Thursday, 8 December 2016

Loads Missing off here

... I'll catch up - honest !! If you're desperate check out here for the latest pics

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

OK .. I Lied ...

... but stuff happens - that is sometimes more important than football  ... add to that a person who is not 100% healthwise ..

and Hyde won 2-1 ... aarggh

Monday, 24 October 2016


The impressive-looking Parkhurst Hill ...

... OK reason for Celtic rather than Mossley - we were heading down to our "bolt hole" because the site is closing in two weeks and we needed to start "doing stuff" (having never "closed down" a static before).

I can start to understand why they close down 'twixt October and March - because it was bloody cold on Saturday night (sadly our budget didn't stretch to one of these fancy-dan centrally-heated double-glazed vans !!!!).  Still ... jobs got done Saturuday evening and Sunday morning - and we did manage to get out for a brief walk before heading home to Chez Mossley.

Short walk therefore short piccy gallery ... at

Upper Dove Walk 23Oct16

Tuesday night ... I WILL get to Hyde v Mossley in the re-arranged Manky Premier Cup game !!

Stalybridge Celtic v Alfreton Town

Liam Dickinson, Jako the Ball and Alfreton defence ...

OK so Mossley were also at home ... but they always lose at home (check out 1645hrs - same as aargh !). However there were other family reasons which saw me head up to Bower Fold on Saturday - so there !!

To the game - a disastrous first 45 for the home team ... 2-0 down, half the managerial team red-carded - and not looking too clever on the pitch ... and I'm being polite !!!  There must have been one fearsome b*ll*cking at half-time (hair-dryers, teacups ... you know the score !) as Celtic were on fire from the 46th minute onwards.  A Chippendale shot which got the slightest of deflections from Scott Spencer - Danny Wilkins coming on - and another Chippy shot ... and then it was 2-2.  From then on there looked to be only one team who were going to win the game ... but then ... in the 92nd minute Alfreton got a really soft foul (see the pic !!!), and - you've guessed it - nicked a totally undeserved winner.  Gutted was an understatement for the majority of the crowd - and those in blue shirts ...  pics from game at

Stalybridge Celtic 2 Alfreton Town 3

There was parrot-vomit everywhere at 1650hrs ...

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Mossley v Colne

Jason Hill (plus Adam "bloody" Morning !) - in glorious sepia ...

OMG !!!

Why can't Mossley win a home league game ??????????????????????????

Plenty of pressure plenty of chances ... but just like Tadcaster etc it was a smash and grab from the visitors ... grrr ... and naturally it was a Mossley old boy who came back to haunt  (viz Adam Morning) ... pics at

Mossley 0 Colne 1

Watch 'em win at Hyde on Tuesday ...

Mossley v Northwich Vics 11Oct16

 Mike Fish at full stretch ...

... in the Trophy replay ...

At last - another home win for Mossley - the only other one was in the FA Cup against Hemsworth 

Pics from game at 

Mossley 3 Northwich Vics 2

Next round ... Farsley Celtic at home ...

Monday, 10 October 2016

Sunday Walk ...

 Unusual architecture for Staffordshire !!!

Straight after football headed to caravan where we were meeting Mrs Smiffy's brother and partner for a bit of a nosh up/booze up.  Late start on Sunday - but we still got a 6 mile circular from Wetton which took in the Manifold Valley.  Not too many pics - must be getting lazy !

Wetton Walk 09Oct16

Home in time discover Mossley had got a draw in their FA Trophy game at Northwich Vics (played on Sunday) - somewhere to go tomorrow night then (i.e. replay) ...

Stalybridge Celtic v Altrincham

Andy Owens meets "Jako" ...

After a hard week at the mailface (my oppo was off this week so I had to do the driving side of the van share - which I don't particularly enjoy !) we got to Saturday and football - a real "six pointer" at Bower Fold.  After 88/89 minutes of fairly even/cagey/not brilliant football ... Alty grabbed two late goals to send a good proportion of the 777 crowd home happy - and the rest - well you can guess.

