Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Quick Review: Outdoors Grub

The reviews I have done this year of de-hydrated and freeze dried meals have been purchased from one retailer. I had been reluctant to mention a specific retailer, but an experience this week has changed my mind.


I have some plans for January, on a walking front, as long as the weather complies. Part of which is testing some water heating systems. So to make the project more interesting I thought I would purchase some nice freeze dried meals. I placed the order with Outdoors Grub on Friday 21st December with hopes that the packs would arrive maybe late next week. The website warned that no meal order would arrive before Christmas. What a shock when my order arrived this morning, Saturday 22nd December.

I'm not saying they will always deliver the next day, but I have to say the service from Outdoors Grub is always very swift. I have no connection to their company, but I think it's worth pointing out reliable retailers that are internet based. It's good to know that when you click on that 'Confirm Order' icon that you haven't just thrown you're money away on an unreliable retailer.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Hydration Bladder Longterm Review Part 2: Osprey Hydroform

Osprey, an American Backpack producer make, in my mind, some of the best quality backpacks around. Their build quality is high, for me, pretty comfortable and generally quite light considering the features. Their only downfall for me is their sometimes overly busy exterior and overly long straps. One can be easily solved, the other not so.

Osprey also make backpack accessories, you may have seen my AddOns review a while ago. Unlike many backpack manufacturers, Osprey also have a hydration bladder in their range, the Hydroform. This breaks the Osprey mould in a few ways which I will cover in my review.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Pendle Hill: Views not to be Missed.

Pendle Hill in Lancashire may well be associated by many with the Pendle witch trials. They occurred in 1612 with 16 men and women being committed to trial. More information can be found here http://www.pendlewitches.co.uk/.

For me, it was less about the witches and more about the hill. I have not walked anywhere in Lancashire for a long, long time. Pendle Hill looked like it might make for a nice walk, so I headed up there last weekend to find out for myself.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A Walk from Milldale to Dovedale

The walk started in the car park in Milldale. It's quite a size, but it does fill up, so arriving early is a good idea.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Hydration Bladder Longterm Review Part 1: Camelbak Omega

Before I continue with this review I have to make a small admission, I'm still not entirely a convert to hydration bladders. I've used both the Camelbak and Osprey bladders quite a lot, for more than a year, but still prefer bottles at times. I know that bladders are more convenient on the move, but I find them annoying to keep clean and prefer the flexibility of a bottle. I'll expand on this during my review.

In no particular order I will review the Camelbak Omega first. Although Camelbak appear to have discontinued the Omega in favour of the Antidote, it seems to me that the essence of the two are pretty much the same. There are some excellent, cheaply priced, military style Omega hydration bladders around at the moment that have many of the Antidote's features.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

When a MytiMug ain't no Mug

I got out in the Peak District at the weekend, on the hills overlooking Langsett Reservoir. It was a day for testing a few new items. The first was my new, lighter camera. Its a Fujifilm Finepix S2980, a baby version of my S9500. I wont be reviewing it here, but it did a pretty good job of taking the photos for this review. Plus it's a lot lighter and more compact than the S9500. So all plus points so far, more to come later.

A Panorama shot with the new camera.

In this post I'll be taking a little look at the MytiMug, a 750ml capacity titanium mug from Alpkit.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Local Walk and a Bite to Eat

I had a walk around my local area Saturday morning after arriving home from work. I'm looky that a five minute walk sees me into the  countryside in the photographs. A walk through the local country park and I'm into some nice woodland walks. I'm not a fan of walking in woods on their own, I like views, but a mixed walk is nice for me.

The Gazebo is located in a really nice spot over looking fields with the edge of the Peak District in the distance. I cooked up a bit of something to eat while in the Gazebo and then headed off around the woods.

A fantastically pleasant morning, there was a chill in the air, but was great walking weather for me, cold and sunny........great.

