Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas

AktoMan has kindly made a imagemap for my Lego Advent Calendar over on Youtube.

So here's your chance to see the whole thing.

A big thanks to Duncan for putting this together.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to anyone who is still reading.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Podzine and outdoors bloggers

This week's podzine is up at the Outdoors Station. Santa Bob describes this week's show as thus:

This week we chat with the on-line enthusiasts who are keeping a log of their activities and share their passion for their hobby for us all to enjoy. We catch up with Judy Armstrong on her return from her 4000 mile Via Alpina trip and meet some popular outdoor bloggers to find out why they do, what they do! Plus of course we announce the competition winner for the Lightwave rucksack and launch another exciting prize!

The Podzine 17/12/07

Download MP3 File

Of particular interest to me is a interview I did with Andy Howell; about the blogging scene.

This interview was done awhile back so I had forget most I what I was asked and answered.

John Hee also appears in this show; and more bloggers will appear in later Podzines.

Monday, 10 December 2007

UK Outdoor Bloggers Christmas Pantomine

This may well be a first for the UK outdoor on-line community.

So please be generous with your applause (and boos) as we welcome you to enjoy a walk with the 2007 UK Outdoor Bloggers Christmas Pantomine.

Or is it all enjoyment?

Follow a mutiple track route to try to get to the bloggers party on time.....or will all the refreshments have gone by the time you arrive?


It had rained during the night but upon waking you notice that it has stopped and there is that fresh feeling you get after a storm in the air.

Opening your tent; you see that the sun is just starting to peer over the distance mountains and the light is glistening on the little tarn in front of your tent.

A week earlier you had received the invite to the bloggers party; which had brought you to this place on this morning.

Eager to be on your way you pack away quickly and start off down to the village, whose lights you had seen the previous night.

Once in the village, you spy a cafe serving breakfast. You decide that it would be best to grab a bite to eat now; as there is nowhere between here and where the party is being held.

Over breakfast you study the map for today's route; everything looks fairly straightforward, although there is a very steep climb for the 1st hour but wait on closer inspection you see a different path that you had not noticed before.

This route looks slightly longer and further east than the original one. There seems to be some interesting copses and other features along this route on the map.

Paying for your breakfast you shoulder your pack and make your way out of the village. The path goes up between two limestone walls and gradually starts to climb up to a little copse.

At the copse; the path splits, the original route going to the left and the new route to the right.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Great Podzine, Great Prize

Podcast Bob’s latest podcast, podzine show number 5 is up and this week there is the chance to win an Alpkit 400 Pipedream sleeping bag.

Not only that but there are interviews with Ordnance Survey regarding digital on-line mapping and Alpkit for their Colab 08 competition.

Plus a couple of reviews; of outdoors magazines. Which one’s, download the podzine to find out.

As usual the podzine can be downloaded via iTunes or your favourite podcatcher, or at The Outdoors Station website or click on the player below to listen.

The Podzine 12/11/07

Download MP3 File

Sunday, 28 October 2007

A little early

A surprise for Sunday evening; The Podzine Issue Three is already available.

So no waiting until tomorrow for your weekly slice of Podcast Bob and the outdoors scene.

The Podzine 29/10/07

Download MP3 File

Monday, 22 October 2007

The Podzine Issue Two

Issue Two of ‘The Podzine’ is up and really to be downloaded.

This week’s issue has interviews with Terra Nova and Leki about their new ranges for 2008, a couple of reviews for books plus the podzine diary.

There is also a new competition for a chance to win a signed Ronald Turnbull Book.

As usual the podzine can be downloaded via iTunes or your favourite podcatcher, or The Outdoors Station website or click on the player below to listen.

The Podzine 22/10/07

Download MP3 File

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

If the cap fits

I had an email yesterday from Podcast Bob, letting me know that I was one of the lucky winners of his GoLite competition.

Today the postie brought me, my prize a nice shiny GoLite cap.

Golite cap

A big thanks to Bob and GoLite for the competition.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Podcast update

Remember I said that Bob Cartwright AKA Podcast Bob was looking to have a weekly outdoors podcast; well it looks like today is the start of the new podcasts.

“New Style Weekly Podzine for Outdoors Fans!
Monday the 15th October see the launch of a new weekly audio magazine show The Podzine for outdoors fans everywhere. We want to reach enthusiasts on all levels everywhere and especially retailers! The more people we can reach, the more great programmes we can produce!

The first show, includes an interview with Inov-8 designer Graham Jordison for some background information about the new Rocklite 390 GTX and Chris Watts distributor of MSR gear in the UK, who explains what make the Reactor stove so efficient. Plus there’s a head to head review of Novembers Trail and TGO Magazine, a what’s on diary for the next few weeks and a competition win some some great Golite products!“

As usual the podcasts can be downloaded from The Outdoors Station or your favourite podcatcher.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Food on the trail

Like most backpackers; I`m always on the lookout for ways to improve my food when out backpacking.

This has led to me owning a small stack of cook books for backpackers.

The lastest addtion is Freezer bag cooking (trail food made simple).

This book is sightly different to the other books mainly because the meals are cooked in a freezer bag (no more dirty pots!).

The book is broken down into the usual meals of the day breakfast, lunch, and dinner but does had some added categories like drinks, salads & vegetables, soups.

The book also has a chapter on Techinques & Gear.

Most of the meals are based on the usual backpacking stable foods, namely couscous, rice and pasta.

Freezer Bag Cooking sell quite a range of equipment along with the cookbook, I bought the book as part of a starter kit which included a cozy, two ziploc bags and a long handled spoon.

All the meals are straight forward to prepare, although some of the ingredients maybe a bit harder to find in the U.K.

One reason I bought the starter kit was for the cozy. Cozies seen to be the ‘new’ way of helping food cook quicker and use less fuel in the process. As someone who has have problems with a) running out of fuel and b) waiting around for food to cook; I am intersted to see how well the cozy works.

Darren is conducting another one of his tests on cozies, so to will be interesting to see what he comes up with. I will post my finding on the FBC cozy when I get a chance to test it.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

New Vidcasts

It look like there will some new vidcasts, hitting the blogosphere in the next few months.

Cameron McNeish was bought himself a digital video camera and looks to be embarking on making vidcasts for his blog and also over on the TGO website.

It be interesting to see what direction these vidcasts will take; will it be an extension to the podcasts, with Cameron walking the hills of Scotland or interviews with other hillwalkers out on the hills.

Unlike podcasts which are normally mp3 format and can be loaded onto any mp3 player. Video can come in a lot of different formats which will player O.K. on a computer but may need converting to play on a portable device.

My mini media player will only play back file that are in the .asf format, so I have to convert most video’s if I want to take them with me and this can be a time consuming process.

I`m looking forward to this new venture in vidcasts.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Are Podcasts in decline?

Please note that this was a post I start back in July but never finished. I've keep most of the original and just updated the rest.

As far as I know there are only a handfull of hiking/backpacking podcasts; but are we starting to see the demise of outdoor podcasts.

Already we have lost the trailcast podcasts which haven't been seen in over a year, Practical backpacking having started of like a steam train with roughly 25+ quality podcasts in less than a year, have had nearly 3 months between the last two.

