Barefoot Aleks looks forward to coming home
Ed Leigh and International Rescue
UNDISCOVERED PLACES TO PLAY IN SHROPSHIRE, THE NORTH PENNINES AND HEREFORDSHIRE.
FI N D I N G
N E A R B Y
ISSUE 04: OUTPOST BY ALPKIT. SPRING 2017.
Finding Far Away Nearby
You don’t need time off, long journeys, deep pockets or fancy plans to embrace far away. Every mile you move from the familiar allows you to open your eyes wider and start dancing to the beat of a different drum. Armed with tip top gear of course, just enough naivety and hope we set off to find three less trodden places to play. The areas we visited aren’t in the national parks. They’re located within the boundaries of
three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty which are dotted throughout the UK. If you’re stuck, these are a great starting point. And our willingness to ask dumb questions and lean on local knowledge meant that we got to experience very quiet and special backyards. We visited Symonds Yat in Herefordshire, Long Mynd in Shropshire and Cross Fell in Cumbria. Great escapes without the long haul.
24HRS ON CROSS FELL
Neither of us said it out loud, but our collective pace was a sign that we were both in agreement – it was time to get off the hill. It’s across the tops of the cheeks that I felt it most – the almost metallic sting of the Helm Wind – brutally attacking the one bit of me not wrapped under layers of protective kit. France has the Mistral, North Africa has the Sirocco and Northern England has the Helm Wind – an easterly which blows relentlessly across the Northern Pennines and in particular Cross Fell, the highest point on the Pennines. Yesterday the mountain had been completely different. The sun had woken from its winter stupor and proudly shone through the trees. The usually deserted tiny car park had been full of happy, surprised walkers and landscape photographers, eager to take advantage. Our destination was Greg’s Hut, a bothy which, sitting on the 700m contour line, is the highest one in England. But first we wanted to bag the summit. On the way up we passed a local, well into his late 70s, methodically and happily trudging up the path in the sun – a weekly walk apparently. “I go two-thirds of the way whatever the weather, then back down to meet my wife for cake”. The locals here are made of granite.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE “Dufton village is a good base for exploring cross fell. There’s an 18th century inn and a YHA. High Cup Nick is another classic British hill walk if you have an extra day. But do not leave without trying the cumberland sausage!” Luke D, Eden Valley local lad
At just seventy feet shy of three thousand, the top of Cross Fell is treeless, desolate, flat topped, utterly beautiful, and on our visit bitterly, bitterly cold. The final few hundred feet to the summit was the Helm Wind’s territory – a place very different to the gentle path beneath. We tried to eat
Ronnie, Gabe and Luke used: Filoment Down filled vest £90 Griffon Hooded grid fleece jacket £35 Gravitas Waterproof jacket £140 Gourdon 30 Waterproof rucksack £38 Phantac Down filled jacket £195
Definition 3 layer waterproof jacket £210 Koro Remote canister gas stove £48 MytiStax Nested titanium cooking pot set £55 Qark Lightweight 300 lumen rechargeable head torch £36 OUTPOST 5
a late lunch sheltering behind the drystone summit shelter, but our fingers went quickly numb out of gloves – it was time to find the bothy.
Hat tipped to The Mountain Bothy Association who should be loudly applauded for the work they do keeping these vital facilities in good repair and available for anybody who needs shelter for the night. mountainbothies.org.uk/make_a_donation.asp
We’d tried to pack as light as possible. But caution got the better of us and we were carrying a bit of firewood. The weather continued to deteriorate rapidly and our first glimpse of the bothy sitting stoically in the gloom was a welcome sight. A candle flickering in the small window announced it was occupied. Our local friend Luke, an occasional fell-runner, had arrived half an hour earlier, and had got the little wood burner gloriously roaring away with the provided coal, which he had assured us would be there. We sheepishly didn’t mention the wood in our packs. Such solitude and isolation strips everything quickly away. No electricity, no digital pings, bleeps or distractions. Shelter, food, heat, water. Sometimes it’s all you need. It was good to just talk without intermittently staring at our phones. We cooked, ate and drank a little. Why does whisky taste better in bothies?
Luke in the new Gravitas Jacket
The next morning the fire had gone out and getting out of our warm bags took some time. All the water we’d left in the bothy’s second room had frozen overnight. We quickly lit stoves and made coffee to help us get going in the cold. Yesterday’s happy sunsoaked mountain had been replaced by a more familiar angry grey one. Thick cold cloud gripped the fell. I was a bit jealous of Luke as he bounded away in his lightweight gear – his local nous would have him down in no time. Encased in waterproofs, heads down, we battled the annoyingly persistent wind along a trail of cairns towards the Eden Valley before eventually emerging below the cloud.
