Monday, 31 March 2008

Bit of a rant

For the last 3-4 days I've been working on a trip, getting the route and logistics sorted out; finally tonight it has all come together.

Except....when I go to book the train tickets, half way through the website refuses to take my order and money and kicks me out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I get back in, the trains and prices I want have disappeared and it now wants me to pay an extra £50 for the same journey.

So now I have the choice of paying more or having to rearrange everything.

Why oh why can't the website tell you how many seats are still available in a particular price range, so you don't have the frustration of going half way through the booking process before getting kicked out.

Oh well; try again tomorrow.

Friday, 28 March 2008


Minicar, originally uploaded by londonbackpacker.


Thursday, 27 March 2008

E-petition hits 1'000

The E-petition to legalise wild camping in England and Wales has pass through the 1'000 signatures.

It is currently at 1'004; going on the count back the 1'000th signature was:-

Steve Berry

Remember you still have until the 24th May to sign the petition or to get a friend to sign up.

A big round of applause to everyone that has signed so far.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Double the Fun!

Podcast Bob has released two new podcasts this Monday.

The first one is the normal Podzine show for 24-03-08

"A real smorgasbord of a show for you this week! Get trendy with a Slackline (and win one too!), find out about being a jolly swagman, consider the benefits of joining the Open Canoe Association, understand more about wildlife, trapping and pest control and find true outdoor romance!! Enjoy!!"

Podzine 24/3/08

Download MP3 File

The second one is an Outdoors Show Special-Bloggers!

"The first of our series of compilation interviews recorded at The OS Outdoors Show 2008. Andy Howell meets the 'outdoor bloggers' at their second annual gathering. Where else but on Saturday lunchtime, in the bar, with a drink in hand!"

Show 08- Bloggers!

Download MP3 File

As usual the all the podcasts can be downloaded via iTunes or your favourite podcatcher, or at The Outdoors Station website.

Friday, 21 March 2008

I can't wait for the Summer

Ever Upwards

The E-petition grows ever larger; the current total is 914 signatures.

BG posted an interesting post this morning Please Sir; can I have some more?

So here is your challenge; if each reader can go and find one more person to sign the petition we will easier hit the 1'000 mark and be well on the way to 2'000.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

OS outdoor purchase

So what did I buy at the OS outdoor show.

Well; I looked at the PacerPoles, and some of the books on the Cicerone stand, I couldn't justify the cost of the PacerPoles and there wasn't any books that really grabbed my attention this year.

Last year I bought a solar charger to use when on backpacking, which I used with some success last May. The battery pack charged up most of the time even in bad light; although took a lot longer to get the full charge which should take about 8 hours.

One of the problems though was that it's not water/weather proof so using in the rain meant having to put in a plastic bag and then in a side mesh pocket.

But now the freeloader people had come out with the SuperCharger, which charges the freeloader 2x faster so should give a full charge in only 4 hours (in good light).

The SuperCharger weights 200g and comes in a nice lime green weather resistant pouch, which has two crocodile like clips at one end and a longish Velcro strap at the other. This allow you to strap the solar panel to all kinds of luggage especially backpacks. It also means that the battery pack doesn't need to be on the outside anymore, as can be used even when raining.

So this is the only piece of equipment bought at the Outdoors Show but hopefully I'll get plenty of use out of it.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Hard work, working

It seems as the hard work that was put in on the Friday and Saturday, at the OS Outdoors Show is working.

The E-Petition has reached 856 signatures, which is a nice increase from before the weekend.

Hopefully it will pass the 1'000 mark before the 24 May deadline.

Although I have heard that some people from a particular group are not happy about the Petition.

I am Allosaurus, hear me roar!!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

OS outdoors show '08

Another early start to get to the Outdoors show, although this time my paranoia in missing connections meant I ended up spending an hour hanging around Euston.

Once on the train it was just over an hour before arriving at Birmingham International and the NEC.

Probably because it was the Saturday there seem to a lot more people going in, even at 9:15.

This was to prove the case as the place was heaving by mid-afternoon.

The first person I bumped into was BG! at the Alpkit stand.

As usual these seems to a lack of genuine backpacking equipment but there were the usual mixed bag of high-end equipment (sat-nav's, digital mapping) to the lower end stuff from people like Regetta and Yeomans.

I did have a play with the pacer poles and although they did seems to work and feel different I`m not sure I would pay the price for a set of poles, I think I`ll stick to my Leki's. On the subject of Leki's I couldn't find one place selling a rubber tip for a pole.

Next up I bump into John, Who even at the early time was looking a bit stressed with his work on the E-petition work, so we when a had a coffee and some discussion on wild camping.

There seems to a lot more talks and shows going on this year, although I seemed to miss most of them but I did catch one from the OS on map reading.

Next up I meet a marauding Scotsman (no NOT Duncan!) but this chap.

I can't remember from last year show but this year there did seem to a lot more stands promoting tourism.

