The Vault Regulars

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gosforth to Seathwaite, Duddon in 3 parts.

It's strange being away from the keyboard for so long, you miss so much of what is happening and things move fast in the blogasphere.
I have just found out about Alan Slomans injury. We both hope he is progressing and wish him well. I know what he is going through. I once was climbing a wooden stile with a fishing basket when i slipped and landed leg first onto a double barbed wire fence. It wasn't a pretty sight. I now have a 3" (75cm) scar on my calf. Why is barbed wire used so much? Is it to keep animals in or out or is it for humans to injure themselves on. It's a kind of keep out or else message i know, but we cannot put it on house fences can we.
Anyway enough of that.

Sunday the 19th September was the planned start day for my walk to Seathwaite in the Duddon valley from Gosforth in West Cumbria. In mileage it's no great adventure, in fact i had done it before in less than a day and a half. But the plan was to meet up with friends on tuesday evening and plan a day walk for Wednesday.

I looked out of the house window at 8.00am and it was dark and raining hard. One of those days when you just want to get back in bed and pull up the duvet.
Anyway i was going to go so i made breakfast and final kit checks and i was away for 10.15am. It was still raining as i shut the front door and headed for Wellington bridge.

My route was to follow the River Bleng to the head of the valley, go over the watershed between Seatallon and Haycock, drop down to Nether Beck and camp somewhere along Wastwater.
I knew the river would be high and i was not wrong. It was flowing at a good rate of knots. As i climbed steadily up the forestry path the visibility and the rain was getting worse and i knew that my planned route would have to be changed.

As i approached the open moorland the visibility was very poor, i hadn't met any other people and all i had was the company of some very sad looking sheep. The path was getting more like a river with every stride. Thankfully my Goretex socks were working well.

The view (or rather no view) over to Haycock.

I decided to backtrack out of the mist and leg breaking old forestry land and take a right (SSE) at the head of Blengforest and make my way down to Harrow head via the Windsor farm track. From there i would go through Gill and head for the campsite at Nether Wasdale. 
The track was now a beck as i made slow and wet progress.
As i approached windsor farm the track was very slippery and the usually tiny beck was in full flow. I carefully picked my way down to the road and turned left.

I took the footpath passing Gill farm and headed for Gill Wood on a good path. As i turned around the mist had started to lift a little on Buckbarrow and one of the many new rivulets appeared into view.

As i reached Church Stile camp site it was obvious that not many people were braving the weather. There was only 2 tents on site as i checked in. I paid my £7 and headed off to the Screes pub for a coffee prior to erecting the tent and having a shower.
I picked my spot carefully as the site was quite boggy in places and lots of standing water. 
I had been trying out a new 230gr GoLite brolley today and i must say that it had done me proud. It had kept a lot of the heavy rain off me and my pack and it never once tried to turn inside out. I was pleased to find that my Icebreaker Merino top was only damp. My brolley was a nice shade of green and not Chrome as the link depicts.

I got my sleeping gear sorted and got my cooking gear set up ready. The rain was diminishing so i decided to go for a stroll down to Wastwater to pass another hour.
Roll on tomorrow.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Now back in Gosforth after my 4 days walking and gear testing in the lakeland hills. I need to write up the walk but it will have to wait a little while. Today, Sheila and I are taking Dorothy, (Sheila's mum for a walk along the Cumbrian coastal path starting at Ravenglass.

The day looks really nice, sunny but a bit of a cold breeze, it should stay dry though which will be a bonus.
I have no end plan, it just depends how far she wants to walk. We will see. I will post later.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The great lightweight gear myth

Earlier last year i started to make  serious inroads into lightweight backpacking gear after many years of not really taking it too seriously.
How i carried some of the stupid weights of the past, only my now knackered back can tell you.
Without a shadow of a doubt it is the right way to proceed though and this post is just a wake up call for me if nobody else. 

After reading numerous recent lightweight gear reviews of the benefits of going the Titanium way, and as an engineer i agreed with the reviews, i fell into the trap. 

Looking on the web I cringed at the prices, anything from £15 - £25 just for a mug! 
I took the plunge and bought a Titanium mug from Lifeventure for £15 and saying to myself "if you want to make inroads into pack weight you have to pay for it". I know this or i thought i did.

It arrived, wonderful, gosh, isn't it light we all said!
Into the backpacking gear it went and out went the old mugs into the reserve store. I was a happy bunny, until today.
 I was putting some gear back into the loft. From one of the bags my old polypropylene cup fell out. It brought back many memories. It has certainly travelled around the world and has completed thousands of miles. It still looked in good nick.
When i picked it up i realised it was quite lightweight. How can this be, it's 20 yrs old. 
I decided to weigh the 2 cups just because i could and lo and behold here are the results.

The Titanium cup

The Polypropylene cup
Titanium mug 60 gr.            Polypropylene mug 57 gr,  
What! how can this be, the Titanium mug should be lighter surely. 

So the moral of this post is:- be aware before parting with your hard earned cash exactly what you are getting. I wasted £30 because i bought 2 mugs thinking they would be lighter.
 The original poly cups are still available today from dozens of places at a cost of between £1- £2. We got swept away on the Euphoria, YOU don't have to be, just check first.

On the benefit side, if you want to use the Titanium cup as a cooking pot then weight wise you win hands down, but that's not what we wanted them for.  On the down side they are not that good to drink from because they hold the heat and you can burn your lips if you are unaware. The poly cups do a better job of doing what they were made for, being Mugs. (oh sorry the mugs me!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Upcoming walk

This Thursday will see Sheila and i off to pick Dorothy up from Gosforth Cumbria and Sheila is bringing her back to Manchester on saturday to Shop!
I will be staying on and have planned a walk which will lead me to Seathwaite in the Duddon valley for Tuesday night.
Wednesday i will hopefully join up with some friends who are better known as The last of the summer wine walkers.
I have no idea what walk they have in mind but it will be fun.

