out there Been there, climbed that? Send us a picture!
4 Trail march 2012
Send us your shots, share your adventures
Email your photos to us, along with a description of what was special about your day, and we’ll publish the most inspiring examples! Put ‘Out There’ in the subject box, and send them to email@example.com
Bobotov Kuk Montenegro Ben and Eva, on a ‘Dad-funded trek’: day three, descending Bobotov Kuk. Dad Richard (behind the camera) tells us that they had “a fabulous August week, trekking Montenegro’s mountains and canyons.” Of this part of the route, he said “You have to see it to believe it. Not for the vertigo sufferers, but nobody using ropes.”
march 2012 Trail 5
CONTENTS OUT THERE SKILLS
Where this month’s issue will take you...
Gaze in awe at the Queen’s party guest list
The filthiest footwear you’ve ever seen, sorted
Open mic on Scafell Pike 12 Lake District to host great gig in the sky?
Eastwood vs the Eiger 14 Proof that Clint wasn’t your average movie star
Blencathra: a Lakeland giant in full winter mode
OMM map pouch
RIBE! WHENeYe OpUagSeU3B0SfoCr S
Kip in a cave and the fells can be yours alone! TOM BAILEY
8 TRAIL MARCH 2012
Clean your boots!
Jordan – just the place for a winter break: page 52.
Tackle England’s highest peak in confidence with our ultimate guide to summiting safely
What if my laces break? Can I make my rucksack waterproof? Your questions, expertly answered
YOUR TRAIL Trail talk
Tent-free in the Lakes 32 et high in the hills whatever the weather G with an advance base camp in a cave or bothy
An OMM map pouch is yours if you do!
Why we love...
We show you how to reach the magic 4,000ft contour this winter – it’s easier than you think
Have your say on the great outdoors
Subscribe to Trail
NEIL S PRICE
Right royal knees-up
...the ‘petrified stegosaurus’ that is Tryfan
Scramble in winter
Explore Wadi Rum’s sunny desert mountains
MARCH 2012 You too could be chilling out above 4,000ft – page 20.
Winter sleeping bags
The must-have kit that’s coming soon... A new high-end mountaineering jacket, tested Eight warm outer layers go head to head Which of these collapsible strain-takers best suits your activities and your budget? If you’re camping out at this time of year you really need one of these cosy cocoons
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with 3D maps
Route 13 Cwm Llafar Round This issue’s Classic Route promises ‘delights normally unavailable’, including three Welsh 3000ers plus some amazing views
Route 6 Norber Erratics See three geological giants on one route
ULTIMA TE W
Route 5 Sgwd yr Eira Let us spray for some stunning waterfall action
Route 10 Glyderau Rige Route 11 The Llugwy Valley Route 12 Moel Siabod traverse Fancy a long weekend in north Wales? See what this Snowdonia base camp has to offer the hillwalker, plus a trio of top routes
Route 4 Blencathra Skiddaw slate ridges of rare and raw beauty
from NN111454 Start 1 the car park at the end (a little of the public road nted on short of that represe map). Go the Landranger the track of Aberdeen along the start Loch Etive and by the side of ately uphill head immedi forestry the by the side of is currently plantation. This being felled, Oban MULL of in the process out timber shipped Edinburghand the Glasgow JURA a short distance on-Tweed from a jetty Berwick-up The path up along the loch. is often very 8.9km ISLAY DistanceISLE Jedburghthe fence beside Ayr OF ARRAN and difficult (5½ miles) 960m wet and boggy, Continue Total ascent places. in Newcastle Dumfries to follow Ballantrae levels -upon-Tyne Time 5 hours until the terrain Glen Etive, uphill Londo Stewart Carlisle nderry Start/finish Newton 200m above about at off ugh 54 PenrithDoneg Middlesbro al NN1114Stranraer Keswick sea-level. town Ullapool
Always take a map on the hill
LAND WEST HIGH
Route 3 Fife Coastal Path Walk this way for monster millipede footprints!
