10 Hours That Changed My Life – Forever!

I am at an age where some people would say its time to put my feet up and relax!  So why do I still persist in pushing myself and having adventures in the great outdoors?  Excluding the obvious health advantages of exercise and fresh air, what is it that drives me on and has driven me on for 50 + years?  The answer can be found in a 10 hour period of my life 51 years ago!

It was one Friday night in May 1966 in a field at Yeovil Marsh, Somerset.  The time was about 10pm and I was snuggled up in my sleeping bag surrounded by good friends.  We were talking and laughing and had been told on numerous occasions that evening to be quiet and go to sleep.  Then it happened, the start of one of the most influential 10 hours of my life.

With a bright flash the sky lite up and out tent glowed green – the colour of the canvas.  Then came the loudest crash I had heard up to that point in my life, followed by screams and shouts.  But before we realised what had happened and other flash illuminated the tent and a further crash within a second.  The thunder-storm was directly overhead and the rain was torrential.


We huddled together in the centre of the tent holding up the ground sheet to keep everything dry from the river that was now flowing through half of our tent.  Then someone started…….. every time there was a flash this was followed by a boo and then a cheer with each clap of thunder.  Before long we were all doing the same oblivious of the leaders working in the pouring ran to dig channels around the tents and make sure we were all OK.


Eventually the storm passed and faded out and one by one we all fell fast asleep exhausted from this nighttime sojourn into our own fantasies.  I have no recollection of the time but sleep came easily and lasted the night through.  Then, it happened – that smell, the one that still takes me back to that campsite every time it enters my nostrils.

Camp Breakfast

Wood smoke pervaded my senses coupled with the distinctive smell of bacon cooking over the fire.  Struggling into my wellies I ventured out into the early morning sunshine, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face and clearing the sleep from my eyes I was welcomed by the site of ‘Skip’ sat by the fire with two of the biggest cast iron frying pans imaginable cooking bacon and eggs.

And so I started my first full day at Cub camp.

bear grylls

Ten hours had passed that would change my life for ever – I had discovered an affinity with the great outdoors which lead onto a life of adventure – walking, climbing, caving and of course camping.  Even to this day the smell of wood smoke and bacon cooking takes me back that fateful day in 1966.



Route Planning Aids

map and compass

During my days as a flying instructor with the RAF one of the things that I was constantly repeating to my students were the 5 P’s – Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  In more recent years I have come across the phrase ‘Fail to Prepare – Prepare to Fail.  Both of these may be clichés but they are also very true.

As a young Scout one of the first skills that we were taught was mapping and compass work.  The ability to plan and navigate a route was the most basic of skills ‘drummed’ into me and nothing has changed today.  Even in these days of Satellite Navigation on your smart phone or dedicated devices, if you can not read a map or follow a compass bearing you should not venture into the hills.

However, life is not all about the old paper maps anymore, though the need to be able to read one remains.  Rarely will I do all my planning on a map alone, I will use one of the many commercially available mapping programmes on my PC.  Today I will discuss two of these – OS Maps and Memory Map.

OS Maps

osmap titleThis award-winning software has been developed by the Ordnance Survey as a web-based planning and navigation tool.  It has access to the most detailed leisure mapping and can be used across all platforms, which allows you to plan on the PC but have the route on your smart phone or tablet.  The route can also be downloaded onto your favourite handheld GPS device.