Stalybridge Celtic 0 Altrincham 2

So the strugglle continues at Stalybridge - OK only October, but these are the sort of games (against other teams "down there") that need positive results ...

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Droylsden v Stalybridge Celtic - finally updated 07Oct16

Nick Ryan's winning penalty for Celtic ...

.. in the Manchester Premier Cup.

As it turned out I could also have attended Ashton United v Curzon Ashton (3-0 to the away side) or Hyde United v Mossley (2-2 before being abandoned due to bad injury to Cal Warburton) ... but neither of these games appeared on the Evo-Stik website ! Reckon it's all gone downhill since Alan Alcock left (and I never did get a letter/e-mail back regarding that "volunteer jobbie" with the NPL ... hmmm).

Droylsden 1 Stalybridge Celtic 1 (4-5 on pens)

Friday words - finally got the pics together - if you were at the game you'll notice a certain incident is missing - my choice for now ... but very best wishes to Sam Tatum ... not what you want to see at a football match ...

Quick Sunday Stroll

'Twas some kind of "Boat Race" on the ressie on Sunday ...

I had a day off work on Monday ... plan was to nip down to Stafford on Sunday afternoon and "kidnap" my Mum and bring her up to Mossley ... but before that we sneaked out for a quick "local walk" to stretch legs etc ... and here are the pics ...

Once Round Dove Stone Reservoir 02Oct16

... the trip to Stafford was a nightmare ... what normally takes about 1hr 20mins took ... 4 (four) hours due to absolute chaos on the M6 (multiple lorry/car crash in the middle of the roadworks !).  We got there in the end - and it was a damn site quicker on the way back !!!  Posh tea ... and late night stay-up !!

Monday was a camera-free day - a bit of a walk around the same reservoir as Sunday before a trip to the newly-renovated Museum in Uppermill (well recommended !).  Posh tea ... and a not too late stay up as I was back in work Tuesday morning !

Ashton United v Coalville Town

 "Best foot forward" from Coalville's Alex Troke ...

You might think that a 3-0 home win sounds comfy ... but I would disagree (if only slightly !) at this encounter up at Hurst Cross.  Coalville are not a bad team - looked lively up front (but couldn't finish) and fairly well-drilled at the back (but they leaked 3 goals).  "Funny old game innit ???".  I just loved Ashton's opener - the way Jack Dyche just took out two defenders with one twist to give himself the space to blast home.  I've not seen much of the Robins this season - but I've heard all about Lee Gaskell and free kicks - and he didn't let anyone down today !  Goal three was a reward for perseverance - but at a price (i.e. injury).  All in all a good performance from the home side ... and not a bad performance from the Ravens ... pics from game (I edged down towards the Coalville end as @ashtonsnapper was in residence !!!) at ..

Ashton United 3 Coalville Town 0

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Last Week ...

 Don't you just love "wide-angle distortion" ??? I do !!! (Bakewell Church - 10mm 1/125sec at f9.0)

... last chance for "R and R" before the Christmas sh*t hits the fan - it was nice to have 7 lie-ins beyond 0515hrs (although I did wake up automatically a few times - the "Sod it and turn over moment" is still very refreshing !!).

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday were spent - you've guessed it - walking ... doing three walks out of our new Walk Book (Thanks Mum - only seven left !!).  A wander round Bakewell on Thursday followed by an excellent meal at Le Mistral in Wirksworth followed by Comedy Night at Wirksworth Festival (Shazia Mirza - excellent stand-up !!).  Late start to Friday (sneaked a short walk in though) before heading to Ashbourne for the Beer Festival (!). Saturday saw football at Matlock (see earlier post), and a lazy start to Sunday before returning to reality ...

Surprisingly few pics from the week - but hey ...

Caravan Week Sep16

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Mossley v Ossett Albion

 Well we did get an equaliser at one stage ... Tom Pratt ...

