View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Kit failure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kit failure. Show all posts

Friday, 4 May 2018

Not Daundering, 23rd–25th April 2018

A naughty backpack from Clapham to Dent

This was all Mike’s idea, me Dawn, Lucky and Chrissie just went along for the ride. And the beer, there may have been beer involved.

Mike, for reasons that will become clear, is henceforth to be referred to as The Kilted Pieman. If I remember, which I probably won’t.

Anyroadup, me and Chrissie (who just happened to be on the same train as me) alighted at Clapham in t’Yorkshire Dales and wandered over to the pub – always a good move.

We were supposed to meet up with Lucky and his Dad plus Dawn at Lancaster station, but train delays and cancellations severely buggered-up their arrangements – hence the pub visit.

The New Inn is a fine establishment that serves, amongst other stuff, TT Landlord. A couple of beers after arriving the pub door flung open and LTD marched purposefully into the bar ahead of his Dad and Dawn and demanded beer with menaces.

It was raining and the latecomers were a tad soggy and damp.

It was still raining, but only a bit, as we left the pub and headed up to our camping spot at Gaping Gill.

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Spooky house

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A fine set of knees near Clapham Bottoms. Honest.

The area around Gaping Gill was quite murky and much of the ground was nicely adorned with sheep-poo – a clean(ish) pitch was hard to find.

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 Murk at Gaping Gill

The weather didn’t encourage outside-of-tent socialising so I stayed in for the evening and read a book (The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe) and listened to the wireless-type radio to catch up on the usual depressing news.

More depression followed when my NeoAir decided it would be a wizard prank to deflate slowly but quite surely. Lovely. I couldn’t find the puncture so ended up kipping on the teensiest bit of 5mm thick (thin?) foam mat. It wasn’t a comfortable night.

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Gaping Gill

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One dog and his man

Next morning we headed Ribbleheadwards, towards Ribblehead, famous for the Ribblehead Viaduct and a pretty decent pub, more of which later.

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A gentle bimble, at daunder pace (not that we were daundering – heaven forbid) to the foot of Ingleborough where it was a bit wet and the breeze was getting up. Dawn & Chrissie, being the sensible sorts they are, bravely volunteered to single-handedly guard The Kilted Pieman’s (see, I remembered) and my rucksacks whilst we ventured forth and upwards to conquer the peak’s lofty, er, peak.

This was a good ascent, we fought the elements and refused to falter – until eventually, exhausted and almost out of oxygen, we got to the top.

I’d like to say how fantastic the fantastic views were, how you could see the snow-covered Southern Uplands of Scotland, how clear Blackpool Tower was, and how we could easily see fellow walkers ascending neighbouring Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside. Except you couldn’t. You couldn’t see a damned thing, such was the thick cloud that enveloped us.

Ho hum.

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On top of Ingleborough

We descended to find our rucksacks abandoned in the rain whilst our brave guards sheltered in a tent – hastily erected as a last-ditch defence against marauding Swaledales. Their cunning plan worked, both they and our rucksacks were unharmed.

These girls are clever.

Next stop was the Station Inn at Ribblehead, purveyors of very good beer and magnificent pork pies. We drank the pies and ate the beer, all was well with the world.

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Approaching The Station at Ribblehead

After beer and pies we escaped the pub and, in between the rain showers, hurried to get the tents up.

Whinge warning:

Camping here is currently free but for how long I don’t know – there are some campers who don’t treat the area with respect. Broken glass, fires, rubbish left behind etc is all evidence of the irresponsibility of SOME visitors. They obviously don’t get the idea of ‘Leave no trace’. The farmer who owns the land isn’t going to put up with that sort of behaviour for long.

End of whinge.

Back to the pub for more food and even more beer….the food looked generally good although my pie could have been better. The good news was the landlord took my criticism on board and did something about it. I’m happy about that – I’ll certainly eat there again.

Another uncomfortable night followed. The wind and rain got windier and rainier and my NeoAir only held enough air for about 90 minutes of relative comfort before my bum and other bits came in contact with the cold ground. I had spare clothing which I was also lying on but it wasn’t enough.

I repaired the NeoAir when I got home….more later.

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It must have been very windy overnight, one of my tentpegs had become dislodged.

