The Outdoors Station - Audio
Summary: We produce audio and video podcasts for the self powered outdoor enthusiast in the UK and World-Wide who wants to find out more about getting the maximum pleasure from simple outdoor lifestyles. Our range of material dips into many aspects. We talk to others and discuss their trips big and small, we discuss and review gear, we link associated skills and interests all with the aim to inspire, inform, entertain and encourage listeners to enjoy the natural world around them. The podcasts are primarily UK based and aimed at walkers, backpackers, bushcrafters, cyclists, paddlers, travelers, equestrian users in fact anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of anything associated with self powered travel and the environment. Winners of the European Podcast Awards 2008/9 and 2010/11 UK Business Category. Current library consists of over 400 podcasts, produced over 10 years, with more than 9 million downloads to date.
This podcast is a simple review using the Homecamper.com service, who I interviewed at the Adventure Travel Show earlier this year. This was at our own expense and not paid for by Homecamper. It was also the first time we had taken a dog to France and experiencing the customs treatment for the 4 legged travellers. We visit three sites and basically camp in the back garden of those who have linked themselves to this service.
It’s been a busy month or two at The Outdoors Station and backpackinglight.co.uk towers. Our plans for some more remote hikes were scuppered by the urgent installation of a water treatment system as the other failed on Christmas day. However as most folks will know I took off and did the Two Moors Way and Rose tackled the Cotswold Way over a period of 3 weekends, so although it wasn’t the Isle of Skye as we hoped, as least we have stretched our legs. The next mini adventure is a trip to the south of France, by car, but using the rather unique Homecamper.com service, which invites campers, backpackers, cyclists and campervans into their garden for a modest sum. Here's the latest update and welcoming everyone who has joined our newsletter.
The Cotswold Way National Trail runs between Chipping Campden and Bath, the 102 mile route explores the Cotswolds AONB. Rose undertook this walk in July 2017 with her Springer Spaniel ‘Pip’ over a period of three weekends in a variety of weathers. Weekend 1 - Chipping Campden to Birdlip, weekend 2 - Birdlip to Wootton Under Edge and weekend 3 - Wootton to Bath. Gear was chosen to make this as light a walk as practically possible, however the sacrifice was not to take any cooking gear in exchange for the dog accessories. The weather on the first two weekends was very warm and sunny and the last the opposite, cold and wet. Her bible was the Cicerone Press guide and Harvey Maps which between them provided reliable information she required throughout.
This weeks podcast is dedicated to Friedrichshafen the big European Outdoor Trade fair which lets those in the trade or press, fondle and drool over forthcoming products for 2018, that might set the heart racing. Our European Correspondent Roman Ackle took up the baton in a very hot and sticky few days to wander the halls on our behalf searching for products, developments, new brands and emerging trends which would be of interest to the self powered traveler. Listen to the podcast for the full taster of things to come next year.
This podcast covers all the equipment I took and a review of my thoughts relating some of the items and alternatives I could have considered. The full video of the walk and this section should be available soon. The audio has been taken from the video soundtrack, so make sure you drop by soon to check out the full experience.
Part 7 combines the last two days of the walk down to Lynmouth. Only 18 miles to go and I had to find a wild camping spot so I didn’t arrive too early. At Withypool I finally meet some fellow backpackers and we discuss our shared thoughts on the journey and the places we’ve been through. Ultimately we both ended up at Simonsbath by the local car park to camp. The final day it was a gentle walk across the last of Exmoor before the painfully long twisting descent to Lynmouth.
I had traveled so far in the previous 2 days, that I now had to cut back the distance to prevent arriving too early at Lynmouth. So I decided to just aim for Tarr Steps 10 miles away and then make a decision. In between showers and sunshine I trudged on through a fairly dull section, with no views until I hit Exmoor proper. Arriving at Tarr Steps, the medieval 17 stone slab section over the fording point on the River Barle, at lunchtime meant I could enjoy a full Sunday roast at the restaurant. Wild camping at its best.
Apart from the boy racer who seemed to feel obligated to ride up and down the main road at least a dozen times in succession at midnight last night, I slept reasonably well and woke early to an overcast damp day. However as I had carried all this fuel with me, I got the solo stove going and had the first warming proper brew of the trip closely followed by a bowl full of porridge. During this time there was a sudden downpour and due to my tarp layout this meant the exposed half of my bivvy bag took the full deluge. Although not an issue from the comfort point of view, it did make me realize after it had passed, that I would be packing away sodden gear which wouldn’t have a chance to dry before nightfall. We will have to wait and see. So I was on the road just after 7am ultimately heading for Knowstone taking in Morchard Bishop Washford Pyne and Witheridge on route. Join me to hear how I got on and where my lightweight adventure took me that day.
