A Long Time Coming…. Millers Dale – Grindsbrook Clough

Hello all, and welcome back….. first id just like to explain briefly why I’ve been away for so long. Back in mid August i did three back to back days of big (for me) miles, the first day is what this blog will mainly be about. This was all done with a full camp set up, and during this time i managed to develop a nasty twinge in my knee. Unfortunately this curtailed my walking quite a lot, and then it was the school holidays, and as i have four boys, i spent a lot of time with them. so all my walks, blogs and videos took a back seat. With my knee now feeling a lot better, normal service should resume, with some small changes. As much as i enjoy writing these detailed blogs, its very time consuming for me as writing doesn’t come naturally, so i will be making it more of a photo blog with linking text. This will help me spend more time with my family and less time glued to my PC screen.  So i’m sorry for being away for so long without explanation, and i hope you enjoy my new content, including this one 🙂

Ok so, this walk begins at the old station of Millers Dale on the Monsal trail, my plan was to follow Monks Dale and join the Limestone way, which id follow to Castleton and then cross the great ridge to Grindsbrook Clough. IMG_9844[1] IMG_9845[1] IMG_9846[1] The first section of Monk’s Dale was pretty easy going and open, with the only real problem being a few thorny trees over hanging the path threatening to rip by bag open. The problems really began when the path descended into the bottom of the dale and into the trees. As beautiful as it was, it was very damp, and the path was pretty much all uneven limestone. Anyone familiar with limestone will know its incredibly slippy when wet. This made progress slow. IMG_9847[1] IMG_9848[1] Leaving Monk’s Dale, the path joined up with the Limestone way. This took me through Peter Dale, which was a lot more open and wider, but it was very muddy, and i was quite lucky to not fall or get mud in over the top of my boots.  IMG_9849[1] IMG_9850[1] Once the mud of Peters Dale had been negotiated, i came to Hay Dale. Thankfully this was open like Peter’s dale, and also dry. It was getting to lunch time now, and all my meals were dehydrated and id been unable to find a water source. In the end i opted to stop and eat a few snack bars to at least replace some energy. IMG_9855[1] IMG_9854[1] IMG_9857[1]   At the end of Hay Dale the route passes through open farm land and past peak forest. I must admit that at this point i was starting to struggle and the constant uphill was really starting to become painful. There was still lots of beautiful views to admire though, and i took advantage of them to take my mind off the aches. IMG_9862[1] IMG_9864[1] IMG_9861[1] As the route finally leveled out i started to recognise the views on the horizon. This was just the morale booster i needed as landmarks like the great ridge and Rushup edge came into view. This meant that Castleton wasn’t far away now, and a chance to either get some water for my meals or possibly a pub lunch was on the cards. IMG_9867[1] IMG_9869[1] It wasn’t long before i reached the top of cave dale, and that meant that the village of Castleton was imminent. Making my way down the dale, Peveril castle came in to view. It sits proudly on top of a large Limestone mound, making it near impregnable due to the steep drops on all sides.  IMG_9876[1] IMG_9877[1] IMG_9878[1] IMG_9879[1] IMG_9881[1] Finally i was in Castleton, and after missing lunch i decided to visit the Bulls Head pub for a very late lunch, which was more like tea time. IMG_9884[1] IMG_9885[1] At last i was fully fueled up and ready for the last part of my walk, this would take me up the great ridge to Hollins Cross and back down the other side towards the village of Edale. IMG_9889[1] IMG_9890[1] IMG_9891[1] Once over the great ridge it was only a short way to the base of Grindsbrook Clough where i would be setting up for the night, ready to meet my friend Colin in the morning. IMG_9894[1] IMG_9895[1]

Eventually i made it to my chosen camp spot as the light started to fade, so these last photographs will be from the following morning when the light was a lot better. IMG_9899[1]IMG_9898[1] So here ends the blog, i hope you enjoyed the new format. I had a really great day if a little hard in places, but its always more rewarding if things aren’t always going exactly to plan and you still get through the other side 🙂

So if you made it this far down the page, thank you very much, a MASSIVE thanks to all who have stayed with me through this quiet period, it really means a lot to me 🙂  Please feel free to comment, and as always i’ll leave a link to the video below for those that are interested in watching. So until next time goodbye 🙂

 

Here is the link to the video:

Millers Dale – Grindsbrook Clough Video

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Bamford Edge – A Peak District Wild Camp

For a long time  i had been wanting to walk Stanage Edge to Bamford Edge for a wild camp. Two of my previous attempts had not worked out very well, the first time, i smashed my phone, and with the bad weather as well, i called time on the overnight part. The second time, my horrible anxiety chest pains made me not want to risk a long walk and camp, as i didn’t fancy having a panic attack out on the hills. This time though, it all came together, and even the weather was better. Although it had forecast rain, it wasn’t hazy like previous times, which meant the beautiful views would be clear for a change.

