The Vault Regulars

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do you wear shorts or long socks when hiking!

Ticks are becoming more prevalent, not just in Scotland but farther south too. We all like to wear shorts when we can and some old school still like to wear 3/4 length trousers or plus 4’s as they were called.
This leaves the legs open to the beasties who are lying in wait in the tall grass and heather for a warm blooded animal to brush past. Then they pounce and crawl into nice warm areas of the body and live there for a while.

So for those people who don’t wear long trousers with elastic bands around the ankle, here is a deterrent for the critters.

Click HERE. for the socks and HERE for further information.

Rovince Tick Shield long trekking socks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The tortoises and the hares walk.

An early trip into Manchester and then a tram to Bury to meet walkers from the LDWA, and Martin who had put the walk together.
As it turned out there was only 5 of us. Two Johns, Les, Martin and I. The tortoises.
It was a glorious day, cloudless and sunny.
Bury is a small town centre and within a few minutes we were crossing the Irwell by a large stone arched bridge. Once part of the now defunct railway between Bury and Holcombe Brook.

After a very short break and a team photo the old line was left in favour of following Kiklees Brook.
It was pleasant walking and not much meandering as Martin was guessing the route well.

Our path was heading in the direction of Tower Farm but our way was blocked by some excavating work and pathway diversions. Not wanting to cause any conflict we diverted and to be honest it was more exciting. Thankfully it hadn't rained for a few days and the river banks were dry. Decending what could have been quite a laughable slide into the water down a steep embankment we all made it across without wet feet.

Our diversion gave us good views across the reservoirs and the old Tottington aqueduct. Skirting the unique Tower Farm we crossed the railway line again and headed passed the golf course towards the A676 at Hawkshaw.
We almost did a meander but again Martin got the right track.

Those familiar with LDWA walks will now find the ground familiar as it is part of the 2 crosses walk. For me it was all new and very nice.

Entering Redisher wood was very interesting. There is obviously much archeology from the days of the industrial revolution and probably before. By 1893 in this vale was a bleach works owned by the Ainsworth family, a cotton mill and a corn mill, they all used the water from Holcombe Brook for power. A coal adit can be found and also quarrying for Cinder Hill came from this area.

All too soon we were back in civilisation and just as it happend we spotted a very nice Ferguson 35 in Gold and Grey livery. The 35 left the factory in these colours.

Then right by the path was The Hare and Hounds pub at Holcombe Brook. For some reason we all fell in.
There was something like 20 beers on and the food looked very good.
Post lunch Martin and i bode farwell to the other 3 and made our way back to the railway track.

This is where the Hare in the title bar makes an apperance. The 7km route back to Bury was done in 1hr 15 minutes and that was with a few stops for photographs.
Bury Centre with the monument to Robert Peel.

We then caught the metro back to Manchester just as the schools were finishing. That was an interesting experience.
It had been a fine day out. Thanks everyone.

Maps thanks to Martin.

This post was my first attempt at posting using Bloggeroid App for android phones. Text wise it is a fine bit of kit and very easy to use. It saves your blog post as a draft and is easily retrievable for editing and further writing. You can save it as many times as you like.
It is the easiest bit of software i have used.

However, the images are a different matter. All the images were taken with the Samsung S3 and stored in the gallery.
To add an image to the blog was easy and there was no restriction to how many i wanted to add.
But it wouldn’t allow me to insert them where i wanted and so i had to edit it on my desk top to get the images in the right place. Thats a pain, but not dissimilar to other blogger type apps.

As a first attempt i am pleased and maybe i still have a lot to learn.

Update;- You can insert images in the right place as long as you insert them as you go and don’t leave them until the end. Obviously you need to keep your image size down as small as possible and keep the numbers of images you want to insert low too. Otherwise once you click publish it will take ages to finish and quite possibly fail to load depending on the signal you have and where you are in the world.

So for now the jobs a good’un.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, April 24, 2015

Great Langdale and beyond.

