The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beer bottle stove

Last weekend i delivered my beer bottle stove to the landlord of the pub that supplied me with the empty aluminium bottles for my stoves.
 As i was explaining the lighting technique a lady approached and listened intently. She was impressed with it and ordered one for christmas for her brother. Wow.

I have made quite a few stoves of differing types, some work and some don’t work so well, especially when you get on the hill.

It’s completely different making a stove and testing it in the comfort of the garage/kitchen/yard or whatever, to what actually happens when you are hiking and you depend on it in the hills.




I am not going to bore readers with the manufacturing technique or the testing summary, there is lots of that already on the internet.
However i will pass on some pointers for anybody who is interested and wants to have a go at making one for the first time themselves.

1. Any aluminium seamless bottle/container can be used. The above are bud bottles but aluminium deodorant spray cans work just as well.

2. There is no need to spend time removing the advertising from around the bottle. For one, they look fine in red anyway, but sanding down the bottle just reduces the wall thickness and you don’t want to do that.

3. I’ve tried both Methylated spirit and Surgical spirit and they both performed exactly the same. You can see in the photo’s, the purple residue is Meths and the blue residue is Surgical spirit. The only difference is the price. Surgical spirit is dearer than Meths, but you could use SS to clean a wound if you are in the habit of having accidents with barbed wire etc.

4. The jet sizes i used were 1mm, 0.5mm and i guess the sewing needle is 0.4mm.  There is very little difference in efficiency with similar sized stoves. The spirit burns at a similar rate whatever.

5. It is most important that the top edge, where the pan sits is as flat as you can get it. If it isn’t flat then the vapour will ignite at the leak points and cause a flame peak.

6. Where the jet size does make a difference is in relationship to your pan width. If it’s a wide pan, over 130mm across, use 1mm jet hole, if its a Ti mug/ typical cup around 80mm, then use 0.4mm.
My pot measures 120mm across so i found 0.5mm suited best.
If you use a jet size that is too big for the pot then the heat comes up the side of the pot and escapes to atmosphere and also will heat up the pot handles whereas  a smaller jet size will just take a little longer to boil.

7. Don’t use too wide a pot as it will become unstable on the stove, especially in bad weather.

8. Now that the days are getting colder. Try and keep your fuel and stove warm, make a cosy for them from either closed cell foam or something similar. Keep them in the tent at night and not in the porch where they could get frosted. Warm gear means that the fuel with vaporise and bloom faster.

9. Also keep your water bottle in the tent. Those extra few degrees higher temperature makes a big difference to the boil times.

10. Use a priming pan and put a few drops of fuel onto the pan this will decrease the bloom time. (Bloom time has nothing to do with plants! it is the time it takes for the fuel vapour to be ignited at the jets.)

11. Don’t put the pan onto the stove until the jets are fully lit otherwise the stove will go out.

12. Use a cut down coke can to put your stove out. Don’t waste fuel by just letting it burn out. When the stove is cool tip the stove upside down and drain the fuel into the coke can. Then by squeezing the side of the can slightly you can pour the excess back into your fuel bottle.

13. Keep the stove as much out of the wind as possible and use a wind shield.

14. I have found that using a long nozzled gas lighter is best. Far better than anything else.

Well that’s it for now. Hope some of the points i have raised will save you time and equipment but have fun making them anyway. And don’t forget the cost in monetary terms is nothing to have a good backpacking stove.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Birker Fell

Today, prior to setting off back home from the Lakes, the Wasdale fells were crisp and seemed so close that you could almost touch them. The colours of the Autumn leaves, the reds, the oranges and shades of greens stood out brilliant against a stunningly clear blue sky.
I must take some pictures from Birker Fell, as we drive back, i thought.

Heading through Santon Bridge and Eskdale Green was a pleasure and there were plenty of walkers about, and then the incline as we drove up over the cattle grid and onto Birker, was stunning.
The ferns were all dying off and the browns and oranges stood out in the bright sunlight.
The Scafell ridge around to Bowfell was impressive as was the view east to Green How.
To the south east the sun silhouetted Stickle pike and the Dunnerdale Fells.

