The Vault Regulars

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hail Storm Hill

Enough of stats now. Lets get back out there.

Today's walk was to the aptly named Hail Storm Hill. We set off a little late at 12 ish, we parked the car in a flowing stream.. It's normally a cart track but today with the persistent heavy rain, the track was flowing quite well.
 Opening the car door was a bit of a struggle, the wind was strong and before we got round to the boot our clothes were a bit damp. Quickly we put on our shell gear which today included my OMM smock. The one i had a problem with water ingress from the main zip a little while ago.
 Making some height along the good track up Rooley Moor, all around, the higher ground was shrouded in clag.

 At times we had a clear view across the reservoirs to Knowle Hill and the Scout Moor wind turbines.

 It wasn't nice walking, head down, rain in the face and eyes and the clag closing in. I wondered about calling it a day but it was good to be out, even as bad it was. 
 Not a soul was around, only us loonies. 
 The track has had lots of drainage work done recently with gutters cleared. Today they were flowing fast and noisily.
 Once we made the watershed we left the good track and headed east to Top of  Leach. It was very boggy but quite quickly the trig point came into view along with the boundary post and the wind shelter. 

There was nothing to see today except clag. It was getting a bit cold and Terry's gloves were no use what so ever. They were supposed to be waterproof but they have definitely had their day. We had a quick walk along the boundary path to Hail Storm Hill and although the odd turbine came into view the clag was not going to be clearing.

 Backtracking to the shelter on the Leach, we got behind the walls and had a coffee. I was glad i had brought the flask instead of our usual stove and pan. I also brought some of Sheila's Apple and Date flapjacks that she made yesterday. 
Thanks Louise for the heads up on the recipe.

 The rain was not letting up. Joining back on the moor track we found a brand new scissor jack and a length of rope. Obviously somebody in a 4x4 had got into the ditch and needed help to get out. I put the jack in a spot that it could be found if the owner decided to come back.

 About 20 minutes later we were passed by a 4x4, maybe it was his jack.
 We got a bit of a shift on as Terry's hands were so cold now. Mine were also cold but dry.
 It was great to get back to the car, get the wet gear off and finish what was left of the coffee and kit kats. 

 I now know my over trousers need re-proofing, but the good news is that the spray proofing i put on the OMM zip (Thunder Shield) and the vaseline at the zip garage seems to have done the trick. The smock didn’t leak whatsoever.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Do you check stats

 Last week when i was out with the East Lancs Plodders, i got chatting to Martin Bamfield about blogging and the why's and wherefore's of stats.
I look at stats occasional but not that often that it makes any odds to what i put in my next post. 
 Martin asked if i looked at what posts readers refer to most, which i didn't. I had no idea whatsoever. I had never actually looked at that statistic.
 He bet that readers looked at gear reviews more than walking topics. I couldn't argue against that assumption but i hoped that it might be 50:50. 
When i got home i checked out Martins assumption and was a bit shocked to see he was absolutely right. It wasn't even a close run thing.

 So for all readers who poopah gear reviews, take a look at the above stats. 

 I am not sure whether readers are saying they like gear reviews better or that more people search google and other search engines for gear and my blog gets highlighted. What ever the reason is, of which i have no control, i hope readers do find it interesting.

 It would be interested to hear what other bloggers think and how their posts are performing in respect of the Gear v Trail.

BTW Martin, it was September '09 the first post. Doesn't time just fly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fire Maple FMS-116T v ?

 I had an email recently from Ultralight outdoor gear showing the new Fire Maple stoves they have or are due in soon. I then noticed they had the Fire Maple FMS-116 Titanium. 

I recognised it as one i had seen last week when i was mooching around Manchester gear shops. 

Now i cannot say that the 2 stoves above and the one below are one and the same but the specification is exactly the same and it looks, exactly the same, and the weight is, yes, exactly the same at 48gr. 
A fantastic weight for a backpacking gas stove.

The only difference i can see, is the price. £34.99 at Ultralight outdoor gear, £24.99 at GoOutdoors and £16.00 at Sports Direct.

 I like UOG and GO very much, because they are good company's, i have ordered from them numerous times and will do so again in the future but i couldn’t let this go without highlighting it to potential gear buying challengers and other interested parties, obviously.

You need to make your own minds up.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Barley to Thornton in Craven.