One of the great advantages of this package is that it is web-based and does not require software to be loaded onto your PC.  Thus allowing you to access your planned routes from any other device wherever you are.  It also gives you access to a massive repository of other Peoples routes allowing you the freedom to pick and choose whatever route you wish.  If you know you are going to a poor smart phone coverage area or do not wish to use up too much of your data allowance, then you can download the planned routes at home onto your smart phone for later use.  In addition you can print out your map and an associated route sheet.

osmap 25k

OS Maps provides you with access to several different maps.  Standard gives you an ‘open source’ style map, National Park pathways give you an overlay onto the standard map allowing you to ‘click’ two points on a National Park footpath and the software will create you entire end-to-end route.  OS Leisure maps gives you the classic 50k Landranger and 25k Explorer maps, whilst Aerial provides satellite imagery.  The most recent pièce de résistance is the Aerial 3D – this, as the name implies, allows you to see you planned route or chosen area in magnificent three-dimensional imagery.

osmap 3D

Route planning is very easy – simply click ‘Create Custom Route’ then, using the mouse, click your way through the desired route.  Title and save and it is there for future use.  You can, if you wish, keep it private so only you can access it or publish it so that others can benefit from the fruits of your labour.  It really could not be easier to use.

The OS Maps website has an extensive ‘get started’ and help section that will guide you through the full workings of the software.  This is a well presented and intuitive package which is constantly being developed and improved.  I have used it for 4 months and now do 90% of my route and expedition planning on this software.

osmaps discover routes

On the downside – being a web-based package means you are at the mercy of the internet and the servers which may be prone to ‘hic-up’ occasionally.  That being said – I have only had one occasion where I was unable to print a route – I was still able to follow the route on my phone and GPS.

Give OS Maps a FREE 7 day trial and I am sure you will want to sign-up for a full year from as little as £19.99 per annum.  For more information click HERE

Memory Maps

MM titleI have been a user of Memory map since 2006 when I bought the Landranger 50k V5 edition.  At that time it can in two boxes containing 7 CD’s, one installation disk and 6 regional disks.  Once loaded onto the PC this gave me coverage of the whole of Great Britain.  If I recall the whole package cost me about £120 at the time.

The software is so simple to use – once opened, select which region you want from the Map List.  The Help menu contains a very good guide-book on how to get the best out of the package.  Though it is very intuitive and straight forward to use.

MM plane

Memory Maps allows you to plan routes creating leg distances, compass bearings and leg timings.  Print the maps you have created and download your route and track details to a handheld GPS device.  It also allows you to import track information from a GPS device in order to evaluate where you have been, distance covered and speed travelled.  You can look at the profile of your route and follow it in a 3D fly through.

MM properties

On the downside this is an expensive piece of kit in comparison to the OS Maps and you have to buy separate 50k and 25k bundles.  Whilst it is possible to load the programme onto multiple devices you are still restricted to the use of those particular devices making portability an issue.  However, do not let these minor issue detract from the fact that this is a sound aid to route planning.


Paper Map Aids

Before I leave this basic introduction into Route Planning Aids I need to mention three great aids when planning with paper maps.  These are available from a company called Shaven Raspberry and are great little devices to carry in your rucksack or wallet.

The first one is a navigators slope angle tool.  This tool allows you to match the contour lines on a 25k or 50k map and assess its slope angle and hence its severity to climb.  It also has the added advantage of identifying potential avalanche risk areas.  The reverse of the card provides instructions for its use.

The second is an excellent timing card.  This allows you to predict your speed and time over different distance and terrains.  Based on the Naismith’s Rule, it is an important device for accurate calculation of leg and overall route timings.  Various different parameters are considered such as up slope and down slope, darkness, weight of back pack, plus estimated average speeds over different terrains such as grass, soft snow and deep snowdrift.

The final device is permanently tethered to my compass for ease of access, it is a map romer scale grid reference tool.  It takes the guess-work out of grid references allowing accurate 6 or 8 figure grid reference to be read.  It works on both the 25k and 50k maps.


As you can see there are several different devices available to help you plan your routes.  However, there is nothing more important than to plot your route onto a map, note the compass bearings you need to walk and the various leg lengths.  Then GetOutside and follow your route using your compass, map and your eyes to navigate.



Supporting Charity Walks

During a conversation with a gentleman in his 70’s, he asked me to publish something less energetic which a beginner of his age could take part in.  He said that he was very inspired by my Triple Three Peaks Challenge and my quest to raise money for charity.  So he challenged me to come up with something he could take part in which would help a charity and ‘kick-start’ him on the road to greater challenges.