The Wildebeat which has recently passed 100 episodes, is starting to struggle as its lastest podcast seems to imply. Although this particular podcast gives a good insight into the amount of work needed to put one together.

Backpacking Light Magazine although fairly new to the podcast scene (but the magazine has been around for some time.) look to have plenty of editors and contributors to keep this podcasts running.

One thing all the above have are that they are U.S. based and in the main deal with U.S issues and U.S. personnel.

Although they are all good podcasts and the content is pretty good; they are great for a listen to while commuting or when stuck in a tent but if they were to stop tomorrow I would miss them but as with a lot of podcasts I`ve subscribed to that have stopped, I've got used to it.

One podcaster in the last couple of years; that has made a big mark on the U.K. market is Podcast Bob. Bob has used the last two TGO challenges to product a 10-part series for 2006 and a 14-part one for 2007. In the past year Bob has had a partner in Andy Howell and between them they have produced some excellent shows with interviews from Paddy Dillion, Ronald Turnbull to informative shows about ultralight hiking and Bob & Andy's big days out.

It seems as though Bob is also coming to a point where the podcasts are starting to take up a lot of Bob's time (link) .

Like I say further along in that thread, personally I would be happy to pay some sort of subscription if need be, I know that the American one's are looking for subscriptions but as most of the imformation is not irrelevant to the U.K. I can't see me pay for them.

Some of the people/magazines that started out on Bob's channel have gone off to product their own podcasts namely Cameron McNeish and TGO; although again the ouput from them is not that high.

Hopefully the outdoor/hiking podcasts will continue and maybe a few more will join the fray.


It does seem as though Bob is looking to embark on a new podcast and do a weekly magazine style edition.

I`ve only picked it up through the forums on OUTDOORSmagic so don't know much more about it.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Move along nothing to see

Not much happening in the world of Londonbackpacker at present :-(

But a couple of fellow bloggers have packed their (lightweight) rucsac's and headed off to greener pastures.

First is BeardedGit AKA BG AKA Stef who has moved twice; his new pitch is at BG

Secondly Weird Darren AKA Whitespider1066 AKA Darren the Buff Hater. Darren's new pitch is at whitespider1066

Will we see more bloggers shouldering their packs and hiking into the sunset and a new camping site in cyberspace.

Watch this space :-)

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Ultimate Outdoors with Julia Bradbury & Nick Crane

My recent post only seem to be about T.V; I must try to get out more!

Wainwight bagger Julia Bradbury has another new show starting On Friday 17th August at 9.00pm on BBC1.

Ultimate rock climb sees Julia Bradbury tackle three of the U.K's toughest summits.

The three climbs are < Commando Ridge in Cornwall, Crackstone Rib in Snowdonia and the Old Man of Stoer in Scotland.> >

So not to spoil the show; I`ve blanked out the names of the climbs but if you wish to see them just drag across between the <->

Also next week Nick Crane starts an eight part series entitled Great British Journeys. This one starts on the 14th August on BBC2 at 8.00pm

In the first episode Nick following scientist Thomas Pennant's 1772 route through the Herbrides.

In the other episodes Nick follows in the footsteps of other travellers such as Celia Fiennes, Daniel Defoe, William Cobbett and one of my favourite authors H.V. Morton.

For us walkers who can't get out on to the hills the the next couple of months are looking quite good on the television.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

You either love it or hate it

With all the rain and flooding we have had in the last month, the conditions are perfect for mosquitoes and we are in for a plague of the wee beasties.

But help is at hand; the way to beat these beasties is to eat MARMITE.

It seems as holidaymakers in Norfolk are the first to be attacked.

Best get down to the supermarket and stock up; nothing like a bit of panic buying.

It will be interesting to see if marmite sales are up over the next few weeks.

Alternatively take Vitamin B.

For more on this, and a handy cutout and help guide visit here

It must be a slow news day on Fleet Street (I know most of the papers aren't on Fleet street anymore).

Sunday, 29 July 2007

T.V. Update

The first episode of Mountain is on tonight at 9.00pm on BBC1. The listing for this episode seem to be a bit confusing, so its either North Scotland or Wales.

This is followed on BBC4 by a new series of Wainwright's Walks at 10.00pm, Julia Bradbury tackles Britain's favourite mountain Helvellyn.

After this Griff Rhys Jones has another show A Pembrokeshire Farm, which is GRJ restores his own farm in north Pembrokeshire.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Hunka Hunka - Burnin Love

Finally got my hands on the new Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag.

It look a nice piece of kit and a steal at £25.

I just got to find the time and weather to use it.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

New T.V programmes

If work or the weather is stopping you getting out; there are a couple of new T.V. programmes that may be of interest.

First up; the wacky trio from Top Gear are planning a 450 mile trip to the magentic North pole.

Being Top Gear the mode of transport is going to be a little out of the ordinary, Clarkson and May will be using a specially converted vehicle while Hammond will be using a team of 10 Canadian Inuit dogs.

The challenge is to see who will reach the pole first.

This is showing on Wednesday 25, 8pm on BBC Two and Sunday 29, 8pm on BBC Two.

The Second programme is Mountain with Griff Rhys Jones. This is a five part series and Jones will be walking/climbing in the main areas of the U.K. By the look of things two episodes will be in Scotland with the rest in Wales, the Lakes and the Pennines.

There is no confirmed time for this yet but it looks like it will start on Sunday 29 July on BBC One

Post Office Woes

The postman tried to deliver a parcel on Thursday but no-one was home. So I went to pick it up this morning but guess what it hasn't been returned to the depot.

Me : So after two days the parcel isn't back.

Woman Behind Counter: yes; the postman was probably on holiday yesterday and probably stored the parcel.

Me: Stored it where?

WBC: Well; if they are on holiday they stored the parcels.

Me: What they take them home with them?

WBC: No! their not allowed to do that! They stored them. It won't be back until Monday. NEXT!!!!!

So I don't have my
Hunka to play with.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

New photograph pages

My account at PBase has nearly run out; so I`ve decided to move my pictures over to Flickr.

Flickr makes it easier to direct link pictures from there to the blog, so Hopefully it means I won't have to load pictures up twice.

I`ve added a flickr badge to the sidebar and below is the link to the Backpacking pages.

New Photographs page

Ultralight Hiking

A new podcast from Bob/Andy

This is a great podzine hosted by Andy Howell where he talks at great length to Colin Ibbotson (the lightest man on the recent TGO Challenge) and Roman Ackl (lighthiker from Germany) about the ethos, mindset and gear for successful lightweight hiking in Northern Europe.

Available through any good podcast catcher.

110 grammes

Looks like Trail Magazine has a scoop on the newest lightweight tent in town.

110 gm lighter that the Terra Nova Laser Comp.

My guess is that it is still a Terra Nova, judging by the design.

Funny I thought Trail weren't into lightweight.

There is no sound on the video clip

Saturday, 7 July 2007

The Grand Depart

I`ve always been a cycling nut.

At School I rode for the school's track cycling team and was always on a bike in my spare time. It was nothing to ride 70/80 miles a day at the weekend or travel down to Whitstable or Herne Bay for the day.

