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L I V E FO R T H E O U T D O O R S

LIVE FOR THE OUTDOORS

MARCH 2014

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12 HILLWALKS USING THE UK’S BEST MAPS

THE UK’S BEST-SELLING HILLWALKING MAGAZINE

MARCH 2014 £3.99

SPECIAL EDITION

WILD MOUNTAIN WONDERS 43 UNMISSABLE PLACES TO SEE, WALK AND CLIMB IN THE UK PLUS BRITAIN’S GREATEST MOUNTAIN... AS VOTED BY YOU!

the one that turned Adam and Eve into a celebrity power couple

TESTED: 30 LITRE RUCKSACKS FLEECES DIGITAL CAMERAS TACKLE SNOWDONIA’S WINTER RIDGES + START BOTHYING CLIMB MOROCCO’S HIGHEST + LEO HOULDING CONFESSES!


contents ‘This one’s a wonder you have to earn, but it’s worth it’ a trip to torridon brings the reward of beinn eighe

p36

Looking out from Triple Buttress Corrie on Beinn Eighe: one of 43 UK wild wonders packed into this issue. tom bailey

basecamp

skills

Dream peak

6

The UK’s best mountain

8

Small but special: the Lake District’s Steeple

Discover what you voted as the number one

Mountain Inquisition

10

Welsh ridges

20

Wild wonders

30

Bothies

60

14

Toubkal

66

Out There

16

Behind the picture

72

Subscribe to Trail

28

Mountain Guide

A book to guide you to the best photo locations

High Lights: March

13

Your whole month of mountainy stuff, sorted

74

Different types of tent – and which is best for you; how to cope when benighted on a winter hill; what trig points are for; sorting out sodden boots PLUS timing walks; repairing Gore-Tex; knowing Ben Nevis; ‘starting cold’; storing sleeping bags

your trail

Our foremost adrenaline addict, Leo Houlding

The Lakes through a lens 12

adventures

In Box

Check out our pick of the UK’s mountain marvels

It’s what they lack that makes them so appealing

The world of hillwalking, according to you lot

Your best mountain moments, on camera

Just how much fun is Snowdonia under snow?

Sign up smartish, get Alan Hinkes’ new book!

Trail does Africa on a Moroccan high adventure

In anticipation of a Himalayan first ascent


WHERE THIS MONTH’S ISSUE WILL TAKE YOU p66

TOM BAILEY

On the Marrakesh Express: Trail’s mission to Morocco.

p34

p60 High Cup Nick: awesome.

Bothy nights: blissful. TOM BAILEY

TOM BAILEY

Top gear, from fabric maps to daysacks and fleeces... TOM BAILEY

GEAR Kit report

ROUTES 27

Did Trail’s gear survive a Welsh winter battering?

30-35 litre rucksacks

82

Solution found to worldwide blue nylon surplus

1 2 3 4

Mountain fleeces

Kit to keep you cosy when walking on chilly hills

88

5

Digital cameras

94

6

...for snappers from smartphone owner to pro

7-9

First test

10-12

96

A Marmot jacket with the new NanoPro fabric

Hot new kit!

98

The latest hill gear – and why you really need it

CLASSIC ROUTE

Pen-y-ghent Wasdale Ennerdale Diffwys Cairn Gorm Pentlands Carneddau The Cheviots Fairfield round

105 107 109 111 113 115 119 123 128

Choose your route and go hillwalking!

5

6 3 2

7-9 4

10-12

CLASSIC ROUTE

1


OUT THERE In Pin Skye Graeme McMillan, Scott Cameron and Ian Clark from Aberdeen after tackling the Inaccessible Pinnacle. Ian says, “Thanks to our guide [and photographer], Bill Strachan from Scotch on the Rocks, for a tremendous day. As you can see the weather was great, and the views amazing. The Black Cuillins take some beating!”

nds Glen Coe west Highla Northumberland, “...still

Dudley in Peter and Nicola Watson from nce Staircase during our first long dista smiling, at the top of the Devil’s leted on 17 September.” comp we h whic Way, land High walk, the West Keiser, an American walker the The photo was taken by Brendan couple met on the WHW.

Harter Fell Lake District Jo Lloyd, Mike Lloyd, Les Dack and Jan Dack from Warrington, happy to have done their final Wainwright, in a picture taken by Marc Dack.

Ben Nevis west Highlands Susanne Gibbs from Norwich on the summit of Britain, shortly after Kiwi John McMurray had proposed to her (she said yes!).

