Monday, 31 January 2011

Another route, from me to you – free.

This time I thought I’d give you one of the nicest walks I’ve been on. It’s following the route I followed in this post HERE. It was a perfect day out with a cracking pub at the end of it (the route takes you to the edge of the village. the pub is a bit further on).

There’s a bit of scrambling at first to get over a boulder, than the walk is easy, mostly on the flat and gives cracking views all the way round..

Well worth a weekend camp if you haven’t been.

The Route is HERE.


Saturday, 29 January 2011

Long Term Test: Garmin Etrex-h.

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I bought this a couple of years ago, because i wanted a simple fall back in case I got lost. As it turns out on that particular trip we ended up in the middle of nowhere, with everything covered in snow, making Nav very tricky. I have taken it every trip since. I’ve never had any problems with it apart from one overnight camp where i forgot to turn it off that night, but it was still running the next day, although with low-ish batteries.

28012011574 It has always impressed me with it’s accuracy. I tried Geocaching when I bought it and the route to the cache was found by first finding a clue on an information board.. The Garmin got me so close to the information board that I could have reached out and touched it. Of course, it’s not usually that accurate, but it’s usually within a few meters. I recently bought a lead so I could connect it to the PC. This means that I can add routes easily and get Tracks back from the unit easily. It can display your location in a choice of several different formats and if you switch the display, it will convert any you have added to whatever format you now want to use.

It’s also handy if you go for a break to a place you’ve not been before. It’s simple to mark a waypoint at your hotel. Slip the unit in a pocket or bag and if you can’t find you’re way back, just turn the unit back on and it’ll point you in the right direction till you get there.


Pro’s: Battery life is excellent (quoted as being up to 17 hours), Small, easy to use, simple interface, accurate, easy to find (being bright yellow), waterproof, shockproof, easy to change the batteries, price (currently around £75.00)

Con’s: Cannot display maps, Not as flash as other unit’s out there, to connect to a computer you need to buy an additional lead.

Overall: I like this unit over other possibilities I’ve tried (and could afford). It blows every Phone GPS I’ve tried out of the water when you use it in the hills due to waterproofing, toughness and longer battery life. If you don’t need bells and whistles, or just don’t want to pay for them, This is perfect.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Would I work outdoors?

When I was a teenager, my best mate became a climber. I'd often go out to the Peaks with him, along with a few others he'd met through work who were also climbers. At weekends we'd go camping in the field at the side of Fox House (Before they ruined it), having breakfast in Grindleford Caf and generally enjoying the outdoors. But it started to change, When they would talk, an adventure was something that happened to someone going to Peru, or someone making an attempt on Everest or finding a new route in the Alps... Essentially, someone with money. I did not have any money. I had a crap job that paid little, along with even crappier shifts. So as they got further into climbing and got better and better gear, able to spend more time on the wall, I was left behind.
I'd still go occasionally, scrambling around at the bottom while they leapt from one hold the next, high above. I thought at the time it was simply that I wasn't good enough to be a climber, I realise now, I just wasn't one of their clique and that their idea of an adventure was well out of my pocket.

Fast forward 15 years and I get back into walking. While I was reading on the net, I found a couple of websites that really fired my imagination. The first was 'One man and a Bivi' a website with the story of a man who sat up one day and decided that he wanted to go camping in a Bivi bag..
He didn't go climb Everest, he wasn't doing this for anyone else, he just wanted to try something different.
Around the same time I started to go onto the forum at Live For the Outdoors (an offshoot of Trail magazine. If you don't go there and you are into walking or climbing, give it a try. No matter how trivial the question, there's always someone who will help or lend an opinion. The people who post helped me enormously in getting back out there and if you have a question and I'm online, I'll do my best to answer it).

The story of the man and his Bivi kept coming back to me. I'd read it every now and again. It's essentially the story of a middle aged man having what seemed to be a very quiet middle age crisis, it inspired me to just go out there and do what I want to do. I don't need to go overseas for an adventure. In fact I don't have to travel far at all.

A few months later one of the Trail staff posted this question to the forumers.. "Would you work the outdoors?"
Since I had discovered that adventures were where you made them, I was Horrified... with a capital H and a lot of why's. Why would I want to spoil my hobby? Why would I ever want to feel obligated to go out there. Why would I do something that meant I had to follow a set path or stop where I didn't feel like it? Why would I spoil my enjoyment for that?

I found myself re-examining this question tonight. I still feel as protective of walking as I did before, but now I want.. I want people to feel the same way as I do when you're stood on a summit with the wind in your hair, like I did on Bleaklow last year. I want people to understand, just how otherworldly Kinder can be when the fog rolls in and one day, While I'm in the Pub having a well deserved after-walk pint - If just one person utters that they are there because they read something that I had written...

Oh! whare are my old mates?.. They are at home watching Eastenders...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Just a test:

Some people have asked for routes I've done over the last couple of years so I thought I'd add .gpx files to my posts that relate to a walk, so you can download them and add to your GPS.
They will always belong to me (unless specifically stated) and I'm giving them to you for free.
As a taster and a test I'm including the route taken in last years winter walk (entitled The Slog).
Most GPS unit's (including GPS enabled mobile phones) will accept the format. When you click the link it will take it to a page where my files will be stored.
Copy them from there to your PC and then on to your GPS or mobile phone.
Finally, don't panic, the file sizes are very small, typically only a few kb.

Winter walk 2010 - Ladybower to Edale.