Had a great day in Edale with Cheryl and the pre sister / brother-in-laws (coach trip quote if anyone is sad enough to watch it -no? just me..) . We tried to do a 10 miler  a couple of weeks ago, but the foot of snow put paid to that - tough walking and a possible scary descent of jacob's ladder proved too much. So today, we set the matter straight with an attack on 1/2 of the Edale Skyline. The plan: Edale > Hollins Cross > Lose Hill > Hope Cross > Crookstone Knoll > Ringing Roger > Edale.

Now, I got a little ribbing today about my optimistic choice of shorts and a short sleeve shirt; it might be too cold and 'what are those pieces of string hanging out of my shorts' (i.e. my legs...). I had my doubts about the choice early morning, mist and only 4 degrees in the car, and this remaining 1/2 way up the M1. Luckily, approaching Chesterfield, BBC weathers predictions came true, and the car's thermometer rose to 10 degrees.

Arriving in Edale at about 10:30, we luckily managed to find a prime lay-by parking space only 100 metres out of the village car park. A quick change of clothes and we ascending Hollin's Cross, and then Lose Hill. All fairly pleasent, and we enjoyed watching the nutters fell runners competing in some kind of race. We particularly enjoyed one guy appearing to totally cut a corner, not sure whether this was allowed though he did it right in front of a marshall...The descent of Lose Hill was quick and pain free with the mandatory M&S sarnies half way down. Cheers for the pork pies Steve!!!

[caption id="attachment_174" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Edge of Kinder Scout from Crookstone Knoll"]Edge of Kinder Scout from Crookstone Knoll[/caption]

We then started our second hill of the day skirting Win Hill, ascending the roman road to Hope Cross we got our muscles warmed up again for the hard pull up Crookstone Knoll. A few people on rock photos and Percy Pigs refueled us for the 'flat' walk along the edge to Ringing Roger. Now, by this time, I was happy to see some cloud come in. Firstly, this cooled things down (see, the shorts were a good idea..) and secondly, they reduced the glare from a powerful sun and brought interest to some moody moorland photos. Played for the first time with my stronger grad filter. Maybe OTT for strength but I enjoyed a couple of photos.

[caption id="attachment_175" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Strange light over the vale of Edale from Ringing Roger"]Strange light over the vale of Edale from Ringing Roger[/caption]

Finally, we descended Ringing Roger, avoided any pubs in Edale and returned to the car by about 17:00. A tough day - tougher than the nominal 10.3 miles (10.2 if it wasn't for a 'navigational occurrence' by me) with > 600 metres; not bad for the peak district.

[caption id="attachment_176" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Steve was obviously getting excited about the prospect of beer in Edale ;)"][/caption]

Even managed a Toby Carvery for dinner, turkey, yorkies and a pint of Bulmers. Nice.

1/2 Edale Skyline attempt

Had a great day in Edale with Cheryl and the pre sister / brother-in-laws (coach trip quote if anyone is sad enough to watch it -no? just me..) . We tried to do a 10 miler  a couple of weeks ago, but the foot of snow put paid to that - tough…

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Well, it's been an interesting few weeks regarding two of my three main hobbies - walking and photography. MTBing is the other one of which I haven't done any since Christmas.

No, regarding walking, we have only done local walks of recent, even though we managed to get up to Keswick on my Birthday. However, whilst up there, I suffered a stomach upset so returned the very next day so no walks.

However, I have been putting much effort into photography, my interest being mainly driven by a new Nikon D90 given to me as a joint Birthday / Xmas pressie from the other half and my parents. Since getting the camera, I have been snapping anything and everything and my skills with the camera have come on leaps and bounds. I have spent several evenings recently re-keywording my Lightroom catalogue, and will be refining, tweaking and uploading pictures to Flickr. I am to complete the rest of my pictures by late January. Hopefully, by this time, the roads will be sufficiently clear of snow that my girlfriend will be happy to travel up to the Peak District for our first hill walk of the year.