But Fags, Booze, and Girls (in that order) put pay to the cycling, but I continued to be interested in the sport and read about it.

One ambition was to one day see the Tour de France live, either in the Alps, Pyrenees or on the Champs Elysees but like they say life sometimes gets in the way.

Today I finally got the chance to see the Tour not in France but here in London.

The streets around central London were absolutely packed, I can't believe that so many people are interested in a cycle race, in most places along the route it was 3-4 people deep and the crowds in the parks watching the big screens were massive.

As this was the prologue; it wasn't a case of waiting for a couple of hours and then 189 riders whizzing by. It was a leisurely 7.9 km race against the clock and each rider going on their own, so we got to see them all, in a little under 3 hours although the buggers still whizzed by.

Before the racing starts the sponsors go round the course advertising their wears, most of the sponsors are European so a lot are unheard of in the U.K. This was one part of the whole Tour I was disappointed in as the sponsors normally give out freebies to the crowds. Toay the freebies seemed a bit thin on the ground, mainly a few pens and inflatable hands; although this didn't stop two people close to me fighting over an inflatable.

We were hoping for a British winner today in the Prologue; with either Bradley Wiggins or David Millar but unfortunately Wiggins was only 4th and Millar 13th

Other than that London had a great day for the Tour.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Long way down

It seems as though Charley and Ewan are on a new adventure.

Long Way Down is the latest motorbike adventure with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. They are travelling down through Europe, and then Africa – from Tunisia to South Africa, via countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia. It is a follow-up to the Long Way Round trip in 2004, where the pair rode their motorbikes from London to New York, travelling east across Europe, Russia and the United States. As on Long Way Round, they will be accompanied by Executive Producers/Directors Russ Malkin and David Alexanian.

Looking at the website they started back on 14/05/2007

The route can be seen here

The BBC will be showing the series sometime in the Autumn.

It seems as though the boys are having fun camping.

Greed is good.

And sometimes it's funny too.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Tick, mozzies and now...

Albino plastic ducks.

It seems as though the SW coast of England is about to be invaded by albino plastic ducks.

Full story here.

This could turn into another Branscombe beach., especially if the prices for items are to believed.

Maybe I should leave my rubber ducky in the Sun for a few weeks and see how much I can get for it.

Possible Albino Duck

Wanna be a TV star?

It looks like Virgin Media are look for adventurers for their new Virgin 1 T.V. channel.

If you are over 21 and fancy a challenge; they are looking for people who would benefit from an inspiring global adventure.

The show will be hosted by Leo Houlding

Email: or call 020 7882 1092

Sounds like a U.K version of The Amazing Race

Monday, 25 June 2007

It's all free on web 2.0 (or at least some people think it is)

I don't normally go 'off-topic' on this site (maybe I should and get more posts in); but over the last few months, I noticed a growing trend in some people/companies think that everything on the web is there for the taking.

The lastest one; which has prompted me to post about it, involves a Porno dvd, taking an image of a 14 year old girl! and using it as the cover!

LINK The link is safe; it goes to a Flickr account.

Its not only that they have taken the image but also the nasty emails when she complained about its use.

Another victim of this kind of theft is Rebekka Gudleifsdóttir her story can be read here.

These two examples are extreme cases but even big companies like the BBC are trying to get photographs for nothing.

The BBC use their photographic competitions as a way of building up a huge picture library and getting all their images for free.

In their T&C's you agree to the BBC doing what they like with your picture.

Contributions to

9. Where you are invited to submit any contribution to (including any text, photographs, graphics, video or audio) you agree, by submitting your contribution, to grant the BBC a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, play, make available to the public, and exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to your contribution worldwide and/or to incorporate your contribution in other works in any media now known or later developed for the full term of any rights that may exist in your contribution, and in accordance with privacy restrictions set out in the BBC's Privacy Policy. If you do not want to grant to the BBC the rights set out above, please do not submit your contribution to

This is yet another example of the vaunted "citizen journalism" the BBC and other seem keen to trumpet - mainly because it saves them money.

If the BBC want to use your pictures then they should pay market rate for them. They wouldn't expect an article for free, so why should images be. This is even worse than asking for images already taken - they're effectively after a free photographer to cover a specific event.

Below is a article published by John Tracy of The Bureau of Freelance Photographers.

Few things make me mad these days. Amongst them: those who drive with music blaring loudly from their cars (why do these people think that others want to share their idea of entertainment?); people who have loud conversations on their mobile phones in public places (do we want to listen in on their banal chatter?); but what makes me most angry of all is organisations that exploit photographers by publishing their work without payment.

Over the years, we at the BFP have exposed many examples of this behaviour. Sometimes its a magazine that publishes pictures without paying or even creditting the photographer, and I'm not just referring to the smallest titles either. Some years ago, the UK biggest magazine publisher had a policy of not paying for pictures published in one of its titles. When the BFP approached the managing director of that company, he responded by saying that pictures are submitted by amateurs, "so why should we pay them?".

He added, "besides they like to see their pictures in print."

Well even professionals like to see their pictures in print, but they also expect a cheque in the post too. We plugged away and now, I'm happy to say, you can be safe in the knowledge that all IPC magazines - including railway titles - pays for pictures.

With the advance of the internet, there are even more examples of photographer exploitation, but we did not expect the BBC - that once great bastion of responsible and ethical broadcasting - to join this trend. Yet they, too, feel it is perfectly acceptable to publish images on its website without payment of any kind to the photographer concerned. This is pure exploitation. It is made worse by the fact that the BBC is such an important icon of British life. Most of us have grown up with "Auntie" and have an inherent fondness for the corporation. Yet the BBC has a stated policy of not paying for publically contributed images. Thus even important news pictures, can be freely used by the BBC, and perhaps even syndicated around the world with no payment going to the owner.

We have received a number of complaints from our members about this, many of whom consider themselves semi professionals or amateurs.

As if by way of justification, the BBC emphasises that the photographers "retains the copyrights of their images". Of course they do! And they would they retain the copyright even if the pictures were paid for. In law, a photographer automatically owns the copyright of the pictures he takes, except where he is an employee of the organisation using the pictures. The fact that the BBC introduces this red herring suggests they are feeling a little guilty about what they are doing. We are supposed to read, "the photographer still owns the copyright" and think, "oh, thats ok then, I'll submit my pictures even though I won't get paid.".

The fact is, every picture has a value. A photograph adds value wherever it is is published - be it in a magazine or on a website. It makes no difference whether it comes from an amateur or professional photographer. If a picture is worth publishing, it is worth paying for. It is as simple as that.

I`ve been approached a few (3) times about some of the pictures I have on the web.

The email usually contains the sentence:

While we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos

After checking out the company; I send an email saying that they can use my picture as long as I receive payment for it. So far, I`ve never heard back from any of them.

So far as I know the images haven't been used but there isn't any real way of finding out about these and the other pictures I have on the web.

I`m pretty sure these people would never expect people like Parr, Furmanovsky,or McCurry to give away their images.

There are ways to protect ourselves by not publishing hi-res pictures, adding a watermark but unfortunately the only real way is not to post images on the web.