The intended 9am start was rescheduled to 11am ‘cos the weather forecast was pretty awful. Poor Chrissie had an attack of the flashing lights and had elected to bale out early – Ribblehead railway station was a very short walk from our camp spot and trains ran fairly regularly to get he back home so it was an easy decision.

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Leaving Chrissie behind we wandered alongside the Ribblehead viaduct to walk up to Blea Moor. The promised foul weather didn’t arrive, not in the Dales anyway – although I gather it was pretty grim dahn sarf.

A military-looking tracked vehicle had been spotted going up the hill earlier in the day. As we ascended it came back down to meet us.

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Onward, upwards and over Blea Moor, we were planning on the hoof. We’d pretty well decided that we’d just make our way to Dent by the prettiest way possible – that included a lovely Mossy Bottom picnic spot by the railway line and a wander down a section of the Dales Way.

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It would have been nice to stop for a beer….

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…but the pub was shut

The weather remained fine as we trundled down the road to Dent, only to find that we’d just missed a train. Being as wot the sun was sort of shining we found a nice little spot on the banks of the River Dee (no, not THAT River Dee) where we just chilled. In fact we chilled so much that we needed to wrap up, the sun may have been shing but the breeze wasn’t so warm.

A lot of contour lines were crossed in rapid succession as we wandered up to Dent Station, where, incidently, it was bloody freezing.

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A wall heater in the waiting room did the neccesary, as long as you didn’t sit on it. The heater that is, not the waiting room.

Then we all went home via Leeds.

It was good, very laid back and a lot of fun. I don’t know how far we walked but it wasn’t too far – it didn’t need to be.

Thanks to Lucky for inviting me along and to Mike, Chrissie and Dawn for putting up with me.

One last thing….for Alan, ‘cos he likes this sort of thing:

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 So that was it. A great little trip that definitely wasn’t a Daunder.

What actually happened can be read:

Chrissie’s blog

The Kilted Pieman’s blog

Dawn’s blog

More pics


Oh, and another last thing: the punctured NeoAir.

It was pure coincidence that last week, my mate John B from Bramhall, who’s currently walking LeJoG, phoned me with a SitRep and to report a similarly punctured NeoAir and consequent cold bum.

He tried to repair it with the repair kit supplied by Thermarest but it just didn’t do the job. He ended up using E6000 glue. Two applications were used: the first one to actually seal the puncture, the second as a reinforcement.

That was over two weeks ago and the repair has held, certainly up to a couple of days ago.

I didn’t have any E6000 to hand but I nipped over to Go Outdoors and bought a tune of SeamGrip

This stuff is recommended for all sorts of repairs – including puncturedsleeping mats.

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Two layers of the stuff on my NeoAir seems to have done the trick – although I’ll be carrying the tube of SeamGrip with me on the Challenge – just in case.







Thursday, 26 March 2015

18 – 21 March 2015, A Llangynllo to Caersws backpack

Day 1, Llangynllo to Beacon Hill

On Wednesday afternoon Mike and I got off the train at Llangynllo station, a tiny station, secreted in someone’s back garden. Very odd.

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The Plan for the day was to walk a few miles and pitch for the night, which is exactly what we did. Clear skies and a cold breeze ensured a cold night’s camp. Fortunately we’d come well prepared: woolly undies, thick socks, pies, and lashings of whiskey hot chocolate.

This trip was planned by Mike and he’d researched the area well. He wanted to tick some tops and the route was put together with this in mind. Potential pitches were checked for potentialness by studying his maps of the area and one of the Cairngorms. This certainly paid off, we now know there’s a brilliant place to camp by the Cairngorm Club Footbridge, close to the Lairigh Ghru. Oh, and some lovely pitches in this sparsely populated area of Wales.

This area really is beautiful. Okay, the weather couldn’t have been better, but really, this area is stunning. There’s loads of interesting features: ditches, dykes, tumuli, windfarms and loads more. Better still, it’s quite unspoilt. Apart from the windfarms.

P1040037The first hill of the trip was Pool Hill which had a little pool to the SW of it’s top. This hill was incorporated into the few miles of tarmac, Land Rover tracks and footpaths, including Glyndwr’s Way, to our first overnight stop. Our pitch had decently flat ground, running water close(ish) by, and a fine chorus of croaking frogs and froglets.

