Archive for April, 2009

Learnt a lesson today, was after an Alpkit Filet Down Vest which at £60 is great value compared to the competition. For once I didnt buy it instantly but decided to appease the Wallet Guilt God and wait until my birthday in May.

Big Mistake!

As with a lot of Alpkit products they are very popular and all but the rather bright Chilli red are sold out and not to be restocked until September, ’09 so thats that scuppered for the time being. Shame as thought it would make an ideal item to wear on any chilly spring/summer evenings by the tent. I guess Ill either have to pay more or just trust the good old British weather to stay warm (hmmmn!).


Alpkit Filet

Alpkit Filet


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Finally got to use the new tent and gear on the first camping trip of the year that wasn’t in the back garden!

Took a train up to the Lake District (at £93 – ouch!) and headed down to Stonethwaite in Borrowdale valley which is an amazingly picturesque place surrounded by high fells on all sides with Derwent Water to the north.  I got to see a lot more of the valley sooner than I thought when I got up to get off the bus and the driver said I had a long way to go yet and would be better off sitting down.  For some reason he thought I wanted the Galarama Activity centre and I then had a nice walk back to Stonethwaite, still I got to explore a bit more earlier than I expected!


Stonethwaite Campsite

Stonethwaite Campsite

The campsite was remote hence why I chose it and positioned in a valley at the very south of the valley past Stonethwaite and on the river. Facilities were basic, a loo and no showers and other than collecting money at 8am the warden was nowhere to be seen. The only downside to this was that other campers really were able to behave as they liked with no policing at all of whats meant to be a “peaceful and relaxing” campsite. Luckily despite being in the school holidays the site was fairly quiet and I got a pitch close to the river and whilst there were a few groups of  ‘young people’ they were fairly well behaved. I would however think twice before visiting the site at a weekend as it does have a reputation of getting rowdy….


Camping in the Laser Competition

Camping in the Laser Competition

I’m definitely lucky when it comes to weather, on 5 trips to the lakes in 11 months Ive had fantastic weather everytime, including the trip in December. Unfortunately my luck didnt hold out with my bad foot which flared up the day before the trip and limited the amount I could walk but I did venture out up Combe Gill and Thornythwaite Fell. Leaving the campsite at 8am I had the place to myself and only saw the first walkers around10-30 am and then I probably saw only saw 6 people all morning which was a nice change.


Combe Gill/Thorneythwaite Fell with Derwent Water & Borrowdale in the background

Combe Gill/Thorneythwaite Fell with Derwent Water & Borrowdale in the background

I have uploaded a slideshow to youtube of a  few pictures I took with my compact. Not as good as the DSLR would take, but much lighter !

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Not that lightweight…

Hmmn, did my first pass at kit needed for this weeks 3 night backpacking trip to the lakes and not overly impressed with the weight of what I selected! According to my calculations my total gear including clothing and boots worn is close to 14kg !!

Everything bar the kitchen sink!

Everything bar the kitchen sink!

This equates to 11kg carried and 2.7kg worn and its clear Im going to have to cut back on the luxuries (books and batteries account for 1kg!) and rethink how much food I take and look at picking up more to eat when Im there.

First kit list :


Platypus 3L

Wainwright Book

Headtorch – Tescos

Ipod + battery pack

Headtorch – Alpkit Gamma

Gas Canister

Travel Tap –  Water Filter

Book – Lost continent

First Aid Kit

Water Bottle  (Champneys)


Travel Tap – Carrybag


Magazine – Country Walking

OS mapx2 & Map case



Compact Fujifilm camera

Thinsulate Gloves

Berghaus Deluge Trousers + dry sack

Crane Merino Leggings

Berghaus Pro Tek Waterproof Coat

Crane Merino T shirt

Socks (blue)

Expedition Food – Sweet & Sour chicken

Expedition Food – Pasta

Expedition Food – Porridge x2

Expedition Food – Custard x 3

Expedition Food – Mild Beef Curry x 2

OMM Villain

Slim Airic Sleep Mat + drybag

Sleeping bag Compression bag

Pipe Dream 600 Sleeping Bag

Laser Footprint

Alpkit Spike

Laser Competition tent



Teko Summit Hiking Socks (medium)

Craghopper Kiwi

Berghaus Spectrum Fleece (new)

North Face Thin Fleece 100

Berghaus Tech Tee

Hi-Tec V-Lite Altitude Ion Mask Boots

Boxer shorts

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Vango Banshee 200

Vango Banshee 200

Put the tent up quickly (as can be see from the flappiness!) and roomier than I thought it would be. Still cosy for two adults but more usable for two than I thought. The low profile seems quite sturdy as well so hopefully should do ok in windy conditions.

Vango Banshee 200

Vango Banshee 200

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Vango Banshee 200

Bought yet another tent this week to allow me to go camping with my daughter.  I’ve read of people using the Terra Nova Laser Competition to take the young ones camping but after trying it in the garden I couldn’t see how we would get any sort of decent nights sleep.

I was looking at the Vango Banshee 300 which is the three man version and about half a kilo heavier than the Banshee 200.  I always find the amount of people tent makers expect to go into a tent on the optimistic side and with sleeping bags and so on I really dont expect the 2 man version to be overly comfortable for 2 adults. However I saw the tent on sale on Outdoors Magic forum’s classifieds and for £30 couldnt go wrong.

Vango Banshee 200

Vango Banshee 200

Ive not weighed it yet but its meant to be 2 kilos so fairly light and carryable, unlike my other 2 or 3 man tents.

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This week sees the return of Wainwright Walks, this time based on the Coast to Coast long distance walk.

I absolutely loved the first two series of Wainwright Walks, thought the way they were filmed was excellent and Julia Bradbury’s presentation was superb. Wasnt as inspired with the subsequent Railway Walks as found the locations of the walks to be less awe inspiring other than the one through the Scottish Highlands. Thoroughly looking forward to seeing the new  6 part series starting on the 9th April at 8-30pm BBC4

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Ok after much deliberation and day dreaming Im around 85% decided on my travel and camping plans for the Easter Trip to the lakes.

Ill be buying an extortionately priced open ended rail ticket (£93) which is more expensive than driving (see my earlier rant) but will hopefully make the journey easier and to be honest I like the idea of getting to my end location on foot.

For the location I’ve chosen Stonethwaite, south of Keswick, as a starting point. Theres a campsite there that really offers me the “roughing it” experience Im after, no showers and very basic facilities. I have read that it can be quite rowdy at weekends and it is the Easter Holidays so I dont presume to be isolated but it sounds ideal. Only a dodgy mud track leads into the site and being on foot that suits me perfectly.

From Stonethwaite Ill have access to Scafell Pike and the Southern fells, what I will do and where I will walk Ive not yet decided and dont want any plans set in stone. Ill see how the weather pans out first, but Ive certainly got lots of options and a lot of areas to explore. Ill certainly be walking up to take a look at Styhead and Sprinkling Tarns and may well look to wild camp somewhere. Those two locations are very popular and some would say too popular but being a novice possibly a good place to start.

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