Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Potential Kit List for Dartmoor December (Altered layout!)

This is a probable kit list for Dartmoor for December, sometime, weather permitting. I'm NOT going if the forecast is bad, simple as that! I have three date options, so fingers crossed.

I have listed everything in an organised way, all weights are grams. A few things over time will alter slightly (trip to trip). I may try Dr Bonner's soap. I may recheck my first aid. You may notice on this trip I have ditched the Satmap but added the Nexus 7. Also dropped the Technet charger. See how that goes! I may be able to swap pack back to Prophet and save a few grams. Yes, I am interested in the weight of stuff and how it all adds up. I'm not interested in leaving stuff out for weight's sake, however.

I appreciate that using FIVE base weights is unusual, but, hey, it's me, do you really want usual!

Bottom line, this is a fun thing, please, if you are all serious, please look elsewhere!

I hope this is of interest to people.

Camp List December - Dartmoor.

MLD pack Exodus FS all options No pad. 3500ci / 57L 779
MLD cuben X Large dry bag / liner. 54

Sub Total 833

MLD Silnylon Trailstar + lines in cuben stuff sack 639
OookWorks OookStar Cuben Groundsheet 120
MLD Superlight Bivi in Cuben stuff bag 154
Quest Outfitters 0.74oz cuben sheet 2' 4'6" 24
Pegs 3 Easton 9", Four 6" Ti V, Four MLD 6". 139
MSR Blizzard stake (Trowel) 1 23
Pacer Pole Bungs (2) 24

Sub Total 1123

PHD Sleeping Bag 350/900 MLD dry bag. -5c. 991
Exped Downmat UL 7 571
ThermaRest Z Lite 115cm / 45" 244
Exped Pillow pump 158

Sub Total 1964

MSR Titan Ti 850 pot and lid 126
MSR Cup 55
Trail Designs MSR 850 Ti Tri cone 41
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
Snow Peak Spork 16
Trail Designs Caddy 73
Fuel bottle (Empty!) 17

Sub Total 397

20 fl oz / 590ml bottles (45g each) 2 90
Two 2L Platypus containers 36g 72
Compass Silva Type 4/54 38
Map / case 140
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
Dyneema cord 2mm spare 5.2m one piece 16

First Aid kit in Ziplok bag. 140
Leatherman CS Style Knife 41
MagLite Solitaire AAA 24
Lighter 17
Lipsalve 9
Whistle 9
Body Glide Anti Chaff 5
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
Toothpaste pot (pot 8g) 15
Soap 4
Towel Vaude 16
Hankies 2 10
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Ear Phones for phone 13
Phone battery BA750 30
SD card for camera 4
MLD Cuben Ditty bag 2

Plastic / Freezer bags for Shoes / Feet 19
Toilet paper 22
Waste Pod stuff sack inc 6g plastic bag 66
Pee bottle 85

Sub Total 1707

Arcteryx Delta LT Zip Polartec Thermal Pro Micro S cream 204
TNF Leggings 91
Smartwool Liner Socks 39
Choc Fish Beanie 25
ChocFish Possum gloves 46
PHD Booties No stuff sack. 104
MLD Cuben Large 16"/8" stuff sack 9

Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody 367
MLD Cuben dry bag Medium 19

MLD Mitts eVent 42

Sub Total 946
BASE 1 (Hiking / Camping kit) 6970

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

Sub Total 241
BASE 2 (inc. Photo kit in pack) 7211

Separate Photo Kit.
Camera NEX 7, paracord & 18-55mm + hood. 562
Sony Microphone ECM-ALST1 54
Cloth 6
Aquapac Medium waterproof camera bag 103

Sub Total 725
BASE 3 (inc. Camera Kit in pouch) 7936

Carrying / Holding / Pockets
Phone / AquaPac 143
Pacer Poles Carbon 524

Sub Total 667
BASE 4 (Total Carrying on Person) 8603

ChocFish Merino T Shirt 187
Rohan Pants 51
Sealskinzsocks 98
Smartwool merino liner sock 41
Coolmax liner sock 42
Paramo Cascada Trousers, small 550
Patagonia Polartec Blue Pullover S Pocket Regulator R1 284
Buff scarf 38
La Sportiva Crosslight and Superfeet 720
TrekMates Merino Touchscreen Gloves 30
Outdoor designs Taku small Windpro 57
Rab Neoshell small 450
Paramo hat 80
Watch Sunto Advizor 54
Credit card / Driving License in aLocSak 20
Decongestant 5