So back to the trip in question…….. I arrived at the upper Burbage bridge car park at 10:00am, and quickly changed into my boots and put my pack on in excitement at finally getting to do the walk. Whilst the sky was cloudy, there was still patches of blue and i was very happy that for once it wasn’t hazy, as its always better for my videos and photography when its nice and clear. After a quick look at Burbage brook, i set out on the path towards Stanage edge, and i was soon making my way up on to its rocky gritstone edge. IMG_8864[1]IMG_8865[1]IMG_8866[1] There are quite a few paths that have been cut by the many walkers that enjoy Stanage Edge, and i decided to head for the one closest to the edge itself. This first part was very rocky, and i found myself winding between and stepping over the many boulders strewn around. I then came to the first Trig point on the walk, i stopped for a short while to take in the views. The more i come to the Peak District, the more i recognise places I’ve been to or wish to visit, and from my vantage point, i saw a lot of both. IMG_8872[1]IMG_8873[1] As i carried on with my walk, it did start to get a bit busier, but not so much with walkers, of which there were a few, but with climbers. Stanage Edge is a very popular spot for climbing, and they were out in force today with lots of groups mid climb and plenty still setting up. After an hour or so of walking and filming, i made it to a place id wanted to visit for a while, Robin Hoods cave. I made my way down the path to the cave, ready to explore, Id seen this place on many videos on YouTube, but had never seen it in person. The first section was more over hang than perhaps cave, but on the other end of the path was a stone like balcony, with a very narrow ledge leading to it. I didn’t fancy making my way across the ledge, and thankfully i didn’t have to, as the adjacent cave led right to this balcony of stone, and that cave was of course Robin Hoods cave. I took off my bag, as it was quite a tight entrance, and once inside it was very wet, but fortunately i was able to keep to the side as i made my way out on to the stone balcony. As i made it out, the views were great, i could see why lots of people had chosen this spot for a wild camp.IMG_8879[1]IMG_8880[1]IMG_8881[1]IMG_8882[1] I admired the view for a while, and read some of the rock graffiti that had been left over the many years, but i was still conscious of the fact my journey had only just begun and i still had quite a few miles to go. So i made my way out of the cave, put my pack back on and carried on with my route. I made good time along the edge, and i was soon at the area i joined it last time near the Stanage plantation. On that occasion id had my lunch sheltered behind the rocky outcrop where the lower path meets the top of Stanage edge. This time however, i decided that i would carry on for at least another hour or so as it was only 11:40. IMG_8885[1] Up until this point i had been happily walking along with my coat on, but now the clouds were slowly parting and the sun was now giving out some real heat. I spotted a waist height boulder a short distance away, and decided to stop there to remove my coat. I undid my clips and swung my pack off on to the top of the boulder. I placed my coat under the lid and closed it up. It was then i saw it, a small lizard, lying motionless upon the gritstone boulder. I was surprised i hadn’t noticed it before, or that it hadn’t ran off when i put my bag down. This was the first time id ever seen a lizard in this country outside of a zoo, so i quickly got a picture of it before it scurried away into the undergrowth. IMG_8888[1] Thinking how lucky i was to see a lizard in the Peak District, i carried on my way, already feeling much cooler now my coat was off. The next point of interest, apart from all the great views along the way, was High Neb Trig point. It didn’t take me long to reach the trig point, and i was soon there readying myself for the compulsory trig selfie photograph. The views were great from here, and i could just make out the top of the great ridge with the mass of Kinder also visible. IMG_8892[1]IMG_8893[1] Whilst at the trig point, i made a fatal error……. i mentioned how lucky i had been with the weather so far. Tempting fate is never a good idea, as id only left the trig point for about five minutes when it started to rain. Typical i thought, and i had no choice but to stop and put on my waterproofs. Thankfully it was only heavy rain for a couple of minutes, before it slowed right down to just a fine mist. However, it was still visibly raining heavier over towards the vale of Edale, so i