Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fan page created on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/TonysWilderness
I have created a Fan page on Facebook, for those daft enough to wish to follow me there... Please feel free to Like it and let's see what happens...
Thanks to all for the support.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Scottish Watershed with Chris Townsend

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGCZPgC74kA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The legend that is Chris Townsend set off from our camp at Ettrick Head wearing sandals on the Southern Upland Way to pick up the Watershed of Scotland above Moffat heading for Biggar three days and two more nights of wild camping away.

Only the man with me didn't act the part of a legend, he was a friend,  making me very comfortable and for the first time in a while home didn't preoccupy my mind.  I had my home on my back, and someone I've known for more than ten years to walk with.  I was very relaxed, comfortable in my own skin.  That is what a friend can do, ease any tension I may feel, make me happy and contented! This was going to be a good time.  The weather was fabulous, bonus.

I had set off the previous day from home, having dropped Bess and Gizzy off at mum's.  Bess was recently diagnosed with cancer of the spleen so I reluctantly left her behind.

The drive north on the motorway was a clear run, four stops for tea, my own by the car.  Arriving at Moffat mid afternoon.  Chris messaged to say he had found a cafe and less than an hour after arriving I'm drinking tea with Chris.  He had been struggling to get a signal on his Vodafone.  Half an hour later his phone was tethered to mine and he had internet access.  That evening we dined together, finally leaving Chris at 11pm. 

We met at 10am the next morning, finding another cafe, I left Chris for a couple of hours to write an article for The Great Outdoors magazine.  Later using my phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot to send it off.

By 3pm we were finally ready to set off, heading out of Moffat down the road to join the Southern Upland Way.  This route takes you to the Watershed and this evening we camped along the SUW.

I filmed our Trailstar pitching and lighting of our Caldera Cone Infernos.  Camp was set up, food on.  Cuppa Soup is indeed tasty in camp!

We left camp along the SUW and headed to the line of the Watershed just a few dozen meters away.

We chatted all day long.  I felt very comfortable in Chris' company.  The only downside and it was minor and insignificant at the time I didn't really follow the route on the map much, caught up in the moment and happy to be guided by Chris.  Navigation was easy, follow the fence!  Having said that we did follow the wrong fence twice.

We stopped for food twice (I also snacked as we walked), I had gorgonzola cheese, this worked fine for me.  Cutting it with a tiny pen knife.

I carried 2 liters of water, and on this day I was glad for it as it was hot and we never left the Watershed to find water.  By camp I'd drunk it all!

From the start we had Capel Fell at 678m, several kilometers later was Bodesbeck Law at 665m.  MidRig at 657 reaching Herman Law at 614m.  From here we headed west to a quiet road at 330m climbing the other side to Watch Knowle at 605m this took us down to Loch Skeen at about 520m.  We camped nearby.

Under foot the going all day was excellent but was over many ascents followed by more descents.  Twenty One kilometers later we reached camp at 8pm. 

We headed off for water and before we saw the carcass Chris said he smelt a dead sheep!  Even when I saw it I smelt nothing.  We collected water upstream of it.  As is his want, Chris drank it without treating it.  I had my pre mixed Aqua Mira and added a few drops. Just in case.  In all honesty it probably wasn't needed!  I was taking water from source.

The camping spots were limited and I nabbed the prime space, leaving Chris an uncomfortably bumpy night nearby.  I did feel somewhat guilty.  But slept well!

Knowing we had to make 30km the next day we settled down quickly.  Chris inside his shelter, I used my foam mat just outside mine to cook and eat.  I didn't want to be separated just yet and having Chris close by was reassuring.

Once dinner was eaten, a Fuizion freeze dried meal.  This excellent food may soon be a thing of the past, one day maybe I'll look to cook my own and freeze dry it at home, an interesting idea.  I settled into my sleeping bag inside the MLD Bug Bivy.  This I found fine with few to zero midges.

It was a stunning location with a loch to one side, us on the Watershed, but being a low point there was a tiny stream nearby. 

I slept well.  Chris didn't and was a bit stiff the next morning.  We managed to set off by 10am.

We headed up the east side of Loch Skeen to Lochcraig Head at 800m, then Firthhope Rig at 800m and the last 800 hill was 808m Hart Fell.  We met the only walkers of the day here and Chris noted they wore boots! I thought we only crossed two 800m peaks but in fact it was three!  The drop down to the Col was long, 527m.  The following hills were not as high but they were still numerous.  We reached Annanhead Hill and followed the fence north then west.