Ronnie carrying Custom El Burro UK-made rucksack Gabe carrying Ledge 35L part of a range of all new rucksacks All coming soon
Turning right off the M6 where we normally turn left for the Lakes had been worth it. The fells in this part of Cumbria are another world, as desolate and wild as anywhere in England. READ MORE alpkit.com/spotlight/ tale-of-two-mountains
We used: 1.Definition Women’s stormproof jacket £210 2. Qark Headtorch £36 3. Filoment Vest Women’s rds hydrophobic down gilet £90 4. Parallax Men’s waterproof trousers £60
5. Filoment Hoody Men’s rds hydrophobic hooded down jacket £130 6. CarbonLite Poles (Pair) Trekking poles £28 7. Trekkers Midweight walking sock £12 8. Ledge 35L development prototype pack
9. Fuego Beanie £10
14. Airlok Lightweight dry bag 2/4/8L £8.50/£9/£10
10. Kepler Beanie Merino beanie £19 11. Griffon Hooded grid fleece jacket £35 12. Balance Men’s waterproof jacket £175 13. Glowe Compact camping lantern £17
15. Chilkoot Men’s softshell trousers £60 16. Swig Bottle Drinks bottle £5
19. Forestia Meal Pouch Tasty and convenient meal in a pouch £6
22. Kepler Short Sleeve Women’s pure merino baselayer £35
20. Lightweight Back Packing Camp Cook Set Stove, pan set and windshield £69
23. PipeDream 600 HD Down sleeping bag £250
21. Kepler Short Sleeve Men’s pure merino baselayer £35
17. Kelvin Titanium drinking mug £19 18. Extreme Foods Breakfasts £5
24. Cloud Base Inflatable sleeping mat £50
25. Tippla Stainless steel hip flask £16
24 22 25
21 23 OUTPOST 7
JAMIE Favourite cake? Carrot Cake. Outdoor activity preference? Hiking/Snowboarding. Favourite Alpkit product? Sleeping Bags. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time? I love to cook. If you ruled the world, what would you change on Day 1? Introduce a 3 day weekend... What would be your alterego? Somebody over 6ft tall.
Favourite cake? Lemon drizzle. Outdoor activity preference? Climbing, although becoming more enamored by biking now we have so many shiny bikes around. Favourite Alpkit product? Gravitas. It was a close call between that and my Filo which I wear for most of the year. What would be your alterego? I would be a snowboarding wizard who moonlights as a mathematical genius using her skills in Vegas casinos. What would people never guess you do in your role? Drawing cartoon dinosaurs, doing yoga on Dirtbags. Your climbing/biking/boarding project/ambition Climb F8a and trad E6 – although on a smaller scale, I want to climb Debauchery, High Tor and A Dream of White Horses, Gogarth. Cycle the Great Divide and run the TransAlpine route.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT HEROES Don’t be a stranger. Talk to us, we love it. And we’re outdoor nuts too so tell us about your plans, hopes and dreams – well not those dreams obviously, we are at work, sort of.
Favourite cake? Croissant. Outdoor activity preference? Maybe running, maybe climbing. Favourite Alpkit product? Phantac – I hate being cold. Most heroic act? Anything in Scottish winter feels heroic. Can you play any instruments? Saxophone and clarinet. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? Sitting in a hot tub after an 18 hour day in the Lakes.
Favourite cake? Any! As long as it’s not fruit cake. Outdoor activity preference? Bit of swimming, bit of cycling, bit of sailing, bit of skiing. Favourite Alpkit product? Filo, toasty warm! What are three things still left on your bucket list? Go to Canada, get a dog, go lots and lots of places in the van. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? Last week, one of my dad’s jokes. If you ruled the world, what would you change on Day 1? Mandatory siestas.
Favourite cake? Lemon Drizzle/the nearest one. Outdoor activity preference? Climbing. Favourite Alpkit product? 0Hiro. What is the one thing that should be taught in school that isn’t already? How to make a good gin and tonic. Your climbing/biking/boarding project/ambition? Grit wizardry. What would people never guess you do in your role? Put up tents. A lot.
REWRITING THE RULES OF FAST AND FUN
Dan and Neil put the Transmitter Carbon through its paces
EVERYONE HAS A STORY
Sonder Transmitter Carbon Long wheel base, slack head tube, low belly and room for plus size tyres. The Carbon Transmitter is the natural evolution of our original alloy version, designed for aggressive trail riding. We've tweaked it a little and have extended the reach to keep things stable at higher speeds and we’ve shortened the seat tube length to allow longer drop seat posts and give better stand over clearance. Sektor NX1 £1499, Yari NX1 £1749, Yari GX1 £2149, Pike GX1 £2349 Alpkit.com/sonder
DARING DEEDS REAL STORIES, EXPEDITIONS, ROAD TRIPS AND ADVENTURE. alpkit.com/deeds
REDISCOVERING HOME BAREFOOT ALEKS, RUNNING EUROPE NORTH TO SOUTH, LOOKS FORWARD TO SEEING THE UK AGAIN WITH FRESH EYES Koulin Trail tights £19
How often do you ignore the common placed, your normal surroundings, the small and inconspicuous, for the grand and exotic?