 "Would you care to take some photographs from inside", a voice from behind me said. I turned to see a well dress chap stood by his car. "I can open up if you like". I thanked him but declined his offer as it was getting close to our walk meeting time.
 I had spent the last 20 minutes or so wandering round the lovely little church and grave yard at Thornton in Craven. This chap was well spoken and dressed like a country gent in breeches, brogues, long green socks and a coat similar to  a Burberry car coat. 
 "It's not my village but it's my church" he told me and with this gave me an interesting 5 minutes conversation about the history of the place.
 It goes back to the Doomsday book, there was a Saxon church here before this. The well which was refurbed in 2004 has been here since the 10th century. The roof and nave has been altered, see the old roof line, he progressed. The tower has been rebuilt and it took a number of winters to do it, you can see that from the differing stone work inside. Did you see the old lettering on the tower and the bells...... Ok must go, friends are here, we are off for a walk he said as he toddled off. Well if that's the gear he walks in, lets hope he never goes out with the plodders. Mud mud glorious mud etc etc..

 All walk participants arrived, togged up, bladders emptied, we set off in half the cars to Barley. Reg leading today's trek which was the last leg of the Lancashire trail, started at the large car park (Cost £1) with the very nice cafe.
 Now the observant ones of the congregation will probably be wondering why the Lancashire trail ends up in Thornton In Craven which is infact in North Yorkshire. Well the reason being, is that the sizeable car parking space is outside the church which is only 100 metres across the border. There are no passports required and as long as you get in and out quickly none of them Yorkshire folk will know your from Lancashire as long as you keep schtum. Well apart from Reg, who is from Yorkshire but is leading the East Lancashire plodders. All very confusing isn't it.
 The walk, ah yes the walk. I almost forgot about that. 

Well as is usual there is a group photy but we set off without mention. It didn't last long, Martin, fellow blogger from Timperley fame was waiting until we got clear of the car park to spring in front, call a halt to proceedings whilst he set up the self timer, adjusted focal distance, checked the light meter, cleaned his boots, got the little un's tut front, big un's tut back. You know what he's like. Then strobe flash, click, all done. Onward passed the Outdoor centre and through a beech and spruce wooded bit which was very pretty with all the leaves on the ground, covering the mud wallows waiting to catch the odd walker out. 

 Passed Hollin Top and onto Bank End we dropped down south to the Black Bar Rd which we followed for a short distance before stopping for a quick break before heading north again following Blacko water to meet Wheathead Lane.

 Quite a muddy path took us past Admergill farm and an even muddier path which Martin sadistically smiled and photographed while the less nibble clung onto the barbed wire fence. A herd of water buffalo watch perplexed at the escapade. 

Once through the quagmire, knee deep in parts, we ascended to and crossed the A862 where a short ascent brought us to an old quarry where it was decided to take lunch. It was a bit nippy where the majority dropped rucksacks and so i repositioned myself about 25yds further on just on the lee side. Soon joined by Martin so that i wasn't Billy no mates. The Moorcock Inn looked ominously close but post lunch we headed away from it, east, towards Gisburn Old Road, where after taking pictures of Laurel and Hardy sat by a pond we turned down Lister Well Road, a green lane heading for Barnoldswick. 

En-Route a couple were intently perusing the map, rucksacks off and looking a bit vague, the chap asked us where we were going and on the reply of Thornton, there seemed no connection, as though we had said Beinne Eighe.

 At the bottom of the lane the B6251 was quite busy and noisy but the leaders on point, shot off across the road and headed for Dye House Farm. After about 100yds there was a shout from the back. "Oye we're not going that way". Yes you've guessed, Martin and I and 2 others had to march back up the hill to the road and take an adjacent path over Hurst Hill to the B6383. Now this was a wide busy road and if it didn't say "B" road on the map you would have sworn on oath it was an "A" road. We bravely negotiated death, crossed and walk on a good path down to Cockshot Bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool canal, where a vast number of narrow boats were moored for winter. Some even wrapped in plastic.
 Our leader, that's Reg, took the decision to stop for a last break and Martin dispatched the remnants of his lovely chocolate brownies. See we can do cake Louise!
 We even had a discussion about recipes and Carrot cake and all sorts of yummy things and then we were off again.
 Passing Kayfield farm, again it was quite muddy but the farmer had very kindly split a straw bale over the worst of it so that we passed easily and cleanly.

 In the next field it was a surprise to see an Alpaca.
 And then 4 inquisitive donkeys marched us through the next field which brought us nicely back to Thornton In Craven church before it got dark.

 It had been a good day, no rain, good company, well led apart from when those in front had no idea where we were going. Loads of different fungi was noticed today. In the main unidentifiable (by me),so i have some searching to do.

