Arctic Sweden Videos

Currently mooching about a bit and suffering from man-flu as I am, I thought I’d put a couple of videos up that I made of my Arctic Sweden trips.

This is the one of my first trip – to Sarek in 2015, with James:

And this is the one of my second trip – to the Nallo/Kungsleden area in 2016, with Geoff:

Geoff and I have got a trip planned to Sarek too, for this coming August. Can’t wait – although I have got the TGOC to come first, which is also pretty exciting!

Posted in Backpacking Trips, Trips Abroad | 9 Comments

Pebbles On Kinder

Pebbles had received some very nifty new panniers at Christmas, but hadn’t yet tried them out properly. It was time we made the effort.

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After studying the MWIS forecast in some detail, Friday night looked like a good bet. The weather was getting colder and drier, and some forecast foggy stuff wasn’t due to come in until Saturday lunchtime. So, a last minute decision was made on Friday morning and we packed up.

I wasn’t fussed about walking any great distances, but had a spot in mind only a few miles from us, that I thought might fit the bill.

The weather was indeed blue-sky-gorgeous in the afternoon,  with just a hint of a fresh breeze as we got higher up.

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I had been careful not to load the panniers up too much. Some people say that dogs should be able to carry a third of their body weight, others say it should be no more than a quarter. At around 25kg, I have no intention of ever asking Pebbles to carry more than 5kg, and she did in fact, only have 1.2kg in her panniers this day.  She had no trouble with that, so I decided she could carry her bed (830g) as well, on the homeward journey.

The potential camping spot we were aiming for delivered a large flat ledge, lots of soft heather and a tiny stream nearby for water.

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I generally tie Pebbles to my full rucksack whilst I’m putting the tent up, but in the cold wind that was starting to materialise, she insisted on barking at me to make her displeasure known at having to suffer that indignity.

I just ignored her. Things were soon sorted though and a brew on the go.

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I had downloaded some stuff to watch on I-Player for the evening, so sat and enjoyed the Bluestone 42 Christmas Special before cooking tea.

And looking out over Manchester and Stockport a bit later, I was pleasantly surprised at both the sunset and the city lights. Even the lights seemed quite spectacular in the crystal clear night. For once, I wished I’d had a better camera with me.

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By now, I was quite surprised at how windy it was getting. It was touching on being strong enough to hinder walking a little. I was sure I hadn’t seen anything about this on the forecast!

The tent is very stable though and I eventually slept surprisingly well – given that I was woken several times by the noise of some particularly gusty periods.

I woke properly at about 7-ish and lay there until it started to look a bit lighter outside. When Pebbles and I finally did have to go out – for toileting purposes – it was absolutely bitter. Her drinking water was frozen, the tent was covered in frost and the wind chill effect was God knows what. I was really pleased I’d lugged my big Rab duvet jacket up for the night!

It was also decidedly murky.

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We breakfasted at leisure before tackling the packing up routine. It was far too cold and wild to take stuff outside, so both my rucksack and Pebbles’ panniers had to be sorted in the tent. We’ve practiced this before in good weather, and she was a little star, sitting quietly while I faffed with stuff all around her.

The time came though, when we just had to go out. You can’t pack a tent away while you’re still in it. She came in and helped while I dropped the inner, but I just had to tie her to the rucksack again while I sorted the outer. It was a bit of a wrestle in the wind and I was slightly stressed knowing that Pebbles wasn’t happy at this point. By the time I’d finished, she had managed to make herself into the tiniest curl-up imagineable, in the ‘shelter’ of my pack. She’d also managed to tie her legs up with her lead..

For the first half hour of the descent, the wind made walking a little challenging, but then suddenly, we dropped into a calm day, and even passed people on their way up Kinder in shorts. They would get a shock later.

And Pebbles had no trouble with the extra weight of her bed on the way back, even having spare energy to keep jumping into icy puddles, just ’cause it was fun.

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Posted in Bits and Pieces | 18 Comments

Nights Out In 2016

Kinder - Pebbles' first wild camp

Kinder – Pebbles’ first wild camp

Pennine Bridleway

Pennine Bridleway

Near Black Hill

Near Black Hill

 

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

Outside Ben Alder Cottage

Outside Ben Alder Cottage

Rob Roy Way, near Killin

Rob Roy Way, near Killin

Glen Ey

Glen Ey

White Peak

White Peak

White Peak

White Peak

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

 

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

Arctic Sweden

High Cup Nick

High Cup Nick

Outside the Lingy Hut

Outside the Lingy Hut

Angle Tarn

Angle Tarn

Kielder

Kielder

 

Posted in Backpacking Trips | 23 Comments

Mt Whitney – 1997

At 14,505ft, Mt Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States. This makes it Very Popular. The normal way of tackling it is from the east side, over three days. On the first day you make your way from Whitney Portal (at 8,360ft) up to Trail Camp (12,000ft). The night is spent there, then the second day sees you summiting and then returning to Trail Camp for another night, before finally dropping back down to Whitney Portal on the third day.

In August of 1997, we managed to obtain a permit for this climb, which allowed us to summit on the 3rd of the month. In those days, permits were issued on a first come, first served basis. A few years after our trip, the system was changed to a lottery instead, making it almost impossible to get the necessary permit – the peak being so immensely popular.

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Of course, there are some nutters people who attempt to do it all in one day, but that’s certainly not for us!

