Archive for May 2007

A new day

Posted by on May 26th 2007 in Car stuff, Great Escapes, Rambling on..., Shiny new kit

So, what should I blog about today? So much has happened, so much is left unfinished. Let's take it one step at a time and see how it goes.

I sold my Vango TBS Tempest 200 to a nice OMer. He's got a bargain - Since I bought this one in early 2006 I've only used this one for two nights in Wasdale, aside from that it's been pitched on the lawn a couple of times and that's it. The new owner will also get a home-made GSP and some spare lightweight pegs etc.. I hope that he gets good use from the tent, it's been in captivity for far too long, it needs releasing into the wild ASAP! As a replacement I've ordered a 1-2 man tent for summer wildcamping use, not superlightweight at sub-3kg, but that's all I need. Details to follow in due course.

Bought a selection of Sea to Summit mesh sacks from WT via Amazon. The medium size ones will suffice for all sorts of stuff, the large and extra-large were bought specifically for carrying saturated tentage on the outside of the pack.

Now, don't laugh, but I bought a JML Magnicard. When I'm "on the hill", I take my specs but never wear them, primarily because I don't really need them. Besides, they're forever steamed up or frosted over, so they are a waste of time, but I've always carried them for those map-reading moments. But from now on they can stay back at base, as the Magnicard is excellent for map-reading. It's the size of a credit-card, gives a clear view and it's got an integral light which is perfect for night-time mapwork. It weighs a paltry 10g, that's a lot less than my specs + case.


Well, Rab's been fixed, he's been back with me since Thursday. The repair work is excellent, credit to Paynes Ford for that. Mind you, SWMBO is a relative of the founder, so if I didn't get good service I would have to send her in to get matters sorted! The courtesy-car company still haven't collected their Rav4 yet, so we're overrun with vehicles here.


I've been out with the hedge-trimmers again! All 60 yards of the privet boundary have been given a "short back and sides". The remaining 50 yards of boundary are fenced, so I'll have to spend a couple of days renewing my acquaintance with my creosote brush very soon. As for the plants, well, that's a mixed bag... the herb border is flourishing, the wild native plant area is, well, wild as would be expected, but the French Beans aren't showing at all. Mind you, that's the French for you, they either turn up late or not at all 🙂


Me and OM are no longer together. It's a shame, really, because there are so many people on there who I call friends, and some of them even reciprocate! Anyway, the reasons for my departure are plain for those who are willing to look, so I don't need to go into depth on here, let it suffice to say that a known antagonist was the source of irritation, but moderation (which I requested) was inadequate and as a consequence the matter was allowed to get out of hand. That was the straw that broke this camel's back.
Hmmm... so I'm a "weak willed, pathetic individual", according to the antagonist. Or did I see the true situation, assess it properly and then have the courage of my convictions to take an appropriate course of action? Who can say? It was certainly harder to leave that it would have been to stay.

What's next?

We're off to Okehampton next week for a YHA Family multi-activity break. Sadly, mountain-biling (stet), cross-training and rowing aren't on the activity list!

Zooomr’s offline for the Mk III update

Posted by on May 21st 2007 in Photo hosting, Rambling on...

A message from CTO & Founder Kristopher Tate

Please Note: Blogged photos will still be available through this special transition period!

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Shocking content in the C&CC mag

Posted by on May 19th 2007 in Mags and rags, Wildcamping, Wildcamping e-petition

I snatched a bit of free time today and sat down to read the June edition of Camping and Caravanning (the magazine of The Camping and Caravanning Club, would you believe!). I was expecting to trudge through the usual articles about featured sites, tow car tests, sewage-disposal using reed-beds, and gear reviews for the family-camper-type, but this month there were some surprises...

First up, on page 15 is an article about wildcamping, penned by no less an authority than Graham Thompson. Yes, that's the Graham Thompson, the Technical Editor for Trail magazine, he's also "among the 10 most influential people in the outdoors industry", according to the blurb. Anyway, it's a sort of eejut's guide to the legalities of the activity, succinct and clear, in language that all can understand (unless they're recent incoming eco-migrants on a short-stay work-permit).

Reeling from the shock of finding this, I continued to read on, until page 35 stopped me in my tracks... what's this?... yet another wildcamping article, this time one of the Member's stories, by one Richard Walker, telling of his exploits in the wild.

Well, I had to go for a lie-down, it was all too much, not what's expected in such a publication.

Later I recovered and made it through to the "gear and give-aways" pages, only to find a review article about Tick Alert tweezers (grrr, ticks, how I hate those little biting b@stards). They have 100 sets (of tweezers, not ticks) to give away to members, I suppose I'll have to apply for one, given my recent track record.

I'm off to read their gear-guide to solar gadgets now. I might even dip into their "on the road special" 2-page spread about green cars, biofuel and Priuses.

How wrong can the weather forecasters be?

Posted by on May 15th 2007 in Annual Wildie, Great Escapes, Wildcamping

The forecast for our wildcamping weekend was a point for concern. All of the sources were telling us to expect shed-loads of rain, low temperatures and lightning. I'm happy to report that the forecasts were well wide of the mark. Friday afternoon was warm and sunny, the night was a bit rainy, Saturday started misty but soon cleared to a sunny day with a light breeze. A little overnight rain was soon dried out by glorious sunshine on Sunday morning. Because the forecasts had deterred a lot of walkers, for the main part we had the hills to ourselves. Excellent!