4 ISLE OF LEWIS
ISLE OF SKYE
8.9km/5½ TRAIL ROUTE
Stay in one place and walk for three days! This month’s first Ultimate Weekend gives three routes from this Cairngorms village
Route 2 Borrowdale Scrambles on Cam Crag Ridge and Intake Ridge
Route 7 Ben Macdui Route 8 Morrone Route 9 Loch Callater
ION WITH BAUER’S
Route 1 Mam Tor Ridge Gritstone and limestone in abundance
T IN ASSOCIAT © CROWN COPYRIGH
10 16 18
MARCH 2012 TRAIL 9
Where? Cairngorms, Scotland What? High-level winter walking cairngorms
4000ft Words Hanna Lindon Photographs Tom Bailey and Andy McCandlish
ountaineering. That’s a big word. Usually too big for our personality-packed but pint-sized uplands, which line up on the international mountain boxing scene as David to the Alps’ Goliath. In typical British self-effacing fashion we talk about ‘hills’ and ‘hillwalking’ – appropriate words when the snowline is high above the summits and you’re never more than seven miles from the nearest road. For half the year we spurn the ‘m’ word with all the shame of a Primark addict forced to talk fashion with the editor of Vogue. �
20 Trail march 2012
It’s cold. It’s dangerous. It’s fierce as a lion on a bad day, and fluffy as a lamb when it’s good. So how will a firsttimer fare when faced with winter high in Scotland's Cairngorms?
Looking south towards Cairn Gorm (1245m) in â€˜perfectâ€™ winter mountaineering conditions.
march 2012 Trail 21
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M of OM ign s e d
Where? The Lake District What? Peaks from tent-free base camps
lakeland's great indoors How utilising the hillsâ€™ hidden shelters can be your key to a weekend of adventureâ€Ś Words ben winston Photographs Tom Bailey
32 Trail march 2012
Bivvy perfection in the natural shelter of the Priest's Hole, mountain storm raging outside.
ooargh! Arguuuf! Goarrreaaar?” Roughly translated, I believe this means: “Perfect weather for camping, no?” but photographer Tom could equally be referring to the 1990 Lithuania crisis, intractable plantar keratosis, or rising bread prices. Because the fact is that right now, high on Fairfield just after dawn, whatever he’s trying to say is academic. We’re on a Lakeland summit during a weather warning and discovering that 80mph winds are about as conducive to conversation as they are to high, lightweight camping. Which, weirdly, is what � brings us here in the first place.
march 2012 Trail 33
© Katharine Eastham / Alamy
Bogging boots brought back to life: page 42.
Scafell Pike –the dangers: page 46.
Be not a-frayed: page 48.
knee illustration © Nucleus Medical Art, Inc. /
Knees renewed: page 50.
See forever(ish): page 49.
Trail's Skills section is put together by outdoor experts to help you get the best out of yourself in the UK’s high places. Here you can find cutting-edge information, handy hints and tips – and expert advice tailored especially for you. Simply ask Trail!
guide to... Bringing boots back to life Scafell Pike danger spots
ask trail How far can I see from a summit? What should I do if my laces break? Can I waterproof my rucksack? How do I build strong knees?
48 48 49 50
Shun sogginess: page 49.
march 2012 Trail 41
outdoor advice from our hillwalking experts
Resurrect your boots How to clean, restore and maintain your faithful walking boots.
The walk of shame...
s this a familiar sight? If so, we can help you. As high-performance equipment, your boots have to endure extremes of temperature, extended soakings in rainwater, dunkings in pools of glorious mud and the relentless corrosion of acidic sweat from within. It’s no wonder they begin to look their age, especially when abandoned to a less-than-disciplined cleaning regime. But, just because your leather or fabric walking boots have been overrun by damaging fungus and mould, it doesn’t mean they’re fit for the bin. With a spare day – and the right cleaning products – even the worst examples can be back on your feet and ready to conquer the next peak in rugged and close-to-new condition.
Though they may appear beyond repair, these boots are merely covered with a surface layer of aggressive microbes and fungal growth. They’re entirely salvageable and can be recovered in a few simple steps...
42 Trail march 2012
boot care Aren’t you glad we didn’t include a ‘scratch and sniff’ panel?
