|Project Wild Thing|
Just learnt about Project Wild Thing and joined The Wild Network. Its a project to get kids outdoors and its something Ive been trying to do with my children for the last ten years (without them moaning too much and me putting them off for life).
|Autumn Gear List|
The Lake District isnt the harshest place in the universe (thats HD189773b, a planet with 4000mph winds that rains glass) but on some days in autumn it can get a little chilly. So Ive threw my shorts and polyester tees in the bottom of the wardrobe to fester for the winter and dug out my warmer stuff.
|October in The Lake District|
I love The Lake District all year round, but I think October is one of my favourite months. This is not going to be me poo pooing the tourists because I like the tourists. This is about trees and remoteness and Mars Bars and crispiness...
|10 Free Apps for the Outdoors|
I don't usually like using technology when I'm hiking. I like the peace and quiet of the outdoors, I like good old fashioned maps and a compass, I like the sound of my boots on rock and the rustle of wind in my trousers - that didn't sound quite right but you get the picture. When you're hiking you're hiking, it's an experience in itself - you don't need technical stimulation because what the outdoors provides is good enough.
But, after saying all that, I do love my iPhone. And there are some great apps about that might just, only slightly, make the outdoors even better.
|How to use a compass.|
An outdoor blog wouldnt be an outdoor blog if it didnt have a little section on how to use a compass. In the summer, most of the time in the Lake District, I dont need to use my compass, but when it gets to this time of year, when the clouds come down or the wind blows up a load of snow, its a useful skill to have.
|Noisy Bike Maintenance|
My bike has started making noises again. I hate that. I fitted a new rear cassette and chain about a week ago and there are two distinct sounds now - a jangle and a creak. It didn't do it when I first changed the cassette but now, 60 miles later, it does and it's bugging me. Noise can tell you a lot about a bike...
|How Many Jackets do you Actually Need?|
The pole in our hall cupboard looks really fed up. Its been straining for years to hold the weight of all of our jackets and now has a deep bend in the centre that looks close to snapping . There must be 40 jackets in there, not ski jackets, theyre in the spare bedroom, and not fancy nights out jackets theyre in the cupboard next to it these are just our outdoor jackets. But how many outdoor jackets do you really need?
|Wainwright - The Miserable Years|
Alfred Wainwright didnt start work on his first pictorial guide until he was 45 years old, what was he playing at? What was he doing for those 45 long years? The answer is: being miserable...
|Why I like Loweswater|
Loweswater is a cute lake but not many people can be bothered to go there and have a look and thats good for those of us who can. Heres a few reasons why I like Loweswater.
|My Best Lake District Pubs|
Thought I'd compile a list of my best Lake District pubs. A lot of these choices are based on the places I go hiking, cycling or camping the most, which is Langdale and Borrowdale and various places that force me to go to Tweedies Bar afterwards.
|UK Adventurers with Decent Websites|
As the title of this post implies, I've put together a list of all the UK adventurers with decent websites. So, get ready, the list is complete and I can now reveal... there's only three
Yep. I was as disappointed as you. Only three.
|There's Four Kendal Mint Cakes in Kendal|
Did you know there are four different mint cakes produced in Kendal? Im a Cumbrian and I didnt know this. I dont know why I didnt know because from birth every time I went outside or was exposed to hills and fields my Mum shove a piece in my face - thatll keep yer going, lad.
|Look After Your Carbon Fibre Bike Frame|
I own a Cannondale Synapse Carbon 105 and I love it, but all my metal framed friends are always going on about how the frame will snap from under me when Im doing 40 down the Caldbeck to Wigton hill. Naturally, at that speed, Im a bit worried about my handle bars and front forks leaving me and the rest of the bike behind, so Ive tried to find out the truth.
|The 'Barren and Frightful' Lake District|
Those old Lake District poets liked to exaggeration a bit but how dare they call our beautiful national park a barren and frightful place... unless of course it was.
|How To Make Your Old Bike Go Faster.|
Over the years I found the single most effective way of making your bike go faster is to pedal faster. If youve tried that and it hasnt worked then its time to blame your bike. Before you raid your shoebox and rush out with £2000 in your desperate mitt, let me tell you this one important thing...
|2 Hour FellFix - Stony Cove Pike|
At least once a week I need to get out into The Cumbrian Fells or I start feeling a bit rambunctious, but often with kids and work and hoovering, there isnt enough time to get out there for a good six hour hike so this has been my solution over the years - a 2 Hour FellFix
|Mallorys Everest Clothing 1924|
Its always good to take a glance at the past just to see how were doing now. When you look at those old photos of Mallory and Irvines expedition up Everest in 1924, its easy to think they just found an old pair of boots in the pantry, threw their dads tweed jackets on and set off up the mountain - but if you thought that, youre about to feel pretty thick.
|Lake District Blogs|
I have a few favourite Lake District blogs that I look in on frequently and I've listed them below. But I was having a look around for more blogs that concentrate on The Lake District just to see what was out there...