Now on to the second highlight of the show; The UK Outdoors Bloggers Meet 2008. This year was a much bigger gathering, so big in fact that the Pub was made bigger to accommodate us.

Among the attendees this year were Phreerunner & Nallo Lady (Martin & Sue), AktoMan (Duncan), Mick & Gayle, Doodlecat, (Phil), Alan Solman, Sally in Norfolk, Geoff Jones, Bob & Rose, and the usual suspects of Andy Howell, Weird Darren, and John Hee.

I managed to have a chat with everyone, except Bob & Rose. I think I spend to much time talking to AktoMan ( I hope I didn't bore him). I also did a piece for Andy but I`m not to sure how it will turn out, there was a lot of noise from the PA and it was quite difficult to think and hear the questions.

The highlight of the show was getting to hear (Inset your own joke here) Brian Blessed, for a 71 year old man, he has so much passion for the outdoors and everything. His latest venture is to become a Cosmonaut and go to the International Space Station.

Next up was a meeting for the wild camping E-Petition and where to go with it and how to take it to the next step. There were some good ideas and plans which will start in the next few weeks.

Overall the show was O.K. The social side was great as usual. There wasn't a great deal of equipment that I was interested in buying although I did buy one item (more later).

There seems to be a lot of activities for children; the ice axe climbing wall, the climbing wall, the high ropes experience in hall 1.

Although I was there from 9:30 until 4:30 the time went very quickly and I didn't get to see everything.

Sights & Sounds

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Wild Camping E-Petition Press Release


UK Wild Campers - Stand Up and Be Counted!

At the end of Jan '08 UK Outdoors Blogger 'Weird Darren' (aka Darren Christie) sponsored an E-Petition on the 10 Downing Street website. This service allows any UK citizen to create a petition and collect signatures via the government website

Darren's blog specialises in walking, backpacking and wildcamping. During research he realised that recent changes in Scottish legislation [Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003] provided key privileges to those wishing to camp amongst the Scottish hills and glens. However the same statutory rights were not available to those following a similar activity in England & Wales.

As a result he submitted a petition

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to legalise wild camping in England and Wales.

Currently without the landowners consent it is illegal to wild camp on the moors, mountains, National Parks and MOD land. It is time to give people the same rights as those given North of the Border in Scotland to allow them to wild camp in these places without threat of legal action"

Darren is one of the founder members of the UK Outdoor Bloggers (UKOB- an informal organisation of 50+ like minded outdoor Bloggers who formed in March '06 to exchange outdoor walking/backpacking information and provide mutual assistance to improve their chosen medium

Many UKOBers offered their support to publicise the E-Petition via their blogs and UK based outdoor forums. The result is a spirited on-line debate discussing the issues, and along the way coming to consensus on the "legal" v non "legal" status of wild camping, and indeed what the term 'Wild Camping' actually means.

Since then there have been numerous initiatives involving the outdoor community, the public, and constituent's MPs including Lord Chris Smith [ex President of the Ramblers' Association and driving force behind the Countryside Rights of Way Act (CROW)]

It's fair to say that the issues raised by this petition have resulted in a range of mixed emotions and responses. From "Don't publicise it - keep it quiet" to many with serious concerns about their continuation of the enjoyment that wildcamping has brought to them, over many scores of years

Those supporting the petition recognise that at this stage legislative change is most unlikely. The focus is to encourage those interested in challenging the present situation to show their supporting by VOTING on-line for the E-Petition

This is a chance to debate and define what is fair access to open countryside to allow wild camping. The petition isn’t asking to allow people to camp in lay-bys, cornfields or your garden! It’s asking for the assumption that if you follow guidelines, you have permission to be there. Break those rules, then you are not Wild Camping, and open to prosecution.

A summary of the campaign's aims:

1. To start a 'Wild Camping is illegal' debate in public

2. To identify the Pros and Cons of the key issues concerned

3. To ensure the E-Petition receives maximum support in terms of Voting Nos. and agitation via other relevant sources

4. To understand what is required to proceed beyond the closure of the E-Petition on 24/5/08

All this assumes support from national outdoor organisations & factual evidence so the case can argue itself as a priority.

As part of this campaign a Campaign website ( has been created to offer advice on some of the recurrent questions & to keep supporters informed on latest news.

A5 flyers to publicise the Wild Camping E-Petition will be circulated at the March 08 NEC Outdoors Show as our initiative to publicise the campaign to show attendees, the majority of which may not yet be aware of the issues concerned.

For further information please contact:

Darren Christie E:MAIL:

John Hee E:MAIL:

Monday, 10 March 2008

Six; That's S.I.X!

It seems as Bob & Andy have been very busy of the last few weeks and today Podcast Bob has released Six new podcasts.

The first is the weekly podzine; highlights of this week's show are:

We meet Jed Yarnold and discuss tarpoligy, Vic Soloman who tells us about the new Manfrotto carbon fiber tripods and Kevin Ashton about the practicalities of using a sea kayak as a fishing platform. Plus of course, our What's On Diary and the chance to win one of the remaining VIP 10 pairs of tickets we have to give away for The Outdoors Show."

