The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday 23 February 2008

LEJOG Preparation - Progress Report

It’s now just 51 days until we set out from Land’s End! Excitement and trepidation are growing.


The dehydrator has been whirring almost non-stop. I even got up at 2.30am on two consecutive mornings just to move things around in the machine. Yesterday morning I cooked a stew before breakfast time so that it would be dried by the end of the day. My life is being consumed by food and the drying thereof.

The outcome of this effort is that we now have 40 meals dehydrated (2 got eaten in the last week and two more new recipes need testing out of the current total). 70-80 to go…


Last week saw us indulge in a bit of pre-LEJOG gear shopping in Keswick and Ambleside (Husband was rather embarrassed that the shopping trip involve me repeatedly whipping out a set of digital scales and weighing various things; seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do to me!). Here are the headlines in brief. For the gear-freaks amongst you I’ll try to elaborate on some of these separately sometime soon:

Feet: We now both have new boots (phew!), but for me socks have been causing a bit of unexpected trouble.

Legs: I finally have new waterproof trousers (Berghaus Paclite, which in my size weigh a miniscule 190g). I actually ordered these over t’internet as although I tried them on in Gaynor Sports in Ambleside, they sell them for 10% cheaper (even when taking P&P into account) if you order online than if you buy in store. Seems a bit silly to me, but it was no trouble to order them when I got home, so that’s what I did.

I’m still umming and aahing at some length over my non-waterproof-trouser strategy.

Top: Husband now has one of the superlight Icebreaker merino short sleeved t-shirts. These 150g/m ones seem to be thin enough not to overheat in summer. For my sake, I’m hoping that it will prove to be as smell-free as the thicker ones; it’s got to be an improvement on a smelly-Helly!

Pack: For the last couple of years I’ve been using the same orange plastic rucksack liner that weighs about 75g and cost £1.99. It’s not showing any hints of wearing out, ripping or holing, but it just doesn’t seem right to set out on such a long outing using such a low-tech waterproofing solution inside of my pack (particularly with the lack of a closure mechanism). So, I finally bit the bullet and bought a lightweight waterproof sil-nylon liner. It also weighs 75g, but has the (apparent) advantage of being tougher; moreover, it has a roll-top closure. There’s not much more that can be said about a liner is there?

Sleeping Bag: I blame a chap (chapess?) by the name of Trentham Walker, who left a comment on my blog telling me to stay strong and resist the PHD Minim 300 bag. The confession that he (she?) owns 4 down bags and 1 synthetic didn’t help me to stay strong. You see, I only own two down bags at the moment (plus three synthetic, but for various reasons, they don’t count). Suddenly I felt deficient in the down bag department!

Okay, so in reality there was rather more to my decision than that, but this week I did succumb and order a short Drishell Minim 300 (the main justification being the Drishell outer). I’m not yet entirely convinced that I’ll keep it, but having talked to PHD I thought that it was at least worth a look and a feel.


Things were going well with printing out the maps for the Scottish section of our walk. Alas, then the printer ran out of ink (more precisely, it ran out of blue, which is a bit of an impediment when printing maps, particularly of the wetter parts of Scotland). The ink situation has now been rectified, and printing has re-commenced. I may even get it finished this weekend – then I will start marking on the location of campsites.


  1. Hi Gayle,Sorry that I contributed to your purchase of the PHD Bag but I guess that with our climate,you can never have too many down bags!For the record I have Marmot Helium and Hydrogen bags plus Rab Top Bag & PHD Minim Ultra.Also own Marmot Pounder synthetic bag.Used the Helium in Snowdonia at beginning of the year in freezing cold temperatures and felt a little uncomfortable.So much so that I have been looking at full on Winter bags but cannot possibly justify further expenditure on additional gear.(Particularly sleeping bags!)Anyway just for the record I am a male and wish you and your husband all the best on the LEJOG trip.

  2. You can never have two many down bags ....

    .... I think you should be able to narrow it down to two :-)

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. You're probably right Andy-I have far too much gear and keep deliberating whether or not to shift some of it on E Bay.So which two bags would you go for?I would use a sleeping bag mainly over 3 seasons with just the occasional bit of Winter camping(Mainly backpacking with the odd car camping weekend thrown in)

  5. Ello Ello!

    Good to see the two of you getting well prepared for the slog! What better way to spend your days than drying food eh?

    May seem like a daft question, but why print out loads of maps? Is it cheating to use a Sat Nav with a decent size screen?! :)

  6. Hello there Ray!

    I don't think that it would be cheating to use a Sat Nav with a decent size screen (in fact a chap called Daryl May is currently on his second end-to-end walk using gps for navigation) - but:
    a) to be really useful navigating throught the wilds it would need a REALLY big screen - and we are going lightweight!
    b) electrical devices need lots of power - and we don't have many powerpoints going spare in the tent
    c) sod's law would say that I'd break the device at the time of greatest need.

    So, good old paper maps it will be for us.