It's worth taking the time to see what your local area has to offer.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Autumn Colour Change

I went for a walk around Langsett and along the Porter of Little Don River last weekend and was surprised by firstly, the colour change that had happened since my last visit.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Review: Rab Volt Jacket

Rab promote the Volt Jacket as a mountain jacket which would imply they think it can take some harsh conditions. It's supposed to be light, made from a new material, and has a lot of options for helping keep you cool. So I decided to pick one up for the Summer just gone. If you aren't aware, we sort of had a Summer, but if you blinked, you missed it. A Volt was purchased and went on a holiday to the Lake District at the supposed height of the British Summer.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Quick Look: Sherpa Adventure Gear Jivan Hat

Sherpa Adventure Gear, owned by a Sherpa family member, aims to give back to the unsung heroes of many mountain expeditions, the Sherpa. The company use Sherpas to test their gear and part of the profits from the company are paid as royalties to the Sherpa community in Nepal. As a new company I thought I would give one of their products a try.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Review: Osprey AddOns GrabBag

I'm not a pockets person when I'm out walking. I find that when the requirement to do a bit of scrambling comes in that stuff in my pockets gets in the way or gets damaged. I also find that there are a few items I like to get to without having to take my rucksack off. That being my compass, phone, a snack or maybe my wallet. I've tried a couple of belt pouches, a generic compact camera type pouch and a military type pouch and found both to be okay, but the need attaching to a belt, a strap or Mollie in the case of the army pouches if not on a belt. I happened to be looking on the Osprey site prior to purchasing my Talon 44 and noticed the Osprey AddOns, in particular, the GrabBag.

Friday, 5 October 2012

High Spy, with my little eye!

High Spy is a Wainwright with 148m (485ft) of prominence. This makes it 2m short of being a Marylin (a hill in the UK with 150m (492tf) or more of prominence, regardless of the altitude of it's summit. It lies between Maiden Moore and Dale head and sits on a ridge which forms a ridge between Borrowdale and Newlands Valley. With Catbells, Dale Head and Hindscarth it forms a horse shoe shaped ridge walk (one for the future). The name High Spy is thought to have possibly come from the use of the prominence as a look out point, maybe someone knows for sure?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Review: Rab Vapour Rise Lite Jacket


I walk very warm, even in cool weather. I find it easy to get too hot when heading off up a hill. I spend most of my time walking on the hill with just a long sleeved base layer for a top. Other than that, I only usually where a waterproof and a wind shirt if the weather demands. But as Autumn and then Winter sets in, these layers aren't enough.

Most of the softshells I look at are quite heavy and make me feel warm just to look at them. They would be okay for me in the depths of Winter, but what about Autumn and the normal winter days. I came across the Rab Vapour-Rise Lite Alpine jacket and thought it seemed worth a try. It's a lot lighter than most softshells. It's a little lighter than my Montane Dyno, at around 360g compared to the Dyno's 400g,which I assume from Rab will be for the size Large. But even though it's lighter, the Tricot lining should add to both the thermal and wicking capabilities of the jacket.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Blencathra to some, Saddleback to others.

Firstly, for my two penneth, I prefer Blencathra to Saddleback. Saddleback, unlike the mountain itself, just doesn't stand out. Saddleback could be the name for any mountain with the appropriate feature. There's only one Blencathra.

Looking it up on Wikipedia, the name Blencathra comes from Cumbric word usage. So Blaen, which would be a bare hill top, and cathrach, a chair. A bare hill top with a chair, which having seen it close up, I can see being appropriate.

Never Give Up!

I want to show that no matter how things get, never give up.

In February 2010 I was involved in a serious car accident. The result of the accident was a serious injury to my right arm. I'm right handed so was in for some hard work.

Don't read any further if you are squeamish about x-rays of broken bones.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Posts to come when I dry out!.

Heavy rain and high winds warning for Cumbria

High winds and heavy rain have caused problems on roads across Cumbria.
With 100mm of rain forecast in the next 24 hours, the Environment Agency has issued 36 flood alerts and seven warnings.
The A6 south of Penrith was blocked for a time by a fallen tree, which also brought down power lines near Clifton.
A number of roads were only passable with care due to standing water. They included the A595 at Bothel, and the Crossthwaite Roundabout at Keswick.
Botchergate in Carlisle was closed for a time after masonry fell from the former Mood nightclub building.
A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said: "Drivers are advised to plan their journeys before setting out, check the weather and traffic conditions, leave extra time for their journeys if travel conditions are poor, and delay their journey if the weather becomes severe."