Great to be back - two horrible days back at work - followed by this "attempt" at a football game by the home side.  Shambolic, dreadful, you name it - anyway it was not pretty - and something needs to be done rather sharpish - the 5-0 win away at Prescot seems to have been a one-off (noting that Hyde United won 4-0 there tonight).  Hope you weren'5 expecting too many pics ... I'd have been better off sorting out my holiday pics from last week - but hey ... here goes ...

Mossley 1 Ossett Albion 3

'Nuff said ...

Monday, 26 September 2016

Matlock Town Reserves v Mickleover RBL ...

 Jordan Lee (a special request from "Mum" !!!)

... in the Central Midlands League South.  

I had a week off last week - so we went down to our caravan for a week of rest/relaxation/walks (!).  Pictures from that to come later ... but when you have a Saturday off - it's football.  After a thorough search through the "Non League Paper", this was the best option, given I wanted football and alcohol (!!).

'Twas nice to be asked (yet again) "Are you a pensioner ?" at the gate (visions of Saddleworth Rangers Rugby League !); not just yet (!) so £3 in and believe it or not ... my first visit to Causeway Lane (OK the Autoworld Arena !) since the new stand and Social Club had been built (5/6 years ?).  A good search through my pics might find a picture of Rico (Ian) stood outside the old club with a phone glued to his head !

To the game ... Matlock started really well and by half-time were a well-deserved 2-0 up.  However something happened at half-time - God knows what - and by 90 minutes the home team had leaked 4 goals and had a red card to boot - just seemed like Mickleover wanted it more, and the whole Matlock team visibly drooped under the onslaught.  Given that the First Team lost 2-0 at Mickleover Sports ... not the greatest day ...  Pics from the game at

Matlock Town Reserves 2 Mickleover RBL 4

Home now - a wonderful wet day back at the mail face today - aargh - and catch up with the weekend footy in my locality (not good to be honest) - tomorrow night sees Mossley v Ossett Albion.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Curzon Ashton v Consett AFC - FA Cup 17Sep16

 Michael Sweet has just made it 1-1 ...

Oh the joy of the FA Cup - especially when you're the underdog (although I didn't feel like that when Ashton Athletic stuck 7 past Mossley !!).

A somewhat lacklustre performance from the home team was punished by a 90th minute equaliser from the hard-working Steelmen - and at the end of the day it was no more than they deserved - and credit the travelling fans for creating a real atmosphere on a baking hot day !!  I'll bet they all enjoyed the long journey home ...  pics from the game (from the Consett end) at

Curzon Ashton 1 Consett AFC 1

Replay next Tuesday - and I'm sure John Flanagan will have had a few words to say in the dressing room after the game !

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Mossley v Brighouse Town

To repeat a quote from last Saturday .... OMG

John Bennett ...

Mossley 0 Brighouse Town 4

Dismal - shambolic - I could go on ... but following a truly naff week at work (save my Wednesday off in Buxton) this really put the (poo) icing on the (poo) cake ...

(until I heard about Stafford Rangers' 3-1 home defeat by Ashton United).

... and so it all begins again tomorrow ...

Friday, 9 September 2016

Midweek Getaway ...

"The Crescent" at Buxton - under serious revamp ...

A rare midweek day off - for many reasons - taking me Mum away to see our new "second home" and then a day out in Buxton - and the weather was kind !!.  Back up to Mossley on Wednesday evening for a bit of a family "get together" and then it was back to work for me whilst Mum went back home with Mrs Smiffy.

Day in Buxton

A welcome break in what has been a seriously naff week at work !

Stalybridge v Nuneaton

Andy Owens ...


Stalybridge 0 Nuneaton 4

Following Liam Watson's resignation, Bridge turned up pretty much "rudderless" - and the less said about the performance the better - now if the new Managers had been there, maybe the players may well have performed (in their own interests natch) - but no ... 'twas awful.

(NOTE - I'm writing this (very late) because if you cop the next post you'll work out that I missed the Tuesday night victory against Gainsborough - so maybe that was the day that certain players decided to "do a bit" - having missed the game I cannot comment - but let's hope that there were some proverbial "kicks up arses" - and I'm sure Ackers and Phillo will be able to sort out the dead wood fairly sharpish !!).