This year I am heavily involved with fund-raising for the charity Parkinson’s UK and was invited by their Regional Fundraiser to join her at her local fund raising walk in July.  This got me thinking about the conversation with the gentleman and I quickly signed up for it.

The walk in question is the ‘Walk for Parkinson’s – Wilton House 2017.

It takes place in the grounds of a stunning stately home in Wiltshire and allows you to choose from 3 routes of differing lengths.

6 miles – a challenging route with steep climbs, rough terrain and long grass
3 miles – a challenging route, following the 6 mile walk but does not take in the woodland area
2 miles – a gentler route that includes long grass and gravel path

image courtesy of Parkinson’s UK

As with many of these charity walks they ask you for a £10 fee up front to cover costs and suggest that you should be aiming at raising a minimum of £50.  In return you get the satisfaction of knowing you have helped a great charity plus:

  • A Walk for Parkinson’s t-shirt
  • Fundraising advice, including a fundraising pack
  • Support with your training
  • A finisher’s medal

Virtually every major charity runs these types of fund-raising events and are ideal for the beginners, young, old or anyone who just fancies a leisurely stroll around the grounds of some great houses.  Search for you particular favourite charity, or one that has a personal meaning to you and see what they have to offer.

Its simple ~ Search ~ Sign-up ~ Stroll ~ Support.

Nutrition and Exercise

With my selection as an Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion and my self-imposed Triple Three Peaks Charity Challenge, this was always going to be a very busy and strenuous year.  Nutrition and Exercise were going to become a very important part of my life.
Now over the years I have never been a stranger to exercise, I have ran, walked, swam and cycled.  Even in more recent years when the knees couldn’t take the running I have continued to walk and swam as much as I could.  But what I have always overlooked is nutrition.  Yes I have done diets and been a member of Weight Watchers and Slimmer’s World (other diet programmes are available).  But I have never brought both exercise and nutrition together into a holistic process, making one work with the other to their conjoint benefit.


Firstly a quick introduction into the three key elements of nutrician – the macronutrients.  These consist of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Each of these have an important role and together form part of a balanced diet.   It is the way we use these macronutrients in conjunction with exercise which is the key to success, however you wish to measure it.macronutrientsFats

Some fat is essential for survival and is required for normal growth and development, energy, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, as well as cartenoids, providing cushioning for the organs, maintaining cell membranes and providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods.

Fat is made up of individual fatty acids, some of which have vital functions in your body all of which comes from your diet as your body can’t make them.  These are known as essential fatty acids and include Omega-3 and Omega-6. The essential fatty acids are important as they are part of the cells in our body and are also involved in the production of certain substances that control chemical reactions inside your cells.

Saturated fat and trans fat have been shown to increase your risk for heart disease. Replacing saturated and trans fat in your diet with unsaturated fat has been shown decrease this risk.

Eggs, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, avocado, nuts, flax seed, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are all great sources.

Every cell in the body contains protein, it is a major part of the skin, muscles, organs, and glands. Protein is needed for growth, tissue repair, immune function, making essential hormones and enzymes, providing energy when carbohydrate is not available and for preserving lean muscle mass

When proteins are digested they are broken down into amino acids. Amino acids need to be eaten in large amounts for optimal health benefits. Some amino acids are essential which means that we need to get them from our diet, and others are non-essential which means that our body can make them.

After exercise eating protein will ensure that our muscles arerepaired effectively. Combining proteins with the right training will increase your lean muscle tissue mass and speed up your metabolism.
various protein sources

Carbohydrate is needed because it is the body’s main source of fuel. It is easily used by the body for energy and is needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.  It can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.