What a pity we were driving home but here are a few images of the day.








Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scarp 2

I had a postal delivery from Uncle Sam today. Well to be more precise, from Henry at Tarptent. I was surprised how quickly it has been delivered as i knew i had to wait about 10 days for the next batch to be delivered.
I placed the order for the Scarp 2 on the 6th October. So thats 15 days from order placement to opening the box. I think that is pretty good.
The other thing that surprised me was that all the Scarps i had seen (well 3 actually) had been silver colour and that’s what i expected to get, but having opened the box it turns out to be a very nice light green colour. Thats even better in my opinion.

I ordered the tent with the solid interior which will give a little bit more warmth over the mesh interior, and i also ordered the extra poles for 4 season use.
I had a quick look at the quality of the stitching, the zip and the sleeve and it looks very well made.

Well, that’s about as far as i can take this for now as we are off to visit Sheila’s mums in Cumbria today and also to deliver one of my beer bottle stoves to the landlord of Gosforth Hall Inn, so it will have to wait until i can get some time to erect it in the garden.
Next week hopefully, if the rain holds off.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Scenery for the blog page.

I have decided to give the blog a new look. I hope readers find it to be ok. I have a few settings still to change so they will be done asap.
If any readers have issues with the colours clashing or anything relevant to add then please do.
Thanks....Alan

Derbyshire Weekend

The Peak District is a strange name for an area that has no peaks. It has steep hillsides, deep gorges, rolling hills,moors, craggy outcrops and more, but Peaks, no. I wonder where the name came from.

Sheila and I descended on Tideswell village on Friday lunchtime having booked into The George Pub for a couple of nights.
We were told to have a look at the caving pictures at the Red Lion in Litton so that was where we decided to partake in lunch.
It was a surprise to see just how busy this place was at lunchtime for such a small village. Although it's easy to see why, with the roaring log fire, cosy rooms, splendid pictures and good menu.

After lunch we headed off to to the village of Eyam, the village of the Plague of 1665 - 1666. It was horrendous for the village where almost 300 souls died of the Bubonic plague.
It's hard to imagine now that your next door neighbours all died within a short space of time in a ghastly way.
The fear and despair that must have come between families at some point is difficult for us now to comprehend.
How much grief was brought about by the tiniest of flee's jumping from rat to rat and then to human's.
It's now a lovely village, with lots of history, a museum and Parish Church where the Plague story is. revealed.
But the houses of the victims are still there and are occupied. I wonder what they think now?

We planned our walk for Saturday, a circular walk from The George.
The Church of St John's is adjacent to The George and there is supposed to be a stone cat crawling along a high ledge somewhere on the church building so we had to find this before we set off.
It took a couple of circuits, but we did find it.

The cat on the ledge. Church of St John's Tideswell.

The lovely church of St John's Tideswell.

The route leaves the village from an alleyway behind the Co-op store and passes the rear of the Star pub into Market Square. There is much of interest to see on this first 200yds, with the many old mullioned windowed buildings and the narrow alleyways. 
You pass on your right the Old College and Rockingham house which used to be the Drop Inn pub until it closed some 20yrs ago. 
On the left is the Oddfellows and Bagshaw Hall. Bagshaw Hall was built in 1872. Later to become the cinema but now it's a private residence.
On the left, passed Bagshaw hall is a small alleyway that leads up to Sherwood Road. At the road junction with Summer Cross continue straight on until you come to the house on the left, Sunny bank.
Look right and you will see a stile leading into fields.
I have explained the approach to open country in detail because we found it can be quite challenging, especially if you are new to the area.
The remaining part of the walk is easily followed on the route map below and in conjunction with OS explorer map OL24.

