Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A busy few days of expeditions

So it's been a while since my last post. Had a very busy couple of weeks, with 4 seperate expeditions out and about. Sadly this has taken its toll on me and I've contracted some kind of plague that has caused my asthma to flare up. Highs and lows certainly!

First 2 expeditions, were practice walks around the Roaches and white Peakarea. Fairly straight forward couple of days to be honest, involving quite a bit of walking along the Roaches ridge. Took the liberty of getting a bit of bouldering in while I was there too. Overall it was short and sweet, decent weather, not sunny but overcast and dry! Had a couple of the group suffering with the cold a bit, but aside from that all good.

The second expedition was more of a trudge. A group from a university outdoor education course wanted a 3 day expedition during which we would cover all the skills involved in ML training, prior to them doing their ML training in a couple of weeks. I was really looking forward to this, as I have helped out a bit on ML training courses, so was really looking forward to working with some older groups on more technical navigation.I really enjoyed the expedition, albeitthat it involved carrying a big pack and wild camping. The first day involved moving from Gradbach, over to Goyts Moss, where we would wild camp in Goytsclough Quarry. The day got off to a 'brilliant' start as soon as we left the bus at the dropoff and it was slinging it down! It rained constantly until we made it to the campsite, and thankfully the rain stopped long enough to pitch camp. 

The second day was dry but VERY windy. We headed over Axe Edge where I would estimate the wind was 20mph gusting 35mph. At one point I almost got completely cleared out. From the Buxton Road we headed down into the maze of footpaths and made our way to our campsite at the base of Chrome Hill. After pitching tents we heading up Chrome Hill for a cheeky summit. After getting down the wind got faster and faster, and the forecast didn't look brilliant either. During the night the wind was battering my small Macpac Microlight to the point at which it was little more than a bivi bag. I got out of my tent around 11.30pm and found most of the group sitting in the back of the Land Rover. After a brief chat we decided to get the hell out of there, we struck camp in 10minutes and drove back to the centre, to doss down in one of the classrooms. On the friday morning I ran an ML ropework session for the group. Then promptly slung my kit in the minibus and headed over to Snowdonia for a weekend of DofE gold training.....

The weekend involved 2 mountain days. One group day in the Moelwyns, and one leader training day in the Glyders. The Cnicht day was awesome, great weather, great group, and enjoying being out. We headed up and over Cnicht, and then down to Llyn Y Adar, and continued over finding small
features on the way. Sadly my plague developed overnight and I spent the 2nd day on Anglesey with the group rather than on the Glyders. I was very proud of the guys and girls from my DofE gold  group, having trained them from Bronze level right the way up  to Gold level.

Overall my kit performed very well over the course of the expeditions. Didn't have any problems at all. There were some valuable additions however....
 1) My new Adidas "Predator" Boots. They were comfortable throughout all the expeditions, and definately worth the money! I found them great whether on damp Peak District footpaths or on grade 1 Snowdonia scrambles.

2) Sealskinz socks; brilliant on all expeditions, kept my feet dry and toasty the whole time.

3) Kongur MRT; incredible jacket, kept the wind and rain out very well.

4) Jetboil; brilliant as always, so simple, light and easy for cooking boil in the bag meals, and making brews.
However there was one kit "loser"....

Macpac Microlight; brilliant for warm summer nights, useless in winds or if you on expedition and carry a big pack. Sleeping in it felt like being in a coffin, and had to store my bag in a survival bag outside the tent. That said it did survive where a Terra Nova and a Vango didnt (the groups tents broke in the winds).

Overall a tough but rewarding few days!