Wednesday, 24 August 2011

c2m concluding part

A somewhat late second and concluding entry to my recent c2c and Thirlmere way 165 mile walk. I'd hoped to make daily entries en route as the previous years walk, but found this difficult due to time and technology issues (over 2 hours to send the previous blog). Instead, I’d kept notes, which I later used to expand upon.

Casualties of walk were a lost bandanna, on the last but one day and my foam bed roll. This ended the week having been assaulted by the plentiful quantity of tight kissing gates on the walk, which appeared go get smaller as the walk continued (or maybe I was getting bigger). Comfort wise, the foam mat was not too good, next year I will consider a low weight inflatable mat, an additional 200g to be offset

Throughout the whole walk there were a couple of common themes which kept returning, one of which was on all days of the walk helicopters were heard/seen. From them flying just overhead as we entered Patterdale, having them hover overhead during the entire walk down Haweswater, to having a late appearance, later in the walk, just as I was considering a day clear of them.

The quality of paths certainly changed from the C2C to the TW. The TW, uses local paths on the OS maps, which on the ground aren't as clear as the map.

One such occasion which will scar me for life was a diagonal crossing of a number of fields. Had I followed the roads it would have taken around 15 minutes to cover what it took the best part of an hour to actually complete. First saw me belly crawl under an electrical fence, then leap a ditch, into a bank of stingers into a field with no clear exit. (this took a number of aborted attempts as I pluck up the bottle to undertake). The choice I was presented with was to either return via the ditch and fence to the road, or climb into someone's back garden and exit along the side of the house. Option 2 was taken, being the shortest, however, during my hasty walk across the graveled surface (hard to be stealthy on that stuff) I found myself confronted by the home owner. Some fast talking and excuses saw my safe exit, as I stated, scarred for life!!!

Whilst the C2C followed a reasonable easterly route, after the initial diversion around the coast, the same could not be said for the directness of the Thirlmere Way. For the 6 days I followed the walk, I found myself zig zagging down the countryside. The walk resembled a sawtooth walk, numerous times heading east followed by a route south west. Adding numerous miles over a more direct southerly route. As the path is meant to follow the water supply line to Manchester, I can't imagine that zig zags as much. Only once on the whole route did I know I was directly over the pipes that were where the pipes cross the river Lune. Here they are carried on a bridge, so I have no idea, how many times I crossed the pipes.

Stopping at numerous campsites, there was a significant difference between those in the lakes, where the campers where based in smaller tents and generally set for quicker pitches, to those holiday type sites out of the lakes, with larger family tents and all the kit, generally delivered by vehicle. The Saturday pitch at Dolpinholme had me on such a site with my single burner stove. Having a Pot noodle breakfast, whilst all the group campers around pigged out on their full English, no jealousy there!!!

Took week to establish how to best live in a single man tent, but this ended up being comfortable and normal, so much so that the B&B I’d tested my self to on the last night at end, seemed extravagance and total indulgence and I almost missed my tent.

As a training run for next years Pennine way, it was a good exercise, but I’m now looking to remove upto 1kg from load. With the exception of the last 15 minutes of the walk, I walk was dry and mostly sunny with high temperatures, so I never tested the tent in colder or a wet environment. So any weight savings from sleeping bag size/waterproofs etc are difficult to assess and maybe offset from the need for additional fluids, given the quantity of fluid drunk this year, particularly with going up the ascent. (Plenty of that on the PW).

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