Saturday, 22 January 2011

Walking enthusiasts invited to test UK paths - Ordnance Survey

The Ramblers is recruiting some of the UK's most enthusiastic walking fans to test the standard of a host of paths across the country.
In a role described by the charity as being similar to that of a mystery shopper, it is asking for individuals to come forward and offer to assess one of their local tracks.Those who do so will be requested to complete a short survey on the condition of their chosen walking trail.
Eventually, the organisation intends to use the data collected by volunteers to create a map of the best and worst spots in Britain for hiking.
Commenting on the work to be carried out by mystery walkers, Ramblers campaigns officer Anastasia French says: "This information will help us to work with councils to improve the footpath network so that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from walking, wherever they are."
The Ramblers recently organised a new year walking festival, with a number of treks available to people who wanted to burn off a few Christmas calories.
Read more about the Ramblers here.

Scary Hikers Cookbook

Monday, 17 January 2011

Lord's Seat, Edale

Blindly following the sat nav, we came over a hill into what we'd soon realise was the Edale Valley. Kinder Scout was majestically silhouetted against the night sky like a sleeping giant and we could see the lights of Edale twinkling far below. This was our first adventure in the Dark Peak and now we knew that we'd arrived. It's strange how each trip we think can't possibly top a previous one, and yet somehow something takes your breath away and you realise that yet again you were wrong. That's how you know you've got the bug. After a month and a half of waiting, we were like small children, wide eyed and bouncing in our seats with excitement.

The plan was to shake off our relaxed pre-Christmas camping habits involving lots of gear, multiple cookers and over reliance on having the car nearby and get down to some back to basics camping in preparation for our next trip. We'd also do a bit of a recce of the area as our next hike is a long weekend up Kinder Scout and head out for a walk with our packs on (minus tent) to get back into practice.

So, for basics camping we'd found Whitmore Lea Farm, where you camp in a bumpy field full of sheep and have access to just a toilet and a tap for water. That said, with it's location beside the river, you could probably do away with the tap and fetch water straight from the river. We bumped down the track in the pitch black, almost taking the bottom off the car, and pitched our tent (very well I might say) on a flat patch of grass as much out of the wind as possible. We had neighbours for the first night, but the second was spent blissfully on our own, listening to the sound of the water rushing past, the blustery weather and the regular trains like monsters in the night.

Next day, after Phil's unexpected conversion to porridge (yes, I know bacon sarnies are better!) we left Barber Booth following a footpath across the fields. Thank goodness for the high ankle cuff on my boots as I narrowly escaped filling my right boot with mud following a foolishly thought out step.

We took the steadily rising Chapel Gate track up onto the top of Rushup Edge. I was amazed at how many users the track had, as we met a steady stream of walkers, runners, mountain bikers and motorbikes. Apparently they're looking to close the track to light vehicles. I can't pretend to know whether the bikes are seriously eroding the track but you've gotta feel for those guys who've been enjoying riding the trail for over 30 years and now might not be able to any longer. Maybe on a sunny day I'd have felt different but I actually enjoyed meeting all the people and had respect for them out enjoying the Peaks on such a grey, wet day.

On the top, my hat had to be relegated to my pocket for fear of it blowing away and the wind whipped round my ears, chilling my head until it ached but giving me an absolute sense of freedom and release that I've truly missed. I couldn't help the massive grin on my face as I looked around at the differing landscape and colours. The undulating ground of Whitemore Clough, the rolling dales and green pastures of the White Peak and the stark cliffs created by quarrying at Eldon Hill. Kinder Scout looked dark and foreboding in the mist, a place that takes no prisoners.

We walked to Lord's Seat but never stood on top due to the near gale that made it difficult even to walk in a straight line. Instead we tried to shelter in the hollow beside it, drinking a warming cup of soup as the freezing cold rain hit our faces like needles. It sounds like the most awful weather and it was, but in a way it added something to the walk, though I would like to see the views again on a clear spring or summer day. We carried on along the ridge, which thankfully isn't a narrow one and the wind was much lighter here and then down to the lane at Mam Nick. We'd considered carrying on and including Mam Tor in our route but weren't sure that we could get it in before it began to get dark so decided to leave that for another trip which is a great excuse to come back if ever we needed one. Somehow it seems to be getting harder and harder to return to reality and the 9-5!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Weather Forecast - Derbyshire.

Derbyshire Weather from

Help For Heroes Challenge Trek

Peak Outdoor Training are organising a series of walks to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity. The walks take place in May 2011, are open to everyone and take place in and around the borders of the Peak District National Park. There is a novice 6km walk for beginners and under 14s, an intermediate 12-14km walk with optional abseil and an extreme 20km trek with optional abseil. Entry costs £25 per person or £80 for a family of four and all money goes to charity. You can also collect your own sponsorship money in addition to this to send directly to the charity.

