Posts tagged 'The Outdoor Warehouse'

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Coniston Meet – Sunday

Posted by on December 18th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

Sunday morning dawned bright and frosty but without any overnight snow. The area around the hostel was picturesque in the morning light:

 

Looking towards Dixon Ground

 

Far End cottages

 

We were soon breakfasted, packed and away to Dunmail Raise - we had limited time for Wainwright-bagging as Frank wanted to go to the Montane sale in Ambleside and then to The Outdoor Warehouse sale in Windermere. We would only have time for one top, so we opted for Seat Sandal. Managing to get to the top of that one would be good for me - twice before, I'd sweated up Raise Beck only to be held back by reluctant friends or relations. Third time lucky, I figured.

We opted for the direct and steeper ascent up the West Ridge, reserving the Raise Beck route for the descent. Being in the open meant that the views were much better than what was on offer along the beck:

 

Moraines on Dunmail Raise

 

Thirlmere with Skiddaw in the distance

 

On the way up I was faffing with the camera and Frank had got well ahead. In my efforts to catch up I slipped on a patch of iced grass and landed on my knee. It didn't feel too bad at first so I ignored it, but after a while it started to give me hassle. I popped a couple of Ibuprofens which reduced the pain but the joint just wasn't acting right so I strapped it up and carried on. Common-sense said that I should bail after phoning Frank, but I wasn't going to fail on this mountain again. With much use of the "f", "b" and "c" words, I got beyond the break in the slope and managed to limp stop-start up the easy ground to the top.  Frank must have been waiting in the shelter of the wall for half an hour when I hobbled into view:

 

From the top of Seat Sandal

 

At the wall I popped a couple more pills and had a breather until I felt better. After a snack and a brew I managed to get a few pics before and during the knee-crunching descent northwards to Grisedale Tarn:

 

Fairfield and St. Sunday Crag

 

Dollywaggon Pike and the ridge to Helvellyn

 

Alcock Tarn, Grasmere, Coniston Water, Esthwaite Water and hints of Windermere and Morecambe Bay

 

Around Grisedale Tarn

 

After reaching the top of Raise Beck and having another few minutes to allow the knee to recover, we pushed on down the icy path back to the cars, stopping only to take a few (poor) pics of some of the cascades:

 

Upper cascades

 

Lower cascades

 

After we'd got ourselves sorted at the cars we nipped off to Ambleside so that Frank could have a look in the Montane sale. There was plenty of nice discounted kit in there but we resisted the urge to buy. The same couldn't be said of our visit to The Outdoor Warehouse in Windermere though, where Frank brought forth and wielded his wallet for the purposes of Christmas-pressie shopping.

After that, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Aside from a few miles of dodgy traffic on the M6, there was no more excitement. The knee now seems to be sorted, I expected it to be a problem for a few more days but I'm happy to report that I was wrong.

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Coniston Meet – Friday and Saturday

Posted by on December 15th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

I'd started out a couple of hours earlier than usual which meant that I had time to call in at Windermere to do a bit of Christmas shopping. While walking the town I got quite a shock when I saw that the shop-front of The Outdoor Warehouse was plastered with "Closing Down" and "Sale" banners. Despite my solemn oath to stay out of such places, I had to go in and find out what the story was. Turns out that they're closing down the shop early in the New Year but they're going to continue as an online retailer. I suppose it's a good move financially, but it does mean that there'll be one less place to actually get hands on quality kit before deciding about buying it. If you're in the market for some seriously-reduced gear, I'd recommend a look in there before it's too late. They had a good selection of half-price down-filled jackets on display, including much stuff that's not on their website.

After that I made my way to Coniston, stopping occasionally to take pics from the roadside:

 

Looking towards Skelwith Fold and Black Crag

 

I arrived at YHA Coniston Holly How mid-afternoon, took my gear in, made a brew and sat reading in the lounge. After a while Frank arrived with the news that Mike was ill and wouldn't be arriving on Saturday morning as per his original intention. As we already knew that the other two invited folk couldn't attend, we went to The Crown ASAP and planned accordingly. It wasn't going to be a weekend of serious snow-play  - temperatures were on the rise and a thaw had set in. Frank's prime objective was to climb an in-condition gully, I wanted to bag a few "undone" Wainwrights and christen my snooshows, neither of us would get what we wanted. Over a fine pub-meal we played with the options before heading back and bunking down for the night.