P1040039  First night’s pitch, close to Beacon Hill

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GPX route 1Our route for the day, very clearly defined (eh?) by a purple squiggly thing.

Starting at the bottom right and finished at the top left of the map. 4.4 miles, 900’ ascent

It was a damned cold night, lots of hot chocolate (and other stuff) was consumed in the interest of warding off the coldness. Once in our sleeping bags we stayed put until the morning, it was too chilly to be sociable. Thanks heavens for the ‘I’ newspaper and BBC R4. My new toy, a Thermarest Neoair, did the job well.

Day 2, Beacon Hill to Kerry Hill

An early night meant an early morning, or it should have done. It was better to stay in my cosy sleeping bag until around 8am, it being so very cold. Even the Akto’s built-in shower was only able to provide a shower of ice crystals.

P1040047Frosty tents

Beacon Hill has a trig point set on a tumulus, one of four tumuli on the summit if the 1:50K OS map is to be believed. This was our first objective of the day – if you didn’t count all the coffee I needed to kickstart my body.

P1040050 Mike on Beacon Hill

Heading north (and downhill) we came across a fenced-off area that at first glance appeared to perhaps be an open pit. On closer inspection we found a pile of rotting carrion, surrounded by snares – perhaps to catch unwary foxes:

P1040054Look carefully and you’ll see a snare. I’m not sure of the legality of such traps.  

Careful study of the OS map revealed the presence of a pub in Felindre, about 3 miles north of Beacon Hill. As our route took us through Felindre we decided that we could be considered rude if we didn’t call in the pub for cup of tea, and maybe a nice scone. The pub was easy to find but our beer tea and scones would have to wait:

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P1040064Our fan club 

We continued, thirstily, to our next goal – Anchor. Anchor, for those not in the know, is the start point for the annual Across Wales Walk. I was more than a bit disappointed to find that the Anchor Inn at Anchor had closed down, a very sad sight (and site) indeed:

P1040066 A very shocked Mike, dazed by the realisation that beer wasn’t coming our way that day.

Not (very) disheartened, we continued our merry way to the Kerry Ridgeway, an ancient route running from Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire (famous for the Three Tuns Brewery) and Cider House Farm in Powys, which may or may not have been famous for cider.

P1040070Ceri Wood 

We joined the route at Kerry Pole:

P1040072 What I didn’t realise at the time was that Kerry Pole is the site of a megalithic stone circle. Had I known, I’d have spent a bit more time there. Oh well, onwards:

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We were only into our second day of this trip but it was remarkable in that we’d seen very few people so far: the previous day we met a farmer who was curious to know what we were up to, on this day we saw a family out for a walk along with dad(?), a gorilla of a fat bloke, ill-treating his doggy. We weren’t at all impressed by this behaviour one teeny little bit. Some folk should just not be allowed to have dogs. Or children. It’s a shame, his children seemed quite nice.

This unpalatable episode was almost forgotten when we came a across another doggy owner walking his barmy labrador along the Kerry Ridgeway. This lovely bloke walked his doggy miles and miles every day. And he was a motorcyclist. The man, not the doggy. At least I don’t think so.

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The Kerry Ridgeway was crossed by Cross Dyke, one of the many dykes in the area. Two Tumps was (were?) adjacent to where the dyke crossed the Kerry Ridgeway. I thought that the Two Tumps was me and Mike.

P1040087I photographed Cross Dyke but forgot to photograph Two Tumps. Worratump. 

More Kerry Ridgewaying took us to Kerry Hill and the search for a pitch for the night. A nice little spot, flat and grassy, presented itself and our two Aktos were quickly erected:

P1040076Akto Central, Kerry Hill

Kit failure

Another cold night followed. In my case it was a slightly worrying night too. I’d avoided buying a Thermarest Neoair for some years, simply because of the problems that other owners had experienced – namely delamination / internal baffle failure, and overnight deflation. I was more than a bit miffed to find that my brand-new Neoair’s internal baffles had begun to fail after just one night’s use. A small bulge was developing at the bottom end of the mat. Fortunately the bulge was in a position not to cause me a problem, but it was certainly a concern. The Neoair will be going back to Gaynor’s later this week. 