couldn’t relax just yet, as that rain was bound to find me. I carried on route, passing the spot where on my last trip, my tripod fell in the wind with my phone on top, smashing my screen. This time the wind wasn’t as bad, so i risked the shot again, and thankfully the tripod didn’t fall and my phone survived 🙂 Back on track i passed Stanage end, before then reaching the A57 road, where the route i had chosen took me straight on and in a loop back around to Cutthroat bridge. IMG_8895[1] Just short of Cutthroat bridge i stopped next to the stream for lunch, i had ended up walking for around an hour or more longer than i had originally intended to. This was due to me not finding anywhere fully suitable, as i really wanted a good view and a water source. In the end i had to settle for the water alone, as i ended up in quite a low clearing, with the high ferns blocking any view, but at least it was sheltered from any breeze. For my lunch on this trip i had brought out an American MRE (meal ready to eat) ration pack, this had very kindly been gifted to me by Jay “GoonieBushcraft” what seemed like forever ago. It wasn’t the first time i had brought this ration pack out, i had carried it on at least 3 separate occasions, but all these trips had ended before i got chance to use it. I had almost began to think that the MRE was cursed 😉                                 The American ration pack meals use a flame less heater, requiring water to make a chemical reaction to heat the food, so i got out my sawyer filter and collected some water from the stream. I added some of this water to the heater bag, placed the meal inside and waited for the food to heat up (for more detail on this, please watch my video, link at bottom of this blog). This worked surprisingly well, and after about ten minutes my meal was ready to eat and plenty hot enough.IMG_8900[1]IMG_8905[1]IMG_8904[1]IMG_8906[1] The meal was very nice, so a massive thanks must go to Jay 🙂    After eating a packet of corn bread which also came with it,  it was time to pack up and carry on to Bamford Edge. No sooner had i got ready, when it started to rain again, i quickly got my waterproofs out my bag and put them on.  This shower didn’t last very long though, and with the humidity i was soon stopping again to take off my waterproofs before i melted inside them. The path from here was lined with chest high ferns, and it wasn’t long before my legs were soaked. Thankfully the path began to widen and my trousers soon began to dry. I wasn’t far from Bamford Edge now, and i was really looking forward to the views over Lady bower reservoir. However a glimpse of the reservoir came much sooner than i expected, and i stood admiring the view for a while before moving on.IMG_8910[1]IMG_8909[1] I soon arrived at Bamford edge, which also had a few groups of climbers making their way up its rocky crags. I stood watching them  for a while, i must admit i was quite impressed, whilst not massive cliffs,  you still wouldn’t catch me on that side of the rock. The time was around 16:45, so i had plenty of time for a good explore of the area, whilst waiting for the climbers to leave so i could set up my tarp for the night. The views from here were every bit as good as i expected and better, i had Win hill directly opposite me with the village of Bamford below. The view over the reservoir was incredible, and i couldn’t wait to wake up to that in the morning.IMG_8912[1]IMG_8915[1]IMG_8917[1]IMG_8918[1]  By around 18:00 everyone had gone, and looking on the horizon the weather didn’t look to good, so i decided to set up my tarp before it decided to rain. It was quite windy in my chosen spot, and whilst there were other areas more sheltered, they didn’t have the view over the reservoir, so i decided to put up with it. With my tarp up, i began unpacking the rest of my gear, and it was then it began to rain again. It seemed my decision to set up early was a good one 🙂 IMG_8920[1].JPG With everything now set up it was time for food. This time it was a dehydrated meal on the menu, which had been gifted to me by Mike “GINGERBUSHCRAFT” on our Yorkshire 3 peaks trip. Upon opening the meal, i must admit it smelt awful, but once the boiling water was added, and id left it for the stated 10 minutes, it was really nice. It might not be restaurant quality, but with a pack weight of 125g it was awesome 🙂 After eating i didn’t stay up much longer, i made a quick call to my partner, as i had signal for a change, and i then decided to call it a night. It wasn’t the best nights sleep though, as the rain and wind beating my tarp all night made such a racket i kept waking up every hour or so.

