Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy new year

Happy new year to one and all, here's hoping that 2009 turns out to be a good year.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Seasons Greetings


Season greetings to one an all


The picture above was drawn by my daughter and was the winner in a competition in her School.

The prize was to have the image on all the Christmas card that the School send out; so this ended up on nearly 1000 cards!

Well Done; Bex

Friday, 12 December 2008

How to S**t in the Woods

There has been some discussion over the past week or so about outdoor bloggers using video on their blogs.

Personally I'm happier using video than the written word. For me writing is a chore; it can take me quite a while to compose a piece for the blog, sometimes so long that I end up not posting it because it has taken so long; I have moved on to a different subject.

Another reason is that I have to have the spelling checked and this means more time lost. In fact this post has been days in the making.

I have always like playing around with film is some manner, be it old super 8 cinefilm to early VHS/Beatmax tape to the latest Mp4 cameras.

So for me video is an easier way of adding content to the blog, it's still the same old stuff, just presented in a different way.

Over the next year I expect to see a lot more video content appearing on the various blogs; how many will stay with it is unknown, some may find that the time and effort in editing and uploading to YouTube is more time consuming than writing a post, some with embracing it and help to move the genre on.

It looks like in the coming months; video Vs the word, with become the new tents Vs tarps.

I'm quite looking forward to the new batch of vloggers

One way that I believe video can beat the written word is when to comes to demonstrating either an idea, item or a technique.

The video below shows how to deal with a subject that a lot of people would shy away from, the video shows the humourous side of s**tting in the woods.

Although the written word could describe the techniques I don't think to could bring the homour.

Video 1 Written 0


Sunday, 7 December 2008


I'm not very technically minded especially when it comes to the internet; yes I can write an email, add video's to Youtube, post to this blog but when it comes to the actual works of how it all works I`m clueless.

So if you are viewing this in either Firefox (which everyone should use) or Netscape's browser then everything is probably fine but if you are viewing in Internet Explorer then this blog looks terrible.

I don't know what it looks like in either Opera or Safari but it should be O.K. Now I don't know when it went all wrong in I.E as I very rarely use it but I seem to remember it was O.K. a month or so back.

I am trying to get things sorted out over on the bloggers help group but that can take some time; so if you are reading this in I.E, it will look uck!!! so maybe better to move over to Firefox.


Thursday, 4 December 2008

Bush Cooker

You can never have enough stoves; or at least that's what Darren said

So here's a look at the Bush Cooker from over on

Friday, 28 November 2008

Don't forget the bloggers meet

Just a quick reminder that the Outdoor bloggers are meeting up in Cambridge tomorrow.

Fully details are :-

Date: 29/11/08
Time: 12:00 - noon onwards
Location: Don Pasquale in the Market Square in Cambridge
Directions Can Be Found Here:

There is also a free to enter raffle for all who attend.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Wood Burning

Finally got around to trying the Honey Stove with the wood I collected last week.

The first couple of minutes show that I've never used a wood burning or even started a campfire; I think the main problem was I didn't have enough tinder and also the initial sticks of wood were to small.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Friday, 14 November 2008

Just like the X-Factor

Well the judges have thought about it, they have deliberated, cogitated and digested, and the Man from Del Monte; he say the fat lady is warming up but you're through to the next round but will you make it any further.

But spare a thought for the one who has had to make the long dark walk.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

More Honey?

Hear more about the Honey stove from the person who invented it.

Bob from has put together a video showing how it all works.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Extra Honey

A bit more playing with the Honey stove; although I haven't actually boiled anything on it yet.

When I set up the stove yesterday I placed all the grill pieces in the stove; I now know that the middle grill is for use with a Trangia meths burner, so this grill doesn't need to be inserted in the stove unless using the Trangia burner.

The two meth stoves I have are a Pepsi and a White Box Stove(WBS); so these are the ones I tried in the stove.

White Box Stove
Honey & White Box Stoves

As you can see I only have the top & bottom grills in place and no Fire door either; the WBS seems to be quite away from the top grill a gap of about 40cm. Like I said; I haven't boiled anything yet, so I not sure if this gap is to big and will the flames from the WBS reach a pot on the top grill.  It is possible to move the bottom grill to the middle but then there isn't enough room for the WBS to fit.


Honey & Pepsi Stoves

Moving the bottom grill to the centre mean that the Pepsi stove is much closer to the top grill and should mean that the flames reach the pot better. This stove is designed to be very flexible; so the top grill could of been moved to the middle and still have the same effect but giving a better windshield around the pot.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Honey Honey

A short video showing the new Honey Stove from

These are just my initial comments and thoughts on first opening the package.

There will be more to come in the next week or so.

And a big thanks to Bob & Rose for the chance to test this out.

Ooooh Mister Postman...

Two different types of post today; first a letter from a Mr R Smith, with official conformation that I didn't make the cut for next year's TGO challenge and also informing me that I am number 112 on the standby list.

So that's me off the challenge for next year; but I'm sure I'll find something to do.

The second was a package from and in this was the new Honey Stove, I've only just had a chance to look at it. I will get some pictures and a video up as soon as possible although I see Darren has already been out playing; I don't know where he gets the time.

I also had a nice phone called today and an extra treat to look forward to at the Outdoors blogger meet in Cambridge at the end of the month.

That's all for the moment.

Box of surprises

After the problems of yesterday with the line I deleted this post, thinking it was the cause; it wasn't. So I have re-posted and also managed to get rid of the line.

I finally got the parcel I was waiting for yesterday; and in it was a pleasant surprise.

Originally I had been in touch with HiTec about a pair of their V-lite Recon Mid eVent boots but they didn't have any available.

So they said to let them know if there was any others I would be interested in, so I gave them a choice of four; so they could send me out a pair.

So I was really surprised to find that they had sent out; two of the four choices, named a pair of V-lite Radar II eVent and a pair of the Peak II eVent.

Radar II

Radar II

Peak II

Peak II

I had a chance to give the Radar II a little test out yesterday; while out shooting some video, the initial thoughts are that they are a little on the tight side but hopefully they will stretch a little but they do feel very light on the feet.