18 TRAIL MARCH 2014


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 trail@bauermedia.co.uk

Curbar Edge Peak District

Debbie Etheridge from Peterborough, overlooking the River Derwent. Husband Eddie took the pic. Debbie told Trail: “It was a really wet and windy day in October when we walked up to Curbar Edge, and it was wonderful that when we got to the top the sun came out and you could see for miles. Worth all the horizontal rain on the way up!”

If you or someone you know are aged between 16 and 24 and are interested in work experience opportunities at Bauer Media go to: www.gothinkbig.co.uk

Post Trail editorial, Bauer, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA Email trail@bauermedia.co.uk Prefix all 6-digit numbers with 01733 EDITORIAL Editor Simon Ingram (468205) Associate editor Oli Reed (468369) Art editor Louise Parker (468292) Designer Katie Wilkinson (468386) Production editor Sally Walters (468165) Features editor Dan Aspel (468698) News and features writer Ben Weeks (468363) Editorial assistant Tara McGivern (468205) Photographer Tom Bailey Technical editor Graham Thompson Mountaineering editor Jeremy Ashcroft Map illustrator Steve Hall (468235) Head of publishing Shane Collins (468236) ADVERTISING Key account director Heather Smith (468442) heather.smith@bauermedia.co.uk Commercial director Iain Grundy (468078) Key account director Mark Wheat (468868) Display sales Rachel Simpson (366375) Classified sales Amy Woods (366376) MARKETING Direct marketing manager Emma Nicholls (468304) Marketing manager Jo Burton (468163) Head of newstrade marketing Leon Benoiton (468129) PRODUCTION Print production manager Lucinda Westwood (468062) Print production Colin Robinson (468072) Advertising production Gavin Mills (468675) Printers Polestar Bicester Distribution Frontline (555161) SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BACK ISSUES Visit www.greatmagazines.co.uk For print subscription or back issue queries contact CDS Global on bauer@subscription.co.uk Phone from the UK on 0844 848 8872 (0844 calls from landlines cost 5p per minute. Calls from mobiles may cost more.) Phone from overseas on +44 (0)1858 438760 Head of e-publishing Jim Foster Digital edition queries? Email jim.foster@bauermedia.co.uk

Monte Cristallo Dolomites

Ewan Galloway from Kendal, doing a bit of via ferrata. He was tackl ing Italy’s Alta Via 1 route during his hone ymoon with new wife Lisa, who took the photo.

BAUER CONSUMER MEDIA MD Leisure & Technology Sam Fitz-Gibbon Editorial director June Smith-Sheppard Head of digital Charlie Calton-Watson Group direct marketing director Chris Gadsby Finance director Lisa Hayden Group finance director Sarah Vickery Group managing director Rob Munro-Hall CEO Paul Keenan Trail magazine is published 13 times of year by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough PE1 2RF. Registered number 01176085. No part of the magazine may be reproduced in any form in whole or in part, without the prior permission of Bauer. All material published remains the copyright of Bauer and we reserve the right to copy or edit, any material submitted to the magazine without further consent. The submission of material (manuscripts or images etc) to Bauer Media, whether unsolicited or requested, is taken as permission to publish that material in the magazine, on the associated website, any apps or social media pages affiliated to the magazine, and any editions of the magazine published by our licensees elsewhere in the world. By submitting any material to us you are confirming that the material is your own original work or that you have permission from the copyright owner to use the material and to authorise Bauer to use it as described in this paragraph. You also promise that you have permission from anyone featured or referred to in the submitted material to it being used by Bauer. If Bauer receives a claim from a copyright owner or a person featured in any material you have sent us, we will inform that person that you have granted us permission to use the relevant material and you will be responsible for paying any amounts due to the copyright owner or featured person and / or for reimbursing Bauer for any losses it has suffered as a result. Please note, we accept no responsibility for unsolicited material which is lost or damaged in the post and we do not promise that we will be able to return any material to you. Finally, whilst we try to ensure accuracy of your material when we publish it, we cannot promise to do so. We do not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage, however caused, resulting from use of the material as described in this paragraph. Competition terms and conditions, and winners’ details, are available from the editorial address above; please enclose an SAE. Letters / photos sent without an SAE cannot be answered / returned. Emails cannot always be replied to personally; sorry.

