Llangollen Wild Camp

The whole point of doing this wild camp was to test out how effective the under quilt for the hammocks would be in the cold prior to a weekend coming up in Scotland. So of course it was the warmest ever temperatures recorded for this time of year.  I have used the under quilt on numerous occasions but this was just a slightly different set up.

The woods we set up in are high in the hills above Llangollen. A great little spot where it’s rare to see anybody else. The last time we were here wild ponies came into our camp in the middle of the night. Needless to say I didn’t sleep well that night.

Despite everything being damp we managed to get a good fire on the go. I ate about 5 million German sausages. My hammock set up with a tarp using a ridge line is a pleasure to hang and easy to pack away. It has taken me many years to get this comfortable with it all. I will make a video next time I am out of the whole set up and the adjustments I have made.

We got up to a warm morning and slowly packed our kit away. On our way out we walked across the hills and were treated to a magnificent view of the valleys below covered in a carpet of cloud. All enhanced by the early morning sun and the stark contrast with the blue sky. Unfortunately both of our phones had no battery power so we couldn’t get a photo.

Another great nigh out.

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That Jacket

Now days the choice of an outdoor jacket has become just as important as the boot. The price range of mens jackets for example can range from a few quid for a paclite jacket (that will make you sweat more than keep rain off) to in the thousands of pounds which are cut and designed to very high specifications usually for serious mountain climbers.
I own a few jackets for the outdoors but the truth is I have 2 that I use all year round and I have had these jackets for many years. Not so long ago your main jacket did everything. Kept you warm, dry and comfortable in all weathers. These jackets you now see less of because most people use the layering system.
I have what most normal would call a “bit of a problem” with my fetish sorry fascination and interest in Gore Tex. I think it comes from the times when I first had a Gore Tex jacket when I was in the Army and it actually kept me dry.
Before that we were issued with the cheapest and nastiest bits of kit imaginable. They literally spared every expense back in those days and I spent many a miserable night in the hills of the Brecon Beacons soaked wet through. So when we were issued with the new jackets I never looked back.

I now have a lightweight North Face waterproof jacket that has to be one of my favorite bits of kit. I have had this beauty for about 12 years now and it has never let me down and is still going strong to this very day. In fact it is packed away in my rucksack ready for a weekend in the hills.
I’m starting to get back into the ultra light weight mode of kit and as such I am now looking out for a new jacket. I might even try out a different material from Gore Tex…………………………………………….No I wont.

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What’s In My Rucksack?

 I was contacted and asked what do I always carry in my rucksack? What are my essentials?

It all depends on the environment, duration and weather but there are few things I do always take and these are mostly based around safety. So just for the purposes of this I have worked it out as a 2 day hike where there are plenty of trees in the midst of a typical autumn in the UK.

As you can see from the pictures I do use a lot of dry bags. They keep my stuff dry and it helps a lot with organizing my kit. The rucksack is an 80 liter Canyon from Mountain Warehouse which is more than enough for this of thing. I have a philosophy of not packing my gear to its maximum compression which is a common mistake.

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The idea is to pack it as if I was outdoors which is different from doing it in a nice warm room out of the wind and rain. I still take the time to do it in a logical manner but I don’t take ages trying to make everything small. This helps tremendously when I am packing up and moving on when outdoors. Another common mistake is to try and fill the rucksack out. I always try to leave as much room as possible spare. You don’t need all that spare gear.

Essentials – These are always with me when I go to remote places.

First Aid Kit
Head Torch
Para cord
Map and Compass
Mobile Phone
Sleeping Bag
Bivi Bag
Waterproofs – Gortex jacket and trousers


Extras – While this stuff is not under essentials it doesn’t make them less important it’s just that this stuff changes a lot depending on what I am doing.

Warm/ Windproof Top
Roll Mat.
Jungle Net
T- Shirt

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Back Running

I’ve had about a month off from running and today was my first proper run in ages. I have a cross country half marathon coming up early in the new year. I’m doing this in an effort to keep off the mince pies and booze and I have some micro adventures in the run up to the festive season.

So far though 3 miles is hard work for me. I know I will be back to pounding out good mileage in a couple of weeks but it never gets easier. I love it.


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Snowdonia Wild Camp And Paddle

Gaz has got a couple of new boats to add to his growing collection. The Wenonah Prospector has long been on the list and it was all about trying this out with the kids on Llyn Dinas. We all had a great paddle but after a couple of hours the wind started to pick up so we headed off into the mountains to set up  camp. My boy Tom has been camping many times but this was his first wild camp. Gary’s son James and my daughter Amelia have been wild camping on many occasions and now take it all in there stride. We ended up in a lovely spot in a forest. My daughter likes the comfort of the hammock and the rest of us slept under tarps. We got a small fire on the go and had a great night.


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Rib Recovery Ride

It’s been 3 weeks since the ribs got smashed. I can sleep almost lying down but still wake up in the early hours in a lot of pain. I’m starting to get fatter with this inactivity so my daughter and I went for a gentle ride down to the beach. Curbs are the main problem and any bumps. Whenever I hit these an uncontrollable yelp comes from deep inside. It’s tolerable and great to get outside again. I’m going to try an exploratory run tomorrow


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The Lost Paddle

Padarn is a lake (Llyn – Welsh) at the base of Mount Snowdon. We take the Kayaks here a few times a year. The best time is during the depths of winter where you get those still, cold days and the reflection the mountains on the lake are stunning. It can get quite busy in the summer months and the area is prone to clouds of Midges in the morning. 

On this day me and my son were out in the middle of the lake on the open canoe and I dropped a really expensive hand crafted paddle in the water while trying to take a photo of my boy. The lake is black and with the slight ripples being created by the wind and the few seconds it took me to put my camera down I completely lost sight of it. This isn’t my paddle it’s my best mates and I was in a panic to say the least. About 10 minutes of frantic searching I was ready to give up and face the embarrassment and shame of such a stupid thing to do when suddenly my son shouts “there it is dad!!” Like a hero he grabbed it and chucked it back in the boat and I sat back in pure relief. When we got to shore we never spoke a word of the incident to anyone until now.


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