The route map.
Having crossed Slancote lane and quite a few field walls the path joins the Limestone Way where you turn south on a good track down into Miller's Dale.
View West towards Buxton
View west over to Monk's Dale (in the Trees)

As we approached Monksdale farm we stopped for a chat with the Park Ranger for 10 minutes and then headed down to the River Wye. Crossing the Wye by the footbridge close to the Angler's Rest pub.
Footbridge over the River Wye at Miller's Dale.
A path rises steeply after the bridge and joins the Monsal Cycle Trail. The disused railway line.

For Information Purposes.
The Monsal Trail follows the path of the former Midland Railway from Blackwell Mill cottages to a point about 1km past the former Bakewell station, a distance of about 20km. For the most part the trail follows the path of the River Wye, which means it offers some spectacular scenery. The eastern end of the trail is accessible by bicycle, but the western section is not, for the section around Chee Tor is quite difficult even when walking, and the section between Litton Mill and Cressbrook Mill follows a concession path on which cycling is forbidden.

From the western end, approach the trail from Wyedale car park at Topley Pike. About 1 km along the track you reach a second railway bridge and a path leads up onto the former track. You can follow it down a further 2 km in the magnificent surroundings of Cheedale before reaching a tunnel through Chee Tor, which is closed as being unsafe.

The path detours along the river, which is difficult going and includes stepping stones which can be well underwater in flood conditions. The path picks up the railway track again near Miller's Dale, where you cross the Wye by the imposing viaducts. The section downstream gives fine views of Ravenstor and leads to Litton Mill, where another closed tunnel blocks the route. Here the usual route takes a concessionary path along the riverside to Cressbrook Mill, with more fine views of the scenery, but this path is closed to bicycles. (A cycling route would be to go up the green road to Cressbrook Church from Litton Mill and back down the minor road to Cressbrook Mill - but this is steep both up and down).

At Cressbrook the trail crosses the river and regains the railway track which is followed down Monsal Dale and across the viaduct to another closed tunnel. This time you have to climb right up to Monsal Head and follow the small road opposite into Little Longstone, where a path across the fields allows you to regain the railway track.

The section from Longstone is relatively uneventful and is the only section which is suitable for normal cycling. It follows the railway track all the way through Hassop station to Bakewell, easy cycling if you are on a bike, pleasant walking if you are on foot. Cycle hire is available near the former Bakewell Station, which the Peak National Park have renovated as an information centre. The trail continues a short distance beyond Bakewell to terminate at the Coombs viaduct not far from Haddon Hall.



Once our route has joined the Monsal trail we turned East and it's very pleasant easy walking with good views along Miller's Dale.
 Litton Mill from the Monsal Trail.
Miller's Dale from the Monsal Trail.
Soon the old railway path comes to a closed tunnel where the path climbs up above the track and opens up some terrific views of the surrounding area.
Sheila on Sentry duty near the closed tunnel on the Monsal Trail.
Also posing in her new down jacket.


The path contours the cliffs which are known to be have many fossils and our way drops down to Cressbrook via the fantastically named "Water-cum-Jolly Dale" and across the footbridge to D's brew stop.
View across the dale to Cressbrook with Cressbrook Hall in the foreground.


D's brew stop is a wonderful little place to have refreshments, tea, coffee etc and it works out roughly the halfway stage of the walk. He allows you to eat your own food on the premises but there is food to buy if you wish. Cakes and biscuits for example. There is no Loo and he doesn't take credit cards. 


Onwards refreshed, the path follows the River Wye back towards Litton Mill keeping to the river edge.


The River Wye near Cressbrook.
The river prior to reaching a silted up section close to Litton Mill is wonderful with lots of water fowl and trout. 


As the Mill and the Field study centre is passed, a track bears off to the right which is our route up Tideswell Dale. The river becomes free of silt again.


The track is wide and easy and through farm land. Soon we reach the car park and picnic area. Carrying straight on through a lovely section of Beech/Alder trees.


From the car park area there is a permitted path through farmland heading north and exits where the main road meets the road from LittonDale.