So don't be to surprised if one day you are surfing the web or walking down a high street and see a picture that looks very familiar; it may just be yours.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

TGO challenge continued

I`ve had no internet for the past couple of days :-( So I been missing some of the newer reports coming in from TGO challengers.

Here are two new ones.

Theo's Photographs


Caburn Chamberlain's slideshow

Both these sites have some wonderful pictures from this years challenge.

Monday, 4 June 2007

TGOC account II

Another TGOC account has appeared; this one is from Steve Smith

TGO 2007 Steve Smith’s Fourth Crossing

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Random doddles

Well; I`ve been back over a week and the memories of doing the walk are fading fast.

I have the video's and the photographs but I`m already starting to forget about some aspects of the walk. I was looking at the guide book I used to help work out distances and were campsites would be, and there are parts of it I think did we walk through the part? Obviously we did it's just that I`m stuggling to remember some parts.

Maybe it's CJD or maybe it's just a natural thing that happens.

The blisters still haven't healed properly; there still are two holes in my feet.

One reaction that I didn't notice until SWMBO pointed it out; was that both my feet had swollen, this may explain why I had problems walking on the last day. I thought it was the blisters.

I`m already in the process of look for the next walk; candidates are: The West Highland Way, The Cumbria Way, The Furness Way, or The Westmoreland Way.


Andy Howell has already posted some reprots for this years TGOC and I`m sure that there is more to come in the way of podcasts from him and Podcast Bob; but if you are after something in the meantime, Martin Banfield has a blog of his crossing.


Yesterday I went to Rochester in Kent for the annual Dickens festival. Rochester has a long history with Dickens. The whole city is turned over to the characters of Dickens books.

I took some video of the parade through the town centre.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Stills from the Dales Way

Final set of pictures from the Dales Way

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Random thoughts

Being back a few days has given me a change to look through the equipment I took and assess how well it worked and how useful it was.


As usual the sixmoondesigns Comet pack carried the loads really well; the weight in the pack varied between the starting 11 kg and about 12.5 kg when carrying extra food and water.

I found that there was plenty of room; even with a wet flysheet for the first few days. The three outer pockets carried everthing I needed to hand during the day.

I did have one problem with the pack and that was the left shoulder strap came away from the joining point on the hipbelt. At first I thought the strap had snapped but in actual fact all that had happened was that the stitching had unravelled and the strap had popped out.

I was able to jury-rig it for the rest of the walk, and my wife had manged to re-stitch the strap back in.


The sleeping bag is a Field&Trek own make which I bought last year in the sales. It a 2-season down bag and kept me more than warm enough in fact a few nights I slept with it thrown over me like a quilt.

My sleeping Mat is the Insul Mat Max-Thermo; which I`ve been using for about 3 years.

I can't imagine sleeping on anything else now, as this is probably the most comfortable mat I've ever used. Yes; it is a bit heavy at 700g and can be a extra chore blowing it up at the end of the day but it's still worth it.


Terra Nova Solar 1

The biggest think I like about the Solar is the way the fly can be opened and give plenty of options for getting in and out.

Is tent weighs around 2kg which is a bit heavy compared to today's new lighter weight tents. I do think about changing the tent to a lighter one but as yet I haven't see one that is a flexible as the Solar.


As usual the MSR PocketRocket performed great for cooking and brews on route. I took two pots and a plastic mug; the pots were non-stick, I also took a 250 gas canister which was just about enough for the amount of cooking I did.


I took a few gadgets on this trip; some worked better than others. The Freeloader worked O.K but in all honesty I only used it once to charge the mini-vidcam and probably would of gotten away with a couple of extra batteries and saved a few grams.

Th new mp3 player worked well but didn't have as much power as I thought it would and was flat when I could of really used it and that was on the trip home; I should of taken the sync lead and charged it through the freeloader.

The mini-vidcam was a good item to take; I took 2x1 GB sd cards but only used one, I may of used the extra one if the weather had been better in the early part of the trip. I enjoyed videoing along the way and being able to report on things as they were happening.

It a shame that it only takes 640x480 video and the still pictures are not as good as a normal digital camera so that ment I was carrying two digital cameras.


I took 3 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of socks, a pair of Ron Hill trackers trek, a ploymide shirt, t-shirt, montane windshirt, a Peter Storm micro-fleece, Peter Storm waterproof trousers, a Craghoppers Pakka waterproof jacket and a tilley hat.

I could of done with an extra pair of socks as it was difficult to get the ones I had dry in the first few days because of the rain.

The waterproofs worked far better than I thought they would especially with the amount of rain we had in the early days.

The Montane was a good choice for when to wasn't raining and especailly when out in the open with the winds blowing.

All in all; the equipment I took performed as expected and I only had one piece that I never used and that was the Tikka headtorch.

Best piece of equipment was the Tilley Hat; when it was rain the hat kept my head dry and the brim stopped the rain dripping on me and when the sun came out it helped to stop the sun burning my face and neck.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Dales Way Day One

Evening before the start on the Dales Way


I'm Back

Got home late yesterday evening after a disaster getting through London. Victoria Station was closed just after I arrived there; so I had to make my way home by bus.

Had a great week; weather was a bit mixed with rain for the first couple of days and then rain and sunshine for a couple of days then sunshine for the final days into Windermere.

I picked up a couple of blisters on the soles on my feet but nothing to bad; although I am hobbling around today.

A couple of pictures from the walk.

Me at Bolton Abbey

Lowgill Viaduct

I'll put the rest up over the next few days.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Ready for the off

All the packing is done; final weight is 11kg (25lb) which includes 5 breakfasts and 5 main meals, coffee, t-bags and the cameras.

I`ll see you all in 10 days :-)

Happy hiking.

One Day to Go!

I`m sitting typing this; when really I should be packing for tommorrow.

Actually most of the packing is done, it's just the tinkering that needs finishing off.

As usual I`m having a hard time deciding that to take in the way of clothes, the weather is miserable at the moment in London and doesn't look much better around Leeds and up to Windermere.

At present I`ve a t-shirt, Montane windshirt, microfleece, a light gilet, and a waterproof jacket; I`m pretty sure that is will be more than enough as it looks to be more wet than cold for the next 10 days or so.

The pack weight at present is 8kg (17lb) but I expect that to rise by 2-3 kg with food and cameras still to go in.

One area that has given me a problem is maps; I printed out the route on to 5 A4 sheets of paper, at 1:50000 but they all seem tiny. I could of printed them at a larger scale but it would mean more paper to carry and possibly lose, so instead I`m going with the Harveys Dales Way map.

Oh well; back to the packing.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Problems with video playback

It seems as there are some problems playing the second video clip in firefox and Opera.

It seems as a new plug-in is needed, to run in firefox. This can be downloaded at:

I`ve tried it on my computer and it looks to be working O.K.

I`m still looking at ways to get a better video up than YouTube, just need to make sure it works in all browsers.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Playing with Video

As regular readers will know; I`ve been playing around with video on some of my walks and want to take my movie camera on the Dales Way with me.

All the video's are put together in Windows Movie Maker (WMM) which comes with all versions of Windows, for the moving photographs I use PhotoStory 3 which can be downloaded from Microsoft.