24 September 2012 Last updated at 20:44

Sourced from BBC NEWS Cumbria

My blog has been a bit quiet for the last week or two. I've been to the Lake District this week, had a good swim, and did a couple of walks. Some gear was put to the test while I was there. So plenty of photographs to sort through and reviews to write up over the next few days once I've deflated my arm bands.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Review: LED Lenser P3 Torch

We need light to see, with out light, we would be in darkness. I know that's very obvious, but a good light source can make all the difference, particularly artificial light, at night. How about a high quality light source, at a reasonable price, and fits in the palm of your hand. Maybe the LED Lenser P3 will fit the spot.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


For quite a few years of my youth, along with walking, I did quite a bit of rock climbing with the family at weekends. Wharncliffe Crags and Stanage in the Peak District mixed with the likes of Little Tryfan in the Ogwen Valley Wales. Unfortunately my current situation dictates that rock climbing, anything technical, is certainly out of the question. But there is one very good alternative.............scrambling.

I've looked at Grinsbrook Clough a few times on the map and read stories about the fact it can be tough, bad weather can make it dangerous etc. So this weekend I went along with a walking friend of mine and headed off up Grindsbrook to see what kind of challenge would be offered by this infamous feature.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Review: Montane Lite-Speed

Montane promote the Lite-Speed jacket as a windproof on their website. I've worn this jacket a few times in slightly adverse conditions, and I think windproof sells it short. Here's why!

The Montane Lite-Speed is made from Pertex Microlight, a material that was created in 1987 in conjunction with several leading outdoor apparel manufacturers. Microlight is extremely light, nearly as light as Pertex Quantum.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Other Pike Low and Derwent Edges

Derwent Edges has quite a few well known features, and while I have seen them from a distance on frequent occasions, my other walks had meant I had not had the time. So this weekend I made the time, also giving me the opportunity to go up Pike Low, not Pike Lowe I went up a few months ago.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dehydrated Meal Review: Part 4. Fuizion Spaghetti Bolognaise

Cooked by a chef with over 20 years experience. Using, where possible, the best locally produced ingredients. High levels of nutrition with an aim for an average of 650 calories per 110g of product. Using a freeze drying process aimed at creating a high quality meal when re-hydrated. Starts out as a description for a restaurant and transforms into something that sounds like a science project. What ever they say, the proof of the pudding is still in the eating..........Fuizion Freeze Dried Meals.

Monday, 27 August 2012

A Little Look at High Peak

In the process of looking over the map near the end of last week, looking for a walk for the weekend, I spotted Snake Path. The path heads out form Snake Woodland, situated along the A57 Snake Pass between Ladybower and Glossop, and meets up with the Pennine Way. It looked good, so settled on it. It turned out to be one of those walks where the benefits of getting out there became more apparent.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Dehydrated Meal Review: Part 3. Mountain House Salmon and Potato in Dill Sauce

This was the one I was looking forward to most with respect to freeze dried meals. Mountain House have a fairly good reputation and seem to be particularly popular in the USA. I picked Salmon and Potato in Dill sauce as it sounded like it might be healthy. Oh well, here goes the review.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Review: Nakd bars. Oh yeah, no Es!

Nakd is a line of products made by the company Natural Balance Foods. They are proud to produce energy bars and other goodies that are free from wheat germ and dairy ingredients. And most importantly, there are no additives, none of those nasty E numbers that might induce yourselves or your kids into running around the room like lunatics.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Dehydrated Meal Review: Part 2. Real Turmat Beef Stew

Real Turmat is the product line of a company called Drytech. They are based in Norway and use Norwegian sources to make their meals. They state on their website that they have worked with the Norwegian Army and the armies of other Scandinavian countries to develop their products. Unfortunately, they are also well known for being expensive. But I thought I would give them a try and see if the outlay was justified by taste. I chose the Beef Stew, as this sounded like something I was used to, and would allow me to give a better judgement on the quality of the meal.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Dehydrated Meal Review: Part 1. Bla Band Potato with Beef and Bearnaise Sauce

Having reviewed the MX3 meal a while ago I decided to try some other options. A good supplier of camping type dehydrated meals is Outdoors Grub who have quite a reasonable selection. So I decided to by a few examples to try and do a review, in several parts of the meals I bought.

