Getting the ‘Balance’ back.

After several telephone conversations, people details, an outline of the overall objectives and thoughts on location, I duly set to work in building a comprehensive day out for ‘Team Rock Fall’.

The location chosen was the Peak District National Park, partially for the mix of fitness levels of the team, but equally as important was the location, which was ideal for the team travelling from Derby.

So twin routes planned, one for the ‘fitter’ bunch and a more relaxing route for the more ‘casual’ walkers.

My intention was to get the team as ‘far away psychologically’ from the constraints of work as is possible, to enable them to discover stuff about each other and themselves, to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the Peak district and to encourage some open-minded thinking and creativity that they could take back to the business.

So, the ‘digital detox’ was planned, I just needed to sense check the route.

In early April, Matt (Business Director) and myself spent 4 hours wandering around the Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs, sense checking that the ‘mix’ was right for both parties. It was, so a few weeks later Matt confirmed the date for the team event, and we were now good to go.

The route took us from Cutthroat bridge, up onto the ridge of Whinstone Lee Tor out to back Tor, lost lad, and then dropping down near the Howden dam, making our way back to the Ladybower visitor centre where we all enjoyed Mr Whippy with a flake in it! (They used to be called 99’s, but with inflation I think they are more like £2.50’s)!

In the end there were 5 team members, two dogs and me, which worked out to be a great number allowing everyone the opportunity to mix effectively.

Walk over, and with everyone suitably warm after 4 hours in the countryside, it was time to re-hydrate and grab a bite to eat, so we all headed off to the Yorkshire Bridge pub, which certainly did not disappoint!

Having posted the days details on Linked in, I think we have sparked some imagination of a ‘different’ way to invest in your teams, and a way in which creativity can be re-ignited, away from the confines of the madness of e mails and phones calls!

With over 3,298 impressions we may just have started a ‘Rock Fall trend’

Escape, discover, Grow.

Martin

A Sustainability Pole

Yes, I know, you will have to forgive me for the dreadfully tenuous play on words, but this is a topic that I think is worthy of mention, particularly as we all should be a little more ‘considered’ in our purchases, recycling and the ‘end of life’ extensions we can make to prevent waste!

In this instance I wanted to talk about the very excellent Mountain King walking poles, and how they fit all the above criteria and more.

The first point is that are manufactured within the UK, in Newcastle upon Tyne, which is great. It supports the local economy, it also means that once manufactured they are not ‘transported’ for thousands of miles around the globe, producing no end of harmful emissions, all for the sake of saving a couple of quid at point of purchase.

If you read some of their customer endorsements, one from Jon in particular, they have served him for over 8 years, across a multitude of outings and alternative uses (poles for his bashsa), which is testament to their bomb proof build quality.

It’s become custom and practice to buy on ‘price’, which, if it’s the first purchase, you’re a novice walker or for whatever (strange!) reason you’re not sure the fabulous outdoors might not be for you, then you could forgive that purchase decision.

However, for the seasoned professional in the outdoors, and in fact everyone else, its eminently far more sensible to ‘Invest’ in a quality product, which naturally you will need a to pay a little more for.

Better than ‘buy cheap, buy twice!’

The next point for the enthusiasts amongst you is the choice of pole. There are three that I wanted to highlight for differing reasons:

· SuperTrekker Speedlock (Aluminium alloy) -it’s virtually ‘bomb-proof’, excellently made, and has an easy locking mechanism to obtain the right length for you (far superior to the twist type mechanisms). These are relatively lightweight as a three section pole weighing in at 240 grams approx..

· Trailblaze (Aluminium alloy) – This is an ultra-light weight Aluminium pole that is a 4 section Z fold type, weighing a substantially less thanthe SuperTrekker at 130 Grams (subject to the length you need).

· Skyrunner Ultra (Carbon Fibre) – if you are absolutely driven in reducing your load weights to the absolute minimum, these are a must! The mid-range length of these is a measly 105 grams, this coupled to the exceptional build quality these are a ‘no brainer’ for the athletes among you.

