Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Fixie Foot Tour

After getting the all-clear last week to do anything other than running, or heavy hiking, I’ve decided to go away on the bike for a while and ease the foot back into outdoor action. Hiking isn't a realistic option just yet (foot needs another 4 weeks) so I’ve decided to cycle/packraft instead. Part 1 of my tour is 330km of off-road biking along the Pennine Bridleway, before returning home, to fit more road friendly tires and the packraft and cycle north. I don’t have much of a plan at this stage, and I have no idea know how long I will go for, but it’s just nice to be getting out there again.

Pennine Bridleway

Saturday, 8 August 2015

CDT early exit

Sometimes hikes just don’t turn out as planed and unfortunately that’s been the case with the CDT. Regrettably I’ve been back in the UK for 3 weeks, with a fractured foot, after only covering 307mi of Montana (around 1/10th of the total CDT). Things had been going so well and I was already a couple of days ahead of schedule, conditions were perfect with snow levels throughout Glacier National Park the lowest they'd been for years. 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Compass Caddy first look

There are many products out there that promise to make life better. Mostly they fail or cause more problems than they solve, but just occasionally you find one that really does what it promises. The Compass Caddy is one of those.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Scottish Trail Report

The Scottish Trail, or Scottish National Trail to give it its full name, is a 865km hike, end to end, through Scotland that will take somewhere between 4-6 weeks. Starting at the end of the Pennine Way, in the borders, it winds its way slowly north along a mix of established trails, tracks, canals, road links and at times tough trackless terrain, to finish at the most north west tip of Scotland, Cape Wrath. This was to be my warmup hike for the much longer Continental Divide starting in June. It did that job nicely!

Loch Glencoul

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Windoo 3 review

I like gadgets, I always have. It’s a weakness and I often carry  many. A device that measures windspeed, temperature, pressure and humidity serves little real purpose on the trail yet I often take one. I justify it by telling myself that I need to know just how wind resistant my latest shelter is, or how low that new bag can be pushed and still keep me warm, but actually I’m just a sucker for gadgets.

Windoo 3, small and very light

Friday, 20 March 2015

2015 hikes

My 2015 hikes have been planned for a while but I’ve just never got around to updating the blog, sorry! This should be a great year and because it has been almost 7 months since my last trip I’m starting off with a nice easy warmup hike along the Scottish National Trail (SNT). That will be followed, almost immediately, by my main hike the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). After such a long time off the trail I can’t wait to get started! 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Arctic Trail Trip Report Part 2

Part 1 covered the Nordkalottleden section of my Arctic hike and this covers the remaining 412km to Trofors. The original plan was for me to continue along the Nordkalottleden Trail to it’s Swedish finish point at Kvikkjokk. There I would resupply at the STF hostel and pickup the Kungsleden Trail south to its terminus at Hemavan. From Hemavan I would make my own way to Trofors in Norway where I would catch a train south to Oslo. A week or 2 before setting off Mark Waring contacted me and suggested a different route that he had taken previously that would be much quieter and also easier logistically. The Kungsleden south from Kvikkjokk isn't hiked as much as the more popular northern section and has a number of lakes that need to crossed by boats. There are motor boats available to do this but it can mean waiting until one arrives and Mark warned that much time could be wasted like this. His alternative route only had one boat crossing and as I’m heading south you walk right through Mavas, where then boat is based, so it should be less hassle. Mark also said that I would be unlikely to see another hiker on his 10 day section, he was right!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Arctic Trail Trip Report Part 1 - Nordkalottleden Trail

Hiking in Lapland has been high on my list of ‘must go’ places for many years. I remember reading a number of articles by Chris Townsend on the area and as I also have Norwegian relatives it made sense for me to visit. Still I hadn't really looked closely at the area before April and I had absolutely no idea which route I would take. Rather than spending weeks researching hikes I did what I normally do and asked my route oracle, Christine (German Tourist). If ever I want to know anything about a route then she is where I start as there really isn't many routes that she hasn't hiked or at least knows a lot about. This proved to be the case and after a Skype session 2 routes were suggested, the Nordkalottleden, and Kungsleden Trails. The Kungsleden trail is very famous so I had some idea about that but the Nordkalottleden was new to me. Christine also hadn't hiked it yet but was interested because she will be going that way the following year. A plan was formed that would see me hiking all the Nordkalottleden and most of the Kungsleden Trails which would make a combined route of just over 1000km or around 5 weeks hiking. Perfect!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Arctic Trail

My next hike is in less than 30 days (1st Aug) and is to a new area for me. Northern Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle. I will be following the Nordkalottleden Trail, or Arctic Trail as it’s often called. This starts in Kautokeino (Norway) and threads it’s way south through the Arctic Wilderness, crossing between Finland, Sweden and Norway 15 times before finishing at Kvikkjokk (Sweden). This trail is rarely thru-hiked and there’s little information available in English. 

Arctic route includes the Nordkalottleden and Kungsleded trails

Sunday, 29 June 2014

InReach Original Review

As a lover of wild places I’m sometimes told I’m mad, or even irresponsible, going into these places alone. In the risk adverse society that we live in perhaps that is true. I like the challenge, space and freedom that I find in the wilderness but I don’t consider myself irresponsible, and I do way-up all the risks. One of the things I’ve done is to carry a tracking device, and when linked to sites like Social Hiking (more on that later) it allows people to follow your hike in near real-time. I find this gives friends and family peace of mind and if the worst should happen then many of these devices have a SOS button connected to a rescue co-ordination centre. It’s important to realise that these devices are a last resort for getting help and you shouldn't press the SOS button lightly. Used right they can be a very useful piece of safety kit, and not just for solo hikers.
InReach Original