© Bauer 2014

MARCH 2014 TRAIL 19


GO: north Wales DO: winter ridges

CRUNCH TIME Snowdonia’s ridges are the jewels studding north Wales’ crown. But wrapped in a coat of snow their magnificence increases – and so does their challenge... WORDS BEN WEEKS PHOTOGRAPHS TOM BAILEY

S

nowdonia. The clue’s in the name, surely? By all rights the mountains of the National Park should be permanently caked in it. They’re not, of course. The Gulf Stream keeps our island uncharacteristically warm and, despite their towering appearance, the Snowdonian peaks lack the altitude to hold snow all year. But during winter a blanket of the white stuff is common and turns the hillwalking playground of north Wales into a mountaineer’s wonderland. Which may or may not be good news for walkers... ❯

20 TRAIL MARCH 2014


A snow-caked Tryfan looks on as Bristly Ridge resolutely refuses to offer a safe route up.

march 2014 Trail 21


8000m by Alan Hinkes worth £25: yours when you subscribe! n In this stunning large-format book, British mountaineer Alan Hinkes describes for the first time in one place his experiences of climbing all 14 of the peaks over 8000m: the world’s highest mountains. While the photographs – many taken in near-impossible conditions – capture the beauty and majesty of the mountain landscapes of the roof of the world, the text describes the minute-byminute struggle to survive in ‘the death zone’, let alone climb to the summits, often solo and in roaring winds and arctic temperatures. A stunning book to challenge and inspire mountain lovers everywhere!

Call 0844 848 8872

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wild mountain wonders

High Cup Nick A

nyone who tells you the Pennines aren’t spectacular has obviously never stood on the windswept plateau above High Cup Nick, staring into a U-shaped basin so perfectly formed that it almost defies belief. Just one glance into this colossal horseshoe will teach you more about the formation of glacial valleys than all the geography textbooks in the world, because you can actually see where the ancient ice carved its way through the hillside, scraping out one of Britain’s most remarkable landscapes in the process. The distinctive crown of dark crags that encircles the ravine is part of the Great Whin Sill, a gigantic sheet of volcanic dolerite that runs through England’s northern Pennines and stretches into southern

8 Type canyon Location NY745262 Effort ■■■■■

34 Trail March 2014

Scotland. The sill was formed when molten rock pushed upwards through the surrounding limestone, then cooled and crystallised to create a rough escarpment that protrudes from the Earth across much of this wild region. At High Cup Nick, the sill juts out like a serrated edge, above and below softer rock that has eroded over preceding millennia. Even the tough dolerite has succumbed to the British elements in places, cracking and fracturing to form a dramatic network of stacks and pinnacles. The most famous spire is that of Nichol’s Chair, which – according to legend – is named after an audacious local cobbler who climbed the stack and repaired a shoe on its summit.


Right: struggling to get comfortable on Nichol's Chair. Below: approaching the head of England's finest glacial valley.

march 2014 Trail 35

TOM BAILEY

Although most people refer to the entire area as High Cup Nick, the ‘Nick’ itself is actually a small breach at the head of the valley, through which a small stream trickles down a cascade of boulders towards the valley bottom. This stream is now just a mere trace of the mighty river that once bit so deeply into the landscape, and its retreat has opened the valley up to hillwalkers. The classic approach is a short circular walk from Dufton, taking you along the Pennine Way, across gentle farm tracks and through rolling fields, before rounding Peeping Hill where the views detonate around you. What follows is a fascinating walk dating back some 250 million years, amid scenery that feels like it belongs to another planet. T


WILD MOUNTAIN WONDERS 11 TOM BAILEY

CRIB GOCH SNOWDONIA Type ridge Location SH624551 Effort ■■■■■

THE PINNACLES OF CORRAG BHUIDHE, AN TEALLACH NORTH HIGHLANDS Type mountain ridge Location NH069843 Effort ■■■■■

Truly the godfather of all ‘walker’s’ ridges (and we use that term as loosely as possible), Crib Goch is a mountain rite of passage. It’s no small irony that this frighteningly sheer, fractured fin of slate is embedded into the most climbed mountain in the world, Snowdon; you really couldn’t have a starker juxtaposition of

BOB ATKINS

TOM BAILEY

If you’re after spectacle, it’s tough to beat An Teallach. The mountain is a monster, all sharp angles and sharper peaks, poised at the end of the long road to Dundonnell. The Pinnacles of Corrag Bhuidhe lean sickeningly over the deep, west-facing corrie around

which An Teallach curls, and are stupendous to look at. They can be climbed as part of the classic traverse of An Teallach too, though it requires mountaineering skills. There is one, however, that is accessible to anyone with gonads of wrought iron: the perilously tilted Lord Berkeley’s Seat, directly beneath which opens one of the most impressive drops in Britain. We don’t know who Lord Berkeley was – but if he was the first one to come up here, he must have had cojones.

