Tag Archives: hiking

Walking the South Downs Way: Weekend #4

Arriving at Falmer station
Arriving at Falmer station

This was our fourth and final weekend walking the South Downs, totally self-sufficient carrying tents, food and cooking equipment.

This weekend started in Falmer, next to the Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club stadium and opposite Brighton University, and finishing in Eastbourne. We agreed with the rest of the family to meet us half way through the second day (Sunday) for lunch and join us for the walk into Eastbourne.

We were aware that during the winter period we’d have lost our training advantage of the previous three weekends – our bags felt heavier and the hills felt steeper and longer. Continue reading Walking the South Downs Way: Weekend #4

Staying hydrated on hikes

Once this water has been treated it will be good enough for humans
Once this water has been treated it will be good enough for humans

When you’re re drinking two litres of water a day in Europe on long hikes, or 4-5 litres a day on Kilimanjaro it’s easy to get sick of the taste of water.

I use SiS hydration tablets for long hikes. They don’t offer any energy (i.e. they are calorie-free), but they taste nice (which encourages you to drink more) and replenish good thingies in your system. During the summer I was getting some cramps on cycling commute and after using these (one every other day) I stopped getting cramps.

As with all these things, try them before you go hiking. Continue reading Staying hydrated on hikes

Walking the South Downs Way: Weekend #3

Autumn... a season of a thousand reds and oranges, and my favourite season
Autumn… a season of a thousand reds and oranges, and my favourite season. And a great time to walk along the South Downs Way (if you’re young or fit)

This was our third of four weekends (read the first and second weekends) walking along the South Downs. The plan was to walk 16 miles – from Amberley to Small Dole on the Saturday and then 17 miles on to Farley on the Sunday.

Like most hiking plans, a month before we set foot, in the warm and dry of home, looking at the Ordnance Survey map it looked easily achievable.

I was in the US travelling with my work during the week before this hike. I’d carefully been looking at the weather forecast for Brighton, which improved steadily from constant rain to dry and low wind. Excellent. We were good to go so I booked the two camp sites for the rapidly approaching weekend. Continue reading Walking the South Downs Way: Weekend #3

How to pack clothes in a rucksack

This is how we have been taught to pack clothes in a rucksack when we go camping at Scouts.

It works for a single night (in fact, it works even better for a single night), or a 9 day summer camp. It is just as applicable for lightweight camping such as a microadventure, or a family camp.

An extra tip is to put 3 or 4 days of clothes wrapped in this way, into a large Ziploc bag to keep them waterproof. Continue reading How to pack clothes in a rucksack

Steripen water purifier review

Steripen - a great way to make water drinkable within a minute
Steripen – a great way to make water drinkable within a minute

Last week I drank from my bicycle water bottle on the way home from work. I had that immediate feeling of “that doesn’t taste right”, but it was very hot and sunny, and there was still half a mile of a hill to climb.

Half an hour later at the end of the ride I was at home kneeling in front of the toilet, with my body getting rid of the water as quickly as possible. It wasn’t pleasant. Continue reading Steripen water purifier review

South Downs Weekend #2

The weather had been so nice in London recently that I was worried about how Ishai and I would stay hydrated on the South Downs. We’d been sent the Steripen for review, which seemed perfect timing. I resisted the urge to take bigger water bottles, although on reflection we could have done with them.

Saturday was due to be a sunny 23 degrees and Sunday was forecast 19 degrees with light rain. In England, we have to pack suntan lotion and waterproofs. Continue reading South Downs Weekend #2

South Downs Weekend #1

My dad and I had climbed  mountains before this weekend and we felt that we wanted to do a different challenge so we did some research and spoke to friends and we said that we would walk the whole of the South Downs Way.

We’d been planning this for a while and all we wanted to do was go.

We bought lot of new equipment like a kettle and a gas stove from GoOutdoors and we found that they were much lighter than we thought they would be.

As we were planning the weekend we planned what we were going to eat each day, making sure that we were picking light weight foods.

My Dad carried the tent and I carried the food which meant that my rucksack constantly got lighter throughout the weekend.

We travelled to Winchester by train from Waterloo station after getting a tube from Bank where my Dad works.

When we arrived we had to walk to a caravan site 3 miles away. It was quite basic. There was only 1 other tent with a local artist staying there, which meant that it was a very quiet night and we could have a  choice of where we could pitch our tent.

Some of the caravans looked lovely and the grass was kept in very good condition. Nearly every caravan was fenced off and the camping area was fenced of too. They had clean drinking water, clean toilets and nice showers.

We woke up super early and only saw 2 other people awake at that time.

We saw lots of hills with beacons on (beacons are large torches which people used to set on fire to signal things to other people far away).

We saw some offroad motorcyclists zooming around as we were walking and could not stop hearing their loud engines for a long time. We also saw hang gliders jumping off a hill in Queen Elizabeth Country Park and even saw a charity bike race.

We started to get really tired about a mile from the Sustainability Centre and I could really feel the blisters on my feet. But we carried on waddling and when we arrived there were no staff so we had to go searching.

Eventually we found our pitch which had someone in it with a BBQ cooking their dinner so we had to wait for them to finish. Luckily they went to their teepee quickly and they were kind.

We had a very good nights sleep.

The Sustainability Centre had very strange toilets as they had a straight hole into some hay were your waste got decomposed. The showers were solar heated  which meant that they were hot and were lovely!

When we woke up water had got under our tent’s outer as it rained that night and we’d put the tent up in a hurry. We had to dry it off as we had breakfast. The washing up facilities were good as the sinks were clean.

As we left from  The Sustainability Centre our aim was to get to Petersfield station (which was not far away from the south downs track) so that we could get back home by train and tube, and we made it!

So that was the first 26 miles of the south downs way.



Walking the South Downs

Walking the South Downs - a lovely 100 mile route along the south of England
Walking the South Downs – a lovely 100 mile route along the south of England

Ishai and I had originally set out to climb the three peaks before Ishai reached 13 years old. By 13 he’d actually climbed the 3 peaks twice, with Snowdon a few more times. We decided to up the ante, and during the winter of 2015 we climbed Snowdon in the snow in crampons.

On the way down Snowdon, I talked to Ishai about our next challenge. Continue reading Walking the South Downs

Leatherman Wingman review

Leatherman WIngman - lots of functionality, with a weight penalty
Leatherman WIngman – lots of functionality, with a weight penalty

I’ve grown up with Victorinox Swiss Army knives, although Ishai’s first penknife was a Leatherman – a generous present for his 11th birthday.

A Leatherman isn’t as comfortable to hold as a Victorinox Swiss Army knife, so still prefer the red knife. However my Victorinox has been getting blunter and blunter so we’ve been taking Ishai’s super-sharp Leatherman away with us recently despite the weight penalty when hiking. Continue reading Leatherman Wingman review

Scarpa Ranger II GTX Active boots review

Scarpa Ranger II GTX Active boots - the most comfortable boots I've used
Scarpa Ranger II GTX Active boots – the most comfortable boots I’ve worn

Since the moment I first put them on, these are simply the most comfortable pair of footwear I’ve ever owned. It’s the equivalent to wrapping your feet in a new duvet – you can feel the boot all around the foot. These boots arrived supple, and didn’t need any wearing in.

I’ve worn the boots now for the three peaks (not in 24 hours) in addition to approximately 50 miles of hiking in all weathers. I also used the boots to climb Snowdon in the snow with some cheap crampons. Continue reading Scarpa Ranger II GTX Active boots review