|Nanotechnology and the Outdoors|
Nanotechnology sounds super exciting. In my mind it implies complex microscopic machines, in fact, atomic factories with some sort of miniscule propulsion system that transforms things or cleans things or finds and destroys things, all at a sub-atomic level. When I see it in outdoor clothing I go crazy...
|Food on The Fred|
I did the Fred Whitton Challenge in 2012. It's a cycling challenge that includes Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose passes and a 112 miles of amazing Lake District county side. I'm happy to use the word 'gruelling', I could even stretch to 'excruciating' if you pushed me (and I wish you had when I got to Hardknott), here's what got me through it....
|Vicious Pregnant Blood-Suckers|
This isnt the headline of an article I wrote for Mother and Baby magazine, Im talking about midges. If youve ever been bitten by a midge, it was a pregnant female one. It wasnt just being nasty and hormonal; your blood is essential to feed her developing eggs, in that way her children can grow during the winter, pupate, hatch and bite you some more next year.
|The 10 Lightest Hiking Stoves available in the UK June 2013|
When youre buying a stove, the weight of the actual stove is the least of your problems, unless its your grandmas AGA. In all of the products Ive listed below the heaviest cooking related item is always the fuel, so it seems pointless just to concentrate on the stove weight when the real issue is the cooking system weight.
|Real Windermere Mythical Creature (we have the evidence)|
The Lake District has a lot of myths and strange creatures. We have ghostly armies on Souther Fell, we have scary monks, we have horses dragging coffins and stone circles that will come to life if you count them. But wheres the evidence?
|Sunlight: It's not that good for you|
I went for a quick walk up Carrock Fell at the weekend and got a bit burnt on the back of my neck. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying. I have bluey-white Cumbrian skin so I put on plenty of sun tan cream but still the deadly rays got through. How?
|5 Ways to Combat Downhill Knee Pain|
I inherited my great grandfathers knees, theyre 143 years old and they felt it coming down Place Fell last week. I can walk forever on the flat (slight exaggeration) and for days uphill (massive exaggeration) but coming down, some days it feels like someones shoved a load of broken glass under my knee caps...
|Outdoor Etiquette: Hiking Chit-Chat|
I know we all go on The Fells to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, nevertheless, when youre walking, I think its essential that you talk to your fellow hikers. Im not saying swap emails and get out your wedding photos, Im saying you should always acknowledge someone if youre walking right passed them...
|Keswick Mountain Festival - 15th - 19th May 2013|
Its the Keswick Mountain Festival again, how did that happen so quickly. I love the Keswick Mountain Festival, but, like all big events, you need to bring both your spirit of adventure and your Vango Contour 60L rucksack full of money (its sturdy and will carry up to 30Kg). But don't panic there's loads of freebies...
|Microadventure: Cooking Sausages in the Rain|
I love Alastair Humphreys microadventures idea and it works great with my kids. If I say lets go for a walk its the same as if Id said please hack your leg off with a blunt sabre. If I say lets have an adventure at least they ask what kind of adventure, then its a discussion. Here's our microadventure...
|Shock News: It's Cloudy in The Lakes|
I spend a lot of time in the outdoors and I spend even more time staring out of my office window, so I should know more about clouds than I do. Right now theres some dark grey fluffy ones, one looks like Concorde with spines, another looks like a cow giving birth. In between these there is lighter grey whispiness. What the eck are these things?
|Is Strava just for big fat show offs?|
Strava is a tracking system for cyclists and runners. It allows you to compare your times with other peoples times on a leader board. I know my place in the Strava world - mid table. I dont like being last on the leaderboards and Ive no chance of being first, so mid table is where I belong. But is it just showing off?
|Wild Camping in The Lake District|
You know when a total stranger camps in your garden without permission, in full view of your patio doors, then starts a fire on your lawn, then stuffs a few empty beer cans into your rockery then leaves it all for you to tidy up the next day, thats a little bit annoying isnt it? But some people think thats okay. It's not...
|Walking with Children|
I am currently undertaking the most difficult challenge of my life getting my kids to walk for more than an hour. Weve been walking in the fells for years and some days its great and others, like last night near Caldbeck, its not so great. Here's my findings...
|Comfy Lightweight Sleeping Mats|
I have trouble sleeping in my own king-sized bed at home so imagine what Im like hiking. If possible I would carry my Coleman Comfort airbed and rechargeable pump with me always, but since it weighs 2.3 kg and wont fit in my tent, I don't. Here's my thoughts on comfy lightweight sleeping mats...
|Treatment for blistered feet|
While browsing the outdoor forums I noticed a few threads about treatment for blistered feet. These threads should have a Are you 18 or over? pop up box to protect us sensitive types, it's gruesome...
|How to find an airbed leak|
Over the winter, three of our airbeds decided to spring leaks. They were all sitting in the cupboard in the same bag, maybe I should have separated them because this seems like a group effort to me. This is how I fixed them...
