Snowdonia Way

Plans are afoot to walk the new Snowdonia Way route this coming summer, with a little variation for stages 4 and 5, which may need a rethink due to the amount of ascent involved!

I wil be collecting GPX files, etc on a dedicated page here , but in the meantime, here is my planned route.

2014 Solstice Microadventure

When I did my first ever micro-adevnture, even though the weather was terrible, I loved it and took lots of pictures and some video clips.

After three years, I have finally worked out how to use Adobe Premiere and put together this little video.

MusicDave DepperAll The Pieces Come Together” from the Free Music Archive. Licensed  under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.

Thanks to Neemor’s videos which lead me to this excellent music.

Making my own gear

After having altered my tarp to make it bug proof last year, I have decided to make a couple of new pieces of gear in the coming months.

The first is a bivy bag to use under the tarp – my Tyvek groundsheet last year proved virtually useless in handling wet ground in Scotland, Also one night I woke up feeling chilly as the wind direction had changed, blowing the cold draft into the front of the tarp.

Thus, the bivy will have a bathtub groundsheet with a Pertex type material top. Waterproof/breathable material at the head and foot will stop my sleeping bag bumping into the tarp sides when I roll over in the night and a panel of bug-netting will hopefully block out the bug when I sleep out in the open.

The second item will be a backpack. I’ve been coveting both the Palante Packs Simple Pack and zPacks Arc Blast for a while now, so plan to make something that will be a bit of both of these. I want to be able to use it with a frame when I’m carrying a bigger load, but I’m equally keen to be able to strip it down and use it frameless for shorter trips.

My timescales for these projects are fairly open, but I’m looking forward to getting busy.

 

Beer, trails and nonsense – The True Meaning of Life

I nearly crashed my car on the way in to work this morning, laughing so hard at the latest episode of the world’s best podcast – The Trail Show.

I’d sent in two emails, the first about the West Highland Way and the European penchant for gigantic backpacks, the second an “Ask A Hiker” question about foot care.

Their treatment of my questions was, as ever, very entertaining, but my favourite part was D-Low’s comment being cut in a the end of the show, reading the last sentence of my email: “Beer, trails and nonsense – The True Meaning of Life”

So to POD, Disco, D-Low and Speshul, if you read this, thanks for making me laugh. It’s my birthday in two day’s life and the gift of laughter is the best gift of all.

(Not) WHW – Day 2 – Rowendenan to Inversnaid

Despite the hard-ground, I slept really well, waking to find the tarp free form any sign of condensation.

Down the hill to the car-park by the lochside, I sat at the picnic table to make breakfast and think up a plan. My blisters are causing me a lot of pain and I was way off the pace needed to get to Fort William in time for the train home.

So the plan is hobble north for the next two days, along the side of Loch Lommond, then catch the bus up to Fort Bill where I can recoup.

 

(Not) West Highland Way – Day 1 Garadbhan Forest to Rowendenan

Woke up at dawn to watch the sun come up. It was great to be able to stay in my sleeping bag, peeking under the sides of the tarp.My main problem was that my feet were killing me. Closer examination made the cause clear – two gigantic blisters which covered the ball of each foot.

My first aid kit came out for what would be the first of many airings as I attended to these two delights, cleaning the area, lancing the blisters, then putting a Compeed dressing over it.

I hobbled around and packed my things away, then set out walking, each step causing feeling like I was being stabbed in the sole of my foot.

Two hours later, I collected water from a stream, then stopped beside the path to make coffee and eat breakfast, followed by a snooze.

So northward towards the unmistakable profile of Conic Hill.

I detoured the 100 m or so off the trail to climb to the summit of Conic Hill to properly take in the fantastic view.

Thence, onward to Balahama for an ice-cream before following the path north along the lochside.

 

(Not) The West Highland Way – Day 0

Set out from home in South Devon at 0900 to catch two buses, a plane, another bus and then a train.

plane

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At 1700, I’m in Milngavie, ready to start the WH Way. welcome

The path heads north and you are soon walking through a country park, heading through the Kyber Pass.khyber-pass

Apart from signs, the route ahead was pretty clear – easy to follow, but tough on the feet.

WHW-path-north

After the country park, the first glimpses of the highlands appears on the horizon

highlands

The route continued onwards, mainly following very obvious tracks, paths and roads

Just before 10pm, I arrived at Garadbhan Forest, 14 miles of the trail completed. Being so far north, there was still plenty of light to get my tent set up; nevertheless, camping sites were not exactly abundant, so I wandered off a side trails and pitched on the first flat spot, feet and shoulders aching and ready for some sleep.

camp0