Sub Total 2707

BASE 5 (Total of everything not consumable!) 11310

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

Actual Packed weight 74

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

Actual Packed weight 358

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

Elevenses Ginger 45
Elevenses Chocolate 45
Jordans Frusli Red Berries 30
Jordans Frusli Blueberry 30

Actual Packed weight 870

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

Actual Packed weight 135

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

TOTAL in PACKS with food. NOT water . 12882 12882

Bess List

Ruffwear Pack Palisades 850
Ruffwear Day Coat / high vis / water resistant 155
Ruffwear Bed Highlands 351
Ruffwear Bess Night K9 360
Dog Bowl 30
Food 545
Schmackos 300
Dog biscuits Shapes 60
Trek Towel 80*60cm 105
Trek Towel 110*60cm 147
MLD Ti pegs 6 60
OookWorks BessBed 131
MultiMat 2' 4" cut off. 79
Bess Total. 3173

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My cooking kits...

This is still work in progress but good progress made so far...

It is possible to feel guilty when thinking of swapping a component of a cook system... The reason I say that is for a change on my next camp I'm going to rest my MLD pots and try my MSR Titan 0.85 pot and Titan cup.  It feels strange to be contemplating leaving something behind that is MLD!  More to the point my infamous MLD spoon will also need a rest due to its length!

I was looking at the Trail Designs Ti Tri Sidewinder for the fun of it to see if I could reduce not so much weight but the number of packages.  I think it would increase them!  From what I can ascertain the 12-10 burner won't fit in either my MSR 1L pot nor an Evernew 0.9L pot with the Sidewinder cone.  So I'd have to put the 12-10 in a separate pack.  It also requires pegs to help support the pot, these also won't fit in the pot so need to be stored in the peg bag.  So I'd have cooking kit in three places.  Maybe four if I stored my alcohol separately.  It seems.

My current set up has my cooking kit in two places.  (Weights after in grams).

MLD 850ml ti pot inc string pouch 106
MLD 450ml ti pot 37
These pack together.

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 143
Candle 13
All this goes into the caddy, even the alcohol / meths as I'm not eating out of it.

Sub Total 521

For a change I'll use this next...

MSR Titan Ti 850 pot and lid 126
MSR Cup 55

Trail Designs MSR 850 Ti Tri cone 41
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
Snow Peak Spork 16
Trail Designs Caddy 73
Bottle (1) for meths 175ml 143
Candle 13

Sub Total 536

This second set up is 15g heavier but marginally more compact though it's close.  The reason I say that is the MLD cooking pot is quite tall and narrow and hence needs a taller cone and caddy!  The MSR pot is a bit squatter so the cone and caddy are a little shorter.  It's due to the smaller caddy that I have to desert my MLD spoon for the Snow Peak Spark, it fits in the shorter caddy!  This system is also in two components.

I have ordered the Trail Designs Caldera Ti Keg.  I'll be very interested in how it compares.  Theoretically I think (its not arrived yet) that I could have a totally one piece cook system with this but the meths might be safer separately.  See on that, I've never had a leakage, yet!  When it arrives I'll add info here.

I also have, but not used yet (I bought a job lot of Ti Tri kit for all my pots last year!) the Inferno for my MSR 1.5L pot.

I'll add in weights here soon for that so you all have accurate info...

Friday, November 23, 2012

MLD Super Tarp in cuben

I wrote a blog post on the silnylon SuperMid, I'll do something similar on the MLD Cuben SuperTarp.  A few facts and figures...

The Cuben SuperTarp weighs 312g.

You have to add guy line. Quite a bit! This is a big tarp that needs to be locked down!  I use the supplied MLD cord.  Plus some in addition.

I did have mostly paracord but that's now removed from this tarp.   All my videos to date on SuperTarp have green cord.  This will be impossible to see in the dark and is bulky.  Hense my swap.

The tarp has a lot of linelocs.  5 on the front and rear, 3 along the sides, 2 bungee tie outs on each side mid way up, and three loops running along the spine.   I make that 23.  The new model seems to have two along the spine not the three on mine.