 14km, 412m of ascent. 4hrs 39mins including stops. Ave speed 4.1kph.

Another take on this day out and some more photo's will be found on Martin's blog Postcard from Timperley.  when his write up is posted.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunny Manchester, well apart from the rain.

 I try and have a mooch around Manchester Centre outdoor shops about once a month just to see what's new or if i can pick up a bargain piece of gear.
 I also take my camera just in case i spot something worth snapping. Most times i come home without taking any photo's and without any gear but today i saw one view worth taking.

 Coming out of The Cotswold Shop after a chat with the staff, i was just heading for a coffee shop when i noticed the low sun penetrating between the new tall buildings behind Spinnigfields. I wondered if i could get a photograph of some long shadows but as i crossed the bridge over the Irwell at the bottom of Quay Street, i was almost blinded by the suns reflection on the angled glass off The Lowry Hotel.

 Going back to my visit to Cotswold Shop, i was interested to have a look at the Jack Wolfskin trouser range ,  in particular the Wolfskin Vertec trousers that Andy Howell had reviewed a little while ago HERE. Unfortunately, Andy (Cotswold Staff) told me that the Vertec and all the other trousers in the range were not going to be stocked but could be ordered etc etc.
 He kindly checked the computer and told me that the only place in the North West who were stocking the trousers was in Liverpool where the Cotswold Shop actually had a Wolfskin shop too.
 I was a little disappointed but i still took the opportunity to look at the Wolfskin Jackets and was impressed with the Resolution which is selling for £150.00. It's a heavy weight, full winter jacket. Good protection from the elements.

 My favorite trousers by far are the Montane Terra's but because they have a crap belt and no wallet pocket i tend to pick my Columbia Silver Ridge more often than not or my Rohan Ether’s which i must do a review on soon. Not that the Columbia's are better for backpacking but they are comfy, lightweight, have pockets in the right place, dry quick and take any belt you desire to use. I notice that the Montane 2012 versions here, at Craigdon Mountain Sports, have now changed the belt to a std replacement one but i don’t think they have put a wallet pocket in. They are obviously watching the overall weight.

 Wolfskin are about to release a lightweight range of gear but guess what! Cotswolds are not going to stock it. Andy said he had seen some of it from the rep but that was about as far as the info went. I feel it's about time one of the big retailers stuck there neck out and started stocking some gear that is not in every other gear shop in town. I remember not that long ago i was in Cotswolds and chatting to them about Inov-8 shoes and waterproof socks and i was told that they were not stocking them because they were a niche market. How things have changed since then.

 Did i find a bargain? Not in Cotswold, but i did pick up a couple of Airtex military T shirts from Military Kit on Tib Street for £14 each.  These will be good for spring.  Quite light weight and very well made. This shop is a real Aladdin’s cave and it’s surprising how much gear and how many well know outdoor brands they stock. It’s worth a look if you are every in this neck of the woods.

 Oh yes and i did have a couple of pints of Joseph Holts bitter which cost £2.35 a pint. A bargain at any price.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New camp site in South Lakes

 During our weekend at the Walna Scar Shepherds Meet i spoke to local hill farmer Stephen Gorst. He farms at Hoses which is near to the summit of the road over Kiln Bank Cross. He was telling me about his plans for the campsite he is just opening up.
OS Grid ref SD216927.

 The camping ground looks good but the facilities are very basic at this time. 
 Ideal for the backpacker who isn’t too fussy.

 Stephen tells me that plans to build shower and toilet block will be carried out over the winter months and hopefully will be ready for spring 2013. The views from the site are very nice with an open southerly aspect. West and East the views are of the fell sides.

 It’s a good spot for winter walking as the tops of Stickle Pike 375m, Fox Haw 385m and Caw 529m  are within easy reach as well as many low level footpaths such as the Park Head Road to Seathwaite. 
 It's also a handy spot for people who travel many hours to get to the Lakes, as its only 30 minutes from a motorway exit. 

 If you would like to stay there over the weeks/months ahead then it wouldn’t be a problem just to turn up. But if you want to let Stephen or Wendy know of your intention to arrive then the phone number is 01229 716213

Site fee will probably be in the region of £5 per head. TBA.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Huge Milestone

Wow. He stands back in amazement.
My scribblings have just clocked up over 100,000 hits.
It's been a really good journey. One i never thought it would ever achieve.
Thanks to everyone who has kept me going, made fantastic comments and passed on support and advice.
It's made good friends and i've learnt a hell of a lot. Even though i have years of experience your never too old to learn.
Thanks again to all who contributed and to those who have read it and passed anonymously.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Super Delios water filter. UPDATE Nov 2012

This is an update for all who may want to buy new filters or to replace the existing filter head.

