Saturday, 16 January 2010

Pen Y Fan

Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales, situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park. At 886 metres (2,907 ft) above sea-level, it is also the highest peak in Britain south of the Snowdonia mountain range.

We decided to trek up Pen Y Fan on a bitterly cold and wet winters day, with plenty of snow still lingering on the mountain range. In some places this was upto knee deep, the strong gale force winds, low cloud cover and wind chill made this a rather testing walk.

The extreme weather conditions finally got the better of us, and we had to abort the trek.

We'll be back...

Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Desi A-Team

A crack commando unit was sent to Coventry by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Southall underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of misfortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The Desi A-Team.

Vin was deep in a mid life crisis, his personality had undergone an overnight transition from a happy go lucky chap to a cynical old git who felt the whole world was against him. On top of this, the social life of a company accountant was becoming an unbearable burden and Vin was desperate to escape from this corporate and domestic servitude. He tried calling the Samaritans but the line was continuously engaged, now there was only one option left - the Desi A-Team.

After leaving messages in a national newspaper Vin finally made contact with the Desi A Team, and a meeting was arranged to take place at a secret location. Col. John "Hannibal" Manohar disguised as a mango selling street trader on the busy Southall Broadway made contact with Vin and promised to help this distressed individual.

At the Heston sevices on the westbound carriageway of the M4 Col. John "Hannibal" Manohar then met the rest of the Desi A-Team in the black and metallic grey people carrier. Lt. Fiaz "The Faceman", Capt. H.M. "Howling Mad" Q and Sgt. B.A. "Bad Attitude" Asif. The team went to task on developing a plan to help poor old Vin in his escape to freedom.

Climb a mountain to be free

The Desi A-Team were going to take Vin to Scafell Pike in the lake district and trek to the top of the highest peak in England. This walk in the great outdoors, in the company of some of the finest macho men was sure going to do the trick, B.A. Asif also recruited the services of Naveed the finest bush tracker in the northern hemisphere, who had won the accolade of tracking down Dubya to a white coloured building in Washington DC a few years earlier.

“I love it when a plan comes together” - Col. John "Hannibal" Manohar

The Desi A-team completed the circular trek from Seathwaite in Burrodale to the summit of Scafell Pike with no map. Despite getting lost and travelling for miles in the wrong direction, they were able to prove that the ancient Roman theory of all paths leading to/from Scafell Pike firmly hold truth.

“I got no time for the jibba-jabba” Sgt. B.A. "Bad Attitude" Asif

Sgt. B.A Asif was displaying his customary bad attitude, and when Vin who was a novice trekker started to fall behind the drill sergeants mannerism was evident with B.A hurling abuse at poor old Vin.


Such harsh and offensive language began to take its toll on the mild mannered accountant Vin, as he began to fall behind and decided he would be better off marching solo.

“Life's tough, but I'm tougher!” Sgt. B.A. "Bad Attitude" Asif

In the shadows of the mountain do evil witches lurk, and they sensed their prey when the tired Vin came shuffling along. With the Desi A-Team clearly out of sight and the evening dusk gently creeping in, Vin was befriended by the legendary Blair Witch who enticed him with kind words and promises of greatness. But this was all a false pretence as the evil spirits started to gather around Vin and held him captive on the mountain top against his will.

Vin’s desperate cries for help were heard by the faceman Fiaz who accompanied by Col. John "Hannibal" Manohar, went on a highly dangerous search and rescue mission. With no communications coming through from either party, the tension was becoming intolerable for B.A. and Howling Mad Q. In the end they decided to arm themselves with the latest technological gadgetry including heat sensitive night visions, a Swiss army knife and the latest Chinese made telescopic trekking poles and went in search of their fallen colleagues.

The Desi A-Team knew that you never ever leave a soldier behind, and their immense bravery in returning to the mountain to fight off the evil Blair Witch and rescue their struggling colleagues will forever live in the annals of military history.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Afridi the gladiator

You sensed the scene was set when the Black Eyed Peas came out with the
track "Boom Boom Pow"

Enter Afridi the gladiator, swaying his mighty bat and when he has
completed the kill he stands in the middle of the arena arm lofted playing
to the blood thirsty crowds. Surely when Afridi is in that pose, arms
raised, beaming smile, chest sense that he is about to come out
with the lines..........

