Garmin 920 Route Fix

Me and my lovely wife own Garmin 920 watches, both second hand, and we agree that they are a brilliant piece of kit, especially if you’re a triathlete. However, the one fault we have is the difficulty in uploading routes to follow. The 920 doesn’t have map capability so any route will be a ‘breadcrumb’ trail, which is generally all that we require. With my Garmin 500 bike computer all I need to do is create a route, (Strava routes, Bike and Hike, etc) save it as a .tcx file and upload it. This doesn’t work with a 920. It would appear that the only way to upload routes is to connect with Garmin connect and Garmin Express, neither of which I particularly like. For me, Garmin hardware is amazing, and Garmin software is a bit rubbish.

So, how to upload a route to a Garmin 920 without using Garmin software. Create your route using your preferred website, save it as a .tcx file, upload this file to your bike computer (it works with a Garmin 500 and 800), open the route, giving the computer chance to convert it to a file type that Garmin likes, and then transfer the converted route onto your 920. It is a little bit of a faff, but it works and at the weekend me and my wife went for a couple of runs in places that we didn’t know without a worry.

Cinderbarrow to Cringlebarrow

Last weekend me and my amazing wife had a recce for leg 5 of the newly created Bay Limestone Round (read about it here). Helen is very excited about this run and being part of the ‘Scrambled Legs’ team, and definitely doesn’t want to let the rest of her team down, hence doing the recce. It was a good idea as well, because we got properly lost on the first summit, and slightly lost a couple of other occasions. With that in mind we went for a mid week run along the very first part of leg 5, from Cinderbarrow miniature railway up to the top on Cringlebarrow summit. In my previous post I also managed to get confused by the two similar names, and might have suggested that we were running up to the summit of Cinderbarrow.

I have to say that it was much easier the second time around. We found the hidden footpath across the A6 and knew which direction the footpath went across the barley field. Through Yealand and up into the woods, following the path as it makes its way around the back of the summit. At the top we retraced our steps instead of looking for another way down, as we had at the weekend. The footpath took us out of the woods and into a field full of sheep before ending at the road.

First section ticked off, just under 3 miles. No problems. We then jogged back to the car along the road, avoiding the barley field. The farmer might be annoyed at people tramping through his field, although it is a designated footpath. Helen was buzzing at how easy that had been. Early next week we’re going to have a second look at Warton Cragg and Heald Brow, and then Helen is going to do all of leg 5 on her own ten days before she does it as part of a team. She will do brilliantly.

I am loving how the new BLR has already garnered local interest with a ladies Vet 60 team completing it in under 12 hours, and a mens team in under 10. The local tri club, COLT, are also looking at having a go. I’ve put my name down in case there is enough runners for a Vet 50 team.

The Bay Limestone Round – Leg 5 Recce

There are far too many ‘Rounds’ to mention, although the Bob Graham is arguably the most famous. The Bay Limestone Round (or BLR for short) is a new round, very new, with the first finisher on the roll of honour being the founder Thomas Phillips back in June this year. Since it’s inception a number of friends have also completed the full 55 mile route, solo or as part of a relay.

The start of the round is at Kents Bank Station, only a few minutes over the bay by train from Arnside. From there the route heads north over 13 summits around Morecambe Bay. My amazing wife is incredibly excited about doing the route as part of a relay, and will be running the final leg from the Cinderbarrow miniature railway to Arnside prom, a distance of 11 miles. With only a few weeks to go, yesterday we did a recce of leg 5, and Helen is very glad that we did.

Before we could start the run we had to drive to Arnside and lock my old commuting bike to the railings and then drive to the starting point. Helen had printed off the route instructions and had the route on her Garmin to follow, so how hard could it be?

