Plus a lot of other TGO gear, so how did it all go.
Read on Sir, read on ........................................
I had packed all my gear the night before, so by the time that Phil arrived at 9.45 on Thu, I was ready to go.
Now, we just needed to collect Alan and Dave at Nuneaton, and then get to the Langdale campsite, via a brief shop in Ambleside.
The stop in Ambleside did involve beer.
Since I have seen the posting of the incredibly unflattering picture of me on Alan's blog, I have decided that the beer was not a good idea.
In fact, a better diet and more exercise are a definite must do.
It is not fitness, I can still run a goodly distance and also bike and walk,
BUT, and here is the point.
I definitely need to lose some weight.
To my mind, about 10kg at least, and maybe a bit more.
A couple of stone (old money), would certainly do no harm at all.
It is a long way to Langdale from Cambridge, but by about 5.30, we were at the site and setting up tents.
I had decided to take the Trailstar, with the Oooknest.
I had only put this up once in the Garden to do the seam sealing, so this was it's first outing, and my first proper go at getting it all set up ok.
I was using 6 x 9" Alpkit Y pegs and 4 x 6" titanium ones.
More on the Alpkit ones later.
The fact that I had cleaned and oiled the Pacer Poles last week, did not help.
DO NOT USE WD40 on your Pacel poles.
Liberal is what you want, or none as the case might be.
I had overdone it BIG TIME with the spray, and they would not lock at all.
This is not good when you need them to hold the bloody thing up, so after a lot of cleaning, I did finally manage to get them locked.
We will come back to the pole theme, because they are about to get a major overhaul here again to get them sorted.
If not, I will be taking my old Leki Poles on the challenge.
|First attempt at putting it up
After a bit of a pole faf, I got the tent up just fine.
Is it a TENT, a TARP or a SHELTER?
With the Oookstar it is to my mind a shelter, and a bloody enormous one as well.
I though Wendy was big but this is huge, and weighs in rather less.
I did not get a Cuben Oookstar, the SilNylon one with the mesh front is just fine, and the difference in weight is not an issue to me.
I mean, looking at a couple of photo's I am carrying at least an extra 20lb on my middle.
Well with the thing up and covered in more than a few copulating insects, we headed off to the ODG for some food.
Yep, I am going to be going for smaller portions on that lot for the next few months as well.
|And I will be laying off the beer as well as the poor diet.
By the end of the evening, quite a long way off.
It was a bit chilly this side of the pub.
We finished by standing around the nice fire on the other side.
BUT.. eventually it was time for sleep.
Tomorrow was to be a 9.30 start (and that is a definite maybe).
It rained in the night, but by the next morning, all was pretty clear, and so it was time to go.
OK, we missed the 9.30 and started off at about 10.00.
|Blue skies ahead at the camp site, but for how long
A gentle stroll round via the ODG, or it would have been had I not left my map and compass on top of Phil's car. So I had to run back and get these and that added another 7½ min.
See, I have started the fitness thing already.
I am not going to do a massive description of the route, because that is already done on Al and Phil's blogs
|Heading along Mickledon Beck
By the time we got to the top, the rain had gone away.
|Looking back toward the Stake Gill
|Dave waiting at the top for Alan and Phil
|It's all a bit much for Al.
He's a grandad you know!
|Looking towards Pike of Stickle from Martcrag Moor
|Small Tarn near the lunch stop.
|Phil attempts to cook his maps
|Pike of Stickle from the Tarn.
This was to be our next stop after a rather boggy bit to get back to the path.
|Dave near the bottom.
It was bloody windy here
|Me on top of Pike of Stickle.
See, I am losing weight already, and I did not have to
use Phil's holding the arms up trick.
Being a bit impatient, I decided for the direct route rather than just use the path.
Back in my climbing day this would have been a simple scramble, but excess baggage and fear of death, made it less so.
Still, it was a lot more fun than going up the path.
|Al points the way to Dave.
We are lucky with the weather, because looking out to High Steet it looked pretty bloody awful.
