Rekindling a Friendship – Heart of Snowdonia 24 Peaks Circuit

Camped on Pen Lithrig y Wrach

Camped on Pen Lithrig y Wrach

I spent much of my 20’s and 30’s in Snowdonia, having gone to Bangor University in the mid 1980’s and living in North Wales for 15 years after graduating. In that time I must have walked, scrambled, rock climbed and ice climbed routes many times over, forwards, backwards and in all weathers. And in all truth it’s fair to say that by the new Millenium I had grown tired of the area.

Going back last weekend to backpack the arduous ‘Heart of Snowdonia 24 peaks circuit’ after 10 years away has rekindled the friendship I have with this special place. It is without doubt my favourite mountain area in the UK. And the circuit ?……it’s a beast. Continue reading

My MLD Duomid pole set up – simple and light

I recently purchased some new trekking poles to use with my TrekkerTent Stealth and in the process I’ve sorted myself a super light and quick way of joining poles together for my MLD Duomid.

The current poles I use are Mounatin King Super Trekker Compact which are cheap and light and have taken some severe battering over the years and coped well. But at a maximum 130cm fully extended they’re not long enough to use as an A-frame with the Stealth which requires 135-140cm poles. To replace these I settled on a pair of Fizan Broadpeak 3, which at 240g a piece are still a decent weight.

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Reflections on the TGOC 2014, in preparation for 2015

Not lost.....just checking....honest !

Not lost…..just checking….honest !

Entering for the TGO Challenge last year was, of course, meant to be a one off. If only life were so simple, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

So here at the start of 2015 I find myself reflecting briefly on last years crossing as I plan to do it all again in 2015. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 12 & 13 : Coast bound and blinkered

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With the best of the walking and scenery now behind, I guess I will be forgiven for applying the blinkers and taking a beeline for St Cyrus Bay.  And so begins the last days in my TGO report. A little over 12 days in the walking, a little under 200 days in the blogging. That’s got to be something of a record. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 10 & 11 : A busman’s holiday.

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I am a roaming Highlander, a native of Braemar
I’ve often roamed the valleys around by Lochnagar
I’ve often ranged the valleys in spite of all command
But now I’m bound to sail the seas unto Van Diemen’s Land
(The Braemar Poacher)

Well I’m not sure about heading for a Tasmanian Penal Colony, but a few days from the coast the sea was calling. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Days 8 & 9 : Bear Grylls and the Chuckle Brothers

A rare moment of serious reflection for the Chuckle Brothers

A rare moment of serious reflection for the Chuckle Brothers

The next couple of days would be a very sociable affair, walking with the Chuckle Brothers and the man who taught Bear Grylls everything he’s forgotten about wilderness navigation. It was also when a new piece of kit acquired me; A homing hat ! Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2014 Day 7 : David Williams I presume ?

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Route Day 7 : 34 km

After six days of relative solitude, pitching for the night on a grass verge amongst a small sea of TGO challengers in Dalwhinnie marked a watershed. By the end of today, and one last stretch walking alone, I’d enter the sociable side of the challenge and begin to realise what makes the TGO so special. Continue reading

2014 – A year in review

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Miles walked: 810 (short of my 1000 mile target, but doesn’t include 266 miles of evening TGO training walks)

Longest trip: 220 miles  on the TGO challenge

Nights under canvas: 22 (not nearly enough)

High point: Laughing over a pint with the Chuckle Brothers until it hurt, in Braemar on the TGO **

Low Point: Doing an accidental back flip into a deep peaty ditch on day 1 of the TGO

Best days walk: Second day of the Limestone Lion from Malham to Grassington on a gloriously sunny spring day

Most expensive piece of kit purchased: Z-Packs 20 degree sleeping bag

Best piece of kit purchased: Vivo Barefeet ultralight trainers

Piece of kit I actually didn’t need to buy: All of it…it’s pure indulgence

Gear purchase excuses I used : (I) Orange is no longer fashionable. (ii) My life may depend on it, (iii) This one goes to 11

What I did too much of : Looking out of the window and deciding to wait until the weather was better

What I didn’t do enough of: Getting out while the weather ‘was’ good ** Not the Chuckle Brothers, obviously.

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