In WMM the movie video's can be saving in a multitude of ways i.e. DV-Avi for high quality video to 'video for dial up (38kbps)'; I normally save my movies at 768kbps. Once the video clips are made into a movie, they are uploaded to Youtube. When the files are uploaded; Youtube converts them to flash files (.flv) and compresses them down to about 300kbps, this is why the pictures can look badly pixelated sometimes.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been looking at ways to try and get a better video up but this can only be achieved by having the original 768kbps file playing.

One site that seems to allow this is with them you get 500MB Space, 5GB Bandwidth monthly, max file upload 50MB.

Using this service does mean a little bit of work on the users part as you have to work out the html code to make a player, play on your blog, unlike Youtube where you can just grab the code and embed it in the blog.

Obviously little review items like the freeloader one, can be saved at a lower kbps I saved that at 512kbps mainly because the picture didn't need to look that clear and a bit of pixelation doesn't matter that much.

Below are two video clips of the same video, saved at 768kbps on WMM. The file size is 7.5 MB

The first is the Youtube one, the second is hosted on upfordown.


When both clips are played together you can see the difference in the picture quality especially in areas like the font on the opening; the second one is much sharper and clearer, also the water and sky looks smooth and not blurred.

Clearly the video's are never going to be the same as a DV-mini camera or HD but with any luck I will be able to post a much better quality video in future.

Freeloader Pre/review

A look at my newest gadget

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Another day, another piece of equipment

May is here; so it's only 14 day until my trip on the Dales Way.

Over the weekend I got all my equipment out to check it was all O.K and most of it was although my Ortlieb mapcase seem to have gone a funny colour (more opaque than transparent).

Apart from topping up gas canisters; I haven't really bought much new gear in the past year, mainly because I`m pretty happy with the stuff I`m using.

Most of the new equipment has been more in the gadget sector; new camera, mp3 player.

Today is no exception; today I`ve bought a solar charger.

My still digital camera takes 2 AA batteries and one or two sets are normally enough for a trip, but I wanted to be able to take my Aiptek movie camera which takes a lithium-ion battery. This can only be charged either through the mains or a USB to a PC.

AktoMan tried a solar charger out on his WHW walk and this looked interesting but seems as though it could only be ordered from the USA.

After looking around the 'net; I found and choose one called a 'freeloader'

It comes with 11 different adaptors to charge anything from a Nintendo DS to a Blackberry; although it hasn't an adaptor for my cheap Motorola phone.

It weighs about 150g which is probably a bit on the heavy size but the battery can be charged before going on a trip and it with hold the charge for upto 3 months.

The manual states that the charger with charge in 2-3 hrs via a PC and 5-6 hrs via the solar panels.

The first charge needed to be done through the PC but after that, charges can be done with the solar panels.

So far; I've had a little play with it and it has charged my Aiptek, DS and Nokia phone.

It will probably be 3-4 weeks for me to put it through its paces and I'll report back then.

Monday, 30 April 2007

It's my Birthday, It's my Birthday!!!!

Actually it's not mine.

But this blog has been going a year today, I can't believe that I`ve managed to keep it running for a year and that people at still coming by to read this.

In the beginning I didn't bother with visit stats but since October 06 the site has had over 2500 visits.

So happy birthday blog :-)

Friday, 27 April 2007

Something for the weekend

If you have digital TV; you are in for a treat this weekend.

BBC Four are running a series about the Edwardians and are showing the following programmes which maybe be of interest.

The Worst Journey in the World

The little known story of Apsley Cherry-Garrard's epic hunt for penguin eggs during Captain Scott's polar expedition of 1910–1913.

Sunday 29 April 2007 9pm-10pm

Following this is the 1948 film

Scott of the Antarctic

British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his expedition to attempt to be the first man to discover the South Pole.

Sunday 29 April 10pm-11:45pm

and if that is not enough, there is

Frank Hurley: The Man Who Made History

The life of Australian photographer Frank Hurley who worked on many Antarctic expeditions including Ernest Shackleton's South Pole voyage.

Sunday 29 April 11:45pm-12:45am

The Hurley programme is a repeat, but well worth a second viewing as it has some stunning pictures from Shackleton's ill fated Endurnace Expedition.


Also included in this series; is probably the first blogger

With the internet enabling anyone to set down their daily thoughts for the whole world to read, the classic 1892 satire The Diary of a Nobody now seems like a startlingly prescient mickey-take of the self-importance of today's bloggers.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Bob's latest podcast is about some of the equipment, he will be taking with him to the Backpackers Club Show and AGM at Bellingham.

There is also an interview with Bill Ballowe the maker of the White Box Stoves.

I was interested to see what this stove was like, so had a look around the 'net and found this review of the White Box Stove by Tinny at

I`ve used an alcohol Pepsi stove before, my friend Keith (who made my G4) made quite a few of these and used them before going over to a brasslite stove..

The White Box Stove looks to be a much stronger stove than the Pepsi stove and a lot more durable.

I`m not sure how much fuel would be needed for a 10-day trip and whether the weight would work out more than a Pocket Rocket and a 250 canister.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Doctor,Doctor; My foot hurts

I`ve had a terrible last few days. I planned at the weekend to get out a do some more of the London Loop, in an effort to get a bit of fitness for my Dales Way walk in a few weeks. But I woke with a pain in my right foot; along the sole and in the second toe.

I do occasionally get bruised feet but this normally when, I`ve been out backpacking for a long period, all weekend the pain has been there, I`ve been unable to walk properly around the house nevermind 8-10 miles.

I managed to get an appointment with the Doctor tonight and the problem is I have:


I have no idea how I`ve got this neither has the Doc. He has prescribed some drugs (Diclofenac) which he said should clear the problem up, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

I do hope he is right as my whole holiday is in the balance.

Monday, 9 April 2007

New Podcasts

Bob has been busy uploading some new podcasts over the last few days.

The first, four are about the OS Outdoors Show, with interviews with Minister of Sport, Richard Caborn MP, Paramo and their new range.
Outdoors Show Part 1

An interesting inteview with Sue Harvey about Harvey's maps and what's new, X-socks, and Shewee.

Outdoor careers – Mountain Leader Training Board; Pete Ellis – walking holiday leader; news from Nikwax; Doune – wildereness and luxury in the Knoydart.

Rab’s new range for 2007; Agrofarm – natural protection against midgies and mosquitos; and catching-up with Kev Reynolds.

The Fifth and final one; at present. Is an interview Andy Howell has done with Ronald Turnbull about his new book; Three Peaks, Ten Tors.
Ronald does seem to have a quirky sense of humour when it comes to hillwalking and long distance walks. Overall this is a really enjoyable interview, so much so; that I have ordered the new book and his 'Book of the bivvy' Book.

The Podzine #10
Ronald Turnbull

Download MP3 File

Friday, 23 March 2007

What is lightweight? part II

The great weight debate rolls on.

Roman, Darren, & John have been posting some interesting thoughts on lightweight Vs traditional weight packs.

It seem that some manufacturers and individuals are questioning the viability of some of the lightweight packs, and suggesting that the only way forward is to continue using the heavier packs.