Bright and early next morning we were up, breakfasted and parked up in the quarry car-park on the Walna Scar Road below Timley Knott. The sun was out and there was hardly any snow visible on The Old Man of Coniston:

 

The Old Man

 

After seeing the conditions, it was obvious that crampons and axes wouldn't be required and that there was no chance of a gully-climb. We lightened our packs and headed North with the intention of taking the popular quarry-path to The Old Man's summit. There were plenty of photo-opportunities on the way up:

 

Panorama - The Old Man to The Yewdale Fells

 

Looking back to the quarry car-park

 

A lonely tree overlooks the path

 

The Old Man - gnarled, craggy and weathered
The mountain also looks like that
🙂

 

YHA Coniston Coppermines from The Bell

 

Another look back to the quarry car-park

 

Quarries below Sweeten Crag

 

At the crossroads we turned left and headed up the track towards Low Water. There was evidence that others had been this way before us:

 

We never found the matching Therm-a-Rest 🙂

 

We paused for a cuppa at a convenient place and went off to investigate the relics of a long-gone industry:

 

Quarry buildings

 

More quarry buildings

 

How are the mighty fallen

 

Inside one of the quarries

 

A short while later we were on the track above a thawing Low Water. One look at the gullies justified our decision to leave the pointy metalwork in the car:

 

Low Water

 

Low Water again

 

From there it was a short pull up snow-filled tracks and crag towards the busy summit. There were more photo-opportunities:

 

The final stretch

 

Coniston Water and distant clouds over North Wales

 

The summit was a busy place so I wandered off to take some pics while Frank took shelter for a snack-break. There was much to see:

 

There were poppies tucked into the cairn - poignant reminders of folk that no longer walk these fells

 

Looking towards the Scafell range

 

An old survey mark carved into a rock in the plinth of the cairn.

 

The trig-column and the summit cairn

 

The Dow Crag ridge

 

From there, we headed off towards Brim Fell. Here's me, pausing during the easy stroll:

 

Still refusing to wear a hat despite the lack of natural insulation up-top

 

Looking back at The Old Man from Brim Fell summit

 

Brim Fell cairn and another view of the Scafell range

 

From there we headed down to a snowy and busy Goat's Hawse:

 

Goat's Water

 

We paused alongside Goat's Water for a while, there was much to see, do and discuss:

 

Dow Crag's magnificent rocky architecture

 

Ice on Goat's Water

 

Impact on ice on Goat's Water

 

Light on ice, water and rock

 

From there it was a simple walk back to the car. We discussed much on the way down, not least the fact that the absent Mike was supposed to be providing a hearty chilli for the evening meal. Frank's selection of cheeses and my Chicken Tikka bites with Tempura Prawns weren't going to be enough...

After we'd got ourselves sorted at the hostel we headed off to the village shop in search of ingredients. Fish, rice and onions were liberated from the Co-op. The fish needed time to defrost so we took it into a warm pub for an hour or so, as you do. After suitable rehydration we went back to the hostel to concoct our evening meal - the prawns made a decent starter, Frank's rice, fish and chicken dish was good and the bread-pudding with custard and caramel was indeed as stodgy and filling as ever. The bottle of red went down well too while we set the world to rights before turning in for the night.

To be continued...

A couple of days at Buttermere – Part 2 – Rained off

Posted by on October 31st 2010 in Car stuff, Great Escapes, Shiny new kit, YHA

It rained nearly all night and the Saturday morning was looking grim. The only folk determined to go out and hit the fell-tops were members of a group of charity walkers who we'd been talking with the previous evening and who were attempting a one-day ten-peak fund-raising epic from Gatesgarth Farm to Stool End. By the time we were up and about they were long gone. We chatted with one of their support crew who said that they'd left loads of excess supplies in the kitchen for us, so we dipped in and chose a few items and left the rest for those that came after. I've just visited their JustGiving page and it says that they had to abandon their challenge due to bad weather, in a sad way that justifies our decision to keep our kids off the fells that day.

 

A final look at the hostel

 

After another fine breakfast we packed the cars and headed up to Newlands Hause just in case anybody had a change of heart and fancied a quick jaunt up High Snockrigg, but there were no takers so we took a few pics and headed into Keswick for a mooch around:

 

Moss Force

 

Keskadale

 

We opted for an hour or so at The Bond Museum - this turned out to be much better than we'd expected. Click the following pic to open more pics in the lightbox:

 

Gotta get me one of these

After that we did a bit of gift-shopping, had a tea-break and browsed the wares on display at the market, but the draw of the clackysticks on offer at The Outdoor Warehouse in Windermere was too strong. We left Keswick and, after stopping for a picnic lunch at a spot overlooking Thirlmere, we hauled into the shop's car-park and headed in to do the deed. From then on we were homeward bound.

I solemnly swear to stay out of gear-shops for the rest of the year

Posted by on October 24th 2010 in New tricks for an old dog, Shiny new kit

Despite being a fairly-well-balanced biped I figured that I'd need some outriggers while pootling about with the new snooshows.

After a discussion of my needs with the guys at The Outdoor Warehouse in Windermere, I spent the next couple of days considering the options.

Two days later I returned, reconsidered the options and bought these slimline clackysticks:

Mountain King Trail Blaze Poles

Yes, I know that they're meant for "fast & light" use rather than "slow & middle-age-spread" crawlers like me, and I'd read PTC*'s report stating that "snowshoeing made them nervous". Nevertheless, seeing as they are going to be used more for balance than for weight-bearing or Nordic strolling, and that I'm no heavyweight and thus I'm unlikely to overload them, we all figured that they might fit the bill as well as any of the others on offer.

