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.