Category Archives: pictures & trips

Carneddau September 2018

Last week I had a window of opportunity for a short trip to the Carneddau in North Wales. It’s been three years since I last visited, so I was looking forward to returning. As regular readers will know, Maeneira is one of my favourite places and it was a joy to go back.

Maeneira

My original plan was to camp at Maeneira and then walk the next day to Carnedd Llewelyn, down to Ffynnon Llugwy to camp and the next day to return to Maeneira either via Pen yr Helgi Du or Llyn Cowlyd, depending on the weather.

However, when I reached Ffynnon Llugwy, the spot that I had used before for camping was covered with sheep droppings. No amount of clearing could make it fit to pitch. Unfortunately the other potential pitches had only thin soil and secure pegging points were problematic.

The weather forecast overnight and for the next morning was poor with wind and rain, so I decided to return to Maeneira. This made it a long day, over ten hours of walking and more than 25km of distance (over 1,100m of ascent too).

I didn’t get back to Maeneira until dusk, although one advantage was that I was able to swing by the car to pick up a warmer base layer as it was surprisingly cold at night.

In the end it was a good decision as it started raining during the night and was pretty foul with wind and rain until early afternoon. Lazing in the tent was definitely preferable to trudging along in the rain. Amazingly, about 2 p.m., the clouds broke and I was treated to a glorious sunny afternoon (although the wind was quite cold).

Overnight there was some further heavy rain, but by the next morning it was clear, so I was able to pack an almost dry tent and return to the car to go home.

True to form, I met very few people, which is one of the joys of the Carneddau. It has a real feeling of solitude, unlike Snowdon or the Glyderau. Despite having to collapse two days walking into one, it was an enjoyable trip. Enjoy the video slide show!

Route:

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Is blogging dying?

When I started this blog in November 2007, blogging seemed to be an exciting new adventure on the internet. Since then, this blog has had just under 1.3m page views. However, views peaked in 2014 at 180k for that year and have been declining ever since. Indeed, last year saw less page views than in 2009. Part of the explanation is that I have published less posts, especially on gear.

However, I have noticed that other blogs that I read have also been less prolific in posting. It seems that enthusiasm (and perhaps interest) in blogging is waning. I guess it following a natural life cycle of growth, maturity and decline. Maybe I’m reading too much into my experiences.

I think there’s another reason why blogging is declining and that is the rise of YouTube and vlogging. I know I am much more inclined now to watch short videos of trips than to read blogs. In the past I’ve produced a few slide show videos but they’ve been a bit haphazard.

However, I was pleased with my slide show videos for Dartmoor and Not the TGO Challenge. This was not because they are technically meritorious, but because they seem to be a good way of presenting the visuals of a trip.

In the past, I’ve probably been guilty of trying to cram too many pictures into posts. Using a slideshow video is a good way of overcoming this limitation. What I intend to explore is a combination of still photos and short clips of video.

It will be a bit experimental, but hopefully it will improve my trip reports. One thing that is frustrating about straight YouTube videos is that generally no maps or background information is supplied. To that end, I will publish some maps and comment to accompany any videos on a blog post.

At least for the moment, one thing I’m unlikely to do is to provide any spoken commentary. The videos I like most have little or no spoken word and let the landscape speak for itself. I don’t want to be a YouTube personality. Too many videos appear to contain mundane babble or cod philosophising. I don’t meant to offend anyone, but that’s not my cup of tea.

Initially any video content is likely to remain fairly simple but I will investigate some ways of improving the output. At the moment I’ve compiled my videos on Picasa, but I will look at other software. I might invest in a video camera like a GoPro as well. Any comments are welcome.

Dartmoor July 2018

Last week I had a lovely time on Dartmoor. I walked from Ivybridge to Okehampton, accompanied by an old school friend who wanted to try backpacking again. I followed a similar route to the walk I did in 2011. We were very lucky with the weather, which was generally fair but not too hot. Rather than do a detailed trip report, I’ve put together a slide show on YouTube.

Day 1: Ivybridge to Piles Copse, 5 miles
Day2: Piles Copse to the beehive hut on the East Dart River, 18 miles
Day 3: Beehive hut to Taw Marsh, 9 miles
Day 4: Taw Marsh to Okehampton, 5 miles.

The one surprise was how wet underfoot it was between Pupers Hill and Ryder’s Hill and around Statts House. All in all it was a great trip.