Sunday, 29 June 2014 - New Lightweight Backpacking Forum

I've been considering starting up a forum for a while now and after talks with a friend we've managed to get something going. I wanted to create a UK and European based forum where members can share thoughts, ideas and experiences of all things to do with lightweight backpacking. There's going to be a lot of chat about kit, off the shelf stuff, MYOG and cottage industry offerings, discussions about all manner of hiking from footwear to camp food recipes.

I hope it grows into something that's both a useful resource as well as a nice place to hang out, as time goes on and if traffic increases, we'll add further areas of interest as well as the existing forums. If you think this might be something you're interested in, pop your head in and say hello.

Monday, 16 June 2014

More Eastern Fells

Friday 13th June

I was up in the Lakes last weekend with Limbo of this parish, half a day at work on Friday and then we scooted over in the afternoon. We parked at Kirkstone Inn and hoped to grab a bite to eat, but we were an hour too early so we made do with crisps and a pickled egg. Walking out of the pub and back to the car it was just starting to rain, by the time we were booted and ready to leave it was a good shower, nothing for it but to put on the waterproofs.
Straight out of the car park and your going up Red Screes, slippy in the wet with some interesting slabs midway up, after reaching the top you're greeted with a cluster of little pools.

Looking down to Windermere

Nice spot for a camp

Our destination barely visible, a small tarn on the opposite hill just below Little Hart Crag


Looking down to Brothers Water from Scandale Pass

Shelters up

Testing the new Vivos

We were treated to some nice colours in the sky as the sun set further in the west

Food was Mountain House chilli and rice, I'm not a MH fan but it's about the best one they do and it needed using up. Andy had the same meal but his had gone bad somehow, backup Ramen and cup-a-soup instead. After food we mooched about before retiring fairly early.

Saturday 14th June

I slept really well, I'd picked a great pitch for the DuoMid, the new Racer bag performed really well too. Andy grunted and we got up, I couldn't face porridge so scoffed cereal bars instead washed down with 3-in-1. We were packed up and away in good time, following the boundary line NE we made our way into up Scandale Head and into the mist.

Looking back down to the tarn where we camped

Boundary fence

As we reached Dove Crag we decided to nip down the hill to the Priests Hole, I took a slip on a moss covered rock and went down bending my Leki in the process, doh!

Down to the Priests Hole

Tarpaulins, foam pads, gas carts and food, it stinks of smoke and dog turd though

Great views from the cave

Back up onto the tops for Hart Crag then Fairfield before dropping down to Grisedale for lunch.

After a lunch break next to the waters edge we packed up and headed up the killer Tarn Crag and Dollywagon Pike. Over Nethernmost Pike and up onto Helvellyn, just as the clouds came in, typical.

Striding Edge in the mist

Cross shelter on Helvellyn

We cut our day a bit shorter than planned, only by a couple of km's but Andy's foot was giving him some trouble so we headed down to Red Tarn for the night.

After a pleasant day weatherwise, when the cloud came over the summit it also brought rain. Striding Edge looked like the M25 on a Friday afternoon so we took the quieter option down Swirral Edge instead. It was still fairly early in the day but we chose to stop and chill out by the tarn, after most of the day walkers had gone down we pitched the shelters on a raise out of the damp.

Very tidy for me


We dined on Dotties Chicken Dumplings as I'd brought a double portion, wow, a few more of those going on the order me thinks. Andy called it a night whilst I sat around dodging the midges and rain showers, finishing off some munchies then eventually crawling into my pit.

Sunday 15th June

I woke early, it must have been around 5, another great nights sleep. My pitch was wonky but I slipped my half empty pack under my feet which worked a treat. I gave Andy a call and we got up, not a bad morning

The Porridgemeister

By the time we'd packed up the mist had rolled in again, it didn't feel like camping at 700m but the cloud was a reminder.