We all do it at some point. We ignore what’s right on our doorstep in favour of far away. We say how incredible it is, how glorious the weather, terrain and views are. With that said, how often do you go somewhere common Balance placed? For the sake of argument, let’s say Kinder Scout Waterproof jacket £175 in the Peak District, and then find new ways to reach the top of the plateau? There are secrets hidden in the Gourdon 25 Waterproof back pack most visited of places that we miss just because we £35 follow the path that has been set by others. We don’t MytiMug 650 think it’s worth visiting them more than once and miss Titanium cooking mug out on learning the true sense of the place we visit. £29 Romanticism aside, ignoring the tourist route, the path most trodden is the way to really find out what a place has to offer. When younger, I would climb through fences, over walls and pretend I was an explorer. Stepping where no one “How often do you had stepped before and in most cases wander off the beaten I wasn’t far off that. I would climb trees, survey the land and decide which way I’m track and explore? How going on a whim – the sense of discovery often to do you turn the was great. It somehow really makes a place ordinary outing into a feel special and it’s something I still love to mini adventure?” do. I will follow the trail and then suddenly decide I want to explore. A new route where Kepler Merino long sleeve £45
there is no path. Suddenly the landscape is different. I see it with brand new eyes. The eyes of that same child who pretended to be exploring a land new to man. So... How often do you wander off the beaten track and explore? How often to do you turn the ordinary outing into a mini adventure? How often do you stand, look, grin and feel like a kid again, filled with a sense of awe at the landscape around you? The challenge is to do this on your own neighbourhood. Finding those places that make you say ‘I’ve been here so many times but I’ve never seen this before’. Right now, as I’m reaching the last month or so of my run across Europe, I’m wanting to be back in the U.K., exploring its amazing landscape in different ways. Not just running but scrambling, gorge walking, cycling, climbing and maybe even swimming to find all those spots I’ve never noticed before and seeing the familiar with new eyes. Maybe this is the greatest challenge. Try to find fifty-two new routes in the places you believe you know. That would be just one for each week of the year. And it would be a year of riches. READ MORE alpkit.com/deeds/dreaming-of-home
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY THE Come and see us as we tour the country through 2017. Here’s a list of some of the bigger events we’ll be showing our goodies at. We shall also be running and attending smaller events through the year. So keep a watch out on alpkit.com/events or sign up to our newsletter for regular updates.
LONDON BIKE AND OUTDOOR SHOW 16-19th February 2017 SHAFF 17-19th March 2017 MTB MARATHON SERIES Round 1 8-9th April 2017, Builth Wells Round 2 28th May 2017, Wantage, Oxford Round 3 9th July 2017, Exmoor Round 4 2-3rd September 2017, Hope Valley, Derbyshire DIRTY REIVER – KIELDER FOREST 21-23rd April 2017 WELSH RIDE THING 29th April-1st May 2017 BANTHAM SWOOSH 24th June 2017 NORTHERN GRIT 8th July 2017 DART 10K 9th September 2017 THE BIG SHAKEOUT 2017 22-24th September 2017 KENDAL MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL 16-19th November 2017
THE MOST AXE THROWING, BIKE FIXING, YOGA TEACHING, MUSIC PLAYING, BEER DRINKING, WOOD WHITTLING, ADVENTURE TALKING WEEKEND EVER. Amongst other activities the Guyrope Gourmet and his cookery school once again had lovely smells wafting from his tent, Eden Wild Foods gave a lesson in autumnal foraging delights, West Norfolk Nordic Walking returned with the highly popular Binerflon, Polly from Mountain Yoga Breaks for the Yoga and Mountain Bike Guiding, Chris Eastabrook and co for a number of the kayak activities, the Bushscout crew put on another great activity hub with woodcraft skills and axe throwing. Stuart from Bearbones was back with his informative workshops and John of Birch Canoes had people carving out some lovely paddles once again. We were really blessed to have some great speakers come and give up their time to inspire us and recount their Daring Deeds. The yurt saw a lively run of talks with Nicky Spinks, Tom and Rich Seipp, Chris Eastabrook, Mel Nicholls, Becky Coles, Dan Butler and Adam Harmer. Elsewhere Viv Rickman-Poole discussed the delights of cold water swimming, Sarah Outen gave us an insight into rowing, kayaking and cycling around the world, while Joe Beaumont ran a chat with Mark Kalch, Elise Downing and Mike Howarth, each discussing their latest endeavours in his knights of adventure. Thank you all so much. GET 2017 TICKETS alpkit.com/bigshakeout/tickets
e r wy
Messing about on the river
S y m o nds Yat
A CANOEING CLIMBING CAMPING COOKING MOANING & LAUGHING SWIMMING TRIP The sound of the truck made me realise I hadn’t heard traffic for over 48 hours. Being on a river somehow insulates you from the world – our little trip had let us properly escape, despite never really being far from civilisation. It seemed a lot longer than two days ago that we were picking up our canoes.
The gentle flow helped us along as our beginners got the hang of the paddles, and quickly the pace of our lives fell into the unhurried pace of the river. The weather kept low, leaden and wet, and our agreed camping spot looked dank and uninviting as it came into view on the bank.
“You’re not a paddler” said Stuart, it’s a strange thing to say to someone on first acquaintance but Stuart, supplier of canoes and local knowledge, had an uncanny knack of identifying the canoeists from the landlubbers in our midst. He assured us our mix of experience wouldn’t be a problem – the qualified could easily paddle through any of the water on our intended route, and the Wye wasn’t flowing that high for the time of year.
