The Vault Regulars

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sleeping bag

Anybody looking for a new sleeping bag in the not too distant future may want to take a look HERE. and compare it against other manufacturers.
Katabatic is not a company known much here in the UK, but this bag weight is 670grams and is rated at minus 9. Cost $355. I'll not covert it to pounds due to the fluctuations.
It seems pretty good to me.

Gosforth Weekend Apr.22-26th 2010

We go up to Sheila's mums in Gosforth Cumbria every 3 weeks to take her shopping. If we are lucky we can usually get a walk in, that is if it's not too long or too strenuous.
Fridays forecast was good so i picked a walk up to Burnmoor Tarn starting from Giggle Alley in Eskdale Green.
 The route follows the river Mite to the head of the Miterdale valley and across to the tarn and back by the same track.
Not hilly and only about 9 miles.
  The River Mite at Porterthwaite bridge.

The Land Rover Track leads to the farm of Low Place where the unusual sign in old Cumbrian reads Footpath to Eskdale.

Once through the farm a track on either side of the river can be taken, we crossed the footbridge and stayed on the RH bank.
Miterdale Track with Sca Fell in the background. 
The walk up Miterdale is very pleasant and today there was not a breath of wind and for a change it was sunny. At the head of the valley there is a beautiful natural amphitheatre. 
We decided to stop here for luch before moving off to the tarn.
We were being entertained by the Ravens swooping down on the sheep and there were plenty of Skylarks. We even saw a Grey Shriek.(Should be Shrike, Thanks Martin. I must start wearing the glasses.)
 Head of Miterdale
Burnmoor Tarn.
After walking back to Eskdale we decided to have a beer in Gosforth Hall, just to celebrate the achievement you understand.
A nice pint of Yate's Fever Pitch and a glass of Chardonnay before Tea.

The beautiful fireplace in Gosforth Hall Inn with the widest span arch in the uk (reputedly).

Thankfully we decided to do this walk Friday as this turned out to be the best day of the weekend. Saturday was reasonable but Sunday was horrid. The mist was really low and we didn't see the hills all day. As the day wore on the mist got worse until it was down to village level.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Therm A Rest Neo Air

When the Neo Air hit the market a great deal of excitement went round the outdoor community.  I eventually got mine in August 2009 after a little bit of a wait due to the demand and replaced my Prolite.
So i have used it now for around 9 months, and i find it very comfy, easy to inflate, it gives some protection from the cold coming up from the ground, but not enough in my opinion and it packs away small. Ideal in fact.
However, am i the only one who finds it too deep?
I use the short mat and i put my pillow on the floor not on the mat and i have never been happy with this situation. The mat moves in the night quite a bit and the pillow stays where it was put. Therefore i end up being uncomfortable, usually with my head half on the pillow and with a bit of a stiff neck.
You may say i should have bought a longer one and put the pillow on the mat, but for light weight backpacking this defeats the object.
I wish the mat was only half as thick and with a better insulated underside to increase the season rating and with some sort of slip resistant material.
Am i asking too much? or do others agree.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

White Pike and Caw

The walk we did on Sat. 17th April was a circular route, starting and obviously finishing from Turner Hall camp site. It included White Maiden, White Pike and Caw. Last night was a very cold night and although no frost, i felt a wee bit cold in my Rab Summit 400 bag.
As we set off the day was cooler than yesterday and much more haze around. The Scafells  and the ridge around to Esk Pike was almost invisible and Harter fell was grey. The views became finer as we ascended the Walna Scar track towards the quarries. We passed a group of young lads who were sat down at the side of the track and they had huge sacks. A couple of them were so heavily laden i don't know how they carried it.

As we approached the Walna Quarry gate, a biker was just in front of us pedalling for all he was worth. It made us tired just watching how many revolutions of the pedals got him a further metre up the track.

We very soon reached the Duddon/Coniston watershed and there was quite a few people around as you would expect on a Saturday. The majority were heading up from the Coniston direction and then turning right to go up Brown Pike etc.
We had a 5 minute sit down and then put on an extra layer as the cold wind had picked up.

Our path was to the south, and led to White Maiden. There was quite a strong cold breeze and i was glad of the Montane litespeed to keep it out. As we started off for White Pike the skies darkened and i thought we were going to get a shower, but it was blown away.
White Maiden Top

A quick stroll from White Maiden and you are at the cairn on White Pike.
White Pike with Dow Crag in the distance.

It's a deceptive piece of rock White Pike. From ground level it looks an easy descent, but it can be quite dangerous especially in bad weather. There is no set route or footpath going south off the Pike and care should be taken.
The safest route is to head off in a SE direction and pick your way down the grassy slopes gradually turning S. We were heading onto Caw from here so we picked our way across the boggy ground towards the Pikes.
Caw from White Pike
South edge of White Pike.

The distance from White Pike to Caw always seems to take much longer than it should but eventually we reached the Trig Point on Caw.
White Pike is first hill behind Trig point.