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

August Bank Holiday Weekend ...

Tadcaster's Michael Ingham - the Man of the Match ...

One of those "weekends" ... finished work on Friday and headed down to our "second home" - only problem was that I had to get up at stupid o'clock on Saturday morning to head back to Oldham to do a shift at work ! Hey ho ... finished work and went  straight up to Seel Park to watch a truly inspired display by Tadcaster 'keeper Michael Ingham.  Truly a "smash and grab" by Tadcaster Albion !  Pics at

Mossley 0 Tadcaster Albion 1

Cave Dale - with Peveril Castle high up on the left

... straight back to the caravan on Saturday evening - Sunday saw a walk over to Youlgrave (Youlgreave ? a subject to discuss with the locals one day soon), and Monday a walk around the Castleton area (taking in Cave Dale - a new one for us - and mighty impressive it was).A few walkie pics at

Sunday/Monday Walks

... before heading back to Mossley (to find out they'd beaten Droylsden 3-1 in my absence !!) to prepare for work on Tuesday (viz today) - these weekends are just not long enough ...

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The "Road to Wembley" begins ...

 "Legs Akimbo"

... as in the Preliminary Round of the FA between Mossley and Hemsworth MW.  At the end of the day a place in the 1st Qualifying Round was up for grabs - as well as the "small aside" of £1,925 !!

Mossley had some early scares - Hemsworth hit the bar and generally looked a bit more "up for it" than the hosts.

Fortunately (!), it didn't last ... 2-0 up after 20 minutes ... eased off the ga a bit in the second half but proved (like both league games so far) they're a 90 minute side with two late goals.  Pics from game at

Mossley 4 Hemsworth MW 0

We await with bated breath who the next opponents will be on 3rd September - Worksop Town and Ashton Athletic fought out a 2-2 draw on Sunday - replay tonight.

Only bugger is that it's an away tie ...

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Mossley v Kendal Town + Sunday

The season starts here ... and Mossley were damned lucky to scratch a draw on Saturday against a very good Kendal side ... at least they kept going till the end ...

The Management - add your own caption !!!

Mossley 2 Kendal Town 2

... and after the game straight off to the new bolt hole - our caravan  - for a quiet night in (although with not working Sunday I DID stay up to watch Mo Farah !!).  A bit of a walk on Sunday - few photos (maybe I'm getting lazy ?) before home Sunday evening.

The Perils of the Tissington Trail - bloody cyclists !!!

Sunday Walk 14Aug16

Must be getting old - looking at options for midweek football - eschewed Curzon/Darlo last night ... Mossley away at Radcliffe tonight (still cooking tea for peeps) - Ashton United at home to Nantwich ???

Might be a snap decision in 20 minutes time (i.e. after tea).

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Lots of Stuff - all at once ...

It's been a busy few days .... d'oh !!!!! Finding it tricky to fit work into my schedule to be honest !  Anyway - here goes ..

Team Pics - Stalybridge Celtic 04Aug16

Mossley v Ashton United Friendly 06Aug16


Team Pics - Ashton United 09Aug16

 .... suppose I'd better go to a game on Saturday ...

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ashton United v Curzon Ashton

Action from the "Ashton Derby" ...

Eschewing the option of Mossley v FC United of Manchester (they've got hundreds of snappers ... and I knew Jez from Ashton was on his hols) I headed up to Hurst Cross on Tuesday night to see a real local derby.

As it happened - a fairly gentle 90 minutes (actually a lot more - people kept getting injured !!) and a 1-1 draw probably kept everyone happy (?).  Pics from game at

Ashton United 1 Curzon Ashton 1

Saturday Off !!

The River Dove in Wolfscote Dale ...

