Monday, 29 September 2014
We picked up some members of the party in Ambleside and fired our way across to Wasdale via Hardknott pass for the first mountains of the challenge - Scafell and Scafell Pike. By the time we got our head torches on and stripped down (it was a rather humid morning), the time was 4.50am. We passed some National 3 Peaks participants on the way up and set a blistering pace. We followed the route up Lingmell beck to the summit of Scafell, making the top of the peak with an hour and a half - smoking! A quick snack and a summit selfie and we were on our way back down.
The lads really worked hard and got back down to the bus by 7.42am! An amazing time. We had a quick brew, set the sat nav for the quickest route and got on the road towards Skiddaw. I took a chance to get a nap in the back of the bus but my rest was short lived as I woke up rolling around with bags and empty cans of energy drink flying around. Mike and Pikey screaming at each other in the front. I pulled the curtains of the bus window and realised we were in Buttermere!! Some short cut past the coppermines! We drove down into Borrowdale on the way to Keswick and lost time getting stuck behind an open top bus.
With the mild detour we still got to Lattrigg in good time and were setting the speed on the trail by 10am. My leg decided they weren't going to play ball on this one and my pace was slow but the lads kept with me and we made it to the top of Skiddaw by 11.30am.
The wind was blowing at 40mph and the rain was coming in hard from the east. We couldn't believe it! We got a quick picture on the summit and got out of there as quickly as we could. Coming down wasn't a problem and we made it back to the van by 12.30pm. With some debate about getting a pub lunch we put the idea to rest and made our way to the last mountain - Helvellyn.
Our target was to get up and down Helvellyn in 3 hours and be back to Swirls car park by 3.30pm. Game on!!
We went as fast as we could but the lack of sleep (30 minutes the night before) and the miles were taking a toll. We stumbled up the challenging steeps and made our way to the top slowly but surely. Passing Swirls edge on the way to the summit. By 2.15pm we were on the top! The lads were ecstatic! The wind resisted and the cloud parted just as we summited. We were treated to views for the first time since 8am! And we were done, back at Swirls by 3.30am! The lads were totally knackered but happy they'd earned the t-shirt!
To book on an intotheOUTSIDE challenge event please visit intotheoutside.co.uk
Friday, 26 September 2014
The intotheOUTSIDE crew travel to Norway, the beginning of a new adventure. Dan, Marcus and Mike travel through Telemark and Sjoa to paddle some of the finest rivers from the Store Ula, Frya, Austbygdai, Asengjuvet and Amot.
intotheOUTSIDE presents. A new film by Daniel Fylan-Smith. In association with Ainsworth Paddles UK, Canoe Exped Shop, GoPor Cowes, Sailspy and intotheoutside.co.uk
Join the crew on another epic adventure. Across the wild Norwegian frontier. NORWAY BEGYNNELSEN.
Directed and edited by by Daniel Fylan-Smith. Shot on location in Telemark and Sjoa, Norway, July 2014. Produced by Daniel Fylan-Smith. Co-produced by Marcus Fylan-Smith. Photography by Daniel Fylan-Smith, Marcus Fylan-Smith, Mike Burns, Becki Vale and James Wood.
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Thursday, 14 August 2014
The intotheOUTSIDE crew travel to Norway, the beginning of a new adventure. Dan, Marcus and Mike travel through Telemark, Sjoa and Otta and paddle some of the finest rivers from the Store Ula, Frya, Austbygdai, Asengjuvet and Amot.
intotheOUTSIDE presents. A new film by Daniel Fylan-Smith. In association with Ainsworth Paddles UK, Canoe Exped Shop, GoPor Cowes and Sailspy. Join the crew on another adventure. Across the wild Norwegian frontier... NORWAY BEGYNNELSEN.
Dir and produced by Daniel Fylan-Smith. Shot on location in Norway by Daniel Fylan-Smith, Marcus Fylan-Smith, Mike Burns, Becki Vale and James Wood. Edited by Daniel Fylan-Smith. With Daniel Fylan-Smith, Marcus Fylan-Smtih and Mike Burns.
