2014 – A year in review

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Miles walked: 810 (short of my 1000 mile target, but doesn’t include 266 miles of evening TGO training walks)

Longest trip: 220 miles  on the TGO challenge

Nights under canvas: 22 (not nearly enough)

High point: Laughing over a pint with the Chuckle Brothers until it hurt, in Braemar on the TGO **

Low Point: Doing an accidental back flip into a deep peaty ditch on day 1 of the TGO

Best days walk: Second day of the Limestone Lion from Malham to Grassington on a gloriously sunny spring day

Most expensive piece of kit purchased: Z-Packs 20 degree sleeping bag

Best piece of kit purchased: Vivo Barefeet ultralight trainers

Piece of kit I actually didn’t need to buy: All of it…it’s pure indulgence

Gear purchase excuses I used : (I) Orange is no longer fashionable. (ii) My life may depend on it, (iii) This one goes to 11

What I did too much of : Looking out of the window and deciding to wait until the weather was better

What I didn’t do enough of: Getting out while the weather ‘was’ good ** Not the Chuckle Brothers, obviously.

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TGO Challenge 2014 Days 5 & 6 : Going ‘relatively’ ultralight

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This is the life……

The sun continued to shine over the next two days bringing a spring to my step and seeing the miles fly by. Even after cramming my rucksack full to bursting with a resupply parcel at Spean Bridge I was still able to kid myself that I was ultra-lighting…..relatively speaking ! Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 2 & 3 : Walking Barefoot

Day 2 – Iron Lodge to Loch Cluanie : 26 km

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Happy as a pig in muck in my Vivo Barefeet

Rain had bounced off the tent almost constantly throughout the night, at times very heavily. Luckily the breeze hadn’t changed direction so I remained cozy and dry under the Trailstar.

I’d sat up until late the previous evening sipping the odd drop of whisky and watching a steady stream of wet looking TGO challengers heading to camp at Iron Lodge, with a few carrying on west over towards Loch Mullardoch. These were probably starters from either Dornie or Sheil Bridge. One day into the TGO and I was already crossing over the paths of people starting from more southerly points. Continue reading

Around Martindale

Camped at Angle Tarn

Peaceful evening camped at Angle Tarn

The Lake District isn’t somewhere I’ve spent a great deal of time in over recent years, tending to do much of my backpacking in Snowdonia, the Peak District or the Dales. So feeling like I needed a change of scenery during the last weekend in August I drove up to Ullswater and spent a sunny couple of days doing an overnight trek around Martindale Common.  Continue reading

Brewing up on Isaac’s Tea Trail

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Isaac Holden I presume.

After a very parched weekend along the Gritstone Trail in June, I was determined to pick somewhere with guaranteed watering holes this time. A little trail in the North Pennines called Isaacs Tea Trail looked like it would fit the bill nicely, though with some pretty good pubs in the area it was always going to be a battle of wills between a cup of churtle and a pint of ale. Continue reading

Gritstone Trail – dying of thirst

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Camped on ‘The cloud’

It looks like summer is finally over, the wind and rain has returned with a jolt to remind us that we have more than one season in the UK.  And it’s also about time I got back to my blog after a few months silence.

Luckily over this glorious summer I managed to get out a few times, and in June I spent a weekend on the Gritstone and Mow Cop Trail. And boy was it hot. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Day 1 : Waxing lyrical

Strathcarron to Iron Lodge (‘ish) :  29 km

Not to put too fine a point on it, my first day of the TGO involved me wetting myself from the inside out.

Carrying 12kg of kit, and 1kg of impregnated G-Wax.

Carrying 12kg of kit, and 1kg of impregnated G-Wax.

In anticipation of a bog trot I’d spent the last few evenings before the TGO impregnating my boots with an entire tin of Grangers wax, brutally forcing in each application with my wife’s turbo hairdryer until they were screaming for mercy. I don’t care how hard Scottish water thinks it is, it wasn’t getting through my boot leather.

However to anybody planning to apply similarly liberal quantities of wax to your boots, be careful what you wish for! Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 – Preamble : Musings from a challenger in rehab

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Journeys End

I’ve been back home now for a week since completing the TGO, a week which has seen me clear the house completely of every last scrap of food in an effort to fend of what can only be described as an unnaturally large appetite. I’ve been shovelling calories down my throat faster than Sainsbury’s can home deliver it. All sorts of junk has been devoured and yet here’s the curious thing; I didn’t lose an ounce on the walk and I never felt hungry! So why the sudden hunger now? Continue reading

Heights of the Berwyns – 2 day trek

DSC00488My final overnighter before the TGO took me to the Berwyns in Wales, for a 34 mile (55 km) overnight trek taking in the main high points of the range;  Cadair Berwyn 830 metres (2,723 ft) , Moel Sych  827 metres (2,713 ft) and Cadair Bronwyn 784 metres (2,572 ft) .

The Berwyns are a favourite of mine. Being far less popular than their Snowdonia neighbours, there’s few better places within easy reach on a bank holiday weekend to get away from the crowds and have the mountains all to yourself. Once away from the valley bottom I met only two people in the hills over the two days. Bliss.

 

Continue reading