The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A short visit to Dunnerdale.

 Monday 12th - Thursday 15th October 2020

I had originally planned this camping trip for last week but a sore achilles put paid to that. We were just a little disappointed because we hadn't been up to see our friends in Seathwaite since before the covid lockdown in March.

We had to camp because we couldn't visit their house, but to be honest I was quite looking forward to getting the camping gear out again. If I could find it all.

Monday was forecast a wet day and it proved correct. It rained most of the way and had set in for the day by the time we arrived at the campsite in Seathwaite. We waited in the car for a short while to see if the rain would abate but no luck, so it was just a matter of getting the waterproofs on and getting the tent up ASAP.

I took the Kuiu Mountain Star tent which is an easy tent to erect and it doesn't matter if its raining, the inner tent doesn't get wet. Five minutes after the tent was up the rain eased slightly but it wasn't to last. At least I managed to make a brew before it started again. Only at this point did we realise that we had forgot the coffee so it was green tea.

Tranquility in the Duddon Valley.

I had a short wander around the site and found there was only one other tent.

We lazed around in the tent for the rest of the afternoon, it just wasn't worth getting wet through, but later we had arranged to meet up with our friends in the Newfield Inn at 6.00pm come rain or shine.

The Newfield Inn opened its doors on 1st September under new management so we were more than looking forward to seeing what had changed. Considering it was a wet Monday night there was more folk in than I had expected. It was good to see our friends again, but no hugs. 

I have to say that the menu was very good and the food was excellent. I had Steak and Ale pie and I wished I had taken a photo because it looked wonderful and the portion were very large. I struggled to finish it all but I wasn't going to leave any. 

A notice on the bar said, "Breakfasts being served from 9.00am". This is new. I took a mental note.


The rain had stopped and it wasn't a bad day. My achilles was not causing me too much pain but I knew I daren't risk going on the high fells. I planned a short walk up the Walna track to take some photos but it seemed we just diverted and went up the good track to Seathwaite Tarn and back. 

Once up at the reservoir it was a different day. From being a warm day down in the valley, it had now turned into a very nippy and windy day. Not a day to linger and have a picnic. On the way back we passed quite a few folk on their way up. I thought "I bet you think its a lovely day but just wait till you get up there".

When we got back we spoke to a lady who had gone up to Dow Crag. However, she had got blown over at Buck pike so decided to get off the mountain. Wise decision.

Harter Fell


The night turned into one of gale force winds with rain lashing down. We didn't sleep much until about midnight when the wind abaited a little. I slept ok until about 5 am but Sheila didn't sleep much. As it was we had a bit of a lie in.

Once the sun was up it proved to be a lovely day so another short walk was called for. We headed for Fickle Steps, which is a series of large boulders and a wire handrail across the River Duddon. Luckily the river was not too high and we got across with dry feet. 

It had been many a year since I had walked the Duddon Gorge and so it proved to be a good decision. We loved it. Such a peaceful path which undulates with great views of the river and higher up onto the fells. I had to be a bit careful in parts and just watch my footing on the rocky path. I din't want to twist my ankle and make it worse. We were in no rush anyway so it didn't matter how slow we walked.

In the evening we headed back to the Newfield to socialise with our friends before leaving for home tomorrow. We suggested to have breakfast here in the morning which would be better than us cooking it. All agreed.

Wednesday night proved to be a bit of a chilly one and we were grateful for our -5 PHD sleeping bags. Just before we packed up we had a chat with the owner of the campsite and he was telling us of his good fortune at the Tup auctions were he had sold one for £18,000. Fantastic price.

Breakfast at the pub turned out to be an excellent choice. Bacon, sausage, 2 eggs, tomato's, mushrooms, black pudding. Toast and coffee. It cost £9.95 and I know some will think this is a lot but it was worth it. It was quality and I look forward to next time.

Well that just about ends our short trip. Hopefully next time my ankle tendon will be much improved.