Eating more than your body needs causes you to store fat. However, carbohydrates are great for fuelling and recovering from workouts. Consume less carbs on rest days where you don’t need the extra fuel.
Exercise and Macronutrients

Your diet should vary between training and non-training days.  On training day the diet should be rich in carbohydrates and proteins and on non-training days it should be rich in healthy fats, reduced carbonhydrates and proteins.  This will ensure that you are consuming the correct type and amount of energy source to match the energy demands being put on the body.
fit and healthy old age


Solo Hill Walking – Why I choose to walk alone


This image pretty well sums up why a lot of people choose to walk alone in the hills and mountains.  If, like me, you have a fairly head-on job , it is great to have that moment of isolationism where there are no distractions to break the solitude.

But solitude is not the only reason that I walk alone.  Everyone will have their own reasons to walk alone as on the whole it is a very personal thing.  But hopefully, if by reading this you think that you could benefit from solo walking then please – just give it ago.

Whilst, in the main, these are not in any particular order, there is one that is top of the list:

YOU decide what YOU want to DO – there is no one telling you what route to do, when you should stop for a break, why you can’t change your mind and go on a slight detour (because it takes your fancy).  You are left to make all the decisions yourself.  Now hopefully you are not indecisive!  but even if you are turn it to your advantage and flick a coin to make a decision.  What I am getting at is no one can or will dictate your course of action.


Coupled with the last reason is – you can go at your own pace.  Have you ever been on one of those organised walks where a couple of people just stroll along at their own pace chatting and generally ignoring the rest of the group.  Are you frustrated with having to stop every 15 minutes to let the rest of the group catch up.  Or conversely – been that one holding the rest of the group up because you chose to walk with a group of racing wippets!  Fear not – if you walk alone you walk at your pace, whether that be fast or slow.

I know that many walkers enjoy supplementing their walk with other activities such as bird watching, geo-caching or photography.  In my case I an a radio amateur and enjoy operating my portable radio equipment from the summits.  This can be very frustrating to fellow walkers who don’t share your other interests.  Walking alone allows you to spend as much time as you wish indulging in whatever takes your fancy!


We all live fairly hectic lives which are constantly creating more problems than we care for.  I personally find that walking alone allows me to mull things over without distraction and maybe even resolve some of my personal issues.  After a couple of hours in the hills all the worries of the world lift and I feel refreshed and ready to take on life again.

If you are naturally a shy person then walking with others will have its own issues and anxieties.  Walking alone removes all those worries and as you walk further and higher your own self-confidence will grow.  After a while you will be a new person and you start to notice a new confidence at work and in life generally.

There will be many more reasons and benefits to walking alone than I can cover here.  If you have your own experiences then please let me know and I will add them to the list.solo walker.jpg


Solo Hill Walking – safety

Many years ago it was drummed into me that you should never go hill-walking alone.  Back in the day the recommended minimum number for any ‘adventurous’ activity was four.  The rationale behind this was that if one became incapacitated then one would remain with the casualty and the other two would go for help.  At the time this probably made a lot of sense as, for those of you who are under 25 years old, we did not have mobile phones, pagers or satcoms.  So what has changed to make it now acceptable to go it alone?

The quick answer is communication.  We live in a world of amazing mobile communicationwoman texting technology.  It is very rare to find anyone on the hills without a mobile phone. Now whilst this does not guarantee reliable communications’ the coverage is constantly improving and the majority of the country, with the exception of some of the more remote parts of Scotland, have reasonable coverage.

For the more affluent hill-walkers there are satellite phones.  Many companies provide phones and access to the satellite networks and with the number of satellites in orbit you are virtually guaranteed contact.  However, the down side is the cost of the both the phones and the tariffs to use the satellites.  There are however, numerous plans available and competition will eventually drive prices down.

I am neither rich nor have access to someone elses satellite phone so how do I improve my chances of communication and rescue if all goes wrong?

Whilst it may not always be possible to make a voice phone call it is often the case that sms messages will get through.  In order to use this facility to its best there are several apps that ca be downloaded.