I put cord on all 5 linelocs at the front and rear, so straight away that is 10 pieces of guyline.  I have just found this is the best way to lock it down and help keep it tight.

I then put guyline on the mid hem tie out point on each side.  Try not to make this too tight or it induces slack.

Those 12 pieces of guyline come to 131g.  This is mostly Rons cord but I have used 2 pieces of Backpacking Light 2mm dyneema cord for the front mid tie outs.

I then need to add 58g of guy line for the 4 mid panel bungee tie outs. Again Rons yellow cord.  Stick with the supplied yellow cord for most if not all points....

So the total weight of line needed, in my case, is 189g!  All pieces are about 2m in length the front and back ridge line cords are 3m.  I deliberately cut them all long for flexibility.

I did have a 10m piece of spare 2mm dyneema cord in my pack at 30g.  I will remove this and put a piece of 5.2m / 2mm / 16g dyneema cord in my pack as spare.  This is emergency cord.  But in the case of the Super Tarp I'll use it to run the length of the ridge line through the ridge loops to help secure the ridge even more.  So as it's in my pack I'll not directly add it to the cord weight here.

Tarp and cord = 501g in supplied stuff sack*.  You need to add plenty of pegs too.

Switch to Cuben stuff sack = 493g!

It is 8' by 10.5'.

I have a few YouTube videos on this tarp. 

I have not slept under it yet!  As my preferred camp spot is quite exposed my aim is to wait for good weather / a period of high pressure in the summer to give it a crack on Dartmoor.  Watch this space!  

My MLD Tarp. photo - Tony Hobbs photos at pbase.com

Watch "MLD Supertarp, Serenity shelter, one side to ground" on YouTube there are a couple of other videos there. I'll add more videos / photos another time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Repair Kit.

If anyone is interested in what is in my Ditty bag for repairing kit... (last figure in grams).

Waterproof matches 12. 8
Shock Cord 24" 6
20' Dynema Cord 1mm Emergency only. 4
Duct tape 26
Mylar tape 18" 4
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 34
MLD Cuben Ditty Bag for above 2

TOTAL 104 grams

NB 1 - For convenience I have put "ankle*" support, ear plugs and matches in this pack. Sewing kit will go in First Aid kit...
NB 2 - Ear plugs and Cable ties don't register on scales!

*Hopefully I won't need it!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

From MLD to breakfast with TGO.

My heart pounded yet I felt absolutely delighted, honoured and full of pride as I walked forward to collect the certificate / plaque that Ron of Mountain Laurel Designs / MLD had won.  I was beaming!  It's impossible to express how I felt but it was joyous! 

I had just minutes earlier walked to the Awards Ceremony with Chris Townsend at the Burgundy Wine Bar in Kendal.  There was maybe about a dozen people there at the time, it quickly filled and was soon buzzing with voices.  There was a massive turnout.

At first it was quite strange, but someone asked if I'd like a drink.  I started with a tea. 

I headed over to one of the food tables, a bit lost, and had a few delicious chicken wings and legs and little pizza pieces.  Yes, I know, stomach first!

I saw a beckoning hand from Chris's direction and took my plate of nibbles over and chatted with Chris and a few people who approached and chatted.  David Lintern came over, unfortunately we didn't get to chat much.  Also Andy Howell passed by and I didn't get to see him, hopefully I'll get to see them another time maybe.

On the positive side Alex, no less than the publisher of TGO spoke to me at length and had a lot of time for me.  He showed a great deal of interest in me personally and how I'd got to attend the awards.

Then it was time for the awards, first it was the readers voters awards and I was very pleased that Chris won an award for his Backpackers Handbook.  A book I have and is well deserved of its award.

Then it was the judges votes and it was here that Ron's MLD Trailstar was up for an award. 

When I arrived at the hotel I was given room one.  I Facebooked, that bodes well.  Room number won, won spelt wrong!   That seemed appropriate!  I had no idea I, the Trailstar, of course, was actually going to win.  But I somehow knew it would.  From the moment Ron asked if I'd attend (the judges hadn't even deliberated!) I felt it was destiny!  I'm sure Ron was just as confident.

Then they called out the winner, MLD, and I walked, glowing, to collect the award.  I think my smile could have swallowed the room.

Once the award giving was over I did what I do best, sitting in the corner, by a food table and eating!