As yet; I haven't weighed either of them but will do over the next few days and post more information as and when the testing continues.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Credit Crunch finally hits

Looks like I'm 'at risk'


Sorry; I deleted the last post thinking that it was this causing the problem with the grey line running down the posts.

I'm trying to work out what is going on.

Friday, 7 November 2008

The continuing saga

So guess what didn't happen today?

Yeah; that's right no parcel delivery, after trying to deliver yesterday they didn't bother today even though I have arranged for the delivery today and it was them that said that they could deliver only on Friday.

Bunch of muppets; They said that they maybe able to deliver Monday, this will be the third attempt and will then mean I will have to try and get to the main depot to collect. Only problem with that is the depot is miles away and not particularly easy to get to.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


So they try to deliver on Tuesday and no one is home; so I ring to arrange a new delivery date, which I told the earliest day is Friday.

Guess who has been back today?

I've tried phoning to see if they are still going to attempt to deliver tomorrow and after 15 minutes on hold; I'm cut off!!!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

What does the postman have?

Postman tried to deliver a package today but I have no idea what it can be?

Could it be nice new bit of outdoor equipment?

They can't re-deliver until Friday; well whatever it is will hopefully be here
for the weekend.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Happy Halloween

Not much happening tonight; so playing with some new software.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

A Little Birdie

A little birdie told another little birdie, who told me that I didn't make the cut.

The way things have been the past few weeks; this may not be a bad thing. In the present climate committing myself to an event that is almost eight months away, may not be the best thing to be doing.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Breakfast is good for you

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day; so I always try to have a bowl of cereal every day.

I tend to only eat one sort though; which is Nestle's Fruitful Shredded Wheat. This type of cereal tends not to have gimmicky giveaway with it but at present they are giving something away with the cereal.

The 'freebies' are three little books produced by the AA/Ordnance Survey in their 'Walks in Britain' Range; there is one in each box, luckily you can see which book is in each box so can grab the three different one's.

The three books are entitled 'Pub walks in Britain', 'Nature walks in Britain' and 'Waterside walks in Britain' each book has 28 walks in it, the distances range from a couple of miles up to about ten.

Most of the walks do seems to be concentrated on England, with most in the Southern part but Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland do get a couple each in each book.

Each book is roughly 16x10 cm in size.


Each walk has a description of the route and a little map to accompany it.


Thursday, 23 October 2008

That'll teach me!!

I shouldn't copy and paste.

There was a mistake in the post about the 'Meet the Bloggers'.

The correct details are below:-

Date: 29/11/08
Time: 12:00 - noon onwards
Location: Don Pasquale in the Market Square in Cambridge
Directions Can Be Found Here:

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Outdoor Bloggers Open Meet

Darren over on Whitespider1066 has arranged a 'Meet the Bloggers' meet; next month in Cambridge.

The full details are as follows:-

Fancy meeting the folks behind the blogs you read? Next month a meet up is being held in Cambridge where a group of UK based Outdoors Bloggers are getting together and inviting you to come along and join them for a drink and a chat (and possibly a bite to eat).

Sadly we are not all rich and famous yet, so you will have to buy your own food and drink. What we can assure you is that you will have a great time, great food, and meet new like minded folks.

If you intend to come along could you use the following contact page to drop us a line so we can get a rough idea of numbers.

Date: 29/11/08
Time: 12:00 - noon onwards
Location: Don Pasquale in the Market Square in Cambridge
Directions Can Be Found Here:

Sunday, 19 October 2008

StickPic the camera attachment

Sometimes when we are out walking, we come across a great view or landscape that we wish to take a picture of; and sometimes this picture can look a bit disappointing because we don't have anything in the foreground to give it scale.
If we are walking with a partner; we can ask them to be in the picture or ask them to take one with you in it but its unlikely that both will be in the picture unless it's one of those taken at arms length and normally ends up with just two heads and no scenery.
But now there is a gadget on the market that helps to overcome these problems. The gadget is called The StickPic. The StickPic is a little plastic device that attaches to the tripod mount on a compact camera and the end of a trekking pole.


The StickPic

The StickPic weighs in at only 11 grams and is tiny; in fact so tiny that it would be easy to mislay in a pack or camera bag; that I think I will leave it attached to my camera at all times.


It really is small

Attaching to the camera is just a matter of screwing the thread into the tripod socket on the camera and making sure that it is tight. Attaching to the trekking pole is done by pushing the StickPic onto the spike end of the pole and giving a little twist to secure it.


On the Pole


Camera attached

It is recommended that a strap is attached to the camera and pole as a safety link; I will have to look for the strap to my camera as I don't normally have it on there.

Having only just received the StickPic and only having one try of it so far, I must said the I am impressed with it.

Below is a picture I took using the arm's length method and one using the StickPic attached to my trekking pole. The pole was set at its closed position which is about 80 cm (31 in)

To see the second picture roll your mouse over the picture.


Saturday, 18 October 2008


That's the final total of applicants for next year's TGO Challenge.

The draw for places will take place next weekend.

Seems as though this was a really big total for next year's challenge.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Being Naughty

I'm being naughty; as I'm still looking at routes for the TGO challenge and the latest news is that there are over 420 entries which will mean that there will have to be a draw for places, so I may not get in.

One of the areas I'm looking at are wild camping sites; now while its possible to legally wild camp in most areas of Scotland, it is nice to have a rough idea of where to camp. I have been looking at the maps and this gives a reasonable idea of what the terrain looks like but not what is actually like in really life.

I've just found a site (well not really found; as I had posted photographs to it before but had complete forgotten about it) that helps turn the maps into real life.

The site is The Geograph British Isles project which 'aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain & Ireland' which means a photograph of ever km square on the OS maps.

So if I want to see what a particular area looks like and if there is a chance of a wild pitch there; I can input the Grid Ref and a get a photograph of the area.

NO6484 is in and around the Bridge of Dye and this gives a good picture of what I would find around there (looks a good spot to camp) and of course if I want to see what is around Charr bothy I can.

I'm not to sure how the challenge purists will see this but for me it's an aid as much as the maps are.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

iTunes Video's

I have been thinking about ways to bring extra content to the blog, I've have a few ideas which may or may not appear over the next few months.

