As our trip is fast approaching, we decided to meet up and finalise plans and checklists. Elaine suggested that Andy and I meet at her office rather than a pub, as we could use a meeting room with a big table for the maps and more importantly, her office also has a bar. Win-win situation.
Joe lives in Gosport, near Portsmouth making it difficult for him to attend, and Adam is on holiday with a couple of other friends travelling around Cornwall (I think) on their motorbikes, so we decided that we could fill them in when we set off.
First, we went through the route that I had previously mentioned (although in more detail) in my previous post, looking over camping spots and water sources.
A concern Elaine raised was whether the many small streams running from the hills would still be there as it’s been quite hot recently and is the height of summer. A fair point. Fortunately, along our route, there are a good few larger contributary streams for the Tallybont Reservoir which are unlikely to dry up, and there are few parts of the route that would put us without water for more than an hour at a time. As we all have 2 litre water reservoirs, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Another issue that was discussed was cooking. We had all decided that enjoying a nice hot meal at the end of the night would be worth the extra weight, but starting fires in the forest is a big no-no. Adam has a small stove that weighs about 100g that uses Butane C-250 canisters (that weight 370g), however we decided that carrying single use fuel blocks would be easier to distribute in weight and would be considerably lighter.
Hexamine fuel blocks weigh approximately 28g each, and two will boil 450ml of water in just over 4 minutes. This is roughly enough for 1 Mountain House meal, so carrying 6 would be enough for the meal on the Friday night, a breakfast on the Saturday morning and several cups of tea throughout the trip. Carrying our own allowance of hexamine blocks makes distribution of weight easier, which is useful.
It was good to ensure that at least two other team members are completely with the route for navigation purposes, as when you’re tired, it’s easy to make mistakes. Plus if we go the wrong way, I’m not the only one to blame.
Only a few week to go until the trip so hopefully the weather holds out! Should be loads of fun.