Details of our route are as follows:

    • Friday: Parked up outside the Police Station at the Glenridding Tourist Information Centre and bought a 48-hour ticket
    • Took the steamer "Raven" to Howtown
    • Bonscale Pike 1718ft
    • Overnight camp next to the Swarth Beck sheepfold
    • Saturday: Arthur's Pike 1747 ft
    • Loadpot Hill 2201ft
    • Wether Hill 2210ft
    • High Raise 2634ft
    • Rampsgill Head 2581ft
    • Kidsty Pike 2560ft
    • The Knott 2423ft
    • Satura Crag
    • Overnight camp on the shore of Angle Tarn
    • Sunday: Patterdale via Boardale Hause
    • Glenridding via lakeshore and roadside paths


We had intended to go up High Street, Rest Dodd and The Nab, but Chris was struggling with her breathing and we didn't want to risk her having problems with her asthma, so we dropped down and took things easy.

Suffice to say that we had a great time, apart from the tick menace (they were mostly small black beasties about 2mm across, but we saw a few evil-looking brown and red ones that were over 5mm across). We tested out some of our new kit, got sunburn, took far too many photos (over 240), saw lots of wildlife and had fantastic views in all directions.

My tally of "Wainwrights" is now 159 (not counting repeats), which leaves 55 still to do. This keeps me on course for breaking the record for the slowest ever "casual compleation" of the famous 214

I've whittled down the photo-stash to a paltry 82(!) which I'll stick in an online album somewhere. Here are a few to whet the appetite:


The head of Ullswater


Swarthbeck sheepfold - the pitch for the first night


Looking back down the High Street path


Thornthwaite Crag


Reeds and rocks at Angle Tarn


Angle Tarn in the morning light

Rab’s stunt-double arrives at BG Towers

Posted by on May 9th 2007 in Car stuff

The nice people who supply courtesy cars on behalf of my insurance provider phoned yesterday to say that they would be delivering a car of "similar size and performance" to Rab, my poorly Octavia vRS estate. "A Ford Mondeo" was what they said I would get. A few hours later, they turned up and handed me the keys to this:





I might just let the good people on OM know about this, seeing as they all like 4x4s 😉

Bacon Risotto

Posted by on May 7th 2007 in Dehydrating

Here’s a variation on that easy risotto recipe. The process is the same, it’s just the ingredients and the order of addition that have changed:

1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 stock cube
850ml / 1.5 pints boiling water
250g / 9 oz risotto rice (risotto, arborio, carnaroli are best, long-grain will do at a push but the results aren’t as good, any other rice just doesn’t work. I’ve been using dirt-cheap 10 oz packs of “Italiamo” Risotto Carnaroli bought from Lidl – these packs have extra bits of veg. etc. in them, to lend a bit of variety)
250g / 9 oz rindless bacon, cut into 1” pieces
1 large cupful of frozen peas
large knob of butter
1 pinch of salt (optional)
Some freshly-ground black pepper (optional)

Nuke it as follows:

Put the onion, the garlic, the stock cube and a ½ pint of boiling water in a large microwaveable bowl and stir well. Cover (cling-film is OK for this, or use a casserole dish with a lid) then microwave on High for 3 minutes.

Stir in the rice, the bacon and another ½ pint of boiling water, cover it again then microwave it on High for another 5 minutes, then stir it again, then nuke it for yet another 5 minutes.

Stir in the frozen peas and the last ½ pint of boiling water, cover it again then microwave it on High for another 4 minutes.

Check that the rice is cooked (nice and soft), if it isn’t, another 1 minute of cooking should sort it out.

Leave the bowl to stand for 1-2 minutes for the liquid to be absorbed, then stir in the butter. Add the salt and pepper if desired, and stir it all up.

Now weigh your creation and record the result.

You should dehydrate the food immediately to prevent bacterial growth in the rice. Drying usually takes about 8 hours.

When dry, weigh it again to calculate how much water has been lost, this is the amount that’s needed for rehydration.

After you’ve bagged it, freeze it. I divvy it up to make 3 or 4 bagged meals.

Rab’s got a bit of a headache!

Posted by on May 7th 2007 in Car stuff

Rab (the Red-Arsed Bas***d) got seriously injured today when somebody reversed into him while waiting to park at Go Outdoors, Coventry. Me and Ella were a bit shook up but otherwise unharmed, as were the occupants of the impacting vehicle. Not exactly what I needed when I'm off wildcamping next weekend - let's just hope that the courtesy-car arrives in good time.

Here are a few pics for all you car-haters to gloat over:




Another a**hole with more money than brains

For your viewing pleasure: One New Landrover Discovery, cherished registration W222SJM, grey, parked across the pavement and blocking access to my driveway. Apparently, if you've got enough dosh, you can be exempted from the provisions of the Highway Code.

Being a good citizen of the realm, I've sent pics and a report to the local police.


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