Large fungi, i think this is Alder Bracket fungi.

Cross over the road and follow the road back into Tideswell. 
Tideswell.
The route stats.    (Stats chart deleted.)




 13.14km. with a huge 275.5m of up hill. It's the 0.5m at the end that makes all the difference.

Some more photo's can be seen here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scarpa Nepal Boots

I have here a brand new, unworn pair of Scarpa Nepal boots. They are size 42. I bought them from Nevis Sport last year at a cost of £146.00.  SOLD
The reason i bought them was because my existing Scarpa boots didn't look like they would see out the season, but they have, and hence they are just gathering dust in the loft.

I have decided to sell them but before i put them on Ebay i thought i would show them here first. I thought £75 + P&P (UK only) would be a fair price.
Drop me an email if any interest.
I will leave them here until the 26th October and after that i will delete this post and put them on Ebay if there are no takers. Thanks.

Kooka Bay sleeping mats and pillow.

I don't find the Neo-Air that comfortable but now that i have it i will just have to get used to it. One of the problems i have is finding a good pillow to use with it.

I came across this company Kookabay who will make pillows to your requirements and they also do a lightweight range of sleeping mats. So unless i come up with something else i may be making an order.



It was interesting to see that the sleeping mats and pillow are indeed quite lightweight and pack size is tiny so i thought i would share it here. Unfortunately the website doesn't give information like U vales etc. but a quick email would resolve that.
If you are in the market for a new mat/pillow duo, you might want to consider these although i know that ordering from the US can be a little expensive and takes time.

Below you will find a list of weight conversions from the US ounces shown on the Kooka Bay web page to grams..


Mats:- 72"x20"x2.5" Mummy 354gr
60"x20"x2.5" Mummy 289gr
72"x20"x2.5" Rectangular 422gr
60"x20"x2.5" Rectangular 354gr
46"x20"x2.5" Rectangular 272gr
Pillow 12"x7.5"x3.5" Inflated. 37gr

Monday, October 11, 2010

Berghaus Pro Primal Mid boot

When in Manchester on Thursday last, i picked up these Berghaus Pro Primal Mid boots at TKMax. They only had 1 pair and as luck had it they were my size and fitted fine.

I am not a Berghaus fan in any way but i must say that i like these. I think they came out in 2008 originally so i was surprised to see that they only weighed 507gr.

I have walked 12 miles in them and found them very comfy and they hold the heel very well. They have a speed lacing system but i don't like it at the moment, the spec sheet says that the lacing system tightens them in all the right places, but they don't and i needed to adjust them. Maybe it's because they are new and they need to give a bit.
I will persevere with it for a while.

I havn't got them wet yet so i will have to wait and see what they grip like when it's raining.

But for the £47 i paid, i think i have a good buy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gear from last trip.

Rucksack. OMM villain 45 + 10.  Back support replaced with 1m length of roofing insulation folded into 4. The original back support weighed 230gr. so it had to go. Otherwise this is a super sack.

Tent. Vaude Odyssee Winter (2 man).  As usual. A little bit heavy for 1 person, but it's my lightest tent. I also enjoyed the extra space available. It's a very stable, reliable tent and 4 season. There's going to be a new tent coming soon.

Sleeping Bag.  Rab Summit Alpine 400 no zip, A bit warm for the conditions but it's the only one i have, so no options here. I would like to get a PHD lightweight, one day.

Sleeping mat. Thermarest Neo-Air short. Still not happy with this. It's light and compact but i don't sleep well on it. I fall off it and end up getting cold. I supplement the short length by utilising the roofing insulation that i use down the back of my rucksack as extra insulation. I have not found a pillow yet that i like using with it. I tend to fill a dry bag with all my gear and use this.

