After the struggle of last year’s Challenge, disrupted by hayfever that went so rogue it turned into full-blown asthma, I’ve been determined to make up for it this year. With the summer following the Challenge largely wiped out by getting the condition under control and finding a new normal, no sooner had I tentatively started backpacking again, than it was pretty much the end of the season. Coupled with an intensive period of art-focused rather than outdoors-focused activity, I went into the winter still in not great shape.
As is common, New Year came around and the inevitable statements were made about getting in shape. I re-started Parkrun on the first Saturday of the year. Despite some initial calf cramp problems, cured by a good pair of compression socks, I’ve started to get into the running, and have even been out mid-week. (*Whispers: I may even have started to enjoy it a tiny bit*). The hiking, though, has been sadly lacking.
I did make a point of finishing off the Essex Way in January, but that’s all apart from a 15-miler on the North Downs last weekend. Paul meanwhile has been regaling me with tales of weight lost and walks done. He seems determined to make up for last year’s withdrawal a couple of weeks from the start line. But he got me thinking that maybe I’ll be the weak link this year.
So far, each year before the Challenge I’ve been able to slot in a shakedown trip, or two: a section of Cambrian Way and a 4 day Dartmoor backpack in 2017; a short trip to the Lakes last year. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition, but to date the focus has been more on honing gear choices than training as such. This year’s trip felt like it needed to be more about training, or at least testing what sort of condition I’m in. After all, my gear is pretty stable, and the only decisions that really need to be made are clothing layers – ie whether to lean more towards a colder or warmer set of weather.
So with an invite to a 50th birthday do in Kendal, I decided to tack on a bit so I could get out on the fells and see where I was at… Continue reading “Training and A Pre-Walk Walk”
Barely am I back from my cruise to Greenland, Iceland and Norway (more about that if I get around to it in due course), then the post-holiday gloom of returning to work hits full face. A lack of decent walking opportunities on the cruise, means it’s 3 months since I did any form of backpacking, and I’m itching to get out. One break from work quickly spawns the need for another. Continue reading “Unexpected Joys in the Clag”
When I was deep into my carless Wainwright round, the Far Eastern fells presented something of a problem. The only useful bus route runs along the western edge of the area, making the fells to the far east of the … Continue reading March in the Lakes – Part 3: “Close” to home
Somehow, in a little over 24 hours, I’d broken Cath. We’d done no strenuous walking, beer intake had been modest, we hadn’t even carried heavy packs. All I could ascribe her ailment to was some sort of allergic reaction to … Continue reading March in the Lakes – Part 2: A Sunday Stroll
This trip had been in the diary for a very long time, ever since the day I signed-up to support Terry Abraham’s Blencathra film in March 2015. With me opting for the VIP premiere tickets package, this meant I knew pretty much what I’d be doing this particular weekend. Hopes of a more extended trip faded as other, art-based, priorities won out leaving me with a Friday to Monday trip. It would be long enough though…
Continue reading “A Short Jaunt in the Lakes”
Having been spoilt by a couple of days of great weather and some delightful colours on the fells, the forecast for today wasn’t looking so good – clearly I’ve used up my quota of decent conditions. Either that or nature has decided that as it is now December, it ought to get on with winter properly. Continue reading “Autumn in the Lakes: Business as Usual”
As Cath headed back to the bus stop, I turned my attention to the road walk out to Hartsop. Sat on the step of Patterdale post office while devouring my lunch, a battle had been raging in my head between … Continue reading Out in the Eastern and Far Eastern Fells – Part 2
Preparation I walked back into the large meeting room that was our base of operations and immediately noticed the tenser atmosphere. All had been going swimmingly when I’d stepped out an hour or so before for another meeting, and we … Continue reading Out in the Eastern and Far Eastern Fells – Part 1
In between a busy couple of weeks where my current client project has reached a critical stage, I’ve not had time to do much outdoors and with miserable weather and feeling shattered from work, not much inclination either. But one … Continue reading Wainwrights update
After I had to abort my Far Eastern fells trip back in July, a second attempt was always going to be on the cards. This time, though, the weather was, for the most part, more favourable. Here’s the story. Planning … Continue reading Trip Report: Far Eastern Odyssey – The Redemption
Considering that the first attempt at this trip went tits up due to the weather taking umbrage at my presence in the Lakes, this second attempt went really well. This is a short post on why. Continue reading “Far Eastern Odyssey – The Debrief”
I woke to sunlight infiltrating the tent, which made a nice change from gloom and rain. Above my head a 3 inch long jet black slug was slowly making its way along the outer seam of my tent’s inner and I lay there for a few minutes fascinated by it, but at the same time hoping it would bugger off before the time came to strike camp. Continue reading “Mission Complete”
Last night certainly put the wild into wild camping. 7 hours of constant heavy rain and strong winds battered the tent, and with each climactic gust I watched for signs that my shelter wasn’t going to hold.
Continue reading “Positive Mental Attitude”
Thursday was always predicted to be the worst day in terms of weather but even so the forecast I picked up on Wednesday morning seemed better than before I left home. How wrong I was.
Continue reading “The wind and my 11 inch sausage”
I woke with a start as sunlight streamed into the tent. This was surprising enough given the miserable day 2 morning conditions of the previous attempt at this trip. But more surprising still was that I ever got to sleep at all.
Continue reading “Deer, bruises and a perfect pitch”