Admittedly I should have mingled, but mingling comes as naturally to me as ET visiting Earth. So I sat and ate. 

But I have a gravitational pull, and before long, the host and publisher of TGO was sitting with me, talking.  What a terrific chap.  Made me feel very welcome.

So if I wasn't talking to the publisher I was talking or in the vicinity of Chris Townsend.  Not bad company.

A few other people were caught in my gravitational pull, and all were interested in how I came to be there and was I the representative / importer / was MLD my company / where were they based / how did they operate / how did the customisation work...

I have to say Chris expressed it better than I ever did.  I of course played it down, a bit...

Naturally, representative is accurate but as a customer.  Probably the best customer in the UK. Dare I suggest the world!  My collection of MLD kit must be fairly unrivaled...  There's not many gaps in my kit list from MLD!

I also shoot videos of my kit in my own unique way totally for my own enjoyment.  The real bonus is that they get likes and great comments and appear to be a genuine bonus to others.

So I felt well placed to be able to accept Ron's invitation to represent him at the TGO Awards.

The next morning I was eating breakfast with half a dozen of the TGO team, including Alex, Chris, the designer and the acting editor. What an end to a terrific trip!

Thanks Ron.

If the opportunity presents itself to represent Ron next year, I'm in...  I'd certainly be happy to attend one way or the other.  If anyone wishes to invite me!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My thoughts following an autumnal camp which also was my seventh!

Following my last camp on a damp cold Dartmoor in November and this being my seventh camp I had / have a few thoughts for my autumn / winter camping / kit.  I still want to watch my weight to some extent but not at the expense of comfort (physical and mental) and safety. But I don't want it spiralling.  8kg base is my target.  Not including camera.  And if I go over. No worries!

Two things happened on my November camp and I'll address them both here.

One was my sleeping bag appeared to get ever so slightly damp on my right of head.  This must have been due to condensation from inside of tarp and being cocooned in my MLD Superlight bivy.  I'm pretty sure it was surface damp and that the Drishell kept it away from the down.

I think these conditions are the toughest to encounter... Cold damp. Thankfully there wasn't much rain.  Though Bess was soaked on her belly.  I'll address Bess here too!

The second thing I noticed was a coolness occasionally around my hip area.  This must have been due to a slight bottoming out of my Exped SynMat 7m. This is not a thin light air bed!   The temperature at night was maybe 2c.

This is the easiest to address first.  I'm swapping my tiny piece of MultiMat for a ThermaRest Z Lite cut shorter. 

The bit of MultiMat I cut in half is 80g 2' 4" (28").  This is very short and was primarily initially packed in case Bess got cold to separate her from the ground.  I use it for a sit mat if I stop and sit and I use it rolled up under the head of air bed to raise my head (over and above just a pillow).  I also lean an elbow on it.  It's actually very useful.  However its a bit short for my plan!

It would only cover my body.  No good. It's fine for summer but not as adaptable, for me in winter.  I don't think...

The Thermarest Z Lite cut to 115cm / 45" is 244g. 3.5" thick when folded.  So compact.  It is 164g more than the MultiMat!  However it is cut to cover head to mid thighs.

So when I put my Exped SynMat 7m over it it'll protect my hips from chilling if I bottom out.  I'm happy to carry the extra few grams.  I am going to get the Exped UL DownMat, this is a good 200g, maybe 300g lighter.  I'd have to check the temperature R rating and compare both.  But that opens other weight saving options.

One thought that entered my mind was how these mats are blown up.  I have heard that damp from breath can enter the mat.  No doubt about it.  But, if one thinks about it, the humidity is quite high, I failed to check it, but it must be 80+% out there!  So if I use a pump, I will be pumping damp humid air in.... Just a thought.

Of course putting the Z Lite under me I lose my additional pillow and elbow rest / lean thing.  I'll have to use something else from my kit!  Maybe waste pack for elbow.  My food bag may be a rather depleted one on a one night camp by the time I've eaten to use that under mat to raise head a bit.  Rucksack could be too damp to have so close.  May have to do without.

One way I'll consider balancing the weight of the Z Lite is to wear my Paramo Cascada trousers. Admittedly they weigh about the same as my trousers and Berghaus Paclite waterproof trousers combined.  But then I'd save 200g from my pack!  The extra weight on legs doesn't count, really...