I`ve been using light packs for 5 years now; starting with a GoLite Gust, so I believe that I have a good understanding of how to use and look after this type of pack.

First off, these packs aren't as fragile as some people make out. A lot of the high impact areas are made with a strong denier pack cloth, the main weight saving comes by using good quality silcone nylon.

Obviously it can get damaged being throw around by baggage handlers but this is true with any pack even the traditional ones.

In the past whenever I stop I would use my pack as a seat; I don't do that with the new lightweight ones but I always carry a foam pad so I now use that as a sit mat.

As I've said before; I don't carry great weights but there have been times when I have overloaded the pack for a short period, yes the pack hasn't been that comfortable but its only when I have carried extra food, beer and bottles of wine to a nearby campsite. The pack has handled it O.K.

One thing manufacturers don't seem to realise is that other pieces of equipment are getting lighter, tents are not 2-3 kgs, Titanium pots & untentils are much more readily available, so heavy duty pack aren't needed.

The lightweight market is a niche market within a niche market, and as far as the big boys are concerned until someone starts to nibble away at their piece of the pie, they are happy to keep the status quo.

Podcast report

49% female, 51% male.
All ages.
Wired - spending more than 50% more time online.
More likely than others to own an HDTV and use a TiVo or other digital video recorder.
More than twice as likely to own an iPod or other portable media player.
More than twice as likely to own video gaming systems.
Twice as likely as others to use NetFlix or other DVD rental service.
36% more likely than others to have made online purchases.
Nearly 4 times as likely to have purchased songs or other digital audio online.

Do you fit into any or all of these catogories? If so you are an average podcast listener.

It seems as podcasts have hit the big time, with audiences up by 18% in the last year and awareness has grown even more, jumping from 22% in 2006 to 37% in 2007.

The full report is at

I guess these figures are for the US.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Bellingham AGM Weekend update

Some news updates from the Backpackers Club about the AGM and Ultralight Fest at Bellingham.

'The Northumbria group have embraced ideas offered to ensure a happy and fruitful weekend for members - which is how there are retail Traders as well as industry demonstrations on equipment and backpacking goodies.
The Town Hall is open to the public from 10am on Saturday. NO SMOKING applies.'

For Backpacker Club members:

Every member registering for the weekend will receive a special Bellingham Buff. This multi-use bit of kit can cost up to £15. New membership enrolments over the weekend also get the celebratory Buff.

To celebrate the 35 years of Backpackers Club there are 35 Victorinox knives for the Saturday Supper Draw, donated courtesy of distributors Burton McCall. To buy one will cost you £19.50 in the shop. Be a lucky draw winner!

The goodies bag will include bottles of Storm’s wash & reproof - the way to keep your backpacking clobber neat, tidy and working well.

First Choice Expedition Foods will have a free “tasters bar” from their selection of backpacking foods on Saturday.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

The OS Outdoors Show

This was my first trip to the OS outdoors show and to be honest probably my last.

It was a really long day for me; a 5am started and not home until 9pm and it seemed a lot of effort for little return.

I know that the outdoors encompasses a lot of different activities, cycling, caving, kayaking, paragliding to name but a few and these all seem to have representatives there, but there was a lack of smaller well known brands.

I was hoping to see some of the new GoLite packs and shoes, but there was nothing from them, now surely if you are looking to launch a new range of equipment, a show like this is ideal.

Surely if shewee can have a stand GoLite could.

There were some of the small independent retailers Alpkit show their new Filium smock which I quite liked and the new bivvy bag, which was in shocking pink!!

For me, the biggest event was the UOBC2007, getting to meet in the flesh Darren, John, Stef AKA BG!,Chris ,Dave,and Andy.

Cameron and Paddy Dillon also turned up.

I was due to do an interview with Andy; which I did but I was also accosted by Cameron and did a piece with him (whether these two appear I don't know, I don't think I have the voice for podcasts :-) ).

Cameron interviews Paddy

I had a quick chat with Darren, Dave and Stef but only really got to say hello to John and Chris maybe next time.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

It looks like, it has been a busy night for Podcast Bob.

There are three; yes, three new podcasts from the PodMeister.

Out Of Africa - 3 Peaks Challenge

The Book Club - Paddy Dillon - Corisica

The Kayak Show - Greenland

The Kayak Show - Shetland

The Kayak Show - Sponsorship

Well, its an extra busy night with five podcasts going up.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Two new podcasts from Bob over at The Outdoors Station

The first is Gregory Mountain Products

'An interview with Hugo Youngman the UK distributor of Gregory Mountain Products who explains the 2007 improvements and changes to the popular Z-pack range, including the introduction of the women’s Jade pack.'

Download MP3 File

The Second is Bob and Andy's Big day out

'The first in the new series of podcasts sponsored by and coming under The Outdoors Station website. Bob takes Andy for a walk on the wild side and makes him wait for his lunch, whilst playing with fire!'

Download MP3 File

Monday, 5 March 2007

What is Lightweight?

I`m finding it increasingly difficult to understand what lightweight is.

Let me explain.....

When I started backpacking back in the last century (1985). My pack was a Karrimor Panther 70 (70 litres) which weighed in at 1.4 kg (3.1 lb), this pack had two compartments, a padded hip-belt, two good size pockets, aluminium stays, adjustable for different back lengths and made from nylon.

Now; I wouldn't call this pack lightweight, it's a normal weight for a pack of its time.

Move on; twenty years and packs are weighing a whopping 3 kg (6 lb) that's the weight of my Karrimor Cougar. This pack is bombproof, built like a tank, strong heavyweight material, a big chunky hip-belt. Great for big heavy loads but not for my kind of backpacking.

About six years ago names like GoLite and GVP started to be see, on the internet and being mentioned in some magazines. These packs were only any good if you carried a total weight below 14 kg (30 lb).

I don't do trip much longer than a week, I don't normally carry that much food and my total pack weight is around 11-13 kg (24-28 lb). So by using one of these lightweight packs; I can save 2.5 kg (5.5 lb).

So; by changing just the pack, I can get the total weight into the 8.5-10.5 kg (18-23 lb).

The first pack was the GoLite Gust 590 g (20 oz). This pack was O.K. but its a big pack and was never full, so tended to be a bit floppy.

Next up were the GoLite Trek 1.1 kg (2.4 lb) and GVP G4 (homemade) 500 g (17.6 oz). Again the GoLite Trek was a big pack and again I had trouble filling it so had similar problems.

The G4 was ideal; big enough to take all the equipment I needed plus a bit spare if needed. One problem was the it needed looking after and the material could get damaged easily but it was also easy to repair.

Finally; the pack I`m currently using the Sixmoondesigns Comet 780 g (27.5 oz). This is very similar to the G4 but has aluminium stays and a hip-belt which can be removed.

My needs for a multi-day trip are; minimum of 50 litres, decent sized outer pocket(s) and a reasonable hip-belt and below the weight of 1.1 kg (2.4 lb).

So where am I going with this?

The latest edition of TGO have 109 packs listed and reviews of five of these. The OMM Mountain Mover 55, GoLite Pinnacle, Osprey Talus 44, the Gregory Z55 and the Macpac Amp Light 45.

The GoLite Pinnacle is 73 litres.