Shoes. Inov-8 Roclite 320's.  First backpacking trip with these although they have been worn on numerous day hikes. I was surprised how good they were on this trip with the added weight of the backpack.
Now that the studs have worn a little, the grip seems better on wet rock, but i am still wary and take it easy when crossing. On all other ground types they are fine.
Contouring i think is a problem with them and one of my ankles ached quite a bit. The fit on the heel was fine for me as was the width. The insole dries out quite quickly but the shoes themselves take longer to dry than i thought they would. Probably take 24hrs plus.
The laces are poor and mine need replacing now. Strands have started to unravel.

GoreTex socks. These were a new pair, although i have worn Goretex socks for years. Considering the awful weather i had they were very impressive. My feet stayed perfectly dry. I got them from TG store. Worth every penny.

Socks.  Bridgedale Endurance Trekkers. Ankle length. Good, hardwearing. Dry fairly quickly.

GoLite Umbrella. This was the first time that i had taken an Umbrella backpacking and i know that many of you will frown upon it, but let me say, as sceptical as i was too about taking it, i am so pleased i did. Don't forget it was not that long ago that shoes like Inov-8's were deemed stupid for hiking.
On my first day it never stopped raining at all. I would have been soaked through. As it was, i was at best damp at the end of the days walk.
It also allows you to walk in the rain without a hood on and with your jacket partially open. Allowing good breathability and you can still admire the scenery without having the rain lashing into your face.
It also acted as a windshield when cooking once it was pegged down, and also it added to my porch area.

I have been asked if it could be strapped to a rucksack for hands free walking. I did consider this and i am sure that it can be done for low level walking, if it's not too windy, but it would be dangerous in high ground.
Ultralight outdoor gear sell the brolly. It only weighed 220gr and it didn't cause me any problems at all. When not in use it fitted nicely to the outside of my sack without protruding the top or the bottom of the sack.

Shorty gaiter. I like to wear these gaiters basically to stop stones getting into my shoes. They also give you some protection in boggy areas. I never like wearing the common knee length gaiters, i find them too restricting. At 70gr these Integral designed gaiters are ideal for me.

Trousers. I swop between 2 pairs depending upon the weather expected. I wore the Montane Terra's on this trip. The Terra's are fantastic walking pants but they don't have a rear wallet pocket which i find a nuisance. The belt is rubbish as well and i have replaced it with a better one.
 Otherwise would have worn Columbia silver ridge convertables. They are currently on offer at Winwood Outdoors for £25.  A good buy.

Warm wear. I didn't take a fleece or mid layer. I just took my TNF Zephyrus belay jacket and it proved to be a worthy piece of kit covering any eventualities where i needed to be warmer. I didn't wish that i had taken something extra to wear.

Overtrousers. Rab Bergan, full length side zips. eVent fabric. Light'ish in weight and dependable waterproofing.

Waterproof Jacket. Cloudveil Koven, not well known in UK but it's a good all round waterproof.

Base Layer. I only tend to wear one layer most of the year and my choice is Icebreaker Merino Oasis 200 long sleeves. It keeps the odour of dampness at bay longer than most other materials so it's a must have. It dries fairly quickly if you can hang it up but even if it's still damp in the morning it warms up quickly with it being wool. It doesn't have a collar and i might replace it with a collared version soon.

Hat. The dependable Tilley. I just love this hat. Mine is the LT5b model, lightweight and guaranteed for life.

Foul weather alternatives.  I carry with me a pair of Seal Skins softshell gloves. A pair of waterproof Outdoor designs summit over mitt and a waterproof cap also from Outdoor designs.

Stove. I took 2 stoves with me. 1 homemade beer bottle meths stove and the 2nd was the Gram Weenie Pro.
I tried out the Weenie at home and posted that i wasn't that impressed with it. I am going to change my opinion some degree now. Mostly, Sheila and  I backpack together and therefore all my thinking on gear is "will it suit us both". However on this trip i was solo and i have to admit that the stove coped.
If you just want to boil water for dehydrated food for 1 then it will do it. I didn't find that 1 oz of fuel burns for 11 minutes as the web page says for some reason. In use and measuring the volume of meths properly it burned for no more than 8 minutes. But 8 minutes is enough to do the job. It also needs to be protected as much as possible from the wind.
The stove is also a small diameter so you have to be extremely careful how you put the pot on the top of it to stop it falling over. Especially if your pot is the wide type which mines is.