One of the new ideas was the way video's were being seen; all the video's I have done are over on YouTube and for the main this works pretty well; but I wanted something a bit more smart looking, after AktoMan mentioned iTunes on a post in the outdoor bloggers forum I thought I would take a look at this.

I always thought it was the more professional user that could have audio or video casts in iTunes but this isn't true; anyone can. So I started looking for a new host for the video's and uploading to it.

My video's are now available through iTunes on the following feed, this will allow the user to download the video's once subscribed to the feed.

At present there is only a few of the old 'Dales Way' and 'Scotland' video but over the next few weeks/months I will hopefully be adding new content.

My Brain Hurts!!!!

Yesterday my pro account on Flickr expired; so I thought O.K. time to sign up for another year, on the site Flickr were offering the chance to sign up for two years instead of the standard one.

This looked a better deal; so I went with this, only I couldn't get the payment to go through, after a couple of attempts I gave up.

Today my credit card company rang up about strange activity on my card, it turned out this was the payments I was trying to make yesterday.

Tonight I've tried again but again I couldn't get a two year subscription, so I went with a one year instead.

Now here's the brain burner; I've just had three emails telling me I have made three payments to Flickr, two for the two year subscription and one for the one year subscription.

I've always said that ordering and buying online was never a problem; tonight I'm not so sure.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Scottish Hill Tracks

I said; I wouldn't start looking at a route for the TGO Challenge, until I knew that I had made the cut but after recently buying the Scottish Hill Tracks book, I've been unable to resist.

I have always know where I would like to finish, so it means I only need to decide the start and middle parts.

There are a few places to start from with but I think I have narrowed it down to 2 or 3 that would suit me.

I like to have some interesting things or places to see when I'm off walking and although I know Scotland on its own will provide a lot of this, having a interesting start point will help.

I don't know why but my mind keeps telling me of places I should go to or pass through. One of these for some reason is Fort Augustus; which means an easy decision on where to go from there.

There are still big gaps but hopefully I'll know I've made the cut before completing the whole route.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


Why does everything have to have a username and password?

My router's playing up and I need to get into it but can't for the life of me remember the username!!!

So it looks like I've have to reset the router to the default setting; which terrifies me as I don't really know what I'm doing and could mean I have no internet :-(

Monday, 6 October 2008


With the weather being so poor yesterday here in London; I had nothing better to do than surf the 'net.

One site I found was the site for the up and coming Kendal Mountain Festival, and while looking at it, I noticed that they have an online competition for amateur films.

For some reason which I don't understand but all these film competitions only want films that are a minute long which means a lot of editing to get something half decent to show ( 3 minutes really should be the minimum).

Now; you all know my interest in making my little documentary hiking films, so I couldn't let this chance go by.

So after a couple of hours editing the trip from Scotland last May, I finally managed to make something to upload.

The films I have added are the original 'Dales Way in 60 seconds' and a new one entitled 'Through the Lairig Ghru'.

Now for the cheeky bit; if anyone would like to go and watch them and then vote, I would appreciate it very much. Unfortunately you do have to sign up to site to vote.

Kendal Mountain Festival

Also the site really compresses the hell out of the video's so they don't look that great.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Railway Walks

The BBC have started a new series with Julia Bradbury called Railway Walks.

The first episode was actually shown on 2 October; there didn't seem to be to many trailers advertising this.

It can be seen again on 7 October on BBC Four or available on the iPlayer for the next six days.

The first episode follows the Monsal trail in Derbyshire. Having walk this route on a couple of occasions; I must say that the T.V made it look a lot more interesting than it actually is, that's not to say it is bad but it is after all a disused railway track and we all know how straight and boring they can be at times.

Next week; is the Mawddach estuary in North Wales.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Back to the Future

Or more like back to the past. Playing around with Google's 2001 index of the Web and came across this:-

The original londonbackpacker; this was the first website I had, it had only been going a few months.

There are some familiar faces that look a bit different

Chris Townsend



and some things that haven't been invented yet



Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Alpkit competition

Others had already posted about Alpkit's new shiny titanium cookware (actual titanium isn't shiny but you know what I mean :-) ).

But what they didn't say was that Alpkit have a competition to win, said shiny cookware. Up for grabs is a full set of the titanium cookware; all you need do is submit a one pot recipe.

The entry form is on the website; so if you're a Gordon or Nigella around the campsite get those recipes in.

Oh! and there's lego figs on the front page (wonder who thought of that!)

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Vote Bob!

Podcast Bob has been nominated for an award, over at the European Podcast Awards.

So if you are a listener and enjoy the podcasts; pop along to the website and cast a vote for Bob.

The votes are for the Outdoors station and Backpackinglight Audio, so make sure you vote for both sites.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The most important two minutes of T.V. you'll ever see

Well if it's not; it's two minutes of my life I'll never get back.

It seems as the British Heart Foundation have a new campaign starting tonight at 9:17 pm on ITV1

'Watch your own heart attack'.

While I support the idea of making people aware of having a healthy heart; I do object to being included in a viral marketing campaign.

Yesterday after being out for a few hours; I returned to two messages left on the answer machine and both from the BHF informing me of this advert. I don't know how they managed to get my phone number, but then again; these days it's probably not hard to guess that the phone suppliers has sold the number on to some advertisement marketing company.

Personally I don't really want to see what 'my heart attack' will look like. I seen two heart attacks at firsthand and they're not a pretty sight.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

What on your T.V.?

It seems as us hillwalkers/hikers are get short changed by the BBC.

There has been a few grumbles this past week mainly because the BBC showed The Adventure Show last Sunday only in Scotland; now this isn't unusual as it is a Scottish made programme, about things happening in the outdoors of Scotland.

The reason for these grumblings; is that this particular show has a feature on the TGO Challenge and there are a lot of people outside Scotland that would of liked to have seen it.

The lucky few who have Sky rather that Freeview T.V. had the chance to watch on Ch.990 which is BBC Scotland.

In days gone by we would just have to lump it as there was no way of seeing a show from another region but in todays 'modern age' it should be easy to repeat this show on one of the other BBC channels.

The BBC introduced the iPlayer in the latter part of 2007; to give people the chance to catch programmmes they may of missed in the week.