"I am Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi. General to the armies of the
North West. A loyal servant to Younus Khan, the real captain of Pakistan.
Obedient son of a wounded nation, friend of a dead coach, and I will have
my vengeance in this T20 match"

And the vengeance was there, delivering a mature innings he was the real star

"I like that boom boom pow
Them chicks is jackin my style
They try to copy my swagger"

Balle Balle what swagger !!

"I'm on that supersonic boom"

The Sri Lankans & the South Africans were rocked by that sonic BOOM

"I'm a beast when you turn me on"

From the cornered tigers of the 1992 world cup to Afridi the lion in 2009,
the fighting instincts of the Pakistani cricket team lives on.

Pakistan Zindabad

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Charity trek to Ben Nevis

Friday 4th July - went on a charity trek to Ben Nevis, in aid of the Love Water Love Life campaign run by Muslim Aid.

Despite the long and arduous coach trip to the Scottish Highlands which took over 13 hours each way I was really looking forward to climbing the highest mountain in the United Kingdon. Standing at a mighty 4,406 feet this would surely provide a worthy challenge !

On the coach I started to size up the fellow trekkers, to understand who I needed to look out for. Although it was a charity trek, I am very competitive in nature and wanted to understand the main players.....what worried me initially was the relatively young age of the walkers. With youth on their side, could this trek expose me as the middle aged chacha ji with very dodgy knees - Clearly I needed to find out more about the competitors............

Listening to the youngsters for thirty minutes on the coach, my worries were easily calmed and I knew that this trek was mine for the taking.

Profile of main characters;

# 1 - Commando GPS. Club level swimmer, up at the crack of dawn and eager as a beaver. He was the gadget king, but in the wilderness Duracell batteries don't come in handy - what you need is raw energy like Bear Grylls. That was going to be his weakness and Shere Khan (that's me - the desi version of Bear Grylls) had plently of grit and determination to march on when others would start to fall behind.

#2 - Dark Stallion. This chap was a talkaholic, the only time he shut up was when he was asleep.....oh and when he started walking too. Clearly the strain of walking uphill for several hours sapped his energy reserves and the brain had to divert the energy from his mouth to the legs. With no words coming out of his mouth, his lips never the less kept on motoring like a goldfish....resulting in excess bloating of his stomach as he was swallowing air !
The Dark Stallion ended up being the last farting king of Scotland......pppprrrrrppppp.

#3 - Bollywood star. Camera, Lights & Action.....I was worried about this guy, he was planning a trek to Karakoram in a few months time. Could this chap be the front runner ? Initially I thought this was the case, but slowly when his amateur dramatics started coming out I was pleasantly relieved. I mean Bollywood stars have limited stamina, I've never seen a star perform a dance in one's all cut, cut & cut and lots of editing with a double often stepping in. Clearly this chap would be too busy posing for the photo shoots and not focussed enough on the long march to the top of the mountain. This was evident at the waterfall, at the start, at the bridge, at 100m, at 200m..............etc etc etc

#4 - Back Packer. This guy was young, lean & fit. He had recently trekked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro which is the highest mountain (19,340 feet) in Africa and dwarfs Ben Nevis. This chap was definitely odds on favorite in my book until I learnt that he had just returned from a traveling holiday in South East Asia. I sensed that the the Bangkok excursion would have affected his CHI energy and his performance would be adversely affected.

Clearly my people watching skills paid handsome dividends as my predictions came true, the march to the peak long but my industrious legs kept pumping away and from a group of nearly forty walkers I was the 2nd to the summit beaten by only by a younger and more energetic Samir. BIG UP to Samir the man, you walked up the mountain a boy and came down a man.

But on a serious note, the trek to Ben Nevis was a wonderful experience. To conquer the highest peak on this Island, to witness the fantastic views and to push myself for a good cause and meet some great characters in the process was a joy. Thrashing all the youngsters made me feel good too and hopefully I inspired some of my fellow walkers to train harder for the next challenge.