Dropping out of the cloud we followed Red Tarn Beck down the valley

The interesting looking Greenside Mine at the top of Glenridding

We bimbled past the campsite and into Glenridding, I could tell by the vibe on the campsite that England must have lost to Italy the previous night, oh well, I'm glad I went camping instead :) We waited in Glenridding to catch a bus back to our car at Kirkstone Inn, £8 odd for the 6 mile journey for both of us, it seemed a bit steep but it was a fun ride going up the pass. A nice couple of days in good company and a few more Wainwrights to tick off the list.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Southern Fells - Lake District

I spent a few days in the SW Lake District last week with Teepee, more kit testing and plenty of hill practice ahead of our Cape Wrath Trail walk later in the year. We headed SW as it's an area neither of us have walked in before, I've paddled on Coniston many times and looked up at the surrounding hills but this time I would get to walk them.

Tuesday 20th May

Pete showed up at mine on Monday night and then we set off Tuesday morning, hitting rush hour traffic it was almost lunchtime by the time we reached Tilberthwaite car park, a quick final pack of the rucksacks and we were away.

Tilberthwaite Gill

Emerging from the cover of the trees we're greeted with the first view of Wetherlam, our first peak of the day

After reaching the summit of Wetherlam we continued westwards and up Prison Band until we reached Swirl How

At Swirl How we turned north and then west again before finding a running water source and scouting out a campsite for the night. We found a nice area just off the saddle between Great Carrs and Grey Friar, camp was setup and we kicked back for the remainder of the evening.

Half an hour or so after getting setup the skies darkened and we heard a few rumbles in the distance, a shortwhile later we were in the cloudbase with thunder and lightning going off all around us, always fun on top of a mountain.

The storm soon passed over and we were bathed in sunshine once again, we watched the black clouds and thunder roll up Mosedale and break over Scafell and it's neighbouring peaks, our destination for tomorrow. A fairly early night was had, I'd pitched poorly and didn't have the best nights sleep.

Wednesday 21st May

After packing up we came up with a plan for a shorter day which would put us in position to bag Bow Fell and Scafell the next day, a leisurely start with out of date porridge which turned out  like oaty soup.

Packed and ready

Our target, the bowl below Scafell

Lunch break was next to a lovely little river in a gorge at Cockley Beck Gill

Leaving Wrynose Bottom

After reaching the end of the path at the top of Mosedale we branched NE and up beyond Churn How to find a great campsite right next to the river in Green Hole.

Our route for tomorrow, up Yeastyrigg Gill to Ore Gap

Pete having a snooze in the hot afternoon sun

The midges were out in force, almost Scottish like with their persistence, time to break out the Wilmas Nordic Summer. The sun dropped behind the mountains and the temperature soon dropped, cool air began flowing down from the tops which was enough to force Pete to turn his shelter around.

Thursday 22nd May

After a better nights sleep I awoke early and peeked out of the shelter to see this

Our route shrouded in cloud

We made the decision to not bother going for the tops but instead dropped down the valley and figured out an alternative route for the day.

Using old map software is always a gamble, the forestry I'd picked out for a possible sheltered camp was no more

After doing what any Englishman would do, we stopped for a brew, made a plan and pushed on, continuing on the planned route and into tomorrows leg. 

The pretty River Duddon near Troutal

Our route would take us up along the edge of Seathwaite Tarn where we hoped to find a sheltered camp for the night, in all honesty it was horrid, struggling to find a flat enough area for two shelters and out of the wind was a challenge. we settled on a semi level area behind some rocks and got set up.

The NE winds hurled down Seathwaite and spilled over the dam and straight onto our camp, I lay for hours trying to sleep without much success, I eventually grabbed the MP3 player and drowned out the wind noise.


Friday 23rd May

The next morning couldn't come soon enough for me, I sat for a while before giving Pete a shout around 07:30, we packed up, skipped breakfast and headed out.

Reaching the end of the tarn we turned south and climbed a swine of a hill following Far Gill until we reached Goat's Hawse 

Goat's Water below Dow Crag

The Old Man, our next summit

Dropping down from the top we continued eastwards towards Miners Bridge and the Coniston Fells

After a killer climb out from Miners Bridge and up Hole Rake we would eventually end up back in the valley where we first started, we found a stunning campsite for our last night, it's so good I can't even tell you where it is.

We chilled out for our last night, despite the occasional shower it was a beautiful place to camp, again the midges came out for a nibble.

Morecambe Bay in the distance

Saturday 24th May 

I had a great nights sleep, the best I've had on the deck for a long time, with things to do we packed up in good time and headed home.

All packed up

Away down the hill back to the car