|Happy chappy on Kinder Edge|
I should have known better. The weather forecast for the next fortnight had looked reasonable when I had suggested a wild camp to Geoff. Despite him being known for having a modicum of common sense he agreed. Weather forecasts always gradually get worse when I plan to be in the hills, and being an observant sort of chap I couldn't help but notice, a week or so later, as I drove along the M67 near Manchester, that the outside lane was closed because it was full of snow and that my windscreen wipers were working overtime to keep the sleet off the windscreen. If I had been planning to go out on my own I could have turned round and headed home to the log burner. But Geoff was waiting for me, desperate for my company. I'd show him. I'm no wimp. Well I could at least try to fool him.
So after the Crowther's had kindly provided me with lunch, and Pebbles the Boxer had tried to kill me with love, Geoff and I set out for a shortish afternoon walk, heading in the direction of Kinder Downfall. The walking was pleasant, if you ignored the slippery, oozy mud that we were sliding through. Every step left me feeling I was about to go A over T. But I didn't.
We arrived at the spot where Geoff had planned to camp, and pretty pleasant it was too, with excellent views of the Downfall, through the gloom and mist. More snow was clearly imminent, and I raced to pitch Daphne, the Z Packs Duplex, behind a large lump of gritstone. Geoff was putting up his tent a few yards away, with no fuss and achieving a lovely taught pitch. Whilst he was busy my mind went walkabout. I had earlier jumped at his suggestion of me taking the spot behind the boulder, without realising it was one of those places that seemed almost horizontal at the time it was chosen, but one which would gradually tip towards the vertical, and would leave me and my sleeping mat in a heap at one end of the tent every few minutes throughout the night. But that was for later.
Daphne was almost up when I realised that the position of the boulder would stop me getting in a couple of key guy lines. Which is pretty incompetent. I should have taken the poor girl down and started again from scratch, but Geoff might have seen. A man has his reputation to consider. Couldn't have sniggering coming from the next tent, could I? So I fiddled around with the two trekking poles, both of which are needed to support Daphne. I released the flicklock on one of the poles so I could jiggle it into a new position, and a couple of pegs and guys were also moved. I then re-tensioned the pole. But I couldn't understand why Daphne looked so forlorn when she was up, and why the doors (no zips to save weight) did not overlap as they were so cunningly designed to do. It was only the following morning that I realised that after that particular bit of faffing with guys and poles I had set one trekking pole 10 cm lower than the other. Her normal graceful lines were missing. She looked a sorry mess.
|Daphne the Z Packs Duplex looking almost as if she had been pitched correctly|
|You'd never guess from this picture that she was pitched on a 45 degree slope. Or so it felt at 2.00am|
Waterproof but not windproof note. As you will be aware, matches blow out when it's windy. After much "fiddlesticking", and about half an hour later, I had a cup of hot soup. Now for the dehydrated meal. Filter some more water. No chance. Nothing was getting through the Sawyer, no matter how hard I squeezed. I'd backwashed it and tested it before setting out. And now it was next to useless. "Fiddlesticks", said I, yet again. I had about 600ml of tap water from home with me. I could go and ask Geoff for use of his super doopa, very posh MSR filter. A filter that works. But no, I thought, I can survive such a minor calamity for one night. I would make up the dehydrated meal with the tap water, and it would leave just enough for a brew in the morning. I could forgo the Bird's Instant Custard I had planned for pudding, and could also miss the breakfast porridge. I had chocolate and cereal bars instead.
I gave the Torjet a good talking to and it came back to life. Just. As I applied its feeble flame to the meths burner I knocked the pan of precious water over and lost half of it. I had another bout of saying fiddlesticks. Mountain House food can be awful at the best of times. I forced it down, only partially re-hydrated through not adding enough water. I took a slug of scotch from the hip flask. I thought of putting my boots on and taking some whisky over to Geoff. Then I thought "sod that, it's cold and horrid out there" and had another slug to cheer myself. It failed. I got out the Kindle. I'm currently reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. All I can say is that, as I lay there reading, I was thinking that those poverty stricken Les Miserables had it cushy compared to spending a night on a hillside with a knackered Sawyer water filter and two useless lighters.
|The morning after: Geoff and Islay on Kinder Edge|
|Geoff on Kinder Edge|
I'm not that resilient these days, and can let small mishaps get me down, but as dawn dawned it dawned on me that the meths and the Torjets would light better if they were warm, so I put them into my sleeping bag and managed to brew up twice with the remaining water. And amazingly, as so often is the case, all became well with the world. Geoff came over to inspect Daphne. He was polite enough not to laugh, and almost seemed to believe me when I sang her praises and explained that she was simply having an off day and did not always look like that.
|Out of the clag at Edale Cross looking back towards Kinder|
I'm not laughing at all David, honest! :D :D :DReplyDelete
Watch it you. I know where you live!Delete
And here's me singing your praises as a hero of the hills...a veritable master of the mountains.ReplyDelete
To be fair, most of us suffer these moments of perceived incompetence...we just keep quiet about them.