Hauling the boats up the path and pitching tents was a wordless, miserable effort. Thankfully Stuart had given us some ‘special’ wood – it lit, literally, in a flash. We didn’t think too hard about how the ‘special’ wood was created – don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and all that. Sat around a roaring fire, the mood lifted and the charmless campsite became a welcoming, cheery haven.
A decision hadn’t really been made as to what this trip was – climbing, canoeing, swimming, camping. One of our group had called it a Try-athlon, because he was going to try everything. The name hadn’t stuck though, which was a good thing. Multi-activities mean lots of gear, so our canoes were laden with full dry bags by the time we set off into the overcast mist of our first day. 12 alpkit.com
Titanium kettles and cooking pots were soon boiling away, and a wet afternoon turned into a laughter filled evening and then a cosy night in our sleeping bags. Sunrise promised much better weather. We spotted the cobalt blue streak of a kingfisher dart purposefully upstream, the sun glinting off its back. After coffee and porridge we paddled towards the Upper Wye Gorge and Symonds Yat Rock.
We used: Terrapin Wetsuit £99 SilverTip Fleece lined cold water wetsuit £195 Alien Revolution cams £59 Airlok Xtra Drybags 35L/65L £23/£32 Heiko Primaloft insulated jacket £85 Chilkoot Softshell trousers £60 Ketul Lightweight titanium kettle £59
Ben and Ben messing about on the river
Kenny in the new Terrapin wetsuit
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE “You can canoe continuously for 133km on the Wye, it’s mostly calm. There isn’t public access to the river bank all the way along, so you should probably always speak to a guide first (*cough cough*).” Stuart Wyley Stu runs the canoe and camping bunkhouse at Symonds Yat. You can find him at wyecanoes.com
The climbers amongst us wanted to tick off the pinnacle. Getting up to the crag was a bit of a faff, but the weather was warm and the rock was dry. We’d discussed lots of potential routes, but for a first visit the pinnacle was the obvious target. There is something so satisfying about sitting on top of one. The route looked pretty straightforward, but half a century of climbers have left it polished, and a bit trickier than the grade suggested. The sun fired bright rays of soft light at us as we abseilled down, illuminating the valley behind us, and briefly picking out a riverside pub – a sign if ever there was one. The sun then affected us in that uniquely giddy British way, we decided to don wetsuits and go for a dip. The sign in the entrance to the pub was clear – muddy wet people were to stay on the flagstone floor to the right. Fair enough, no one likes cleaning river mud from carpets. Once the food arrived, and swimming hands were warmed, we decided that we might be at the pub for some time.
READ MORE alpkit.com/spotlight/symonds-yatadventure 14 alpkit.com
Kenny used: Pulsar Half zip breathable waterproof jacket £100 Brukit Wolf 1400ml integrated cooking system £48
3 4 5
We used: 1. Trekkers Midweight walking sock £12 2. Heiko Men’s primaloft jacket £85 3. Laika Women’s heavyweight baselayer £24 4. Tonka Men’s lightweight convertible trousers £45
5. Silvertip Men’s thermal swimming wetsuit £195
9. Brukit Wolf Integrated cooking system £48
6. Fixe ProLite Evo Lightweight climbing helmet £55
10. Viso Tunnel tent 2 man £145 3 man £170
7. Alien Revolution Cams £59
11. Kepler Beanie Merino beanie £19
8. Fixe Magic Verso Rock climbing starter pack £55
12. SkyeHigh 700 Hydrophobic Down sleeping bag £175
13. Cloud Base Inflatable sleeping mat £50 14. Mountain Ghost 300 Primaloft sleeping bag £100 15. Dirtbag Self-inflating sleep mat £55 16. Prism 630 Water resistant headtorch £43
17. Ketul Lightweight titanium kettle £59 18. Trinity Torch £21 19. Nonic 350 Titanium mug £19 20. MytiStax Titanium 3 piece pan set £55
21. DryDock 100 Weatherproof duffle bag £70 22. Katabatic Men’s synthetic jacket £140 23. Extreme Foods Breakfasts £5 24. Swig Bottle Drinks bottle £5 25. Airlok Xtra 65L Dry bag with strap £32 OUTPOST 15
DARING DEEDS REAL STORIES, EXPEDITIONS, ROAD TRIPS AND ADVENTURE.
‘YES’. AND THAT’S HOW IT ALL STARTS. A breathtakingly simple answer to a pretty direct statement: “We should get out and do something”... “Hmm,.. Yes”. But where it will lead to is anyone’s guess... Jake and I met at an adventure festival over the summer, both promoting our respective businesses; Jake’s Cured Meats and Adventure Pedlars. A conversation sparks up about generating some bikepacking-based promotional material. Cue the aforementioned exchange and we’re off... A date set. Adventure in the making! Eventually, we come up with a loose plan; to follow the route of Offa’s Dyke from North to South and finish at Jake’s Farm, near the foot of Wales’ Black Mountains. The scene was set as the three of us met up in a chilly Prestatyn one November morning.