Well it happens now and again ... Friday afternoon saw us heading down to our new (OK well second-third-fourth-hand) second home - yes we've bought a static caravan !!!  Not had it long - obviously needs some TLC - so we're on the case.  Friday saw barbie outside with some mates who dropped in on their way elsewhere ... Saturday - a long walk ... Sunday - slap some paint on the decking followed by a shorter walk.  Some pics from weekend at


Naturally .. this static caravan lark is a whole new experience ... we're learning as we go along (at least we can turn on the water, the gas and the boiler so far !!).  Here's a tip from our "next door neighbours" viz barbies ... get an extension lead, plug in a desk fan and aim it at the coals - saves hours !!!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Mossley v Stalybridge Celtic

 Some "aerial ballet" from said game ...

Better late than never (as in last Tuesday) - a 2-2 draw in a PSF ... I didn't get there until 35 minutes into the first half anyway !!!  Some pics at 

Mossley 2 Stalybridge Celtic 2

Just a touch disappointed with the antics of the Dave Gorman look-a-like for Celtic who seemed to have been instructed to kick sh*t out of Mossley's Tom Pratt - to me a "left-over" from last season's Manchester Premier Cup Final when Pratty ran the show ... hey ho, it's only a friendly !!!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Mossley v FC Halifax Town

T. Rialist gets a shot in for Mossley ...

Soon comes around eh what ??? First friendly of the seaon for Mossley - pics at

Mossley 0 FC Halifax Town 4

Isle of Skye ...

The Cuillins ...

A week away "oop north" - don't be fooled by the pictures ... it rained every day !!

Isle of Sky Holiday - July 2016

Notwithstanding the moisture - a grand week away - and we only scratched the surface on what Skye has to offer - we'll be back !

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Scafell Pike ...

A 360 degree panorama from the summit - Photoshop strikes !!

... last Sunday ...

'Twas daughter's 30th 'birthday weekend' ... her plan was three peaks in three days - so she and mates did Snowdon on Saturday, Scafell Pike on Sunday and Ben Nevis on Monday.  

Me and Mrs Smiffy chipped in for the Sunday gig - after work for me on Saturday we headed up to Nether Wasdale to set up camp before the arrival of the others from Wales ... we were supplying food - not just any old food but a proper Nepalese "banquet" - Veg Curry and Dhal Bhaat (plus rice) - something we picked up a few weeks ago  !!  By heck ... it chucked it down with rain early Saturday evening but .. then it stopped - all ate food, early night and early up on Sunday to do the "Big English Mountain".  All done and dusted by 1400hrs, so we left the hardy crew to head northwards ...

Just a few piccies from the day at

Scafell Pike - 12Jun16

... naturally missed both the England and Wales games in the Euro 2016 - but I'm catching up big style now  !!  Also that bloomin' Flying Scotsman came through Mossley  again on Tuesday - just had the cameraphone this time .. this one turned out not too bad ...

England game tomorrow ?? Probably manage the second half ...

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Flying Scotsman thru Mossley ...

Mossley Station is the other side of the bridge in the distance ...

... yesterday ... arrive back in Mossley to be told the rumour that said train is coming through Mossley about 1500hrs - yikes !!

Mad dash home - grab camera, making sure I put a bloomin' memory card in it (no time to change lens either !) and mad dash back down - time was tight so I didn't make it to Mossley station - but as there were loads of peeps there anyway - I ended up with a different angle I suppose. Didn't take too many so I'll stick the 'best' few straight on here ...

... and - in an instant - it was gorn !!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Greater Manchester Boundary Walk - Part 3

 Part of the new Manchester Airport Relief Road - which caused probs early on !

It's been a while since Part 2 - but good weather saw us out on Sunday doing a chunk from Poynton to Wilmslow.  A few hiccups at the start due to new/unfinished roads - as pointed out before the book IS 20+ years old - but we got there in the end !   Not as photogenic as I would have liked - but hey ho ...

Pics at

Boundary Walk - Part 3 - 05Jun16

So far - using public transport has worked OK - and the next bit (Wilmslow to Ashley) has also been planned out - watch this space !