We set off on our trip with high hopes, after spending a few days in Yosemite – supposedly acclimatising to the altitude. This was our first ever trip to anything this high and unfortunately we didn’t get it quite right. Since then, we have had many trips to the High Sierra without any problems, but have learnt to take the acclimatisation process much more slowly.

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We did, however, have an amazing experience. We made it to Trail Camp in good time (in reality, climbing too quickly) and were treated to an almighty thunderstorm which rattled and circled around us all afternoon and most of the evening.

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I did suffer, though. Up to press, this has still been the longest night of my life. I spent the whole time with a headache which felt like it was threatening to explode my head into little pieces, and a stomach which constantly threatened to throw its contents all over the floor.

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I was no better the next morning. The weather had improved greatly – although there was forecast to be more thunderstorms that afternoon – but we made the decision to descend. And almost by magic, we only needed to descend around 1,000ft before I once again felt absolutely fine.

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But we’d lost our permit slot. If it says 3rd August, then you can’t summit on the 2nd or the 4th – the 3rd it has to be. And they do have Rangers at random spots on the trail, checking up on you….

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A lot was learnt, however, and this paved the way for many more wonderful trips to the High Sierra in California.

Apologies for the lack of photos. At that time we used to use slides and I’ve only ever had a handful converted to prints.

Posted in Backpacking Trips, Trips Abroad | 8 Comments

Eagle Cap Wilderness – Oregon

Whilst mooching about feeling a bit under the weather for the last few days, I came across some photos of a backpacking trip we did in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Oregon.

This was back in 2001, long before we had a digital camera, so I’ve had to scan the photos into the computer – hence the rather grainy appearance.

We spent 5 days wandering around the area, with three of the nights spent in one place while we did some day walks and then went back to the tent each evening. I seem to remember just chilling by a lake for the biggest part of one day, as well.

We also encountered two, rather fierce thunderstorms. One overnight at the first camp, and another one in an afternoon, which was so terrifying that Geoff and I just sat in the tent holding hands.

Memories!

 

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Posted in Backpacking Trips, Trips Abroad | 12 Comments

Pebbles Does Kielder

Kielder might not be the most exciting place in the outdoor world, but nevertheless, I do have a soft spot for it. For one, it was the first place I ever took my special Dixie wild camping.

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Consequently, we often find ourselves gravitating up to the area in the cooler months, for a few days relaxing and chilling.

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It’s not all forest – there’s plenty of moorland around too – although I have to admit I don’t mind the forest anyway, and as soon as you’re half an hour away from any car park, it’s very quiet. It’s possible to walk all day and not see a soul.

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The area just happens to be home to a fair number of outdoor sculptures, as well. A number are around the lake, but there are also others in totally out of the way spots, that you just happen upon unexpectedly.

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Surprisingly, Kielder also has a network of ‘wild camp sites’ that you can use. Not many people know this, but a list of them can be found here.

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Of course, you could conceivably disappear anywhere you wanted for a night, in an area the size of Kielder, but over the years I’ve taken a certain amount of pleasure in hunting these sites down and using them. I haven’t as yet used them all, but I have been to some more than once.

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If you ever try one out, please don’t expect a manicured pitch with a water tap! They are all near water – a stream, river or even the reservoir in a couple of cases – and some of them practically need bushwhacking skills to reach them. The ground is also often long grass or lumpy but, you know, they are supposed to be ‘wild’ spots after all!

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Some are fairly near tracks, whilst others are quite deep in the forest.

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Anyway, for a quick and easy night out, they can be fun. I have also linked a couple together in the past for a short, couple of night’s circuit. And incidentally, I have never got to a pitch and found someone else already there.

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So, a couple of weeks ago, Pebbles and I set off for a camp at the Plashetts pitch. As predicted, we saw next to nobody over the two days and had a very peaceful night.

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It was a long night – dark at around 4:30pm – but I’d taken a couple of documentaries to watch on my phone. Pebbles was happy just to snooze in the tent anyway, so she was no problem. And, although the temperature hovered around freezing all night, we were both snugly warm, cocooned in our relative bags and pyjamas.

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All in all, a pleasant little interlude.

 

 

 

Posted in Bits and Pieces | 15 Comments

Angle Tarn Camp – But, Surely That Can’t Be Sun….?

It was indeed the sun. That big yellow fire thing up in the sky, putting out a load of heat. Fluffy white clouds too, with a bracing breeze for good measure. Time to take advantage of the dryness and do a third night out with the giddy pups.

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We were camped in Patterdale for a few nights with the van, so it was easy to make up a little circuit of around 6 miles each day, to take in a wild camp up at Angle Tarn.

We started by a-wandering down the valley to Hartsop, then followed a very steep track up to Hayeswater. There was lots of stuff going on here, due to the powers that be building a hydro-electric scheme below the reservoir.

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And still the sun shone.

Picking up even more of the bracing breeze, we climbed a touch higher and contoured  around the hills for a bit, finally dropping down to our destination for the night.

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This was where we first became aware of the stags and their harems. Obviously the rutting season, we could both see and hear them in the distance. It went on all night long – quite spectacular really – and at times overnight, it sounded like some of them were very close to the tent.

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It was quite pretty as the sun went down.

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And then the rain started. On and off all night long, it was still fairly heavy when we woke up in the morning, but by the time we were due to break camp it had stopped. Another fine day was in the offing.

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Our return route took us across to Boredale Hause, followed by a bit of contouring round the lower slopes of Place Fell and back along the Ullswater Way.

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It was all rather pleasant.

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Posted in Backpacking Trips | 18 Comments