22 Nov 2009

Quick kit check

A couple of peices of kit worked really well on the Wessex ridgeway trip.

I was originally intending to take my OMM Running Light sack but it was just too small. Instead I took the OMM Villain recently bought from Baz. It was a bit too big for the job but still worked really well. I stripped most things off it and swapped the Platformat back for a cut down bit of foam mat. Very comfortable all day even when running. One of the best things are the pockets on the hip belt. Why have I never had a sack with these before? Genius.

The other saviour on the day was my Montrail Streak shoes. Before the day I had only been out in them 3 or 4 times, so it was a bit of a gamble trying to do over 30 miles a day with them. They are a great shoe with good cushioning and enough grip for muddy hills and tracks. They are not as agile as my Inov8 Flyrocs nor have as much grip but I think my feet were grateful for the extra cushioning by the end. The uppers are very free flowing is probably the best phrase, on a windy day you can feel the breeze round your toes. So probably not a shoe for mid winter. For a better review have a look here at backpackbrewers site

Recently cleaned Steaks

As I have recently worn out 2 pairs of old wool/nylon socks the next thing to look out for is socks suitable for light backpacking/walking/running.

14 Nov 2009

Wessex Ridgeway

For both of us the lane out of Shillingstone seemed familiar and yet out of place. Without the crowds of runners and the adrenalin of a race the hills felt steep and we noticed more. We had detoured from the route of the Wessex Ridgeway slightly to take in 2 of the hills of The Stickler again.

We had been dropped in Tollard Royal just before dawn and walked through Ashmore Woods as the sun had come up.

Reaching 11 miles in about 3 hours we were feeling optimistic. Despite the bad weather forecast the sky was clearing and we had great views over north Dorset. As we reached Alton Pancras (25 miles) we were both beginning to tire and the earlier optimism was beginning to drain.

When we reached Sydling St Nicholas cold and sore we made our first mistake, carrying on.

We bashed on down the road in the dark towards Rampisham masts. By now the rain was coming down hard and we were very cold and tired. With very little shelter on the ridge and as tired as I have ever felt we did the sensible thing and phone for a lift home.

The achievement was to complete 42 miles in one day but the mistake was not to stop while we still had clear skies and energy left to sort ourselves out and warm up. The weather forecast was never good and we learned some valuable lessons. I would like to attempt another walk/run bivvy trip, maybe in the spring.

3 Nov 2009

Wessex Ridgeway - Part 1

Last year 3 of us entered the Wessex Ridgeway Relay. Due to an over ambitious plan to run the 100km relay with 2 slow old blokes and one slightly younger, quicker bloke with a bad knee, we did not make the end. (Which one am I? - a clue my knee is fine.) Most teams have 6 members and run the off road route in a time between 8 and 12 hours.

We reached the hill above Beaminster way behind everyone else having got badly lost and down to 2 men so we decided to call it a day.

This was our first DNF (Did Not Finish - printed on race results instead of your time) and meant there was unfinished business out there. Taking inspiration from this and also the 84km Bivvy Challenge Simon and I have decided to give it another go but in a different format.


The idea is to walk/run the route over 2 days. We will start from Tollard Royal early Saturday morning. Overnight will be bivvying under a hospitable hedge with views over the Marshwood Vale and out to the coast, luxury. Towards the end of Sunday we leave the Ridgeway before its official end at Lyme Regis and head for home.

The route means we are never too far from home so if things go badly wrong we should be able to get home fairly easily and the north Dorset wilderness is not exactly remote compare to other peoples plans.

Kit has been planned and currently stands at 4.5 kg without and food or water. It is basically made up of Clothing, Sleeping, Food/Cooking and Others. If you want to see the details click here. We hope to pick up some food and water in a couple of the small towns we pass through.

All I can do now is look at the weather forecast and hope it all works.

1 Nov 2009

The Stickler 2009

For some reason every one at the end of the The Stickler said they had really enjoyed the race. If you had seen their faces as they sat around the playground of Shillingstone Primary school at the end you might have thought otherwise. It was a beautiful day, with sunny skies and a strong wind on the top of the hills. The course was mud free and only 2 sections were steep and slippery down hills.

Last time I ran The Stickler I did 2:01 this time I did 1:54 so the lunchtime runs must be doing some good.

The race is very well organised and has the best bacon rolls in the world on offer at the end, if you are tempted.