Much more photography stuff on the go.

Well, it's been an interesting few weeks regarding two of my three main hobbies - walking and photography. MTBing is the other one of which I haven't done any since Christmas. No, regarding walking, we have only done local walks of recent, even though we managed to get up to…

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Well, as some know and others don't, I am one of those dodgy people who both walk the hills, and mountain bike. Many times I have chatted with people in both disciplines, and whilst the vast majority understand the others views and share a liking for outdoors, health etc, I have also seen examples of people with a great dislike for the others hobby. Only August this year, whilst walking up the LLamberis pass, I saw some bikes downhilling having a great time. They were traveling at a fair old pace but as they saw me and the other half, they politely slowed down, and passed on the far side of the pass. With exchanged nods, they continued down until I heard several cries emiting from a group of walkers following us up. They were about 5 in strength and wouldn't at least give a little room for the mtbers, and instead hurled abuse at them. Now, it was about 10:30 so offiicially the bikers were in the wrong, but come on... They must have got up before the break of dawn to heave their steel beasties up the hill. Then for whatever reason, the got a little delayed and came down a little late.  But they were considerate, polite and friendly. But got nothing in return other than abuse.

On the other hand, i have seen many bikers riding down paths crowded with walkers, failing to slowdown and scare the walkers out of their wits.

So one simularity between people participating in both persuits is a subset of idiots.

However, whilst riding my newly converted to singlespeed mountain bike around Cannock Chase, I pondered another similarity - the getting back to basics in both mountain biking and lightweight backpacking. Part of the ethos of lightweight backpacking isn't just buying the latest lighter version of the previous light thing. Its also about getting rid of redundant kit, using things for multiple purposes, getting rid of  a few comforts and being a little sadistic. It also lends itself to laziness - not having to carry heavy loads, not having to pack so many things - just walk, camp minimally and walk again the next day.

Now, I can definitely relate to the laziness part, and this in part is why I have discovered single speed mountain biking which is defined as: removing the 300+ quids worth of drivetrain related components and replace them with 1) a single rear cog, 2) a single front chainring and 3) a chain. The main advantage to this regression in functionality is to ease maintenance - no more fine tuning of gears, no more poor shifting or ghost shifts. Less to clean, and that that is left (hubs, bottom bracket shell etc) are far easier to get to. In fact, only this morning I managed to clean the bike properly without having to remove the chain. Bliss.

Now, unfortunately and unlike lightweight backpacking, the 2lb of weight loss brough about from removing this stuff does not translate into an easier bike to ride. I draw a parallel with lightweight stoves not being as fast or as easy to cook on that larger car tent based ones. Uphills are murder, and several downhills can't be attacked with the normal gusto, simple because you run out of gears. However,  I still the downs as I sit back and get through them concentrating on momentus and line rather than pendalling my nuts off.

However, I am currently contemplating how these persuites can actually be combined. Gears, and the maintence their off have been one of the main worries about taking to the hills on multiday rides. Too many tools, and spare bits and pieces to carry. And a bike isn't the easiest thing to carry if i need to get to a bikeshop for a new derailleur.

But my final similarity for this post relates to the looks from other people. I remember sitting on a train last year talking to another walker. He asked what my lakeland adventure would bring me. I told him I was expecting a 3 day walk over several mountains. He then asked where I would be overnighting. He presumed I would be hosteling etc. as I only had a 35 litre pack. In my tent I explained. But where is it? I noticed this very same confusing look yesterday when I was riding around 'The Dog' in Cannock. I had got to the top of the biggest hill, and whilst my heart nearly left my chest and I thought I had left my lungs behind, when I approached two guys having a rest they were surprised that I was pushing such a big gear and struggling so much. Then they realised why - I couldn't shift down ;(

Similarities between 'going lightweight' and single speed mountain biking

Well, as some know and others don't, I am one of those dodgy people who both walk the hills, and mountain bike. Many times I have chatted with people in both disciplines, and whilst the vast majority understand the others views and share a liking for outdoors, health etc, I…

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Well, phase 2 of my knee test started today.