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Bank Holiday Weekend

Oh the joys of working with Royal Mail (aargh !!!).

Finished work on Friday - headed off to our weekend cottage near Buxton to meet up with friends from Derbyshire and Northamptonshire - gentle Friday evening. For me ... up at 0430hrs on Saturday morning to drive back to Oldham to put a shift in (have you ever tried to get a Saturday off at Royal Mail ??? More chance of plaiting fog !).  Got back to cottage about 1530hrs so missed the Saturday stuff (a wander round Castleton).  Good Saturday nosh and (naturally) asleep in front of TV (me anyway !).

A bit of the Roaches ...

Sunday we all headed down towards Leek for a walk round the Roaches - excellent weather always helps !! Back for more excellent nosh before "breaking camp" on Monday morning. 

"Revenue Generation Unit" on A54 - nowt to do with road safety of course ...

Monday saw me and Mrs Smiffy then fitted in a 9 miler around Gradbach, Three Shires Head and Wildboarclough - again the weather was kind.  (Not many) Pics from the weekend at

Buxton May Bank Holiday Weekend

Then - home - tea already prepped by the boys - and then today - back to normal ... 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Whit Friday ...

  ... more like Wet Friday to be honest !!

The "Annual Holiday" up our way - and working in one of the villages can play havoc with the postie job - hence an 0430hrs get-up in order for an early start/early get-out at work.  Avoided most of the havoc and finished - to be honest - a touch early (but in true RM style we weren't allowed to get away with that ... and were held back to our appointed finish time ...).

Home - relax - eat tea - and then a wander up the canal to Friezland to see some of the bands - as noted, the weather was "not good" (!!), so after a couple of hours it was back home on the train (grabbing a pint in a packed "Railway" at Greenfield where many people had taken shelter from the storm !).  Just a few pics from the evening at

Wet Whit Friday 20May16.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Weekend in Chester

 A bit of Chester Cathedral ...

Took a rare "Saturday off" and sloped off to Chester with my Mum and Mrs S.

Late get-up (oh joy !!!), whizz down to Stafford to pick up Mum and off back up to Chester.  Check-in and then straight out for a wander.  Evening meal out - late get-up on Sunday - and another wander (meeting nephew - who lives/works in Chester) on the way ... whilst trying to avoid the Chester Half-Marathon !!

All in all a good break - and we were blessed with the weather as well ...

Pics at

Chester 14/15May16

One Walk ... One Week Late ...

"Hello ... are you lost ???"
Spent so much time goofing about with Nepalese memories last weekend's walk took a bit of a back seat !  'Twas an interesting walk to say the least .. spent a couple of hours "lost" (or at the very least 'slightly mislaid') on top of Black Hill - still we made it in the end ... where was Gopal when we needed him (actually a couple of AAs for our GPS would have sufficed !!)

Pics at

Crowden Walk 08May16

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mark Storah Benefit Match

A really good, relaxed afternoon out - the score didn't matter - and all for a very good cause.  Also nice to see a few Celtic "legends" including a Mossley legend viz. Brendan Burke (yes we got him first !!!)

Pics from same at

Mark Storah Benefit

Nepal - updated 11May16

A fortnight trekking in Nepal - holiday of a lifetime maybe ??  Have to say "yes" (for now - anything can happen in the next half-hour !!).

It all began late last year - Mrs Smiffy watched a TV programme followed by "Let's go to Nepal" - you know me ... easily led !! Onto the internet to find out what's going on - naturally the "Everest Base Camp Trek" figures at Number 1 on most sites - but we decided that this was not an option (for a start it was three weeks - and have you ever tried to get three weeks in a row off work at Royal Mail - forget it !).  After much umming and aaahing (and waiting for my RM Holiday Chart !!) we went for the "Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek" which was offered up by The Mountain Company.  Booking the trip was a piece of cake - everything ran smoothly - organised flights, insurance etc as well - and the information packs/trip dossiers were extremely thorough.

