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Showing posts from January, 2013

"Valley of the 5 lakes" - MTB trail riding in Jasper

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During our first day in Jasper I spotted a bike shop with rows and rows of shiny mountain bikes outside and a sign reading "for hire" that seemed to be drawing me in!  We'd talked about doing a bit of mountain biking if we got the chance and my MTB riding buddy back home, G, had wowed me with tales of mtb'ing in the Rockies so this "chance" seemed to good to miss.

I was left slightly disappointed in first store we tried as they only had hard-tail bikes for hire and, to my mind, there is no point riding some of the best trails on the planet with a rigid rear end - only full-sus would do, so off we went in search of another shop..
We walked into Vicious Cycles later that day and after so long away from bikes and the smell of GT85 it was a battle of wills to walk to the counter without thinking of buying anything.
After a good chat with the guy we'd hired 2 Santa Cruz Blur's - full-sus, decent brakes and ready to roll the next day.  He also gave us some t…

Day 1 in the Lake District - 23rd December 2012

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Over the next few posts I'll be writing about the two weeks spent over Christmas 2012 in the Lake District, based from a small cottage at Woodend near Devoke Water.
The plan was fairly simple; 1) book a cottage in the Lake District for the two weeks over the Christmas (2012) & New Year period 2) get in as many walks/climbs (hopefully in the snow) as possible, 3) try and forget about work! - unfortunately the weather was less than perfect and clear, crisp days walking in the snow were a long way from reality....

We arrived at "The Bothy" after a long, wet but uneventful drive up from Romsey and as it was dark and raining (a theme for the 2 weeks!) there wasn't much more that we could do aside from unload the car and run through some of the routes that we'd planned for the coming days.

When we looked out of the window on the first morning (23rd December) and saw the wind tearing through the few small trees around the cottage we decided to take a short exploratory…

It doesn't get much better than this - Pen-y-Fan Horseshoe

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Pen-y-Fan Horseshoe walk - 13th Jan 2013

For someone who drives as many miles a year (50k plus) it's surprising how little traffic you see on the roads on a Sunday morning at a time when most sensible people are still asleep and dreaming about their forthcoming Sunday roast.  But none of that for us; heading along the M4 towards Wales the sky was clear and as the sun started to come through the clouds we were all hoping that the Met Office mountain forecast for the Brecon Beacons would be accurate - clear, cold and crisp with chance of snow.


This was something of an impromptu outing for me as Donna had planned to walk with her friend, Anna, on the Saturday but due to the poor forecast they'd decided to move this a day later to Sunday which promised much better weather and as it turned out Anna's husband, Malcome, her friend, Colin, and I were also free so we all decided to join them!

The route I picked for the was the full Pen-y-Fan horseshoe (12 miles approx.), starting f…

The High's & Low's of 2012 and on to 2013

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So, it's 2013 already - Happy New Year to everyone, I hope you've enjoyed reading my about my walks, reviews and ramblings over 2012.

Before writing up the remainder of the walks and adventures from Canada (September 2012) and the recent trip to the Lake District I thought that it would be a good idea to have a quick look back over 2012, a re-cap if you will, and plans for 2013....

Highs and lows of 2012

According Social Hiking to walked 113 km, climbed 5,090 metres and bagged 16 peaks - and this was only in the last few months after "finding" Social Hiking through some of my follows on Twitter; some routes were uploaded from my Garmin GPS Map 62S and some recorded via the ViewRanger App on my Galaxy S3 (The S3 and ViewRanger App is great for recording the route but I wouldn't rely on this for navigation - it stayed in my bag, in a stuff-sack, during the walks as it's much easier to record and upload from a smartphone).

Clothing & Kit


On the up-side (for my ba…