Test methodology: attempt roughly half of the Edale skyline.

Hypothesis: my knee will work fine, no probs. Today the peaks, tomorrow the world, well several Wainwrights at least.

Observations: 1 nasty car crash, and early morning vista of clag covered tops, a beautiful day with bucket loads of sun and cooling winds at just the right time. Oh and some crazy remote control kite things. V. cool.

Write up: started from Castleton, and today chose my scarpa sl and gaiters. Had enough of fell running shoes until spring now.

My route started by popping over Hollins cross and back down to Edale. Then having had a chat with some mtbers, I started the scramble up Grindsbrook Clough. Maybe I was a little silly trying this kind of stuff, especially when I slipped on a slimy rock and ended up hugging a rock for dear life - I nearly ended up in the stream. At the top I turned left and had lunch on Crowden Tower. Nice M&S ham and cheese sarnies!

Now, with the bad weather of recent, my heart rate started to increase as I came to my peat bog nemesis - Brown Knoll. Recollections of being thick down in methane releasing bog and the sight of three lads with peat up to their knees didn't help, and I did think several times about chickening out and descending Jacob's Ladder.

But now, the plan was set and I continued over the knoll. It wasn't too bad up to the trig point but the ground was bad thereafter. Especially dodgy was one horizontal grough that was deceiving - normally vegetation means safe ground, but this grough had much grass yet wouldn't take my weight. Luckily, I had been cautious and only put one foot down. As soon as I realised, the foot was out, and I retreated. I succeeded in beating the grough via a little run up and 5ft jump. Again, maybe stupid with the knee but hell, I don't like peat.

Once the knoll was complete, the simple but tiring walk over Rushup edge then down the broken road to Castleton concluded a great walking day.

Conclusion 1: I felt no knee pain despite my rough calculations of 13.5 miles and 775 metres of ascent. I think the knee might be on it's way to classification of fit for purpose.

Conclusion 2: My scarpas didn't rub my ankle despite the physio foam donuts i normally wear in them.

Conclusion 3: I love getting to the car 5 minutes before a heavy downpour. It means I planned the walk perfectly ;)

Update on knee

Well, phase 2 of my knee test started today. Test methodology: attempt roughly half of the Edale skyline. Hypothesis: my knee will work fine, no probs. Today the peaks, tomorrow the world, well several Wainwrights at least. Observations: 1 nasty car crash, and early morning vista of clag covered tops,…

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The knee works! yah!! Well, I say works as i survived a 10 miler derwent edge circuit today. However, my feet didn't. After using trail shoes solely this year from about February, with the recent wet weather and boggy ground on the edge, I knew it was a gamble to try them over my boots and gaiters. But I tried, and to be honest, my feet weren't too cold, I had thick smartwool socks and the temperatue was about 5 - 6 degrees in the valley.

However, by the end of the walk, my feet ached a little more than from the mileage alown, so next week, I will be trying the scarpa sls again.

And the news is....

The knee works! yah!! Well, I say works as i survived a 10 miler derwent edge circuit today. However, my feet didn't. After using trail shoes solely this year from about February, with the recent wet weather and boggy ground on the edge, I knew it was a gamble to…

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Well, after a month of osteopathy, my physician has mandated a decent hill walk to test the knee. Oh it's a hard life. Well, tomorrow is the day, and Hope Valley is the destination. A quick walk up from Hope to Winhill Pike, some photos over Derwent Water and then back down the river Noe. Hopefully the knee won't let me down. Just got to decide whether to wear my old SLs or trainers.. Wore the boots tonight to the Conkers firework display and they feel HEAVY!!!!

It's time to try the knee

Well, after a month of osteopathy, my physician has mandated a decent hill walk to test the knee. Oh it's a hard life. Well, tomorrow is the day, and Hope Valley is the destination. A quick walk up from Hope to Winhill Pike, some photos over Derwent Water and then…

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