Bikepacking Frame Bag Bundle £170
Adventure Pedlars provided all of the bikepacking gear from their hire fleet, the friendly folk at Alpkit kindly sorted us with a couple of their new Sonder ‘Broken Road’ titanium 27.5+ bikepacking bikes and Jake’s Cured Meats sourced all manner of tasty wholesome food for the trip. We were also joined by Brad, a local photographer looking to add to his portfolio of adventure films.
Airlok Dual Dual ended roll top dry bag 13L/20L £16/£19
Soon enough we were all packed up and following that enticing line on the map as it beckoned us over the dunes of the North Wales coastline.
Confucius Handlebars Riser bars with added hoop £35
Our initial exuberance was short-lived as we swung to the south and up into what was a brutal series of height gains that served to blow away any festering cobwebs.
Riding Sonder Broken Road £1899
Offa had clearly done his homework when he routed his embattlements seemingly over all of the highest points the landscape had to offer. If there was a hill, chances were we’d be going over it.
Progress was slow – or was it? Did it matter where we got to? How far we went? Was the point not just to set off with the uncertainty of not knowing where we’d end up? We were outside, away from the normality of life, surrounded by an unfamiliar landscape doing exactly what we’d set out to do. In a world where success is so often measured and quantified by numbers, it takes a leap of understanding to comprehend that success may dwell in the act rather than the objective. Yet still, an unspoken guilty feeling that we should have been riding crept over us... Why? Don’t get me wrong, I’m up for a bit of self inflicted pain as much as the next ‘rugged adventurer’ but there’s a time and a place for all things and we were looking to present a different approach. Where sitting at the side of the trail, eating tasty food and taking it all in with new friends becomes just as important as punishing yourself against the ‘hero-making’ climbs. Trying hard to discover the joy of doing and being rather than focusing on the satisfaction of arriving. Alpkit are pleased to support Pete and adventurepedlars.com
READ MORE alpkit.com/deeds/offas-dyke-leads-home
DESIGNED AND MADE IN NOTTINGHAM. HOW WE CREATE OUR CUSTOM BIKEPACKING FRAME BAGS.
At Alpkit we know that one size really doesn’t fit all. For the last eight years each and every Stingray has been hand crafted by our factory team to your exact specification. They love it, they really can’t get enough of it. How do I order my custom Stingray you ask? From the link at the end of this article you can download the PDF instruction sheet or watch a video of Fran explaining how to create a custom template that will get
the factory purring. It involves cutting out a cardboard triangle. Exciting! Then you need to tackle the plethora of custom options made available thanks to our UK based production. We’re talking side openings, divider compartments, document pockets, hydration ports, reflective piping, colour, width, stitching colour, lining colour, frame attachment, side wall padding, zip colour. The lot. Once you’re happy, place your
order and post your frame template to us. Remember we cannot start making it until we have your template! Bike pack customisation doesn’t stop at the Stingray. With everything happening under one roof, we can custom make nearly any bikepacking luggage if you think it’ll help you go nice places and do good things. Just get in touch. READ MORE alpkit.com/products/ stingray
Stingray Made to your specification in our UK factory. The ultimate bikepacking companion, Stingray is la crème de la crème of bespoke bike luggage. An exact match for your bike to maximise your available space. From £75 OUTPOST 17
Alpkit set up their Foundation in July 2015 to help people overcome obstacles that prevent them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things. Run by a mix of staff, customer and independent trustees, it’s funded by the company’s turnover, with around 1% of annual sales going into a pot to help people enjoy the great outdoors.
It’s going to take £200 to make it possible to hire the minibus needed to get fifteen school kids out into the Peaks for a weekend. Just a day’s medical training is enough to qualify school teachers to get their DofE program off the ground. A group of visually impaired people would love to get amongst the smells and feel the hills but need a little extra support. A tiny grant will get a whole class out to work on footpath conservation and start a connection with our countryside that could last forever.
IS THE AKF?
So far we’ve helped train first-aiders in Nepal, given equipment for after-school clubs, activity centres and scout groups; run camping trips in the UK; canoe adventures for disadvantaged kids; and DofE training for schoolteachers, mountain leader training and explorer scouts. £50,000 already spent on over 100 projects.
DO WE DO IT?
If you know that the wild places are capable of touching us in a deep way that the world made by man simply can’t, and if you know how great a difference you can make with a relatively small contribution why on earth wouldn’t you help to make good things happen out there?
TO GET INVOLVED
APPLY The Alpkit Foundation supports projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things. It favours direct action and support. If you have a project that cannot go ahead without our support then let us know. DONATE We welcome you to donate to the Foundation and all donations will directly support our projects. You can donate online using BT’s mydonate service or complete a donation form and return it to us.