Unfortunately The Adventure Show doesn't seem to appear on the iPlayer; now whether this is an oversight or the BBC doesn't believe it will get a lot of views is unknown.

Although The Adventure Show is missing; there are some interesting programmes turning up on the iplayer, Off the beaten track is a walking programme produced and filmed in Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately because iPlayer only shows programmes from the last seven days and if you don't know that the show exists the chances are that you will miss most of them, if you don't check regularly. Off the beaten track only had three episodes and final one is still available.

Another 'regional' programme is Weatherman Walking; from BBC Wales. This one seems to have just started its second series. The episode available has the presenter walking in the Brecon Beacons.

I'm not sure how many more 'regional' walking programmes are out there but it would be nice if the BBC could show them on normal T.V. instead of the endless reruns of shows like Eastenders.

If you do find something on the iPlayer remember you only have seven days to catch it.

Monday, 7 July 2008

20,000 footpaths are at risk

Another E-Petition has appeared on the Government site.

Rights of way that are not recorded by 2026 could be lost forever, the full story is on grough.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 introduced a deadline for the recording of historic rights of way on definitive maps (the legal record of public rights of way). After 1 January 2026 most pre-1949 paths which have not been recorded on these maps will be lost forever. An estimated 20,000 paths could be lost because of this measure, including many in towns and cities. The government funded project to assist with the researching and recording of these routes has been terminated without recording a single path but when the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill was going through Parliament the then Minister, Michael Meacher said “ … we do not intend to [bring definitively to a close the exercise of determining the rights of way network] without ensuring that there are adequate resources to make it possible for all existing paths that can reasonably be found to be found.” The public therefore had a legitimate expectation that something would be done to record the so-called lost ways. Now that the promised resources have been withdrawn repeal of the cut-off date is essential.

E-Petition here

Monday, 23 June 2008

E-Petiton - The Government response

The wildcamping e-petition has finally received a response from the Government.

This Government appreciates the potential benefits of wild camping in England and its attractiveness to campers who already have the opportunity to camp in the wild in Scotland.

The Land Reform Act in Scotland allows for wild camping, but the land issues and the legislation in England are somewhat different. The introduction of wild camping in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation and legislative change.

On open access land wild camping is prohibited under Schedule 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which lists all restricted activities. Therefore, new Regulations would be required to exclude wild camping as a restricted activity. Any change to the current rules on wild camping in National Parks and Ministry of Defence land would require new primary legislation.

The Government has no plans to allocate the necessary resources to consider proposals for such legislation at present, and is concentrating on following up the successful introduction of 750,000 hectares of open access land with new legislation on access to the coast in the Marine Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

2009 TGO challenge

The dates for the 2009 TGO challenge are 8th-22nd May 2009 and because this is the 30th challenge the numbers of entries has been increased to 360 for this year only.

It seems as though they will be adding some new starting points from next year and because of the increase in numbers will be putting a limit of challengers starting at the most popular start points of Oban, Malliag, & Shiel Bridge.

I have though about doing this challenge over the last couple of year especially after listening to Bob's podcasts from 2006 and 2007.

Next year would be a good year for me, as I haven't made any commitments yet to holidays and SWMBO has agreed in principal that I can go if accepted.

I just need to work out a route that would be suitable to me, how much it would cost to do and if I need to replace some of my equipment.

One thing that definitely would need replacing is a sleeping bag, I only have a light Summer bag (+3) and a heavy Winter bag (-10), I think I would need something in between; some where around the -3 mark would probably be good enough for that time of the year.

If I were to do it; I think that I would go for a low-level route although there do seem to be some tricky places crossing Scotland, the route out of Braemar looks to one of these.

I do have a funny feeling that next years event is going to way over-subscribed.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

All Terrain

It seems as today is the day for new trail shoes.  I picked up a pair of New Balance All terrain running shoes, a bit similar to the Innov8 only not as light.

This pair weigh about 800g which is a big saving over my boots.AT

Only time will tell, how good they are for backpacking but for the price I paid it's worth a go.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Aquagear Survivor Review

So far; I have used the bottle over 6 days on two separate trips.

The first a 2-day trip in the Peak District and the second 4-days in Scotland.

The main points of the Aquagear bottle are that it is light, easy-to-use, easy to fill and removes most of the nasties that worry us, i.e cryptosporidium, giardia and e-coli.

The bottle will also remove taste from water, so if you wanted to be extra careful and use either iodine or chlorine tablets the taste from these would be removed.  I haven’t fully tested this claim as I don’t use either of these tablets but water taken from a tap in the Peak District which when drunk untreated tasted of chlorine didn’t after being run through the bottle.

On the trip to Scotland I took only the bottle and a 1 litre platypus bottle, the initial idea was to fill the Aquagear bottle in the water course then transfer the water to the platypus.

I attempted this on the first night’s wild camp but found it to be a lot of faffing about; the main reasons were that, it took roughly 2 ½ fills of the aqua bottle to fill the platypus, the top of the aqua bottle is roughly the same size as the opening of the platypus which meant that it would get stuck in the platypus and then air would not get sucked back into the aqua bottle to allow me to squeeze it again to push water through.

After this, that idea was abandoned and I just filled the platypus and the aqua bottle and used the water from it and when empty refilled from the platypus.

During the day, if it was easy enough to fill the aqua bottle straight from streams I would or if a bit difficult to get to the stream I would fill a nalgene bottle and then transfer water to the aqua bottle.

Filling the bottle did need a bit of a technique at times. I made sure that the bottle faced up stream and squeezed it, this helped to drag the water into the bottle.

Using this technique meant that most of the bottle filled with water but because of the design of the bottle I could not completely fill it.  This is because when the bottle is inverted the right way-up the water fills the bottom and leaves about an inch unfilled at the top.

Drinking from the bottle is simple; remove the dust cup, pop the spout and then squeeze the bottle.  The squeezing need to be a steady gentle pressure which will give roughly a mouthful of water before needing to be released to allow air back into the bottle so the process can be started over.

Drinking from this bottle is a steady process and because of this; it is not ideal if you are someone who guzzles down water.

