Sunday, 28 January 2018

January wild camp

We've had a couple of really busy weeks, filled with various appointments of one kind or another. Frustration's been setting in. Both Chrissie and I have an ambition to wild camp every month this year. I've failed by one month for the past two years. So, fueled by this daft idea, we set out, last Friday, with the pups and our mahoossive Terra Nova Polar Lite 3, up to a quiet-spot-not-too-far-from-home, on the driest day for at least two weeks. There follows some random, disjointed thoughts to come from this briefest of sojourns.

It's a while since we camped with both Pebbles and Islay together. Over a year I think. They've both matured significantly. Those who've met 'em know they can be excitable, but they both sat, chewing a hide thingy, whilst we put up the tent, with only the slightest of barky-type objections. And they both happily settled to well over 12 hours in the tent without any fuss at all. I've learnt my lesson in not tiring Islay out when carrying her panniers, and kept her on the lead. Both of them are content staying on leads on some walks anyway, when appropriate. We we were quite cheerfully impressed with our precious pups' behaviour. We love 'em!

For the first time, I wore just the fleece from my Paramo Bentu combo (see review here), it being relatively mild anyway on the way out. I wore it over a thin Paramo baselayer and was comfy in around 7C with no wind. I did don my windproof Bentu outer when we stopped to filter water en route though. The following morning was rainy but once home I removed the combo to find the Montane Allez I then had on underneath was bone dry, being free from damp sweat even on my back. Impressive.

Our new Skywatch Explore 2 told us it was down to just above freezing overnight. Mild for January. But we were quite warm enough in our 3 season bags. I wore my new Montane Prism insulated trousers in the tent for the evening. Very cosy.

It'd been our first camp together since last year's Arctic trip and we spent a comfortable night in our packable palace. We camp together so infrequently, mainly due to our hesitation at taking both hounds, but there are plans to take them out with us again next month. Watch this space.

We sometimes forget how lucky we are to be able to walk from our door to a wild camp. We do take it for granted. We're in a lovely place, on the edge of the wilds, being healthy and sharing our lives with two daft, but lovable dogs.

Thanks for looking in. Enjoy your own adventures...both big and small and, above all...


Friday, 5 January 2018

A review of my 2017 in the outdoors

We're just back from a week in the van in Bellingham, near Kielder with James, hence the slightly belated review of what I got up to in t'big wild outdoors in 2017.

In January we spent a week in Moffat in the van, during which me an' Choccy Paws spent a misty, moisty night on Swatte Fell.

February came with me and my pal Chris spending a wintery night on the slopes of Carnedd Llewellyn.

In March, David, Islay I had a cold camp on Kinder...

...whilst April and May saw us in the Highlands again. Me and Islay had a coupla nights out despite aborting the Sutherland way...

...and...oh yes...someone completed her first TGO Challenge...solo. I love her.

I joined Matthew for a quick overnight close to home in June.

Chrissie and I were Arctic bound again in August, to Sarek National Park in northern Sweden, for our big trip of the year.

Back in the UK, in September I enjoyed a superb tour of the Lakes with David.

October brought a camp on Great Shunner Fell from the van in Hawes.

November came with a very wild, snowy camp on Bleaklow with Chris again.

Finally, December found me on Kinder with James, chasing ghosts.

Once again, I seem to have managed to wild camp every month 'cept July. Quite why, I'm not sure. I suspect we were too busy prepping for Sarek. Never mind.

Of course, I couldn't let this review go without mention of the newly arrived family member. Noah was born on the 28th November. First child of my daughter and son in law, Abi and Dave, he's also our first grandchild. We were really thrilled to meet him. I wish him a life full of love and fun. Right now his main hobbies are sleeping and eating.

So there it is. Another year ticked off, filled with adventures.

This year, my major focus is a 1000 mile cycle camping tour across France in June/July but there'll be lots more going on too I suspect.

Happy new year to all of you out there. I wish you a year filled with fun, love and peace.