out into the 'commuter belt', in one of the many verdant and tree-filled areas of the Sheffield suburbs that doubtless add to its claim to be the Greenest and/or Tree-iest UK city, the on-street parking was far less dense, and after turning into Woodvale Road and then shortly into Endcliffe Vale Road, a new spot was found and the expedition commenced properly at 10:50AM, in the far more environmental fashion of walking.
The site looked far more open than all-too-brief electronic research had indicated. What had been thought to be a closed site with the primary entrance to the north, had all manner of service-roads puncturing the perimeter. (Now, if only StreetView had been more fully consulted, this would already have been determined...) But the original plan of circling the campus site, anti-clockwise, still seemed a wise reconnaissance move.
This bore fruit far quicker than anticipated, as a map-board was encountered at an entrance that would actually lead up to the group of buildings behind which the Geohash should be located. With not so much as a security hut, it was rapidly obvious that this was not a semi-closed campus of the kind personally inhabited in the past, but "Endcliffe Village" really was almost as public as any typically subsumed Sheffield settlement would be.
The occasional individual could be seen stalking the grounds. Given the time of day, doubtless the majority had already left on their way to their respective lectures, were not yet fully on their way back from ones just taken or were otherwise disinclined to aimlessly wander this 'sleeper' town. One brief conversation was had with one particular purposefully passing person, of an age and demeanour that more suggested a lecturer. Yes, he thought he had heard about Geohashing. And, yes, it should be Ok to walk around that building. After that, the last vestiges of hesitation finally dropped and the goal approached.
How to describe it? A car park. Having failed to take any meaningfully marked photo (of frankly rather anonymous brick paving) due to spurious gusts of wind (heralding the coming night's breezy and rainy conditions, no doubt) blowing the piece of paper around, one was taken of the general area, as well of the ambassadorial printout partially jammed behind a parking sign. Now, why didn't someone bring some sticky-tape?
So, mission achieved. But with time to spare, it seemed only proper to return to the perimeter and complete the originally planned circuit. And so it was only on the way out that officially signed admonishments against trespassing were spotted, as well as fly-posting (good job there had been no sticky-tape, after all!) and finally one about being noisy. Well, that one was safe from being broken, at least.
Walking round the campus area (and it would have been quicker to continue through, but a mission is a mission!) it seemed worthwhile to take a quick photo of the Plan B locale, which at least coincides well with that well known web giant's StreetView image, for the benefit of those who are of a mind to take a look themselves (or refer to the scaled-down screen-shot given above).
Further around, and the route was now what had originally appeared to be a northern perimeter road but was in actual fact the main through-way of the site. Still, that's the originally planned route, so that's what happened. By now the time having just passed 11:05AM, a number of quick-to-return students were converging paths with this increasingly more self-conscious geohasher. Great relief was felt when the public highway was met once more and the unjustified, almost certainly hidden but inevitably welling fear of being pointed out as one out of place could subside once more, as the legs took the disinterested torso, generally co-operative arms and frankly semi-terrified head back down the road towards the car, and a self-conscious state of safety in an automotive Fortress Of Solitude.
From then on, the only matter of note was to see an oncoming bus bedecked with yellow and black stripy tape around its front-right chassis. This was quite possibly the same vehicle that had caused the journey here to be so slow. Certainly that vehicle was now gone from the original scene (spoiling the opportunity to document the sight by a quick photo, should the opportunity have arosing while stopping and granting the oncoming traffic passage through the pinch). Arriving it the afternoon destination at just after 11:35, I had made good time, considering.
(And all that is now left to consider is the consequences of a Geohash happening in this same general locality next' Thursday. Too much to ask for, but not an actual impossibility. And of course weekdays aren't handy for everyone. It remains to be seen if the consequences of further geohash trips, whenever they occur, will finally calm the nerves, or end up rattling the introverted senses to the core, but I think I'm game. Still, it'd be nice to see some other new guys, as well as meet some of the veterans and long-time followers of the sport.)
(Most cropped, all scaled down)
| Monty earned the Land geohash achievement
| Monty earned the No Batteries Geohash Achievement
 Averted Achievements (not due a ribbon, even a Radio Yerevan version)
- Police - No signs of authority
- Ambassador - The one person approached wasn't the landowner
- No Trespassing - No significantly barring gates or fences or guards, and the sign only spotted on the way back out.
- Restricted Access - On two counts, as the expired pass never did get aired
- Hashiversary - Only one week had exactly passed since the first (non-Saturday) Geohashing