I've pretty much decided to take my Nexus 7 and leave behind (for my next trip on a familiar part of Dartmoor - things can change from camp to camp!) my SatMap, note pad and pen.  This deduction balances the N7!

I may also revisit my pegs, and swap out a couple to three of my 9" nails for a large Backpacking Light V ti pegs.  That'll save a few grams and won't be in danger of losing their heads!  These V pegs seem to have good holding power.

This last trip I took light hiker socks and down booties for night options.  I can save 40g by swapping the Smartwool light hiker with Smartwool liner socks!  Let's face it, a liner sock will probably be plenty, with the down as back up if really cold.  I see no need for thicker socks and down booties.  In winter, the booties are coming!

So even though I'm adding / swapping stuff I may be able to balance the weight elsewhere without sacrificing anything.

Condensation seems to come with the territory in cold damp conditions with a bivy.  This must be why some don't use a bivy in winter!  I think I can name Colin and Chris here who'd (probably) not use one.  So I'll aim to follow suit.

Also my bivy bag has a cuben non breathable base, whilst this did stay under me, the bit to my heads right did ride up a fraction.  Maybe leading to condensation that had nowhere to go other than my sleeping bag.  With that base, this I feel is a bivy bag that needs the mat inside it, especially in these cold damp conditions.

Of course in the future hopefully my OookWorks inner will be available, if I wish to take it in winter.  It's lightweight and should not weigh much more than my current groundsheet and bivy.  I'll for now still take my bivy, just in case!

In the morning when I stuck my head of the bivy it did feel darn nippy out there and I liked the microclimate it gave, but not the potential damp.  The one I have is with the very small mesh window.  I did not tie the top up.  This should be done in all fairness.

I'll have to be prepared to keep my insulated jacket and maybe my 100 weight fleece on in sleeping bag, sans bivy.  In addition to what I wore this last time, merino t shirt and light fleece Patagonia Regulator.

I wear a ChocFishMerino beanie and this is a very good fit but does come off at night and of course a cooling head wakes me.  A couple thoughts here.  Hood of insulated jacket, as long as said jacket didn't get damp at anytime.  Second thought, I have ordered a PHDesigns down beanie / hat.  I'll certainly take this and see how it goes.

Another thing to say here is BUFF.  No, not the Boeing B-52!  But the thing around ones neck.  During the day I find these fine though maybe on warm side sometimes. They should be ideal at night and I'm sure I wore one at home in bed last year (yes I really don't spend much money on home comforts but on kit!).  But sometimes camping I find them constricting and claustrophobic.  This I need to work on.  I do have a ChocFishMerino buff, I'll see if its more comforting around my neck.  I wonder if I was hung or buried alive in a previous life.  Can't imagine why someone would want to string me up....!

My main problem I fear, is my sleeping bags are all extra wide.  I deliberately went this way so I wasn't claustrophobic in the sleeping bag and able to move my legs and bend a knee independently of the other.  Of course this extra space means empty space and more bag to touch things I don't want them touching.  Again I'll try to work with them.

I'll look at my repair and first aid kits but as their name suggests, despite the thankful lack of use, these are items one would have to take anyway.  But I will look through them.  More from the point of having done 7 camps as opposed to seasonal / weight saving!  Wash kit etc can also be reviewed.  I know some use Dr Bonners soap, as soap / toothpaste.  I'll need to think on this!  Manuel on Facebook made a few suggestions, I'm afraid I forgot what he said, other than Dr B.

I still plan, unless deep snow is afoot, then I'm not so sure, to stick to trail running shoes in the winter.  Last year I tried Neoprene socks but my feet were painfully cold in them.  In Sealskinz they were just cold!  I can live with that.  Knowing I have dry socks / down booties at night.  My style of walking doesn't entail hanging around chatting. It's walking.  (I'm talking Dartmoor here not my weekly jaunt over Cheddar when I stop for a flask of tea!)  So feet are pretty much constantly moving.  I'll do same as last year, once, Sealskinz over Smartwool merino liner, maybe over Coolmax.  I have a pair of trail shoes a half size up!  Again I reiterate my lack of snow  / winter walking experience in recent years!  In fact the last snow was probably winter 2004/5 Hangingstone Hill Dartmoor.  Scarpa SL boots in snow!  I was into boots then....