The bottle is 500 ml (18 oz) and is fine when there are plenty of water sources to fill up from. On trips where water is scarcer I feel that bottle wouldn’t be large enough for these trips, as I can get through 500 ml quite quickly.  Although saying that I think the bottle would still be part of my regular kit as it does give me the chance to source water while out and about.

The only niggle I have with the bottle is that the paint on it started to come away from day one and has continued, funnily enough though it is only the paint giving the directions of use that is coming off, not the company logo.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Video of the Cairngorms

The video from the Cairngorms are now live on Youtube.

Normally I would post the video's into the blog but as Youtube compresses them a fair bit they can look blocky.

If you go to the links below it with take you to the video's and if you click on the "Watch in high quality" you get a better picture.

Link to Cairngorms 2008

Link to Cairngorms 2008 Pt 2

Rothiemurchus Forest - Aviemore

Monday 25th May

Our final day in Scotland.

We only had about 6 miles to cover today but we were still up early and away by 9:00.

Most of the final day's walk was through the forest on easy tracks, so we made good progress.


Through the forest

Once across the Cairngorm footbridge; the paths started to open up and we had views to the mountains Southwest of Aviemore.

We walked up the Loch an Eilein and saw a little white house with people milling around it. Ah! a tea shop! but before the tea shop a quick walk around the loch to get a better look at the castle in the loch.

castle Castle on the Loch

After taking some pictures we made our way back to the tea shop. Disaster; the tea shop, is not a tea shop! but a RSPB visitor centre. They did have a tea/coffee machine in there but I set myself up for a bacon butty, so I ended up with a bag of crisps and a Fanta.

The route out was via the Car Park and there were a fair few cars parked up, it was strange starting to see big groups of people after the last few days of not seeing any.

We knew we were getting back to civilization, when we could hear cars and sirens coming from Avimore way.

Finally in Aviemore; we made our way up the high street to the mountain cafe, where we had a big all-day breakfast with unlimited tea/coffee.

After this we had a wander in and out of the tourist shops, we still had an eight hour wait for the night train back home.

We did find a little garden in the centre of Aviemore and chilled out there for most of the afternoon.

At one point we think we saw Chris Townsend walking up the high street to the local supermarket.

At 20:30 we made our way to the railway station to wait for the train. We got chatting to the station master, who informed us that he was retiring on the 30th May.

So happy retirement; Willie.

The last thing we saw and hear before boarding the train was a piper, which was a nice send off.


Piper at the Gates of Dawn?

That's the end. I did get to see Red Squirrel & the Red Deer but no Highland Coo's and no stag antlers.

A big thanks to Robin who original walked this route and I just picked his brain and copied the route.

I'm already looking at maps and see where & when the next trip to Scotland will be, and as for this; I think I'll forget about it for a while.

Corrour Bothy - Rothiemurchus Forest via Liarig Ghru

Sunday 25th May

Another day; another hole. It seems as my sleeping mat has developed a hole, although it must be a very small one as it takes about 6-7 hours for the mat to deflate even with me on it. 

Today's route is over to Rothiemurchus Forest via the Liarig Ghru. The Liarig Ghru is one of the best known mountain passes not only in Scotland but in the U.K. I had heard a lot about it but still didn't know what to expect once up there.

We said our goodbyes to Duncan, and set off back down to the bridge crossing the River Dee, as the main path runs up the Eastern side of the Dee.

Again the paths were good to start with and we made steady progress.  One of the first thing we were looking of today was the Clach nan Taillear. We think that the picture below is it; as it is on the right side of the path and close to where the path to Carn a`Mhaim goes up from the Liarig Ghru (this was to be Duncan's route for today).

clach non taillear

Clach nan Tailler

From Clach nan Tailear the path climbed continuously and started to get a bit rougher, as we climbed the views across to Cairn Toul & up to Ben Macdui opened out.  Yesterday we had spend the latter part of the day looking at the Devil's Point and to never seems to get closer; today we couldn't get far away from it.

liarig ghru

Looking North

Devils point

Back to the Devil's Point

One of Duncan's parting words were "watch out for the boulders" and just before the Pools of Dee; we hit them.  These boulders are BIG, you have to be really careful where you place your feet as it could be so easy to misplace a step and break an ankle. A couple of times I got a pole struck in the gaps and it needed a good pull to retrieve it.


Boulders everywhere

We finally made it to the Pools of Dee and stopped there for lunch. while sitting there people started to arrived from the other direction (Aviemore) and pass by. 

There was still some snow lying in the pass, and at some places it looked to be 6-8 inches deep. Shortly after the Pools of Dee; we hit a marked cairn, this turned out to be the height cairn of the Liarig Ghru, we were at the highest point 835 m (2733 ft).  So everything from here was downhill.

Although all downhill; it wasn't easy, again the path seemed to disappear and then reappear somewhere else. It wasn't until we arrived near the start of Allt Druidh that the paths were more defined. 

Allt Druidh

Allt Druidh

All the climbing over boulders and non-defined paths made for a bad day for the feet, by the time we reached the Rothiemurchus Forest my feet felt a bit bruised and battered, it was nice to be on smooth paths again.


Start/finish of the Liarig Ghru

We made our way to the clearing in the Forest and set up our final night's wild camp.


Camp in Rothiemurchus Forest

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Glen Tilt - Corrour Bothy

Saturday 24th May

Today was the start of a couple of big days; not in distance or high gained but in what we would hopeful get to see.

After yesterday's early start, we had a lie-in and didn't get started until 9:50. While packed up I noticed a small hole in the groundsheet of the tent, there didn't seem to be anything under the tent to cause this, so I don't know how it got there.

Again; the paths were the same as yesterday, easy to follow and easy of the feet.

As we started to climb, the views started to open out the show the higher peaks still with snow on them.


Snow covered peaks

On the way to Bynack Lodge; we realised that we had crossed the watershed as the Allt an t-Seilich was flowing Northwards, where yesterday the streams had flowed South.

As the weather was so good and there was no need to rush, we stopped at Bynack Lodge for elevenses.

bynack lodge

Bynack Lodge

Now came the first test of our river crossing skills as the path we wanted was on the other side of a fairly wide stream. Keith seemed to bound across like a gazelle, leaving me to wondered where was the best place to cross. Eventually I made it across without any drama's and dry feet.