Shot using GoPro 3 and Canon 600D.
For my recent trip to Norway I was given the opportunity by Ainsworth Paddles UK and Craig at Canoe Exped shop, to try out not one but three of their new blades! The Creek, Play and River paddles. All three in carbon, but for the first time I would be trying a crank shaft, in the shape of their new Creek paddles.
I've got to admit I was totally blown away by the performance of all three. I've never used a crank before but last year in the Alps I had a real issue with my wrists swelling up, so since then I'd thought about the switch. Craig at Canoe Exped Shop sorted me out with a pretty tidy selection to try out and try out I did!
I didn't get to play before heading out to Norway so I got my first taste of the Creek's potential on the 'California Slides' section of the Austbygdai in Telemark. I decided first off to give the Creek crank 194" a go as the Austbygdai is all shallow bed rock slides and narrow drops and the power it generated was awesome!
With all the bends in the Creek's crank shaft, I've got to admit my brain took a bit of time to figure out how to hold it. However once once I'd mastered it, I was away boofing, bracing and powering through all of the slides and drops with ease. The lightness of the paddle and the streamline cut of the blades mean the strokes were easy to place, cutting cleanly and effortlessly through the water.
On the Mar's homerun section I went with the River paddle. Slightly longer at 197", it provided balance, power distribution and the lightness to pull through and out of the water. Just what I needed to set up the perfect stroke to make dropping over the waterfalls a breeze.
Similarly to the River paddle, the longer length in the straight shaft on the Play paddle made it a blast to use and made the giant days on the 'super high' Sjoa a little easier to control. The river was so big we sent "A to A" (Asengjuvet to Amot; 22km) in just over 2 hours! I've never experienced a river so big, beautiful and ferocious as that first day!
Wrapping up on a great first Norway trip I was super stoked and happy with the performance, power and control the selection of paddles allowed be to generate on all the variety of rivers we hit in Telemark, Sjoa and Otta.
The strength and weight of all three paddles are remarkable. The Creek's crank was great on the steep, technical slides and drops and gave me just what a needed. The Play and River were perfect in taming the mighty Sjoa, the voluminous beauty that she is. It was a treat to be able to switch up between all three paddles and swap straights for cranks as necessary. It certainly added another element to my boating.
The Ainsworth paddles were a joy to work with and I look forward to testing my skills with them further over the winter. I must admit, I am by no means a great boater, and I am always learning and improving with every trip and the people I boat with, but having a great pair of blades in your hands goes a long way to making the next step.
Thanks to Ainsworth Paddles UK and Canoe Exped Shop for their support. Kit can be expensive and I always appreciate the help of sponsors. Massive thanks and keep up the good work!
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
We left Scotland by 9pm with daylight on our side.
Driving though the sunset into the night, along the western shore of Loch Lomond. Fuelled, partly with adrenaline and the rest Redbull, we drove south along the M6 stopping once for a change of driver. We drove until the the Northern sky became light and a small single track road brought us to the sleeping giants of the Wasdale valley. The home of Scafell Pike. The 2nd stop on the INTO THE OUTSIDE National 3 Peaks challenge
We parked at the Wasdale head car park and unloaded as the sky brightened. With time against us we made it a quick turn around and started on the trail just before 4am. The team looked tired and pale faced but soldiered up Lingmell Gill. The small trickle of water, scorched dry by the lack of rain, soothed our ears as we walked up the path. Crossing Lingmell we looked back to witness the pink sky brightening over the sea in the distance. What a sight, speechless and smiling.
The weather on Ben Nevis the evening before looked like repeating itself for the day ahead. What a joy. As we continued the group slowed as one of our team started to feel the effect of a lack of sleep, water and food. Ishi was brave but had to head back to base camp at Wasdale Head.
With her blessing we pushed on and continued at great speed to the boulder strewn valley below the awesome amphitheatre of rock that includes Black Crag, Scafell Crag and Pikes Crag. The guys were totally blown away by the rock formations and the silence and stillness in the air.
