|Beautiful morning in Lathkill Dale, Peak District National Park|
Currently, I’m busy beavering away on my PC editing videos – ranging from the usual Peak District town/villages, holiday cottages, landscapes and even one for the Peak District National Park Authority. March has been a helluva hectic month for me and April doesn’t look like it will be any less different on that front so far.
Nevertheless, I’ve had a great time seeing new sights, meeting new and interesting people along with pleasurable camps out on the hills.
A particularly memorable one was spent amongst the crags of a well known limestone gorge in the White Peak – the air was still and warm, the sky was clear and glowing pink from a distant setting sun. Hares and rabbits wondered close by, dippers bobbed along the river below, cock pheasants called to mate and even a peregrine falcon nested opposite me flew around shrieking away as they do.
Quite simply, it was wonderful. Perfect even. It made for a very charming scene that only a wild camp can bring.
|Terra Nova Solar Competition 1 on White Edge
– you can just see my video camera filming the sunset
The Terra Nova Solar Competition 1 tent I’m testing continues to surprise – it’s really grown on me and it’s got to the stage where I’d happily buy one. It’s roomy, quick to pitch and very strong. I have my quibbles with it, mind – but more of that in the coming weeks via a thorough review.
Rab have sent me some other gear to try out – the Neutrino 400 down sleeping bag, and a couple of wind shirts (Nimbus and Cirrus). The sleeping bag packs down next to nothing, weighs little over 800g’s yet is fully featured with a comfort rating of -4c. Not bad, eh? And the wind shirts are exceptionally light (as they should be) and can be compressed to the size of a small tennis ball.
|Rab Cirrus, Nimbus windtops and the Neutrino 400 sleeping bag|
They shed the rain very very well as I discovered one wet day meandering through Wolfscote Dale.
And talking of kit – I’ve accepted to try out gear from Millets the outdoors store. Yes, you read that right!
Specifically, their own Eurohike and Peter Storm products. The reason? Because I think it’s good to bring balance to thoughts and opinions on gear.
After all, budget gear can be great value for money and perform as well as some of the bigger brands on occasion. I’m interested in seeing how they’ve improved their designs and materials when compared to my early ‘outdoor’ adventures – which was all I could afford and quite relevant in these austere times.
And on top of that, I’d like to show ‘newbies’ to backpacking that they don’t have to cut off their right arm to get hold of gear that performs. Granted, there will be some compromises – but that’s how life is anyway, isn’t it?
Which leads me to the following video – featuring AlpJim from the aforementioned company showcasing their new range of tents (including a mention of a backpacking range to be launched next summer):
And here’s another video, providing a tiny glimpse into what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks:
You’ll note the many faces which appear in this video (and there’s more) – they include Shirley Allen Jackson a Community Champion from the suburbs of Sheffield, Robert Gosling a dairy farmer from near Parwich in the White Peak, Jon Stewart from English Nature, Lesley Savage a community volunteer and David James Chief Executive from Visit Peak District tourist board – all interviewed with the intention of expressing their thoughts and opinions of the Peak Park Authority’s new management plan.
Local businesses are represented by Michael Shuttleworth of Hathersage Hall and Jim Harrison from the Thornbridge Brewery near Bakewell – so, quite a varied selection of folk talking about what the Peak District means to them and where they hope the park authority can guide the area in the coming years.
It’s proved to be an insightful, inspiring and interesting project to work on – so, we’ll see how the final video goes. It’s one I hope will maintain interest and have ‘my stamp’ all over it.
|Exped Synmat 7 – buckling under pressure after just 3 months regular use!|
Just recently I’ve experienced a fault with my Exped Synmat 7 mattress – one evening I noted a loud pop. I looked around thinking I may have inadverdently punctured the bed but saw nothing of concern. It was only on the following nights use that I noted one of the inflatable tubes had buckled and it got worst for the rest of my trip.
Fortunately, Exped have speedily sent me a replacement (within 5 days) and apologised for any inconvenience caused – impressive customer service courtesy of George Fishers in Keswick, Cumbria. It’s a cracking mat and though there is a weight and bulk penalty to using it – I just cannot resist taking the mat everywhere I go. It’s so damn comfy and warm!
And finally, I’ve been seeking ways of improving the food I consume on my regular trips out. Freeze dried food is too costly for me, now and I’m not keen on Wayfarer boil in the bag meals due to their bulk and weight.
I’ve tried coming up with products/meals that are cheap, nutritious and light as possible – more of which in another blogpost (I think I’ve come up with some winners but if you have any tips or advice, do feel free to let me know!).
So, on that note I’ll sign off and go back to cutting video and then afterwards read a wonderful book I’ve purchased concerning the geology of the Peak District – a bloody fascinating read as it happens!