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Britain’s best-selling hillwalking magAZINE


APRIL 2012


APril 2012 £3.99

gear special

Go light!

Less weight, easier miles, more summits... we show you how


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don’t miss this: p30 backpack it!


Epic wilderness weekend on Rannoch Moor


Walk the secret hills Wales is hiding the one that lost 3½ toes in a bivvy at 8560m

Tested Scrambling boots gaiters duffel bags

Brave hearts Hill tick-lists

Nail-biting tales from Kick-start a mountain Mountain Rescue’s challenge with our bagger’s special p105 front line p54

3 1 hillwalks + maps

contents out there skills

Where this month’s issue will take you...


Here’s your chance to help those who need it

Zipwire off a mountain! 12 A night alone on Everest 14

Ask Trail



How to warm up fast A chill can kill, so learn how to avoid it

Dream peak

Walk moor, carry less: page 32.

How an eye on the sky can help keep you safe

Plus the maddest rock-lovers’ hostel ever

How one climber survived against terrible odds


Reading hill weather


The wisdom of 2-person tents for solo campers; understanding map lingo; wild camp food Phoebe smith

Got unwanted gear?


Dow Crag, a hill arguably at its best when frozen

Subscribe and get a fabulous Páramo windproof


your trail Trail talk



Rannoch Moor 32 G  oing lightweight across a Scottish wilderness

A Páramo Fuera windproof is yours if you do!

Why we love...


...the frozen hillwalker’s friend: the down jacket


Fleetwith Pike reflected in Buttermere: be here with our Classic Route. tom bailey

8 Trail april 2012


Why it’s well worth looking beyond the classics to find Wales’ lesser-known gems

The great outdoors – according to you lot

Subscribe to Trail

Secret Snowdonia

MRT confidential

Five anonymous Mountain Rescue team members tell it like it really is...


april 2012 Seeing the other side of Snowdonia, on Moelwyn Mawr: page 20. tom bailey

gear 67

Gear news

The must-have kit that’s coming soon...

Columbia Compounder 70 A shell jacket using Columbia’s new fabric

Scrambling boots




Duffel bags


Six pairs of rock-grippers go head to head Which of these calf-encasers best suits your activities and your budget? Big, bombproof kit carriers, compared


Not the best use of a duffel bag: page 94.



Yorkshire Dales




Route 1 Great Links Tor Walk this route and you’ll find you do a ‘Dewey’! Route 2 The Calf It’s the Howgills’ highest – and a Trail 100 hill Route 3 Y Glyderau Five Welsh 3,000 footers in one superb route

Scottish Borders


Mid Wales


Route 4 Ettrick Water Bag five of the small but sexy ‘Marilyns’

Route 5 Pen Pumlumon Fawr If it’s Hewitts you’re after, this walk gets you four

West Highlands


Route 6 Ben Nevis A full-on outing on Scotland’s biggest 4000er


Route 7 Dow Crag Route 8 Harter Fell Route 9 Dunnerdale Fells


Choose your base and walk for three days! This issue’s first Ultimate Weekend gives you three routes from a less well-known Lakes valley



Lake District


Route 10 Beinn Ghobhlach Route 11 Ben More Coigach Route 12 Stac Pollaidh Fancy a long weekend in the far north of Scotland? See what this wee Highlands town has to offer the hillwalker, plus a trio of top routes

Route 13 Buttermere Round This issue’s Classic Route promises ‘one of the Lake District’s most inviting treats’, and includes no fewer than seven Wainwrights

Classic Route

with 3D maps april 2012 Trail 9

out there

d r e a m peak


Dark pretender to the throne of the Southern Lakes, Dow Crag sits in shadow for much of the day: days that, in winter, are so short and cold that if frozen gullies and slabs of ice are your preferred playground, there are few places as enviable to be. This 778m fell is also a stunning walker’s objective, with superb views across to its parent massif, The Old Man of Coniston. This month’s Route 7 takes both in fine style...

do it! ›› turn to page 122

16 Trail april 2012

Looking towards Dow Crag from Coniston Old Man. Š Stewart Smith / Alamy

april 2012 Trail 17

Where? North Wales What? Hills less trodden

20 Trail april 2012


Snowdonia Love exploring the hills in this National Park but feel stuck in a rut? Then look beyond the classics to a whole new world of wild walking...


Words Ben Winston Photographs Tom Bailey ’m going to tell you something you already know. Something so unbelievably obvious that you don’t think of it very often, yet which, if considered, has the potential to completely revolutionise your walking life. Grab hold of something sturdy, because this is it: Snowdonia has many mountains. Now... who didn’t already know that? �

Dawn breaks over Llyn Stwlan on Moelwyn Mawr. A long way from any madding crowds...

april 2012 Trail 21

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ask trail So you’ve got a problem that needs solving, but don’t want to lose face with your mountain mates? Don’t worry, Trail’s expert team is here to help… Graham thompson

GT has been Trail’s technical editor for over 20 years, and he’s a fountain of knowledge on all aspects of walking kit.

Simon ingram Trail’s editor is a Mountain Leader trainee, and he’s been on more mountains than most of us could dream about.

jeremy ashcroft

Mountaineering editor Jeremy has a wealth of experience in the UK and overseas, and he’s here to solve your problems.