First up is a make I had heard of, and had a reputation for being a good quality dehydrated meal. The maker in question is Bla Band. Specifically, their Potato, Beef and Bearnaise Sauce.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Walk Around Wessenden Moor and Black Hill, with a Bog Hop or Two.

Earlier this year I did a walk, just prior to starting Forgotten Tracks, that just missed out on being included. This resulted from a lack of photographs of the route. So I decided to go and do the walk again. This was quite a challenge as there is a section of the walk potentially requiring very good navigational skills in the right (or wrong) weather conditions.

The route is based around Wessenden Moor and Black Hill. Some easy going path sections, a steep section, some great views and some lovely Peak District Bogs. So this walking guide comes with a warning. I would advise that you do not attempt this walk without the right gear; sturdy boots, gaiters and a great deal of caution. I take no responsibility for anyone deciding to do this walk.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Alport Castle: But it's neither a port, or a castle.

Alport Castle is a very distinct feature situated in the Peak District not too far from LadyBower Reservoir. The source of the feature is what is thought to have been the largest landslip in the UK. The most noticeable feature is known as the Tower and myself and a couple of friends decided to head up there at the weekend for a morning walk around and a call to the pub.

We started our walk from the car park at Fairholmes situated at the extreme north end of Ladybower Reservoir. The car park and facilities here are very good. There is a W.C., a shop and a bike hire centre. So you've guessed it, it's a popular place for bikes. But from a walkers point of view, no problems at all.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Review: Salomon Cosmic 2 4D

A good pair of walking boots is the most important thing you buy when it comes to walking, whether it be boots, approach shoes, or what ever your preference. And above all, I believe, they have to fit well. Having good grip is up their with waterproof, how tough they are etc not as high on the list, but maybe still a consideration.

For the last eighteen months my lighter Spring/Summer boot has been a pair of North Ridge Corrie synthetic boots. They are Go-Outdoors own brand and to be honest they have been very comfortable never let any water in. But a major downside is their ruggedness. They are simply wearing out rapidly. Their ability to support my foot has reduced and, even though the sole is quite soft rubber, their ability to grip is questionable. My winter boots have hard soles and they have around the same level of grip.

In July I was away in the Lake District to do some sight seeing and a couple of walks. I decided to call into the outdoor shops in Keswick and in one found a pair of boots I liked the specification of. Light weight, light construction, what seemed like good support and a high tech sole system. The boots are were the Salomon Cosmic 2 4D, a mouth full.

After Grisedale Pike and a trip to the Peak District.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A guest walk on the Guest Walks page!

If you haven't noticed, I have a guest walk in my 'Guest Walks' section. The walk description and photographs have been provided by Allen Holmes, an exceptional wildlife photographer.

Book Review: Learning to Breath by Andy Cave

This is the first book review I've done on my blog, a few more may follow. But this particular book for me has a relevance to my past in a small way. I wanted a book to take to the Lake district on holiday, to fill the downtimes on camp. This book had come up on Amazon as a recommendation when I purchased 'Touching the Void' by Joe Simpson (another good read). To be honest, I didn't really know who Andy Cave was, I haven't had much connection to climbing since I was a teenager (a long time ago). But a had a punt and took the book on holiday with me.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Griesdale Pike and a big smile.

It's really strange that Griesdale Crag is described by Wainwright as being hidden. I didn't know it was only just behind where I was camped for the week in the Lakes until I noticed it on my return to camp from Keswick. I checked it out on the map and from the description given by Wainwright it sounded interesting.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Biggest Isn't Best: Castle Crag

They say that biggest isn't always the best. That the best things come in small packages. Castle Crag is the smallest of the Wainwright's, and at 951feet, it is pretty small. But for what it lacks in height, it makes up for in it's sheer picturesque quality. It also has a couple of surprises to keep you on your toes.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Review: Osprey Talon 22, but not the Kitchen Sink!

Many many years ago, well about 30 years ago my mum had one of those huge handbags with a plethora of pockets. We used to kid her about carrying the kitchen sink in it. And I'm very sure she did carry everything but the kitchen sink. What ever the emergency, where ever we were, she had something in that handbag to handle the situation. I'm certain a lot of people will find this a familiar story.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Rain can be a good thing sometimes!