Soon though, morning came and i awoke to dry, yet still breezy conditions. I got my breakfast done and made a much needed coffee, and got out my tarp to admire the morning view. IMG_8923[1]IMG_8924[1]  To say id not really had any proper sleep, i didn’t feel to bad, and by 7 o’clock i was back on the trail back to the car. As i got to the end of Bamford edge, i noticed a tent, it appeared i wasn’t the only person to stay the night. Though with their more sheltered pitch, i reckon they got a lot better sleep than i did. My plan was to make my way back to Stanage edge via a small track passing Buck stone. On route i was in awe of the absolute silence of the area, no distant car noise, no wind, nothing at all but the occasional calling of the birds, complete bliss. I was soon back on Stanage edge, only this time i was going in the opposite direction, and with it only being 08:00 on a Monday morning i had it all to myself. IMG_8927[1] From where i joined Stanage, and all the way back to the car, i saw only 4 people, it was a really peaceful walk back, in cloudy but reasonably clear weather. I’d had a really great time despite the broken sleep through the night, and i was really happy to have finally got my wild camp on Bamford Edge. Though my fun wasn’t to be over yet, my plan was to drive into Edale and have a night on field head campsite and have a lazy day, before then doing another walk the following day, but more on that in a future blog 🙂

So here ends another blog entry in my outdoors adventures, id had an amazing time, and it was great to get another solo wild camp in. The fact that it  was a location id wanted to do for a long time made it even better 🙂 . So as always if you read this far down the page, thank you very much, it really means a lot,  i’ll put a link to the accompanying video below if you wish to check it out. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, goodbye 🙂

Regards Mark

Bamford Edge Wild Camp Video

High Cup Nick – Abandoned Wild Camp

I have always enjoyed being out in the great outdoors walking and camping, but last year after i was starting to recover from my anxiety and depression, i realised i wasn’t doing enough of it. You should read my first blog “the beginning” for the slightly more filled out story, but lets just say i started to consume as much outdoor related media as possible. This included YouTube videos, various blogs and outdoor magazines. One of these magazines had a article about must camp places on the Pennine way, and the one that stood out for me the most was High cup gill. I remember thinking when i first saw the impressive glaciated U shaped valley in the magazine that i wanted to camp there, and awake to that glorious view.

So it was back in early April this year that the time had come for me to get that chance. (yes a whole month ago, i’m very lazy at my blog writing) So with my route planed i set off to the small village of Murton, which was nestled right up to the edge of the north pennines, but technically still in Cumbria. As luck would have it the village had a small car park which was also right next to the path i would be following. This meant i wouldn’t have to leave the car in the village streets, or so i thought…..                                     Upon arriving at the car park i noticed a sign, this sign read, “no overnight parking or camping”, great!! i thought. I really didn’t want to have to leave it in the middle of the village, as its not great for me and certainly not good for the residents, who certainly don’t need my car blocking up their already narrow country village street. Thankfully i saw a man walking up with a dog, and i decided to asked him if he lived in the village, to which he replied yes. I explained to him my plight, and he said i should be fine to leave it overnight, and that really the sign is just to discourage people from camping there. These words were exactly what i wanted to hear, so i made my way into the empty car park and got my gear together. The route i planned was supposed to take me through the “Danger area”, the danger area being the military WARCOP training zone, used by the British army for live firing exercises. Unfortunately for me the red flag was flying, which, for those of you that don’t know, means you can’t enter as training is in operation. As i didn’t fancy being cannon fodder, i decided that i would just have to walk the route i was going to take back, instead of my original more circular route. So after recording a some footage for my video introduction, i finally set off  at around 07:45, the path snaking upwards and around Murton pike. It was a beautiful morning, a virtually clear blue sky, dotted with the odd wispy cloud. After a few hundred meters or so of  walking i turned around to admire the view of the village and to the sun rising out from behind the hills. IMG_6083[1] IMG_6082[1]