GET INVOLVED You can make a donation or find out more at alpkit.com/foundation
“AN EXCELLENT, NO-NONSENSE, SHIMMERING SHARD OF ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT WATERPROOF LOVELINESS.” Outdoors Magic, November 2016
Ultra-lightweight packable, breathable waterproof jacket
Weight: 170g 3 layer 7d nylon face fabric with tricot back HH: 20,000mm MVTR: 30,000 g/sqm Single chest pocket Semi elasticated hood ACTIVE fit and ideal for fast moving activities
Leaving our bunk house early we set off up the Burway, an old drover’s route leading directly out of Church Stretton to the Long Mynd. It was a challenging start – steep and with a 600ft drop-off on the right. Halfway up the climb the words of a local we’d met in the pub last night echoed in my head – “There ain’t no easy miles in Shropshire”. Rides on the Mynd are defined by tough climbs, short periods of respite and rapid descents. Tarmac, gravel or grass, single track and fire roads – it’s all there. For this kind of terrain you need a tough, light, responsive bike with decent brakes. We’d brought along the Camino Ti and a prototype bike for testing. Reaching the trig point at Pole 20 alpkit.com
Bank we stopped for a breather. We’d been told that we’d be able to see across to Cheshire, Herefordshire and maybe even Snowdonia – but the typically claggy British weather had other ideas. Threading our way along the top of the Mynd we watched a peregrine falcon fighting a vicious turf war with two ravens – their anger at odds with the peace of the day. We turned to descend Asterton Bank, infamous amongst roadies for being one of the UK’s top ten hardest climbs. The descent was followed by a ride across the valley to Stiperstones along a mix of byways, farm tracks and deserted tarmac lanes. No people, no distant traffic noise.
Shropshire is wonderfully quiet. Stiperstones is a bleak, wild place so we pressed on south until we found a more sheltered spot for our bivvy. The day’s mileage was probably less than forty but it felt much further – after stove cooked food and brews sleep came pretty quickly. Waking early to clear crisp skies and low sun we packed our bikes and set off, eager to get some circulation back into our weary limbs. As the sun slowly rose we sped along deserted lanes and through tiny villages, our legs coming slowly back to life. Our final loop took us along the foot of Caradoc and back towards Church Stretton.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE “Be aware not all biking routes on the Long Mynd are marked on the OS map. Pop into the bike shop in Church Stretton or the National Trust cafe in Carding Mill Valley and ask for the map of approved trails. Also, Shropshire miles can be hard miles – Be realistic and don’t get over-ambitious.” Bob Dixon Bob runs an off road adventure biking company (the motorised variety) from Church Stretton in the heart of Shropshire adventurerides.co.uk
Dan using new welded waterproof luggage
We used: Alpine Cycling jersey £45
The ‘adventure playground’ on the Long Mynd. (Actually a training rig for the local parascending club)
Rhythm Thicky Cycling jersey £50 Katabatic Jacket £140 Stem Cell Dry £28 Fuel Pod Medium £28 Koala Seat pack £70 Possum Frame bag from £55 Airlok Dual 13L £16
Col wearing Rhythm Thicky Men’s cycling jersey £50 Dan wearing Arro Men’s wind shell £32
There we found a picture postcard cafe; it even had a parlour complete with local gossips and doilies. Suddenly feeling slightly feral we sat near the door – this was a world away from last night’s wild camp. Over coffee we mused that if we’d been in the Lakes or Peak, this cafe and its surrounding hills would have been crowded. Shropshire seems strangely undiscovered by the masses.
READ MORE alpkit.com/spotlight/ long-mynd-delights 22 alpkit.com
Sonder Camino Ti
Ti drop-barred adventure bike. Destined for adventure, it is quick, light and not afraid to leave the tarmac behind.
Trail orientated rigid aluminium all-rounder. Take it to a trail centre and go for a new lap record or load it up with bags and ride it across a country.
3Al/2.5V aerospace grade titanium • Disc specific Full rack and guard mounts • Optimised for 1x groupsets Frame and carbon fork £999 Full builds from £1799 Finance available from £74.32 per month
6061 Aluminium frame and fork • Geometry corrected for 100mm suspension fork • Disc specific Full rack mounts and multiple boss mounts on fork Frame and fork £299 Full Rigid NX1 build £879 Sektor NX1 build £999 Finance available from £36.31 per month
We used: 1. MytiMug 400 400ml titanium mug £20
6. Katabatic Men’s synthetic jacket £140
11. Qark Headtorch £36
16. Swig Bottle Drinks bottle £5
21. Koulin Trail Tee Men’s baselayer t-shirt £14
25. Fredd 4 Utility cord £5
2. Lodo Welded stem cell pouch £20
7. Fiana Seatpack Welded seatpack £70
12. Love Mud Bora Trail pump £19
17. Rhythm Men’s bib shorts £36
26. Candy Canes Tent pegs £7.50
3. Extreme Foods Puddings £5
8. Hadron 2000 lumen bike light £95
13. Love Mud Fettler Bike multi-tool £15
18. Rhythm Thicky Men’s bib tights £55
22. Airlok Lightweight dry bag 2/4/8L £8.50/£9/£10
4. MytiStax Titanium 3 piece pan set £55
9. Analoko Frame Bag Welded frame bag Small/Med/Large £55/£60/£65
14. Enduro Pod Top tube mounted bag £26
19. Alpine Men’s cycling jersey £45
15. Glowe Compact camping lantern £17
20. Rhythm Thicky Men’s cycling jersey £50
5. Balance Men’s waterproof jacket £175
10. Fuego Beanie £10
27. PipeDream 600 HD Down sleeping bag £250
23. Tivaro Bar Bag Welded dual entry bar bag 13L/20L £30/£40 24. Rig 3.5 Lightweight personal tarp £50
28. Airo 180 Self-inflating sleeping mat £50 29. Hunka XL Bivvy bag £64
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This is Ronnie. She’s going to try and convince you to iron your waterproof (no wait, come back). Ronnie Legg, Apparel Designer
DW-WHAT? DWR (durable water repellent) is a finish added to fabrics to make them water-resistant, or hydrophobic. Commonly used in conjunction with waterproof breathable fabrics such as GORE-TEX® to stop you getting wet.