While in the Lake District this week I have had a constant view of Skiddaw from the campsite on which I was staying. On Tuesday, it rained all day, what a surprise. But in the evening the rain clouds created a fantastic opportunity and I was able to take the following photograph.

So rain can be a good thing, sometimes anyway. Some walks and kit reviews to follow over the next week or so.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Lake District: Day Five

Home tomorrow. No Blencathra today, the heart was willing but the legs and feet weren't. But I am coming back in around eight weeks. Hopefully I can look at Blencathra, have a day off and then Skiddaw. We will have to see. To be honest, the weather has made a hash of what I planned. But Griesdale Pike yesterday was a brilliant experience and I'm looking forward to September.

Full reviews of walks and some items of gesr to come over the next week or so. A couple of beers, a nice meal and a campfire later to finish the week and then the journey home tomorrow.

Signing off for now.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Lake District: Day Four

I had a great day today. Although the weather started out dull it did improve in the nick of time. On the way up Griesdale Pike for the first 400 to 500 meters the weather was letting me down, drizzle and low cloud on the summit. But as I reached the walk/scramble section around 100 meters or so from the top it cleared and the opportunity for some great photographs was had. From there to Sand Hill and then back down to Brathwaite for a pint in the Oaks Arms. A review and photographs to come.

The day has stayed pleasant so a campfire later and the a fairly early night. In the morning, if my feet and legs have recovered, Blencathra.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Lake District: Day Three

The rain today has been pretty constant. Following a fleeting visit to Whitehaven I decided to visit Grasmere. A highly recommended location for a visit. It made a pleasant place to call in even in the rain. Had an excellent sandwich in Baldry's, brie and bacon on homemade bread.

Tomorrows plan is Grisedale Pike located conveniently behind the campsite where I am staying. Thursday will be Blencathra, although the challenge of Sharp Edge will be governed by the weather.

Onward and upward.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Lake District: Day Two

The weather held off all morning so Castle Crag was a pleasant walk if a bit too warm for my liking. An ascent up the west side was interesting with good views of the surrounding landscape. A descent down the east side offered some challenges and very nice terrain. A full review on my return and photographs.

The weather has turned wet late afternoon but still no wind fortuntely. Holiday stuff tomorrow and possibly Blencathra on Wednesday with a very early start as the weather forecast looks poor for the afternoon. I can see Skiddaw from my campsite and the peak is constantly bathed in cloud.

Bye for now.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Lake District: Day One

Well I got to the campsite around dinner time and just had time to put the tent up before the rain came......phew!

This will be a series of short daily posts with a weather update for anyone looking at heading up to Keswick and the surrounding area this week.

I had a walk around the outdoor shops in Keswick beforehand and was quite disappointed at the lack of legwear stocked for us short legged people. I find I am taller than a lot of people I meet so I wonder who they are catering for.

If the weather forecast can be believed I only need to worry about Tuesday being a bad day. We shall see.

Tomorrow I shall be heading off to Castle Crag early in the morning with a trip to Grasmere in the afternoon. My itinery for the rest of the week will depend on the weather a little but Blencathra and maybe Haystacks are on the cards.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

So they don't just make chocolate?

Review: Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Knife

There seems to be a stigma attached to knives in this country at the moment. That if you carry a knife, you must have murderous intentions. Personally, I believe there are two ways to perceive a knife, either as a weapon, or as a tool. For me a knife is a tool, whether it be to cut cordage, open a wine bottle or saw some wood. I do not consider them weapons and could not use them as such.

I decided a few weeks ago that I would put a small knife, within UK laws, in my pack for the reasons of convenience. I chose a knife I felt met any potential needs and purchased it. I'm very glad I did as this make of knife has a long standing renown for being of a high standard. The knife is a Victorinox Huntsman knife, or a Swiss army knife as they are also known.

The Victorinox Huntsman (lanyard not included)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Off to the Lake District next week.

Well next week I will be making my way to Wainwright country. I'm hoping the weather will be good to me, but I don't hold out any hope. Ah well, the new waterproofs will get a test. Maybe taking up Kayaking might help.

I may get in one or two gear reviews before I go, but should be quite a few to come on my return. Also a few walks too. Plus ,hopefully, a guest walk from a friend who is an exceptional wildlife photographer.