LYLE BROTHERTON Lyle is one of the world’s leading navigation experts and the author of The Ultimate Navigation Manual, pb Collins.

PeteR mAcfarlane Peter’s our lightweight expert, and he can give you all the advice you need about saving weight on the hill.

Ask us a question! If you’ve got a question about hill-walking. Get in touch and ask our team. Post your queries to: Ask Trail, Trail, Bauer, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Even better, email us: and put ‘Ask Trail’ in the subject box. (Sorry, but we can only answer the questions that appear in the magazine.)

50 Trail april 2012

your problems solved by our hillwalking experts

Is a 2-person tent Q

I’m considering purchasing a tent for solo backpacking, and wondered if your team could give me some advice. Many people say it is best to get a lightweight two-person tent as they allow more room for yourself and your equipment. What do you think? Clive Bontoft, via email


Well spotted, Clive. Not all one- or two-person tents are the same size, and often it is the porch that is reduced in efforts to save weight and packed size in your rucksack.

This is particularly difficult in winter, as the weather often prevents you from sitting outside and leaving your gear to bask in the alpenglow of a glorious sunset. Instead, wind, snow and rain will force you and your gear under cover, making a good-sized porch vital for moving around, cooking, storing gear and wet boots, and generally living more comfortably. One-person tents that have very small porches include the Terra Nova Laser Photon and the Vaude Power Tokee Ultralight. Though easy to transport, they’re not ideal for winter camping. One-person tents that have large porches include the GoLite Eden 1, Macpac Microlight, Wild Country Aspect 1 and Hilleberg

your questions answered


A two-person tent with a decent porch can be a good choice for a solo backpacker.

Translating British maps


As an American who has recently moved to the UK, I often have trouble understanding the names of features on local maps. Is there a good glossary I could use? Anna Redmond, East Kilbride


You’ll be pleased to hear you’re not alone, buddy. The ancient tongues of Welsh and Scottish Gaelic are, sadly, not as widely spoken as they once were, though both are currently undergoing strong revivals. According to the last census for which data is available,

Welsh now boasts more than 750,000 native speakers, while Scottish Gaelic is spoken in varying degrees by just over 58,000 souls (though a number of researchers claim the figure lies closer to 100,000). For practical purposes, there are only so many landscape features bearing non-English names, and learning them all isn’t an overwhelming task. It’s tremendously satisfying too. Below is Trail’s guide to some key terms you’ll see on the UK’s OS maps. Some useful online Welsh/Scottish dictionaries include:,,

Scotland carn mullach /barra beinn / ben coire

Wales carnedd pen mynydd cwm

bealach / lairig mór beag monadh

bwlch fawr fach Welsh ranges tend to be named as plurals of the main mountains, eg Glyderau, Carneddau bryn cwm coed morfa llyn nant afon aber

cnoc /cnap /tulach glen coille aonach lochan loch burn / allt sruth firth

England cairn (stone heap, often on summit) summit hill or mountain corrie (steep-walled semicircular basin in a mountainside, usually containing a lake) pass (or col, a borrowed French term) major (of two peaks) minor (of two peaks) range small hill valley forest moor tarn (small lake) lake stream, brook river estuary

april 2012 Trail 51

tom bailey

Akto. These are better suited to winter camping. As you suggest, many solo campers choose two-person tents as they provide even more space. Thus, two-person tents such as the Vaude Taurus Ultralight are popular with lone backpackers. Alternatives such as the Wild Country Trisar and Terra Nova Voyager Superlite offer large porches, roomy inner space and geodesic construction, which makes them comfortable with full winter gear, as well as strong and stable in winter weather. Equally, a two-person tent such as the Vango Banshee 200 (which has a very modest porch) is also popular as it has a large inner that provides muchneeded gear storage space inside the tent.

Clogwyn is Welsh for ‘cliff’. Which may be seen as ‘creag’ on a Scottish map...

group test Now is not the time to discover that the boots you bought aren’t up to the job!

72 Trail april 2012

scrambling boots what we tested Mammut Mt Centry GTX Garmont Vetta Mnt GTX AKU SL Trek GTX Scarpa Cristallo Zamberlan Monster GTX La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX

£180 £190 £200 £200 £200 £235

Scrambling boots Balancing on small holds, jamming in cracks, or delicately negotiating knife-edge arêtes while also being able to deal with long approaches: we ask a lot of scrambling boots. Trail looks at the latest offerings...

Test Jeremy Ashcroft Photographs Tom Bailey and Graham Thompson

APRIL 2012 Trail 73

group test

Gaiters To keep mud and water out of your boots and stop bracken from trashing your trousers, you need to choose the right gaiters for your kind of walking. Test Graham Thompson Photographs Tom Bailey

what we tested Trailwise Snolock Gaiters £25 Trekmates Dry Softshell Gaiters £30 Rab Latok Alpine Gaiters £35 Berghaus GTX Gaiters £35 Rohan Snowgaiters £40 Extremities Nova Gaiter £45 Páramo Long Gaiters £52 Outdoor Research Crocodiles £55

82 Trail APRIL 2012

gaiters Gaiters let you laugh in the face of soggy terrain.