My trek from Gosforth to Seathwaite will not be direct or the shortest route, but to be honest it all depends on the weather what route i actually will take. Currently its not looking to good.
Anyway if it's as bad as it is right now i may call in at Hollins campsite in Eskdale and give it a whirl. I will decide on saturday afternoon when i know the forecast.
I believe you have to book a pitch beforehand.

I have a couple of stoves i want to test out and also the Super Delios water filter which i have tried but not in too much anger. So i will see how that goes.

I have packed my rucksack and it weighs 8.5kg all up. Including food for 3 days, the complete Odyssee tent which i usually share with Sheila, with it weighing around 1.8kg, 2 lightweight stoves and fuel which is meths.
I must post a kit list one day.

Sheila will pick me up on Friday, and then we will both carry on walking for a further 3 days. No route has yet been decided at this time. Again it will depend if this low weather system still prevails.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Boris? Is that you?

I was reading Mike Knipes blog about his pet spider going missing when i saw this beut trying to open the beer chiller!
It must have been 150-175mm across.
I was going to smack it with my slipper but decided it might smack me back so i left it.
It drank 3 pints of Black Sheep, burped and did a runner.  Is it yours Mike?
Last seen heading for the M62 with a dog in tow.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The all in one?

I came upon this today whilst looking at some sites and thought i would share it on my blog. A Jacket, sleeping bag and bivi bag, All In One.
I'm not suggesting that it's good/bad or indifferent or that it's a recommendation to buy one.
I just thought it's good thinking outside the box. A bit different. See what you think.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Meths stove

Above is a short video i have done of my new homemade meths stove. It's the first video i have made and put on the blog. It's a trial run really, so it's not too good and there is no commentary.

I am very pleased with the stove in operation, although not tried yet outdoors the results are certainly where i want them to be. It boiled 430ml of water in just under 4 minutes.

I will post more on it shortly.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Bank holiday weekend.

It's taken me some time to resolve a computer problem, so it's only now that i have been able to upload any photo's from last weekend.
We went to Sheila's mums in Cumbria as usual and as it turned out it was Bank Holiday. Nothing is more annoying than sat in a car sweltering on Bank Holidays. We decided to go on Thursday night and come back on Tuesday and hopefully miss the most of the traffic.
We usually go over Birker fell to Eskdale and then onto Gosforth but the bridge on Birker was under repair and so we went over Corney fell.
Just as we summited, the most fantastic sunset came into view.

We stopped the car and watched the sun go down. Some more photo's can be viewed here.

Friday morning we decided to take Dorothy (Sheila's mum) for a walk as it was such a fine day. I had to pick a relatively flat route so that the moaning about hills was kept to a minimum.
We drove to Brotherilkeld and parked at the bottom of Hardknot pass and walked up to Lingcove bridge for a picnic.
The views to Bowfell and the upper Esk were tremendous and it gave me a chance to try out different settings on the new camera.
More photo's are here of the walk.
We expected this route to be quite busy but we only saw about 10 people all day. Quite a surprise.
On arrival at Lingcove bridge we stopped for lunch and it gave me a chance to try out the new water filter. It worked fine and it's so much easier to use than the Travel Tap.
Lingcove bridge is where the routes split. If you want Bowfell or hardknot you carry straight on with the beck on your left, without crossing the bridge. For Scafell and the upper Esk you go over the bridge and follow the path leading to the Great Moss.
Unfortunately this point was our terminus and we had to head back. The weather was good and it had been a very pleasant day.

Saturday was shopping day and we headed for Whitehaven which is Dorothy's nearest town. I quite like the place with it's good waterfront, nice cafe's and friendly folk.

We had booked a table at the Scree's Inn at Nether Wasdale for evening meal and we all agreed that the standards had improvement with the new landlord and landlady.
Post dinner we set off for Wastwater and a gentle stroll along the shore. If we hurried up we could catch the sun just before it set.
Upon our arrival the colours on the lake and on the screes were a joy to behold. The views up the lake never cease to amaze me, however many times i look at it.
I was so pleased that i had remembered to bring the camera along. I would have been annoyed with myself if i had missed taking these pictures.
After driving back to Gosforth we walked over to the Gosforth Hall Inn for a beer and a chat. We found out that tomorrow a band called Stouchie and a blues guitarist called Christian Sharp were going to be playing from 5 onwards. Sounds like a good time so we called our friends in Seathwaite and they decided to come over for the music and a meal.

Sunday again was glorious, so we set off for Ravenglass and a walk along the coastal path.
There was also an antiques fair on in Ravenglass so in we went and came out about £40 lighter.
 Back at Dorothy's Sheila and i went for a run. Nothing spectacular, apart from the scenery. Only about 6 miles. Dorothy decided to sit this one out.
Then off to listen to the music at Gosforth Hall. Tina and Alan from Seathwaite arrived within a few minutes of us and we had a really good night. The music was great and the food as good as ever. I didn't take the camera this time so no pic's of the band. Sorry.

Monday we decided to go to the country fair which was being held at Bootle. It was such a hot day. The good weather just makes events of this kind and also ensures that you can get your car out of the field at the end of it.

From here we thought with it being so nice that we would go to the sea shore for a stroll at Eskmeals. From this site, the military use it for gunnery practice and on occasions you cannot go past. We were ok on this occasion and we had a pleasant hour beachcombing.

Pictures of the fair and Eskmeals are here

We were thinking how lucky those people were that managed to get into the high mountains this weekend. There had been an odd shower overnight but the hill tops looked stunning all weekend.
If only.............

Anyway it's back home now and a new stove to make! More later.

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