2016 TGO Challenge: no go

I won’t be applying for the 2016 TGO Challenge. I gave my wife the veto and she has exercised it. I’m hoping I’ll be able to apply for the 2017 Challenge or failing that, 2018. This almost guarantees that the weather next year will be fabulous, so apply while you can. 

Cattle in Deepdale

In my trip report I mentioned that I was surprised to find cattle on the path in Deepdale on the fell side. I was concerned that they showed undue interest in me and that they had fouled one of the few places where camping is possible in the dale. There was also some damage to the footpath. 

I communicated these concerns to the National Park ranger service. Although I received an immediate response, the person responsible for Deepdale was on annual leave. Today I received a reply to my concerns. 

Apparently, the cattle are part of an agreed improvement plan with Natural England and the farmer at Deepdale Hall. Rare breed cattle are being used to improve the pasture in preference to sheep. 

I have no problems with this, after all, earning a living from farming is a tough job and rare breed cattle are probably more profitable than sheep. However, I have expressed a concern to the ranger service that there were no warning signs about free roaming cattle. 

I’m not particularly nervous of cattle, but despite my efforts to give them a wide berth, they decided to come towards me. Fortunately, once I had passed them, they lost interest. 

If I had had a dog or a child either me I would have been more concerned. We’ve all read of recent trampling incidents, especially of dog walkers. To me, it seems irresponsible not to warn people about the cattle. I can’t remember having encountered cattle before roaming free on the fells. 

So, be warned, if you are walking in Deepdale, especially if you have a dog, you may encounter cattle. I think I’d probably avoid it for wild camping too. The only decent camping spot seems to be their favourite place as well. I’d also be careful of the water in Deepdale beck from Greenhow End downstream. 

MYOG A Frame 2.0

IMG_1457I decided to make my A frame a bit smaller and save some weight. I reduced the arms by 15cm (to 16cm). This has saved 22g and the A frame now weighs 48g. My trekking poles have to extend to 135cm to get the correct height at the apex. Making the A frame smaller has not only saved weight, it makes storage easier. As far as I can tell, it makes no difference to the strength of rigidity of the frame. Indeed, it may be slightly more rigid as the plastic tube is more flexible than a trekking pole.

ULA Ohm hip belt mod

I’ve had a ULA Ohm for a while but not used it much because the buckles on the hip belt extend beyond the padding when the hip belt is tightened. This led to them digging into my iliac crest. Recently, I had a brain wave to extend the hip belt with some 3mm closed cell foam and some spare nylon cloth I had kicking around.

Yesterday, I put my plan into action. It was remarkably easy to do a decent job just by hand sewing. I cut the closed cell foam to the right size. I then made a pocket from the nylon, sewing it inside out then turning it right side out. Inserted the foam. Then sewed on to the hip belt. The buckles are now protected from rubbing.


Tread Lite Gear: sad news

Sad news from Paul at Tread Lite Gear: he’s having to wind down his business and find another job. Making a living out of a niche lightweight backpacking business is a tough ask. Hats off to Paul for trying. If you want any of his products, you’d best hop over to his eBay shop and get them before they disappear. I’ve ordered some more bits and pieces. Best of luck to Paul in finding a new job!

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