Remember the man in front is a be respectful and stay behind him.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Carry on Camping

There is nothing like the great outdoors, we're talking Marlboro country.....rugged landscapes. OK we're not in cowboy territory but the Roaches in the Peak District is a close substitute for us city slickers.

Packing in a trek of the Roaches (a rare rock formation rises steeply to 1,657ft) and camping in the peak district sounded like a fantastic adventure, and so it unfolded.

Friday afternoon and rushing up the M40 in a Peugeot 207 SW rental car which had a very bad odour fuming from the carpets was not the most pleasant of journeys. Initially I blamed one of the passengers (Q) as the smell was very cheese & onion sweaty socks type, but this was quickly denied and we realised that the carpet in the rear had been soiled by the previous occupiers.

Arriving at the Farmhouse camp site at 9pm left us with a frantic rush to set up the tent as dusk was creeping upon us, fortunately teamwork was the order of the day and we successfully managed to set up camp and even cook some snacks.

We learnt our first lesson, it gets very cold outdoors! the temperature started to drop considerably overnight and if it wasn't the cold that kept us awake it was the noise of the traffic rumbling along the Buxton Road. In the middle of the night the silence would be broken on a regular interval by trucks, cars and even motorbikes travelling along this stretch of road. At times it felt like we had set up camp on a busy roundabout !

If the traffic was a challenge to our sleep, then a radio blaring from another tent and Q farting the night away was simply torture. Having slept for only a couple of hours, we were pleasantly woken by the beautiful sunrise creeping over the green hilly pastures. This was the perfect time to knock up some breakfast and start marching.

The trek to the Roaches started off gently but once Fiaz saw a steep vertical climb there was no stopping him. This chap has a very sharp radar which misses out nothing at all, and the 1,600 ft climb was well on its way.

Despite the bitter coldness and persistent rain we continued our trek along the Roaches heading towards Luds Church - a deep millstone grit chasm created by a massive landslip. This amazing landslips looked like something out of the set of an Indiana Jones film...... quite possibly "Indian Jones and the search for the crystal fruit bowl".

So a good walk, some fantastic bird watching despite the persistent rain and cold conditions and lack of sleep. When we returned to our tent we could not face another nights sleeping under the axles of lorries & trucks so headed to Birmingham to enjoy a nice curry and refuel our bodies.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

From Team to Eam

April 26th 2008 and the first trek of the year in Cheddar Gorge.

Spring was definitely in the air, with the sun shining on us as we climbed the 100 metre heights of the UK's largest gorge. My lunch box weighed me down as I struggled to make my way up to the top of the cliffs, in hindsight 3 litres of fluid, 3 sub rolls, 2 energy bars, 5 bananas, 4 apples were maybe a little too much. Clearly I need to carry less of the food mountain and climb more !!

The challenge for me is now to improve my fitness and be ready for the next climb at the end of May in the Peak district, this time I'll be leading from the front for sure !

Our long serving buddy Tiger Tony aka Tari aka Tahir aka "T" a veteran of many a walk let down the boys and failed to turn up, hence the Team without "T" ended up as an EAM.

A message to T - papa stop making excuses, and get your butt down to the Peak district next month ! We sense that you're under the thumb, don't be a caged tiger it's time to roam free & enjoy the great outdoors with the lads.

As the pictures show the EAM had a great time, we even discovered our very own Mission Impossible stunt man ready to abseil from nearly 400 feet !!!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

WBC Welterweight Championship

Pretty Stallion aka PAISA v. Hitman Kori

This will be a 12-round contest for the WBC welterweight championship.
"Somebody's 0 has got to go - Let's get reaaaaaaaady to ruuuuuuuumble!"

Round 1

The two undefeated boxers are sizing each other up, it's a cagey opening, but Hitman Kori is stalking Pretty Stallion

Round 2

Hitman Kori lands a huge jab, but cannot follow up. Pretty Stallion starts to pick up the pace and hits back with a couple of big rights

Round 3

Pretty Stallion unleashes an explosive combination, booming left hook followed by a big right hand all landing square on the head. These are damaging blows and it's all over as the referee steps in and the contest is all over.

There's only one Pretty Stallion,
One Pretty Stallion,
Galloping along,
Singing a song,
Cantering in a Money Wonderland

Pictures -