Friday, October 16, 2020

3F Ultralight Gear 2/3 person tent FOR SALE.

 I bought this tent in February 2020 for an event which was to take place in April. 

See it here.

Obviously with what took over the country in March the event was cancelled. I now have no need for this tent. I was going to keep it but the amount of times I would use it just doesn't warrant it.

So someone could grab a bargain. I paid £140 not £220 and I would accept any decent offer. Taking into consideration that it is in as new condition. It has been erected twice. It has no marks on the groundsheet and it has only been slept in for 2 nights.

If your memory is good, you may remember the Golite Shangri la 3. Well this 3F tent was probably made in the same factory using the same patterns and materials and has been re badged under another name. Thats my guess, knowing the Golite version. It is also very similar to the Nigor WikiUp 3. The quality of the 3F tent is perfect.

Here is the weight. Tent inner and outer, pole and pegs and bags. 1634 grams.

It says this is a 2 person tent but it would easy accommodate a small child or a dog too.

Tent dimensions.

The inner tent is very fine mesh which is midge proof.
The zip is two way so can be opened from the top to give even more ventilation than the huge three vents at the top.
The tent is supplied with a pole extension only, for use with the owners own walking pole. Saving weight.
12 tent pegs are included.
The inner groundsheet has a high bathtub floor. 2 inner pockets for storage.

Where the provided extension pole fits with your walking pole.

Tent details.

Outer fly sheet.  15D silicon coated Nylon 5000 hydrostatic head.
Inner tent. 20D Gauze.
Groundsheet. 20D Silicon coated Nylon. 6000 hydrostatic head.
Pole extension rod.
12 tent pegs.
Colour, Green.

Any questions please use comments below.

Friday, September 25, 2020

In search of a good read?

 Bothy Tales by John D Burns.

I took this book on holiday with me and found it a really good read. Its very light hearted and the author has got a great sense of humour. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the tales.

It's about a couple of guys adventures, walking in Scotland and visiting many of the countries bothies. It covers many years of hiking from being youths when carrying far too much gear was seen as tough rather than idiotic to getting older when carrying a day sack is too much. 

The stories will resonate with many of you and without giving away the tales I would recommend you get it and take it with you when you are next out backpacking. It's not a heavy book so it won't feel like your carrying a brick. 

Enjoy it like I did.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Kefalonia, Category 2 Hurricane or Medicane as it is known here.

 We have been to Kefalonia most years since 1984. Its a beautiful and friendly island with stunning beaches and food. It's where we call our second home.

During our visits we have experienced stormy days, torrential rain, fires, hail but to experience a Cat.2 Hurricane is a completely different ball game. I'm kind of glad we have been through it because now we know first hand the power of nature and the destruction it causes. Wind speeds and therefore the driven rain reached 194km/hr with daily rainfall of 644mm. We are just relieved that the majority of damage is collateral. I have not heard of a death which in itself is a miracle as you will see as you progress through the images. I hope I don't give an impression of trivialisation because believe me this was hell. Some people are still stranded and have nothing.

Most of the images are mine but some are from Kefalonia focus. We couldn't get around the island because of the damage. Thankfully the airport remained open and we flew back to UK as scheduled.

When we left the State of Emergency had been declared and the Greek Army was on its way to help restore what it can. Some electricity had been restored but many parts of the island we still without basic essentials. 

Nature also suffered badly. We had a Swallow fly in through a tiny toilet window, perched on an ornament for 3 hours and then flew out again. We heard of this type of story a lot. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Reed windpoof cagoule

 My first view of this windproof or windshirt happened in July 2010. I posted on my blog about its presence in the market when other similar products were costing 2 or 3 times more.
I had bought the Montane lite speed windshirt only a few weeks earlier so I was a bit miffed at the time. The Reed cost only £25 in 2010.
Currently I own 3 windproof s, the Rab Boreas Pull On, the BlackDiamond Alpine Start and the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Jacket. However. Having lost my Montane, I wanted a new Pertex one.
Then I remembered that I had posted about one many years ago. I wondered if it was still available. I was amazed to find it still going and better still it was great value for money at £33.
I have now worn it long enough to give you my review of it.
The Reed Windcheater Jacket. 
Material. Pertex Quantum
It does look like an old crisp packet when you first take it out of its stuff sack but it doesn't take long for the creases to go.

