I got back from the Lake District winter walk yesterday. In terms of the adventure it provided, it must rank as one of my top walks.
The walk was planned to be a 4 day + 2 day walk with lots of in built slack to take into account potential winter conditions. As it would turn out, the slack wasn’t as much as I thought it was, despite the fact that I thought I was being generous! I guess I will have to bear this in mind for future winter planning.
At first it looked like I wasn’t going to get to see any snow up close, but luckily for me day 4 delivered the goods! This was a relief as one of the objectives of the walk was to practice winter skills.
Below is the map of the overall route I walked:
In terms of plan adherence, this walk was one of the worst. Of the five nights under canvas, three of them were totally unplanned. In fact, two of them could be classed as ’emergency hole-ups’ – these will be described in more detail when I start posting up the individual days.
What the unplanned stops did show was the importance of carrying a full map of the area. Without one, the essential re-planning that was carried out, especially on the night of day 4, would have been impossible.
The elevation profile for the whole walk was pretty bumpy too, as can be seen from the GPS elevation profile below:
I learnt a lot on this walk. I learnt that winter conditions can have a massive impact on forward progress. I also learnt a lot about snow travel too – something that I found quite fun!
However, the biggest lesson that I learnt is that I found the limits of my kit in terms of keeping me dry. This will be described in Day 2’s account – it has raised some serious concerns about the kit I use for this purpose.
The big surprise though, was the 230g gas canister. It had already done 5 days in the field, yet somehow, it had put in another stirling 6 days of service and that included the melting of snow. Very impressive. I’m beginning to wonder if it will ever run out!
On completion of the walk the rucksack weight dropped from the initial 20kg down to a fairly reasonable 15.4kg. This difference in weight could certainly be felt in the field as the walk progressed.
Food wise I had some left over, but I’m not going to cut the rations any further. I feel that the additional food is an essential safety option. What I didn’t like, was that I lost 3kg of weight! I’m hoping this isn’t a linear reduction, otherwise it doesn’t bode well for walks of over a week duration.
Overall I really enjoyed this walk and now I have a taste for snow! In the meantime stay tuned as I post up the individual days over the next few weeks.