And so it began - worked the Saturday (fortunately all packing etc was done in advance !) and drove straight down to Manchester Airport to check-in by 1700.  A 6 hour flight to Abu Dhabi, a 4 hour stopover followed by another 6 hour jobbie to Kathmandu.  Met at the Airport by Tulsi and whisked off to the Hotel Manaslu in central Kathmandu.  I say "whisked off" - the traffic in Kathmandu is 'interesting' to say the least - absolute bloody chaos - but it works !  A bit of a rest - followed by a meal out at the rooftop restaurant at the Tibet Hotel.

Next day was our guided tour of Kathmandu - excellent brekky at our Hotel (they do good bacon and eggs !!) and then Haroon arrived with our driver and tour bus, and the full crew (Me, Mrs Smiffy and Robin) spent a leisurely day seeing the sights of Kathmandu.  Haroon knew his stuff and we had a great day out (have to keep harking on about the traffic - crazy crazy) - but we saw all the important stuff, and were able to get a good idea of what has and hasn't been sorted since the 2015 earthquake.  

Pics from 'Day One' at

Nepal - Part One - Kathmandu

The "Monkey Temple" in Kathmandu ...

Next day was a bloody early start (0515 to be exact) - reasoning was we had to get the 'local flight' from Kathmandu to Lukla Airport - and the earlier you go the better chance you have of the flights actually flying (weather is the big problem here). At the airport we joined up with Gopal (our trekking guide for the duration) and he got us through all the airport formalities and the flight left on time - and after all the tales we'd heard about Lukla Airport being one of the most dangerous airports in the world (!), our De Havilland Twin Otter had no problems.  A swift cuppa tea at the Numbur Lodge, a meet up with our porters for the duration (Jit and Anise - I'm sure I've misspelled here but hey ...) and we were off on our first day of trekking.  Lukla Airport is 2840 metres above sea level (9300 feet in old money !) and we were actually heading downhill to our first stopover at Phakding (2610 metres) so in a sense it was a gentle start !!!  The paths are very well defined (obviously !) giving us ample time to just "look up" !! Lunch was our first introduction to a meal which became pretty much our staple - Dhal Bhaat and Veg Curry - and I soon dropped the milk out of the cups of tea.  Comfy night at the Mountain Resort Lodge - and another early start for a trek up to Namche Bazar (11300 feet) - quite a hike this one - but well worth it. Namche Bazar is one amazing place - set in a bowl and surrounded by "white stuff" !!  Narrow streets, shops (and a bar showing "Everest" movies/factual stuff with beer and a decent music machine as well).

The following day was our "acclimatization walk" - we headed up beyond 13000 feet to the village of Khumjung - which is associated with Sir Edmund Hillary for a number of reasons - including the Edmund Hillary School.  Khumjung Monastery was another amazing site (and we were allowed to take photos inside) - and we arrived in time for lunch (or actually "watching lunch" for the monks).  In true acclimatization style it was up high then back down to Namche.  All the time the views were just amazing (including Mount Everest of course !) ... pics from these days to be found at

Nepal - Part Two - Lukla/Phakding/Namche Bazar/Khumjung 

Mount Everest is third from the left ...
Leaving Namche Bazar ... we headed up (!) on the 'road' to Deboche - and once again the views were astonishing - you had to be there - honest !!!!  We now got our first views of Ama Dablam - which is a beautiful mountain to look at - OK we'd already seen Everest (huh !) but it just didn't look as good !  The road to Deboche took us past Tengboche Monastery and it was off down to Rivendell Lodge for our evening stopover.  This lodge was pretty busy (unlike the previous two) - and we met a climbing guide who'd summited Everest 8 times ... without oxygen !!!