The first problem we encountered after only running a few minutes was the hidden footpath across the A6. The sign was completely buried beneath hedges. From there it was straight across a field and then diagonally across the next field, although this one was full of wheat, so we did our best not to trample the crop. Up into Yealand and into the woods to find the first summit, Cinderbarrow. We had been warned that it was difficult to find, but we found it without too much trouble. The problem was finding the footpath again. We should have gone back the way we came, which is recommended, instead we spent half an hour getting lost. This is one reason why we were doing a recce. We had a closer inspection on Strava later that day and we were within 20m of the correct path. Once we found the footpath again the route was fairly easy towards Wharton Crag.

There is a very good Bridleway called Occupation Road which goes near to the top, unfortunately we struggled to find the footpath described in the instructions, and our Garmin keep on telling us we were off course, so we just headed upwards until we spotted the beacon. The views from the top were amazing, but you’ll have to take my word for it. Instead, here is a photo of me and Nelly looking at the view.


From here it was downhill all the way to the coast as we headed towards summit number 3 of leg 5, Heald Brow. According to the map there is a footpath across some fields, although we had to climb over a gate and jump a ditch before reaching the bottom of the brow. We managed to miss the path to the summit, although not by much as we dropped inland towards Silverdale. Along with Cinderbarrow, this is another small section that we will probably recce for a second time. The pleasant footpaths followed the fields and down the back of some very nice cottages, before the climb up to King William’s Hill and the Pepperpot.


The Pepperpot was built in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden or Diamond jubilee, depending on which website you look at. Victoria’s reign started in 1837, which would imply it was her Golden anniversary. From the top the route descends through a caravan park and past Arnside Tower, the ruins of a 14th century tower house.


Only Arnside Knott left, which was the busiest that we had seen all day. We didn’t stop long at the top before taking what we thought was the direct route down to Arnside.


The official BLR suggests running directly down to the coast, which probably wasn’t any longer than the route we took. We made our way past the hoards of people and found an empty bench on the prom for a rest. I don’t think either of us had ever seen Arnside so busy, or looking so good.


I was definitely feeling more tired than Helen, although that is my own fault for running 8 days in a row. All that was left was for me to cycle back to pick up the car and return for Helen and Nelly. While I was gone they had an ice cream, but they did buy me some biscuits.

Helen was very glad that we had done the recce in plenty of time so that we can go back and run the difficult sections a second time. Helen also plans on running the whole leg on her own before the relay. On the day we ran a couple of miles extra, but that evening we compared our route with the official route to see where we went wrong.

The BLR is an interesting addition to the running scene and I hope that it becomes established, especially as it is raising money for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Cancer Care. We will definitely be looking at running more of it in the future.


City Strides Salisbury

I have blogged about City Strides a couple of times in the past, and once again I felt that it was time to revisit. Previous blogs can be found here and here.

A couple of months ago I became a supporter for one month, where I paid the minimum for extra features. One of these features allowed you to search for ‘nodes’ from streets not completed, aiding the completion of more streets. The other premium feature was to jump you up the queue for uploads from Strava to City Strides. During the early stages of lock down it sometimes took two or three weeks for a run to be analysed on City Strides if you weren’t a supporter. Fortunately this has been rectified and the lag is currently less than a couple of minutes, so while I haven’t paid extra this time I might in the future once again.

Anyway, this past week I have been ‘working from home’ at my mother’s house in Salisbury. Two birds with one stone in that I can visit for a week without having to take any time off work, one of the few benefits of this whole virus. It also gives me chance to tick off a  few streets away from my home town of Lancaster. One of my earlier criticisms of City Strides was that not all cities were available; Salisbury being one of the missing ones. This has kind of been remedied. I say ‘kind of’ as the whole county of Wiltshire is one city, with over 6,000 streets. Hence why the Strider with the highest completed streets in Wiltshire has completed less than 5% of them. In the last week I have managed to complete 58 new streets,  by far the most I’ve ever managed in one week. However, the current world leader has completed nearly 500 streets this week. He either lives somewhere with lots of very short streets, or he is very good at plotting a route to maximise street capture, something that I’m a bit hit and miss with. Anyway, below is a screen shot of the streets that I have completed in Salisbury, not all from this week as I have run (and walked) on many other occasions over the last few years.