 Overall it's good news.

As readers will be aware,  the company was badly effected by the earthquake and resulting tsunami which devastated Japan in 2011. Production and facilities were lost.

The good news is that production has now started again and is still being manufactured in Japan. Other plants outside Japan were considered to try and speed up the process but have been rejected on quality and cleanliness issues.

The bad news is that Delios UK need to have 100 orders before batch shipment will be released from Japan.

 So, it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation. To give a little incentive to placing orders here in UK, Delios have reduced the initial order price. The feeling is that once the 100 target is reached then ongoing batches will ship from Japan easier.

 Obviously this throws up questions for potential purchasers and so i would like to preempt people's doubts.
 Delios UK feel that they can achieve 50 units ordered within the next week. If this number is not met then negotiations with the supplier in Japan to reduce the initial supply figure from 100 to 50 will take place.
 They are targeting all orders taken to be delivered for Christmas.

They understand the loyalty of the UK supply base and want them to know that it is appreciated.

Please click on the link below if you would like to view the products or place an order.

This information has been forwarded by Yasuyo Fujimoto from Delios UK. Thank You.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Walna Scar shepherd's meet Nov 2012

 Friday night, driving from Seathwaite to Gosforth for a meal at Nicks place The Wild Olive it was chucking it down. We were staying with friends in Seathwaite and Alan (Not me), said he would drive and as he has a new 4x4 it made light work of the flooded sections we encountered en route over Birker fell.
 It’s always a good meal here. In my opinion any way. The menu had changed since our last visit earlier in the year and i was a little disappointed that the Sangiovese beef was not available. I had roast Salmon which was very nice.
 Post meal we had a couple of drinks in Gosforth Hall just to say hi to old friends. Then we headed back to Seathwaite and an early-ish night preparing for the Shepherds Meet tomorrow.
 Saturday morning. Looking from our bedroom window we can usually see Grey Friar above the trees. Today it was completely clagged over and although it was just spitting with rain it did look promising.
This opinion changed as we went over Kiln Bank Cross on the way to Broughton Mills where this years Meet was being held. It started to snow.

Top of the Kiln Bank Cross with the footpath up to Stickle Pike. And below is Stickle Pike.

 Our job at the event was to help out on the gate relieving folks of £3 a head for adults and children were free. It was compulsary to have one at least.
 The field where the stock pens had been set up was very wet with the torrential rain that the area had seen during the past few days and weeks. But it’s a very beautiful valley and pleasantly the sun came out. Well in spells anyway.
The Blacksmiths Arms Broughton Mills. Adjacent to the show field.

The pub provided a lovely lunch of Tattie Pot and red cabbage followed by Sticky Toffee Pud for everybody. 
As with all farming communities there are many characters and it’s great to listen to the tales and old Cumbrian dialect that most still use. It can be quite hard to get the jist of the conversation if your not used to hearing it spoken. 
 In between gate duties we did manage to get some photographs of the showing and judging of the two main sheep breeds, which in these parts are Swaledales pronounced Swardul and Herdwicks pronounced Herdwick. Well it would be wouldn’t it.
 During the day the weather was changeable, sunny, drizzle, rain, sleet and snow. So normal really.
A snowy rainbow was seen across the fields but unfortunately it wasn’t a snowbow.

 The sheep which had been washed and brushed prior to the show were now getting a bit muddy but i managed to capture a few shots of the cleaner ones.

Many rosettes are awarded for individual classes such as 3 aged ewes, Shearlings, pair of gimmer lambs, 3 sheep in natural colour, Tup and gimmer lamb and many more.

 As well as the sheep showing, folks can also enjoy the highly contested hound trailing, the pets competition and shepherds crook making.
 Photographs of previous meetings can be viewed in the refreshment tent where tea, coffee and cakes can be had.
 The decision of the champions champion, that is the best Herdwick against the best Swaledale went to Glen Wilkinson of Tilberthwaite with his fine Herdwick.

Glen Wilkinson with his Champion Herdwick

 In the evening the Blacksmith’s hosts the singing competition and also some poetry is read. Excellent cask conditioned ales are purveyed and a good night it was too.
 Thanks to Tina and Alan for putting up with us over the weekend and thanks to all who made the show such a pleasure to be part of.

More photo’s of the days events can be seen here.

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