TOM BAILEY

9

the comely and the chilling. The route across the top of Crib Goch is rated as a Grade 1 scramble, and once you’ve got started on it, there’s little argument with this. But Crib Goch’s real punch comes with its exposure – the posh word for the huge drops that open up either side as you stride (or crawl) out onto the pinnacles. If you’ve got a solid head for heights it’ll be a rewarding challenge; if you’re a bannisterhugger, best stay away.

10

BEINN EIGHE TORRIDON

Type mountain Location NG951611 Effort ■■■■■ Beinn Eighe is perhaps not the natural choice for a wonder among the spectacular mountain menagerie that is Torridon; but its delights are far more subtle than those of neighbouring Liathach and Beinn Eighe. It is a truly massive mountain, built like a fortress of long, interlocking ridges and splintery

36 TRAIL MARCH 2014

quartzite. The entire mountain is a National Nature Reserve – it was Britain’s first, in fact – being home to delicate plant life and important geology, as well as the remnants of the ancient pinewood of Scotland still clustering its low slopes. An exceptional attraction of the tucked-away Coire Mhic Fearchair is the towering Triple Buttress, a distinctive fist of mountain only appreciable via a long walk or wild camp. This one’s a wonder you have to earn, but it’s worth it.

12

CADAIR IDRIS SNOWDONIA

Type mountain Location SH714132 Effort ■■■■■ The battlement of southern Snowdonia, and unmolested by train or café (though the hole-like building on the summit was once used as the latter), Cadair Idris is arguably the most complete mountain in Wales. A sprawling wall from the north, from the south it is a curl of pyramidal crags above

a shadowed cwm, into which legends have dripped like meltwater since the Middle Ages. Home to a giant, a monster, a curse and the hounds of hell, Cadair Idris is a sink for everything eerie that gathers around the high places of Wales. And it’s a stunning mountain to climb too, with routes for the novice, and – when tackled via the terrifyingly steep Cyfrwy Arête – the alpinist.


SIMON INGRAM

SIMON INGRAM

13

CROSS FELL PENNINES

Type mountain Location NY687343 Effort ■■■■■ High point of the Pennines and the tallest mountain in England outside the Lake District, Cross Fell is home to a curious local phenomenon called the Helm Wind, the only named wind in Britain. So called for the cloud formation that develops above Cross Fell when it is blowing (local lore says the cloud was so named for its resemblance to a

helmet), this particularly violent wind blows down the steep western escarpment into the Eden Valley, which, local lore also says, the wind never crosses. Once nicknamed ‘Fiend’s Fell’, as a mountain Cross Fell is bleak and bare, with a boulderfield summit and views of the ‘golfball’ radar station on neighbouring Great Dun Fell – but it’s a superb piece of the wild Pennines and on a clear day gives views of the entire Lake District, north to south.

14

SCHIEHALLION CENTRAL HIGHLANDS

Type mountain Location NN714548 Effort ■■■■■ Schiehallion is scientifically important due to its bizarre role in an experiment to establish the mass of the Earth and – for several months in the eighteenth century – was home to two observatories, either side of its remarkably symmetrical bulk. The thing that drew science to this high

Perthshire mountain is also the thing that makes it a wonder: its elegant, near-perfect symmetry as seen from the shore of Loch Rannoch to the west. Far from being a pointed cone, Schiehallion is actually shaped like the hull of an upturned boat, with one long ridgeline bisecting the mountain as it ascends to its compact summit. Predictably, the view from the top out to the west is equally as spellbinding as the view of it.

MARCH 2014 TRAIL 37


Bothying

60 Trail march 2014


STONE HAVENS Ramshackle buildings in the wild can be the stuff of horror films. But bothies provide sanctuary – and there's no better time than the squally nights of spring to explore them. WORDS BEN WEEKS PHOTOGRAPHS TOM BAILEY

Tales from the hearthside: “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I ’ll begin...”

MARCH 2014 TRAIL 61


Š LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH/Alamy

GO: Morocco DO: North Africa’s highest

Distinctively barren but beautiful trails grace the Moroccan High Atlas.

66 Trail MARCH 2014


MARRAKESH EXPRESS

Any plans this weekend? Scratch them. We’ve found something better. It’s called Jebel Toubkal, it’s 4167m high and you can climb it in two days. This is mountain Mecca. WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DAN ASPEL

I

t begins – like many tall tales – in Marrakesh. One thousand five hundred miles from the mizzle of London is this hot, dusty, beating jewel of a city. It’s an evocative place. Its souks heave with traders, spread deep in a maze of stalls and stores. Powdered piles of saffron and ochre-coloured spices lie alongside fabrics and trinkets and oranges and junk, and unfamiliar sounds fill the air, from the niggling wail of the snake-charming pungi to the muezzin’s five-times-daily call to prayer. Less poetically, the wrong parts of town smell appalling and if you’re off your game you’ll be fleeced blind. This is a city of colour and contrast and by far the most eternally foreign place you can reach on a budget airline. But what if we told you it’s also the perfect place for a lightning-fast mountaineering weekend? Allow us to explain...

Just 80km to the south lies the peak known as Jebel Toubkal. If you want to get switched on immediately, listen to this: it’s the highest point in the Atlas Mountains (what a name), which makes it the tallest peak in North Africa. And it’s a 4000er. And you can walk up it. Year-round. Foreign hillwalking peaks don’t come more exotic, more approachable or even much higher. In other words: if you’re peak-crazy and travel’s on your mind, this could be the ticket you’re looking for. That’s what’s brought Trail here. “I saw ice once,” says Khalid my airport transfer driver, in between dodging bikes, mopeds and vegetable carts. “I am serious. It was 17 years ago in a fountain in the city. My uncle took me to see it. That was a cold winter.” Cold by Marrakesh standards means below 10 deg C, and the city dips below zero rarely in a generation. Today, at ❯

MARCH 2014 TRAIL 67


GROUP TEST

30-35 litre daysacks Essential and versatile, choose well and a pack like this is a fine investment. TEST SIMON INGRAM PHOTOGRAPHS TOM BAILEY

T

he amount of choice available in rucksacks with a capacity of between 30 and 35 litres these days is dazzling, with most major brands offering their take on an absolutely essential piece of walking kit. But the end uses of mid-sized mountain

daysacks are evolving with the development of ever leaner tents and stoves, and more and more people are using smaller daysacks like these as overnight backpacks as well as all-season mountain daysacks. What this means is that choosing the right kind of sack

is more important than ever, based on what you intend to do with it. Pick the right one for your needs and you’ve got a truly versatile piece of kit, and the focus of this test has been on exactly that. Here are eight of the best 30-35 litre mountain sacks out there.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A DAYSACK LID

VENTILATED BACK SYSTEM

The lid covers the top opening of the rucksack and it may be designed to ‘float’ above the main body so you can overstuff the main compartment with gear while still keeping rain out.

So you don’t get too sweaty, many models have mesh panels that hold the sack away from the body to increase airflow and thereby reduce the clammy sensation that some sacks can cause.

COMPRESSION STRAPS Found on the sides of some rucksacks, these allow you to compress the body of the sack to help stabilise the load. They are also useful for stashing items on the side of a pack.

SHOULDER STRAPS The shoulder straps take some of the weight, but they need to be carefully contoured and padded to make them comfortable. Try them for size, fit and comfort before parting with your cash.

HIPBELT This is designed to carry most of the load if the pack is heavy, but when carrying lighter loads it may only be used to provide stability. Either way, it should fit snugly around your hips while being comfortable and easy to adjust.

82 TRAIL MARCH 2014

POCKETS An external zipped pocket is useful for guidebooks, maps and GPS receivers, but some people like more than one.

WAND POCKETS

HYDRATION POCKET

Originally designed to take avalanche probes or ‘wands’, these pockets on the side of a rucksack are ideal for stashing the handles of trekking poles as well as smaller items such as water bottles or gloves.

If you like to use a hydration bladder with a feeder pipe to drink from rather than a water bottle, look for a rucksack with a pocket for the hydration bladder inside the pack.


30-35 LITRE DAYSACKS MAGAZINE

MAGAZINE

BEST VALUE

BEST IN TEST

MAGAZINE

MAGAZI

BEST VALUE Lowe Alpine Yocton 35 £70

m

BEST IN

Salewa Miage 30 £75

m

MAGAZINE

Montane Medusa 32 £80

BEST VALUE

Lowe Alpine returned in 2013 with the Yocton range, and it’s a strong rebirth for a brand so associated with the rucksack. The Yocton 35 doesn’t try to do anything radical, though its back system is an interesting thicket of springy cord mesh that manages to be supportive while retaining airflow. The rest of the sack’s features are fairly conventional but abundant and helpful, with two hipbelt pockets, a pouch on the front panel ideal for stashing a jacket, a zipped pocket in the lid with another beneath, a drawcorded main compartment and two stretchy wand pockets. A nice touch is a rubber ‘garage’ for walking pole points (or axe spikes), which are then cinched in by robust bungees. The compression straps are slim and the shoulder straps offer a good degree of adjustment, which is a good thing as you can’t do the same for the back system. One thing: it isn’t particularly rigid – a plate inside gives some stiffness, but not a lot. RATINGS FEATURES DESIGN COMFORT PERFORMANCE VALUE

✱✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱✱

OVERALL

✱✱✱✱

TRAIL VERDICT

A quietly confident effort from Lowe, offering superb value for money and marking a promising return.

The Miage is a 30 litre sack that is light for its feature set and extremely comfortable for its weight. You get two wand pockets either side, a spacious lid pocket, and – in an unusual touch – a vertical zip down the front that accesses the main compartment. This could have been a really nifty feature that would allow you to grab stuff on the move; problem is, when the sack is full, this zip pull can’t be reached without unclipping the lid first, which kind of defeats the object. A zip that opened from bottom to top could work better? On, the sack is very light and comfy, thanks in part to a plate that sits in a sleeve behind the firm, fluted foam back system, which can be bent to shape and reduces ‘barrelling’ when packed tight. Like the Montane Medusa, the Miage is narrow and therefore useful for scramblers and climbers, and while many will justly like the Miage better, between the two the Montane just noses it in terms of design. RATINGS FEATURES DESIGN COMFORT PERFORMANCE VALUE

✱✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱✱

OVERALL

✱✱✱✱✱

TRAIL VERDICT

A potentially excellent sack that’s well worth the money, as long as the features are to your liking.

m

The Medusa 32 is the serious hillwalker’s pack of choice. Thoughtfully designed and robust, its fabric certainly feels more substantial than many other packs here, though this does impact slightly on weight. The back system is a chunk of foam that sits into the groove of your back well, though those who prefer the airy feel of a suspended back system probably won’t like it. It’s well-featured too, with a zipped pocket beneath the fixed lid, plastic grab handles on the cords, two useful wand pockets, a single zipped pocket in the hipbelt (there’s a gear loop on the other side; another pocket would be of more use), a nifty axe/pole attachment system and side compression straps. Added to this is a reinforced bottom and a hydration tube clip on the shoulder strap. The narrow fit, tough fabric and the gear loops suggest it is on the fence between walkers and climbers; be this as it may the sack is more than decent enough for both.

MA

BEST

RATINGS FEATURES DESIGN COMFORT PERFORMANCE VALUE

✱✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱✱ ✱✱✱✱✱

OVERALL

✱✱✱✱✱

TRAIL VERDICT

A versatile sack for the walker, scrambler or climber, and outstanding value for its feature set.

MARCH 2014 TRAIL 83


10 ROUTE BORDERS

craggy hollow

28.7km/17¾ miles

ALWAYS TAKE A MAP OUT WITH YOU ON THE HILL

The Cheviot and Hen Hole 1

NT893280 Follow the tarmac track back past Hethpool. Where it bends right, turn left on a track to Elsdonburn with Cuthbert Way markers which will lead you now to Point 2. Head 2 NT873283 up left of the farm on a track south-west for 500m, then fork down right Thurso to a field gate. Cross the pathless field south-west to a stile, for a path through aLairg plantation. At its end, Ullapool follow waymarks (still south-

FACTS

Inverness Shiel Bridge

ORDNANCE SURVEY MAPPING © CROWN COPYRIGHT. CREATED WITH MEMORY-MAP. LICENCE MEDIA089/12

ntrae

3 NT853273 A Cuthbert Way signpost marks the Scotland-England border. Turn left off St Cuthbert’s Way, and follow the Border wall, soon joined by the Pennine Way. (Pennine Way markers will guide you to The Cheviot summit, Point 6.) Wall then fence leads over White Law, and up the slope towards Black Hag.

5 NT879201 The Pennine Way path leads on up the ridge to Auchope Cairn, and across bog plateau to a 3-way signpost. Turn left, on a mostly paved path with a fence on its right, to the trig point on The Cheviot.

NT857237 At a gate, the Pennine Way ahead dips around the south-west flank of Black Hag, but you can head up left to bag the summit, then follow the fence down southeast, rejoining the

Oban

SLE ARRAN

Pennine Way. The path and border fence cross The Schil, and in another 3km arrive at the Auchope refuge hut.

4

Aviemore

STRENUOUSNESS Aberdeen■ ■ ■ ■ ■ verie NAVIGATION ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Invergarry Braemar TECHNICALITY ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ t William Blair Atholl TRAIL 100 COUNT 1

Glasgow

west) across the stream on your right, and up onto the grassy ridgeline. Keep ahead and slightly downhill for 300m to the border wall.

3

6

NT909205 Descend due west across the bog plateau, weaving among peat pools while watching the compass. Fortunately the

8

Jedburgh Dumfries

Middlesbrough

Total ascent 1000m Windermere Kendal

Time 10 hours

5

Northallerton

Ingleton

Bentham Start/finish Hethpool: Lancaster Skipton estate car park 400m Leeds south of the hamlet Liverpool Manchester (NT893280) Conway

York

Hen Hole is a big target. Quite suddenly the great grass hollow opens up at your feet. Go down the steep grass into Hen Hole; the best line is the slight spur between the two main streams.

Rhyl

Derby Maps Harvey Superwalker (1:25,000) Cheviot Hills; OS Birmingham Explorer (1:25,000) OL16; OS Landranger (1:50,000) Hay-on-Wye 74Brecon and 80 (both) Gloucester

Barmouth

Aberystwyth

Peterborough

NT892203 Follow the stream out through the craggy hollow, crossing it as often as necessary. As the hollow opens out at the head of the College Valley, faint paths lead down to the left of the stream to a rough

7

Public transport Oxford occasional bus 266 Wooler Swansea to Kirknewton by Glen Cardiff Bristol Valley Tours (01668) 281578; or start/end at Minehead Waterfall top, Hen Hole. Kirk Yetholm Southampton Exeter

6

7

Newcastle -upon-Tyne

Carlisle

Distance 28.7km Penrith Keswick (17¾ miles)

Terrain tracks and grassy Sheffield Bodelwyddan paths, with a rugged Betws-y-Coed descent off The Cheviot Llangollen

Bodmin

4

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Ayr

Pembroke

1

Edinburgh

Newton Stewart tranraer

digan

2

Poole

In association with Plymouth

To get this route and maps on your phone now, go to www.viewranger.com/trail Route code TRL0511

124 TRAIL MARCH 2014

GRADIENT PROFILE

NT881226 A tarmac track leads on down the College Valley. After 2.5km you pass a small memorial to aircraft lost during World War Two. Another 3km leads you back to Hethpool.

8

Brighton

1400 1200 METRES 1000 ABOVE 800 SEA 600 LEVEL 400 200 MILES KILOMETRES

shepherds’ hut. Here a track starts, which stays to the left of the stream. It passes through replanted woodland and along the foot of a plantation to Mounthooly bunkhouse.

Start

1 0 0

White Law

2

The Schil

4

3

The Cheviot

6

5

5 5

Finish

7

15

10 10

15

8

20

25


longstriding ridges

ALWAYS TAKE A MAP OUT WITH YOU ON THE HILL

BORDERS

ROUTE

11

26km/16 miles

Windy Gyle from the north 1

NT815205 A signposted track (for Hownam) leads up the hollow of Hall Burn to a col at its top. Descend briefly to a gate, but without going through it fork up left, past a plantation foot and slanting up south through a tiny col. Contour south-west through field gates to meet the green uphill track of The Street. NT799184 This track up left could be a short cut to Windy Gyle. But for your full 7km of Border Ridge ahead, cross it into a descending hollow. Keep to the right of the stream, to a track at the valley foot. Turn right to a track triangle at Greenhill.

