Monday, 27 July 2020

A Lakes backpack, as lockdown eases

I haven't writ anything on here since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic and, I'll admit, everything feels weird.

I'm off to the Lakes to meet with David and John for three days in the Cumbrian hills. En route I visit my Dad at his home in Wetherby, for the first time since February. That feels strange. After a lazy lunch I head off north to David's place. I haven't seen David in months, I can't remember how long. But we're in regular contact either online or by phone, so we've been keeping up with each other. But now, it's the second time in a day where I'm in someone else's home for the first time in months. Weird.

Anyoldhow. We eat, drink and catch up. Sharing general grumpiness. As usual. And later John arrives, having journeyed up from Yorkshire. We've not met before but it's immediately obvious that John's a likeable guy. David plies us with a most delicious single malt before we retire.

In the morning, following an eventful breakfast (I won't mention the eggs, David), we're off on the short drive to Askham where we set off on our journey.

It's drizzly, but there's so much chatter between the three of us I hardly notice it, as we stride out across Askham Fell. It's easy walking. We pause at The Cockpit, a stone circle of indeterminate age and significance.

John has a reputation for being a very fit, hard walker but he's clearly sympathetic to the older bones of both David and me and patiently tags on behind us as we set the pace.

Our route drops onto a broad, grassy bridleway below Auterstone Crag and we stop for lunch. There are fine views across Ullswater.

Passing above Howtown we have a short stretch along tarmac, where we see this road sign, topped with a crown. Not sure of the reason for this. Anyone know?

Leaving the road, we begin a diagonal climb towards High Dodd. The rain has stopped and we all remove our waterproofs.

It's steep in places, and eventually brings us out on the coll of Low Moss, just below the summit of High Dodd. We're looking around for a potential camp site. David asks if I'm up for the quick ascent to the summit. It's another 40m of ascent and I just can't be bothered. David is amazed, being an inveterate collector of tops. 
It's all good natured banter but he doesn't seem to understand that, nowadays, I'm just happy to be out enjoying the hills and camping. Hence, John and David turn to head up to the top, while I tramp across the grass towards a spot we think looks ok, in search of water. I'm soon filtering from a stream and, strapping my water container into my sac, I climb up to the agreed spot. I wait before putting up my tent to ensure my compatriots are happy with the location. They're soon here.

I have a new tent with me. In the never-ending search for the ideal shelter, Chrissie and I have bought a Hilleberg Anjan 2. I've tired of sleeping in one person tents, finding them claustrophobic. The Anjan 2 is a light, two person shelter, for, Hilleberg say, three season use. It weighs 1.8kg, including pegs and bags. It's a classic, Scandinavian tunnel design. I'm well used to erecting tunnel tents so it's pitched quickly. There's a fair breeze blowing and I'm just slightly nervous of over tightening the rear of the tent against the wind. I'm sure I'll get used to the best way to pitch it, with time.

It's turned into a warm, sunny afternoon and I'm reclining on my Thermarest chair kit, waiting for a brew.

The inside of the tent feels massive. More than enough space for two, it'll be brillant for camping with my lab, Islay.

I dine on noodles fortified with curry soup and pepperoni, followed by semolina and jam. David has converted me to this most delicious of desserts.

Chrissie and I have been using these screw top containers for around 25 years and I'm sad to see my coffee one has a split lid.

Clouds begin to gather as we settle in for the night, but it's still dry.

It's still fine in the morning and the forecast is good. By 9 we're packed and off. 
We're on the summit of Place Fell before too long, it's an easy ascent from our camp.

Then it's a descent to Boredale Hause and a steady climb past Angle Tarn before we stop for lunch above Satura Crag. 

We bypass Rest Dodd, which suits me just fine, as well as The Knott. I seem to remember David forcing me up both these on a previous trip, but I may be mistaken. In any event, it's a fine walk, on a fine day, in good company. 

I forget to take any photos as we take the turn towards High Raise. Along the way, John makes the short detour to take in Kidsty Pike and David realises, to his horror, that we've just missed the summit of Rampsgill Head. Am I bovvered? Guess the answer... Wainwright would've hated me. 

