A brief look and weigh-in of the gear that I will be taking on third leg of my Land's End to John O'Groats walk starting in April
Saturday, 15 February 2020
Sunday, 26 January 2020
Saturday, 28 December 2019
Thursday, 21 November 2019
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
I have now decided that I will resume my LEJOG hike on Wednesday April 15th next year from Carlisle where I finished in May 2019. I always find that once a date has been decided upon, the rest of the planning becomes easier as the walk somehow seems to become more 'real'. I have been buying one or two new pieces of kit and the purchase of a couple more is planned before the start of the hike. I am looking to keep my base weight down below seven kilos this time so will be returning to using my Trekkertent Stealth 1 tent, which weighs in at around 600 grams without pegs. I made this decision based on a combination of weight considerations and also the failure of the door zip on my Geertop Pyramid tent last time out while I was camping at Coniston Water.
Trekkertent Stealth 1 on the Cape Wrath Trail 2016
I have also purchased a new Berghaus Fast Hike 45 litre rucksack for this trip. Although I was reasonably happy with the Montane Ultra-Tour 55 litre I have used on my last few hikes, there were one or two things I didn't like and the Berghuas remedies these issues. I haven't walked with it yet but am looking forward to doing so as it seems to be an excellent lightweight pack, albeit very slightly heavier then the Montane. The shape of the Berghaus is maintained by a wire frame and foam pad, something that the Montane doesn't have. I found that packing the Montane had to be done very carefully for it to maintain it's shape and for it to feel comfortable. I also wanted more and larger external mesh pockets, which the Berghaus has. At 920 grams, it is around 100 grams heavier than the weight of the Montane, although with many removable components, it can be reduced to as little as 530 grams.
Berghaus Fast Hike 45
Another new item will be my shoes as for this hike, I will be walking in Altra Olympus 3.0's. I recently made a video explaining why I was giving up walking in my preferred La Sportiva Ultra-Raptors that I have used since 2015. I have come to the conclusion that my feet have changed shape. At first, I thought I was imagining it but having spoken to other walkers about this, it would seem it's not uncommon. My feet appear to have spread wider, which has caused me problems on my last two hikes. After a little research, I discovered Altra shoes. These are different to many shoes in that they have zero drop soles and more importantly, an unusual foot shaped toe box, meaning that the feet can spread out as much as necessary. I originally purchased a pair of Altra Lone Peak 4's, which although being extremely comfortable, didn't in my opinion have enough cushioning for a long hike with a pack. The stack height of the sole on the Olympus is a full 8mm more than on the Lone Peak, which should give plenty of protection over any terrain. I am planning to make video reviews of all three items in the near future.
Altra Olympus 3.0
Foot Shaped Toe Box
Sunday, 13 October 2019
The next long hike I am planning is the third (and hopefully) final section of my Land's End to John O'Groats hike from Carlisle, where I finished in the spring. It was never my intention to split the hike into three parts, I had intended to walk it in one but circumstances dictated otherwise. This section will be approximately 470 miles, so will be the longest of the three sections. My route will roughly be as follows, Carlisle to Annan, mostly on country roads. From Annan, I will follow the Annan Trail to Moffat and if the conditions are good, up to the Devil's Beef Tub. From there, I will follow paths and trackless sections over hills to Biggar and Lanark where I will pick up the Clyde Walkway and Kelvin Way to Milngavie in Glasgow and the start of the West Highland Way to Drymen. From Drymen, my preferred route is the Rob Roy Way to Pitlochry and then through the Cairngorms to Inverness. From Inverness, I intend following the John O'Groats Trail along the coast to the finish. I have alternative routes from Drymen (WHW & GGW) and an inland alternative to the John O'Groats trail and weather will also play a part in my daily route decisions but this is the 'outline' route I have planned. I am hoping that this final section will avoid the problems that have delayed me on the previous two and hopefully, I won't have the need to visit any hospitals on this occasion.