Thursday, March 14, 2013

A freezing wild camp on Dartmoor with a wind chill of -12c!

Watch "A freezing camp on Dartmoor 12.3.13. This is now my 10th wild camp!" on YouTube

My love of trail shoes was enhanced this walk.  With howling winds pushing the air temperature of -5c to a low of -12c with wind chill I was more than comfortable in my Inov8 295s encasing a pair each of Coolmax liner, Smartwool liner and lastly Sealskinz socks I never once got cold feet despite my feet once now and again dropping through snow and icy bogs to freezing water below!  Mostly my feet trod firm frozen terrain but did scoop snow on top which stuck to my shoes.  Care was needed on some areas as the snow covered dips that could trap a foot and had drifted up against boulders on the descent of Yes Tor.  These boulders are tricky at the best of times, I was extra vigilante here as I didn't fancy a twisted ankle! Boots wouldn't have helped here any more and I never once regretted my shoes.

I wanted to do this camp about now despite it being only 2 weeks since I was camping two weeks it was about a year ago I started this (for me) epic quest of wild camping and it seemed fitting to return to my roots!  Many more camps will be in this neck of the woods, my neck of the woods that I call home on Dartmoor.  Despite the odd feeling I get for home.

I left the car park and headed to Brat Tor and stopped for a moment of reflection.  As I knew the army were firing on the Willsworthy range I, this time, made sure I was well left of Chat Tor just outside the range!  Bypassing it I walked over rough ground, few if any actual tracks here, over Rattle Brook and Green Tor Water.  Must admit I was walking on instinct without knowing what I was crossing! I knew where I was and where I was going. Over Amicombe Hill towards Little Kneeset.  The terrain was frozen and the tussocks were shorter than usual but just as slow going not that I was very slow!   Filming is good for another reason, it stops me, makes me take in my surroundings rather than he'll bent on marching!

I've never walked in such extremes before, both cold and wind and it was a taste of what Scotland probably has, albeit a taste only!

From here there is usually a path of sorts to Great Kneeset but it was obscured by snow!  From here I went to Dinger Tor and Yes Tor.  I never saw anyone all day and the only evidence of a passing were some footsteps in the snow between Dinger and Yes Tor.

I was very careful heading off Yes Tor towards Meldon Reservoir.  It was an easy walk by the reservoir.

I arrived at camp at about 3pm and went about pitching the Trailstar, I'm still far from expert at this and first had it a tad high for the conditions!  Eighteen minutes later I was happy with my lower pitch albeit with a small breeze passing under it. I then put down my Oookworks groundsheet.  I felt warm inside it but working at pitching and unpacking inside a shelter is misleading as outside it was bitter!  I started to prepare for bed just after 4pm, tucked up by 4.30.  Shooting video helps two fold.  After the camp it helps interaction with friends who watch it and more importantly at the time, it uses time and is my own personal entertainment.  One I choose to share and relive.

The evening passed well with a film and a read and two meals.  I must have fallen asleep at about 9pm and was sound asleep.  I had a nightmare! Maybe reading James Herbert wasn't wise.  I remember it well.  I was where I was in the shelter I was in in the valley I was in.  But rather than green hills I had houses on the hills, and someone threw something abusively at me and then people were pulling pegs out, collapsing the Trailstar on me!  I called out to leave me alone and woke to Bess moving about trying to get closer to me!!

Thankfully I nodded off again until cold awoke me at 4.  I was wearing one layer.  I suspect in the past I'd have stupidly shivered til morning despite having clothing by my side.  This time I donned an extra layer.  I didn't think I'd fall asleep but it was the dawn chorus that awoke me at 6am.

With the possible exception of my first ever camp in the fortress of the Staika this was my best nights sleep by far.  I was much more comfortable in my new Chocolatefish balaclava as it stayed put and my head didn't cool off!  Nightmare and body cooling aside I slept well on the Therm-A-Rest Prolite Plus and it was only the thought of heading home that sadly saw me stirring at 6.30 to make tea and breakfast and make a relaxed packing up experience.  I don't rush and it was 8am that I set off.  A time I'm usually getting up at home!

I was at the car by 9.20 and as my feet were dry I didn't change shoes and was off by 9.30 and home by 11.30. It felt good to be back but strangely, melancholy.  It was never like this in Sue's company, something I long for in the longer term. 

I'll be back!
A few facts...

18.8km to camp.
Time moving 4 hr 18 mins.
Ave moving 4.4kph.
794m asc
Max height 607m
278m min height!