As you can see there are still plenty of ‘low hanging’ streets available to complete next time I’m in the area.

Anyone else out there a fan of City Strides?

Book Review: Oddjobs by Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Utterly bonkers is my concise review. Oddjobs is of the comedy horror genre and there is a lot going on. Basically, inter-dimensional alien ‘Gods’ have been on Earth since forever, and at some point in the future they will open the ‘soulgate’ an unleash eternal hell upon all mankind, where even death will be no escape. Sounds hilarious!


Against this depressing backdrop there is a secret government group, British Men-in-Black, for want of a better description, whose task is to the peace and firefight the less dangerous incursions until the end of the world. Much of the first part of the book attempts to paint the backstory, which often leaves the reader scratching their head in bemusement, but persevere and the second half is very rewarding, if you like alien/human hybrid gangsters trying or lesser ‘gods’ implanting fake memories with a love of all things ginger.

I’ve often said that the measure of a book is whether you would buy the next book in the series, or another book by the same author(s). With the Jane Hawk series by Dean Koontz I bought all five books almost immediately (read my review here). The Scythe series by Neal Shusterman I probably will also buy the next book, and I have already bought another book by Will Carver (read previous review from both authors here). I possibly will buy the next book in the Oddjobs series, but with so many other books to read it might have to wait a while. Anyway, I gave the book 4 out of 5, mainly because of the interesting characters and the very good ending, featuring a bus in a chocolate factory.

Book Review: The Jane Hawk Series by Dean Koontz

I’ve had a bit of a Dean Koontz revival these last couple of months. First I reviewed his Nameless series of books (read my blog here) and then I wrote about his best three books (read my blog here). I wrote at the time that it was highly unlikely that I would want to change my top three books by My Koontz, but actually I would remove Phantoms and replace it with Lightning, a pseudo-science adventure with time travelling nazis.

Back to the Jane Hawk series, and I ordered something from Amazon in early June and accidentally clicked on the one month free Prime trial. It is very easy to do this and surprisingly harder to cancel, but that’s the way things go. However, there are a number of books available to read for free with Prime, one of which was The Silent Corner, the first book in the five book series. I read it in almost one sitting. I was completely hooked.


It is difficult to review a whole series of books without giving away too much plot details from the later books, so if you’ve not read the series, don’t read beyond ‘Spoilers’.

The Silent Corner

Jane Hawk is a decorated FBI Agent, happily married to a former Marine with a young son. Her husband suddenly kills himself, for no apparent reason. Devastated, Jane investigates and finds that the suicide rate has increased and that her husband isn’t the only apparently happy person to have killed themselves. When she is threatened she knows that she is onto something, and goes on the run, hiding her son with friends. The silent corner refers to people going ‘off-grid’, going offline, no internet, no mobile, no GPS devices. Jane does this and then tracks down a few leads, discovering rumours of nano-technology being used to control people, and of a ‘weird’ brothel. With the help of another Marine Jane hunts down a brilliant but insane scientist who invented and almost perfected the technology.

Nano-technology is something that Dean wrote about 30 years ago in the book Midnight, where a whole town has been implanted, and then many of the subjects go slightly crazy. In The Silent Corner the technology is more wide-spread than first assumed, and the so called Techno Arcadians, the people on the inside, are far more numerous than first expected.

An excellent book, 5 out of 5, and as soon as I’d finished it I was downloading the second book.


Don’t read beyond here if you’ve not read The Silent Corner.

