Posted by: litehiker | May 3, 2008


Here’s a photo of our first grandchild, Kezia Maia. All well but this will probably be the last mention of her on this blog until she’s joining me backpacking.

Posted by: litehiker | April 25, 2008

A Result

Further to yesterday’s posting, I’m free to go to the Backpacker’s AGM today! Kezia(h) Mia arrived this morning at 7.10am, only 12 days late. All well. Will go over to Cambridge to inspect after returning home on Sunday.

Posted by: litehiker | April 24, 2008

Backpackers Club AGM weekend

Am looking forward to this event at Ashford-in-the-Water, near Bakewell, on 26/27 April, particularly the ultra-lightweight gear that will be on show in the village hall. It’s been too long (February) since I last used my tarp and the weather is now warmer although the weather forecast is for some wet. I think it’s certain I’ll be going; the only possible hiccup is the fact that my daughter was expecting her first infant on 13 April. It still hasn’t turned up and she’s booked in to be induced tomorrow, Friday. She’s thoroughly fed up, tired and wishes it were all over, having had a difficult time over the last nine months, what with the worst possible morning sickness and having been on crutches since January suffering from spd which has been painful. My wife will, of course, go and inspect the infant when it arrives. At the moment, I appear still to be able to head for the Peak District.

Posted by: litehiker | April 16, 2008

Digital TGO

Well, after a little bit of bother and a couple of ‘phone calls, I’ve just received the May issue of TGO. Had I continued with my paper subscription, I’d have had it a couple of weeks ago. Still, I should have the June issue in a couple of weeks so that’s the upside I suppose. Well, how is digital? I’m impressed actually and although not everyone will necessarily get on with reading on screen I don’t have a problem with it and it means that future issues shouldn’t go walkabout around the house. My reason for going digital is because I don’t like throwing this type of magazine away and I have Trail going back to 1990 and TGO for the past couple of years. It’s all getting a bit too much and there is the occasional rumble of complaint from SWMBO. Among the magazines I scanned bits of and then disposed of a while ago were some issues of The Great Outdoors (TGO’s old name). It was a very different magazine then. Roger Smith would remember it well (he mentions “the old days” in the current TGO). The articles were very different and so were the people who wrote them; seemingly a very different generation. I recall one in particular where the thumbnail photo of the writer showed a middle aged chap in a woollen cardigan, shirt and tie. Of course, that may have been Roger Smith (if so, I apologise) but times have certainly changed and for the better.

Posted by: litehiker | March 25, 2008

LEJOG training

I take the view that it’s never too early to start training for a really long hike even though, in this case, I’m not planning to leave until April next year. Between now and then, I’ll be getting out with a loaded pack. In the meantime, I’ve just started specific gym training. Now, I have to say that I’m not exactly a gym virgin. I’ve been going to one three to four times a week for over twenty years so it is something I genuinely enjoy doing. However, my trainer has started me on a regime which is aimed at me being able to do long days without being too exhausted. I mentioned to him the 35 miles a day done by Francis Tapon (site takes an age to load but it is worth it). Now, given that I think my longest ever has been 25 miles with a full pack, I don’t think I’ll get to 35 but I intend to train for more than I expect to actually do. I generally do a mixture of weights and cardiovascular. The new programme (most of which has me wearing a pack with, at the moment 6kg weights inside) includes using a contraption where I’m strapped either side of the waist by elasticated straps on pulleyed weights and do loads of runs and lunges forward and at the extreme jumping up and down on a step, rowing machine, a stepper and, on a treadmill (running machine) alternating 2-3 minutes (total about 16 minutes) uphill on a 15% gradient at 6kph and on a 1% gradient, jogging at 9kph. Now if all that’s not fun, I don’t know what is.

