Thursday, April 24, 2014

Morocco Trip to Snow and Sands


I have just come back from a trip to Morocco working for BPE Ltd wth Kings School Macclesfield 
we were on a Snow and Sand expedition over two weeks we made an ascent of Mount Toubkal, North Africa's highest mountain at 4165 mtrs. and then went to the Saharan sand dunes near to the Algerian border. Here we spent a night star gazing while camping in a bedouin campsite after a camel ride into the dessert. We woke early to climb a sand dune to watch the sunrise. 

Here is a condensed version of the trip in photos. 

If you want to fill up your glass with mint tea and browse for a while here are the photos for you. Click Here 

Thanks to Mohamed and Jamal from Toubkal Traveling for all their support and help during the trip








Thursday, March 27, 2014

Treat Animals and Porters with equal respect

Have a read of this please, especially if you are going to Morocco and any other places that use mules for transport of your kit whilst on your expedition. It certainly helps to sustain an economy and enhance the travellers experience. http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/blog/8180 

If you look after the whole of your expedition crew they will look after you. 


We have used Donkey power for years since Mary famously went to Bethlehem on one. For our outdoor activities. R.L Stevenson author of Treasure Island used a Donkey on his outdoor adventure in France during 1879.
 Stevenson was in his late 20s and still dependent on his parents for support. Travels was both meant to he needed to be with the woman he loved, and provide the adventure he craved, having been sickly much of his life.
Travels recounts Stevenson's 12-day, 120-mile solo hiking journey through the sparsely populated and impoverished areas of the Cévennes mountains in south-central France in 1878. The character of Modestine, a stubborn, manipulative donkey he could never quite get the better of, is memorable. It is one of the earliest accounts which presented hiking and camping outdoors as a recreational activity. It also tells of commissioning one of the first sleeping bags, large and heavy enough to require a donkey to carry.

 
Another relevant piece of reading have a look at this

Please note none of these pictures are of troubled mules. Pack light. Travel further. If you cant carry it others should not be expected to.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Expedition Season Is coming

The expedition season is coming along. 
Here is a great alternative view that ring some emotive bells. Have a look at this and see what you think 


This is just a nice picture for this time of year.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Alpine Climbing is great fun

Here is an insight int what Alpine Climbing was really like in the 1930's Some of the belays and axe techniques may be a bit iffy but everyone was happy. All St Bernards should have a big barrel of grog to aid climbers, dont you think?

If thats not to your taste try three on a rope. You know what they say about three being a crowd?

Enjoy them


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More Mile Cheviot 2 Fell Shoes


I have been trying out a pair of More Mile Cheviot 2 Fell Shoes recently. I bought them as an alternative to the usual Norman Walsh Fell Shoes I have worn for years. Being a Bolton lad I used to pop into see Norman and have a chat with him about the fell scene sometimes I would buy a pair of shoes as well. I have been spoilt coming from Bolton home of a few famous shoe brands and runners including Walsh, Reebok, Brasher who worked with Reebok; Martin Jones, Paul Dugdale Horwich RMI, Mike Freary Bolton UH, Ron Hill produced the Rivington Pike shoe named after the oldest fell race in the calender.

So these came as an alternative to a trusted brand to try out now in the Northern Lakes where I now live and work as a full time outdoor instructor and with Nav4 helping to organise and with training courses for Mountain Marathons, Hill and Adventure racingThis is the mark two version and comes in several eye catching colour designs. The lacing is a standard eyelet lacing system that has been tried and tested and cant really be faulted. It secures the foot well and can be adapted along its length to fit differing foot widths. 

The sole unit is deep lugged and is useful on the northern fells where the ground is not so rocky. These would be ideal for Howgills, Southern Uplands, Cross Country, Orienteering type areas of event. I found them very slippy on wet rock, but most sole units and compounds are. They cleaned reasonably well enhancing the grip over this sort of terrain. 
The midsole offers good cushioning but not to much for contouring, more testing is needed here to give a better picture for myself. 

The toe box is good for me in that its open and rounded and has plenty of space with a toe protector over the mesh upper. This drains very well going through boggy ground. 

The insole stays in place even when wet very handy and gives a confident feel to the shoe. 

 In this picture on the left you can see the tongue rolling that occurs to frequently, this could easily be rectified with a simple loop to centralise the tongue. Another thing that I found on buying my original pair was that they are lasted very small. I normally take a 41(7) but on trying them on I had to return them and get an 8. I am not sure if half sizes are available? The 8 means that the shoe rolls a little and is slighty floppy across the toe cut area on me.


During this day out I saw another bloke running up in the same pair as I was coming down the hill with my dog back toward Mungrisedale. I never got a chance to ask what he thought of them.
 In summary this is a good shoe that with a little more time from me on the fells may be more of a grower on me. I will get out more and evaluate further. The price is right  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cycling in Devon

I have just come back from Devon cycling and running in the sunshine with Sarah and Keela. We did a hilly route based from Tavistock to Princetown and back along part of the fantastically restored Devon C2C.