As i have mentioned in a previous blog, i have the ability to sweat in a freezer whilst walking, so the fact that i was wearing my coat whilst the sun was beaming down on me, meant my perspiration levels were going through the roof. There was only one thing for it, i had to stop. I swung my bag off my back, quickly took off my coat and fastened it securely under the lid of my rucksack. Feeling a lot cooler, i set back off. It was then i heard the first of the live firing exercises, the distant sound of gun fire echoing off the nearby hills. This sound was to punctuate much of my journey throughout the day. It wasn’t far to High cup gill from the village of Murton, around three and a half miles i clocked it at. So it wasn’t long before i had my first view of it, and a pretty spectacular sight it was, every bit and more as good as i had expected. IMG_6085[1] Now as this had originally been my intended finish point, i didn’t want to head right up to it and spoil the evenings viewing. So instead, i joined the Pennine way path, and headed to what was originally my half way point and place of interest, the Cauldron snout waterfall. This part of the path was very easy going, level and well trodden, leaving the grass very flat, yet not muddy. At this point the sun was still shining brightly, but the wind had started to pick up now i was at a higher elevation. After about half a mile, i was walking with Maize beck around 100 yards to my left, and checking the map i saw that id have to be on the other side of it if i wanted to visit the Cauldron snout. I then looked for a crossing point, which i found on the map and promptly made my way towards it. Arriving at the side of the beck, i saw no evidence of a bridge or any stepping stones, but luckily it wasn’t very high so i decided to make a jump for it. I always find it a bit of a worry when crossing this way, just in case my foot slips on the jump and i end up in the water. Not this time though, as i made the jump and carried on my way. IMG_6087[1] Once across i soon noticed that the going was no where near as good on this side. The path was a lot more over grown, with long grass and heather, and lots of really boggy sections, causing various detours to find slightly firmer areas. After around twenty minutes, i started to really hate the bogs, it made progress so much slower, and then from nowhere i was passed by two trail runners, carrying nothing but small bum bags. I immediately felt a bit jealous as i was carrying around 12kg. This soon passed though when i remembered that i cant run, and then normal service resumed. Well shortly after this, what should come into view but a bridge. It seemed that when i had checked the map earlier, i had missed a crossing point, and the last mile and a half of bog dodging could have been avoided….. Doh! Ah well, lesson learned, and on i went. From here the path got a lot better again, and without the bog dodging i could start to enjoy the views of the now widening Maize beck. IMG_6089[1] After just over half a mile, the path started to peel away from the beck and started to go up the hillside. As the path started leveling out, it joined a wide gravel pathway, this was no doubt made to make life easier for the Grouse shooters and not walkers like myself. It was at this point i was caught up by a local family, who i had passed earlier going in the other direction. They were from a nearby village, of which i forget the name, and had been out to see High cup gill. The couple were out with one of their fathers, (i’m not sure whose) and their three dogs. We spent the next three to four miles chatting together as we followed the Pennine way, as they were heading back to Cow green reservoir, which is where the water comes from to feed the Cauldron snout waterfall. It was actually very nice to spend this section of the walk with company, and they were very friendly as we shared stories together on the trail. Well it wasn’t long before the dam wall of Cow green reservoir came into view, and as we crossed over bridge in front of it, i thanked them for putting up with me and bidded them farewell. IMG_6091[1] I was really excited to get over the bridge and see the Cauldron snout waterfall, for a couple of reasons really, one being that it looked amazing on photographs whilst i researched the walk, hence why i came via it. Reason two was that it was roughly the half way point and i had designated it my lunch break and i was starving. I have since found out, that the Cauldron snout waterfall is reckoned to be the longest waterfall in the country at 180m. So with the awesome view that was Cauldron snout, i sat down in the great sunshine to eat, though it was still very windy, it was nice to finally sit down and relax after around 10 miles of walking. IMG_6094[1] IMG_6095[1] Whilst eating my lunch, i had made sure i was sat far enough back from the Cauldron snout, to avoid the fine mist of water that the high wind was blowing up from the cascading waterfall. Well lunch eaten, i took a few more pictures and decided to head back to High cup gill. My route back was the same as i had taken to the snout, the main differences being that i now had to do the big gravel path up hill, and worst of all, into the wind. Its amazing how much longer the path seems when walking into the wind, but it had to be done, so i got my head down and pressed out the next three miles or so. It was a welcome sight when i finally reached the point where i was back on the grass, as the path sloped back down towards the beck. Once along side Maize beck, i knew i only had perhaps another hour or so