The nice lad behind the counter even allowed himself to be talked into chucking in a pair of Leki Snow Baskets for free, and declined my offer to let him keep the original baskets that I'll have no use for as I'll not be using these clackysticks to annoy people while doing general fell-walking.

I'll let you know how the sticks fare after I've had a chance to make them nervous myself. Whether the report will be posted from home after a successful deployment, or from hospital during recovery from broken ankles and/or frostbite, only time will tell.

A long weekend around Windermere – Part 2 – Two waterfalls

Posted by on April 6th 2010 in Bargains, Great Escapes, Shiny new kit, YHA

Compared to the previous day of constantly overcast but dry weather, Saturday started out as a mixed bag of interspersed drizzle and dry sunny spells. We decided that we were going to have an easier day, and a visit to some waterfalls seemed to fit the bill nicely. A study of the map and a recommendation from a fellow hosteller resulted in us deciding to go to Skelwith Force, followed by a gentle walk along part of the Cumbria Way to Colwith Force.

I won't bore you with a step-by-step text analysis, you can just have the pics instead. Suffice to say that it was a fine morning walk enjoyed by all.

On the flat rocks at Skelwith Force

Skelwith Force

Near Park House

Near Park Farm


Colwith Force

Staying away from the edge

Colwith Force again

Above Colwith Force

A tributary of Colwith Beck

 

After returning to the cars we spent the rest of the afternoon in Ambleside, as it was necessary to buy gifts for folk back home. We scoured The Mountain Factor, The Climber's Shop, Cunninghams, Gaynors and the like, looking for some good-quality bargain three-season boots for Ella, but to no avail. Needless to say we steered well clear of F***d and T**k. They may well have actually had what we wanted at 99% discount, but we wouldn't have given them the time of day, let alone the cash. We ended up buying a couple of cheap sledges instead, and the others bought Buffs.

Back at the hostel we did the quick wash/change routine and soon were back outside, this time heading for Windermere, searching for somewhere to eat. Most places were either closed or full, but we found The Elleray to be practically empty so getting a table for eight wasn't a problem. The place was brilliant - there was a good choice, servings were vast and the prices were seriously low, to the point where we thought that they'd made a mistake with the bill. The staff were very kid-friendly, supplying our youngest three with crayons and huge colouring-books to use and take home. The place was packed out within an hour, with folk waiting for tables, so I guess that we'd just dropped lucky.

Back at the hostel again and it was time for the kids to chill before they went to bed:

The Hostel

DS time


Story time


We adults managed some beers and chinwagging for a few hours before retiring to our micro-rooms.

On Sunday our friends had to leave straight away to visit relatives, but we had another morning to enjoy before heading home. The intent was to park up near Hird Wood on the Kirkstone Road and to walk the short distance up Troutbeck Tongue, but heavy rain in the night had made the route a complete mudbath and had made the stream too dangerous for the kids to cross safely. A quick change of plan saw us spend a few minutes in the car-park at the top of the pass, and then detour to Ambleside via The Struggle. The scenery was awesome, according to the kids, but the camera had been packed away so I took no pictures of the snowy landscapes. We carried on to Windermere where I pulled into the small car-park outside The Outdoor Warehouse - by strange coincidence our friends' car was already there. The shop wasn't open yet, so we decided to wait, just in case they had any suitable boots for Ella.

Well, I needn't have doubted. Charlie and Jon opened up the shop for us and we headed for the boots. I saw their AKU display and then saw the sale prices on their clearance lines, and I knew that we'd struck gold. Ella tried on some discontinued Croda GTXs (half-price at £87.50) and fell for them instantly. Despite her enthusiasm, Jon insisted that she wandered the shop in them for a decent amount of time, just to be sure that they really did fit properly and feel comfy.

Ella's Croda GTXs

 

While this went on, I had a good mooch around the other wonderful stuff on display, refraining from investing in another Rab VapourRise jacket, and discussing Podcast Bob's Honey Stove, of which a fair few were on prominent display in the shop-windows. When Ella was sorted, I was asked why I was looking so envious. I had to explain that I'd been after a pair of AKUs for ages but could never justify the expense. I was led back into the boot-room where I was "persuaded" to try on some discontinued Edge GTXs, (again at half-price, this time at £80) but they really didn't suit my feet, and besides that I don't really need another pair of B2- or B3-rated boots - the Scarpa Freney Pros that I have will outlast me at the current wear-rate. They (my family) then cajoled me into trying the mens version of the Croda GTX, and I just had to buy them in order to stop them all nagging at me...

 

My Croda GTXs (bought under extreme duress)

So, if you're after some discounted AKUs, have a look at what the guys at The Outdoor Warehouse have to offer. When we were there they still had a good range of sizes (and half-sizes) and colours for quite a few discontinued models in the range. If you're into Marmot kit, they have some good 60%-off deals on "sample" garments too. Go see - online if you have to, but preferably in person, as Charlie and Jon are great guys to talk to.

There, I'll bet that wasn't the ending that you were expecting, eh? BG! buys something hi-tech and lightweight, but not "Jessiehiker". Ooda thunkit!

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