Bess.  Time to address that bit of MultiMat! I reiterate my initial plan for that at camping start, way back when, was it's for Bess if needed.  Well, it's only 80g.  So in winter, she can carry it!  I checked earlier and it easily straps to her pack.  Ideal for winter.  In the spring / summer she'll not need it.  Nor will I want the dirty thing back!  So I have the other half going spare.  So I'll have that for the rest of the year.

Now that's what I call a thought and a plan or three.  And I've surely forgotten something...  I hope this is of interest.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dartmoor November 2012. Camp 7.

Watch "Dartmoor 6.11.12 in Trailstar" on YouTube

Dartmoor November 2012 in the Trailstar - Camp 7! Photo Gallery by Tony Hobbs at pbase.com

There was a gentle breeze under the sides of my raised Trailstar, Bess was asleep in her bed, wrapped up in two towels and a brook (Walla) bubbled away just a few metres from my camp.

My meths stove boiled my dinner, water spare for tea.  Light music drifted from my phone and a light tap of rain struck my shelter.  I was warm, comfortable and above all else relaxed!  I felt not a single pang of loneliness, I guess walking all day alone with Bess as my sole companion helped dispel that.  Not that I'd ever noticed that feeling prior to last camp.  But then that was only the second time I'd camped with company.

I ate my meal and looked back on my day of walking wishing that my hiking was as enjoyable as this particular camp was.  It's a bit frustrating, but I have had homesickness all my life so maybe it's just to be tolerated.  As I posted on Facebook one slightly mentally tough day a month (Cheddar is nearer home and I am more relaxed leaving home a bit later than for Dartmoor) is a pretty good compromise when on the whole I'm bubbling about the walk after, the beauty of it, successfully navigating around and thoroughly enjoying the camp!

I left the tiny parking area and headed over Scorhill (noting a lovely flat area!) and the two clapper bridges past a wooded section and to Kestor Rock.  The walking was easy going, this area is well walked and so tracks have formed that mean tussocks can be avoided!  Though it was wet underfoot and my shoes were soon soaked but as the temperature was about 6c my feet were not cold.  From the Rock I followed another path to Long Stone and then into Fenworthy Forest.  I crossed the forest and popped out directly opposite my entrance using the map to ensure I stayed on course.

A cow welcomed Bess and I by a gate to leave the forest and reenter the Moor.  We bypassed the cow and followed the contours around a small valley to Stannon Tor.  I stopped here and tried to get a ham roll down me.  It was on this more exposed section I noticed a breeze had picked up and it had cooled off a fraction.  I checked my weather computer, an old Silva ADC Pro, the temp was still 6c but the 15+ mph breeze brought the wind chill down to 2c!  Not exactly freezing.  The sun was about, intermittently.  It was a perfect day for walking.

A note here, I kept my date open, if the forecast had been on the bad side I'd have changed to another date.  I'm quite happy to aim for good weather where possible and cross bad weather when it catches me out!  So far so lucky.

The walking was a little tougher underfoot but mostly level apart from another small valley I dropped into and out up to Sittaford Tor.

A stile needs clambering over here then a very wet crossing to Stats House.  Down to North Teign Head. This is an easy water crossing and on this route the only waterway that needs jumping across!  This route is ideal in winter for its lack of rivers.

I then headed up to Whitehorse Hill.  This is easy in good visibility (and offers fantastic views) but care is needed in mist.  I did this in reverse in mist last winter using just map and compass.  When relying on my map I like to try to picture / interpret what the map says the land will do en route.  This way if the map says I should be going down and I'm not...

Hangingstone Hill was next.  I met the first two walkers here.  Wearing boots and gaiters!  I make a habit of looking at peoples foot wear on the hill.  From my (limited) observations boots far outweigh trail running shoes.  I somehow feel fantastic being one of the few!  Ok, I'm not planning on crossing a snow field at the moment...

Wild Tor was next then Hound Tor.  Heading to Hound Tor the ground was very slick with mud and my right foot kept going, skidding out from under me!  My bottom had nowhere to go, other than down!  I had a soaked arse and right gloved hand.  No one was around, so all was fine.

I was very near my planned camping spot.

Last winter in mist I took a wrong turn and ended up at Rippator.  Despite the wrong turn I actually knew I did it very shortly after doing it, and knew where I was heading.  I wanted Hound Tor that time and on a direct bearing from Rippator I crossed a green tussockless area and thought it would make a good camp spot.