So there you have it, an excellent range of poles for differing requirements, they may not be the least expensive pole on the market but the ‘cost in use’ based on a lifetime of value (versatility, robustness, ethical sourcing, UK manufacturing) is an investment that will ‘wash its face’ many time over!

Oh, and last but by no means least, the lovely people at Mountain King have a brilliant additional service that will ‘extend the life’ of your poles should you lose a section, or they become damaged in any way, for a minimal cost they will repair your poles to keep you out in those brilliant UK National parks.

Invest wisely and these will last you a lifetime of walking

Happy polling!

Martin

Hints and tips-flasks

Continuing our theme of simple tips, we just wanted to present a few simple ideas on how we chose to use our flask, that can save some degree of excess luggage and of course, help reduce the weight you might be carrying on a simple day out.

Both Chris and I have used this methodology on numerous occasions and the beauty of it is in its simplicity.

Using the flask of pre boiled water, when you arrive for your lunch stop, you can use approximately half of the contents to add to your freeze-dried meal.

The long-handled spoon enables you to stir the contents thoroughly thus avoiding any ‘lumpy bits’ in your, soon to be eaten, lunch.

The remaining water is utilised for making your coffee of choice to enjoy with your meal, which on a cold day is an absolute blessing.

A simple wipe or two afterwards, cup stowed in your rucksack and you are wells on for the second part of your journey!

Enjoy!

Martin&Chris

Stuff sacks – to stuff or not to stuff?

This is a topic that usually divides the room. The ‘old guard’ will probably say, no need just line the rucksack with a decent quality bin liner and bingo, all of the troubles of wet gear are gone!

But hold on to that thought for just a moment, what if you are one of the current breeds of outdoor swimmers? Where do you put your stuff after your dip in order not to get everything else in the rucksack damp too?

Where do you locate those smelly wet socks when you have changed them after the unfortunate ‘bog hopping’ incident?

For me, I am a big fan. Their versatility is the key point that makes them an essential item for even the smallest of days out. In addition to that, the ability to optimise the available space in your rucksack with a range of differing sized compressed articles is a definite plus point.

So let me give you a few examples of how we choose to use these great little items:

  1. Toilet time – there can be nothing worse than being caught short when you are out in the wilds. That urge is not going away, and you therefore will need to be nice and clean after the business is done. Keeping your ‘bog roll’ or Kleenex tissue pack dry is a must.
  2. Spare socks, hat, and gloves – if any of these items get battered by the weather, there is certainly nothing more rewarding than sticking on a fresh, dry pair of socks. The psychological lift that you get from this is priceless. (Add in a small container of Johnsons baby powder, now we are really in business)!
  3. Foods sachets, drinks sachets, sugar etc – Nothing worse than when you break out the flask for your warm brew and the sugar sachet is a complete mushy mess!
  4. Torch and spare batteries – self-explanatory this one, water and batteries are not best bed fellows.
  5. First aid kit – I have two, the standard sort of stuff, plasters, bandages, etc, and then in my other one I have my separate ‘ catastrophic bleed’ kit, which hopefully I will never need to use!
  6. Dry Food – name it, you can stick it in here, granted it might not protect your sandwich as well as a small Tupperware container, but in terms of utilisation of space, it gets the vote!
  7. Note pad and possibly your phone – assuming you don’t need it for immediate use, like pictures or MRT call outs!
  8. Wild swimmers – when you have had your dip, if you have no external pocket on the rucksack that is fit for function, a decent sized stuff sack will keep all your other gear nice and dry for the rest of your outing!
  9. Personally, having colour coded sacks for different items is a handy way to locate stuff in your rucksack quickly and easily.
  10. Lastly, and this one is for the die-hard fraternity, if you really must line your rucksack with something, a 60l version will do a much better job that your Aldi bin liner!

So, there are just a few ideas to consider when you are organising your next little wander off out into one of our beautiful national parks, but before I close this session down, I must just give you my overview of an example of these that I recently got to trial.

Ultimate performance – Stuff sacks

I was recently ‘gifted’ a set of three from ‘the Spike Girls’ who manage the trade marketing effort , in order to give an honest appraisal of them.

