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.