Great Langdale
Great Langdale, conjures up all sorts of memories stretching right back to my first days in “proper’ mountains.
The only place in the world i have had backpacking gear nicked. (2 rucksacks from the drying room)
The only place in the world my tent was buried completely in snow.
The only place in the world i was totally flooded out. I remember feeling really comfy until i turned over and the water came through the door. The tent was held by 2 guy ropes and the water was over 1ft deep.
The only place in the world i have ever seen a 6ft 6”, 20 stone, bearded, long haired man in dungarees driving a PINK grey Fergy tractor.
And there are numerous more…….

Anyway, our weekend in Great Langdale was with Martin and Sue Bamfield. They were doing a pre TGO Challenge kit tryout as Sue has not backpacked for 6 years due to an injury. Sheila and I are not doing the Challenge because we are doing our own thing. We are getting Married instead.

Arriving in the valley and finding it very busy with a 10km run in progress and numerous other point to point competitors around, i thought we would have trouble parking somewhere for an overnight. As it happened it was easy, the field next to the ODG (Old Dungeon Ghyll pub) was being used as an overspill.

Day 1. Great Langdale to High House Tarn

Our route was a good one and involved going up to Loft crag and then following the path west and then south west to the top of Rossett Gyhll. From there we would head off north west to Esk Hause, cross Allen crags and camp for the night at High House Tarns.
The following day would be, back over Allen crags, past the shelter at Esk Hause, up Esk Pike, Pike De Bield, Bowfell, Shelter Crags, The 5 Crinkles including The Bad Step and back down to Langdale via Browney Gyll. (Martin and Sue also did the Cold Pike crags on route to Red  Tarn.)
 Day 1.
Day. 2
Maps kindly copied from Martin’s blog.
It was a stunning warm day, blue skies and no breeze to speak of. I was a little worried as this was my first backpack since my knee problem at Christmas and my withdrawal from yr Garn in Wales due to a stomach virus. I did not want to let either the others or myself down. Martin’s walks are always (hmm) well planned events. He has everything, tops, route, bearings, heights, times from A to B etc etc all marked on a postage stamp sized map. Almost military std’s.

Getting up to Loft Crag was a shock to the poor old body but it was done without too much difficulty and the views just got better and better as height was gained.

Lunch was had in a nice sunny spot adjacent to Loft Crag where we watched the myriad of folk on every path around and the throng upon Harrrison Stickle.
Things are on the up!
From Loft Crag the ridge is easy and leads to the prominent feature of Stickle Pike which was ascended in due coarse. The steep scree gully just before the top was the site of a Neolithic Axe Factory. Lots of debris and discarded axes were found here and made from a polished Greenstone which the Pike has a vein of. How neolithic people found this is quite a remarkable feat in itself.

Our drinking water was running out but luckily there was plenty of water flowing in Stake Beck and  not too far off the path. Replenished and watered it was quite a pleasure to be heading slightly down contours to the top of Stake Pass. Looking down Stake Pass you can see the moraines left by the Langdale Glacier 12,000 years ago.
On route to Stake pass.
We had three tops to hit before the next descent to Angle Tarn. Black Crags, Buck Pike and Rossett Pike. The view from these tops is just magical on such a clear calm day. I have been up here in atrocious weather on previous trips so it was good to enjoy the scenery. Looking North we had good views of Derwent Water, Keswick and Skiddaw too.

Picking our way down the crags to Angle Tarn we noticed so many banana skins dropped. What’s wrong with people. Why can they not carry the skins back with them. Do they not realise that they can asphyxiate sheep.

The water of Angle Tarn shimmered under a strong sun and the slabs of Bowfell stood out spectacularly. A tiny figure could be seen walking along the top of the slabs.

The path up to Esk Hause is a bit of a slog although it has been re paved in places. It was becoming noticeable that the numbers of people had been gradually reducing until we met a large group of about 30 just leaving the Hause.
Nobody else was met as we crossed Allen Crags and dropped down to the only tarn in this group of mountains that i had not camped at. High House Tarn.
I for one was glad to get there, i could tell i was tired because i didn’t particularly pick out a great spot for the tent. It was just a matter of “This will do” it isn’t forecast to rain for the next couple of days. It wasn’t until we had got the tents up that we noticed we were not alone. A couple of hundred yards away was another backpacker. he had picked a nice spot which got the last of the sun and the first sun the following day.
Viewing Angle Tarn
I dropped a clanger and pitched the tent with the doors opening the wrong way, into the wind and so had to turn it round and pitch it again. We had taken the Scarp 2 for luxury purposes and its not a big deal to drop it and turn it.
I had also taken a gas stove instead of my usual meths and also solid food instead of de-hydrated. As we were only out for one evening meal solid food would give us the equivalent weight of 3 or 4 dehydrated ones and taste much nicer.