  1. From the OS is the excellent ‘OS Locate‘ app.  Apart from giving you your position it also displays your altitude and heading.  This information can be shared via sms with a text message about whats wrong.
  2. Similar to the OS Locate app is the ‘LocSMS‘ app.  This sends your positional data via sms along with a text message.
  3. In order to use both of these apps effectively the information should be sent to the emergency services via 112 or 999.  However, in order to send sms message to 999 you first need to register your mobile number.  Just go to http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/

loc logos

Unlike the majority of hill-walkers, I am a Radio Amateur (radio ham) and I specialise in portable operations from hill tops.  As a result I carry HF and VHF radios with me all the time giving my UK and European communication capabilities.  In addition I have a GPS connected to a VHF radio which constantly transmits and updates my position using Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS).  This facility also allows me to send messages as well.

Not withstanding all this amazing technology, the best way to ensure you will be found if something happens is to leave a route safety card.  There are numerous ones available on the internet but I prefer to use the one produced by the OS download as pdf. The key information must include:

  1. Your route, including start and finish points and any escape routes planned.
  2. Who is in the party, including details of cars and where they will be parked.
  3. Details of survival/safety equipment carried plus details of any known medical conditions.
  4. The time you plan to finish and, more importantly, what time you plan to ‘check-in’ with your safety card holder.

Always designate a responsible person to hold the route safety card and ensure they know not to call 999 until one hour AFTER your latest ‘check-in time’.  When they call 999 ask for Police and tell them you require Mountain Rescue.

Coming Soon:   Solo Hill-Walking – Why I choose to walk alone

Five things to do AFTER you turn 60

I asked several older friends of mine what they had wanted to do once they turned sixty.  Many of their suggests were unprintable hear!  But I was able to come up with a TOP 5 things to do and my thoughts on how they could achieve these:

  1. Do something new
    This, for me, was the easiest one to answer.  Take up hill-walking.  “But we haven’t walked very far in years!”  In that case start with a few gentle walks around the neighbourhood slowly increasing the distance and length of time spent outside.  When you feel comfortable look for your local hill and walk to the top.  Again, slowly increase the height of the hills you walk up and before you know it you will be heading for the higher hills and the longer walks.
  2. Get fitter
    This pretty well links in with the previous answer.  However, the one who suggested this had spent all his life either sat in his car or behind a desk – he was very unfit.  I had suggested nice short walks along the river on a sunny Sunday afternoon, even a long walk to a pub – but all to no avail.  Until his Grandson said he was doing a walk with his Beaver Colony and wanted Grandad to come along as well.  Inspired by his Grandson’s wish to walk he went and thoroughly enjoyed himself.  Now he walks for pleasure – so if you are that unfit and need inspiration look no further than your Grand Children.
  3. Go backwoods camping
    At an age when one would expect to stay in a 5 star hotel, or at the very least a Caravan, this was a surprise.  For the benefit of the younger generation backwoods camping is what we called wild camping back in the day.  I was brought up camping and have done it all my life.  So the response was straight forward – get yourself along to the local camping shop and buy a tent and a sleeping bag.  However, do not head for the hills on your first night, instead spend a night at a local campsite or even the back garden.  You never know your mind may have happy memories of camping but reality has changed – in which case donate the tent and sleeping bag to your Grand Children!
  4. Act like a child
    This was a difficult one to respond to as its been a long time since I was a child!  But it was during a recent walk that the inspiration for this one came to me.  I watched a couple of parents with a youngster, maybe 4-5 years old.  They were all having a lovely walk, the parents were talking and enjoying the scenery whilst their daughter was ahead of them jumping into every puddle she could find.  As I passed them I said “she’s enjoying herself” and the response was “it’s what children do”.  So my response to my elder statesmen is look at kids and copy them – but most importantly, have fun.
  5. Travel around Britain
    My colleagues, like many other people in the UK spend their summer holidays jetting off to hotter and more exotic locations.  They never give a thought to the beauty and splendour of the British Isles.  Yet this wonderful group of islands perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean has some of the best places in the world to visit.  Apart from our great and well preserved heritage there are the 15 majestic National Parks – Britain’s breathing spaces.  Stay in your 5 star hotels, but spend your days exploring, driving, walking, sailing, doing whatever you fancy in one of these great national treasures.