The path along here was pretty non-existence and we just headed in a Northerly direction occasionally following deer tracks, eventually we joined up with a Land rover track which lead us to the Geldie burn.

The Geldie burn crossing was the biggest river crossing we would encounter, it was also the thing I was worried about most. I'm not very confident when crossing rivers, even stepping stones can be a problem for me.

We did had a scout down the burn to see if there was a better place to cross but ended up back at the main crossing point. As I had been warned about this crossing I had come prepared. So it was off with the boots and on with crocs and sealskinz socks.

As usual Keith seemed to cross in a flash, and as usual I was more tentative. I was about 1/4 of the way across when a young lady came bounding through the burn only stopping to have a quick chat (she was in training for the Braemar to Aviemore marathon).

The rocks under the water had a green slime on them which made them quite slippery the water also seemed deeper than the height of the sealskinz and I expected the water to go over the tops.

Gldie Burn

Crossing the Geldie Burn

I finally made it across without to much trouble; the sealskinz worked a treat no wet feet.

One thing I did find out though; putting your boots around your neck isn't a great idea, as they tend to block the view downwards to where your feet are going.

From here it was only a short distance to White Bridge, along the way we saw a young deer pop out onto the track about 20 metres in front of us. To begin with it didn't know we were there but once it sensed us it was off like a rocket.

We got to White Bridge just on 13:00, so stopped for lunch. This seemed to be quite a busy junction, as there were many people passing by. We were due to meet up with AktoMan (Duncan) at some point during the day. So while eating lunch I kept an eye out incase he passed by.



We stayed at White Bridge until 14:00 then decided to start up Glen Dee, as we weren't to sure how long it would take to get to the bothy, plus we were hearing tales that there could be a lot of people camping up there.

We set off up Glen Dee and noticed a hiker coming towards us, just as he drew level I remembered that AktoMan had said that Big Galloot was walking in the area. "Are you Big Galloot, Big Kev?" I asked. "Yes" was the reply, we had a quick chat about the weather, scenery and general outdoorsy stuff. I asked Big Kev that if he bumped into Duncan, to let him know we were continuing up the Glen. We then set off again on our routes.

The track up Glen Dee starts out as an easy walk up to the Chest Of Dee, this early part follows along side the river.

chest of dee

Gradually the path start to move away for the river and climb up. We saw very few people on this part of the walk and although we could see the Devil's Point it never seem to get any closer. after climbing to around 550m we did finally meet someone coming the other way but still no sight of the bothy. They stopped to have a chat and said that the bothy was about a further hour walking. Although the walking hadn't been to bad, we had been walking for quite some time and it was demoralising to know we still had an hours walking ahead.


Corrour Bothy

We finally arrived at Corrour Bothy about 17:00. There were quite a few people milling around but no tents pitched yet, so while I chatted Keith looked around for a decent pitch. There was a couple of chaps already settled in the bothy and the rest of the people were only resting up after a day up on the tops.

While we were pitching up a few more people were coming of the mountains, there was an American couple who pitched up and other two chaps came down and pitched.

Shortly after this Duncan turned up. Once he was pitched we stood around chatting and watching the deer bounding pass.

Duncan had also bought along some treats, some sake and some of Darren's overflow food from his recent TGOC. Thanks to Duncan and Darren for these.

By now the sun had dropped below the mountains and it was getting chilly plus Duncan haven't eaten, so I disappeared into the tent to get some shut eye.

ATHiking...the Podcast

I've just come across this new-ish podcast. ATHiking...the Podcast, a podcast about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

So far there are only 4 episodes, with the latest being with Sarah from Freezer Bag Cooking.

I'm downloading them now; so haven't listened to any yet but should be good for the morning/afternoon commute.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Blair Atholl - Glen Tilt

Friday 23rd May

Although we were on a sleeper; we didn't have a berth but instead were in the airline type seats.  These seats were reasonably comfortable and Keith got his head down down fairly early, I was quite happy to watch the stations flashing by.

At Preston; I decided to try and get some sleep as it was about 23:45. From the time of leaving Euston, we were facing towards the direction of travel.  When I awoke at Edinburgh we were travelling backwards, when you've just woken up this can be very disconcerting.

I dozed off again and woke at Perth, which meant we were getting closer to our destination.

The train finally arrived at out starting point; Blair Atholl at 6:30 and after sorting out out packs we were off and walking by 7:00.

As we had everything we needed for the trip we didn't go into the centre of the village but made our way straight out to Glen Tilt.

Some of things I was hoping to see on this trip were; Red squirrels, Red deer, Highland coo's and maybe find some stag antlers.

The early part of the walk through Glen Tilt is in woods, and this gave us a chance to see some red squirrels; although they are a lot more nervous than they grey cousins and don't hang about to long.

Glen Tilt slowly climb up and way from Blair Atholl and eventually opens out from woods to open fellside.  This part of the walk felt like walking in the Howgills.

Glen Tilt    

Glen Tilt

About 11:00 we stopped for breakfast, we found a nice spot down by the river just South of Clachghlas.

Most of the tracks were either Land rover tracks or good defined paths, so the walking was pretty easy.

Although it was overcast we had good views up & down the Glen and also on to the tops of Carn Torcaidh, Meall Gharren and Dun Beag.

By about 15:00 we arrived at the Falls of Tarf, this was one of the places I had earmarked as a possible wild camp but the areawasn't as flat as we hoped.  We decided to have luch there and then move further up the Glen to find a pitch.


Falls of Tarf

As we left the Falls of Tarf, we started to climb again and also left the River Tilt behind, we then picked up the Allt Garbh Buidhe.

We finally camped about halfway along the Allt Garbh Buidhe after covering about 14 miles.

Challenge Video 2008

Cameron has a two part video on the TGO challenge over on his site. Darren makes another appearance but it seems to be the same interview from this one.

It will be interesting to see if and when the TGO challenge will appear on the Adventure Show.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Don't Panic!!

Thursday 22th May

As usual for me, stress levels were running high in the lead up to this trip and this meant a last minute repack of some equipment before setting off.