Posted by: litehiker | March 18, 2008


Just a short trip but a good one. I was out for a day and a night. Using OS Landranger 180, I set out from Lee Abbey on the coast just west of Lynton. The Valley of Rocks


was amazing as usual with mountain goats and wild ponies around. My walk took me along the coast path, around Woody Bay to Heddons Mouth. I came across an odd signpost which had to be worth a snap …


The path went inland. I left the coast path and went in to have a pint at Hunters Inn, a bit out of season with scaffolding around but the beer was good. I went south to Parracombe, over Challacombe Common to the B3358 and followed a path east just south of the hamlet of Challacombe. It was raining a bit by now and quite muddy. However, it wasn’t particularly cold. Clothing worn was basically waterproof overtrousers, a Golite windproof top and I used an umbrella for much of the time which was fine as it wasn’t windy. At GR718408 I headed north towards Saddle Gate. The path was a bit indistinct and the mist came down, but by following a compass bearing it wasn’t difficult to keep in the right direction. At Barbrook, just past Shallowford I filled up with water and a short distance off the farm road around GR714455 there were any number of good wild camping opportunities, one of which I took. I spent a very peaceful night although woke to rain at 6am. Still, this didn’t last and I set off at seven to head back to Lee Abbey. On the way I came across a strange notice at a river crossing …


An excellent outing.

Posted by: litehiker | March 11, 2008

TGO April

I think this will be my last paper TGO as my sub for the next twelve months will be digital. In many ways, TGO surpassed itself this month in my view. I was particularly interested in the feature on Stephen Pern. I’d never heard of him or his writing. I immediately found a web site and bought, second hand, his book “The Great Divide” being an account of his walk along the CDT in the States. It arrived promptly. Having dipped into it, I can say that he writes well and I’m looking forward to reading it cover to cover.

The other person of interest was Francis Tapon; hadn’t heard of him either. The article on him could have been longer but hey. He has a web site which has a lot on the APT, CDT, etc.

Am hoping to get away for a couple of days on Exmoor later this week; hope the weather’s not too wet. The south west has been very wet and windy so far. A wild camp will go down very nicely thank you.

Posted by: litehiker | February 21, 2008


I’ve just renewed my TGO subscription for another twelve months. No regrets, it’s a good mag especially now they’re really plugging lightweight hiking. However, I’ve gone for the digital only version and will see how I get on with it. Having every issue of Trail from issue 1 and TGO for the last couple of years, it was getting out of hand. As a long term project, I’ve been scanning the magazines – not every page but just what I think may be useful – routes, etc., but it’s quite time consuming and I haven’t done any for a while.

Posted by: litehiker | February 14, 2008

Bivy bag – a success!

Well, last weekend was the first outing for the bivy bag from Alpkit , the Hunka, a cheerful red colour which they call Chilli – it largely matches the colour of my sleeping bag; the alternative was black. The location was the Bedfordshire/Northamptonshire border. The weather was still, dry and, at night, cold, both nights dropped to -3C. I was under a tarp. I slept pretty well both nights. In the morning, there was not a hint of damp between the (down) sleeping bag and the bivy. Basically, it was doing the job it was intended for and seems to be a brilliant piece of kit. No-one else on site was using a tarp. There were five Aktos and, without exception, they had all suffered badly from overnight condensation. There was none under the tarp, which was frozen both inside and out. The photo here doesn’t really show this.


Generally, I become more impressed with the tarp with each outing. I know I had problems back in December – see but there are so many advantages with a tarp. I really must do an in-depth posting about this when time permits. I’ve researched various tents (the front runner so far is the MSR Hubba HP  good price, good weight, but I’m in no hurry, particular with spring coming on. At the moment, the tarp is the favourite for LEJOG next year.

A plan for the spring is using the bivy bag without the tarp.

Posted by: litehiker | January 26, 2008

A new piece of kit

I ordered an Alpkit Hunka this week. Amazing value for only £25 (as long as it does the job). Very good service – I ordered it one day and it arrived the next. I tried it out on the floor at home and my ME Xero bag fits nicely into it. Can’t wait until the 9 Feb weekend which is the next Backpackers Club weekend I shall be going on. I shall be taking the tarp whatever the weather.

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