Having had abortive attempts to get away on some backpacking trips in the earlier part of the year, things finally came together during June. I had made revised plans for a few trips, the first being a four day backpack along part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. It was a father and son trip which is always special because I love walking with my children, although since my daughter lives in Kolkata, I only get to walk with her when she is at home 🙂 ! This was the second part of this route since we also did a four day trip to Pembrokeshire in 2017.
This time, my son, Paul, and I started from St David’s, where we finished up last year, and ended at Pembroke itself. It was an awesome time even though the weather wasn’t always kind to us and we were hampered a bit by injury as I took a fall on the second day; oh and Paul had blisters.
Just a few weeks later, I took off again, this time on my own, to backpack the Dales High Way. This walk follows the high ground from south to north through the Yorkshire Dales and I augmented it, varying the route to take in a number of areas that are not included in the official trail, notably the ‘three peaks’ of Pen Y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.
This was an unbelievably good walk, perhaps the best I have ever done. I had unbelievable weather too, complete wall to wall sunshine for the whole way……although it was of course extremely hot for backpacking, not that I’m complaining though 🙂 ! I used the tent every night but I was able to sleep with the doors open which meant I could look at the stars and feel like I was sleeping wild which was great. In fact, the nights were so warm that I could easily have left the tent and sleeping bag at home!
Overall, I covered 123 miles in 7 days, plus another day travelling up and back by train and exploring the towns of Saltaire and Appleby in Westmorland at the start and finish respectively. This is a walk that is definitely on my ‘to-do-again’ list, along with the Wainwright Coast to Coast. The problem is, I still have lots of walks that are on my ‘to-do-for-the-first-time’ list 🙂 !
If you ever think about doing this walk, I would heartily say just go for it! And if you want to know more about my Dales High Way walk, there is a link to my summary here.
For my third backpacking adventure of the year, I embarked on a four day trip along the Dorset and Devon Coast Path. I planned to walk from Weymouth to Exmouth via a slightly different route taking in part of the inland ridge as well as the coast. Aside from being bitten by a dog and having a nightmare of a journey home, it all worked out brilliantly.
Unusually for the summer of 2018, I did get rained on a bit on this trip…..and I have to say, it was quite pleasant after all the heat. Despite the fact that I have walked the coast path many times, it was still a great trip, and just varying it slightly along the way made it seem like a new walk.
One change for me was that I completely revised my packing list in order to lighten my load. This trip was almost minimalist, a pack weight of around 25 pounds. I intend to revisit my packing list again in the new year with a view to to reducing the weight even further in order to extend my backpacking life since my arthritic ankles have been playing up again this year.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I had intended to take a trip to Dartmoor, and I did in the end make it, although it wasn’t the backpacking trip I had intended. This was a family trip for the Mountain Gazelle Club 🙂 ! The only members of that illustrious club are myself, my son, and my grandson (plus occasionally a couple of honorary members 🙂 ) and we ‘three-generation-men’ go out on walks and other adventures together. This one was a residential trip – we booked a static caravan near Dartmoor to stay in for the week 🙂 !
Now Sam is only five, so there were no long walks although I think he managed around six miles when we walked the Lydford Gorge in both directions. He did amazingly well because it was rocky, muddy and slippery as well as being steep in places – in fact, he actually asked to walk back despite the offer of a lift. And not only that but all three of us, including Sam, had our cameras 🙂 ! The scenery was breathtaking with several high waterfalls, lots of lichen covered trees and rocks, and best of all, a tea room at each end! There were a few other walks and lots of exploring, and all in all, we had a fabulous time.
Naturally there were lots of other walks in between the backpacking trips, far too many to relate here. I am already thinking about 2019 and making plans for more trips away, with the main one perhaps being Offa’s Dyke, a 180 mile walk along the border between England and Wales.
Having had such an amazing summer, things changed a bit in the autumn, but more of that next time.
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Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler
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