We did make our second navigational error here, following "tracks" and fences is fraught with danger. My knee at this point also became incredibly uncomfortable and I was a little worried.  We stopped to rest and eat and my knee was instantly improved! Thank goodness.

From here we headed north for the first time. Bog Hill, Little Bog Hill almost lived up to their names but we're mostly reasonably easy going tussocks and heather.  We were in forestry for about 2 km, leaving it to face up to a massive wind farm.  This stretched for we'll over 20km! We were a bit behind and without the tracks of the wind farm we'd never have made camp at 9pm.  With the tracks we made good ground.  There was a concern we'd be camping in the shadows of the turbines but by Powskein Dod (536m) we'd left the turbines behind and the track.  Thankfully the tussocks were not bad and the going still reasonably easy to Black Dod.  The soles of my feet were feeling it by now.  After Black Dod we headed down its valley, found a stream and a couple of camping spots.  I had a couple of bumpy bits but it was acceptable.  We had covered 30km and a lot of ascent!

The next morning we left at 11am. Chris was easily distracted by my questions and chatting! He will make much quicker progress alone. We headed over Wills Cleuch Head 539m, Culter Cleuch Shank 650m, Coomb DoD 635m, Gathersnow Hill 688m below which we stopped and found water.  I removed my shoes and socks and all looked well.  It never crossed my mind and I've no idea if it may have helped later, but I wish at some point I'd rinsed the socks out...

Cutler Fell 748m and lastly Scawdmans Hill 573m.  We stopped for the last time just below on Gawky Hill, I did not remove my shoes and socks.

Here the Watershed becomes tricky to follow with no apparent right or wrong way! He followed the boundary fence but this did head into a valley!  So it seems even the powers that be had no idea where the Watershed went here...  Any route here meant crossing water so we were not "wrong".

There was a long road march to reach Biggar which we did at 8.30pm.  I ordered a taxi and booked bed and breakfast in Moffat where my car was.
This gave me time to eat dinner with Chris and have a celebratory glass of water.  My default in a pub is water! 

It felt very strange leaving Chris behind and saying farewell.  He had been terrific company, the best a friend could offer.  I truly hope he got as much out of my company as I did his!

At the bed and breakfast I removed my shoes and socks to find a blister under my big toe and a big blister behind my left heel!!  My feet had been tender but so they had the night before and nothing was untoward with my feet then.  Not now.  Bugger.  The next morning my socks were dry and stiff as boards!! I can't help wondering if a rince out now and again may have helped.

It had been a wonderful 85km walk (including the walk from Moffat to our first nights camp) and tough on my body but mentally I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you Chris!!

I hope we can do something similar "soon"...




Camp List April (maybe after Templer Way) 2013


Pack
MLD pack Prophet all options Frameless 2900ci / 47L 626
MLD cuben X Large dry bag / liner. 45

Sub Total 671

Shelter
MLD Cuben Trailstar in Cuben stuff bag 380
MLD Rain Kilt prototype 59
MLD Cuben Bug Bivi no cuben stuff sack 142
Pegs 3 Easton 9", Three 6" Ti V, Five MLD 6". 134
MSR Blizzard stake (Trowel) 1 23



Sub Total 738

Sleeping
PHD Sleeping Bag 250/900 (MLD dry bag 35g). 628
Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite Regular (R3.2) 364
3mm Foam matting 2' 6" (75cm) long 55cm wide. 62
Exped Airpillow UL M 45

Sub Total 1099

Cooking
Evernew Ultra-Light Ti 900ml 110
Evernew Ultra-Light Ti 600ml 92
Trail Designs Ti Tri Cone 900 41
Trail Designs Ti Tri Inferno 900 22
Trail Designs Circular Floor 24
Grate (2 pieces) 19
2 pegs for support 12
Trail Designs 10-12 burner 15
J Cloth tiny piece! 1
Light My Fire / Fire steel 28
Bottle (1) for meths 150ml 17
Bottle (1) for meths 250ml 25
Measure pots (2) 1
LifeVenture Lexan spoon 14
Spork 16
Z Packs Cuben stuff sack 4
Caddy 78
519