The other five are part of the Cicerone Press series

Cicerone Press - Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire contains Britain’s only coastal National Park, such is its beauty, with soaring rugged cliffs, tranquil inlets and broad sandy beaches. There is immense variety in both the scenery and natural life of the Pembrokeshire coast. Dennis and Jan Kelsall talk about their lifetime of exploration on foot, which can be equally satisfying for serious walkers and those more inclined to potter.

Cicerone Press - Photography

Photography and the outdoors could have been made for each other, yet we all sometimes find there is a disappointing miss-match between what we wanted to capture, and what we actually achieved! Jon Sparks has developed his youthful hobby into a professional career, and here he offers some valuable tips for outdoor enthusiasts, whatever their sport or destination.

Cicerone Press - Mark Richards Outdoor Writer

Mark Richards’ transition from full-time farmer to full-time outdoor writer has been a gradual one. In 1973, with the direct encouragement of Alfred Wainwright, he wrote his first walking guide to the Cotswold Way. Since then he has indulged his pleasure in exploring rural Britain by creating a range of walking guides, including guides to the Peak District, Hadrian’s Wall and more recently the ambitious series of ‘Fellranger’ guides to the Lake District, supported by ‘Great Mountain Days in the Lake District’, a new guide to 50 days out in the high fells.

Cicerone Press - Paddy Dillon Islomania

Islomania is defined as a craze for, or a strong attraction to islands… and Paddy Dillon has the bug! Paddy is a prolific outdoor writer with over 30 books to his name. Here we find out just how many islands he has visited (and walked all over!), and what makes island visits so very special. You can get loads of great holiday ideas here!

Cicerone Press - Paddy Dillon National Trails

Opened in 1965, the Pennine Way was Britain’s first national trail. Since then another 14 have been designated in England and Wales, with a further 4 in Scotland. Together they cover well over 5000 kilometres each one with unique qualities which explore the rich, scenic and historic countryside of Britain. Paddy Dillon has walked all the trails – twice! Here he talks about his love of the routes and his new guide, ‘The National Trails’ a complete compilation of all Britain’s National Trail walking routes.

As usual the all the podcasts can be downloaded via iTunes or your favourite podcatcher, or at The Outdoors Station website.

This should keep us all entertained for the next few days.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

The podzine is Back!

A little birdy tells me that Podcast Bob is back with his Weekly Podzine Show.

The new show will be starting on Monday the 3rd March and include interviews with the editor of a new Ocean Kayak Magazine, the recruiment department from PGL Holidays, and with organiser Kate Thomas from The Outdoors Show at the NEC.

There is also a competition with the chance to win VIP tickets for 2 Adults to The Outdoor Show.

As usual the podzine can be downloaded via iTunes or your favourite podcatcher, or at The Outdoors Station website.

The podzine should be available Monday morning.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Wild Camping

I haven't really blogged about the wild camping campaign, other that posting about the new website and a link to the petition site.

After two things that have happened this week; I 've decided to post about wild camping.

First, let me say that I am in favour of the petition.

The first thing was a news item that appeared in some of the red tops and the London locals.

This story was about swans being taken and eaten by asylum-seekers along the River Lea in East London.

These asylum-seekers apparently live in makeshift tents, on land which is part of the 2012 Olympics site; while waiting to be housed.

Now it seems and though a lot of people are up in arms about the taking of these swans and the Police and RSPCA are to investigate.

On one of the online reports of this, there are comments left by people. All the comments are about how cruel it is to kill the swans and how these asylum-seekers should have more respect for the birds and this Country.

So that does this have to do with wild camping?

Well there isn't one mention of the camp being illegal in any of the reports I can find. So does this mean that the General public and the media don't really care about people camping on land that they shouldn't be on.

In the last few years I have see asylum-seekers/immigrants camping in some of the parks in London; mainly Hyde and Green Park. These people are normally there early morning and gone throughout the day but reappear at night especially through the winter months.

If the authorities are letting this type of camping go on, then surely the type of wild camping we wish to do is never going to be severely challenged legal or not.

The second thing was while I was doing some work for the wild camping petition in work. Some of my co-workers saw the petition poster and were asking questions about it.

As usual the biggest problem was convincing them that we are not looking to camp in their garden.

It does seem as most people think that we are looking to camp in parks and on waste ground.

Comments like "if you legalise wild camping, people will be camping in the parks and fields all around us" "We have had trouble with travellers camping in the fields across from were we live" "we'll have the immigrants camping in the woods all around here".

What people don't understand is that we don't want to camp in their gardens, in parks or on waste ground; we want to be able to camp up on a fell or mountainside and appreciate a glorious sunset or sunrise. To be out on the fells with a feeling for the Countryside, not to be out there to destroy it.

Mass illegal camping has been happening for years and there are laws already in place for it; what we are look for is the ability to camping in small or individual groups away from the crowds.

The good news is as of 12:21 today the e-petition has hit 700 signatures.