KEEP IT CLEAN! Essentially, technical fabrics work best when they are clean. Dirt and contaminants (such as mud, sweat, body oils, insect repellent or food) reduce their ability to repel water or transport moisture. Regular detergents can work in exact opposition to DWR if not rinsed thoroughly, so washing with pure soap or a specialist cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash® is a good idea. Never use fabric softener on your technical clothing, as this will destroy any wicking, repellency and breathability it once had!
WHAT DOES A RE-PROOFER DO? At a microscopic level, the chain-like molecules of the DWR treatment bind to the surface of the fabric and act like a fringe of spikes which makes water bead up and roll off the surface. When these spikes get abraded or contaminated their orientation gets disrupted and that stops them working. A DWR treatment applied to the fabric during manufacture won’t last forever, and will become less effective over time but if your garment stops beading up it doesn’t necessarily mean the DWR has worn off; it may just have been masked temporarily and 24 alpkit.com
can be revived. Often just washing and then applying heat (which we’ll explain later) will help realign the molecules, and make the fabric bead up again.
to heat treat it as well, and it will help revive any remaining C6 DWR on your garment. You can use a tumble dryer on low setting, but bear in mind the mechanical action of a tumble dryer will cause wear and tear If after washing and heat treating your to the whole garment each time you do it. garment the DWR is still not working, then it’s Tumble drying is the best option for insulated time to re-proof. This is effectively topping and down jackets, as it will help dry out the up the factory applied insulation at the same DWR with an off the shelf time. For waterproof re-proofer product such The key is to re-proof shells then a cool iron as Nikwax TX Direct®. allows you to be more when the garment The re-proofer works precise with your heat partly by binding to the is clean, and to use application and limits existing DWR molecules, heat to reactivate any the mechanical wear so it’s best to re-proof and tear. If you are remaining DWR. higher wearing areas like concerned about the cuffs and shoulders the fabric, try placing as soon as they stop a tea towel between the two. beading. Spray on re-proofers are best for waterproof shells as they allow you to target problem areas, and treat only the outer surface of the fabric (which is what you want), This very much depends on how much you whereas wash-in re-proofers are better for are using your gear. The simplest advice is: insulated or down garments as they will treat wash it when it is dirty (and at least twice the whole garment. a year) and re-proof it when water starts
YOU WANT ME TO IRON MY EXPENSIVE WATERPROOF? The DWR used on current Alpkit products uses C6 technology, which is re-activated by heat. Depending what re-proofer you use, the manufacturer may state that it does not need heat curing to be effective; however we would say that it won’t do any harm to the re-proofer
failing to bead up. You don’t need to re-proof every time you wash, but if in doubt act sooner rather than later or you’ll have a hard time restoring the DWR performance.
READ MORE alpkit.com/spotlight/reproofingyour-waterproof
DARING DEEDS REAL STORIES, EXPEDITIONS, ROAD TRIPS AND ADVENTURE.
It is mid November, the opening day of the season in Verbier and I have just finished building a jump off the side of the piste with my 8 year old son who has side slipped the run in, unstrapped and let go of his snowboard. It is now gently slipping away from us towards a huge partially frozen lake. It hits the ice and skids at an impressive pace more than 100 metres out on the lake.
ED LEIGH GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND DAD DUTIES
“Then it comes to me, an idea so cunning and brilliant that Blackadder would be proud.”