Help for Heroes raises money to support members of the Armed Forces who have been wounded in the service of their country. The money raised by Help for Heroes is used to fund projects that make a huge difference to the lives of wounded Servicemen and women. Help for Heroes first project was an £8m swimming pool and gym complex at DRMC Headley Court, to help with rehabilitation. They have since raised £20m which will fund 4 Personal Recovery Centres, the first of which is to open this Spring. They are now asking for help to raise a further £20m to fund Individual Recovery Plans to aid Servicemen and women on the road to recovery and pay for courses and opportunities to help them rebuild their lives and equip them for the future.

Peak Outdoor Training specialise in the high quality provision of outdoor training and have expertise in navigation, climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, cycle training, caving, team building and charity event organisation. They offer a range of courses, qualifications and also guided walks and other expeditions.

For more information contact Peak Outdoor Training on 07540 839598 or email

Saturday, 8 January 2011

My Scarpa Terra GTX come out of the box

I went for a walk in my new boots the other day. As my dad says, you ain't been for a walk in your new boots until they've got muddy. Well they got muddy! But for possibly the first time ever in my life I've actually taken care of something. I got them home, knocked the dried mud off of them, washed them off with some warm water, and gave them a coat of dubbin. I'm not the kind of girl who has a pair of Jimmy Choos, so at £100 my Scarpa Terra GTX my boots were quite expensive by my standards but I hope that if I look after them, they'll pay me back.

Out of the box they have a slightly worn look about them being made of tough oiled full grain leather, which coupled with a lack of stitching should make them durable. A firm heel and toe cap to protect you in rockier places and a supportive ankle cuff finishes the boot. On the bottom is a Vibram sole, with a good tread thickness. They weigh in 1000g for a ladies size 5, making them a relatively lightweight leather boot. Finally for the exterior, the tongue is attached to the upper to prevent water and mud getting inside the boot.

When I put them on they feel instantly comfortable. (I wore them round the house on Christmas Day much to my gran's horror!). The ankle cuff is highly padded and overall they feel cushioned. They have a breathable Gore-tex lining, to ensure that water stays on the outside, so no more wet, soggy, cold feet for me. The laces are just about long enough to tie.

So what did I think on my first walk with them? Well we covered a good few miles at a reasonable pace and overall they were comfortable and no sign that they might give me blisters on a longer hike. I was conscious of the higher ankle cuff, which my old boots didn't have, and how that felt as I walked and I hope it is not going to turn out to be a negative as I get more used to these boots. On the relatively flat and muddy ground, they performed well and felt good. But they need more testing on more uneven, slightly rocky terrain before I can make a judgement.

See what I think 2 months later: Scarpa Terra GTX Update

Friday, 7 January 2011

Peak District Rescue Service - record breaking year.

During 2010, Buxton Mountain Rescue Team was deployed 86 times and assisted 104 people in need across the Peak District and surrounding areas. Search dogs were also called to 30 incidents, assisting 43 people.
Unpaid team members volunteered 2,243 hours to operations - equivalent to 320 working days - in addition to balancing work and family life, attending training events and fundraising, as it receives no Government financial support.
Ian Hurst, Chairman of Buxton MRT, said: “There’s been a general increase over a number of years, not just for the Buxton team but for teams across the Peak District as a whole, and I wouldn’t expect that to change in 2011.
“We have increased our membership numbers to 60, thereby spreading the load across the team.”
But Mr Hurst added that the increased demand had put constraints on their resources.
This year, the team will be replacing ageing protective equipment to the tune of £24,000, and aims to take delivery of a new 4x4 operational response vehicle which will cost around £40,000 to buy and equip.
“The financial impact on our resources is considerable, however we plan well ahead for these events and we have a great deal of support locally from individuals, groups and retailers in the town, to whom we are extremely grateful.”
• To find out more about the team, visit their website

Monday, 3 January 2011

New Backpack of Santa.

I knew Santa was a backpacker, its just that his clothes are rubbish!

He dropped of a new Deuter-aircontact-65+10 backpack for me for xmas. I must admit that I didn't realise that I had been such a good boy :)

He also left lots of bits of kit and a couple of very good hiking type books, plenty of new stuff to play with.

We will be out in a couple of weeks so will certainly be putting the new backpack through its paces.

Along with other pieces of kit like new boots etc we will be evaluating and reviewing all of our new kit in the very near coming weeks, cant wait !!!!!!

Watch this space for reviews after our next wild camp probably in the high peeks, providing the weather is not really bad.

Also see