So David...sssh! No-one will ever know.
Okay. I'll keep quiet about it. Actually, I think it's a strength to know you're an idiot. Me not you, obviously. Kof.Delete
Is there a reason why you didn't just melt some snow?ReplyDelete
Well spotted Ian. I did actually melt some! But having not brought much meths with me, as I was only out for 12 or so hours, I was also a little short of fuel....as I have admitted, multiple incompetencies and lack of engaged brain.Delete
Tee hee! This blog post was brought to you by the Peak District Hoteliers Association. What a great advert. :-) (PS, all of these things may have happened to "a friend", too).ReplyDelete
Love your posts sir.ReplyDelete
A blogger after my own heart.
Ok... That may not be a good thing, but it works for me.
Shame you aren't at the Snake,you could see my rain skirt ����
A rain skirt. Really? And with that vesty thing you have? Andy mate. I'm telling you. They'll never let you forget it. Ever. Mark my words.Delete
Ha Ha! Yes I've also made all of those mistakes. Although perhaps not on the same night! ;-) Also very familiar with the hop and slide manoeuvre .... until I learned to ram the half empty rucksack under one end of the mat to level things out. Every day is a school day :-)ReplyDelete
My pack was a bit wet. I did pile most of its contents down the bottom in their dry bags. But they are ultra slidy too. Whenever any weight was put on them they seemed to shoot off at high speed in random directions. At times it was like being on the receiving end of a cannonade of grape shot at the Battle of Waterloo.
Been there, done that, I have memories of pitching the tent, slipping in to the sleeping bag and sliding head first out of the tent. Cracking write up, and I kept a straight face, well, almost!!!ReplyDelete
Cheers Dawn. You'd have thought there would be a hi-tec titanium solution to the sliding problem by now.Delete
Hi David. Another superb post ! Brightened up a dismal, wet morning. We have all endured those moments of WHY & WHAT am I doing out here, but your honesty & descriptive ability is equally very refreshing & enjoyable. Keep up the good work , after a trip to specsavers of course :-)ReplyDelete
The glasses were professionally fixed this morning John. Although personally I felt the yellow insulating tape Geoff repaired them with was rather stylish.Delete
What a blessed relief!ReplyDelete
You'll be amongst fellow incompetents in May, Sir.
That slidey thing. You do know that it can be stopped by the very simple application of little dobbles of silicon sealant over your groundsheet? They grip your sleeping mat. It works a treat for those dead level approaching vertical pitches. But you do need to be careful so they are either in perfect straight lines or concentric circles. I prefer the latter.
My Scarp has been stickified in just the way you describe, Alan. I never got round to applying it to Daphne. But it would not have been sufficient. It was steeper than the SW Face of Everest that pitch. And that's the truth. The truth. The very beautiful truth.Delete
Well done sir, if you're going to plan for incompetence then ensure you can be spotted easily from a Westland Sea king. It's an object lesson in mountain craft that you dressed to resemble a packet of Tutti Frutti's or a Walls Rocket ice lolly.ReplyDelete
Ah. The Sea King. Sadly no longer used, John. Strangely, my incompetence has never led me to the heights a rescue helicopter can ascend to. But there's still time.Delete
I love the dog's expression in the bottom picture. It seems to say "These humans, what's to be done with them? If I wasn't here to supervise..."ReplyDelete
Well Dave. I can tell you that Islay the Adventure Dog certainly has Geoff's measure. She can look at any oooman and they will do her bidding. It's her big eyes.ReplyDelete
Excellent read David, loving the witty humour. It's a trial and error scenario. It will all be ship shape on the next outing.......hopefully..lolReplyDelete
I'm sure it will be Andy - it was just "one of those days"!Delete
Really enjoyed this post. Feel heartened that its not just me ;) I will be adding your blog to my blogroll if thats ok.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Andrew. Most kind! Please could you comment again with a link to your blog?Delete
enjoyed the blog. Two questions if you don't mind. do you still recommend the Duplex, I'm on the point of buying a new tent and this is top of the list.ReplyDelete
secondly i have a go walking with a dog too,how do you find the dog backpack and where did you get it? thanks
I am not alone.