I'll also do a daily blog while I'm in the Lake District including an on-the-spot weather forecast and anything out of the ordinary or of interest.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Review: Marmot Connect Gloves

Okay, you may have had the situation. You're on the top of a hill and your phone gets a connection, a message comes through. Or you see a nice photo opportunity and you are depending on the camera in your phone. But those gloves you've got on to use the touch screen, well, they might as well be boxing gloves.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Dalby Forest Overload

One of my favourite walks is a local walk that starts a couple of hundred meters from my home. The walk leads to a local Hall and forest. The forest is nice to walk around with an excellent viewing area that can be amazing at times. With the very poor weather we have had over the last week I decided that I would have a walk around Dalby Forest. I'd looked at this area before as a possible walk so the poor weather made for a good excuse.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sheep Not so Baaarmy, Sculptures Hewen From Rock

While I was on the wander around Langsett and The Porter River I spotted a strange scene. Looking down from a high path I saw what looked like a sheep admiring her handy work.

Monday, 18 June 2012

A Wander up The Porter (or) Little Don River

This is the last in the series of walks around Langsett Reservoir I will be posting for now. Similarly to my walk to Pike Lowe, this walk covers areas I think few people are aware of. While the walk is a very pleasant one, it isn't without risk if undertaken at the wrong time of year.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Overview: Blogger on Android

Earlier in the year I was away in the Dales for a few days. While there I decided to try something different and post on my blog using my mobile phone. The software was Google's own Blogger App. I suppose in a way it became a bit more like Tweeting. The App can be downloaded from the Android Market Place and makes the job of posting on the go quite easy.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Review: MX3 Aventure Dehydrated Meal Pack

When I go camping for a length of time and go off doing walks I like to return to the tent and get something prepared to eat quickly. I find that if I have to start and mess around too much I don't always eat properly after a long walk. I've had the usual Wayfarer's and Reiter's meals over the years and even had on occasion the Be-Well expedition meals. But with a week in the Lake District coming up I thought I would try something new. Roll in the MX3 freeze dried meal packs.

Monday, 4 June 2012

When is Pike Low not Pike Low? When it's Pike Lowe

Not to be confused with the not so distant hill of Pike Low along side Ladybower, Pike Lowe is a peak clearly seen from Langsett Reservoir. In my previous post I had done a little reccy work for Pike Lowe, this weekend I went up.

Pike Lowe, the cairn clearly visible.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Morning Stroll and reccy around Langsett Reservoir

Free Parking, a Public Convenience, Langsett Barn (used for functions), a Ranger Station, picnic tables, good walks and a touch of wildlife. That's what you will find around Langsett Reservoir located around 10 miles west of Barnsley along side the A616 heading towards Woodhead Pass. It's not a source of ultra challenging walks, but it access to great walks to other areas such as Derwent, Margery Hill and my next target, Pike Low Hill.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Karrimor 1 Litre Tritan Bottle review

I have one of those cheap polycarbonate 1 litre water bottles kicking about amongst my gear. I bought it from a well known outdoor retailer a couple of years back. At the time I was unaware of the alleged stories about polycarbonate bottles releasing Bisphenol A (BPA) into the water the were holding. There are various scientific groups showing varying results as to whether the polycarbonate bottles are safe, so I decided to avoid it for now and retired the bottle to a different use, and I'm not saying what that use is. (If you google the subject you will find conflicting reports. Some groups say they are unhealthy, some groups argue this isn't true. For now I think as individuals we have to interpret this as we see it.)

So I decided to find an alternative.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Review: Should I join the BMC?

To quote their website "The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is the representative body that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers. The BMC recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions."

Friday, 18 May 2012

A Walk round Swineshaw Moor and Reservoirs

The outer edges of the Peak District have a lot to offer if you're after a nice relaxing walk with some nice wide views. This walk, situated at the far end of Woodhead Pass, not far from the A628 route to Manchester from Barnsley is around 7 miles in length. It has some nice scenic views, and some views right across Manchester's City Centre. Maybe not so picturesque, but quite a surprise.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Review: Aquapac Keymaster

I decided a few weeks ago to give an Aquapac Keymaster a go as a mobile phone case. It's a new design using Aquapacs patented Aquaclip. The phone I have just fits, a little snugly, but it fits all the same. The Aquapac is supposed to be waterproof to 5 meters, a little beyond my depth to test at home, but I tried it anyway.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Scammonden Water to Marsden and...erm...back again!