To be perfectly honest these five things apply to all age groups, not just the over 60’s.  We are a nation where a quarter of the British public won’t walk anywhere that takes more than 15 minutes and three quarters of us won’t walk to work or the shops.  We are an unfit nation with figures showing that 11.3 million people do less than 30 minutes’ activity a week.

Be inspired, be determined, be active – GetOutside and enjoy this wonderful land we call home.

Spending Time Outside With The Grandchildren

I am delighted to be able to introduce fellow Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion Sarah Whiting, of Craft Invaders, who has used her child related crafty skills to produce a great guest post for our blog.   With half term coming very soon followed by the usual gambit of school holidays, this contribution is perfect for those Grand Parents on ‘child-sitting‘ duties and stuck for something to do outdoors .craft_invaders

Spending Time Outside With The Grandchildren by Sarah Whiting

 If you have ever watched your grandchildren and wondered if there is any reason for all their running, spinning and climbing, then the quick answer is yes there is – research now shows that all that rushing about, and spinning in particular is actually crucial for their brain development. Research is all well and good, but sometimes we don’t want kids running and dancing around our home, treating it like a giant adventure playground, so here are some simple ideas for getting kids outside and keeping them entertained.

In my experience, suggesting ‘a really long walk to tire you out’ is not the best way to entice children outside, even if that is your ultimate aim. Going on a Nature Treasure Hunt sounds much more exciting, and there are plenty of resources online that can be printed off and used. We particularly love the fabulous range of Spotter Sheets on the Wildlife Trusts website that covers everything from a Wild Picnic Spotter to being a Spiky Wildlife Detective. Children do still love the simple childhood activities that we all did as kids, such as playing pooh sticks, messing about in streams, searching for insects and climbing trees.

Kids love being creative, so using natural materials to create art is a great way to get them exploring and using their imagination. Try making natural paintbrushes out of twigs, stick double-sided tape on to card and use it to make a mosaic picture out of flower petals, or explore a tree by taking bark rubbings and making leaf imprints.  You can even make your art outside and leave it for others to find – Use twigs, bark and leaves to make a giant picture, make a pebble sculpture on a beach, or use chalk to draw on a pavement.
Foraging for food is another fabulous way to spend time outside with your grandchildren. Foraging is simply searching for, and collecting wild food. There are many good reasons to forage; wild foods are far more nutrient dense than commercially produced crops, the foods in our hedgerows are what our ancestors evolved to eat, and foraging with children allows us to pass on the knowledge that we learned when we were young, as well as giving
us all a closer connection with the natural world around us. There is nothing nicer than sitting down to a crumble made from fruit you collected yourself, or why not collect Dandelions and make some fabulous biscuits.
There is no doubt that fresh air and exercise is beneficial to us all, but spending time outside with children gives us so much more. It reminds us of how the world looks through a child’s eyes, and brings back those precious memories of spending time playing outside
when we were young.

Sarah Photo cropped.jpgSarah Whiting is passionate about both children and adults spending more time outside exploring, learning and getting creative.  Sarah loves nothing more than to pass on her knowledge to anyone who asks, so why not visit her on Twitter.

It was this passion that led her to create the Craft Invaders blog with her family, where she shares family orientated craft tutorials (which have a strong focus on nature-based and recycled craft), recipes, foraging, wildlife, and their visits to UK wildlife and historic sites.

You can find out about Sarah and her family’s adventures at http://craftinvaders.co.uk



Lets Go Trig-Point Hunting

Back in the beginning of December 2016 I blogged about using other interests coupled with walking as a form of motivation to get outside. Well as a follow on from that blog I am looking at the pastime of Trig-point ‘bagging’.

