Monday, April 13, 2015

Photo Shoot with Berghaus on Helvellyn

Five go Mad on a Mountain (and a Dog)
Photo Shoot with Berghaus 

On Sunday I was asked to go along as the safety person to accompany the Berghaus photo shoot on Helvellyn. 

We met in a very wet and windy Glenridding with the Athletes and local photographer Stuart Holmes from Keswick. 
While we drank tea, ate cake and waited for the strong winds and rain to disappear we managed to catch up with Steve Birkinshaw, Charlie Sharpe, Jo Zakrzewski all world class elite athletes and looking to take part in the Dragons Back Race in 2015. 

Stuart got into the swing of things early on as we left the village making the guys warm up by running up and down the road. 
After this we set off to the hills now covered with a new layer of snow still with strong winds but easing later in the day. 

Only two days before I had been up Helvellyn as part of the safety checks for the Lakes Mountain 42  organised by NAV4 Adventure  in +19C in shorts and T Shirt with Keela my dog. 

24 Hours later the weather had changed abit and was now -2C and 35mph winds.

Our day was forecast for continuing strong winds rain and snow clearing in the afternoon. Charlie is know for wearing shorts and managed to stay like this all day. 

Jo sadly had to leave early her excuse was that Poldark was on at 9 and she need ed time to get ready for all the smouldering from the TV.

We carried on with Stuart and Angela, from Berghaus, directing the runners all over dressing them like a doting mother and looking after Keela

We were fortunate with the weather later in the day. 
Notice the wind on Ullswater making a very un-natural looking break point near Outward Bound.
Our day topped safely out on the summit for the obligatory summit selfies and 

We then continued Northwards along the ridge  avoiding the cornice and the areas of small avalanches. capturing the fantastic light at the end of the day

A great day with a safe circuit of one of the iconic fells in the Lake District with a great group of talented world class athletes getting ready to take on further challenges. 

I am able to help out with safety cover for any of your events worldwide do contact me.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Travels in a Strange State

Travels in a Strange State

I have put a trial set of Random shots taken from my travels onto a site if you are interested in a bargain for Xmas. Have a look here and please post any comments. Thanks

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Very British Affair

True Mountain Windshell Jacket 

We are all now very accustomed to the concept of windproof layers and their
 benefits along with their compact size means that they are indispensable 
and allow for constant packing in your pack. 
True Mountain sent me a sample of one of their brand new range of windproof’s to test 
over a couple of months to make sure its had a thorough range of mountain days 
and conditions to really shake it out. 

Whats so new about a new windproof on the market?  

The materials are different from the others on the market at the moment; here's the comparisons from the True Mountain website. Ultralite Windshell
You will have noticed the major difference, as reflected in the logo,
 is that its designed and made in Britain.

 I grew up on a heritage of British is best products for the outdoors
You could tell which side of the pennines hill folk came from due to the brand
 name on their rucksack.
 Innovation and competition was fierce but friendly and with the new 
technologies emerging in fabrics; life in the outdoors  became much more comfortable and lighter in weight meaning we could stay out 
longer to enjoy it  further and go faster. 

True Mountain have taken this fantastic heritage and ideals and have been at
 the forefront of the reshoring, the term used to describe the fact the materials,
 design and manufacturer are taking  place in Great Britain. 
This can give an almost instant change in garments colour’s and design, stock run and overall cost in  terms of turnaround rather than the months to years that production in Asia can offer. 

So, back to the windproof, the essential item not just to be packed but taken and used from a pack. True Mountain have been able to listen to my feedback and act on it almost there and then to change the little things that make a big difference. 

I have worn it over three months in most weather conditions in high end activities, work and dog walking. 
Its been invaluable on the OMM, Lake District Mountain Trial, Spine Race training, RAB 
and other events. 
In the picture above, on a wet and windy day in the Cheviot on the OMM,
I put the windshell  on over my dry base layer and under my wet base layer to help dry it off as I slept and rested for day two.
All of the above events are notoriously hard events typically true British affairs with accompanying mountain weather. 
The back is long enough not to ride up under a pack.

The side panels compliment the colur scheme and work hard at moisture management; another plus point for the jacket.

The sleeves are made to be snug yet adaptable enough to moved up the arm to further aid in keeping cool. The zip works well even with gloves on, I did add a knotted string zip puller. 
My sample model had a test hem closure system which did not affect the jacket 
as I wore a waist belt on my rucksack.
 It did have potential to be changed and Tim and the True Mountain crew took on board my feedback  very speedily.

In terms of looks True Mountain have addressed this as well with some vibrant and retro colour schemes that would work well in the mountains and the trendy bars of Shoreditch and the Northern Quarter. 
I think I fit into part Two of True Mountains Philosophy 
I hope you are able to take from my experiences of this product add to them yourself and feedback for sustainable British craftmanship. 

In essence this is indespensible windshell has been produced for use in the outdoors and its worth making it a piece of kit that you take, use and enjoy. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Copeland Chase

For £9 what can go wrong?

At the last minute I decided to enter a revived classic tradional Mounatin Orienteering event hosted by West Cumbria Orienteering Club in the little visited fells around Kirkland. 

                                    An early start and with a forecast getting better thro the day I met up with John
the orgainser and registered, did the usual faffing and then was given a map to set off.