Book Two: The Whispering Room

The second book begins with a dedicated and hard working award winning teacher loading up her car with flammables and driving into a newly opened restaurant, killing a politician and over forty other innocent people. The local sheriff, who has known this kind teacher all his life, knows something is very wrong. The subsequent cover up confirms this. While this is going on, Jane has captured a lawyer, one of the Arcadians, and extracts more information. They both independently find themselves in a small town with a large hotel and conference facility where they believe many of the guests had been drugged and subsequently implanted with the mind control nano-technology. They also discover the whispering room, a new development in the nano-technology which allows the implanted people to communicate telepathically within a 20 mile radius. The whole town, apart from their children, have been implanted. On top of the whispering room we also learn about the Hamlet list. The idea being that if Hamlet had been killed in the first act, there would have been far fewer deaths. In this series the men and women on the list are people that could potentially alter the course of history for the worse. When I say ‘worse’ I mean worse for those power mad ‘elites’ who want everything.

This was another excellent thrill of a book, again 5 out of 5, and as I finished it I downloaded the final three books in the series.

The Crooked Staircase

By this point in the series it has become obvious that this isn’t a small group of ‘believers’ but a very large scale part of the Government, highly funded, highly motivated and definitely not nice people. Their ‘aim’ is to make the world a better place, although mind control isn’t the right way to do this. The people at the top want power, unlimited power, to be able to do anything they want without repercussions. Think Donald Trump or Dominic Cummings who ‘know’ that the rules don’t apply to them.

In the Crooked Staircase Jane goes after another one of the heads of the Arcadians, finding him to be very disturbed. His brother had married and then forced his wives to hand over their wealth in the divorce settlements, before their untimely deaths a few years later. The brother learnt this behaviour from his mother, who virtually tortured her two sons, instilling in them a crazed power mad need to be in control.

Another 5 out of 5 book which opens up more avenues for Jane to explore in the next installment.

The Forbidden Door

In book 4 the agents of change fed up with not capturing Jane Hawk, opt to follow her in laws and any friends that might be looking after her son. Her husbands parents manage to allude their potential enslavers, but the friends looking after Travis are not so fortunate. Here we have one of Dean Koontzs often used plot devices, where a main character has a helpful relative or friend with almost unlimited funds. Powerful storms with torrential rain and thunder is another plot device Mr Koontz often uses to ramp up the tension. Reading all five books one after another means that these are spotted, along with his fondness for the word ‘cleave’.

Anyway, the Government agents have a vague idea where Travis is holed up, knowing that this will be their best opportunity to capture Jane. Their plan is to inject the nano-technology into as many locals as possible and force them to help search for the boy. The creator of the technology postulated that one in 10,000 people might react very badly to the implants and become insanely violent. They would enter the forbidden door. If this was to be combined with the whispering room potentially the violence could spread to everyone with the technology within a 20 mile radius. Jane enlists the former sheriff from book 2 to help her rescue her son.

Once again another 5 out of 5 book, and I could hardly wait to begin the final book. Again more spoilers follow.

The Night Window

I crashed into this book, voraciously reading it, although it didn’t feel like the end of the series. The book started slower than any of the others, and about half way through I thought that it might not be the last book. It might be the last book written so far, but that Mr Koontz had plans for another book or two in the series that were not yet published. There was also the small matter from the end of Book 4, where Jane’s in laws had captured an Arcadian and were about to inject him with the nano-technology. This is never mentioned in the last book.

In The Night Window Jane meets up with an old colleague from the FBI, a computer genius who had hacked, on behalf of the Arcadians, every agency and database the Government has. Another thread in the book has the billionaire visionary, the man behind the curtain, hunting down someone from the Hamlet list, who escapes, but we do get to read about his childhood and how he was ‘evil’ from an early age.

The book slowly builds towards the finale, with the whispering room once again being utilised, however, a previously unknown technological advance is used to reveal all of the implanted victims. The book ties up most of the loose ends, although, as mentioned earlier Jane’s in laws aren’t featured until the very end, and the mother from book three isn’t mentioned either. For me this was the weakest book of the series, but I would still give it 4 out of 5, possibly 4 and a half. If you’ve come this far you’re definitely going to want to finish the whole series.

Overall a brilliant series, dark and dystopian in the vein of many of Dean Koontz’s books. Time for me to re-read a few of his earlier classics.