Our evening meal of chilli and rice was excellent and we were so full we didn’t even have the Apple and Custard for afters. Martin had this idea of going up Glaramara later on in the evening but we both got comfy and fell asleep by 8.30pm. He went alone and i will say no more about it.
 Camp at High House Tarn
 Evening Meal.
 Reflections in High House Tarn
Sunset from High House Tarn
We did get chance to take a few sunset shots and then it was zzzz’s.

Day 2. High House Tarn to Great Langdale.

It was a bitterly cold night according to Sheila and Sue. Martin and I didn’t notice. We were in our PHD Minim 500 sleeping bags, but Sheila was still cold. I am guessing that Martin and Sue had Rab Neutrino 400’s but i’m sure he will correct me if i am wrong.
The Scarp 2 was 1/2 solid with frost and quite large globules of ice had formed along the edges that didn’t face the sunrise.
We were up at 6.10am but there was no sign of life from M and S until around 7.00am.
A frosty morning
We watched the sunrise but the day was much cloudier than previous. As the sun rose the wind speed increased. It was getting decidedly cooler. Even with down jackets on it was bitter.

It was good to get packed up and away. The wind was quite fierce and i was very pleased with the way my Black Diamond Alpine Start jacket coped with it.

Back up and over Allen Crags, passed the + shelter and then onto Esk Pike. Again the views were fantastic looking across to the Scafell Range and down into the Great Moss. The geology of Esk Pike is many large boulders all the way to the top and that was the trend for the rest of the day. Tiring on the legs. I think Sheila recorded 20,000 steps for the day.

Bitterly cold at the summit meant we didn’t linger, a few photo’s and then we were away. Dropping down the eastern slopes of Esk Pike Martin asked if we should do Pike de Bield seeing that we were in the vicinity. I don’t recall having done it before so we went and had a look. Great viewpoint, glad we went.
We contoured back along a grassy plateau to pick up the path to Bowfell. At the summit we watched as a squally rain shower passed beyond High Raise to our North East. The Scafells were becoming covered with cloud. The base being at around 3000ft. Our tops were still clear but M and S decided to put on over trousers just in case. At this point the shower dissipated.
Squall approaching from the North
Numerous fell runners were out and as is the norm for this sport they wear very little. Bright red faces and legs showing signs of wind chill. Again, it was too cold to spend time at the summit, we just wanted to keep moving. Picking our way carefully down Bowfell to Three Tarns reminded us that this was where we last saw Robin Evans in 2010.

A good pace along Shelter crags brought us to the Crinkles and from our direction we had the 5th Crinkle first and the Bad step on Long Top, the 2nd Crinkle, was good fun.
The Bad Step
Dropping down to the good path which leads to Red Tarn Martin wanted to do the crags of Cold Pike so we arranged to meet at the tarn outflow as we were ready for something to eat.
We hadn’t been sat down long before M and S appeared.

We had a nice lunch but we couldn’t get out of the wind too much. It wasn’t a time to be lounging and enjoying the sun as we had done yesterday. We made our way down Browney Gill which was steep and tiring. The re-laid path was awkward and at one point i went flying and almost bowled Sheila and Sue over. We were glad to get to the valley floor where a good bridge crossed Oxendale Beck.
Track down to Oxendale
Then as we entered Stool End farm, we came across the highlight of the day. A Fermec (MF) 860 TDL (tractor digger loader) which no doubt i would have been involved with it’s manufacture. An old weary looking David Brown 990 which Martin took to. I think he is becoming a tractor buff. A MF 290 in good condition and a new John Deere which i didn’t photograph.
There were plenty of twin Herdwick lambs around which Sue took too and then we just had to finish the day in the ODG.
 David Brown 990. Seen better days
Fermec (MF) 860 Tractor Digger Loader. Made in Manchester with a little help from yours truly.