Homemade Meths stove. I was pleased with the way this worked. It was wider than the Weenie and therefore not as prone to pan problems. It boiled 400ml in 4 minutes but it used quite a bit more fuel than i would like. I need to try reducing the jet numbers or changing the jet diameters until i achieve a better fuel consumption. I may put some fibreglass in between the inner and outer walls and see if this suppresses the flow a little.

Pan. I used the 600ml Titanium Evernew pot and i do like this. Very light and suits our needs. It is a wide shallow pan but i can get all my gear in to it. It all fits nicely into a mesh bag and is easy to stow in the rucksack.

Spoons. I only take a spoon and i took 3 on this trip. One Titanium folding spork, a LMF spork and a freebie long handled orange spoon from Expedition Foods. It's the same one as Outdoors grub sell as far as i can make out.The folding spork fits into the Evernew pan easily so thats a bonus, the other 2 don't.
I found that both the sporks were too short when eating my rehydrated meals and you end up with food on your fingers.
I think it would help if the food manufacturers would use wide short bags instead of the deep narrow bags. This would also help rehydration as well. Numerous times i find that there is food at the bottom of the bag that has not rehydrated.
The freebie spoon from Expedition foods wins my vote but for some reason the spoon isn't available on the web site. Strange when you consider it is a good spoon.

Lighter. I use a Bic gas lighter. It's not the lightest but it's dependable and i like the fact that there is a fuel window so that you know when it's getting low. It's also great for lighting Esbit tablets which sometimes can be difficult.
I made a flame shield for it so that if by any chance the trigger was inadvertently depressed in my rucksack that it couldn't ignite.

Water Filter. I now use the Super Delios filter which weighs 58gr. in total and has a filter spec of 0.2 microns. It comes with a 300ml capacity polypropylene bottle. It's very easy to use and the bottle is compact and very flexible.
I thought that the 300ml capacity would be too little but it proved ok as i filled my pot first and then filled the bottle again. I suppose if i was being picky that a slightly larger bottle would be better but it really doesn't matter because the filter will fit any std Platypus bottle.

Water bag. I took my homemade 3L capacity water bag that weighs 39gr. I used it on campsites and it worked great so it will accompany us from now on.

Food. Breakfasts i make up individually myself, usually Muesli. I put the cereal into a sealable food bag with powdered milk and a bit of sugar. It's just a matter of adding water to the bag and then giving it a shake before tucking in. Disposing of the bags when possible.
Lunch. Mug Shots and a chocolate bar or biscuit.
Tea or dinner if your posh. I took 2 lots with me. Expedition foods and Real Turmat. RT is the winner here. I don't know what veg or spices EF uses but when ever i have them it's not long before i need the loo.
RT foods are a bit expensive but they are excellent meals.

Towel. The Lightload towel that i posted about a couple of months ago is still my favourite backpacking towel and came with me on this trip. I works better than any of the microfibres etc in my opinion of course.

Well thats about it. Sorry that there are no pics on this post but there are lots of links for you to check out if you wish.




Friday, October 8, 2010

Beer bottles

Last week when In the Lake District we called into Gosforth Hall Inn for a meal and whilst there i asked the Landlord if he had any empty aluminium beer bottles. After a conversation about wanting them to make some backpacking stoves he said he would sort some out for me as long as i made him one and i could pick them up before going back home.
So the next time i went in they were ready for collection.
I wanted a few and this is what i got. LOL.

We have not had a party honest! I think i am going to be busy.

My stove set up.
L - R Cosy for meths bottle, flame douser made from a coke can, meths bottle, My homemade beer bottle stove, Gram Weenie stove that i was testing out, Foil base x2, 600ml Titanium Evernew pan, Meths measurer and windshield.