I arrived at Euston at 19:40 to catch the 21:15 night train, at is point there was no sign of Keith but that was O.K. as we had plenty of time.

Euston like most urban railway station's nowadays doesn't have to many places to sit, on the concourse; so it was either in the restaurants or the bars. As it was quite warm I decided to sit outside with the smokers *cough*.

About every 10 minutes or so; I would pop back into the station to look for Keith. By 20:15 I was starting to get worried because there was still no sign of him, a call to his mobile came back with the dreaded "the phone you are calling is switched off".

After some frantic calls to SWMBO to get Keith's home number. I phoned his house to be told that he didn't have his mobile with him and that he had left at 17:30 or so.

By now I was getting really stressed out, as it was about 20:40 and the train was already boarding. Another call to SWMBO to help calm my nerves, when all of a sudden I saw Keith walking across the concourse.


He had decided that instead of using the underground, he would walk from Victoria station to Euston but didn't reckon with all the crowds.

After this little panic the train journey was easy and relaxing.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Cairngorms 2008

All the pictures from the walk are now up and ready to view on Flickr
or can be viewed on the viewer below.

I'm still working on the trip report and the video.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Back Home

I'm back home with hopefully plenty of pictures and video from the Cairngorms trip in the meantime here's one from the collection.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


4 Brunch Bars (2 Raisin 2 Cranberry & Orange)
2 Quaker Oats (1 Apple & Blueberry 1 Sultanas, raisins, cranberry & Apple)
5 Packs Mini Time-out wafers

1 pack noddles plus black pepper & lime tuna
1 Uncle Ben's egg fried rice plus chicken pieces
1 Beef pasta soup

1 Expedition food Rice pudding & cinnamon
1 Expedition food Custard & mixed berries

8 Nescafe 3 in 1 coffees
8 Tea bags
4 bags of mini hobnobs

2 bags of Mike & Ike

1 big bag of GORP

Total weight 2065g

I think that's pretty good for 4 days food; although I would like a bit less chocolate but I can never really find anything to replace it with.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Spot Personal Tracker

The TGO challenger who used a SPOT personal tracker to call for assistance when suffering severe abdominal pains; has been interviewed by Cameron McNeish.

Link to interview

Sunday, 18 May 2008


I'm sitting here; typing this when really I should be getting my equipment sorted out for my trip to Scotland at the end of this week.

I don't know why but sometimes I find it really difficult to motivate myself into doing this kind of stuff (the packing that is!)

Yesterday; I spent most of the day, trying to find food to take on the trip. For an activity that is helpful in reliving stress, it sure does seem to add to the stress levels as well.

Adding to all this is whether I'm making the right equipment choices, do I have the correct maps, will I remember the train tickets and the biggest hurdle; that SWMBO is not really that comfortable about me being away for 5 days.

I have always said that I would stop backpacking when I reached 50; now this is still three and a bit years away but I feel the time to stop may come sooner than that.

I'm starting to think that this trip could well be the last one.

Friday, 16 May 2008

May 24th

May 24th is the day that the E-Petition ends. At present the total stands at 1,842, now although this is a great number of signatures, it would be nice to have the E-P finish on or over 2,000.

If you are a British citizen or resident and are reading this but haven't signed up, please take a look and help to push it over the 2,000 mark.

Back when the E-Petition started bloggers and outdoor people who supported the E-P were encouraged to write to their MP's. I sent a letter in the middle of February; to which I still haven't had a reply.

Over on BG!'s site; he recommended using TheyWorkFor & to 1. find my MP (I knew who this is anyway) and 2. to write to them (again).

On the 5th May I sent another letter to my MP through

Having a bit of spare time and looking through the numbers on; it seems as though my MP doesn't response to letter through this site to well.

Her figures for last year read as follows:-

Placed 557 out of 637
Received 149 letters
Replied to 37 out of 102
Replied within 2 or 3 weeek to a low number of messages sent via during 2007, according to constituents.

So I`m not holding my breath on a reply any time soon.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Lets go fly a kite

I've just bought a 1.4m Radsail kite but as usual the weather changes and there is little wind around to fly it.

There was just enough on the local heath to try the kite out though.

Saturday, 3 May 2008


After last week's little trip; I decided that I would need some new equipment before  my forthcoming trip to Scotland.

The first piece I felt needed a change was my cook pot, so I ordered a titanium pot and pot cozy set from

The Ti pot is a Vargo one  which weighs in at 130g and with the cozy comes to 160g. This is about a 100g saving on my previous cooking pots. The pot's capacity is about 750 ml but this is full to the brim, it can easily hold 500ml of water and I can't every imagine needing to boil anymore than this for a meal.


Ti Pot, Pot Cozy, Primus Express

Next up was a trip to Cotswold Outdoors today to get some gas, while there I was looking at the stoves and after the problems I've been having with the Pocket Rocket, though it might be time to invest in a new stove. After look at the three gas stoves that Cotswold had instore the clear and outstanding winner was the Primus Express.  This weighs the same as the Pocket Rocket but seems to have a bigger and better flame, on a test this afternoon it boiled 300 ml of water from the tap in 4:35 minutes, this was using a half full 100 canister.

The pan supports are much larger, which means it can take larger pots and they look to be a lot more stable.


Primus Express


(top) Express in bag

(bottom) folded up


I also bought a light my fire meal kit, this kit consists of two plates, a spill-free cup with lid, a combined colander and cutting board, a "spork" and a small waterproof box.  I bought the kit mainly for the spill-free cup (as it seems you can't purchase this separately). The cup holds 300ml and has measurements at 100 ml so will help went measuring out liquids.  The cup is called spill-free because it has a lid with a hole to drink through; although if knocked over I would imagine liquid will still leak out.  The lid does help to keep the liquids warm for longer.

The Spork will replace my lexan spoon & fork so save a tiny bit more weight.



Light my fire spill-free cup & Spork

Friday, 2 May 2008

Weekly Film Winner

Last week; Michelle over at Love In A Tent posted about live for the outdoors running a competition for homemade movies on the subject of the outdoors.

I entered a 60 second version of my Dales Way trip from last year and amazingly it won the video of the week; for this week.