Max speed 23kph!  Bess was carrying my SatMap for this information ;-)

I reset for back to the car. About 8km in 1.20 hrs.  I say about as I knew I'd forget to stop it from laying a Trail all the way home!

Kit to follow...

Camp List December - March 2013

MLD Exodus (All options) 3500ci / 57L (None FS pack!) 677
MLD cuben X Large dry bag / liner. 45

Sub Total 722

MLD Silnylon Trailstar + lines in cuben stuff sack 639
OookWorks OookStar Cuben Groundsheet 120
MLD Superlight Bivi in Cuben stuff bag 154
Pegs 3 Easton 9", Three 6" Ti V, Five MLD 6". 134
MSR Blizzard stake (Trowel) 1 23
Pacer Pole Bungs (2) 24

Sub Total 1094

PHD Sleeping bag 600/900 MLD dry bag (XL Dry Bag?) 1186
Therm-A-Rest Prolite Plus Regular (3.8R) 656
Therm-A-Rest Z Lite (cut to 5 pieces) 64cm / 25" 135
Exped Airpillow 79

Sub Total 2056

MLD 850ml ti pot inc string pouch 106
MLD 450ml ti pot 37
Trail Designs MLD 850 Ti Tri cone 48
Trail Designs 10-12 burner 15
J Cloth tiny piece! 1
Light My Fire / Fire steel 28
Foil (aluminium) 10
Measure pots (2) 1
LifeVenture Lexan spoon 14
Spoon - MLD 16
Trail Designs Caddy 89
Bottle (1) for meths 175ml 17

Sub Total 382

20 fl oz / 590ml bottles (45g each) 2 90
Two 2L Platypus containers 36g 72
Compass Silva Ranger 3 32
Map / case (cut a bit off!) 113
Silva ADC Pro 65
Asus Nexus 7 / Aquapac 384
Oakley Half Jacket Glasses / bullet case 119
Petzl XP Core head light 83
Aqua Mira (empty 8g) 35 drops. 10
Hand gel 23
Suncream pot 7g 22
Dyneema cord 2mm spare 5.2m one piece 16

First Aid kit in light bag. 115
Wenger Swiss Army Knife (scissors, knife, tweezers, LED) 24
MagLite Solitaire AAA 24
Lighter 17
Lipsalve 9
Whistle 9
Hirsch Talg Crème 5
Leather Needle and thread (wrapped around cuben) 2
Pod First Aid Dry Bag (For above) 25

Waterproof matches 12. 8
Shock Cord 24" 6
20' Dynema Cord 1mm Emergency only. 4
Duct tape 14
Mylar tape 18" 4
Sil-Fix kit 12
Cable Ties reusable (2) 0
2 Paper Clips, 5 Safety Pins 4
Exped Textile Glue 7
Rubber bands 4
SynMat patches 5
Ear plugs 0
Mueller Support Wrap (First Aid) 34
MLD Cuben Ditty Bag for above 2

Toothbrush 5
Dr Bonner's soap (for teeth too!) Pot 4g 8
Towel Vaude 16
Hankies 2 10
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Ear Phones for phone 7
Teck Net inc lead / adaptor. 199
SD card for camera 4
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

MLD Small Cuben stuff sack (for removed hat / gloves) 6
Surgical Gloves 12
Toilet paper (inc 1 Alco Wipe) 22
Plastic / Freezer bags for Shoes / Feet 19
Waste Pod stuff sack inc 6g plastic bag 66
Pee bottle 85

Sub Total 1826

Arcteryx Delta LT Zip Polartec Thermal Pro Micro S cream 204
TNF Leggings 91
ChocFish Merino gloves black 41
Smartwool Liner Socks 39
ChocFish Balaclava 73
PHD Minimus hat 32
MLD Cuben Large 16"/8" stuff sack 9

PHD Minimus Drishell Pullover Small 355
MLD Cuben dry bag Medium 19

MLD Mitts eVent 42

Sub Total 905
BASE 1 (Hiking / Camping kit) 6985

Photo Kit in or on pack.
Tripod - Gorilla Pod (no head) 241

Sub Total 241
BASE 2 (inc. Photo kit in pack) 7226

Separate Photo Kit.
Camera Sony NEX 7, paracord 342
Sony NEX E Lens 10-18mm 265
Sony Microphone ECM-ALST1 54
Cloth 6
Aquapac Medium waterproof camera bag 103

Sub Total 770
BASE 3 (inc. Camera Kit in pouch) 7996

Carrying / Holding / Pockets
Phone / AquaPac (No rear protector on phone!) 143
Pacer poles Alloy 694