Do you ever remember those school trips, the ones with packed lunches and places you just can't quite remember. Well, for years I have driven past a reservoir at the side of the M62 just west of Huddersfield and felt for sure I'd been there on a school trip. The location is quite nice, even considering the proximity of the M62 and there's a nice four mile or so walk around the reservoir. The reservoir is Scammonden Reservoir and this weekend I decided to go there for a walk and see if it brought any memories back.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Review: Energy Bars

Although some, but not all energy bars are aimed at runners and cyclists, they can be a convenient quick snack on the move or for a speedy stop when hiking. I know there are many snack options when on the trail, but I tend to find I lose my appetite when walking a long distance. I do sometimes take bananas, nuts, sandwiches, Peperami etc. But a nice tasting, energy full bar, can easily fill the bill.

So in this review I will be looking at four fairly easily available energy bars. I will consider three aspects; ease of access, taste and nutrition.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Review: Petzl Tikkina 2

Some gear you buy ends up being a no frills, just get on with it, workhorse. As far as headlamps are concerned, the Petzl Tikkina 2 is my workhorse headlamp. It does the job and never lets me down.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Review: Alpkit Gamma, a Conundrum.

For many years scientists have been trying to discover the source of the creation of the universe. Year on year the Met Office constantly seek to be able to predict the weather more and more accurately. And the fact that none stick Teflon is stuck to a pan. It all begs the same question.........how? Well this is the conundrum faced when reviewing the Alpkit Gamma. How did they do it for £15 delivered?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Review: Petzl e+LITE

How about a very light headlamp that can be thrown in you rucksack or vehicle and be forgotten about until needed for up to 10 years. Well that is one of the main features of the Petzl e+LITE making it incredibly reliable so it's there in an emergency.

Petzl e+LITE in it's protective case.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Review: Silva Siju.

When is a compass not a compass, when it's a head torch. I had considered doing a head to head (pardon the pun) review of four head torches. But I decided that each torch was good in it's own right and each had particular benefits. So the first head torch review is the Silva Siju.

Dales Walks: Simon's Seat

Overlooking Appletreewick and Burnsall is a feature called Simon's Seat. The name, from what I can gather, comes from the name given to a baby found in the location by a Shepard way back in time. Where ever the name comes from, it's a feature worth looking at as the trig point adds a little challenge to the ascent.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Dales Walks: The Barden Triangle

If you look round on the Internet you will find some reference to the Barden Triangle. The Barden Triangle consists of Troller's Gill, Dibble's Bridge and Elbolton Hill. I decided in my recent break in the Dales to walk the Triangle and see for myself if any of the legends might be true.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Dales Walks: Appletreewick to the Strid

Having lost walking time on the Monday I decided on the Tuesday to have a steady stroll down to the Strid near Bolton Abbey, the previous day and night had seen heavy rain so I thought I might be in for a treat, I was.

Friday, 13 April 2012

A Review: Mason's Campsite in Appletreewick

The standard of campsites can vary greatly, from the very basic to over the top. I have to admit, I've seen the varied quality myself. From a field and single toilet at the foot of Tryfan in the Ogwen Valley in Wales to a campsite in Devon with swimming pool, TV room, bar etc. Most people have different ideas about what is an acceptable standard. For me, clean and an ability to keep myself clean after a long walk. I think that the Mason's Campsite has that.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Week in the Dales: Day 4 (final day)

Today the weather has been another hit and miss affair. A break in the rain around lunch time saw me head up Simon's Seat. Initially sunny, it turned very grey after I reached the trig point. I managed some photos, including one of me by the trig point kindly taken by a fellow hiker. Shortly after there was rain (shocker)  preceded by 15 minutes of hail. It cleared for a while, just as I returned to camp, so a meal had to wait an hour or so.

So now I'm sat outside the pub for a pint contemplating having to break camp in the morning and go home.
Still, a busy weekend to come, catch up on Game of Thrones, reviews and a couple of walks to add to the blog. Then hopefully a good walk on Sunday with a couple of friends.