Lightweight down jacket, Uniqlo

Thanks to Richard @ blog Sheila has now received her new lightweight down jacket from Uniqlo.
She is over the moon with it and the weight is fantastic. 230gr. So thank you Richard for sharing it on your blog.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Seathwaite - Last night and today.

Last night in Seathwaite.
I had been invited to supper at Tina and Alan's and it was a lamb curry enjoyed with a nice bottle of red. Absolutely fantastic. Although Anthony from Turner Hall farm is never impressed that we curry his lambs after all the work he has put into getting them in good shape.
We wound him up about this later in the Newfield, but we left the pub together still friends.

Sheila is picking me up today, just before lunch so there was no rush to pack up.

As i made my way to the loo this morning i passed a young lady. Late teens or early twenties. It wasn't the usual tired 'good morning" comment you get when on a campsite, it was "Oh my God wasn't it a terrible night".
It had been a dreadful night. One of the worst nights camping i had had since being blown down on Harris during a bad storm.
  I got to sleep around midnight or just after, even though the wind had picked up noticeably. At 4.00 am the tent was bashing around my ears. I lay there a while and it was absolutely howling and raining. The wind direction had now change to a Northerly from a Westerly and was now a gale. Everything goes through your mind on nights like this, will the pegs hold, are those tiny Titanium pegs good enough, is everything in the porch still there, will the tent become a parachute, what if a pole breaks etc etc.  It wasn't long before i realised i would have to get out and turn the tent 90 degrees or i wouldn't get any sleep or worse.
  I could now hear a few fearful tears from the girls, emanating from the tents close bye. The trouble is with being on a campsite the noise alone can be very scary. The trees are being buffeted, the boughs are creaking, the noise of items falling over in the farm yard, dogs barking. It can be very scarry in the dark out of your comfort zone. And now there were car doors opening and closing at irregular intervals.

  I waited for a lull in the rain and then without getting dressed i dashed out in true Billy Connolly fashion and changed the position of the tent. It's an easy tent to alter, so i guess it took about a minute.
Dashing back inside and pulling the tent door zips down quickly, it got stuck on the zip flap material.
It was still dark so i had to put on my head torch and faff about trying to free it as the rain started again.
Eventually it freed and i lay there on the sleeping bag, knackered and a bit damp. At least the tent wasn't being buffeted as much now.

  I must have dozed off because i woke up a bit cold and still on top of my sleeping bag, it was coming light 5.15am. I got back in the sleeping bag and dozed off again.
  At 7.50am i had to go to the loo and that's when i met the young lady. Her and friends had slept in the cars. By 8.00am they were gone.

 Walking down to the Newfield to have a coffee and a bite to eat. I noticed that there had been plenty of damage caused to the trees. The road was littered with boughs and leaves that had parted company during the night. On meeting Alan he said that they had thought about me as it had been a real Hooley of a night.

  Sheila arrived and her first words were. You look tired! I wonder why.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Seathwaite, Broughton Mills, Stonestar, Kiln Bank, Seathwaite.

I had arranged to meet up at 10.00am at Alan's house in Seathwaite and by this time he would have made the phone calls to his mates, The Last of the Summer Wine walkers, and find out what was on or off as the case may be.
The weather forecast said a nice morning but rain from Lunchtime onwards with the wind picking up and changing direction to the North later.

Alan's mates live nearby  J35/J36 area of the M6 and the forecast for the Yorkshire Dales area was pretty good and so they decided to go in that direction instead of coming here to the South/Central Lakes.
So Tina, that's Alan's good lady had made us both a packed lunch so we decided that we would head off and do our own thing. (Thank you Tina)
Behind the Newfield Inn is a good track, the Park Head Road, we took this which skirts Caw and heads in a general SSW direction to meet with the fell road at High Kiln Bank. It passes an area where years ago much quarrying had taken place and there are still many adits for the intrepid explorer.