|Which Baselayer is the Smelliest?|
When we owned the shop in Keswick we got a lot of people through the door who had spent a week on the fells without scraping out their arm pits or changing their under garments. I did a little survey and asked the whiffiest people what baselayers they were wearing dont cringe, I was subtle...
|Three Peaks Walk|
Me and Doug did The Three Peaks Walk a couple of years ago (2011) on the Bank Holiday in August. We did it with 10 minutes to spare, so no problem at all... Heres a list of donts to help your day go smoother:
|Is owning a tent carpet pitiful?|
Yes, is the answer if youre Ranulph Fiennes. But Im not, so no is my answer. Heres my justification for, in the eyes of Ranulph, being pitiful and owning a tent carpet (well two actually but dont tell Ranulph).
|Softshell or Hardshell?|
First of all lets get this obvious question out of the way what is a softshell? Im going to manage your expectation here and tell you youre going to be disappointed with the answer. Here it is: a softshell is similar to a hardshell only softer...
|The Best Time and Place to Camp in the UK|
To give you the best chance of having a good experience Ive done some research for you and Im about to tell you the exact place and exact time to camp in mainland UK to have that amazing experience...
|Deciphering Waterproof Jacket Labels|
So you go into a shop with forty-eleven jackets hanging up. Your first instinct is: the moroccan blue with the burnt sienna cuffs looks amazing Ill have that one, but you cant. Not in a specialist outdoor clothing shop. Its not what it looks like its what it does. Thats right isnt it? So you start reading all the labels...
|What's the cheapest way of cooking sausages?|
It's a rule - when you go camping you have to cook sausages. The kids will demand it and there is no way you can disappoint those little cherubs. Don't worry though, you don't have to break open your jar of twenty pences, here's how to do it on the cheap...
|The Lightest 50 Litre Rucksacks - April 2013|
I love my 50 litre Golite Jam rucksack, we only sleep together on camping trips (and maybe the occasional night at home when Im lonely), but we have a reasonable relationship and a mutual respect for each other. I think 50 litres is the perfect size for a few days hiking in the summer...
|How Gore-Tex Really Works|
Yonks ago, W.L. Gore created a thin membrane of expanded PTFE. This membrane was waterproof and amazingly stopped everyone drowning in their own perspiration by letting water in gas form out...
|Finally- scientific proof that you need a lighter load|
You wouldn't dare argue with Sir Isaac Newton would you? I know he got bonked on the head with an apple but we all do daft things.
The main concern for us walkers is that Newton discovered the reason we need to lighten the load of our rucksacks.
|Hydration - How much fluid should you drink while hiking? |
My usual advice for dehydration in the lakes is open your mouth and tilt your head skywards.
But this weekend it's actually going to be rain free and warm and, for once, there may be a danger of dehydration. So I've included a few dehydration pointers to help you out
|Condensation in single walled tents |
I don't know about you but when I'm sleeping I find it slightly irritating having water splashed in my face. Because of this little foible, I've decided to offer up a few handy tips on how to keep the waters at bay.
|Camping Gear on a Budget|
When you first go camping it can be costly to get all the gear you need, and the problem is you might hate it. This is a quick guide to getting your hands on essential camping gear without spending too much money
|Helly Hansen provide ultral ightweight techincal outdoor clothing using the lighest, most breathable, waterproof fabrics. The Helly Hansen Sport LIFA baselayers are still the most popular baselayers. The LIFA Cool baselayers take the technology further with its 'water-hating' bi-component knit and the prowool baselayers use Merino wool to keep out the cold and transfer moisture.|
|Gelert Camping Equipment is among the best priced on the market, but don't let this fool you into thinking it's poor quality. Gelert have been in the business a long time and they know how to produce camping equipment that is both well priced and really great quality|
|Craghoppers kiwi walking trousers and Craghopper kiwi zip off walking trousers have dominated the outdoor clothing market for a decade. Craghoppers provide versatile, lightweight outdoor clothing that keep you comfortable and protected in the outdoors.|
|Coleman have been producing camping equipment for over a 100 years. Starting with the famous Coleman lanterns they have expanded their range to tents and stoves and sleeping bags. You will not be disappointed with Coleman products.|
|Montane is a company run by people with a passion for the outdoors and outdoor clothing for sports and travel. All Montane products are as lightweight and as breathable as possible. Lightweight comfortable outdoor clothing can massively enhance your experience of the outdoors. |
|Columbia Sportswear use its Omni Tech technology to consistently provided outdoor clothing that is waterproof and breathable in extreme condition. Columbia have a selection of waterproof jackets and lightweight fleeces that will work for you.|
|Bolle Ski Goggles and Bolle sunglasses collection have high performance polycarbonate lenses that are lightweight and shatter resistant. Bolle ski goggles are the amonst the best ski goggles in the world at very good prices|
|Trespass Ski Clothing may be incredibly well priced but the fabric and quality of these outdoor products is very high. Trespass create outdoor clothing that will perform in every weather. They are based in Scotland... say no more.|