If you have not come across Trig-points before, they are the common name for “triangulation pillars”. These are concrete pillars, about 4′ tall, which were used by the Ordnance Survey in order to determine the layout of the country and create accurate maps. They are generally found on the highest bit of ground in the area, so that there is a direct line of sight from one pillar to the next. By placing a theodolite on the top of the pillar, accurate angles between pairs of nearby trig-points could be measured in a process known as Triangulation.

There are over 6000 trig-points scattered across the UK from the north of Scotland to the west of Wales, wherever you go you will not be very far from one.  However, if you are not able to travel far from home then that is not a problem.

I have shown Hampshire as an example – the dots represents each of the 100’s of trig-points in the county. Although they tend to be placed on ‘high ground’ many are easily accessible from roads without too much climbing or scrambling. As an example – I have 12 trig-points within 7 miles of my quiet village location.

Not sure where to start?  That is the easy bit – visit trigpointing.uk where you can create your own account see where the nearest trig-points are to you and start ‘bagging’. They also provide an easy to use smartphone App which, at a glance, shows you the nearest trig-points, wherever you are.

Take the Grand Children with you and make it into an adventure, they will love the fact that they can use their smartphones and the app to go hunting outdoors in the fresh air. Some of them are hidden under vegetation (the trig-points, not the Grand Children) so may require a little more searching for, thereby increasing the anticipation and fun to be had.

Still not convinced? Then have a look at the website of my colleague and fellow Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion Tracy Purnell – mynyddblaidd.weebly.com You just can’t help but love Tracy and her two beautiful dogs, Asher & Marley. They are the epitome of trig-point bagging.

On a personal note – I am able to couple 3 different activities together when I visit trig-points.  As a Radio Amateur I communicate with other ‘Radio Hams’ from the trig-points as part of an award scheme.  So I can walk, talk & trig bag all at the same time (and they said men couldn’t multi-task!).

For further details about trig-points see the OS history of the trig




Review: Neckwarmer Windproof Buff

Review: Mountain Bits Blue/Printed Neckwarmer Windproof Buff

 I was recently approached by @kitshack to see if I would review one of the Buff’s from their Autumn/Winter collection . Having been a fan of Buff’s for many years I was interested to see how the device had changed since I last bought one. The one that I have used for years is the standard Buff which is great at keeping your neck and head warm providing there is no cold wind blowing. So to my surprise I noted that they now did a neckwarmer windproof Buff – exactly what I was looking for!

The specification looked impressive but would that prove to be true in the wild.  A cold day in February was chosen to try out the Buff in the Brecon Beacon’s, South Wales with an air temperature of minus 1C and wind chill of -4C, perfect conditions.
The Buff fitted very comfortably, I like the shape at the front which allows it to work perfectly with my base layer leaving no skin uncovered. The walk I had chosen started with a very steep climb for 30 minutes allowing enough time to generate a lot of heat. The Buff handled this well, dissipating heat and moisture so that I never felt uncomfortable or too hot around the neck.

On approaching the exposed ridge, where the cold wind really picked up, I pulled the microfibre panel over my mouth and nose. I was impressed at how easy it was to breathe through the material without leaving it damp and uncomfortable, a criticism I had of my earlier Buff’s.

On completing the walk I was surprised at how warm, dry and comfortable the Buff still remained despite having worked up a good sweat on the trip.


Buff’s have come a long way from their early days. This one does exactly what it says on the packet. It protected me from a cold Welsh wind whilst keeping my neck comfortably warm and wicking away any moisture. I was very impressed and will certainly be wearing it on all my winter trips. I may also add the the matching wind-proof hat in the future.

Disclaimer: I was given a Mountain Bits Blue/Printed [Neckwarmer Windproof Buff] by Kit Shack for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.