Next stop - Pangboche ...again an early start (the weather was so much clearer in the mornings - it tended to cloud over a bit in the afternoons) - and on arrival another brief "acclimatization" wander to Upper Pangboche - and an early night in preparation for the walk up to Ama Dablam Base Camp - there were worries about the weather but fingers were crossed.  The following morning I got up at stupid o'clock just to make sure I got some snaps of Ama Dablam 'just in case' - but there were no probs in the end.  We got the best of the weather until we were close - and the we watched the clouds start to mass.  Didn't stop us getting to our "top of the shop" (a shade over 15000 feet).  We didn't plant a flag however !!!!  Back to Pangboche for another "chilly evening" - the higher we got, the more basic the lodges became - and the nights were a touch chilly - thankfully we'd prepared accordingly back in Kathmandu by hiring down jackets and down sleeping bags (courtesy of Shonas in Thamel) - kept us all nice and snug !

Destination reached - it was time to turn around and head back - so it was off to Khumjung via Phortse - where we were told that you won't see any men, because they're all out working somewhere between Phortse and Everest Base Camp !!  Our guide Gopal asked a couple of porters about a "short cut" to Khumjung - it worked but it wasn't simple !!!!  Evening spent at the Hidden Lodge in Khumjung where we drank Tibetan Beer, Budweiser (breed under licence in China would you believe !) and then we kicked into the local rice beer !!!!  Pics from this stretch to be found at 

Nepal - Part Three - Pangboche/Ama Dablam Base Camp/Khumjung 

Ama Dablam ...

The next day was to be a trek to the village of Thame - however Mrs Smiffy had a "bad night" in Khumjung (digestively speaking - say no more !) and once we arrived at Thamo (having walked through some wonderful paths awash with rhododendrons) - it was clear that Thame was not an option.  However this was where having a proper trekking guide and the back up of a kosher company kicked in.  A few phone calls and it was all sorted - and we headed back towards Namche Bazar.  Another night in the village/town we have come to love and then we headed back to Phakding and thence to Lukla - which was the end of the line for our porters.  Two amazing guys - I actually had a go at carrying what they were carrying - i managed to stand up straight - and that was it - now way was I going anywhere !!  So basically it was "party time" when we arrived back in Lukla - and some serious beer was supped by all !! 

Pics from this leg at
 Nepal - Part Four - Khumjung/Thamo/Namche/Phakding/Lukla 

Just like before - an early start - this time to get out of Lukla back to Katmandu - mission accomplished - and from the plane we saw our final views of the "white stuff" before arriving back in Kathmandu  - with a transfer back to the Manslu  Hotel - where we promptly headed straight for the hot shower in the hotel room - and a bit of a relax.  Evening was spent in downtown Thamel at the K2 Steak Bar - first meat I'd eaten since leaving Kathmandu 10 days (?) earlier - a welcome change from Dhaal Bhaat (although I'd grown to love that - and I will be attempting to recreate same now I'm back in Blighty) - the meal was also a "meet up" with Roland from the Mountain Company where some informal feedback on our experience was handed out.

Our last day in Katmandu - so we decided to go to the town of Bhaktapur for a "day out" - we'd been quoted 1,000 Nepalese Rupees (approx £6-50) for a taxi - but we went for the local bus option - which was an experience in itself ... and only cost 50 Rupees for the two of us !!!  Sadly the earthquake damage was more obvious here, but there were still some amazing sights.  An excellent day out followed by another meal out in Khatmandu (and another steak for me !!!)  Pics from Bhaktapur at 

Nepal - Part Five - Bhaktapur

Nyatapola Temple ...

Time to go home - our flight from Khatmandu went a slightly devious way (via Lucknow in India - refuelling) before arriving back in Abu Dhabi - another lengthy wait before the flight back to Manchester - - didn't make it into work on the Monday which in a way was a bonus - because we were all totally shattered - physically and mentally I reckon - it had been one helluva holiday.

In short - go to Nepal - it's a wonderful experience - they've had their problems what with the April 2015 earthquakes - tourism took a big hit afterwards and is still struggling to get back up to speed.  However I can confirm that the country is now definitely "open for business" - rebuilding has kicked in big style, the people are wonderful, the country is wonderful - it is truly the trip of a lifetime.

Just do it - and tell them Smiffy sent you ...