Saturday 25 August 2012

Gear Notes from France Cycle Tour: Gear!

Its been a while since I posted on the clothing I used on my cycle tour earlier in the year, I've been a bit busy since. I almost think it barely worth posting on the "gear" now, but perhaps there might be a few pointers in the scribblings that follow. Some of the gear below is probably no longer available, but it still does the job for me.
 Robens Mythos Duo, I bought this tent for this trip. It was excellent cavernous for one, spacious for two, very quick to pitch and stable in the high winds I experienced on the coast. The overall concept of the Mythos Duo is similar to the Phreeranger of old, a tent I had many years ago. I always pitched on a piece of polycro, (not much grass on some of them French sites) The only thing I changed was to leave some of the alloy Y pegs and replace them ironically with some old Pheonix skewers!
 Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 sleeping bag, a great bag 800 fill power down, plenty warm enough, this bag has a half zip, making it very adaptable. I used a silk liner, and slept on a Thermarest Neoair short. My Neoair started to delaminate while I was away, at a guess I had used it for around 25 nights. The comfort and packability is great but the durability is disappointing. I only weigh 65kg and it has always been treated very carefully. It will be going back when I get round to it!
 My cook kit consisted of an old non-stick Tefal pan from a cookset, it only weighs 134g and is excellent for "proper" cooking. I also had my MSR Titan kettle and mug, these are now 12 years old and are simply great kit. Eating irons were a Light-my-Fire spork and a polycarbonate spoon (didn't really need the spoon!) Stove wise I again relied on some old tried and tested gear, my Primus Micron, I took with me 2 x 250g gas cannisters for the fortnight, I had lots of gas to spare. Its a shame screwtop cannisters are so hard to find in France.
 I carried a cheapy Mountain Warehouse travel towel which was fantastic and from memory £7.99! Wash kit was just the usual toothbrush, sample size paste and soap (which was used for washing me and clothes!) Of course I was passing through lots of towns and villages so this could be replaced as used.
 At the last minute I threw in a Thermarest Prolite sitmat, this was used lots ouside the tent and under my feet at night. Very handy, but I wouldn't carry it backpacking!
 I'll just list the rest of the "stuff", it was all great and used/tested in the past. In no particular order:- Classic Swiss Army Knife, micro tin opener, Sony Network Walkman, micro Silva compass, clothes line and pegs, First Aid Kit, Lipsalve, Wetwipes and Sun-block sachets.
Then of course there was the Beast of Burden to consider:-
The Dawes Ultra Galaxy which I built over the winter of 2011/12 and christened "Eigenbau" was faultless though I say it myself. I only had to adjust the brakes once and oil the chain 3 times, it gave a wonderfully compliant ride and was an awesome descender. I had got the gearing spot on, only a bigger "engine" would have made it better on the climbs!
 Tools consisted of a multitool including a chain splitter, a pair of small Molegrips, 2 x spare tubes, Puncture kit, spare gear and brake cable, some spare chain links and a small bottle of oil. I carried a Revolution micro floorpump, and for security a Kryptonite cable and padlock.
 All this gear and clothing, and it sure seems alot when I write it down!, was carried in 2 x Front and 2 x rear panniers plus a barbag. These were all from the Edinburgh Bike Coop, Revolution range, all excellent with the exception of the rain covers which were poor. The covers are nice and bright though!
 So that's the lot as I said at the top of the post perhaps there's something in there to help someone on a future trip. I'm now planning another project about which I shall post in the near future.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Crookdale Crag and Borrowdale Edge

Borrowdale from Winterscleugh
Today I was out walking with Ian, and with the object of trying to walk somewhere newish to both of us, we parked on the A6 near Hucks Bridge. We crossed a very wet field to the west and followed the minor road north to Crookdale, once a farm but now just a house. The bridleway is basically the old road over Shap Fell, superceded by the A6 and eventually the M6 further to the east. Crossing the A6 we headed for Crookdale Crag, the going underfoot rough and wet. The wall accompanied us as far as the Breast High track which looked in good order. the wall was missed in the brisk wind as we followed Borrowdale Edge, views to the Howgills filling the horizon to the east. The ground underfoot incredibly wet. We picked up the bridleway down to Low Borrowdale Farm. Our route back to the car was simple enough, we followed the bridleway up the Borrowdale valley. We had been very lucky with the weather, all around us we could see showers drifting across, but it remained dry for us

Thursday 16 August 2012


Rather worrying......?
A short walk in the valley of the Roe Burn on the northern edge of the Bowland fells. We parked above Wray and walked up the metalled lane to Barkin bridge, here a permissive path weaves its way down the valley. The valley is heavily wooded with a variety of decidious trees, lots of pheasents too. The humidity was unreal, and so were the insects, but they didn't spoil the walk. This area is truly off the beaten track, a "secret" valley!
Near Barkin Bridge

Sunday 5 August 2012

In the Shadow of Whernside

Just a short ramble today from Ribblehead, in sun and showers. The route a convenient circuit, as we walked under the magnificent viaduct we were treated to the wonderful sight of a steam loco crossing above us. On past the very smart new Chapel-la-Dale camping barn and following the tarmac lane to eventually cross the busy Ingleton-Hawes road. The wet limestone pavement under Park Fell was shining in the sunshine. The paths on the fell pastures here are very little used, and slightly confusing. Eventually we found our way into the old Ribblehead quarry which is now a National Nature Reserve. Nature has soon taken over, there is now a riot of wild flowers were once there was destruction. A few hundred yards and we were back at the car.