From Caw summit we headed off West to Caw quarries and we spent a few minutes having a look round the old building and mine shaft before following the good track down to the Park Head Road which in a mile or so leads to the Newfield Inn, where obviously you have to call in because it's open.
We enjoyed this walk and we had only met 2 adults and 2 children from getting to the top of the Walna track to the Newfield.
This walk was 11km distance and Ascent of 672m, although it seems  much more.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Duddon Valley Friday 16th April

We arrived in the Duddon Valley on Thursday afternoon and set up base camp on Turner Hall Farm. It was extremely quiet and Hillary (Proprietor) was laying shale to a new area for car parking. I said i would give her a lift after we had got the tent up.
Tent quickly erected, i got the excavator going and flattened off the shale and compressed it down ready for the weekends campers to drive over it.
Sheila had a doze i think, whilst this activity was being carried out.
Later we met up with some friends in the Newfield Inn for a couple of beers.
Thursday night proved to be a cold night but the sun was warming the tent nicely as we awoke.
We had decided to do a walk round Stickle pike and Great Stickle today. This is not a difficult walk by any means but it was one that we had been meaning to do for a while so today was the day.
We parked low down in the valley bottom near to Cinderhill Beck and from here walked south along the road to pick up the track signposted on the left.
This is a excellent man made track up into the hills. I believe it's origins go back to when peat was cut from the boggy fells and then brought down by this track.

Eventually the path leads to Hovel Knot, a promontory below Great Stickle with good views.
From Hovel Knot its only a short walk to the trig point on top of Great Stickle  from where we could see our next top Stickle Pike.
We followed the high ground leading to Yew Pike, west of Stickle pike and then turned east to pick up a track leading on to the east shoulder of Stickle pike and with Stickle tarn on the right.
Once on Stickle pike there are great views of the high fells.
From here we carried on north until we joined the road at Kiln Bank cross and then found the track which leads to Birks and Ulpha bridge.
It was getting to be a really warm day and so as we dropped down the secondary layer came off.
Crossing Ulpha bridge and then turning left on a minor road we came across a field full of Daffodils and then a little further on the path is found, through a gate opposite the old Bobbin Mill.

 The path from the Bobbin Mill leads through Forge wood and without any difficulties, in about 2 1/2 miles you come to the Wood Mill at Beckfoot. The woods walk is again full of wild flowers and Daffs and will very soon be full of blue bells.
At the Wood Mill watch out for the track behind the mill which leads to Rawfold bridge. It's easy here to walk straight on towards the small hamlet at Beckfoot and miss this turning.

Once over Rawfold bridge the path leads through the gate opposite and then through two fields and up to the road where you turn left and return to the car.
On the way to the car we saw an Adder with a sore head. (It had been run over)
This walk was 15km total and had a ascent of 541 metres and a descent of 543 metres. It's the kind of walk that you tell yourself, I'll save that walk for a wet day. I'm pleased that we did it when it was fine, because the views in all 360 degrees are worth seeing. If it had been a lousy day then the views more than likely would have been hidden and that would have been a shame.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I've been over to Todmorden today and the views are fantastic. As i sat there doing nothing i thought about M and G's walk from Marsden to Ogden, which is today's leg of their walk for heroes..
 They are not too far away from where i was contemplating the day. Just across the moors.
They would have had a misty start probably, and vastly improving by the minute. It's very warm but a bit of a breeze on top.

I'm now back home and i have got to sort gear out, as we are off to the Duddon valley on Thursday morning. I've not been there since i went to an old friends funeral in January so it will be great to meet up with folk again.

I've also been and bought maps for the Rob Roy Way as we fancy doing this at the end of June if Sheila can get the time off work. Must get my Skin so Soft supply.
We will be starting from Aberfoyle rather than Drymen and we will probably finish at Blair Athol rather than Pitlochry. But it's all still at planning stage and things could change, (well apart from the start because we have booked the hotel).

Any ideas regarding wild camp sites or info generally will be most welcome.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Duddon Valley Fell Race 2010

 Sheila and I have just had confirmation that we will be marshall's again on Swirl How for this years Duddon Valley Fell Race
The race is graded "A" and is held 1st saturday in June. That's 5th June this year.
We particularly like being on this top as the views can be spectacular. Although when the weather is bad it's usually very bad here.
It's always a fantastic day, not just the racing but also the post race entertainment, which is held in the garden at the Newfield Inn. There are usually a few bands playing and the range of music is varied from Blues, Folk, Rock etc etc.
We will be on Swirl How from around 12.30pm until around 4.00pm. If anybody is in the area why not come up and say hello.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Goretex Socks

Our thanks go to Laura for finding a pair of Gore-tex socks which fit Sheila. We had been looking for a small pair of GT socks for ages, as those who read this blog will know. 

If anybody else is looking for a pair you can find them HERE  (just type Goretex socks in the product search). I would have put the exact page in as a link rather than just the company but pages have a habit of changing.

Much easier than ordering them from USA.
Thanks again Laura.

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