 Princeton high on Dartmoor is home to a brewery and prison. Jail Ale is great unsure if the inmates have had it tho. A fantastic Information Centre, Bunkhouse and campsite at the Plume of Feathers pub and local cafes.
In Tavistock town centre near the famous pannier market. Its a place certainly worth looking around. A world heritage site in the heart of Dartmoor ideal for a cream tea.



If you planning a trip to Devon in the summer you can manage the whole Sustrans C2C in a day its 102 miles on some great rideable tracks. Hope you enjoy all the attractions along the way.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Night Navigation In June

 I was asked by Ian from Striding Ahead to help him with his preparation for his ML assessment for some Night Navigation Practice; in June! Its not dark till 11.30ish so we opted for an overnight camp also.
 Gary Fletcher came along also and we met in the Lake District for our mini adventure.
 We set off into a fantastic warm evening toward our overnight campsite via few sneaky and not so sneaky features. Ian and Gary did really well as we had twisted the emphasis of the Navigation to help delivery. 
The Valley below us got smaller as ascended the night sky got redder a great sign for the day ahead also. This gave us chance to fit some mortar around the navigation brickwork. 
This mortar included flora, fauna, weather interpretation, coaching methods etc all vital for a broad knowledge base for mountain leaders.
We arrived at our campsite around 02.00 in the morning after a great night finding some difficult features. Ian set up his tent and went straight bed to wake up earlyto go for another walk and get some more pics

Gary and I opted for the bivvy bag approach on such a warm night. NB condensation in the morning after a warm night still can dampen your kit. Strange occurrences happen as the hot days over the last week had depleted the water supplies from the river. 

Another of the mortar issues was campcraft and clean water. I had been looking at Sawyer Water filters for a trip to the source of the Ganges later in the year. This would of been ideal for the dribble of water we found at the outlet. Then today a colleague Paul Lewis of Peak Mountaineering was talking about them. I will definatley look them up now after a serendipitous moment.  Could of done with a whole range of their products; sun cream and bug spray!

                                        Day two dawned bright and we off again at 08.00 on another mini adventure.Working our way back to the cars, the weather was kind to us. We even managed to save a young herdwick from certain death after being stuck in pool of muddy water. A very smelly affair trying to pull her out, she managed to wobble away on unsteady legs to find some grass. Good Karma?


 We had a great mini adventure in the lakes and covered a lot of topics. Please let me know if you have an adventure in mind. 

 

 
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Natures Works in Borrowdale

Jim Langley from Natures Works normally based in North Wales came to Borrowdale in Cumbria to give some invaluable CPD for mountain Leaders on the ecology of the upland environment. 
Jim's knowledge and passion are infectious as he put across in  great style what we can see and identify around us. 

In a place that I work regularly, this opened my eyes to not only the flora and fauna but the geology of my area of work also. 

This the fault line in Combe Ghyll not far from Raven Crag Borrowdale.
Dog Violet enjoying some shade
Good to meet Ian from Striding Ahead  Clare from Alternative Adventure Rachel and Amy.

If you get the chance to get out on a course with Jim and Natures Works please do so. As Mountain Leaders and lovers of a fantastic workplace this will certainly help you enhance your own and your clients days out in the hills. 
As Jim wasn't to busy on the Sunday we went with his dad Richard to have a look at Striding Edge on Helvellyn. 

Another stunning area alive with features that we sometimes forget to look at while we are gripped to the rocky ridge.

It seems to have a been a play day for a lot of folk including the RAF






Keela also joined in by sitting on the trig point. We met some great groups out. Particularly the ladies from Rainford who filled the car up on the way back to Glenridding! Great end to a fab weekend. 



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Scafell Trail Race at Keswick Mountain Festival

High Terrain Events  put on a tough hard route from Keswick to the roof of England Scafell Pike. 



This was part of the Keswick Mountain Festival and at the end of very busy week of events. 


I was marshaling at Styhead Pass with Joe Faulkner from NAV4 on the summit of Scafell Pike, I think Joe managed to have a clear summit for part of the day. I was in the cloud all day thankfully not windy. This meant an early start at 05.30 for us to briefed drink tea and be in place ready for the runners to come through. 
                                                                                                                                                                First Runners Donald and Daisy at my Checkpoint were chased very closely by the winner Ricky Lightfoot a  local lad from Cumbria.
The conditions at the checkpoint did not change until all the runners were heading back off the mountain onto the trails to finish back in Keswick
Fist lady was Victoria Mousley, an old friend re-aquainted from many years ago. Its a strange world we live in.
Off they went into the mists this was a good test of folks navigation and mountain running and some fast trail running back to Keswick.

Joe and I met up at Styhead as we swept the mountain to make sure all the runners were safe and off the mountain. 

 There are also some pictures on my Facebook Page 


For a full selection of pictures I managed to take CLICK HERE.