Only 11 days to go for my Coast to Coast (C2C) walk now and so with that in mind I paid the Peak District a visit at the weekend. The aim of this trip was to get the muscle memory kicking in for the long walks ahead and to fine tune my gear selection. And it proved to be a successful mission.
I chose to take my Berghaus Anateus 45 litre pack and some other gear which would bump the weight up on my back. In effect simulating the weight I’m likely to encounter on the first few long days of my C2C.
Fortunately the weather was superb so through the pain I got some pleasure too with the wonderful scenery. With blue skies and sunshine the high peak moorland plateaus are not so bleak as some would suggest. I decided to walk the Kinder Scout circuit starting and finishing at Edale. I figured the rough terrain on the northern edges would be a good test of my stamina even though the walk was only a total of about 17 miles.
Nevertheless, it proved to be tiring but my body coped with it well and along with the scenic delights I learnt some valuable lessons along the way of which a few surprised me.
I arrived on Friday with my friend Geoff to dimming skies as the sunset and the clock ticked down. The air was hazy but cool and despite the glorious weather that day it turned out to very chilly on the higher peaks. After pitching our tents in the dark we settled down to some food and a couple of drinks. Despite a breeze and the chilly temperatures we relaxed and enjoyed the night sky with not a aircraft in sight. No engine noise or flashing lights. It was humbling to see the night sky with so little of man’s interference – well, bar the odd satellite passing over and distant urban light pollution.
The temperature dropped to about 1 degree and so this was going to be a good test for my Rab Top Bag AR I was sleeping in. The set up I mentioned in a previous thread worked a treat but I did wake once or twice in the night with cold spots. It was not of major concern once I made a hot water bottle with a spare hydration bladder but it did make me think – I’m gonna need a good night’s sleep on the C2C so for the following nights camp I was going to use a silk liner to oomph the down bag’s comfort rating.
We awoke to a splendid sunrise at about 5.30am. Personally, it looked no different to any other sunrise I’ve seen on previous wild camps. I say this due to reports in the media about spectacular sunsets and the like as a result of the volcanic ash high up in the atmosphere. Either way, we had some coffee and a chit chat and packed up to set off by 7.45am. Geoff could only make the one night and wasn’t feeling too clever and made his own way back down for home leaving me to circumnavigation of the Kinder plateau.
I chose to do the route clockwise given where I initially spent the night and out walking this early proved to be a joy! I saw only two other people on my way to Kinder Downfall. A lovely couple had set off early to get high and enjoy the sunrise. Fair play to them – was worth the effort I’d say.
I took stock of my time and speed as I took a break by Kinder Downfall. The pace was steady, I was so far comfortable with my pack but very thirsty in the warming air. So, I collected some water from the River Kinder – or what was running of it – and headed onwards to the northern fringes.
It was along this side of the mountain I began to feel the weight on my back. Sure, the terrain is rough but it seemed more than that. I was feeling quite lethargic and it concerned me. I made sure I topped up on snacks for energy and ensured I stayed cool so I took a break near Fairbrook Naze.
It was hear I spent a number of minutes drinking lots of water. I drank about a litre and within minutes of setting off again I felt like I had all the energy in the world! So, I suppose I wasn’t drinking enough water – of course hydration can lead to poor muscle performance but I never really noticed it before. Perhaps the surprising lack of water on Kinder was a factor but after that I surmised that I’m going to need to use a hydration bladder with drinking tube on the C2C. So, I can drink on the go and be encouraged to drink on the go without feeling pressured to stop and reach for my drinking bottle (Travel Tap).
However, a handy clean water source is not something that will be to hand on the C2C so I’m going to invest in a in-line water treatment unit. Like this: Aquaguard
I finally reached Ringing Roger with time to spare for my final night’s camp but there was still quite a few folk about so I made the decision to have a relaxing wonder on the moors. It was around this area east of Ringing Roger that I stumbled across a humbling sight.
It was the wreck of a Halifax bomber that crashed into the moor in 1943 with only two survivors. There were some crosses and poppies scattered about and a small sign informing of the crash site and some remembrance notes.
I sat there for a few moments and reflected on the sacrifices made in the last great war and paid my own respects to the poor souls who lost their lives here on Kinder.
All around me was a featureless landscape of bog, swamp, grough and heather – a place where things are easily forgotten. Where time passes by and hardly anything changes. And here lay the remains of this craft from a time in our nations history that left it’s mark everywhere – including here on Kinder Scout.
Fortunately, the crowds soon dispersed from the moor’s edges and headed down for the evening and so I sought a pitch for the night.
I soon got camp set up and settled when I thought about the pack I was using for the C2C – my Osprey Talon 44.
It’s a fantastic pack, in fact it’s one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of using but when it comes to a bit of weight on your back and lugging that about for miles and miles then I find the straps can dig in painfully on the shoulders.
Given how comfortable I was on this day with my Berghaus Anateus, I’ve now decided I’m going to use this rucksack instead. It’s a bag that I’ve owned for a few years and tend to use only in the winter. It only weighs 300g’s or so more than my Osprey Talon but is on reflection a lot more comfortable over long distances.
I’ve even considered using my North Face Tadpole tent instead of my Laser Competition (LC)! Just for the extra room and quick set up. But that would be unnecessary. The LC packs down a helluva lot smaller and of course weighs over 50% less.
So, as the sun went down I took stock on the things I learnt on this final run out before the C2C. One of which is mental strength. On some legs the walking will be more than 25 miles. So, me and Eion will need to be focused and take each day as it comes.
Lots to consider.
Food for energy, regular intake of water, a steady pace and a decent night’s kip for recovery – all these aspects I’ve had to be mindful of on previous trips out and of course this one. From purchasing gear to even replacing one’s I thought were a given I’d be taking – the practice has I hoped got me to the stage of where it will be perfect. Perfect given the journey, for me and the whole experience.
I’m genuinely excited now. I was a little apprehensive before namely because of some of the routes I’ve planned. But now as the trip nears my enthusiasm for it has gone up a few notches. Even the bit’s I’m wary of I’m eager to tackle head on.
Bring on the 30th April!
To view more photo’s from my recent trip click on the following link: