Over a two week period, 15th – 31st October, Bollington will hold it’s first walking festival. The two weeks will include over 30 walks and rambles, including child friendly activities, and many social events.
White Nancy - Source Flikr AliceRosen
Bollington is nestled in the Cheshire Peak District, close to Macclesfield. Bollington’s surroundings are ideal for walkers of all levels. This means for some of the walks you will need walking boots but for others just some comfy trainers will do. However, don’t forget to pack a waterproof jacket.
Amazing Views & Plenty of History
The festival offers a fantastic way to explore the area around Bollington, including parts of the peak district national park, with plenty of spectacular views and a whole heap of history to be discovered. If you’re planning on taking part in multiple walks then there is a plentiful selection of places to eat, stay and drink after a hard days walk. Events include a Ceilidh at Hollin Hall Hotel, an art exhibition at the White Gallery, theatre productions, concert(s), and an open day at Bollington Brewery. To really appreciate an area you need to know a little of it’s history.
It is a town borne of its rural origins with the industrialisation of the area beginning in the mid 18th century and rapidly developing in the 19th when several large cotton mills were built, coal mines were opened and stone quarried. The opening of the Macclesfield Canal in 1831 provided important industrial development incentive as did the railway that followed in the 1860′s. In modern times the mills have been replaced by, usually, smaller businesses although there remain two large paper coating mills. Tourism is increasingly important, the town providing an easy base for those interested in walking the hills, walking or boating the canal or walking or riding (bikes and horses) on the converted railway track, now known as the Middlewood Way. – source Happy Valley Website
Some of the most amazing views can be gained through a walk to the top of White Nancy (pictured above), including the Jodrell Bank observatory. White Nancy is actually the name of the landmark found at the peak, it was built in 1815 for the Gaskell family as a summer house though has for sometime been simply an impressive landmark loved by locals and tourists.
The Knights Walk – Bakestonedale Moor
14/15 miles, mostly hill walking, strenuous (16/10/10)
Bridgend 20th Anniversary Walk – White Nancy
7/8 miles, some hill walking, moderate (16/10/10)
The Ridge Raider – Dunge Valley
11 miles, mostly hill walking, strenuous (24/10/10)
Ribbon of History – Harrop Valley
6 miles, some hill walking, moderate (27/10/10)
Rise to Shine – Bollington
15 miles, mostly hill walking, strenuous (29/10/10)
If you don’t fancy a walk through the countryside thats no problem, as Bollington itself has many places of interest. You can walk the waterways past the Clarence and Adelphi Mills, discover the rich history of Bollington and surrounding areas with a visit to Quarry Bank Mill and the Anson Engine Museum.
Going for a long walk takes on a new meaning…
Samuel H Gardner will trek four thru hikes, that's over 12,500 miles! Photo by Greg Maino.
Walking a long distance hike is undoubtedly something that many of us hikers wish they had the time and stamina to take on. In the United Kingdom trails like the Pennine Way, the West Highland Way and Pembrokeshire Coast Path typically take between one and three weeks, depending upon how many miles you want to walk each day. To walk from Land’s End to John o’Groats you are talking the best part of two months hiking, which is a pretty big commitment.
Over in the United States they like to do things bigger, thru hikes like the famous Appalachian Trail take on average six months to complete. At 2178 miles that’s a lot of walking. For one man, though, that is not far enough. Samuel H Gardner intends to walk over 12,500 miles in a single trek along the four longest thru hiking trails in the USA.
Interview with Samuel H Gardner
To find out more about this hiking project called “The All-In Trek”, we asked Samuel Gardner to tell us about himself, his plans and reasons for taking on this long distance walking challenge…
CheapTents.com: What inspired you to get into outdoor pursuits and long distance walking?
Samuel Gardner: My obsession for being outside was started by my parents. They introduced me to the outdoors from day one by raising us kids in the North woods on the shore of Lake Superior. Here we started backpacking as soon as we learned to walk. I simply just got hooked on being outside. I cannot thank them enough for that.
I have been exposed to several great mentors both in my family and by authors who have lived their dreams. They have shown me by example that you have to go after dreams to make them happen. So thats what I am doing.
CheapTents.com: What has been your biggest achievement in outdoor pursuits?
Samuel Gardner: I don’t have a “biggest” but a collection of learning experiences that have shaped and stretched my comfort zones. Some of which include living in a snow-cave, becoming an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts of America, being a member of the U.S. National Junior Champion Pistol Team, being an wildlife tracker on a wolf predation research project, learning carpentry, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry and years of backpacking.
Samuel training on Ripley ski hill. Photo by Greg Maino.
CheapTents.com: What is your biggest weakness?
Samuel Gardner: I am an unknown person in the public eye and I am about to attempt to do something “big”. The nay-sayer criticism is difficult to not take personally. It is something I am learning to deal with. I aim to use it as a backup source of inspiration during the hard times of the trek.
CheapTents.com: What do you find most difficult about training?
Samuel Gardner: The pulled IT band injury in my right leg earlier this year. It is under control now. But it took a while to work through. I had to learn some new stretches, deep massages and use pressure point rollers for months to get it to feel good again.
CheapTents.com: On January 1st of 2011, you will set out on a 12,500+ mile “All-In Trek”. What will this involve?
Samuel Gardner: The All-In Trek includes hiking end-to-end and back-to-back the four longest trails in the U.S. This involves starting the trek on snowshoes on January 1st on the North Country Trail Westbound, then the Pacific Crest Trail Northbound, then the Continental Divide Trail Southbound and finally hiking the Appalachian Trail Southbound. It is my intention to hike the 12,500+ miles continuously in one trip. It is my goal is to finish in one calendar year. However, the four trails have never been hiked back-to-back before so the “journey” is more important to me then the speed record. Simply, I intend on walking quickly to avoid most of the deep snow in the mountains.
The All-In Trek of the four longest thru hikes in the USA: 12,500+ miles!
CheapTents.com: Why are you setting yourself this challenge?
Samuel Gardner: First, I believe the All-In Trek is the next step in long distance backpacking so I’m going to do my best to prove it by doing it myself.
Second, I want to experience first hand the adventure of it, the difficulties and the satisfaction, the personal growth and the people interactions, the freedom and the beauty of all the places that I have yet to see.
Third, I want to prove by example how it is possible to pursue our greatest dreams no matter how seemingly impossible they may appear. I hope to motivate others to do the same, whatever their dreams may be. Whether it is to become an artist, doctor, athlete, parent, teacher, carpenter, adventurer or any other healthy life style of living with intent.
CheapTents.com: How many pairs of walking boots do you think you will go through on the All-In trek?
Samuel Gardner: I am counting on using approximately 22 pairs of shoes throughout the trek.
CheapTents.com: You spent six months spent living outdoors in a snow cave. What made you choose to do this?
Samuel Gardner: It was a personal test I created to see if I had some of the basic skills to do “bigger” adventures in the future. It was part of building a personal check-list of outdoor skills that I wanted to complete before I attempted treks such as the “All-In Trek”. Turned out, it worked. I’m really glad I did it.
CheapTents.com: What were the main challenges involved and how did you overcome them?
Samuel Gardner: The location was a beaver pond located 5 miles out of town from the University where I went to school. I started camping in November in a tent on the banks of the pond. Once the snow got deep and the pond froze, I moved camp out to the island in the middle. I built a snow-cave next to a large boulder and moved in. It was much more comfortable than the tent.
Samuel spent six months living in this snow cave.
Some of the hardest parts were thin ice, getting the flu and my truck motor blowing up. I fell through the ice in the fall months. I learned to be good at climbing out of the holes in the ice. I remedied the situation by spreading logs out on the ice to walk on to spread out my weight. It worked well.
I became sick with the stomach flu in the middle of the endeavour. I lost 36 pounds in 6 days. It took a over a month and a half to get well again. This part wasn’t fun but I got through it. I am glad I experienced the hardship. I learned from it and won’t forget it.
In February, my truck broke so I had to use cross country skis to to get to class. It was about an hour ski each way. People talking when I started showing up in ski boots. It made for good exercise and conversation. Overall, it was a great experience.
CheapTents.com: Where would you like to be in 5 years time? Main Ambitions?
Samuel Gardner: I want to continue pursuing my goals of adventure, personal growth and inspiration. I want to take my experiences to schools and tell the stories to the kids. Show them that it is possible to follow our dreams no matter how seemingly impossible they appear to be or what the nay-sayers think. I believe that kids and most adults don’t hear enough positive stories and I aim to help fix that.
CheapTents.com: What are your favorite bits of gear, and why?
Samuel Gardner: My favorite piece of gear is my Circuit backpack from Ultra Light Adventure Equipment in Logan, Utah. It is a 36oz pack that can carry 35lbs of gear comfortably. Its simple and gets the job done well. It was designed with excellent craftsmanship.
CheapTents.com: Any people or sponsors that you would like thank?
Samuel Gardner: I want to thank my family and friends for supporting me 100 percent. I wouldn’t be who am I today without them in my life. Thank you. I’d also like to thank my sponsors; U.L.A. Equipment and Bucky Beach for helping me pursue this dream.
CheapTents.com: Anything else you would like to say?
Samuel Gardner: I want to invite everyone to check out my website: www.theinitiativesite.com and introduce yourself by emailing me at email@example.com with any questions, comments or advice. Please feel free to follow my progress and get involved! See you out there!
Thanks Samuel for taking the time to answer our questions. Good luck with the All-In Trek!
If you enjoyed reading this interview then you will definitely enjoy reading our interview with Abe Clark who has completed a solo run across run America or Mikael Strandberg, the legendary explorer who has trekked across East Africa and Siberia.
If you’re thinking of taking on a long distance hike, Trailspace has a useful four part guide to planning a thru hike, which is worth a read. Don’t forget your spare walking boots!
Share Your Adventures!
You don’t have to trek 12,500 miles to have a great adventure! We’d enjoy hearing from anyone who has taken on a walking challenge or hiked a long distance trail. Where did you go? What were the highlights? How did you overcome difficult parts of your journey? Can you give Samuel any advice to prepare him for his epic journey? Simply leave a comment!
Earlier this month the second anniversary of the CheapTents.com Outdoor Gear Blog passed by uneventfully. Yet on the 7th of August 2009, the first anniversary was celebrated with a summary of our favourite outdoor blog posts. So it seems only fitting that we should do a round up of the best posts of our second year before this month is over.
Best Outdoor Gear Posts
One of our favourite bits of outdoor gear this year is the Vango Helium Superlite tent. Available in two models, the 1 man 100 model and the 2 man 200 tent, both are lightweight, rugged and ideally suited for mountain marathons or solo walking. Our review looks at the Vango tents in detail.
Given the amount of rain we get in the UK, its no wonder that we love our breathable waterproof fabrics. To get the most out of our outdoor, our essential guide to caring for breathable waterproofs fabrics is a must read post.
Best Walking Post
We all enjoy being in the outdoors and going for a hike through the countryside. In the UK there is plenty outstanding scenery and we are certainly spoilt for choice. One good hiking option is the Anglesey Coastal Walk.
This year we have posted some outstanding interviews. From the world of Adventure Racing, Ian Adamson is the most successful athlete. Why not read our interview to find out more about the six times World Champion Adventure Racer and world record holder for endurance Kayaking.
For walkers and hikers, the spectacle of a bird of prey circling in the skies overhead can be the highlight of the walk. Unfortunately birds of prey are the victims of shooting, poisoning and land mismanagement. In our interview with RSPB Campaign Officer, John Loder, we found out how the RSPB Bird of Prey Campaign is bringing to the light the plight of these magnificent birds. A big thank you to all our readers who signed their name to the 200,000 strong RSPB petition that was handed into the government in February.
Light Hearted Walking Blog Posts
What can possibly be more cute than teddy bears? The Wasdale Mountain Rescue Teddies! Watch the video of their heroic cliff rescue in which they scale diamond crag to save two stranded climbers.
The future of mapping and the future of hiking have also been discussed. With the invention of Sherpa-cam, we will soon be able to walk up Mount Everest courtesy of Google Street View. We also reveal how urban hiking will become a major pastime for city dwellers with advent of vertical farms.
Best Outdoor Blog Posts 2010
That concludes our round up for another year. We can only speculate about what outdoor related gems we will publish in the next 12 months, but we are sure that there will be a fine selection for next year’s best blog post post!
Mt. Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain standing at 19,340 feet, thats almost 6,000m. It is due to the extreme altitudes that Kilimanjaro is considered be hard to climb. Earlier this month Matt Cutts (the head of Web Spam at Google) climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for Charity:Water.
Matt Cutts of Google Source: Flickr by Tony Young
As a bit of a tech geek I have known about this trek for a while, however to explain why Matt took on this challenge who better to explain than himself.
One thing I’ve noticed while hiking for practice is that you’re *always thinking about water*. How much do you need to carry? Do you have enough water to last until you can refill your bottles?
A lot of people take water for granted. You turn on the tap and there it is. But that’s not what it’s like for everyone. They have to think about water all the time. Walking miles to get it. Carrying it. Worrying how safe the water is.
45,000 people die each day from waterborne illnesses. When you give, 100% of all donations go directly to water projects, and each donation is marked using Google Earth when projects are complete.
Matt trained and climbed the summit together with two of his freinds. They then did something most people don’t do: they camped out the the crater at the top of Kilimanjaro. The crater is very close to the summit, so Matt actually was camping at 18,000+ ft! From what I gather he had plenty of thermals and lots of sunblock. But why does Matt tell us he did this?
… One big advantage is that you do the 6+ hour slog up to the summit during the day instead of starting at midnight. Hiking during the day is leagues better than at night, in my opinion. The other big advantage is that you get to explore the crater.
However, there are downsides to this approach too. Primarily the lack of oxygen, the human body isn’t designed to cope without oxygen and given it’s scarce nature at this altitude it’s easy to see why some people will just opt to leave the summit 20 minutes after getting there to start their descent. Some people at this height may suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS / Altitude Sickness), and a few people will suffer unfortunately from High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Of course AMS is generally summarised by most as a headache and being sick quite a lot, however it can get much worse. When it does, as Matt explains you end up on what some guides jokingly call the “Kilimanjaro Express.”
The Kilimanjaro Express Source: Flickr by Jolie Odell
Can Anyone Climb Kilimanjaro?
Matt is not an “athlete” by any means, last year he did a few triathlons and has been on some long hikes this year for stamina training … but like many readers of this blog, he is just an average guy who has been trying to get fit. Doing a triathlon for charity would probably be a hard enough target for anyone, but once it’s complete you look for your next target, for Matt this was Mt. Kilimanjaro. In his post Matt poses the ultimate question of if anybody can climb Kilimanjaro … it may come as a surprise to some but the answer is “yes”, and here at cheaptents we agree with him. In essence as long as you can build up your stamina anyone can take on the climb, which is actually more of a hike as there is no rock climbing involved, unless you manage to take some obscure route of course. As Matt says, the question is not can you but do you really want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?
If you are going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro then you may want to consider some of the tips below.
A few tips in case you decide to go:
- I’ve read lots of Kilimanjaro books, and the best one to start with is the book by Henry Stedman.
- I never walk with hiking poles, so I almost didn’t bring poles. Trust me: you should bring hiking poles. I definitely recommend the FlickLock or thumb lock poles over the “twist to unlock” poles. These poles worked very well for me. I’d opt for black handles if you can, because the gray handles got pretty grubby-looking by the end of seven days.
- Get good hiking boots and wear them all over the place for a month or two.
- Take care of your lips with SPF 15 or SPF 30 lip balm or Chap Stick. I used regular Chap Stick, which is SPF 4, but the sun is much stronger at higher altitudes. My lips were pretty sunburnt by the end of the hike.
- We flew into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO, but sometimes written as KIA) from Amsterdam on KLM. But a lot of people flew into Dar Es Salaam (DAR) via Dubai on Emirates. The people we talked to said that the Emirates flights were very nice.
- You may hear the word “Mzungu.” Our guide told us that it means “guest,” but a more literal translation would be “white person.” As far as I could tell, people are saying it with affection though.
- Hike at your own pace–ideally a slow, steady pace that you can maintain for hours. It’s Kilimanjaro, not KilimaNascar.
- Throw in a safari at Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, or the Serengeti National Park. As long as you’re in Africa, why wouldn’t you want to see stuff like this?
We also advise you take a look at our camping advice and climbing/hiking advice, the better prepared you are for the climb (or any climb for that matter) the better the chances of success.
If you wish to donate you can do so here: Charity:Water. Remember whatever you donate gets doubled thanks to Google.
Finally, if you are making the climb Take Care of Yourself & Your Equipment, Good Luck.
Have you climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro?
If Yes, we’d like to know about your experience. Leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve enjoyed this article you may be interested in the Run Across America Interview with Abe Clark. Earlier this year Abe ran unsupported all the way across the USA to raise awareness and money for Living Water International.
The event will take place Friday and Saturday August 20-21 2010.
During two stages you will travel in the mountains choosing your own way. You will carry all equipment required to spend the night in tent. The teams consists of two persons. The distances are 30 km, 50 km and 70 km spread over two days. The two longer, 50 and 70, are devided into the classes Mens, Womens and Mixed. 30 has one class for all, i.e. Mens-, Womens- and Mixed teams compete in the same class.
We also offer a shorter variant with the name BAMM One day, which is only day 2 of BAMM 30. Another opportunity is Malmtåget, an about 5 km hike along a path without timing. Read more under Competition.
There are many mountainous regions in Afghanistan and prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979 it was a popular destination for climbers and mountaineers. In May 2009 the new democratic government created the Band-e-Amir National Park which it hopes will boost national tourism to the area. It should also help to encourage the international community to take adventure travel and hiking holidays in the spectacular and remote countryside of central Afghanistan.
On 21st July 2010 two British and one American climber reached the highest peak in Afghanistan. The mountain of Noshaq is located in the north east of the country in the Hindu Kush range, on the border with Pakistan. The three mountaineers summitted the 7,492 m peak via the West Ridge. Poor weather conditions and deep snow made for a difficult ascent.
Last year saw the first Afghani summit of Noshaq during the “Afghans to the Top” expedition. It was hoped that the project would promote more high altitude climbing expeditions in the region, and it seems that international climbing community has begun to take an interest. Additionally it is hoped that mountain tourism in the area will be set up with sustainability and conservation in mind.
Mountain Unity International is a social enterprise set up to promote economic development in north east Afghanistan, with a focus on mountain tourism. We are not a tour operator but can help expedition leaders to connect with local Afghans on the ground.
By co-ordinating and publicising mountain tourism, Mountain Unity aims to provide sustainable livelihoods for the local people. We will also set up small projects to assist in the building up of the local community.
The Wakhan Corridor in the north east of Afghanistan used to be a particularly popular destination for mountaineers. The Wakhan corridor is bordered by Pakistan to the south, China to the east and Tajikistan to the north. This remote area has seen little change over the past 30 years or so. The area has always been peaceful, even during the Soviet Invasion and the on going conflict with the Taliban. However, Mountain Unity’s David James, told the BBC that:
I wouldn’t suggest anyone goes with a holiday mentality. This is for serious trekking and mountaineering expeditions – people that know about working in a real wilderness environment.
You’ve got to look after your own medical emergencies and be aware of your own security. You’ve got to be responsible for yourselves in Afghanistan. But this one particular part has remained entirely peaceful.
With many unclimbed peaks, short approach routes and more or less guaranteed good weather, The Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan could once again become favoured destination for climbers and mountaineers.
The Hindu Kush. Is Afghanistan set to become a top mountainerring destination again? Source Picasa by James Corbishley.
Have you been mountaineering Afghanistan, or climbing in other extremely remote parts of the world? Share your thoughts and experience! Click on comments below.
Finding the best apps around is never easy, especially given the nature of Android being open source which means anyone can create an app and send it into the wild. So to help ease the burden of finding the best mapping apps around we at cheap tents have come up with our top 4 Android Apps for you to download and play with. Either search them in the market place or scan the barcode.
Let us know what you think of these apps, or suggest some other apps
Before we start, don’t forget Google Maps on the Android is also an amazing app and is really quite powerful.
Google Sky Map
If you’ve ever found yourself staring up at the night sky and pondering the names of the various stars and constellations then Google Sky Map is just what you need.
The application is incredibly simple to use, when you switch on the app it finds your location and the direction the phone is pointing (using GPS or cell location, the digital compass and the accelerometer) and displays a real-time annotated map of the night sky. As you move around the sky map moves with you, providing an augmented reality view of the sky, showing the brightest naked-eye stars, planets, sun and moon, constellation lines, horizon, cardinal points, and Messier Objects
Sky map also provides you with a search tool, simply type in the name of the object you are looking to find. An on-screen pointer then appears and leads you to the object you were looking for. Sky Map does not require a data connection which is definitely an advantage when out and about in remote locations where 3G coverage is limited. Layers? You can toggle viewing modes for day/night as well.
Peak.ar is a fun augmented reality app which annotates the names and relative heights of mountains onto a live camera feed. Again this application doesn’t require internet connectivity except for the first time the app is used when it downloads a database with the peak information. The database has reasonably good coverage of the UK with most major areas being well covered. You can also set your line of sight distance to only display peaks within a certain range as well as being able to get a map view of the locations of surrounding peaks (although this requires data connectivity as it uses google maps) . Overall its a fun, very well made application although its probably not of that much real use to any serious outdoor person.
This is a really fun app that basically geotags video. Kinomap is really simple to use you just press the record button and start filming your, walk, bike ride or anything else you want. Press stop when you are done recording and then click the send button to upload. You then have to select the video and gpx track you want to upload. Here you can add the title and description to be displayed alongside the video on the website as well as setting the mode of transport from which there is a long list to choose from including kayak, skateboard, bob sleigh and model plane alongside more conventional modes of transport. You can also set the video to be private so that it is not publicly displayed. Then all you have to do is upload the video. This is obviously best done over a wifi connection as it will take a very long time using mobile internet. After the upload is complete you will receive an email with a link to you video when it is ready to be viewed on the internet.
The website itself presents you with a view of the video, the GPS track overlaid on google maps and a graph of speed and altitude along with some other statistics. Clicking on a position on the video, map or graph will then update the others to the same point making navigating through the timelines a fun interactive process.
Overall I think this is an absolutely brilliant application the only downfall is that the supplied instructions are rather poor but considering its so easy to use it isn’t really a big issue.
myTracks is a GPS mapping and performance analysis app for android. My Tracks plots runs, cycles, kayak trips and anything else to custom Google Maps or a Google docs spreadsheet. Using the app couldn’t be easier you press a button to start recording your activity and another to stop. The app also displays live statistics of your current speed, total distance and time and elevation along with your current location on a map. When you’ve done recording you can easily upload the route details and statistics to a google document, create a google map for your route and share all the information with friends. My Tracks is a great tool for analysising your preformance especially when training but also can be used to let you easily create records and maps of walks and hikes. The only problem with mytracks is that it will quickly use up you battery.
Don’t forget if you’ve an app suggestion or have a comment about an app mentioned above, leave a comment below.
On April 2nd 2008, Ed Stafford an ex-army captain set off on what he thought would would be a year long hike along the Amazon. 859 days later Ed has now completed his epic hike from source to sea, along with his travelling companion Cho. Cho was only meant to be Ed’s guide for 5 days at the beginning, not an inseparable companion over the 2 years.
Alien or Spiny katydid nymph? Amazon Critter Source Flikr by ggallice
Far from being a “boys-own adventure” Eds reasoning for his Amazon hike was “I am simply doing it because no-one has done it before.” he told AP.
The hike was prolonged by floods that forced Ed and Cho to walk a route that was 2,000 miles longer than the 4,000-mile length of the Amazon, which is exceeded only by Africa’s Nile as the world’s longest river. Which presumably will be Ed’s next task, as Ed also told AP that he has another adventure planned for September 2011.
The long journey Ed has taken is reported to have cost almost £63,000 and has been paid for by sponsor companies and donations by those who care about saving the Amazon. Ed described how it has deepened his understanding of the Amazon, its role in protecting the globe against climate change and the complex forces that are leading to its destruction. Along his journey Ed talked in his blog posts of the vast expanses of open space where there was once forest and is now nothing, including areas where he expected there to be civilisation but it has been moved away because of this deforestation.
Ed and Cho have faced all manner of danger during the hike across the Amazon, from sheer drops to anaconda snakes and caiman’s to illness, food shortages and let’s not forget Ed was accused twice of murder by local tribes (who Ed believes took a dislike to him as they had never seen a white man).
Another problem Ed faced every step of his amazing Amazon hike was mosquito bites, some “50,000″ of them in total. Seems like Ed could have done with some mosquito repellent and a mosquito headnet or two. Though of course when Ed’s back in the UK walking his primary problem is likely to be midge bites.
At the time of publication of this post Ed’s website “walkingthemamazon” is down due to a huge amount of traffic. However, Ed also has his own personal website with a copy of most of the blog posts he made daily whilst on his hike.
You can also read more about this amazing hike on the BBC News website.
The UIAA have announced the appointment of a new executive director. He is Ingo Nicolay, who is also the president of the Heilbronn Section of the DAV, the German alpine club.
Ingo Nicolay will be replacing former executive director, Judith Safford. UIAA stands for International Union of Alpine Associations, but the organisation is also known as the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation.
At this time we must express our gratitude to Ingo’s predecessor, Judith Safford, for all of her hard work in the past and we wish her all the best in the future.
I hope you will all join me in welcoming Ingo to the UIAA. Mike Mortimer, President, UIAA
The purpose of the UIAA is to study and find solutions to of all problems regarding mountaineering. These include establishing mountaineering ethics, promoting mountaineering and climbing, ensuring access for climbers and supporting youth participation and the Olympic movement. Last year we interviewed Judith Safford, who told us all about the activities and challenges currently facing the UIAA and the mountaineering community. We are certain that Ingo Nicolay will have plenty of work to do pursuing the interests of the UIAA and would like to wish him good luck in his new post.
Buying a new tent is never an easy task, there seems to be so many technical features these days that it can be more than a little bit confusing. So to cut the daunting task of buying a tent down to size, here is the CheapTents buying guide.
This article on buying a new tent is by no means exhaustive but is meant as a starting place by which you can get an idea of what features and requirements you have for a tent. Once you’ve read this article, if you have any questions or need some more advice simply leave a comment below or if you are looking for more detailed advice visit our camping tent advice section.
What size tent do I need?
Capacity in general is measured by the number of people a tent sleeps, based on the number of standard size sleeping bags it can fit. This does not account for elbow room, storage room etc. Therefore tent capacity can also include square footage in addition to “sleeping” numbers. As a rule of thumb, if you are taking a holiday where you need to share a tent, as opposed to a hiking or running holiday where your tent travels with you, you should consider getting a tent that can accommodate a sleeping capacity of 2 more people than you need. In doing this you will go some way to giving yourself some extra elbow room, adding to the comfort of your holiday. After all, who wants to be spending time in a sardine tin on holiday.
Floorplan of a Lightwave T20 Trek XT
Another consideration for capacity is the usage of the tent, some argue this is the most important capacity factor. For example, if you are going hiking you aren’t going to want a bulky 6 man tent on your back, and similarly if you’re a family of 3 going on holiday for 2 weeks you aren’t going to want a single man tent designed for mountain expeditions. Also finally, if you are a family you may want to take a look at multi-room family tents, this will increase privacy and is also likely to help stop arguments when someone is snoring.
How will I use my tent?
In my experience one of the most overlooked factors when choosing a tent are the requirements that most users will have for a specific type of camping. As mentioned above, if you’re hiking you want lightweight materials and a small pack size, however a family travelling by car probably won’t care so much about weight. The use of the tent will also more than likely determine which type of tent you buy, there are various types including; tunnel, dome, geodesic, pyramid & there are hybrids of various kinds.
Going on a Backpacking Adventure?
So you’re off on a hike, up a mountain, around a few lakes, through some swamp land … and not going back to a campsite? That means one thing, you need to carry your accommodation (the tent) with you.
To ensure your comfort and ease whilst on this hike you will need to consider 3 main requirements for your tent; weight, pack size, ease of use.
Weight – This is never an easy thing to judge, but generally the lighter the better. Judging weight is awkward because although the size-to-weight ratio has improved a lot over recent years with new technologies and materials, it is still hard to get the balance between the room you actually require for comfort and the weight you can carry, on top of your other equipment.
MSR Hubba Ultralight Tent
Pack Size – It stands to reason if an item is smaller more things can fit into a space, so the smaller the tent the more extra items you can carry, as long as weight allows.
East of Use – This refers to the pitching of a tent and just how simple it is to put up. If you’re hiking in the UK you may want to consider the weather as a huge variable. If you are suddenly hit by a storm you may be lashed by rain and gale force winds … could you still put up your tent in these conditions, if not maybe look for an easier tent to travel with.
Fixed-Pitch Holiday Camping
If you’re off on holidays then this is probably the bit you need to read. This is for those who are going away for sometime, travelling usually by car to a campsite where you will be pitching your tent and leaving it in-situ until a few days or weeks later when you are leaving to go home. Again the same 3 requirement types apply with an additional requirement of privacy.
Weight – With larger tents it is generally accepted that weight doesn’t play that much of a role, however the motto of “lighter is better” still applies. In general bigger tents in the past have been made from canvas. With a whole raft of new materials in use, tent weight has plummeted, so weight is not an issue for most campers these days. You should be considering weight as a partial requirement but not letting it dominate any decision you make.
Vaude Badawi Family Tent
Pack Size – Again this is a lesser factor for this kind of tent. However you should just double check that the pack does fit into your car comfortably and still leaves room for clothes, food and other things you are taking camping.
Ease of Use – Again as with the backpackers tent it stands to reason that the easier a tent is to pitch the better. However, unlike the smaller tents, expect this to be a little more hard work, not least because its a bigger tent. Also at this point a consideration maybe the area of ground taken up by the tent. Many campsites are not completely flat, so having a larger tent increases the chance of pitching on uneven ground and, on a busy campsite, it may be difficult to find somewhere to pitch.
Privacy – Now obviously with smaller tents with no windows this isn’t an issues so much, but with larger family tents it may well be, even if it has no windows. If you require a certain amount of privacy on a family holiday, consider a multi-room tent with an inner tent wall and zipped doorway.
Top Tent Features to Consider
Now that we’ve addressed the main requirements for your tent, lets take a look at some of the other features that all buyers of a tent will need to consider. This again is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you’ve any questions please leave a comment below.
FlySheets – These are the fabric that make up the outer most wall of your tent. They are waterproof (whereas inner walls are water repellent), they may also have been treated with fire retardant chemicals, so if this is important ask. There are 2 major materials in use; 1 – Canvas, noted for it’s durability but generally quite heavy and these days in the minority. 2 – polyester, both durable and extremely water resistant, this is the choice of most campers these days.
Seams – Ensure seams are folded and double stitched, also ensure they are taped. In general if you can pull the 2 sides of the seam and see through them, then water will get through.
Ground Sheets Protectors – This may seem like an extra expense you don’t need, but using a ground sheet can save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run. A groundsheet protector acts as an extra barrier between the base of your tent and the ground. This prevents damage from sharp objects, reduces general wear and tear and makes cleaning the tent much easier.
Poles – The main choice for poles in modern tents are fibre-glass and aluminium poles. Fibre-glass tent poles are generally found in the cheaper tents. Whilst they are light and flexible, they do lack strength. Another problem is that they can delaminate and splinter if incorrectly cared for. Aluminium poles can be found in better quality tents. Aluminium tent poles are strong and unlikely to break, even in strong winds.
As this isn’t an exhaustive list of factors and features of tents and is an “essential guide to buying tents” you may also wish to consider taking a read through our more detailed camping advice and/or our camping gear advice sections.
Alternatively, if you can’t find an answer to the question you have – simply leave a comment below and one of our experts here at CheapTents will get back to you shortly.
A huge part of climbing (and abseiling) is the adrenaline caused by the risks being taken. However, an even bigger part of climbing is the calculating of these risks in order to ensure the safety of the climber is not in any way compromised. This is no easy task with many considerations such as climbing ropes, safety harness, climbing shoes, karabiner’s, chocks, helmets and other climbing equipment.
In this post I want to take a look at Climbing Helmets, take a glance at why they are used, how they work and which one is right for you.
Why Do Climbers Wear Safety Helmets?
Clearly no body wears a climbing helmet because it looks good, so what is the primary reason climbers wear a helmet? The answer is simple, it is safety … the difference between wearing a helmet and not can literally be life and death as a story in the recent BMC helmet safety guidelines tells.
This was a 50ft fall in which I was inverted before hitting the ground on the stretch of the rope. The helmet had a 4 inch diameter hole in it. I walked away without even needing to go to hospital. Without the helmet I would certainly have died – hopefully instantly! Based on my experience and with recent advances in the comfort of helmets frankly I think it is crazy of anyone not to wear one. Of course that should be their choice – but if I had not worn one I’d no longer be making any choices. BMC Head Injury Survey 2008
Climbing Helmets Save Lives
There are two main types of head injury, the mechanism of both is an impact (either the the climber impacts something or an impact causes a secondary injury – such as brain damage). The first type of head injury is the one most people think of (mainly because it can be visible) and this is where an impact causes a physical injury, such as cut’s, abrasions, fractures and other broken bones. Thankfully few injuries such as this type cause death themselves, death tends to be caused by the second type of impact injury. The second type is a secondary injury (generally to the brain) caused by sudden deceleration of the skull. Without going into the science of this, basically the brain moves around in the skull fairly freely and when suddenly stopped causes the brain mass to impact the side of your skull causing injury to the cells. Both types of impact injury to climbers can be caused by any number of events, though for the most part climbers falling or being hit by debris are the main causes.
How Do Climbing Helmets Work?
The first thing to know is there are 3 types of climbing helmet: Hard, Foam & Hybrid. Each helmet type has it’s own set of pro’s and con’s which determine the use of that kind of helmet.
Hardshell Climbing Helmet
Hardshell helmets consist (you guessed it) of a hardshell, they have also have a flexible inner webbing cradle. The cradle is not only for comfort and holding the hardshell to your head, but also to manage impacts by stretching upon impact. These helmets are the type you will most commonly see in climbing centres, as they are robust and resist small impacts very well, making them ideal for groups. With larger impacts the hardshell is likely to deform permanently and often discolours (usually turning white at the problem area), also with larger impacts the cradle maybe permanently deformed – regardless of which of these two events occur after a large impact, any climbing helmet should be retired and replaced. Luckily it is easier to determine retirement age for a hardshell helmet than it is a foam or hybrid type helmet. A draw back to this type of helmet is they offer no protection around the rim, this means during off-centre impacts the helmet can crack and/or collapse.
Foam Climbing Helmet
The best way to think of a foam climbing helmet is to think of a general-use biking helmet, made from expanded polystyrene with a thing hardshell exterior made from polycarbonate, of course with plenty of ventilation. These “soft shell” foam climbing helmets are much lighter than hardshell helmets. Due to the nature of the foam being on all sections of the helmet, the foam climbing helmet offers support even at the rim of the helmet, unlike hardshell’s, meaning a great amount more off-centre protection. This extra protection makes it a good choice for all round climbing where, falling is likely to be the most common event causing a bang to the head, where as hardshell’s are better for impacts on the top of the head (in a fall you can hit your head anywhere not just on the top). When impacted softly the thin shell offers some resistance (causing stones to bounce off) and the foam cushions the impact, during a larger incident the shell will take some force and crack allowing the foam to progressively collapse taking the impact over a larger area, meaning serious injury is less likely. A major problem with foam helmets is simply that they are much more likely to be damage in transit than other helmet types due to having only the thinnest of shells. Note: There are some important differences between cycling and climbing helmets, do NOT wear a cycling helmet when climbing.
"stepping lightly" always wears a helmet, especially when up the Blackpool Tower
Hybrid Climbing Helmets
As you may guess hybrids are a cross between hard and soft (foam) climbing helmets. In essence they have a hardshell exterior with foam inserts adding greater protection for the climber, however the foam does not run to the rim causing some of the issues of none protection a hardshell has. Another difference between the hybrid type and the hardshell is that a hybrid climbing helmet tends to weigh less as the internal cradle is replaced by foam and the hardshell can be a little thinner. Unsurprisingly due to the increased durability of this helmet compared with the others this is generally the most popular type of climbing helmet. I suspect that “stepping lightly”, climber and urban explorer, wears this type of helmet.
Which Climbing Helmet Suits You Best?
Hopefully the information above will have give you some idea as to which helmet suits your needs. If not, then here is a handy summary about the climbing helmets.
Hardshell Helmet Pro – Top Impact Protection (falling debris), General Protection & Durability Con – No Off-Centre Impact Protection, Weight & Ventilation. Use – Mountaineering, Caving & Groups
Foam Helmet Pro – Off-Centre Protection & Low Weight Con – Durability & Residual Protection Use – Outcrop & Sport Climbing
Hybrid Helmet Pro – All Round Protection, Fairly Low Weight & Good Ventilation Con – Off-Centre Protection Only at Location of Foam Use – All Round Protection & Mountaineering
There are a few ways you can ensure the safety of any helmet you wear, probably the most common of these in use internationally is the UIAA‘s logo upon the helmet. You can see the safety logo by taking a look at our interview with the UIAA.
It was summer a few years ago when I and a few friends decided it would be good to go for a long distance walk and see some of the UK’s finest coastline. With the Anglesey Coastal Path falling within an Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty, this was the choice we made.
Be sure to checkout the amazing South Stack Lighthouse. Source Trinity House
The Anglesey Coastal walk measures in at around 125 miles in total, though handily there are 20 towns/villages located directly on the route. This means taking on just part of the walk is easily done, making this walk accessible to most levels of walker at some point. Overall it took us 8 days walking to complete the full distance, plus one more day we spent in one of the villages on the route – from the information I can find it can take anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks to complete the full distance.
We started walking from the Roman Fort (which encircles St Cybi’s Church in Holyhead), this is also the end point of the full circular walk. On the walk we saw some spectacular scenery, there is some really quite cool wildlife including; puffins, guillemots, seals and even the odd dolphin!
as well as beautiful Anglesey coast line.
Taking in the views of Anglesey
Along the route there are 4 working light houses, including the South Stack Light House – famous for being one of the UK’s most spectacular light houses, positioned on it’s own little island on the west coast. Local to the light house is also a nature reserve, so when visiting the lighthouse you may want to take some binoculars and do some bird watching. To get to the light house you cross a bridge after contending with some 400 stone steps (not the 365 mentioned in local legends), and yes that does mean would need to walk back up those steps! This for me was one of the more tiring aspects of the walk, but it was well worth the visit and the views from the top of the light house are amazing. If this is the primary point of interest to yourself you maybe interested in the Cybi Circular Route which is a few hours walk at just 4 miles long.
Although we went to Anglesey for the views and the good company, one of my primary wants was to see the famous Telford Bridge. Spanning almost 180m the Menai Suspension Bridge is considered by many to be Thomas Telfords finest work – and I agree. Along with this amazing bridge is the Britannia Bridge, which has seen both rail and road service over the years but today is the only non-dual carriage way section of the A55. Both bridges link Anglesey with the UK mainland.
The amazing Telford Suspension Bridge joining Anglesey with Wales (mainland). Source Flikr by The Ancient Brit
One final attraction and association of note is that which is of course the longest single-word place name in the world, with 58 english letters (51 welsh) Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a real tongue twister (seriously give it a try). The name means: St Mary’s Church (Llanfair) in a hollow (pwll) of white hazel (gwyngyll) near (goger) the swirling whirlpool (y chwyrndrobwll) of the church of St Tysilio (llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo goch). The best way to begin pronouncing it is to take a side step from the coastal path and visit the local railway station, on the platform is a fairly decent approximation of how to pronounce the name in english – though I did ask a local who told me simply to call it St Mary’s Church.
Anglesey Coastal Walking Advice
Covering the terrain is no easy task, indeed you need to be pretty alert most of the time as injuries on this route are fairly common place (another reason its better to do this walk in a group and not alone – though this I think was primarily people scrambling across areas of dangerous land), but the rewards are well worth it. The whole walk is pretty well sign posted, a saving grace if your map flies away in the wind like it did ours. Due to the nature of the walk it is advise you wear high quality walking boots throughout, ensure you’ve always enough drinking fluid (a hydration pack of 2 to 5L will be more than enough to get you through the day really) and of course you never know what will happen with british weather so take some wet weather gear with you. Obviously if you’re doing the whole walk you will be carrying more clothes with you too, investing in some walking poles will help take some of the strain (plus they give you some leverage on the tougher terrain). Also it is inherently a great idea to take your normal walking emergency supplies, so a torch, whistle, a knife, a compass, high visibility vest and don’t forget your dry liner.
Finally I have two pieces of advice:
1 – Ensure there is at least 2 mobile phones within the group and turn one off until it’s needed, running out of battery is a very bad idea in an emergency!
2 – Enjoy the local food and drink, the local (non-chain) bars are amazing value and there are some amazing people to meet (who I am sure can tell you many more interesting facts and stories that I ever could).
If you want to know more about walking or camping in Anglesey, or just want to know what there is to do other than walk in Anglesey it’s worth taking a look at the Visit Anglesey website.