Wednesday, 14 February 2007


I have just returned from Kinder Scout. I love bogs, and Kinder Scout is just one huge fabulous bog.

But back to the start. I packed the night before. It all fitted in - amazing when I was looking at the pile of stuff on the sitting room floor waiting to be squeezed in to the pack.

In doing so, I found my first mistake on the gear list: Just what is the point of having a full zip on the sleeping bag when the sleeping bag liner does not? Oh well; not the end of the world...At least I will be able to be cooler when its warmer weather.

But, as I said, it all fitted in and with room left for the Paramo jacket to fit comfortably under the lid when it's a bit warmer weather. I loaded it up with two days food, 500ml of water, some trail guides, note book (the paper kind), the computer kit, all the chargers, camera, phone, maps and everything that is going on the Lejog to see if it all worked. It weighed in at a reasonable 30lbs (sorry for the old empire weights & continental measures - it's an age thing).

I am happy with that - as I am travelling with comfort in mind - I have included a pillow, feather mattress, four coats (Yes FOUR! which includes a lovely down jacket, Paramo Velez jacket, North Face Gilet, and XCR Goretex jacket - I like coats) and two hats. I am taking Innov-8 shoes for camp and hotel/B&B wear, lots of spare socks (4 pairs of winter liners and two pairs of Mountain socks) and spare trousers.

I could cut out all sorts of stuff and be a lightweight but miserable hiker. I want to be a happy hiker and so I am taking things to make life happy over the seventeen weeks. Anyone can be lightweight, just as anyone can be miserable!

We set off from the village at a civilized hour and called in to Newark to sort out Phil's Valentine Card debacle. That sorted, we set about sorting out an all-day breakfast, then carried on to Hathersage for gear shops - I needed a new compass (the old one was knackered), new coffee & sugar bottles and the new TNF Gilet in a nice shade of black.

The new(ish) restaurant was sampled where the old hotel once stood (I had a drink in what was once my bathroom) then we set off for Edale and the Ramblers. We checked in and were straight out to the Nags Head to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening being served surlily by a fat yoof with dyed hair, a pallid complexion and an attitude problem. I don't think he likes people. Leastways, we did not see him smile once in the six hours we were there. He looked like he needed a good brisk walk in the fresh air, but that looked like the very last thing his pea-sized brain would contemplate.

Anyway, it was fun watching the keen energetic walkers come crashing into his bar after a great day out only to be dealt with with astonishing disdain. The look on their faces was priceless.

We remembered to call wives, so we did well. Phil has Lasagne. Neither can remember what I had.

Next morning we were up sharp for breakfast at eight. Except breakfast was at 9:00am. This joint is called the 'Ramblers!' How many ramblers, I wondered, wanted their breakfast at 9:00? I shall not be staying there in a few months time.

We met up with John and then had a lovely walk up Grindsbrook Clough and up onto the top, then worked out way round the edge to have a lateish lunch overlooking distant Manchester. Then followed a glorious bimble over Kinder through all the wonderful bog and snow patches. We flushed out two magnificent white hares who raced off across the plateau kicking up spray as they careered away from us.

Then it was back to the Clough and back to the pub for refreshment.

The rucksack carried well, I did okay, sort of keeping up with the two lightly loaded gazelles. I need to find a better way of carrying the camera as it twists in the wind with the present arrangement.

So - all in all - a very successful test of equipment and me! It all bodes well for two weeks time. Sorry there was no blog: No phone signal in Edale.


  1. Alan, interesting comment about being lightweight and miserable. As you know my base packweight is around the 8 kilos mark (sorry for using modern measurements), and I don't consider that I will be miserable with this weight.
    However everyones comfort levels differ, and if what you are carrying means you are happy then "good on ya", it's what works for you and that is all that matters.
    I do agree with the sleeping bag liner comment. It's odd isn't it.

    Oh I'm up your way for the last weekend of the month, but it maybe too near to your kick off for us to meet.

  2. Why a velez and a goretex XCR - surely thats just a pure duplication ?

    You won't have any problems with the lack of a zip in a bag liner - they don't provide much insulation & opening the bag zip still coolls you down well.


  3. Good luck with your walk I wish I was going! As somebody who has done a similar LEJOG route the one thing I learnt from it was travel as light as possible. On a long route like that you will adapt physically and more importantly mentally and what you think you need gear wise now will probably be very different to what you actually need. I struggled the first 600 miles lugging about 17kg but after almost completely changing my kit at the 1/2 way point I got it down to around 10kg and it made a huge difference to my enjoyment, since then I have fully embraced the lightweight revolution and have never looked back. With all the fantastic kit available nowadays my base weight is less than 4kg for any trip (anytime of year or length)and i don't feel that my comfort or safety are compromised in any way. Now I'm not saying that you should be aiming for this as weird Darren says it’s what works for you that matters but I just thought that the lesson I learnt could help you. Again I wish you all the best with the walk and hope to catch up with you on the TGO challenge.

  4. A Velez and a Gore Tex jacket? A tad overkill there Alan. I used a Velez on the Challenge last year and can't see why I would need another jacket. Perhaps a micro fleece for the pub. I've heard of obsessions but a jacket obsession :-)

    Explain yourself!

  5. Hi Darren, Steve, Colin & Andy

    Four coats, yes - perhaps slightly obsessive? I just hate being cold and so I use my Velez as windproof light rainwear. When it gets really shitty (Very cold, high up and Peeing down), I put the XCR on and feel very snug whatever the weather. The down jacket is for stops in the bothies / or just stops along the way when its cold and blowy. If its chucking it down, I just carry on until I get to somewhere to put the tent up for the night and then slip into the down jacket and out of my wet gear.

    The TNF Gilet is a lovely little bit of very light kit that I wear over my Icebreaker 260 and under my Velez for cold windy days. (I know that this might seem like overkill, but because of my medication (ACE inhibitors) I get very cold very quickly as the drugs keep the blood vessels more 'open' to be less restrictive (I think that's the theory behind them) and this means I lose heat quickly, as normal people shut these down in order to not lose heat.

    Even on quite warm days struggling up a hill, you will find me with a thick icebreaker base layer and Velez on. I just hate being cold.

    This does have a hefty weight penalty (and a bulk penalty too) and I have considered dumping the Velez loads of times, but it really is my most favourite piece of kit. Most sane people take just the one jacket...

    Maybe, just maybe, this tme the Velez will be dumped - perhaps when I get to Bath? I just can't do it to her!

    Without the food and water we are only talking about 26 lbs after all said and done, and thats including two and a three quarter pounds of computers, phones, cameras and all their chargers in a bomb-proof watertight box.

    I think Colin might be right though - There may yet be a radical rethink when I get to Edale!

    Thanks for your input fellas!


  6. Alan thanks for clearing up the four coats thing. Been thinking about that all day wondering why you would need so much! As an electronics engineer I’m interested in what gadgets you're using? Good ways to save weight with gadgets are to buy items that can all be charged with one charger (with adapters for each item), how about making the cases out of a double layer of bubble wrap (it’s much tougher than you think and will only weight a few grams), to keep them dry wrap them in zip lock bags. Very light but still more than enough protection.


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