Lake District 2022

Following the previous trip to the ‘lakes’ in October 2021, there were many mountains that Chris and I wanted to re-visit, and as the weather for the previous week had been almost tropical, we were mildly excited to be possibly visiting the beautiful National Park to get some sunshine, along with the spectacular scenery.

How wrong we were, one week out the weather forecast looked like snow all week and as the visit date got ever closer, it started to shift towards rain, with some fleeting chances of sunshine. Moreover, the temperature looked like it was going to be closer to 5 degrees, rather than the ‘heady’ 17 degrees that we had been experiencing of late.

Day I – The Old Man (men) of Coniston

After a steady drive to Coniston, it was soon to become clear that this day was going to be a little ‘cooler’ than we thought. No problems though, we quickly ‘layered up’ and set off to scale the ‘Old Man’ to hit the summit.

Heading up we passed several inquisitive ‘Erdys’ along the way and were soon (ish) at the Trig point on the top.

Perhaps the best way to describe the temperature, along with the accompanying wind chill, would probably be ‘Baltic’. It was certainly not a day for sitting and admiring, and despite numerous layers, Chris was feeling it!

Compulsory pictures done for the blog and we were off, perhaps the quickest we had moved all day!!!

The final episode for the day was being confronted by the world’s biggest plate of fish and chips, much needed after the events of the day!

Day 2 – The Lords Rake, Scafell

After the previous days Arctic conditions, Thursday looked a little more promising. We took a last check of the Mountain Weather forecast and set off towards Wasdale head, adjacent to the incredibly picturesque Wast water.

As we descended the long, narrow road into Wasdale, it was noted that the day was also going to be more than a little ‘chilly’, more layers please!!

We took the footpath up alongside Lingmell Gill, up to Brown Tongue heading towards Mickledore where we got our first siting of the ‘lords rake’!

After the last few days of icy and snowy conditions, the self-preservation button ‘tripped’, and I called the choice of route and instead we scrambled onto Mickledore and chose to take pictures of the ‘Lords rake’, it could wait, there will be better days where the ‘risk’ is substantially reduced.

Passing the Mountain Rescue post, we pressed on, up and over Scafell Pike and beat a hasty retreat down the route that we had ascended. The only disappointment of the day was the weather, the reality was somewhat different to the forecast with the culmination of the descent seeing us getting absolutely ‘battered’ by hailstones for about 15 minutes!

Another great day out, the key point being is that sometimes you must plan for eventualities and ensure your back up plan, or escape routes, are viable. The weather in this part of the world can make a significant difference to your potential well-being if you do not take the appropriate precautions prior to setting out!

Day 3 – The Fairfield Round

Today was going to be a fun day out, during the evening I had contacted a friend who was also heading to the lakes for the day. We decided to ‘join forces’ so at 10:30 we all met up at the main car park in Ambleside to get underway.

Before setting off though, it was important to introduce both Craig & Emma to the best sausage rolls in the world, courtesy of the ‘Apple pie’ in Ambleside. Lunch now sorted we were off!

What a fantastic day out, this route takes in some 8 Wainwrights, the highest being Fairfield at 873M, it’s a long one covering just over 11 miles, and 1,112 metres of ascent which took us exactly 7 hours to amble around (I wonder if that’s why it’s called ‘Ambleside’)?

  • Low Pike – 508m
  • High Pike – 656m
  • Dove Crag – 792m
  • Hart Crag – 822m
  • Fairfield – 873m
  • Great Rigg – 766m
  • Heron Pike – 612m
  • Nab Scar – 440m

We were blessed with a range of stunning views throughout the day, which also had its moments where the windchill reminded us of its presence, but that did not hamper a day of laughs, stunning views, and a little Navigation training throughout the day.

And of course, to cap it all the joys of the fantastic sausage rolls!

Martin & Chris

Lake District National Park 2022

A Fabulous B & B in Ambleside

Having just returned from a few days in the beautiful surroundings of the Lake District National Park, I felt compelled to just give a little airtime to an absolute gem of a find (via Booking.com) which is the fabulous ‘Hillsdale’ Bed & Breakfast location.

There are many to choose from but this one was chosen by the ratings that previous visitors had offered, particularly the breakfast score which achieved the maximum 10 out of 10.

From the minute we stepped through the door, we knew that this was going to be a fabulous experience as the hosts could not do enough for us.

Everything about this B & B was first class, the location, cleanliness, quality of the accommodation and the décor which highlighted one of the local characters ‘the Herdwick sheep’. Commissioned by a local artist, this theme ran throughout the venue and added to the charm, although I think Chris will be dreaming of ‘Herdy’s’ for months after!!

If you get a chance to visit this one, grasp the opportunity with both hands, you won’t regret it.

Martin & Chris

March – Spring is in the air.

It’s a really encouraging sign that spring is on the way, with early daffodils staring to show, and crocus’ coming out in bloom, its reassuring that the drier, brighter days are just around the corner.