The prize for a weekly winner is a year's free YHA membership, so now I'm the owner of a YHA membership.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Peak District Weekend Part Two

We had decided that we wouldn't camp at the campsite where the backpackers club were, for two reasons firstly because we wanted to get away early the next morning and secondly there didn't seem to be a great deal of room.

Leaving Ashford-in-the-water; we headed South-west towards the village of Sheldon, this involved a steep-ish climb out of Ashford and got the leg muscles working after sitting around for a couple of hours.

The climb up finally flattens out after a mile and opens up views across to Magpie Mine.

Usual on maps with mine (dis); you normally only expect to see some lumps and bumps on the ground but here there is a great example of a 19th century lead mine.


Magpie Mine

There is plenty to see in and around the site from the Cornish Engine house to the mine's cottage.  I could of spent a couple of hours walking around the site and taken photographs.


Winding Gear

From there we continued South-west and came across this big fellow.


Luckily the footpath to Monyash didn't go through this field.  Once back in Monyash we headed straight to the Smithy cafe. From there we went back to where we left the car and meet up with the owner of the campsite.

He informed us that there was a group of about 20 D.O.E's down on the site.  Keith decided that he couldn't take another night of, no or little sleep; so we set of home.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Lightweight Show

The first port of call was the camping site where the Backpacker club were camped.  It seems as the camping area was split in two; one side for the campers and one for all the lovely shiny new tents.

Although I'm not in the market for a new tent (yet!) it was nice to see the big range of lightweight tents out there.

While at the campsite I bump into a couple of old BPC friends and a reader of the blog (trenthamwalker).

The main and most interesting part of the show was a 10 minutes walk away at the Village hall; where most of the well-known lightweight traders were., Alpkit, Expedition Foods, Ultralight Outdoor Gear and The Outdoor Warehouse.

The one great thing about this show was that you could get all touchy feely with a lot of the gear we see on the Internet. Although I'm not really happy using an alcohol  stove, it was nice to see the Caldera cone in the flesh.  Also seen was the White box stove and Triad stove; with which Bob did a demo with.

As I wasn't staying at the site; I couldn't buy to much as I had to carry it.  I picked up a tick remover and some freeze dried food from Expedition foods.  I'm looking at maybe taking these to Scotland instead of dehydrating my own food.

One of the items that did turn my head was the new GoLite  Shangri-La 2 tent/tarp this look a nice piece of kit and at a weight of only 708g but with as much room as my Hilly Nallo2. Even with the floor added the weight is still only 1200g.

While at the show I managed to link up with John, Dawn and Darren. After a lot of faffing about trying to get some lunch in the two pubs we descended on the local village shop who were happy to serve us, then back to the village hall to sit on the grass and shoot the breeze about gear and forth coming trips.

As usual I spent more time chatting and looking at equipment, that I forget to take any pictures of the show.

Again it was good to see some old friends there and the few people who recognised me from the blog.


As usual on a Monday; Bob has a new podzine out.

A great podzine for you this week with an extended deadline on the competition. We speak with Catherine Whitehead from Paramo who are
committed to ethical production, to Andy Rouse to hear about the lifestyle of a wildlife photographer and to John Penny from Canon Uk, who has
given us a Canon G9 as a prize for this week's show!!

The Podzine 28/4/08

Download MP3 File

Peak District Weekend Part one

This weekend was arranged to fit in with the lightweight show that was being put on in Ashford-in-the-water and not wanting to spend the whole weekend on one site, it was decided to do a full backpack and take in the show on the Saturday.

It was also a chance to test out some of the equipment I maybe taking to Scotland in May.

Monyash was decided as the best place to start out from to have a good walk on the Friday, to then give us a short walk in to the show on the Saturday.

The Friday didn't start to well, when my pocket rocket didn't want to connect with the Coleman's  Gas canister I had brought for the weekend. After some heavy handed tightening I finally got the stove to work.

This problem has happened on a couple of occasions and I think one of these days , I'm going to strip the thread off the stove.  Maybe it's time for a new one.

Our intended route was to go north from Monyash, through Deepdale and Monsal Dale then get up onto the edges above Great Longstone, then onto the Eastern edges above Curbar and Baslow.

We followed the route until just West of Baslow; where my legs decided that they didn't fancy a climb up onto the edges, so we dropped down in to Baslow and made our way to the little shop/cafe just outside Chatsworth Park.

By now it had started raining so it was on with the waterproofs.  We took the lower path through Chatsworth to the Robin Hood Pub and then up to the Eric Byne Campsite.

In total we covered just under 13 miles; which wasn't bad for a first day's walk for many months.

The site was empty where we arrived but this was to change over the next few hours.

Anyone who knows the Eric Byne, will know that it is a massive field, room for probably 200+ tents.  So why this it that when a group of D.O.E's arrive; they have to camp right next to us.  Not only this but as the evening wore on more groups arrived and set up around us.

I now know how Custer felt.

They were a very noisy bunch; I had my MP3 player going most of the evening and then earplugs during the night, so missed most of the problems.

Next morning; Keith told me, that the noise was so bad that he had left his tent and bivvyed in the next field to get away from them.

There were about 50-60 D.O.E's all around us, so we had a quick breakfast and set off for the lightweight show.

The route was back into Chatsworth but this time taking the higher level over Dobb Edge then down to the main house.

Going through the park we saw some deer and I had a 'johnny Kingdom' moment trying to creep up on them to get a better picture. I was using a big boulder to screen myself but by the time I got there they had run away (I need to work on that!).

After this we walked through Edensor village to Bakewell and a slight detour to get an original Bakewell pudding for SWMBO and then on to the lightweight show.

View Larger Map

Sunday, 27 April 2008

More Pictures

Full Set of pictures from the weekend

Saturday, 26 April 2008


Donkeys, originally uploaded by londonbackpacker.


Pony in chatsworth

Pony in chatsworth, originally uploaded by londonbackpacker.

Pony in chatsworth

Friday, 25 April 2008


DSC00668.jpg, originally uploaded by londonbackpacker.


Boulder in chatsworth

Boulder in chatsworth, originally uploaded by londonbackpacker.

Boulder in chatsworth