Sunday 30 March 2014

Over to the Western Dales on the BMW

Today was my first "proper" ride on "my new to me" motorbike. The forecast was slightly wrong, the cold air had rolled further west than they'd promised! So I modified my route as I went along...often the best of days anyway. My original plan was to go over to Teesdale, one of my favourite areas.So quiet compared to the Lakes. However at Kirkby Stephen the temperature had dropped dramatically so I headed South towards Mallerstang......

Pendragon Castle once one of many homes of Lady Anne Clifford is always worth a photo and a visit, sadly it's out of bounds at the moment due to dangerous masonry.

Having ridden up the Mallerstang valley, I turned East towards Hawes then onto the Buttertubs Pass. Clearly there's going to be some sort of bike race this year! It's good to see Yorkshire welcoming Le Tour.

I stopped on Abbotside common before dropping down into Swaledale. The cloud was down on Great Shunner Fell and it was dammed cold.

The temperature had risen a bit as I rode down Swaledale, this is typical Swaledale scenery. Kisdon is the hill in the background.

Back over to Askrigg in Wensleydale and up to Bainbridge. The river had lots of water in it, good for a bit of hydro power via the Archimedes screw, seen in the background here

The weather looked better to the South and West so I headed over to Ingleton from Hawes and made a detour vi Clapham Station to get a view into Bowland from the highpoint of the Keasden Road.
I returned home crossing the Lune valley and the Capernwray zig-zags.
The bikes great, and so was the day.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Goodbye BMW GS.....Hello F800s

Its a strange thing but as I tend to own my motorcycles for a long time I kinda become attached to them. They're mainly used for touring and exploring near and far, so they have lots of memories.
However all good things must come to an end and today was that day....

So after over 8 years I've finally decided it's time for a change.
Here's the GS on the Island of Luing a few years ago, just for old times sake.

The new adventure starts here, a different bike...infact a different style of bike.
I'm really looking forward to getting out and exploring lots of new places, and of course having fun.
Which is what owning a bike is all about!

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Carrying Meths!

Although in general I prefer using solid fuel with my Caldera Cone, I do sometimes use meths with a 12-10 stove. As mentioned in the comments of a previous post I don't like the taint of meths, so I use the method below for transporting the fuel.
I'm probably not the first person to come up with this solution.
This is a very old 500ml Platypus, well past it's best for drinking water, but still gives good service transporting meths.
It weights 19g empty with the pullcap shown, (salvaged from a soft drinks bottle) I like the match as well!
So durable, light, cheap and takes up less space as you use your fuel...what's not to like!?

Sunday 16 March 2014

MYOG Caddy for Caldera Cone

I bought a Caldera Cone last year, its a great piece of kit. However the supplied Caddy is a bulky old thing. The theory is that you can use the caddy as a "bowl" and the lid as a "mug". I've tried this and I don't like it, in particular the threads are difficult to clean. I also love my old MSR Titan mug. So thinking cap on....I came up with this.

Here we see the comparison in size between the "proper" caddy and the MSR Titan mug and cut down plastic container. (Originally from Asda (Walmart) I think) It is a perfect interference fit.

There is a weight penalty to pay for this smaller caddy, it weighs 3g more! So thats not to bad then. Plus you get a handy measuring bowl to, and no awkward threads to clean.
As I use the Caldera Cone with an Evernew pan thats my bowl anyway.But best of all I can still have my brew in my Titan mug.

Brim Fell and Coniston Old Man

This morning the weather seemed OK, in fact much as the forecaster on Radio Cumbria described.... however there was a steady depreciation in conditions whilst I was out. Once on the ridge, it was blowing a hoolie driving dense wet air in from the Irish Sea. Always good to be out though....I think?

Having parked in Coniston I walked up Coppermines Valley, eventually arriving at the entrance to Deep Level, where much of the copper ore was brought to daylight from the Bonser workings. There's been a landslip fairly recently which has damaged the portal, a great shame. The entrance is less than a metre high now, It used to be possible to walk in at full height.....Although DEFINITELY Not advised!!!

Following the beck up thro the workings I thought the weather was improving. It didn't. Here we look down into Coppermines Valley.

