Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Perfect Trees

Thursday 23rd February

As has become the norm lately Pete and I were heading north for some hammock time in the piney woods, rather than waste a days holiday driving up we made a plan to head off at night and crash out in the van at the destination. The journey was fairly uneventful, the road works on A1 are starting to get shorter at long last, a twelve mile detour near Darlington meant we lost that time though. The A68 through Northumberland felt very bleak in the darkness but I think we only counted a handful of other cars on the stretch.
I’m not sure what time we reached the car park but it was gone 02:00 for sure, we had a quick brew and some munchies and got our heads down for a few hours until daylight. Pete opted to empty some gear from the van and get his Exped mat down in the back, I curled up on the front seat and surprisingly got a decent kip.

Friday 24th February

Sleeping in a car is never great but I had managed to sleep straight through until the daylight started to appear, another car had parked nearby and the sound of closing doors was enough to get me up.  I made good use of the amenities to hand (composting bog in the car park) and then gave Pete a shout, I needed coffee and porridge.

Slowly getting the kit unloaded

And we’re off into the piney woods

Hand railing a river all the way up the glen until we reached a ford

Just after the ford we branched right and into an area which Pete had described as a lost world, the heather was banked above head height so it would be a while before we reached the good bits.

Stopping for a brew break next to a small stream

Finding a few trees to sling the hammocks to wasn’t a problem, finding safe pitches without 100ft dead pines leaning over was another matter. We tried one pitch on a corner just where the valley narrows, after ten minutes of fighting the wind with the tarp I spat the dummy and declared we should move while we still had some daylight. We found a great patch in a secluded area right next to the river, nicely sheltered from the winds swinging around from the west.

We spent the night eating and drinking coffee, with a few slurps of rum to keep the chill off. Pete had packed his hobo stove so we had something to keep us busy, dry firewood was easy to get and plenty of Scots pine meant it was bright and hot.

Saturday 25th February

Despite messing about with borrowed cord the night before I’d managed to get the hammock setup nicely on the two Scots pines next to the water. I was up before Pete and was on my second brew before he appeared, he’d slept like a log too he said.

Morning Pete

My new camo Superfly looking pretty damn sexy

Looking north from the camp site

Looking south from the camp site

Some pics from around camp

Saturday PM we went for a bimble up the glen to explore past the tree line

Heading back to the woods

On the way back to camp we went for a look around in the woods further up the hill, I think this was the lost world place that Pete was talking about

Saturday night was a repeat of Friday really, eating, drinking and putting wood on the hobo, I think it was around 02:00 when we called it a night.

Sunday 26th February

After the late night I think it was gone 09:00 when I woke up, I cracked on the Jetboil while I went to water the plants, just timing it nicely on the way back to a rolling boil. I dug out my ipod and stuck on some tunes while I chilled out in the hammock with my brew, I dozed off again but only for ten minutes or so, the hot coffee had gone straight through me so I was sticking my boots on again fast.
Pete got up half an hour or so after me, we had porridge for breakfast and cinnamon and caramel coffees. We lazily packed up and headed out of the woods, there was a bit of mizzle at first but we were soon into the sunshine, so much for extreme cold weather camping this year.
Looking back to where we’d been, just dodging the worst of it by the looks.

The intrepid explorers

We spent the afternoon wandering back down the six miles or so back to the van, we did a shop run reloading with supplies and stuffing our faces with cakes and milk. From the new parking spot we headed for a path we’d not explored before, looking out for the perfect trees meant we ended up at a spot we’d seen on our last outing in the snow. It took some getting to but we just made it before it got too dark. The trees were huge, my 9ft straps and 14ft whoopies were only just long enough, my 30ft tarp ridgeline needed another 6ft at each end, nice hang spot though. Pete had dragged some coal up the hill to use in the hobo but as soon as we stopped for the day the winds picked up bringing in the clouds and mizzle. We both called it a night around 22:30 I think, I was knackered but couldn’t get to sleep for ages, I was too hot in the winter quilts but too cold if I laid on top, I stuck the ipod on and listened to some War of the Worlds until I fell asleep.

Monday 27th February

It was still pretty wild when I woke up, not much chance of a doze with the tarp flapping and listening out for branches falling, I got up had a brew and took some snaps around camp

We had Soreen for breaky and more caramel coffees, packed up and headed down the river and back to the van

Kit List:

ULA Ohm 2.0 pack
WB Custom Blackbird 1.1 SL
Dynaglide Whoopies from Dutch
DIY 9ft poly tree straps with Dutch Buckles
Stein 1.8mm 30ft ridgeline with Dutch Hook and Flyz
WB Camo Superfly
UKHammocks Custom Winter top quilt with 100g overfill
Speers Snugfit under quilt
DIY sil-nylon weathershield
Snugpak pillow
10 x Alpkit Tikes

Jetboil Sol Ti
100g Primus gas cart
Alpkit Lhoon (forgot this and had to carve a spoon on day two)
MSR Ti mug
Opinel No. 8
DrinkSafe Supalite filter system
1L Source Liquitainer
750ml sports bottle
Reflectix pouch cosy
Brew kit

Pacer Poles
Zebralight H51+ spare batt
4 x Niteize Glowrings
iPod Touch
Panasonic FS35 camera

Army wool headover
Berghuas Powerstretch fleece gloves
Outdoor Research Ninjaclava
Trekmates fleece beanie
Berghaus Paclite trousers
Rab Demand eVent smock
Extremities Tuff Bags mitts
Outdoor Research Transcendent down hoody
Heat Holder socks for bed
Alpkit Trekker socks
Brasher socks
Coolmax liner socks

Meraklon wristies
Stussy cotton cap
Paramo Velez smock
Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters
Woolpower 200g leggings
Woolpower 200g crew zip top
Icebreaker Oasis 200 LS crew
Haglofs Rugged Mountain pants
PHD socks
Coolmax liner socks
Scarpa ZG10 with green Superfeet

Adventure Medical .5 FAK + extra meds
Small wash kit (deodorant, toothbrush/paste, mini pack towel, Dr Bronners and Gehwol foot balm)
Poop pack
Alp-poop DIY trowel
Food for four days (mixture of bought and home dehydrated meals)
GSi hip flask containing rum

I’ll get a weight shortly when I pack for next weekend

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