May 2008 – Loch Lomond and Trossachs, Scottish highlands

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P5252371Adie and I got in a final bit of pre-Corsica practice with a long weekend wildcamping near Loch Lomond, hiking up over Ben Vorlich, Ben Vane, Ben Ime, and Beinn Narnain.


May 2008 – North Pennines

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P5032205For May BH we headed towards Langdon Beck and Dufton to walk up past Low Force, High Force, Cauldron Snout and High Cup Gill – some of the coolest bits of scenery I remember from walking the Pennine Way back in 1995.
High Force is reputed to be the highest unbroken fall of water in England. (OS – Explorer OL19 and OL31)


March 2008 – SE Lakes

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P3232120An early Easter this year saw high winds, Goonie’s tent blown away and Wiggles’ tent broken, and finally heavy snowfall on Easter Sunday. We made it up to Pavey Ark on Saturday, then half the team ditched us after the tent fiasco, and the last four of us braved the snow for a cool stroll over to Grasmere and back via Easedale Tarn on Sunday. Quite a contrast from the fantastic weather last year on Dartmoor for Easter.


March 2008 – Ben Nevis

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P3092064After last year’s winter skills coure, Adie and I, equipped with new walking axes and crampons, picked a rather crappy weekend to head up to Fort William. After picking up supplies and walking halfway up the mountain on the Saturday to see just how crappy the weather was, we hung onto the hope that Sunday was forecast to be marginally better. The snowline was at about 600m, and by 800m we were meeting people who were giving up and turning back. By 900m there was no visible path and not really much visibility at all. A map, compass and gps were then pretty essential for avoiding walking off the crags and actually locating the summit, which we did, somehow. And we made it back to the Ben Nevis Inn for a beer and boar burgers just as the sun was setting. I never liked the idea of doing the tourist path, but anything more would have been impossible in those conditions. And, of course, we cristened the axes and crampons good and proper, and built up some experience and confidence in using them appropriately.


February 2008 – Rhinog Ridge, NW Wales

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P2172034A walk on the wild side with Marky, Roz, Adie and Pink saw us camping out at -9C (allegedly – it was -3C overnight at sea level in the nearby towns, and we were at 600m). We woke up to frozen-solid platypuses and frost everywhere. The only sucky thing about hiking at this time of the year (apart from the cold) is that the sun sets at about 17:30 so your days get cut short. That said, we had great weather during the days and managed a good chunk of the craggy Rhinog ridge (need to go back and finish off the southern end).


August/September 2007 – Tour du Mont Blanc

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P831176411 days, 155km, 8500m ascent (almost Everest!), trek through the French, Swiss and Italian Alps with Adie, Phil and Pink. Very cool circumnavigation of the Mont Blanc massive, and an eye-opening experience of their cool mountain huts that enabled Adie to turn this into a huge pub-crawl! High point was approx 2500m, so no technical gear needed at this time of year, and only marginally frosty to be camping at that sort of height.


June 2007 – Pennine Way, week 1 (Edale to Horton)

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P7211532Mum and I braved the miserable rain for a week and developed a new-found fondness of youth hostels (especially Earby). Pink joined us on the last day (Malham to Horton via Malham Cove and Tarn).


May 2007 – Coniston, SE Lakes

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P5261295Adie and I took Mum up for her first ever visit to the Lakes for spring bank holiday weekend. We stayed in the Waterhead hotel beside Coniston Water, and went for a lovely walk over the Old Man of Coniston on Saturday. Mum faired pretty well for someone in her 60s and out of practise, and even managed a gentle stroll through Grisedale forest up to the viewpoint on Sunday before tea and scones by Windermere on the way home. If you’re in the area, for &pound 3 you can take your car across Lake Windermere on Ferry Nab, along the B5285, rather than driving all the way round the north through Windermere and Ambleside.


May 2007 – Carneddau ridge, Snowdonia

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P5051242Adie and I dragged his colleague Rikki out for the first time ever for a wildcamping experience in high winds to finally take in the Carneddau ridge at the top edge of Snowdonia. It’s a great area to walk in, and we could have spent an extra couple of days there if the weather hadn’t taken a turn for the worse. I’m quite amazed that such a cool ridge has evaded us for so long.


April 2007 – Brecon Beacons, S Wales

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P4211111A pilot camping trip for the kids at work – we stayed at a quiet farm tucked away where we had free reign to loot wood from the forest and set it on fire. None of those pesky families with noisy kids. We dragged everyone out for a stroll past all of the waterfalls near Ystradfellte on Saturday, and went up to check out the showcaves on Sunday. Open to suggestions for next time…