UNS Team Day out

The boys were ‘back in town’ last week with a bimble across the delightful Peak District National Park.

A little scramble up red brook and a subsequent wander over Brown Knowl coupled to a route back via South Head and Mount Famine was enjoyed by all, nearly as much as the pint in the ‘Royal’ afterwards.

1000Mile socks.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to trial these rascals to get a sense of just how good they are in keeping your feet warm and dry with their internal wicking layer of Tactel.

The write up below is the extract from the recent post on Inst’ highlighting my thoughts on the product. Its always important to ensure that alongside your sock of choice, you have a well fitted boot or shoe to enable a great walking experience without the fear of having to conduct feet maintenance half way through your expedition.

National Feet Week

National Feet Week takes place every year, and this year it from the 7th to the 13th of March.

As an avid outdoors type, it’s a great idea that we take good care of our feet, you never know where they are going to take you too!

What about your feet? Many people ignore common foot complaints or indeed serious pain rather than go to see an expert. Podiatrists are there to help with all manner of foot conditions and can usually help resolve minor issues quickly.

Where we’re coming from though, is the preventative maintenance of your precious feet, which should help you to avoid any serious complaints developing or spending time with your GP or Podiatrist.

Make National Feet Week a time to have your feet checked or to get that niggling issue sorted and make your feet your priority.

Things to consider: 

Nails 

Nails should be trimmed straight across without curving the corners of the nail as this can lead to ingrown toenails. 

Blisters 

Blisters, we’ve all had them and know how very painful they can be (they are basically a heat burn). Prevention is the key with blisters and dual layer socks are a great investment. (See the details above on the test drive of 1000Mile socks).

Friction on the skin surface is eliminated as the inner layer moves with the foot and the outer layer with the shoe. As with normal socks, it’s important to change them once they become damp.

The advent of a wicking inner layer (Tactel) is of great benefit in heat distribution for your feet, which should help reduce the likelihood of blister occurring.

If you feel a blister developing you need to stop walking immediately, remove your shoes and socks and examine your feet. Apply a breathable waterproof plaster or consider applying some material padding or cushioning.

Our blister plaster of choice is ‘Compeed’, I would strongly suggest having these in your rucksacks at all time for those ‘just in case’ moments!

Walking boots/shoes

Perhaps one of the most important questions is – are your boots/shoes comfortable?

There are so many good options to choose from, how do we know that we’re choosing the correct ones?

Many good outdoors stores have qualified staff that can help you to select the correct product for your foot type.

Purchase and wear new shoes well in advance to make sure that they are comfortable and do not pinch or rub. 

My boot of choice currently is Scarpa, and the walking shoe of choice is Meindl (watch this space for the road test on the Meindl Rapide GTX in May)

Insoles

A good insole will be helpful in the prevention of pain in the back, hips and knees and help to reduce impact related injury.

Sorbothane insoles are a fabulous option, which can fit snuggly inside the walking boot offering a little extra ‘spring’ in your step whilst walking, in addition to the reduction of impact across a range of differing trekking surfaces.

As we said before, do take care of your feet, you never know just how far they will take you!

Enjoy March

Chris and Martin

February – The Wet month

After the excitement of the mini-competition between Chris and myself during January, I elected to go ‘dry’ and to do Everyday 10km, February has so far been both an anti-climax along with a complete washout!

Personally, the 20th March cannot arrive quickly enough, we have had more than enough of the damp stuff to sink a ship, which unless you are absolutely barking mad really gets in the way of planning outdoors adventures!

Chris had a mad January, bashing out over 320Km around the flatlands of the Netherlands, and I managed to just edge it putting in some 340kms during the period, the best highlight of which was 23kms around the Edale Skyline which reminded me of just how fab’ it is when you get the opportunity to put in some decent hills and countryside stuff!

Just lately the extent of being ‘caged’ by the weather has taken its toll on Chris, and he has gone slightly bonkers believing that he has now turned into Rambo, see the picture below of the Paintballing excursion he recently undertook, where he managed to secure the flag twice!!!

So let’s all look forward to the Spring, some lighter days and nights and slightly fewer ‘webbed’ feet.

Chris and Martin

Aircraft wreck visits – Peak District

Martin is proposing to facilitate guided walks within the Peak District, for those interested specifically in locating ‘Over Exposed’ the B29 crash site located near high shelf stones on Bleaklow. Very reasonably priced at £30 per person, you can be sure of a fun day out and safe return.(rather than depending on calling out the Mountain Rescue team)

Additionally, Martin will spend dedicated time using his expertise from his time as an Instructor with the Ultimate Navigation School to deliver the same but with specific navigation training to help build confidence and competence in aspects of land navigation. Again reasonably priced at £75 per person.

Our fees charged will support the ongoing website development and support our two chosen charities Mind and Fix the fells.

Please feel free to Contact us via our website.

Martin&Chris