Equipment
20 fl oz / 590ml bottles (45g each) 2 90
One 2L / One 1L Platypus containers 36g / 25g 61
Compass Silva Ranger 3 32
Map / case 2 sheets cut to size 152
Silva ADC Pro 65
TechNet 7000mAh 180
Oakley Half Jacket Glasses / bullet case 119
Petzl e+lite 28
Aqua Mira (empty 8g) 35 drops. 10
Hand gel 23
Suncream pot 7g 20
MosiGuard Natural (MLD pot 4g) 16
Dyneema cord 2mm spare 5.2m one piece 16

First Aid kit in light bag. 145
Wenger Swiss Army Knife (scissors, knife, tweezers, LED) 24
Lighter 17
Lipsalve 9
Whistle 9
Leather Needle and thread (wrapped around cuben) 2
Z Packs Cuben MLD 850 pot stuff sack (for above!) 3

Waterproof matches 12. 8
Shock Cord 24" 6
20' Dynema Cord 1mm Emergency only. 4
Duct tape 14
Mylar tape 18" 4
Sil-Fix kit 12
Cable Ties reusable (2) 0
2 Paper Clips, 5 Safety Pins 4
Exped Textile Glue 7
Rubber bands 4
SynMat patches 5
Ear plugs 0
Mueller Support Wrap (First Aid) 34
MLD Cuben Ditty Bag for above 2

Toothbrush 5
Dr Bonner's soap (for teeth too!) Pot 4g 8
Towel Vaude 16
Hankies 2 10
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Anker Battery Charger 10,000 mAh 245
Charger lead 13
Three batteries for cameras (57g each) 171
SD card for camera Three (4g each) 12
Two spare batteries for e+Lite 6
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Toilet paper (inc 5 Alco Wipe) 59
Two Small MLD Dry bags for waste 26


Sub Total 1700

Clothing
Arcteryx Delta LT Zip Polartec Thermal Pro Micro S cream 204
TNF Leggings 91
Icebreaker Liner gloves 21
Smartwool Liner Socks 39
Extremities Polartec Balaclava 46
MLD Cuben Large 16"/8" stuff sack 9

Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody 367
MLD Cuben dry bag Medium 19

Montane eVent Air Jacket Small 296
Montane Pertex pants 140
MLD Mitts eVent 42

Sub Total 1274
BASE 1 (Hiking / Camping kit) 6001


Photo Kit in or on pack.
TRIPOD Gitzo GT 0541 / G 1077M head 828
Binoculars Leica Ultravid 8*20 253

Sub Total 1081
BASE 2 (inc. Photo kit in pack) 7082


Separate Photo Kit. (Around neck!).
Camera Sony NEX 7, (paracord strap) 342
Sony NEX E Lens 10-18mm 265
Sony Microphone ECM-ALST1 54
Cloth 6
Aquapac Medium waterproof camera bag 103

Camera NEX 6 (paracord strap) 298
Sony NEX E Lens 16-50mm 174
AquaPac Small waterproof camera bag 100

Sub Total 1342
BASE 3 (inc. Camera Kit in pouch) 8424


Carrying / Holding / Pockets
Phone 147
Alwych Book (130g) and Inka pen (16g) 146
Pacer Poles Carbon 524

Sub Total 817
BASE 4 (Total Carrying on Person - not consumable) 9241

Total carried (food + pack + camera) NOT worn 12995


Wearing
Arcteryx Sqamish Hoody wind 135
Rab MeCo 120 T Shirt 122
Rohan Jungle LS shirt 305
Mountain Hardwear light zipped trousers 356
Rohan Pants 51
Smartwool Light Hiker Socks 86
Mountain Hardwear gloves 34
ChocFish Merino beanie 26
Buff 40
The North Face cap 66
MLD Bug head net 19
Watch Sunto Advizor 54
Inov8 295 with SuperFeet 685
Credit card / Driving License in MLD cuben Ditty 17
Decongestant / Lip salve 17


Sub Total 2013


BASE 5 (Total of everything not consumable!) 11254


Drink Kcals
Tea bags (10) / Marvel (100g) / sweeteners (20) 158 348

Actual Packed weight 158

Breakfast Day ONE Kcals
Oats So Simple Golden Syrup 36 135
Oats So Simple Golden Apple Blueberrry 36 130
Oats So Simple Golden SyrupStrawberry Raspberry Cran 36 129
Marvel 30 105