Walking to the start I was trying to work out the scale dimensions and a 1:15000 with 5m contour interval with O type colours took a little time to get used to.
In the end it took a looong time to get used to as I cleared, set off from the start and then found the out-run track runnable I got my head down and shuffled quickly.

Its unusal not to be flogging up a steep hill in the first 1km and I was going quicker than ususal. A bloke from WCOC came past and I sort of tagged onto the back of him. The Plateau arrived with a fence and jumped it and shot off into some tussocks not unlike on the OMM a few weeks previous. I marched on thro and started to drop quickly. I saw Steve Heaton and Kaaren Nash behind me and this spurred me on.
I then stopped at the coll I thought was my No. 1 and realised I was facing the wrong direction nothing fitted, so i did the classic thing when in a rush, of trying to make it fit!!. I thought I would give up on No. 1 and just go round the others, not dibbing.
I set off downhill to number 2 and then realised the sheepfold fast approaching was in the wrong vallet when I unfolded the map to have a look for a line to No. 3!!!!!
 OOh long uphill back to 2 where I had just been stood!!!! (the kites were a little flattened)

So a day of pics and fun and meeting some old and new friends.

All the pics can be found here on my Google + page 

If you want an original please contact me. 


A great day out and an expereince I can share 
Results can be found here 

All for £9 Si dibber hire , comprehensive map, and FREE tea and cake at the end.
What could go wrong?

Hope to see you on the next one? 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Running the Tour of Mt Blanc

Running the Tour of Mount Blanc

A few years ago I was lucky enough to be able to buy a bike and get out with some good mates from Bolton CTC and Lancashire Road Club nearly every week.

                                        I even get a mention for an Omnium trophy I won a long time ago.
We had a few other stars who helped inspire and had a few laughs with Jeremy Hunt went on to become a pro rider. Craig Battresby went onto elite cycling as an amateur. Clive Burke and Bobhat (Ian Roberts ) were stalwarts and other names pictured left at York Rally wher Clive bought a brand new Tri suit. 

Clive, Bobhat and I decide that we should climb Mt Blanc one year we decided on early June. To cut a multitude of epics short (please ask about all the stories) we had to turn around and come back down. Sadly on this snowy descent Bobhat slipped and fell and was killed. 
The last picture of him is with me top left of this collage. 

I decided to honour my friends memory and after being inspired into further lightweight adventures by the Crane brothers, cousins of Nick Crane running the length of the Himalaya in 100 days. Click Here
I had five days off work and ran from home to the train station in Bolton to get to Manchester Airport. I took one KIMM  bag 7kg in total no tent, stove etc just a cup, spoon, sleeping bag and minimal kit. 

I set off from Chamonix in mid-June to run the famous Tour De Mount Blanc. This was in the days before UTMB points dictated the run that we choose to do. I just wanted to be in the mountains and reasonably close, to lay a few to ghosts to rest, to a friend of mine. I recently read Heather Dawe Book, cunningly called Adventures In Mindwhere she tells of a similar tail. 
I travelled as far as I could each day as a solo experience. For pictures I ran forward balanced my (film) camera set the self timer and ran back PDQ to then head back to the camera. So did more than the official route and time I should of done. 

Note the plastic bread bags on my feet to keep out the snows of the passes. My feet went green for weeks after as the dye came out of my Walshes Fell running shoes
Kit was a cotton T shirt, Oakley Factory Pilots frames as worn by Greg Lemond, Ron Hill Tracksters over Freedom Shorts. Spare T shirt, Cotton neck scarf, sleeping bag, Karrimat, Spoon and Mug, one extra pair of undies/ socks.
I managed to run round the route in 40hrs. I lost my money in Italy after buying a small bag of biscuits, I just ran away from it as I left it on a bench. On my return to France I managed to change £5 to buy tywo bottles of wine so had something to do at least. I found a park to sleep under the ping pong tables but was rescued by a runner from Somerset who let me sleep in his car. 

I had a great adventure and it stemmed a lot more. Do not be constrained by perceptions, remember friends and loved one's and enjoy every step of your journey.

I feel its time to get back to Mt Blanc soon along with a few more Adventures that I have in Mind.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

OS and Silva Navigation App

OS and Silva two of the worlds renowned names in Navigation have teamed up with an App and Map approach to Mountain Safety. I was shown the app at Keswick Mountain Festival and when it came out on Android I downloaded it to test it out. Its very simple and works well. I was out on a Navigation training course yesterday in a very wet Langdale vally with James and Kathryn from Dorset. We were looking at traditional map and compass techniques and I showed them this app to help compliment their new skills.

We had a great day out in the warm rain in the Langdale Valley and James and Kathryn helped me to realise what I take for granted in my work as an International Mountain Leader whilst working in our fantastic scenery in the Lakes. They took lots of photos and were awed by the landscape and will hopefully come back to the lakes. We finished off with a liquid debrief at the National Trust run Stickle Barn Tavern in the sunshine. 

Google Play link

Itunes link

It is worth noting that the App is there to back up Map and Compass skills not to replace it.  Map and compass skills need to be practised 

If you wanting to get out and practice Navigation get in touch. 1:1 and groups are easily accommodated You cant not learn something from it.