First impressions are these are a well-constructed sack made from Nylon and PU (for the geeks amongst you the ratio is 80% Nylon, 20% PU).

The Rip stop Nylon looks and feels robust, and with double stitched and taped seams, these rascals should be just about ‘bomb’ proof.

They come in three sizes small, medium, and large with the respective capacities being, 2 litres, 4 litres and 8 litres.

They have a roll top closure which will enable you to roll them down to the appropriate size, subject to their contents, and with the easy clip buckle, once rolled down this should keep all your contents nice and toasty.

Lightweight, compact, and waterproof, these are a must even if only for your butties!

Happy travels

Martin & Chris

June ‘22 – Extra Bank Holidays to explore the Outdoors

positiveoutdoor365 ( Instagram )

The Jubilee Celebrations save of the day!

I just wish people would have the common sense to understand that the Peak District can be a challenging environment, particularly if you have ZERO navigational skills….. rant over!

I posted the above on Friday 3rd after a classic ‘save’ of a party with limited navigational competence!

Here’s the other side of the story (my dilemma) to allow people to appreciate what happens when you f@ck up big time!

After preventing them from following the Pennine way all the way to Torside,(and a taxi back to Snake summit no doubt), I am then faced with the dilemma of keeping them safe through their own incompetence!

I stand on the Cairn on Bleaklow Head, until they can see me, and I then indicate the direction of travel they should follow to their party leader!

Bearing in mind, I have already briefed them to follow the clearly marked track to the Wain stones, head for Hern stones (directly South of the Wain stones) and after that aim for the trig on the horizon!

I stand on Hern stones for approximately 30 minutes, getting a severe buffeting from the wind, waiting for a visual on them to ensure their safety! No sign of them!!!

Now, my conscience is in complete turmoil, where are they? Do I track back and relocate them? What if they’ve gone off on another trail?

When you meet people with ineffective Navigational skills, I guarantee the fact they cause this kind of dilemma does not even enter their minds!! Fortunately, after a substantial wait, I spot them on the horizon along with an additional group of four people

! My conscience is now clear, my concern was not for the adults I might add, but for the young child with them, who was probably hungry, thirsty and fed up of walking through the peaks and groughs! This is my story on one day, the MRT deal with this daily…. Don’t be a nugget, have some consideration for the potential impact you present by incompetence in poor planning, preparing and lack lustre navigation capabilities!

I have lost count of the number of personal saves I have made! Be safe, consider the potential impact you might have on others if you cock up! The Mountains are beautiful but hostile in equal measure!👍🏻🥾🧭

Finding ‘Over Exposed’ B29 Superfortress – some simple tips.

Get a Map – OS Explorer OL1 – The Peak District, Dark Peak

Buy a compass – SUUNTO or Silva

Learn how to measure distance to your objective (crash site in this instance)

· Shaven raspberry grid reference tool – should do the trick

· MapTools – Coordinate scales and Protractor, will also do it too!

· How about a ruler then?

Learn the basics of calculating timing

· Shaven raspberry Timing card

Wear a watch

Ok, so here goes, this is the real basics that you would need to adopt to get yourself in proximity of the site you are attempting to find.

· Park at Snake Summit, (on the Snake pass) adjacent to the clearly marked footpath, the Pennine way.

· You should realise that you need to head off in a Northerly direction.

· Have you measured that the approximate distance you will travel (using your measuring tool) at 2.75 km?

· Using your timing card, travelling at 3 kph you should be close to your destination in 55 minutes.

· If you carry on along the Pennine way, you will end up being an MRT statistic!

· Once you have travelled this far, you will need to head West for approximately 700m or roughly 14 minutes, (this is where I suspect most potential errors are made)!

· Your guide here is the trig point at 621 m on Higher Shelf Stones (this is within 200m of the wreckage)

The following pictures are purely for guidance on using your tools to assist you in locating ‘Over Exposed’.

Failing that, get some quality navigation training or a Guide who will ensure your safe passage to the site…

My fees are very reasonable!

Happy Navigating

Martin