Weight. 80 grams. Including the stuff sack.
The stuff sack is permanently attached to the inside seam and when stashed the jacket takes up no more room than a tennis ball.
There is no hood.
There are no pockets.
The sleeves and bottom hem are elasticated.
The style of the jacket is Pull On, like a cagoule.
The zip is a non waterproof YKK. With an attached zip pull.
The sizing is generous, allowing for layering.
The length is also generous and the rear tail easily covers your bottom.
The Pertex has a DWR. (Direct Water Repelency.)
For its weight the material is strong.
This top suits me and gives me what I was looking for. A lightweight compact windproof with the capability of withstanding a shower. It won't suit everyone as I know some folk want only a windproof that isn't water resistant because of the reduced breathability. It can get warm wearing it but in its defence the current weather in UK is very warm. I have not suffered any condensation though.
I was very surprised at how good it performed in the wet. You can get away without reverting to a waterproof shell jacket for quite some time. And it dries very quickly.
What I would change.
 - it would be better to incorporate a hood, but I knew it didn't have one when I ordered it.
The neck is a little loose for me (size 16.5"). As is shown in the image above. Elasticated neck would be better. I will probably add a strip of elastic myself.
I am not keen on the storage bag being attached to the inner seam. It can drop below the hem and become vulnerable to getting caught. I will try and remove it without damaging the jacket.
I would have preferred a choice of colour. There is only black.
That's about it. A simple, affordable, lightweight, well made wind proof with water resistant capabilities. Not perfect, but I would have to pay a lot more to get one that's better.

Since posting this I have now removed the stuff sack but it cannot be removed from the jacket seam without causing damage to the sack or the seam. Considering I have the original stuff sack from my Montane Lite Speed I decided to discard the Reed stuff sack and leave the jacket seam in good condition. An easy decision.

Similar product.

Just a test post

 Test pic.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

A bit of a washout!

The Walk that I had planned for our last day here in Conder Green turned out badly but not a complete waste of time. 
First thing the rain was lashing our window and visibility was poor so we waited hoping it would clear up. The weather forecast was promising for later in the day but not the morning. 
I decided that I wanted a short walk along the coast so drove to the car park at Lane End Amenity Area near Pilling. It’s a few ponds enclosed by a man made dyke that stretches from Cocker Bridge to near Knott End. 

Waterproofs back on we walked to our right from the car park along the dyke only to be thwarted after a couple of hundred yards at a fence with a sign “ no public access”. Why not? I have no idea. 

So we retreated and walked along the dyke left. Met a few dog walkers but the mist was rolling in and out across the estuary. Some times you had a good view as on the photo above and others just the grass on the flood plain. A butterfly was spotted but it wouldn't open its wings in the rain and also wild oregano was plentiful.
Gatekeeper Butterfly

We saw a solitary Sandpiper, a couple of Egrets and thousands of Mallard. Probably where all the local duck comes from in the restaurants. 

We were quite enjoying our walk until we came to another barbed wire fence with no access. Looking at the map we were only a very short distance away from another car park just near Fluke Hall. I thought that there must be a local path through here somewhere but alas not. We had to turn back again. 

We drove to the oh so near car park to check out if there was a path from that end but there wasn’t, just more barbed wire. I think this is really stupid. For the sake of a few hundred yards of coastal grass why does the owner have to restrict the empty land so that it causes long detours for people doing the coast path. Surely the council should do something here. 
No Access across the dyke.

Pilling Old Wind Mill.

Anyway the rain was lashing down and we just sat in the car, had a coffee and went back to base.
Lo and behold at 2.00pm it cleared up into a lovely afternoon.

Find it Here