Signing off for now.....cheers....hic!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Week in the Dales: Day 3

The weather has been much kinder today. I was starting to think walking in the Dales passed as some sort of rain dance. The walk round the Barden Triangle was brilliant. Trollers Gill is very picturesque. Dibbles Bridge has an interesting story although the bridge itself is nothing out of the ordinary to be honest. Elbolton Hill is well worth the hike, the views are fantastic. The RAB Vapour Rise did really well. I'll expand on all of this at the weekend, loads of photos to come.

Off for a meal and a couple of pints now. Possibly Simon's Seat tomorrow, and hopefully good weather.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Week in the Dales: Day 2

Well yesterday was a wash out. It rained all day and had a storm through the night. Luckily my tent held out, but sleep was a luxury.

This morning I headed off down to the Strid. The weather started off very changeable, but brightened up steadily through the day. The heavy rain made the Strid very impressive. I'll post more pictures when I return home at the weekend, but here's one for now.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Week in the Dales: Day 1 (morning)

I arrived yesterday afternoon and set up camp at Mason's Campsite in Appletreewick (apparently pronounced Apptrick by locals). The weather turned very wet so I had a short walk into Burnsall, the neighbouring village. A fantastic meal in the Craven's Arms followed by an early night.

This morning saw a trip into Skipton where I bought RAB Vapour Rise jacket (a review to follow). I'm now off back to the camp to have a walk down the Dales Way towards The Strid, a local well known waterfall. The Strid is extremely dangerous and anyone falling in is dragged down to the bottom where there are large rocks being swept round washing machine style.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A Busy Week To Come

Next week will be a busy time for me. I will be away camping in the Yorkshire Dales. While there I will be logging several planned walks and testing some gear. I'll be carrying out a test of four competitively priced head torches, a torch that punches above it's weight and several other items. Reviews will follow on my return. Until then, Happy Easter!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Alpkit Mission Pack Review

Well I don't know about you, but I'm finding I need more and more means by which to store small items, maps and books, especially when out hiking or camping.  I decided I wanted some simple storage devices that would protect against damp, especially when dropping stuff on the floor, which I do a lot of. But I also wanted something a little more convenient than just a Ziploc bag. Enter stage right the Alpkit Mission Pack.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

RAB Boreas Pull-on Review

RAB advertise the Boreas pull-on as a lighteight top which offers protection from the sun with some wind resistance. The Backpacker magazine awarded it their Editor's choice for a pull-on softshell. Being lightweight and offering what seems like a good design for warmer weather I had to give it a try.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

High5 ZERO Xtreme Electrolyte Hydration Tablets Review

High5 as a company produce all types of sports energy products from bars to powders and as reviewed here, electrolyte tablets. ZERO Xtreme is their electrolyte tablet that can be added to 500ml of water giving 0.35Kcal per 100ml and 65mg of caffeine (about the same as a cup of coffee) per tablet. Just as importantly, a great taste. Is it true?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

High Bradfield Circular via High Peak

The day started out as a usual Peak District day, cloudy with rain. So much so that I decided to go without my camera and get the odd snap with my phone. Looking back that was a mistake. During the climb out of High Bradfield up on to the tops the rain came down and it looked as though that was going to be the theme of the day. To my dismay (no camera) and joy (blue skies poking through) all at the same time the weather broke a little by the time I reached Hurkling Edge.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Crowden to Black Hill Circular

First of all  I apologise for the photographs. The weather was a bit of a surprise considering the weather forecast didn't seem as though it would be too bad. On the day there were high winds and low cloud, that is until I got back to the car, then the sun came out. Considering the views I had in poor weather in good weather there would be fantastic views making the walk very satisfying. The first half of the walk follows the Pennine Way.

Part way up towards Laddow Rocks looking back to Crowden.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Rab Cirrus Pull-on Windshell Review

There are times, when walking, that the wind picks up but the weather is too warm to wear either a softshell or hardshell jacket. The question is, what do you do? Well over the last couple of years there has been an increased interest in lightweight windshirts. Various companies have their own variation on this idea but I opted for the Rab Cirrus pull-on.