We had been very lucky with the weather and Sue had come through her first backpack in 6 years seemingly unscathed. It’s a good route and quite hard on the legs with a full pack. We enjoyed the weekend very much. Thanks to M and S.

Slideshow of the weekend (57 images)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody.

In my quest to find a decent wind shirt i have bought the Rab Boreas pull on and the Montane lite speed to name 2 well known offerings, i was very close to buying the Rohan Ether shirt too but i bought the trousers instead and what a disappointment they were although i would probably agree that the material is more suited to a wind shirt rather than trousers.

I found both the above offerings disappointing but more so the Rab which i have never been able to wear for any length of time. I cannot put my finger on why i don’t like it but its probably a mixture of small annoying things. The Montane is ok but it tends to billow out in the wind, it sweats and the sleeves have scuffed quite badly.

So when i came across the Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody in Ellis Brigham’s i wondered if it was going to be just another item for the wardrobe if i bought it.

I tried the medium size on and found it a bit tight. (Must go on a diet) The Large fitted me better.
medium is my “Normal” size so it must be designed for the fit lean Alpinist type rather than a plodder. The length is fine and I did buy it.

I like the material, the weight and the feel. It’s a lightweight  Schoeller fabric that stretches in all directions.80g/m2 fabric, 93% nylon and 7% elastane. 230gr (L) My scales. 204gr (M) Spec.
Because i went for the Large size the sleeves are a touch long but to be honest i like the longer length sleeve, so that i can pull them over my hands and delay the need to use gloves.

The outer face of the fabric has a DWR finish and this will prevent a sudden shower soaking you through and with the hood in place it will keep you cosy.
I have purposely kept the wind shirt on in the rain to see just how it performs even though it isn’t meant to be a waterproof shell.  I must admit to being pleased with it. During one quite heavy shower of rain that lasted about 20 minutes i was only slightly damp around my chest area. Certainly not soaking by any means. Water beads well on the surface. The outer fabric is robust and can take a good amount of scuffing unlike my Lite speed

The jacket is a simple design and it doesn’t have hand pockets. Just one average size chest pocket that doubles as a pac pocket for storage. The sleeve cuffs are elasticated and are not adjustable. They are not too tight and allow gloves to be used without over stretching the elastic but keeping the wind out.

The hem has a draw cord and toggles on the right side. I did read a review on this wind shirt prior to me buying it that said the drawcord was adjustable from the inside pocket. There is no inside pocket on my jacket, maybe it had one when it first came out.

The hood is a generous size but not overly so. It is said to be helmet compatible but i havn’t tried it.
It is tensioned from both sides of the face and at the rear of the head to reduce volume. The front tension cords locate on the inside so you need to have a play around with the tensioning before use so that you don’t have to keep adjusting it on the hill. I have found this works ok. The peak is not stiffened or wired. The fit is good and the material close fits around the chin when fully closed.

The 2 zips are YKK standard not water resistant. The main zip has a baffle behind it.

The main thing though, does it stop the wind. Is it a true wind shirt. Well yes it does. It works well.
Even though the fabric excels in the breathability stakes, better than both the Rab and the Montane it still stops the wind very well.

I find myself wearing it most of the time now and that for me speaks volumes. I check the weather and if its not prolonged rain then i will wear the Alpine Start. Its ideal gear for the TGO Challenge.

What do i like.
The feel and fit is excellent.
Its well made, although it comes from Bangladesh and not made in the USA.
It does the job of protecting you from the wind and can be worn at anytime except prolonged spells of rain.
Decent length.
Not sweaty.
It cleans very well and maintains DWR.

What don’t i like.
I don’t like the front of the hood. Some support would be better but it does close nicely around the head. I would prefer a narrow peak as well.
The advertising badge on the back. Embarrassing IMO. The one on the front is enough.
Not much else at all really.

Cost at Ellis Brigham £119.99

This jacket was purchased with my own money and i have no financial relationship with Ellis Brigham.

Find it Here

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