Turn the page for the solution...
march 2012 Trail 43
outdoor advice from our hillwalking experts
Scafell Pike danger spots Scafell Pike and its sister peak Scafell are the two highest points in England, and their dangers shouldn’t be underestimated. Their multi-faceted massif is littered with scrambles, drops and pathless scree, making knowledge of the safest routes essential – whatever the weather.
© Crown copyright in association with BAUER’s media licence no. AM105/09
NY218085 Lying on the popular Corridor Route, Scafell Pike’s ‘bad step’ can represent a navigational hazard on descent, particularly in misty conditions. Many walkers are hesistant to follow the sudden 7m scramble that presents itself, assuming that it couldn’t be part of the main route. But stay with it: it’s less intimidating than it appears, and will keep you on the correct north-north-east bearing, eventually leading to Spout Head.
ex p e rt t i p! Good navigation skills are key to staying safe on Scafell Pike. Many inexperienced walkers are caught out by the indistinct paths, and risk approaching dangerous drops or suffering exposure while lost on the hillside. Carrying a compass and making regular bearing checks is essential – even more so in misty or snowy conditions – and if you can take a GPS device with you so much the better. If you encounter problems near Mickledore Ridge, Wasdale Mountain Rescue has a gear store (containing first aid equipment, a casualty bag and a map) at NY210069. You are free to use it, as long as all items are returned.
46 Trail march 2012
mountain safety Scafell Pike summit
NY215072 Though less severe in nature, a large number of accidents occur on the Pike’s summit. Covered in shattered rock, it’s an uneven place that becomes particularly dangerous when masked by ice and snow, or even when wet. Slipping and sustaining head injuries on rocks, or twisting ankles in small crevices, are the main risks and represent a serious hindrance to a safe descent. As always, confident navigation is essential as the lack of clear landmarks makes descending the wrong face of the mountain an ever-present threat.
Mi ckle dore ’s most dan ge rou s ri dge
NY209068 This is a notorious accident black spot, and it results in some of the most serious injuries seen on the Scafell massif. Rarely dry, the giant steps appear far easier to climb than they actually are. If you fall, the sloped ledges offer little purchase and threaten 40m drops onto jagged rocks below. Severe injuries are common, and fatalities occur with tragic regularity. Broad Stand presents a difficult Grade 3 obstacle even for experienced scramblers and should not be taken lightly.
The Scafell massif, seen from Yewbarrow. Katharine Eastham / Alamy
Piers Gill Mickledore Ridge
NY210069 The narrow Mickledore ridge links Scafell Pike to neighbouring Scafell at an altitude of 840m. Many accidents occur here as walkers attempt to cross from one peak to the other, wrongfully assuming that they will find a safe, easy route. There are three main routes to cross the ridge: Lord’s Rake, Broad Stand and Foxes Tarn. The first two present considerable dangers: Lord’s Rake is blighted by loose rock fields, while Broad Stand is notoriously sheer. Foxes Tarn is technically the safest of the three, but be aware of the 150m+ descent and reascent it requires, and plan accordingly. Wasdale Mountain Rescue advises that experience on steep ground and good navigation skills are essential when attempting these routes.
NY211081 A tightly-knit ravine that should only be attempted by experienced scramblers. Piers Gill is responsible for a vast number of mountain rescue call-outs on the slopes of Scafell Pike, particularly when time-rushed walkers are attempting the Three Peaks Challenge.
NY206071 Though Brown Tongue – en route to Hollowstones – may appear as an innocuous zigzag path, a surprising number of injuries are sustained here through fatigue and complacency. Knees and ankles are always vulnerable on a descent, and the typically wet grass underfoot presents a significant risk of slipping and jarring or twisting a leg. There are few significant landmarks, but it’s an open area that presents few navigational problems.
For more information, visit the official Wasdale Mountain Rescue site at: www.wmrt.org.uk
march 2012 Trail 47
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GEAR NEWS BUY BARGAIN KIT 60 MAMMUT GIPFELGRAT JACKET 62 INSULATED JACKETS GROUP TEST 64 TREKKING POLES GROUP TEST 74 SLEEPING BAGS BUYERS’ GUIDE 86
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POOR BELOW AVERAGE AVERAGE GOOD PERFORMANCE THE BEST IN ITS CLASS
MARCH 2012 TRAIL 59
INSULATED Keep warm while admiring the view, thanks to a synthetic insulated jacket.