After a few pictures and a snack we marched on to the saddle between our summit and Lingmell and with 2 and a bit hours we had reached our 2nd summit of the National 3 Peaks - Scafell Pike!
The group were elated and sat in awe as they watched the sun rise. The clouds over Great Gable were spectacular to watch and we had the summit to ourselves - perfect. I pointed out all of my home county mountains and a few members of the group to me to shut up and stop being such a nerd.
After another quick snack we made our way back down. Now the race was really on as it dawned on a few members of the group that 24 hours was going to be a push.
No minute could now be wasted as we made quick progress back down to the Hallow stones. We passed a group of Irish guys on the way up that we had met on Ben Nevis and said hi! The the two climbers who had taken our picture on the summit of Ben Nevis crossed us! We now had some other people to beat!
The sun was now warming the stones and grass below our feet and Wast Water was coved in daylight. We got back to the car within the 4 hour mark and orders of a quick turn around were issued! Food, stretch, water, boots off, sleep - GO…. But I wanted to wild swim… NO CHANCE!!
Next stop and 4.5 hours later we arrived at Pen-y-Pass ready to tackle Snowdon.
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
This weekend I had a group of eager young bucks ready and waiting to tackle the National 3 Peaks. 6 Students from Wooden Bassett, Natalia, Ishi, Alex, James, Fraser and Ricardo. All going their separate ways this summer, to university and different careers alike, they came to INTO THE OUTSIDE to see off their sixth form by taking on the National 3 Peak challenge.
The National 3 Peaks challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours! As a send off, before they all go their separate ways, it was a brilliant idea.
We all met up in the Ben Nevis visitor centre car park and had a quick chat before gearing up. A few cups of coffee were brewed, items of gear exchanged and off we went at 4.27pm. Spirits were high as we stomped up the trail and made steady progress up the Pony Track. The heat was intense as we passing climbers coming down covered in sweat.
We stopped here and there along the way to look down into Glen Nevis, the forest growing ever smaller below and the views expanding. After an hour and a half we had managed to get to the waterfall and stopped to have a well earned drink and snack.
By this point the guys were full of energy, they seemed to have forgotten getting out of their beds at 4am! A few calls from Mothers and friends started coming through with well wishes and job offers for the summer! Laughs were had and off we went, higher and higher. A few other groups crossed us but other than that we had the old Ben to ourselves.
The Pony Track began zig zagging now, through the scree and boulders as we reached out first scarpa of snow. The guys couldn't believe there was snow in June! Amazed looks crossed their face as snow balls were exchanged! As I threw my third snow ball I realised we were against the clock and ended the fun.
We marched on up through the bouldery Ben Nevis summit until we spotted the summit shelter perched high on its mountain for rocks. It's amazing to think that the snow on Ben Nevis can get so high it covers the shelter in winter, almost 15 feet or more.
The view from the summit was spectacular. All of the Munros on view. I think I could even see Scafell, the Isle of Rum, Skye and beyond. It was the most perfect view I have ever had on Ben Nevis - any mountain in fact.
We all climbed the trig point and had a nice couple of climbers take a picture of us! Celebration!
The first stage of the National 3 Peaks done, well not yet, we still had to descend. But after a quick bite descend we did, as the wind picked up a little and the chill came ever the group. We layered up with gloves and extra jackets and began our way down the Pony Track.
The guys had fun shuffling down the snow patches as we crossed the boudoir field again. After a few hundred feet the shelter on the South side warmed us up and we began to gain some speed.
Another quick food stop and we made our way fast down to Lochan Meall an t Suidhe. The group were so eager to post a good time that we got a jog on almost until we were above the turn off to the Glen Nevis SYHA. The red of the sun on the mountains behind us, Meall Cumhann and Sgurr a Mhaim was beautiful, I couldn't believe how lucky we were with the weather.
The group did amazingly well and completed the Ben Nevis leg of the National 3 Peak in 5.5 hours. Arriving back at the Ben Nevis visitors centre at 8.57pm.
Back at the cars we had a quick coffee, cup of warmed curry and began our journey to Wasdale Head and the second summit - Scafell Pike.