Having collected gear, we headed off round to Harrison's Stickle and then Sergeant Man,
via a path that in some places was decidedly moist.
The views from the top of Sergeant Man down to Stickle tarn were jolly fine indeed.
|View down to the Tarn
After this we descended down to Codale Tarn via the direct route.
Much much nicer that then the path.
Having said that Dave went for several interesting slides on the rather wet and slippery descent.
I also managed a rather fine 4m glissade followed by another shorter one after which I landed on my arse in wetness. Luckily, it was the bottom of the rucksack that took the biggest force and that saved me from breaking my backside.
I did however overstretch my hamstring a bit.
Luckily, it was just a minor twinge and all is fine.
That would have been an utter bugger for the Challenge.
A beautiful little spot for a Camp, I proceeded to put up Treeza the Trailstar.
Al gave her that name on his blog, so I will stick with it.
She's a feisty little number, but I have to say very taut, and that is how they should be.
|Treeza! I am getting the hang of this Trailstar thing!
Not a big issue, but it means a bit of a Faff to move it round.
Indeed, that aspect is my only reservation regarding Scotland and the Challenge.
NOT because I am concerned about the robustness of the Traistar, nor how warm it will be if it is cold.
BUT... To attach the Oooknest, and tension it to the outside pegs which it shares with the main Tarp, you do have to squirm about a bit on the ground to reach through and get the elastic ties.
It is not the damp that concerns me, it is TICKS.
That being said, I am pretty convinced now that it is TREEZA and not Wendy that will be accompanying me this year.
Only been out in it twice, but as a shelter I love it.
Mind you, if I don't get my Poles sorted out, she may not be going!
|Camp view from the Tarn
It was a bit chilly, but only if outside of the sleeping bag.
The only other noise was Phil's sleeping mat.
Well, something in Phil's tent anyway, and best to leave it at that.
We decided to set off by 9, and amazingly, we actually set off at
Yep, on time, even with Phil's strap faff.
It was a stiff old climb up to the top again.
Dave had rushed ahead, but the rest of us stopped quite a lot to admire the view and also for general banter.
Nothing like a bit of banter eh...
|Memoriesa bit vague.
Looking down to Stickle Tarn I think
We headed on round, and eventually down to the Tarn.
Here, it started to rain for only the second time.
So on with all the rain gear, which pretty much guaranteed that it would stop.
Which it did about 10 minutes later.
So, off with the rain gear, and down to Langdale.
As we looked down, there was an enormous convoy (snake) of people all starting the Ascent up.
No wonder there is so much erosion on some of the paths in the Lakes.
|And this was only a few of them
By the time we got back, both my Poles and Phil's had jammed.
Dave and I had a cup of Coffee, and Al and Phil had beer and Shandy.
We did discuss sandwiches, but then decided after a good rest that we would head back to
Ambleside to the chippy, and to see if I could get any better pegs.
Did I mention pegs?
Yes, ALPKIT 9" aluminium Y stakes.
I thought that they would be the DOGS bollocks, but they turned out to be testicles.
The ground was really not hard, and in all honesty, a 9" peg should not bend.
BUT these do
I have some Alpkit titanium 6" that are excellent. As is their Titanium Cup
Also some 6" Aluminium pegs from Clamcleats that equally excellent.
So, I was a bit disappointed with these overall.
So, that is it.
I am now going with a larger MSR blizzard stake at the back.
A couple of 9" Y pegs,
and the remainder 7" Clamcleats Titanium mixed with the Alpkit Titanium
More on final gear list in a blog next week.
IF, I can make my mind up that is.
So it was all over, and we headed back courtesy of Phil, who did all the driving.
What a lovely chap.
We dropped Dave off back in Nuneaton ,and then Al at Huntingdon Station.
Finally Phil dropped me off at home.
It had been a short trip, but excellent weather, and a good laugh, in the best of company.
SO, just the Challenge next then ...................
This is Stephen Wilson et alia, also of Porcupine Tree