STRENUOUSNESS ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ NAVIGATION ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ TECHNICALITY ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Distance 26km (16 miles) Total ascent 800m Time 9 hours Start/finish Belmont Water road: verge parking just past Belford (NT815205)

2

Terrain grassy paths, tracks, a short pathless section on the descent

NT792140 Keep south along a level ridge and halfway up the following rise until an old green track slants up left. It leads along the brink of the northern hollow, to a gate near a mountain refuge hut. NT804129 The Pennine Way path runs along the border ridge, to the right of fences, over Lamb Hill, Beefstand Hill and Mozie Law. You drop to The Street at a gate and signpost. Keep ahead across it, rejoining the border fence after 500m at a small col. Cross Windy Rig, then switch to the left

2

3

7

NT842169 7 Go through this gate, heading out due west across rough moorland for 150m, to find the top of a gravel track. Follow it down across the head of Calroust Burn, and down-valley to pass through Calroust farm. At the farm end, bear up left on an abandoned lane, which runs north to join the Bowmont Water and road; turn left to the walk start.

5

6

4

5

The Street Greenhill

Windy Gyle

Finish

In association with

1400 1200 METRES 1000 ABOVE 800 SEA 600 LEVEL 400 200 MILES KILOMETRES

Public transport bus 81 Morebattle – Kelso on B6401, 6km from start

1 0 0

2

4

3

6

5

5 5

7

10 10

15

20

15

25

To get this route and maps on your phone now, go to www.viewranger.com/trail Route code TRL0512

MARCH 2014 TRAIL 125

ORDNANCE SURVEY MAPPING © CROWN COPYRIGHT. CREATED WITH MEMORY-MAP. LICENCE MEDIA089/12

NT855152 Return the same way, but stay to the right of the fence. Before the rise to Windy Rig, a wide green track bends off to the right along the northward ridge. After 500m, bear left to a fence corner. Descend roughly north-west, with a fence then wall on your left, to a col with an old gateway.

1

6

4

Start

Maps Harvey Superwalker (1:25,000) Cheviot Hills; OS Explorer (1:25,000) OL16; OS Landranger (1:50,000) 74 and 80 (both)

of the fence for the climb to Windy Gyle summit.

Take the 3 NT788175 track to the left, up Capehope Burn. Just past The Yett, ford the stream to join a track running to its left. After 1.5km, turn down right, across Yett Burn to a gate. Follow faint paths up Cuthberthope Rig, to a green track crossing it towards Peelinick cottage (out of sight to your left).

GRADIENT PROFILE

FACTS

On Windy Gyle, looking north into Scotland.


CLASSIC ROUTE

The original horseshoe walk still stands the test of time to produce a tour de force, says Jeremy Ashcroft Ashcroft...

Fairfield Horseshoe T

here is a particular elegance in being able to climb a succession of peaks and taking advantage of high-level links to do it efficiently. This is the theory behind most of Britain’s horseshoe walks, and applying it has generated a huge number of superb routes. Some of our greatest mountain days fall into this category, and the range of difficulty both in terms of endurance and technicality can at times stretch this theory to the limit. It’s easy to be overawed and distracted by ever more difficult routes, and so it pays to return once in a while to a default version of the theme, just to get a sense of normality. For this purpose, there can be few more ‘normal’

128 TRAIL MARCH 2014

horseshoes than the Fairfield Horseshoe. It is perhaps the most famous of them all; and although there is no specific record, its central place at the home of fellwalking would suggest it was perhaps the first. Fairfield sits at the head of the deep, south-facing U-shaped valley of Rydal. The enclosing ridges are punctuated by a total of eight individual peaks and are defined by steep, dramatic slopes on both sides. It is the steepness and clean lines of both the valley and the summits that gives the horseshoe its distinct and identifiable appearance. So much so that even the greenest walker can easily spot its familiar form, both from the

surrounding fells, and at a considerable distance from the valleys below. The enclosing ridges are linked together with an ascent of Fairfield and provide fine high-level walking with only the minimum up and down once their crests have been gained. The views are good all round but are at their best once the main ridge is reached. For this reason – and for the trickiness of locating the correct line of descent off the summit – it’s best doing this walk in clear conditions. The steepest section is the south-east ridge of Nab Scar, so saving this for descent means the preferable way to tackle the horseshoe is anti-clockwise. ❯


LAKE DISTRICT

At the head of the U-shaped valley of Rydal, looking south with Windermere left of centre and Morecambe Bay beyond. TOM BAILEY

MARCH 2014 TRAIL 129


Trail magazine March 2014  

Trail magazine February 2014 Get a sneak peek of the new February 2014 issue of Trail – Britain's best-selling hill walking magazine. Out 23...

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