Now; all these packs are classed as lightweight but personally I would consider them all to be a normal weight for a decent multi-day pack with the exception of the GoLite, which I would class as lightweight. Maybe the Talus 44 could go into my lightweight category but I feel this would be a cop-out because it's less than 50 litres.

Some people will say 'I can get all my equipment into a 44 litre pack for a two week trip' and I say 'good for you' but I can't and the reason is bulk. I use a tent, it can be bulky, I use an Insul Max-Thermo sleeping pad (bulky).

If I were to use any of the reviewed packs other than the GoLite, it would be either the OMM MM55 or the Gregory Z55 to give me the volume but the weight of the packs would be an issue and with tent and pad would be over 4 kg (8.8 lb) compared to 3.5 kg (7 lb) with the GoLite Pinnacle or the Sixmoondesigns Comet.

Obviously I could save more weight by either not using a tent or choosing a lighter tent and sleeping pad but should I have to have a heavier pack because I wish to use a tent.

I maybe going about this the wrong way, I look to reduce weight in certain areas so I can have more comfort in camp. I cannot sleep on Therm-a-rest or closed cell pads anymore.

In the article, I could only find five packs that I would class as lightweight. Some of the packs can be lighten by removing some of the components but what parts these are I don't know; hip-belt, aluminium stays, shoulder straps (I can do this with the Comet but its not a pack when that is done, just a big bag).

Some manufacturers are reducing the weight and still able to keep the volume but some seem to be getting the weight down by reducing the volume.

I do feel as there is a bit of the smoke and mirrors/Emperors new clothes with some of the new lightweight packs. Yes; the packs are lighter but in some cases at the expense of litreage (is that a word!?).

'Look at our new lightweight packs; eh no please don't look in there (you may see how small we've made it to get the weight down).

My Criteria for a pack and its weight.

Minimum 50 litres, decent sized outer pocket(s), a reasonable hip-belt and below the weight of 1.1 kg (2.4 lb).

500g or less Ultralightweight
501g - 1100g Lightweight
1101g - 1500g Normal weight for multi-days
1500g and above Heavy

Sunday, 4 March 2007


Spent most of last night sitting in the garden watching the eclipse of the moon.

It seems as those most people in the Country had a really good view of this, we had clear skies all night.

I was using a bird spotting scope to look at the eclipse and tried taking some pictures through it.

This is the best of the bunch.

The Outdoors Channel becomes......

The Outdoors Station

Last year; Bob Cartwright AKA Podcast Bob, started up a new website called 'The Outdoors Channel' this was set to be the new site for the new podcasts he was about to start producing.

These new podcasts started out with; The TGO Shows, The Outdoors Channel Magazine and the TOC Book Club.

All these shows were received well by the listening public. Unfortunately an American site already had the name and although they were not in the same field, they slapped a 'cease and desist' on Bob.

Well; Bob is back with his new website The Outdoors Station. There are several new podcasts under way and there is a rumour; that there will be prizes up for grabs. Infact the lastest podcast is giving listeners the chance to win tickets to the OS Outdoors Show.

The Outdoors Station will not only be audio podcasts but video casts (vidcasts) too, some of the first vidcasts will be on the GregoryPacks, the new Golite packs and Leki Poles, plus the 'famous' Tarp Video (this was a victim of the 'cease & desist').

Another feature of the new site; is to allow bloggers and other interested parties to download the html links to the podcasts and post them on their sites.

So here is the first podcast from The Outdoors Station.

The OS Outdoors Show

MP3 File

Friday, 2 March 2007

The 2007 Sheffield Adventure Film Forum

The 2007 Sheffield Adventure Film Forum
23-25 March 2007
The Showroom Cinema, Sheffield

ShAFF is back. Featuring films on climbing, mountaineering, bouldering, ice climbing, BASE jumping, mountain biking, Parkour (free-running), skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, trans-Atlantic rowing, free-diving, culture, humour and more, from every corner of the planet it_s bigger and better than last year. Over 60 films will be shown during the weekend, all on big screens at the largest independent cinema outside of London.

Joe Simpson has agreed to be Patron to the event. Andy Kirkpatrick, John Arran, Alastair Lee, Dave MacLeod and Leo Dickinson will give talks alongside films that they starred in or made. There will be a party to remember on the Saturday night with well known DJ_s. There will also be an urban orienteering race starting at the Showroom, and an international bouldering masters at The Climbing Works, the world_s biggest bouldering wall, newly opened nearby. Lastly, there will be live music in the Showroom bar on Saturday night & live Jazz on Sunday afternoon.

The full list of films to be screened at ShAFF is available on the website. The list features 4 World, 2 European and 3 UK Big Screen Premiere.
Check out the world_s first Adventure Film Festival Film Selection Wizard online at Simply mark the box next to each film or talk that you like the sound of and let the wizard tell you how best to use your time!

Promotional Literature: Programme, Poster & Flier:

Backpackers Club News about the AGM

The new issue of Backchat has much information for the Bellingham Weekend.
Since the issue went to press some developments and ideas have evolved.

if you arrive by
RAIL - We can help you with advice on local travel. Ask!

FLY TO NEWCASTLE. We can arrange you have cooker/stove to borrow, fuel to buy. Some tents are available.
Check first so we can confirm what will be available for you.
We can help you with advice on local travel. Ask!

THE COACH NETWORK. We can help you with advice on local travel for when you arrive in Newcastle. Ask!

We have been told there is ORANGE phone reception in the area.
We've not been as lucky with O2 or Vodaphone.

e-mail we will try hard to organise things for you.
other addresses for members:


Wednesday, 28 February 2007

I`ve been playing around with Windows Photo Story 3 which a program that allow the user to stitch photographs into a mini movie.

This program is more straight forward to use than Windows Movie Maker which I`ve used to put the video clips together.

My first attempt is from a backpacking trip in the Yorkshire Dales in 2003; the walk started at Settle Railway Station and finished at Garsdale Railway Station going via Malham, Kettlewell, Aysgarth, Reeth, and Keld.

The whole project took about an hour to put together. These two programs seem to give me plenty of scope to make the static photographs a little bit more life.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Free Tickets, Get your Free Tickets

A little birdie has told me, that The Outdoors Station's (that is Podcast Bob to you & me) next podcast will give listeners the chance to win free tickets for The Outdoor Show at the NEC.

The show runs from the 16-18 March 2007, so Bob's podcast should be up pretty soon.

All Bob's podcasts for The Outdoors Station can be found here, and the RSS feed for iTunes is here.

Monday, 19 February 2007


I guess that most of us take some form of camera walking with us; be it film or digital.

I have taken a digital with me for the last few years but it wasn't until my kids were playing about with the video mode that I thought about videoing walking trips. Although the camera is a 5mp camera the video is only able to do 320x240.

Obvious a normal video camera would be to big, even the little DV one's; so I looked around and found one of these.

It's a hybird camera; which means it takes stills, video, is a mp3 player and voice recorder amongst other things. At its highest still camera setting it is 5mp and records video at 640x480 and weighs 125g including battery and SD card.

Unfortunately; apart from videoing the kids I hadn't had a chance to use it on a walk until this past weekend. I used it to record this section of the London Loop.