As a rule I would not even entertain the idea of trying to retrieve something worth £200 from a lethal partially frozen lake. So I enquire about a new board and not wanting to let go completely speak to patrollers and the Verbier lift company about the reality of getting onto the ice. To their credit they go and have a look and then inform me that it has nestled itself over the intake pipe for the snow cannons and the ice will be thinnest there so a rescue is not possible. Then it comes to me, an idea so cunning and brilliant that Blackadder would be proud. A friend has an inflatable stand up paddleboard, it’s perfect, it will slide across the ice and if the ice breaks it will float! 3 days later I blag my way onto a worker’s lift to Ruinette and from there it’s a 2 hour splitboard up to the top of
Attelas. I ride down to Lac des Vaux at 3pm, text my wife and tell her that if I haven’t texted again in 20 minutes she should call the rescue services and start setting up. I strip down to my thermals so if I do go in I won’t sink, put crampons on my hands and grab my probe to check the ice. It is only once I’m on the ice that I realise how stupid this is. I am alone (friends found convenient excuses not to be complicit in my demise) and if the ice does break I won’t be able to get back on it and breaking a channel home will be hard if not impossible while kneeling on the wobbly board. I opt to ignore this dawning realisation and in 15 minutes have dragged myself out to the thin stretch of clear ice where the snow cannon intake is clearly visible. I probe it carefully and decide it’s strong enough to risk. I make it over but not before panicking at the thick layer of slush coating the ice. Three minutes later I have the board in my hands and, becoming ever bolder ditch the crampons and run back to shore. It may have been idiotic but the look on Oscar’s face when I give him the board is reward enough, not to mention the satisfaction I feel at seeing the idea through. The only slightly disturbing thought was that my wife hadn’t seen my text until 5.30. READ MORE alpkit.com/deeds/snowboard-rescue
SLEEPING OUT ON A SCHOOL NIGHT
JUST AROUND THE CORNER
Luke Douglas Manchester The Roman beacon on the summit of Hartshead Pike is visible from most of East Manchester. It sits amongst the suburbs as they begin to disperse, before the Peak District gets lumpy. It’s a forty-five minute ride from my office to the pub at the bottom of the Pike, which is then a five minute, post pie and pint scramble to the beacon. It gives excellent sunsets over Manchester’s expanding skyline and once the local ‘young uns’ and dog walkers are done it’s ours for the night. Sleeping bag, mat and bivvy bag out, talk turns to stuff that doesn’t matter with people that do, until we fall asleep to the distant whir of the city. Morning is black coffee and red skies. Feeling stealthy, we slip away, down hill to the city with stupid grins. A shower at work with respectably fresh clothes from yesterday. Adventure 1. Real life 0.
FITTING A LITTLE LOCAL ADVENTURE INTO EVERYDAY LIFE IS THE WAY TO MAKE EVERY DAY A LITTLE BIT WILDER
WORK HARD, CANOE HOME Alp Kenny Nottingham
THE CAMPSITE COMMUTER Tony Carberry London In 2009 I was living in Manchester and working Mon-Wed at talkSPORT in London. It was a fun job but it meant I had to stay in London three nights a week, and I had to sort out my own accommodation. After staying in a lot of hostels, pods and bad rooms, I worked out that I could camp near Epping Forest (Debden House) and get the tube into work. The commute was pretty awful – tube, bus, walk – but that feeling when the sun is going down, my meal is cooking, beer in hand, was pretty special. Creatures are approaching
me like I’m Francis of Assisi. All is well. I’ve won, for a while. It ended with me coming back after a long day. The job had been crazy (it remains my craziest job) and the tube station nearest to the campsite was flooded. After a lot of hassle I eventually returned to a scene of devastation. My tent was flapping open, my food was in the stream next to the tent. And my underpants in the branches of a nearby tree. I remember I had some of my food stored in Tupperware containers. The containers had not been breached, despite some vicious attempts and long gashes in the hard plastic. It turns out all along I was on Mr Fox’s manor.
We set off enthusiastically aiming to average 4mph which would bring me home around 8pm. Underway and a knocking noise made me think the bulkhead was loose, as we got out to portage the first lock I found out why. Comedy Nick had hilariously placed a 10kg rock in the front of my boat. This rock had sentimental value so I couldn’t ditch it overboard. Paddling was fine but the portages were going to be heavy! Now on a canal you are always going to come into contact with other river users; humans, beasts and kids! We received friendly banter from cyclists, joggers and punters who were enjoying a quiet pint outside one of the many pubs. We also came under fire by kids who threw
stones, a length of 2x2, as well as kids who tried to catch us with their fishing lines. However after a cheeky half we joined the Trent, the sun was starting to set, space opened up in front of us and it felt like we had escaped into a wilderness. River life was still active with flocks of geese squawking overhead circling Attenborough Nature Reserve, while a group of 25 young swans were strung out in a line along the river. Their playful nature caused concern as it looked like they were lining up for a mass take off and we were on the runway. As darkness fell though, we reached the lights of the marina with tired arms. A work day transformed into a big day.
71% OF THE PLANET IS WATER COVERED. DIVE IN.
All are available for men and women but only terrapin uses different colours to differentiate
Terrapin is the thinnest, most flexible suit in our range, with neoprene thicknesses that mean you achieve a more natural swimming position.
The combination of flexibility, thickness and stretch make Lotic our best all-round suit for open water and adventure swimming.
With fleece-lined interior and thicker neoprene panels Silvertip was conceived for aggressive, powerful swimmers going long distances in cold waters.
Factory Store Address:
Alpkit, Unit 12-14 Oak House, Engine Lane, Newthorpe, Midlands, England, UK, NG16 3QU
On phone: +44 (0)1773 417007 On email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Go online, have a look around – you know how internet shopping works – or visit our factory store if you live in or are passing through the Midlands and ask for a coffee. If you can click it then it should be in stock. If you order before the postie gets here it will go out the same day and there is a pretty good chance you will get it in the following couple of days. Oh yes... and all our prices already include UK postage. ONLINE:
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