Actual Packed weight 140 499

Daytime Food Kcals
Nairns Oatcakes 56 252
Cheese (divided by 4 days (see day 4)) 85 315
NutriGrain Breakfast Biscuits Oats Honey 44 192
NutriGrain Crunchy Oat Choc 40 187
NutriGrain Crunchy Oat Cinnamon 40 186
Nature Valley Ginger Nut Crunch 42 189

Actual Packed weight 325 1321

Evening Food Kcals
Cup a Soup 22 99
Fuizion Lamb stew 110 634
Custard 15g, Marvel 20g, Sugar10g 45 160
Elevenses Ginger 45 170
Elevenses Chocolate 45 182
Jordans Frusli Red Berries 30 113
Cocoa 2g, Marvel 20g, Sugar 10g 32 117

Actual Packed weight 366 1475

Weight and KCals of food for Day ONE 831 3295


Breakfast Day TWO Kcals
Oats So Simple Golden Syrup 36 135
Oats So Simple Golden Apple Blueberrry 36 130
Oats So Simple Golden SyrupStrawberry Raspberry Cran 36 129
Marvel 30 105

Actual Packed weight 140 499

Daytime Food Kcals
Nairns Oatcakes 56 252
Cheese (divided by 4 days (see day 4)) 85 315
Rick Stein Oatcakes 89 418
Jordans Multigrain Breakfast bar 40 147
NutriGrain Crunchy Oat Honey 40 185
Nature Valley Ginger Nut Oats and Choc 42 195

Actual Packed weight 367 1512

Evening Food Kcals
Cup a Soup 22 99
Fuizion Minced Beef and Ale Stew 110 588
Custard 15g, Marvel 20g, Sugar10g 45 160
Elevenses Ginger 45 170
Elevenses Chocolate 45 182
Jordans Frusli Blueberry 30 113
Cocoa 2g, Marvel 20g, Sugar 10g 32 117

Actual Packed weight 366 1429

Weight and KCals of food for Day TWO 873 3440


Breakfast Day THREE Kcals
Oats So Simple Golden Syrup 36 135
Oats So Simple Golden Apple Blueberrry 36 130
Oats So Simple Golden SyrupStrawberry Raspberry Cran 36 129
Marvel 30 105

Actual Packed weight 140 499

Daytime Food Kcals
Nairns Oatcakes 56 252
Cheese (divided by 4 days (see day 4)) 85 315
Rick Stein Oatcakes 89 418
Jordans Multigrain Breakfast bar 40 147
Oatmeal to go Brown Sugar Cinnamon (USA) 60 220
Belvita Breakfast Cranberry 53 220

Actual Packed weight 387 1572

Evening Food Kcals
Cup a Soup 22 99
Fuizion Minced Savoury Minced Lamb Potatoes Veg 110 540
Custard 15g, Marvel 20g, Sugar10g 45 160
Elevenses Ginger 45 170
Elevenses Chocolate 45 182
Cocoa 2g, Marvel 20g, Sugar 10g 32 117

Actual Packed weight 340 1268

Weight and KCals of food for Day THREE 867 3339


Breakfast Day FOUR Kcals
Oats So Simple Golden Syrup 36 135

Actual Packed weight 38 135

Daytime Food Kcals
Naan Bread 240 700
Gorganzola cheese 200g 85 315
Stilton Cheese 145g 0 0

Actual Packed weight 347 1015

Evening Food Kcals
Green and Blacks dark chocolate 100 575
Fuizion Chocolate and Orange Rice pudding 150 874

Actual Packed weight 275 1449

Weight and KCals of food for Day FOUR 660 2599


MLD Cuben Large stuff sack 1 (9g) and 3 medium (7g) 30 30

Bottles (2) for meths 400ml (EXCLUDING Bottles!) 335 335

Total weight of Food & Tea / Kcals 3754 13021

Total Carrying Exc Clothing worn 12995

TOTAL On PERSON with food. NOT water . 15008 15008






Bess List (Bess stayed at home due to illness.)

Ruffwear Pack Approach (Blue) 500
Ruffwear Day Coat / high vis / water resistant 155
Dog Bowl 30
Food 1500
Schmackos 258
Trek Towel 80*60cm 105
Pegs, various collection. 96
Sourse Reservoir 30
OookWorks BessBed 131

Bess Total. 2805