Even though the weather was changeable that night with the blustery wind and rain, I slept reasonably well and woke refreshed ready for, as it turned out to be, the longest day of the trip. It was a good start at 7am and I meandered my way along charming narrow paths, fascinating high walled tracks and through woodland to the outskirts of Chagford. I was going to head into the village for some breakfast, but then thought I needed to crack on to get on through this cultivated section as quickly as possible so continued along the track. As luck would have it I found myself wandering along a lovely riverside walk when I was sure I could smell bacon. This started to play with my mind somewhat, however all was revealed when I came to cross the main road at the bridge and on the opposite side of the river was the very up market Mill End Hotel and Restaurant. It had just gone 10, but I thought ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ and so I stuck my head around the door and asked the lady ‘is it too late for breakfast?’ Sadly it was, however she ignored my clothes, invited me into the lounge, produced a cup of tea and then told me I could help myself to the breakfast buffet! Fresh fruit, yoghurt and muesli. Luxury, I had struck gold. I took the opportunity to charge the phone and use the facilities and almost an hour later I emerged, fully refreshed in every way. All for a few pounds. Brilliant.
My goodness me it was cold that night! Even inside the hut I slept with my insulation on, however I did sleep well and after the two meals the previous night and a hearty breakfast of porridge I was set up for an early start in good spirits. And what a beautiful day it turned out to be. As each hour unfolded I was treated once again to the best Britain can offer. As I walked along the beautiful paths to the bridge over the River Dart, the frost on the long wet grass by the path slowly retreating as the sun stretched out its yellow blanket of heat. The birdsong echoing along every corridor of Beech, Sycamore and Birch trees. An infinite palette of green, from the moss by the riverside to the dark Ivy reaching for the sky. The area around Deeper March was as perfect a picnic spot as you might find in the UK. I’m sure it would be packed during the heat of the day, but early in the morning is was gloriously peaceful.
On Wednesday I finally made it to Holne. A charming little village, which once again like many communities, has suffered the closure of the local pub and so the heart of the community had naturally graduated to the tea rooms. Which although open at completely different hours, obviously serves as a community centre, for information, a small shop which allows you to top up with local produce, lots of tea and lovely cake, but most important of all, village gossip. It was here that I finally managed to meet up with Cicerone Press Two Moors Way author Sue Viccars. I say finally, because I didn’t pay attention to the guide book correctly and as I walked into Holne following ‘my nose’ (ie wrong route) after what felt like a very long day, Sue had walked ‘out’ of Holne to meet me on the her ‘route’. Thankfully after several cups of tea and cake, normality was restored and Sue arrived just as coherent speech had returned to my body.
On Tuesday the 25th April 2017 I set off from Wembury just outside Plymouth on the Two Moors Way, 40 years after ‘the way’ was officially launched. I had given myself a generous 8-9 days to tackled this route, which passes through some of the most remote and charming countryside in Devon, touching little backwaters rarely visited and certainly well off the traditional tourist trail. This first podcast covers the shorter day one with a midday start and day two. It takes me from Wembury, to Yealmpton through Ivybridge and across a stretch of Dartmoor to Holne. The whole approach to the walk was as a lightweight backpacker. Using a sub 8kg pack, a simple tarp and bivvy shelter plus wild camping on route. As you’ll hear the wild camping aspect had to be fairly flexible for different reasons. In the next podcast you’ll hear much more on the subject from Cicerone Press Two Moors Way author Sue Viccars.
This podcast has been done in a bit of a rush, however I thought listeners would like to hear the gear choices and reasons for the forthcoming 120 mile Two Moors Way from Wembury to Lynmouth coast to cost south to north. The weather has been dry the last week or so and the forecast is looking fair, so I am hoping the weather gods will shine on me for the duration. Hope you enjoy :)
May is almost here and 300 people will be starting to keep a much closer eye on the weather in Scotland as they prepare to head off on the 38th TGO Challenge. A 200 mile walk from the West coast to the East coast of Scotland taking independent routes between each coast and promoting fellowship amongst backpackers all along the way. Andy Howell of the well known blog Must be This Way, will be on his 10th crossing this year, which takes you into ‘legend’ status in the world of Challengers. He joins me in this podcast to discuss the difference 10 crossings can make and share tips and ideas which may help people approaching this event for the first time, calm their nerves and settle their apprehension.
This extended podcast is the second part of the interview with Aleks, where we touch on several aspects which he had to deal with on a daily basis as he ran from North to South across Europe. The daily near death experience of running on a road which caused him to change his route significantly. The diverse reaction from people he met on route. The waves of doubt and depression which came over him at his lowest point and the on going debate in the ultra runners world, of underwear being a good or bad thing. It’s all good stuff.