Anyway, the day’s travels:

GPX route 2b

The second bit: Felindre (of closed pub fame) to Kerry Hill

GPX route 2aThe first bit: Beacon Hill (nearly) to Felindre 

12.3 miles, 1900’ ascent

 

Day 3, Kerry Hill to Cobbler’s Gate…

….well it was very close to Cobbler’s Gate. With a name like that I just had to include it in the write-up. 

The RAF were out to play today. Fast jets were flying around, it looked like they were having great fun. A low flying Hercules trundled in front of us, the pleasant rumble of it’s engines wasn’t at all intrusive.

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P1040093Then a funny thing happened. The sky darkened a little bit, the birdies stopped singing a little bit, it chilled a little bit, and then out of nowhere a mysterious flying object streaked across the sky – could this be the RAF’s new stealth fighter?

P1040083The picture quality is poor, I didn’t have time to set the camera up – it was literally shoot and ask questions later.

Oh, and then there was the partial eclipse. That was good, even though we couldn’t see it.

Mike wanted to whizz up some lumpy little hills so our route wandered around quite a bit. It was none the worse for that, in fact it just prolonged the sheer pleasure of being in this lovely area in grand weather.

The first lump entailed a bit of trespassing going somewhere where we weren’t supposed to. Never mind, nobody saw us climb the hill without a name at SO089852. Not even the farmer at Glog Farm. 

So busy were we yacking that we turned up a Land Rover Track at Bryn Dadlau that we should have walked past, it just seemed to go the right way – uphill. It was only a minor error and we were soon back on track.

Pegwn Mawr was next, with it’s broken Belfast sink, ancient cairns, and seemingly even more ancient (and certainly more knackered) windmilly generator things. At 586m ASL this top is very significant. Or something. Ask Mike, he knows these things.

P1040107  Posing at Pegwn Mawr’s trig point

P1040108Pegwn Mawr’s Belfast sink (broken) and the cairn – which appears to be a midge’s wotsit higher than the trig point. And a load of mainly knackered windmilly things.

The man at the Beeb warned of wet weather coming in from the west, it was certainly getting cloudy – still good walking weather though.

The rest of the day’s walking was on really good tracks, the best surfaced of which were windfarm service roads. We walked north, which the more observant of you will notice is NOT east. But this is Wales, not Scotchlandshire. And it’s not May either.

About 5 miles of really easy walking took us to our intended pitch for that night around Cwmffrwd at SO041876. Whilst it looked good on the map it was completely unsuitable – loads of dead bracken, boggy bits, lumpy bits etc. We eventually spotted a half-decent patch of almost grass-type stuff on only a bit very lumpy and only slightly very boggy ground. It was mostly out of sight of the road, and better still, it had a lovely stream running by.

P1040110A not so cold night followed. The cloud was well and truly cloudy by 7pm and we were ready for the promised rain, which didn’t actually arrive. One thing about wild camping in the cold, you get plenty of sleep – once in your tent you’re unlikely to surface until the next morning.

The day’s wanderings (right to top left):

GPX route 3

16.7 miles with 1700’ ascent

 

Day 4, Cobbler’s Gate to Caersws.

The cloud of the previous evening had vanished and the sun was shining brightly.

P1040112Catkins in the morning sun

It was a short and sunny walk into Caersws and it’s train station = the end of our trip. The tea room in the village provided mugs of tea and butties, very civilised. I even managed a quick wash and shave in the tea room’s wash room.

There seems to be some local resistance to the expansion of the local windfarms – a particularly effective poster was on display in the teashop:

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The only pub that was open in the village at that hour had just the one handpump on, serving Feeling Foul Felinfoel - that was in worse than poor condition. Lager & Guinness were the only alternatives….beggars can’t be choosers.

P1040120 For Alan

The last day’s walk:

GPX route 4

4.1 miles and 580’ descent

I was expecting a good few days away, I wasn’t expecting it to be so good though. The area is superb for backpacking, I’ll definitely be going back before too long. Thanks to Mike for his great company, coming up with the idea and then putting it all together, it’s a plan I certainly wouldn’t have come up with.  I really enjoyed it!

More photographs are here.

Mike’s version of events can be read here.

Walklakes.co.uk

Our route was tracked using my Garmin Etrex20 with 1:50K OS maps installed. The mileages and ascents were gleaned from both the Garmin and by loading the resulting GPX files to the very excellent WalkLakes (free) OS mapping website. WalkLakes is well worth a visit.