London Loop Part One

London Loop Part Two

I was thinking about taking the camera on the Dales way trip but now I`m not to sure; as the amount of editing and processing for 12 minutes of video was quite time comsuming, I`m not sure how much time would be needed for a whole weeks worth.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

London Loop II

After having a fairly stressful week; I decided that I needed to get out for a walk.

I decided to start out on the London Loop again, I did the first section back in April, last year.

This second section is from Bexley to Petts Wood and is about 7.5 miles (I say about because going through Scadbury Park I got lost and must of added a couple of miles :)).

As usual the walk takes in some really nice scenery and some not. The main points of interest are: Foots Cray Meadows, Five Arch Bridge, Cray Wanderers Football Ground, Sidcup Place Park, Scadbury Park, Petts Wood.

Just outside Bexley

The first part of this walk is nice and pleasant, along the river Cray and into Sidcup. There are two nice Churches on route

Five Arch Bridge

St James North Cray

All Saints Sidcup

After Sidcup the route goes through a housing estate and then down to the A20 which needs to be crossed by subways. The route then goes into Scadbury Park which has hundreds of paths and is quite easy to get lost in. Once through Scadbury its across the A208 and into Petts Wood; from here it is straight forward to Petts Wood Railway Station.

Some more pictures

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Bad News, Good News

Bad News One

It seems as though mobile blogger is not working as well as I thought.

Sent four posts today; two actual blogs and two tests and only one of the tests arrived.

Bad News Two

I`m having trouble getting a cheap train fare to get up to Ilkley for the start of the Dales Way and it also seems as I can't get a cheap ride back from Windermere.

I suppose I can always go by coach

The Good News

My Scooter is fixed and back on the road. YAY!!!! This means not having to stand at the bus stop with hundreds of school kids and I get an extra hour in bed :)

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Rainy Days

Crossing Woolcombe beach just before the rain

I hate rainy days, or let me rephrase that. I hate walking or riding my scooter when its raining.

Today it is coming down in bucket loads in London. I`ve had to take my scooter in to the City to get a new exhaust fitted and it was quite scary travelling into town in the rain and fighting the jugganauts.

I don't mind the rain if I`m tucked up I my tent and it starts to rain; I quite like the sound of the rain hitting the flysheet, it can be very soothing.

There are days when I`m backpacking; that I would rather stay put in the tent than pack up and walk in the rain. It can be quite depressing, no views to see, the constant rustle of the waterproofs and that damp patch that maybe sweat or more worringly rain leaking in.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007


GateGate Hosted on Zooomr

I`ve just signed up to Zoomr after see Andy's post about it. Just testing the waters as I`ve an account on Flickr but don't use it much as I don't really like the way it works.

With Flickr you can't put pictures into folders as such and just seeing if Zoomr is the same.

I`ve had an account on PBase for years but you can't direct link to pictures there but you can have different folders.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Mobile Blogger & Maps

A few posts ago I pointed out a smart piece of software for mobile blogging. I've used it a few times and so far have been happy with it.

Until today; I had some time on my hands, so start to write a piece on maps for the blog. I`d nearly finished when I hit the wrong button and lost the lot.

Fat fingers and tiny mobile's are not a good combination.


Up until a year ago, I always used paper OS maps mainly 1:25.

I now need to sort out the maps for my Dales way walk and can't decided which will be the best option.

I have a Harvey's Dales way map which covers the whole of the route but is in 1:40 scale. Although this is larger than the OS 1:50 maps it doesn't have as much detail as the OS maps and only gives a small margin either side of the route, so finding route off the main way could be tricky. One advantage is that the map is waterproof.

Option two is to buy all the OS maps that cover the way. This will probably work out quite expensive and if using the 1:25 could mean a lot of maps. I could buy the 1:50 but this would still mean a fair few maps and with both these options means quite a bit of paper to carry.

Option three is digital maps; I do have the whole country on digital but so far have only used them for route finding.

To cover the whole 81 miles; I would need 5 double-sided A4 sheets. These are printed at 1:50 but allow enough margin to get off the main route. One big problem with this method is not getting them wet as the ink will run.

I know there is waterproof paper on the market but this seems quite expensive, especially as the maps will only be used for one trip. I do have a laminator but I find that this makes the paper very stiff and not easy to bend or fold.

Maybe the best choice would be to take the digital printouts and the Harvey map and use the Harvey as the main map and use the printouts as back up for when the route is a little indistinct.

Oh well; I still have a few months to sort it all out.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Blogging and free gear

I was going to do a piece about free gear but after reading John's latest post over at Walkabout In The UK. I thought I’d combine a response to this with the free gear post.

John's latest post is: Podcast Bob, Podcasts, Blogs - The New Rock and Roll
Personally I see bloggers and podcasters as people who have a big interest in the things they are blogging/podcasting about but are never going to appear in regular print or radio because its such a niche interest.

People are probably reading that last statement and saying "Doh! that's pretty obvious!" but these people do have something to say and with the available software on the internet it's so easy for them to get their views out there.
With Software like, Skype, and Audacity; a podcast can be put together, it may not be as polished as Podcast Bob's or some of the other podcasters but it's a way to get the information out.

Blogger and other blogging sites is another way for the 'average Joe' to have their say. In the past, the only real likelihood of appearing in print was maybe on a letter page of one of the walking magazines but now through the medium of blogging anyone can express their views. Some of the blogging regulars have even managed to get published in TGO; now whether this would have happened without them blogging is unknown but it's pretty unlikely that the magazine would know that they exist.

So far; in the blogging/podcasting world, we have had Bob's wonderful 10-part TGO challenge podcast, Aktoman's West Highland Way mobile blog, and Weird Darren's Great Plastic Bag Test, and one to watch is Alan Sloman's LEJOG.

Personally I can't wait to see a videocast of a TGOC or another long distance trail.

Free Gear

At first this may not seem connected to blogging but bear with me.

BackpackGearTest is a site which has reviews of equipment, the good thing about this site is that anyone can post reviews and get free gear with a little work.

BGT is the brain child of Jerry Goller, his idea was to get manufacturers to supply equipment to the average hiker. The basic premise is that you test the equipment, write a series of reports (over a 4-6 month period) then get to keep the equipment.

There are some rules to follow but they are pretty straightforward. BGT have a user guide which helps you through the initial point of getting started.

I’ve been able to test nine pieces of equipment through the period; October 2002-March 2006. These have ranged from dehydrated meals to backpacks.

Now this is where we get back on to blogging; all of these reviews and test reports are written by average hikers but with an advantage of testing the equipment for a long period of time and this means that the reports are much more detailed than any report you will see in a magazine.

Here is a review on the Jetboil. Its amazing how much time and effort has gone into this review but it gives a potential buyer a very good idea if this piece of equipment is good for them.

The Wildebeat have a podcast with Jerry Goller (show no.3) and it also seems that some of the testers are now getting to go along to the Winter OR 2007

All this goes to show that there is more portential from blogging and podcasting to come. Hopefully the bigger players will see this and start to use this untapped resource and give Darren a press pass :)

My BGT reports are here (if anyone is interested :))