A ridgeline amble

Two week ago, I took my daughter and her Panda on their first microadventure on Dartmoor.

Two years previously, we complete our first family microadventure, whcih took place a year before that the first Dad and Lad microadventure complete with light-sabre!


Last weekend, was my chance to visit some of the places we’d used for these outings during a very pleasant ridge line amble about some of Dartmoor’s northern Tors.

Following the path where we camped for our family microadventure two years ago, I made my way along the ridge over Belstone Common.


Past the site of the first Dad and Lad microadventure.

Next, I stopped at Oak Tor to cook a meal, a delicious homemade concoction of cous-cous and polenta, flavoured with a spiced olive oil. Something to savour in the sunshine, in complete contrast to my last visit to this tour during a mid-winter trip in December, three years ago, when the overnight the temperature dropped to -8 degrees C.

After, I continued my way south, I collected water from gorge, which i managed to cross keeping my feet dry, before climbing Sterpton Tor, making camp just as the sun set spectacularly to the South.

The moon that night was spectaculalry full, but sadly few stars could be seen because of the cloud, nevertheless,by morning, The sun rose next morning just after 4am and I was up not long after.

Dropping down into the valley, I crossed eh rover by the ruins of the old tinner’s hut before climbing up to Hound Tor and Cosdon Hill, then heading back to the car a Belstone.

A lovely quick and rewarding trip.


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

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.


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