2011-06-07 53 -1
Loxley Common, Sheffield
Monty and... a borrowed GPS!
Being so close to my place of work (and home) and that evening being tied up with other business (including, but limited to, a birthday, but no easy way to persuade the birthday girl to attend the geohash in herself), this was originally intended to be a quick lunchtime trip. It ended up being a mid-afternoon journey. Examination of the overhead plans suggested a couple of different entry-points. The one chosen was Aldene Road, with parking at the corner where Aldene Avenue branched off. With a GPS available (configured by the owners to work with OS map references, and not willing to make changes), preparation also included getting a Lat/Lon to OSref conversion on the target coordinates.
First of all, the page used to convert the coordinates gave an 8-figure map reference (as well as the OS grid-square characters), and the GPS gives 10-figure references. Not a big deal, but I wasn't sure about the end accuracy. Also, I had not (at that time) worked out that the GPS could give anything but "on-demand" coordinates (click to "make a mark", to get the display, then reverse out again if one does not actually want to do so), so continuous directionality of the target position was out, and the old favourite map printouts were the main navigational choice.
Getting to and parking up at the target starting-off point was generally uneventful (although coinciding with school-leaving time it wasn't as unencumbered as it might have been). And the walk up was generally uneventful.
The overheads showed a 'square' of clearly maintained grass between departure point and end-coordinates. On approaching the bend in Aldene Road (which, as already discovered by StreetView, was now no more than a footpath/gravel track) a footpath sign was indicated pointing anti-clockwise around this square. I now suspect that this was a misdirected sign, but a clear grassy footpath did indeed lead that way and around to the north side, which was taken. This joins the clearly visible foot-only route leading from a small car park off Worrall Road (the alternate departure point I had marked down for my trek). At various points, locations were 'marked' upon the GPS (which should also have been being recorded continuously) but, as of the time of writing, communication has yet to be made between the unit and any computer, so the results of that have yet to be seen.
Moving eventually out into the more open area of moor-ish grassland, just off of which the hashpoint was located, the usual visual check was made for location. Slightly in the trees, movement was made in that direction and the GPS consulted. Probably due to level of accuracy and varying error, having found the point that both the Mark-1 Eyeball and the GPS tended to agree was the correct location, the resulting photos of the display could then only show the location to within a few (effective) metres distance. But trusting the eyeball from long experience, it was treated as a success. Tripod-photos were also taken for the obligatory grinning geohasher shot.
Retreating back out of the scrub, a sound of galloping was heard while still retracting the various elements of tripod. Horse? None in sight. Not really an area that I could imagine a horse galloping, although suspecting that the upper end of the Aldene Road track had something to do with stabling, maybe there was a horse-gallop over there. But no!
A moment later, a large (not huge, but definitely large) light-golden dog bounded up, being by now quite obviously the source of the prior audio experience. With a shoulder-harness in evidence, but without trailing lead or owners yet in sight, obviously out for a run ahead of its owners. A bit of barking ensued before dashing off and back again a number of times. No obvious threat in its body language, but of course a big, bounding dog vocalising like that doesn't help the nerves... :)
The owner and a companion shortly came along and reprimanded the dog (Molly? Milly? Mandy? Something like that, but I forget) for its pestering of me, although it seemed happy enough to continue its bounding around and all-too-close geohasher-investigation all the while I wandered off southwards (to continue around the grassy square's perimeter) and its owners continued westwards over the common on what is a doubtless regular exercise route. So, a little bit of excitement and personal danger (more mentally imagined than physically realised) spiced up the otherwise trivial trip.
The return was as uneventful, and included passing by a local burger place for a late lunch. I asked for no tomatoes, but they put some on, so I didn't quite "have it my way", as promised. The tomato slices were disposed of later, so no real problems there. And that, as they say, was that.
I don't have one yet, but as soon as I get the old mouse cable converted and work out the communications protocol, my jury-rigged cable (there not being the hardware or software in the box, as confirmed by the actual owner of the unit and a number of websites confirm) should be able to get me a suitable tracklog.
Pictures coming soon. Very soon. Promise. (Probably start with the "money shot", and enhance with the other stuff later.)
I'll sort this out eventually. Pretty much my usual standard set, except... No No Batteries this time round.