This is the huge wheelpit that contained the waterwheel to power the "engine shaft" . Beyond the water leat tower is the Triddle incline. This was my route onwards, there's always lots to see in the Coniston fells

From the top of the incline it's only a short walk over the shoulder to Levers Water. Here I'm pondering which way i should go. The cloudbase low as you can see. I opted for the South/Southwestern path round the tarn and then up Gill Cove to Levers Hause then back over Brim Fell and the Old Man.

Here in Gill Cove conditions deteriorated, I should have turned back..there were no views from this point on. Only driving rain and wind over Brim Fell (perhaps that should be Grim Fell today!) and Coniston Old Man.

The tourist path down from the Old Man was the easy option, no point carrying on over fells I've visited dozens of times in weather like that! There were lots of pilgrims plodding up the path to the summit, many of them asked me "how far is it to the top!". My answer do you want that in height, distance or time!
 I dropped off the quarry track back into  Coppermines Valley and followed Church Beck back to the car.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Nordisk Telemark 1LW

Well with the TGO Challenge less than 2 months away, the outdoor bloggers are starting to post about their  gear choices. More importantly lots of these posts concern their choice of shelter.....seems the "Red Indian" look is very much in vogue. Lots of pyramids and tarps masquerading as doorless tents. Well I've never been one to follow the herd, I like to plough my own furrow so to speak. Bored yet? I'd better get to the point......

So I've bought a Nordisk Telemark 1LW, this cost the princely sum of £272.00 (from The Climbers Shop, Ambleside)
My first truly lightweight tent was a Hilleberg Akto, an excellent tent. Very storm worthy, mine was one of the early imports. I was very happy with the Akto, it weighed in at 1500g or so. Then along came Terra Nova with the Laser Lite, again I was an early adopter, after a few mods to lose a bit of weight it weighed in at approx 1050g.
The problem for me with the Laser Lite was disconnecting the inner from the outer....what a "ball ache".
Hence the purchase of the above!

Here the bell is seen it's a decent size, and the inner can be pulled back to increase the space for cooking undercover.

Another pic showing the depth of the bell, the separation between fly and inner seems plenty to me.

A good deep tub to the floor and plenty of width, the Inov8 pack is roughly the width of a Neoair. One of the comments I hear in favour of the Tepee type tents is the large amount of space, perhaps I don't carry enough stuff?!

A common complaint I read over and over is condensation problems with "Akto style" tents. I've had my share of condensation over the years, but it's not a deal breaker for me. Here we see the vent at ground level, there's another at the other end. We'll see how effective they are in use! 

There's a large stiffened cowl over the double ended zip, again to aid ventilation, something neither my early Akto or Laser Lite benefited from.

The pole is has a remarkably short pack length, only 4 pegs are supplied! at 10g each. The silver ones are mine from another tent. I may use different pegs I'll see how I get on.

The overall pack size is indeed very small, thats a .5 lit thermos. The bag contains inner, outer, pole and 6 pegs. The 830g isn't correct if the supplied pegs are used, it is possible if 6 Terra Nova carbon pegs are used tho', lots of folk don't like the carbon pegs but I really rate them. I'll more than likely use a combination of pegs.
So there we have it, this is just a first look, it'll get a couple of trips over the next month or so, I'll report back.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Rough Stuff Fellowship ride to Barbon

Todays ride started within a couple of miles from home, so I really had to go! The weather forecast was poor but we actually didn't have any rain at all, it was overcast though so the views were nothing to write home about.

Preparing to leave The Hide Away Cafe our meeting point today.
Excellent views from here over to Farleton Knott whilst a coffee is enjoyed

Minor roads and quiet lanes took us over the shoulder of  Scout Hill, to eventually reach the Old Town road. Then across this bridleway to the Old Scotch Road. 

Another bridleway over into the Lune Valley and then this excellent lane through Rigmaden Park.
This is a rare image....Eileen is holding the gate open!! Sorry Eileen!

The track then dropped through Hag Wood, this is a great bridleway. it would seem to be very little used.

Having crossed the River Lune we rode the very wet Low Lane to Abba Farm. It was basically a 150m long ford!

More minor lanes to Barbon, where lunch was eaten at the village hall/picnic area. Some very muddy lanes led us to Kirkby Lonsdale for a cafe stop in the square.
Once across the A65, more lanes brought us to Hutton Roof.
Burton has gone up in the world it would seem!

Once at the highpoint of the lane over Farleton Fell, it was all downhill on the bridleway across Farleton to Holme Park.
This brought me almost home, so I said my goodbyes to the rest of the party.
A great ride in good company!