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Expedition Preparation

I’m nobodies fool; if I wasn’t prepared, I wouldn’t be taking on a mountain trek expedition this weekend. This is just the practice – in a few weeks there will be NO senior assistance: we’ll be going it alone out on the wiley moors of Yorkshire in a typical British Spring. (Which is practically Winter, only less pretty.)

First things first, have you done some similar walking and trekking-style activities in similar conditions? Yes; climbing up the local freakishly massive hill alone. In pumps, denim shorts and a vest-top. Traversing two miles over hills and mountains in slightly better attire (converse and jeans this time, but with an alpine top). That mountain next to Snowdon? Yup, climbed that too, with a massive heavy bag in October, too. And my day-trip for my NNAS (National Navigation Award Scheme) Assessment.

Second, do you have enough noms? Well, one weekend of carrying your own bodyweight on your back and just walking for miles and miles = c.10,000 kcal. Biscuits, crisps and other foodstuffs that don’t take up awfully much space, don’t weigh awfully much and which have calories in the hundreds. Plus, some ‘proper’ meals – rat packs and the ol’ trick o’th’trade: boil-in-the-bag rice. Nom. To cook this you will need a camp stove, or better yet, a trangia. This is basically a stove, pan, pot, multi-tool and bowl in one small-ish frisbee-diametered, Deathly Hallows-height, thing. There is no room for fussy eaters.

Next, do you have all your kit? Well, you’ll be carrying everything you need for the weekend on your back, so what you need isn’t all-too much. Sleeping mat – Check. Sleeping bag – Check. Tent – Check. Clothes – Check. Map, compass etc. – Check. Food – Check. See? Okay, your phone goes in your pocket and your gum in that bin right there. Not too much. Torches, first aid kits, survival bags and stuff handily go in one of the dozen-or-so large pockets that a good expedition bag is donned with. And you’ll need a good bag; otherwise, all this expedition-ing could get quite painful. When you have it correctly adjusted, you shouldn’t really feel much weight (You at the back there, yes YOU, you may want to put some stuff in it first or it really won’t weigh much!) and it should be about the same height as you (Not from the ground, you strap it round your hips!). The main point is; one talent you really need to have is the ability to cram quite a bit of nice waterproof material into quite a small bag of waterproof material.

Lastly, and arguably most importanty, CHECK THE WEATHER!!!! Many people forget to do so, believe it or not, and this is the only real time that survival bags and emergency shelters and glow-signal-things need be used. Except that one time I jumped off a cliff into the Irish Sea and HRH Prince William was handily flying overhead… but that’s another (not-so-long) story. You can quite easily head out onto the picturesque mountain and moorland (horsey joke) on a beautiful bright day but soon get caught in torrential weather (I mean, it’s England; what were you expecting?). Here’s the MET Office Forecast – and it’s not bad. We’re back before Tuesday, promise!

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