Sub Total 837
BASE 4 (Total Carrying on Person - not consumable) 8833

Total carried (food + pack + camera) NOT worn 10405

ChocFish Merino T Shirt 187
Patagonia Polartec Blue Pullover S Pocket Regulator R1 284
Rohan Pants 51
Sealskinzsocks 98
Smartwool merino liner sock 41
Coolmax liner sock 42
Paramo Cascada Trousers, small 550

TrekMates Merino Touchscreen Gloves 30
Outdoor Designs Bora gloves medium Windpro 86
ChocFish Merino beanie 26
Paramo hat 80
Paramo Coat Vista 556
Watch Sunto Advizor 54
Inov8 295 with SuperFeet 685
Credit card / Driving License in MLD cuben Ditty 17
Decongestant / Lip salve 17

Sub Total 2804

BASE 5 (Total of everything not consumable!) 11637

Tea bags (5) / Marvel (35g) / sweeteners (10) 74

Actual Packed weight 74

Daytime Food Kcals
Rolls 2 (Aprox weight!) 200 400
Nature Valley Crunch Oats and Honey 42 198
Nature Valley Crunch Ginger Nut Crunch 42 189
Jordans Frusli Red Berries 30 113
Jordans Frusli Blueberry 30 113

Actual Packed weight 358 1013

Evening Food
LWWF Tees Valley Beef Meat Balls 270 289
LWWF Staff Chicken Casserole 289 178
Potato (2 lots) 100 300

Elevenses Ginger 45 170
Elevenses Chocolate 45 182
Jordans Frusli Red Berries 30 113
Jordans Frusli Blueberry 30 113

Actual Packed weight 870 1345

Breakfast (Day Time!)
Porridge (50/20/10g) 1 Portion. 80 285
Quaker Oat So Simple Morning Bar Fruit Muesli 35 139

Actual Packed weight 135 424

MLD Cuben Large 16"/8" stuff sack 9 9

Bottle (1) for meths 175ml (EXCLUDING Bottle!) 126 126

Total weight of Food & Tea / Kcals 1572 2782

Total Carrying Exc Clothing worn 10405

TOTAL On PERSON with food. NOT water . 13209 13209

Bess List

Ruffwear Pack Palisades 850
Ruffwear Day Coat / high vis / water resistant 155
Dog Bowl 30
Food 400
Schmackos 300
Trek Towel 80*60cm 105
Trek Towel 110*60cm 147
Pegs, various collection. 169
OookWorks BessBed 131
MultiMat 2' 4" cut off. 79
Bess Total. 2366


Carl said...

The trail shoe's are the way forward I'am trying now the green army gortex liners over my socks now, they worked fine for me when there was plenty of snow above Langdale in Feb.

Nightmare lol ha ha. Try sleeping in a small tent once I thought I was buried alive and woke up gasping for air. lol :-)

Great kit list I need to take less.

Tony Hobbs said...

Thanks Carl :-)
Started trail shoes way back in 2003 ish and never looked back since.
Yea, I got it pretty light, for me, now, without any compromises.

Greg said...

tony , just discovered your blog so have added you to my blog list. I thoroughly enjoyed your video and am impressed with the gear. I too have a caldera cone and think it's a great bit of kit.
I was especially intertested in your trail shoes as iIalways wear Innov8s in summer. (if interested see my blog report from last August). But I have to abandon them in winter as my feet get very cold. Perhaps I need more layers. I tried sealskinz but found they leaked after a couple of hours. Perhaps I was just unlucky.

Tony Hobbs said...

Hi Greg,

I tried Sealskinz alone and its a no go! But, put two layers of liner socks under, Coolmax first then merino and then Sealskinz it works just fine. A small leak makes no odds, my Sealskinz are years old, mind you they don't see much use but I'd be amazed if they were totally watertight. Not much gets in anyway, or the heat of my feet pushes it out... No idea but works for me. Thanks for comments :-)

Greg said...

Thanks Tony I will give that a go. I might have to get the next size up shoes to fit.

Tony Hobbs said...

Pleasure, yes, a half size up in shoes should do it. Reserve for winter then.
Mind you strangely these 295s are my size! They are very adaptable like that. My Montrails are a half size up but didn't use them this year. :-)

Thomas Ellis said...

Just found your video on youtube so thought I'd check out the blog. Great to see how other people approach the wild camp and thanks for such a comprehensive kit list!

Tony Hobbs said...

Thanks for comment. I must keep up with my own blog. I'll add list and written post of my camp with Chris.