64 TRAIL MARCH 2012
SYNTHETIC INSULATED JACKETS
TEST PHOEBE SMITH PHOTOGRAPHS TOM BAILEY
A JACKET FILLED WITH SYNTHETIC INSULATION WILL NOT ONLY KEEP YOU WARM ON FROSTY SUMMITS BUT WILL ALSO PERFORM EVEN WHEN DAMP…
WHAT WE TESTED Marmot DENA JACKET Montane FLUX JACKET Berghaus IGNITE HOODY Páramo TORRES JACKET Rab XENON JACKET The North Face SUPER ZEPHYRUS Sprayway ZAO Mountain Equipment ALPAMAYO JACKET
£130 £130 £130 £140 £155 £160 £160 £160
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: TOM BAILEY, BEN WINSTON, GRAHAM THOMPSON, RONALD TURNBULL, PAUL RICHARDSON AND TOM HUTTON
Trail Routes use OS mapping and gradient profiles, and are written by walking experts. This month we feature six adventures packed with stunning geological features from eroded shales to limestone erratics, so not only can you stretch your legs and gawp in wonder, but you‘ll learn something too! Download routes and GPS waypoints at lfto.com/routes
1 2 3 4 5 6
MAM TOR RIDGE BORROWDALE FIFE COASTAL PATH BLENCATHRA SGWD YR EIRA NORBER ERRATICS
14km 10km 10.5km 10km 15km 11.8km
p99 p101 p103 p105 p107 p109
ULTIMATE WEEKEND – BRAEMAR 7 BEN MACDUI 37.8km p114 8 MORRONE 7.3km p115 9 LOCH CALLATER 13.7km p116 ULTIMATE WEEKEND – CAPEL CURIG 10 GLYDERAU RIDGE 11.9km p120 11 THE LLUGWY VALLEY 6.8km p121 12 MOEL SIABOD 10km p122 CLASSIC ROUTE 13 CWM LLAFAR ROUND
STRENUOUSNESS NAVIGATION TECHNICALITY Welsh 3000 count Trail 100 count
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© Peter Heyes / Alamy
Contemplating the ridge between Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn.
Cwm Llafar Round For those prepared to put in a bit of effort, this circuit brings delights normally unavailable, says Jeremy Ashcroft.
hielded from view by the protective bulk of Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn, and located at the head of a long, lonely valley, the shapely peak of Yr Elen is one of Snowdonia’s hidden gems. Its pyramidal form is perfect in every sense; and given an alternative roadside, images of its elegant, sweeping lines would be plastered over every chocolate box in the land. Fortunately though it’s not, and its delights can only be savoured by those who are prepared to put a bit of effort into
visiting its remote location. Aesthetically it’s a stunning mountain with sharp, symmetrical ridges at each compass point; and it makes a worthy objective in its own right. Combine an ascent of it with a high-level tour of its giant neighbours Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd and you’ll bag yourself an outstanding classic walk. For tired walkers doing the 15 Welsh 3,000 footers, Yr Elen tends to be viewed as a bit of an annoyance, an extra peak stuck out on a limb. Tackled from Bethesda, with a wonderful
warm-up along Cwm Caseg, it takes on a wholly different context. Its ridges just cry out to be climbed and its isolated summit appears temptingly unobtainable. The ascent to its summit makes an outstanding start, which is nicely complemented by a walk over the imposing summit crests of Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd. This route is partially pathless, and it also takes in some amazing views, so to make navigation easy and to ensure you enjoy the � sights, aim to do it under clear skies.
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13 trail route snowdonia
130 Trail march 2012
On the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn looking towards Carnedd Dafydd, with Snowdon in the far distance.
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â€˜Yet another spectacular set of views opens out from Carnedd Dafydd, this time over the deep trench of the Ogwen Valley towards the crag-ringed summits of the Glyderau.â€™