APRIL 2012 Trail 83

used & abused

used & abused Team Trail’s kit sees more action than most. Here’s where we tell you how it did...

Lowe Alpine Zepton 50 £110 The Zepton is a stripped-down alpine-style pack, which means it has clean lines and an uncluttered design so that climbers don’t get snagged on anything on a route. Luckily this also gives backpackers a nice lightweight pack, even with a big capacity of 50 litres. The Dyneema fabric is incredibly tough and waterresistant as well as light, and the Zepton also has a comfortable harness and two external stretch pockets for handy storage, making it a very useable pack.

the prices given are the original cost of the item

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 £320

(NOW replaced by DMC-LX5 £459) Size isn’t everything, and my compact LX3 has been my favourite bit of kit for the past couple of years. It’s simple to use, has brilliant presets for the likes of sunsets or night shots, and the quality can be very good indeed: it can count this Trail front cover [left] as its proudest moment.

98 Trail APRIL 2012

team trail’s kit

(See page 32)

t r i p r e p o rt

Peter Macfarlane Rannoch Moor, Scotland

Zipshot Tripod £55 The Panasonic’s best friend is the Zipshot tripod, which is very light indeed and quick to use as the legs fold out just like a tent pole. Essential kit for timer shots when you’re running round the front of the lens and trying to look natural.

Montane’s Air Jacket is just what a lightweight waterproof shell should be, as it’s got everything you need and nothing that you don’t. Cut from the excellent eVent fabric, it has a huge single pocket that is perfect for gloves, a Buff and snacks; the wide cuffs can be rolled up or fastened around winter gloves; and the hood is a proper mountain design that can be cinched in to give you all the protection you need when it turns nasty.

APriL 2012 Trail 99

phoebe smith

Montane Air Jacket £230

the best hillwalks written by experts

clockwise from top: Tom bailey, Ronald turnbulL, Dan Bailey, Tom Bailey

routes Stac Pollaidh, one of the routes on your Ultimate Weekend: page 130.


Trail Routes use OS mapping and gradient profiles, and are available to download at This month we feature six adventures guaranteed to kick-start your ticklist – from Munros to Deweys, Welsh 3000ers to Scottish Marilyns and of course the fantastic Trail 100s. Simply choose your list and location, and get bagging!

P117 P113

1 2 3 4 5 6

15.4km 17.3km 18.3km 28.8km 16km 20.5km

p107 p109 p111 p113 p115 p117

ultimate weekend – Dunnerdale 7 Dow Crag 16km 8 Harter Fell 14.5km 9 Dunnerdale Fells 6.8km

p122 p123 p124

ultimate weekend – Ullapool 10 Beinn Ghobhlach 10.5km 11 Ben More Coigach 9km 12 Stac Pollaidh 4.5km

p128 p129 p130

classic route 13 Buttermere Round


Great Links Tor The Calf Y Glyderau Ettrick Water Pen Pumlumon Fawr Ben Nevis


west highlands


trail route


Ben Nevis

Carn Mor Dearg (left), the Carn Mor Dearg Arête and Ben Nevis.

Catch a cable car with Dan Bailey for a mountaineering-style scramble / winter climb on the giants of western Scotland.


ochaber’s highest mountains are all near neighbours, four 4,000-footers that cluster close enough to be climbed in a single mega trip, made feasible with a high start on the Nevis Range gondola. These are some of Scotland’s greatest peaks – the massive Aonach Mor, secretive and serious Aonach Beag, graceful Carn Mor Dearg and last but never least Ben Nevis. Hands-on interest is centred on Carn Mor Dearg. This peak’s east ridge gives an under-appreciated scrambling ascent, while the famous CMD Arête linking with Ben Nevis is one of the grandest ridges in the country. However the rest of the round covers serious ground too. Winter conditions give it the feel of a mountaineering expedition, and on these high hills snow might be present well into spring. In this bridge season it’s wise to go prepared with an axe, crampons and the experience to tackle Grade I winter ridges.

Aonach Beag and the Grey Corries, seen from Ben Nevis.


■■■■■ ■■■■■ ■■■■■ 4

Scottish 4000ft peaks With 280-odd members, the Munros are hardly an exclusive club. Their 3,000-foot-plus entry requirement is just too permissive, allowing all sorts of riffraff in. But up the threshold to 4,000 feet and you’ve a much more refined tick-list of just nine, with five entries in the Cairngorms and four in Lochaber. Two mega hill days will bag them all, but NB: under snow they are a stern challenge.

dan bailey

20.5km/12½ miles

april 2012 Trail 117

classic route

13 trail route lake district Scafell Pike, Scafell and Kirk Fell from Scarth Gap. matthew roberts

136 Trail april 2012

'Its remoteness, tucked away from the madding crowd, gives it a timeless and unhurried atmosphere. It cries out to be explored...'

april 2012 Trail 137

Trail - April 2012  

A sampler of the April 2012 issue of Trail magazine - the UK's number 1 hillwalking mag. Free with our April issue, the legendary 116-page G...