of walking, and it wasn’t long before the bridge i had missed on the way down came into view. I crossed over the bridge, happy in the knowledge that i wouldn’t have to avoid all the boggy ground like earlier in the day. The path on this side took a short and steady upwards climb, before leveling out. Soon high cup gill came into view, but before heading straight for it, i decided to detour back to the beck to fill up my water bladder. Using my sawyer water filter, this was easier said than done, as the water level was quite low. The low level meant i was unable to use the big bag to collect water, instead i had to use the smaller one that comes with the sawyer as standard, and fill it more times. Still it was a minor issue as i had made it back to High cup gill with plenty of time. Well with my water all filled up, i finished the final few hundred meters to an area that looked straight down High cup. It was a absolutely incredible view, every bit and more as grand as i had hoped. I placed my gear down onto the ground, and stood gazing in awe at the immense chasm in front of me, trying to imagine the vast amount of time it took, and how big the glacier must have been to create something of this size and scale. With the sky now cloudy, and a haze moving in, i did wish that i had come this close earlier to get some pictures when the sun was shining, but it was still amazing, even with the lower visibility.  After a good long viewing and a quick snack bar, the time was around 16:30, i didn’t expect any more walkers passing through, as i’d hardly seen any all day anyway, so i decided to set up my tent. IMG_6132[1] IMG_6131[1] It didn’t take me much time to set up my tent, inflate my airbed and get my sleeping bag out, having used the gear for a while, i now have a good routine. My tent had only been up for mere minutes, when the already high but bearable wind, decided to increase massively. It was like the weather somehow knew i’d set my tent up, and was trying to remove any evidence of it being there. Every large gust of wind was bending the single tent pole in to a very unnatural positions, and all but flattening the side. I tried my best to do a bit of filming, but the wind was making it extremely hard to do any panning shots, and trying to talk to camera was just a pointless exercise, leaving only wind noise to be heard. I decided to sit in the tent for a while hoping that the wind would die down. The longer it went on, the less likely it seemed the wind would go. I remember checking the met office weather forecast before leaving home, and it certainly didn’t mention any gales like this. Phone signal in the area was all but non existent, but when i did briefly get it, i checked the weather app on my phone and it had the gale symbol until 12 the next day. That’s great i thought. Well after around an two hours of listening to my tent whipping and cracking, and seeing the tent nearly bending itself in half, i had pretty much decided to pack up and leave. I did think about relocating, and i had a little wander around looking for somewhere more sheltered, but it wasn’t to be. The area was very exposed, and everywhere i went, the wind was just as bad. So that settled it, i went into the tent and packed everything back into my bag, just leaving the tent on its own. Now this was the fun part, anyone whose ever tried to pack a tent away in the wind will know exactly what i’m talking about. Needless to say it took me quite a while to pack it away, and if you would have seen me, you would most likely of had a good laugh at my expense. Finally i was ready to head back to my car, i was quite sad to leave, this place was somewhere i had been wanting to camp for a long time, and i’d really wanted to wake up to the glorious view that was High cup gill. It wasn’t to be this time, and at around 19:00, i set off on the final three and a half miles to the car. The wind was so strong on the way back, that when it was hitting my legs i was almost tripping myself up. As i followed the length of High cup, i took one last look at it, before the path turned away, taking me back to the village of Murton. IMG_6134[1] The light was starting to fade now, so i did my best to get back to the car as quick as possible. On the way back i took a disappointed look at Murton pike, i did have plans to get to the top of it the next morning, but i wasn’t about to tackle it now, so it would have to wait for another time. Well soon enough, the village came into sight, and i made may way down to the car park. I packed my gear in the boot and got in the car, and now with signal, made a phone call to my partner to inform her that id be home tonight. I felt i’d made the right decision to leave, but i still felt really rubbish about it, i just wish the conditions could have been different, or if i had a more stable tent, perhaps i could have stayed. Well there will always be a next time, and i will definitely be returning in the future, and to be honest , i cant wait.

So here ends another blog, i hope you enjoyed reading about my oh so nearly camp. I still had a truly awesome time, and i was very happy to see Cauldron snout waterfall, and the super impressive High cup gill. If you have read this far, thank you very much, and also a massive thanks to all who follow this blog, it really means a lot that you are entertained by my ramblings. As always a video of this story is on my YouTube channel (link on side menu under social)                                                                                                                            So until next time goodbye.