From Hound Tor I retraced those steps, actually, not quite, and headed for that same area.  But in the process lost my left leg at the head of Gallaven Brook.  One minute my leg was there, the next it was in the brook!  This part of the brook, being at the head of the valley was invisible with reeds abound.  This is not something I normally miss.  Again it was just me, so I extracted my leg, dignity intact and carried on.

A day later my thigh ached, two days later my ankle ached.  On the second day later, if you follow me, the thigh was fine, so I expect the ankle to be fine imminently.  Must have given both a jolt and not noticed at the time.

This section was the roughest of the walk.  Normally tussocks don't worry me and these were nothing more than gentle but annoyed me today.  When I got to the "camp" area it looked slopey.  In a better frame of mind I'd have probably found a flattish bit.  Getting water, whilst close by would have entailed more rough ground crossing.  I simply wasn't in the mood.  Primarily as when I started the walk I passed a perfect pitch at the base of scorhill right next to the brook!  Frankly there was no competition!  If I'd not seen this I'd have stayed put.  But with a flat area by a brook, I was off.  It was nearer the car, in fact I had to partly retrace my early section.  Only difference was I went around the south west of Scorhill rather than over the top.

I saw a group of 6 walkers off in the distance and passed an elderly couple by the stone circle of Scorhill.

As this area is frequented by walkers due to easy access I'd only camp here in winter.  Also, being a small 1km hill away from car escape would be easy in emergency.  Arguably it's too close to the car, but for the next few months, I'll call it home and adjust my walk to finish there.  I'm quite happy with familiarity.

This time, Chris, it really felt like home.

I checked and wrote down here the distance information...

Distance 25.6km.
Asc 699m.
Ave moving speed 4.7kph.
Camped 940m from car.

This was all I wrote down.  It is about as much as I'd put in my note pad.  It's begging the question if to leave note pad behind and use the app Writer on phone / Nexus 7.

This was unquestionably my most relaxed camp from the moment I arrived.  In fact I think I enjoy the camping more than the walking, mentally, at that moment.  Though I am a walker.  I want to walk as far as is sensible / feasible / reasonable in a day prior to camp.  I'm not interested in parking the car, walking two miles (plucked that figure) or so and camping.

I pitched the Trailstar a bit higher to try it with a gap around the bottom.  It was cool and I was glad for the bivi.  The height of the Trailstar was not the issue but the cool damp ambient temperature.  I suspect I'd have been chilled without the microclimate the bivi produced.  In the morning the cuben base of the bivi was damp as was the side of my sleeping bag.  Though the down did not appear wet.  I will add a bit more cord to my groundsheet and see if I can get it a fraction more away from the sides.  I'm more than happy with a single skin shelter.  And an open door!

I read more than I have on any previous camp, saw half of We Bought a Zoo.  Both via my phone.  I also played a little music.  I find it soothing.

Two meals were eaten, LWWF.

I think I slept ok, it wasn't sound, but a full bladder didn't help.  I tried to use the bottle but the water works shut up shop and no matter how I tried I failed to go in the evening.   I don't think he liked the idea of the bottle.  Either that or he was confused.  Buggered if I was leaving the warmth of my sleeping bag.  I finally managed to go at about 6 in the morning!  That was a relief, I can tell you.

Breakfast was had, my usual porridge.  This time I cleaned the pot by making my tea in it after.   I warmed my meths and had no issues lighting it with my striker whilst lying on my tummy.

I packed everything away, it still seems to take about an hour to do this.  That is steady, continuous packing, including taking shelter down, putting cooking stuff away and deflating air bed.  Not in that order.

Once packed, I hefted the bag on my back, headed up Scorhill and was at the car in short order.  A few army bods were at the top of the hill.  So getting going was wise or passers by may have, well, passed by.

I'll aim to be back, time and weather permitting in December.  This will still technically be autumn.

So this is now 7 wild camps.  Over the coming months I'll revisit my camp kit list.  But it's pretty comprehensive but not too excessive.  I may be able to thin a bit here or there.  My Satmap may get relegated on well known walks in favour of my phone and Nexus.

This was by far and away my most relaxing camp! Long may that last.

Until next time....

Kit list on YouTube. Bess list on pbase. Both links at top.