We tick off High Raise, Red Crag, Wether Hill and Loadpot Hill with David dismissing my pleas for an early camp by a perfect pool on the way. There's rain forecast for the next day and he's keen for a short walk back to Askham. I suppress my sobs and carry on and we descend from Loadpot Hill to find a camp spot on the west side of the broad moor. We pitch tents, then John and David head off in search of water as I quietly collapse on my mat.

It's quite windy and, following Hilleberg's recommendation, I pitch the tent with its front into the wind. It feels counter intuative but is suggested so that the rear fly doesn't blow onto the inner. It does work but I still think I prefer tail into the wind. 

It rains heavily overnight and we estimate winds up to 30mph. The tent holds up well, though there's a lot of noise, as there would be with most shelters.

It's heavy drizzle as I awake and a rainbow follows the line of Ullswater below us.


And once packed we're off across the grassy moor to Arthur's Pike (which David sneaked in while I wasn't paying attention) and White Knott, I think, before rejoining our outbound route to Askham. The rain soon cleared and we were waterproofless once back in the village.

Finally, it's a return to David's for lunch and "debrief", before we separate for John and me to wend our ways south.

Thanks to David for his superb hospitality as ever, to both John and David for really good company and, especially to John for his consideration and patience with two old farts.

A splendid little trip!

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Summer sale, July 2020

It's a while since we had a sale and it's long overdue. We have a number of items eating up space in our gear room, some of which are a little offbeat, which we offer here for your delectation.

First up a Vango F10 Xenon UL2 tent. We've owned this for just over a year and it's seen little use. It's a sturdy, roomy, two person, budget backpacking tent which would, perhaps, suit someone trying out backpacking and wild camping for the first time. Easily large enough for two, it also makes a great one-plus-dog tent. It's undamaged except for the very slightest bend in one pole section, which is barely visible at all once the tent is erected, but can be seen when the pole is out of the tent. I can confidently say it doesn't affect the tent's performance in any way.
Here's a link.

And here are some pics.

Here are two photos showing the bend in the pole and the same pole, once the tent is up. As I've said, it's not visible once erected. If it really bothers you, you can buy a repair kit here, but, frankly, I reckon it's unnecessary.

You can have this for £150 including p&p.

Next, a Terra Nova Competition Tarp 2. I bought this for my French cycling epic in 2018 and used it just twice, so it's as good as new. Here is a link to the description. It's 290mm x 248mm and weighs 337g.

Here's a photo of it in its bag. 

Yours for £50 including p&p.

Next, a Jetboil Fluxring frying pan, for use on a Jetboil stove. Here's a link again with the full description. It's in its original packaging. You need an easily available, inexpensive adapter, to use this on a Jetboil stove. This has been used a couple of times but is as new, save for the very slight marking on the non-stick surface, which can just be seen in the pics, here.

The pan's your for £25 including p&p.
Edit: the pan is now sold.

Next up, a Multimat, inflatable pillow, which can be attached by included velcro, to a sleeping mat. Here's a link.This has never been used, hence the self adhesive velcro strip is still there, protected by glossy paper, as from new.

Here are some pics.

Yours for £7 including p&p.

Now for a couple of motorhome/campervan/caravan/camping items.

First we have four Lafuma chairs. These are from the short period when we had a large motorhome, before we downsized. They are very good quality, steel framed chairs with woven polypropylene fabric, so safe to be left out in the rain. They're all as new, the only sign of use being very minor marking to the stove enamelling on the underside of the legs. Hardly noticeable. Here's a link.

Here are the pics.

You can see the new price from the link. We'd prefer to sell these as a pair or, preferably, the four. So, 2 for £50 or 4 for £90. But we're not posting so you'd need to be able to collect. Sorry.

Finally, one 6kg, refillable Gaslow bottle. Again, this is from our big motorhome. It's been used for 2 years and is now about 5 years old. These things are pretty much indestructible and guaranteed for 10 years by Gaslow. This has the type 2 valve on it, to connect to another type 1 bottle. I know it's a longshot for anyone wanting one, hence it's a bargain price. It's also full of gas. Here's the link and here are a couple of pics.

You can have this for £70, but again, it needs to be collected.

If you're interested in any of these items, you may contact me by sending a comment to this post, or an email direct to me at or contact me on Twitter @GeoffCrowther1 or Chrissie at @chrissiepebbles

There are some bargains here, so don't delay...