We took the path with climbs steeply up the fell side behind Hoses farm and leads past Hare Hall, skirts Scrithwaite Farm and exits on the small road at Green Bank. Cross the bridge over the River Lickle and within 5 minutes we were enjoying a beer in the Blacksmiths Arms.
The bridge over River Lickle at Broughton Mills
I have included this photograph because there is an interesting set of steps down to the river here where it is believed that the locals used to do the washing.
© Copyright Rob Noble and licensed for reuse under thisCreative Commons Licence









The Blacksmiths Arms in Broughton Mills dates back to 1577 and was originally a farmhouse called Broadstones. In 1748 archive records list the property as being an Inn, working farm of 34 acres and blacksmiths. Before this it would have been a "beer house" with the farmer serving ale in the kitchen for travellers and local workers.
The internal structure of the Blacksmiths arms remains unchanged with oak panelled corridor, original farmhouse range, large slate floors from local quarries, and oak beamed ceilings. The pub features in many guides including the AA pub guide, The Good Pub Guide and The Good Beer Guide. It remains the only pub in the Lake District listed in the National Inventory of historic pubs. (copied from the Blacksmiths website)

Back up the road from where we came to Green Bank we stopped for our packed lunch which we didn't want to eat at the pub for obvious reasons. There is a nicely sited picnic table just where the path turns West at the Nursery. The views over the Duddon Estuary are spectacular but today we could see the bad weather which had been forecast, making it's way inland. Before we finished lunch it had started to rain lightly so we donned our jackets and set off again.
The green lane which skirts the Nursery and Hovel Knot is very well made and must have been in regular use years ago. Alan thinks that this area was possibly used for Flax Scutching in times gone bye.
Not to far along this lane we took a little detour to look at an old barn below Hovel Knot. It's an interesting place due to it having a Crook timbered roof.

As we climbed up the fell to the top and now overlooking the Duddon the rain was starting to get heavier. We dropped down the path leading to the fell road which follows the River Duddon and went over to the river edge.


There are one or two spots here that make good wild campsites and it's a busy place on sunny days but be aware that the Police do move you on if you get seen wild camping here.
We had a bit of road walking to do now as we headed for Ulpha from where we left the road and headed  East passed the old school and Birks.
Along the track to Kiln Bank you come to a square enclosure planted with conifers. This is a Quaker burial ground or Sepulchre which is worth visiting. No ostentation here, no headstones, statues or monuments and a very low doorway. All is plain and quiet, inviting meditation. The last burial took place in the middle of the eighteenth century. You can still see the seating that was built into the walls for those attending the funeral or a meeting. A curious fact noticed by those who stamp on the soil is a sound as though the ground is hollow. It's also not marked as a cemetery on the OS map.
An old Mr. J. Casson, of Kiln Bank, the next farm, could remember the ground as being used as an orchard. Later it became a vegetable garden. About 1870, Mrs. Gunson, of Oak Bank, planted the trees which you can now see, and put up a new gate. It is supposed to be the duty of the tenants of New Close to keep the place in order. 
Alan just inside the Quaker Cemetery with it's low doorway.
The wall seating.
The rain was now pouring so it was time to put on the overtrousers.
On reaching Kiln Bank and the fell road we crossed over Tommy Gill and behind High Kiln Bank Farm. From here we headed on down by another extremely well made trod, too good just to be fell path it might have been the old valley cart track to The Low and beyond. The surrounding hills were rapidly disappearing  as the rain swept across, no longer could we see Grey Friar or Dow Crag.
The Low in the foreground with Hall Dunnerdale behind
Once passed The Low farm house it was just a matter of following the road for one and a half miles back into Seathwaite. We were going to go via High Wallowbarrow but the rain was now bouncing and in for the day. So it was back to Alan's for a coffee and to get dry.
It had been an enjoyable walk especially with having Alan and his local knowledge of the history. So thank you Alan for the walk and the information. And Thank You Tina for everything.

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