Tuesday, 4 June 2013


When on the Challenge, your tent becomes your home and I like to be comfortable in my tent and on the walk in general. What did I take this year that made a difference?

Well, my tent, for a start!

My new tent

My tent was wonderful. It was tested to an extent in rain, wind and snow and I had no leaks or major problems with condensation. I felt confident with the pitching and didn't lose any pegs or pins. So I was happy.

I took a different cloth this year to wipe the tent down when wet, a spongey yellow one. It was brilliant, extremely absorbent and I could more or less wring it dry after use. It was also useful for drying my feet after fording in the first few days when I wasn't carrying a towel (I was wild camping all the way to Bearnock, seemed little point in carrying it, so I posted it to myself...)

Speaking of feet, my boots! My beautiful boots. My Meindl Burmas with green Superfeet were the bees knees. I know I only walked the first four and the last five days, but I didn't have a mark on my feet and for the last two Challenges, I've had the beginnings of blisters by the end of day two. I think I've cracked it!

I had my own iPod this year, a tiny little Purple Shuffle. Sir Ian MacKellan read to me every night and as on the odd occasion I may have woken up and realised I'd missed a bit, I think it worked!

The only other change would be the hand warmers. I carried my reuseable ones on my first Challenge and despite being cold on several occasions, didn't use the handwarmers because I would have had to boil them. Last year I carried a few disposable ones. I didn't use them either because:
a I'm stupid
b I didn't think of it and
c I'm stupid
This year I'd had one or two frights and was determined not to get cold. I carried enough handwarmers (and posted some on) to use a pair in the morning and pair in the evening, if necessary. That's nearly 24 hours of warmth if required and once or twice I did use them morning and evening. Once or twice I didn't need them in the morning, but did at night and used both pairs at once! It was bliss, waking a few times in the night and just moving the handwarmers around my body to the next chilly bit. Brilliant! I won't ever be cold on a backpacking trip again, yey.

As for Home. I was worried that when I came home, having failed to complete my Challenge, I'd be on a slippery slope again. I felt quite awkward at first when I joined Laura at Braemar, I wasn't quite 'one of the gang', I was an outsider, a bit of a misfit. As we walked however, it all fell into place, we walk so well together, Laura and I. After a couple of days I felt so much better, we were laughing and having fun, despite Laura's pain and discomfort and my disappointment. Once in Montrose at The Park I had a brief moment of upset (sorry for the damp sleeve Alan) but after we were settled in our roum and had met up with a few friends, we went out for a curry with The Pieman and Peter and had a brilliant evening. All was well with the world again.

Once home, I was happy. Happy I'd had a good time and happy to be back safely with my family and I had a head full of plans.

And planning has been done! I have the best walking partner ever booked for next year and I have a route. Happy, happy, happy!


FellBound said...

This is a very nice post Louise. I am so glad you managed to rescue your Challenge this year, although I am more then a little miffed that we didn't meet up anywhere. You are the only Blogger I read regularly that I didn't get to meet in person :(

Louise said...

Thank you and I'm sorry too! Mind you, I think I still only know some people by reputation so as long as you come back (never any doubt I will) we'll meet sometime. Probably in the back of beyond and it's really bizzare to recognise someone you meet when up to your neck in bog! I'm always up to my neck in bog at some point...

Howellsey said...

What kind of tent was it that you used?

Louise said...

It's a Laser Competition, I believe it's a 2011 model, that I bought in March from the Terra Nova website sale for £84.

That's the other reason I love it, what a bargain! (I think it may have been a display model, but indoors. There isn't a mark on it...)

Alan Sloman said...

And there I was thinking they were tears of emotion having bumped into me again...


You won't need your hand warmers next year - you'll have David to warm them up on!

Louise said...

Just my hands...? ;-)