Trip Planning

For two weeks in July I’m going to be in Durmitor National Park in Montenegro with some friends. Despite being in the pipeline for a while I’m only writing about it now it’s all confirmed (I’ll be on a plane to Croatia at the very least).

Getting there is a little tricky, we have to fly to Dubrovnik in Croatia, before getting two buses to Zabljak, in the National Park. Along with all the faff of buying food and fuel for two weeks whilst out there, this will take a couple of days.

The park itself has been around 60 odd years, and contains the Tara river canyon, which I believe is the second longest river canyon in the world (after the obvious). Many of the mountains rise to well over 2000m. We’re planning to go over the 2500m mark on one or two occasions. Saying all this, many of the valleys are quite high up, Zabljak is at around 1500m so the acsent is probably comparable to Scotland.

If it were only me going, I’d be camping alone high up in the mountains. As it isn’t just me, and the others don’t seem so keen on that, we’ll be staying in huts/camping near them.

Why go? It’s cheap. Very much so in fact. Flights cost me £190, and apart from food and about £20-30 for the bus, there is no other cost. The huts we intend to stay in are free, and so is camping. At least as far as I’m aware. For once I’m not actually organising anything. So hopefully I’ll get away with spending well under £300.

It’s Alpine, without being massively overcrowded and as the picture below shows, very beautiful.

This will be my first time walking outside of the UK, so perhaps obviously, I’m rather excited.

And the other things? They’re not confirmed yet, so I’ll hold back on those just now. But they’re not all walking based. That much I’ll give away.

Yet again I’ve let things get out of hand. Currently the weeks are just a blur of activity, and the weekends no better.

I’ve finally taken the plunge and entered the 4 Inns with a couple of mates who are up for making a wreck of themselves. At the moment I”m training most days.

The Lakes are calling however, and as such they are my destination for the weekend. In the pipeline for Saturday is a jaunt round the barren northern fells, where I’m hoping for a lack of people. Sunday will probably consist of a short walk before the long drive back to London.

It’s been far too long.

The pictures below show the planning so far for the summer backpack in the highlands. All the flags are places we’re considering detouring to, or are possible places to camp etc. Comments from those with experience walking in this area would be welcomed (such as “don’t go up that way, it’s actually a 400 foot scree slope”), I’ve never been this far north, and so planning consisted of “this hill/ridge looks good” and then adding some glen/loch walking in to join everything together. We’re happy with the general structure of the route, it’s now just a case of tweaking with it.

UCAS is sorted, my whirlwind summer is over and it’s back to the mundanes of the sixth form. However that does mean time for blogging. And so here I am, once again tapping away at the keyboard. So what’s to come? The full write up of the mammoth trip across the Dales, Howgills and Lakes; finally posting that second day of the Kinder trip and also how my 4 Inns training progresses over the winter. Hopefully some really long days and good backpacks await, and for the first time ever I’m eagerly anticipating the cold depths of winter.

Time has now suddenly caught up with me. Over the past few days I have been franticly trying to write up the second day to our Derwent watershed trip alongside doing most of my UCAS form, writing my personal statement and packing, but with still half of it to go I’ve run out of time before our holiday tomorrow (this one isn’t involving mountains). Hopefully I’ll have it done within a day or two of getting back.  However, there is good news! The other night we successfully planned our five day backpack this summer. It is an audacious plan. We intend to cover 100 miles, through the Yorkshire Dales, a crossing of the Howgills in a single day, followed by several days in the Lakes. It is probably going to be the biggest test of my fitness to date, with an average of 20 miles of almost 6000 feet of ascent per day. I cannot wait!

It’s nearing summer again and we’re starting to think of where we intend to go for our summer backpack. Scotland is out of the question as it costs too much to get up there for only a week (over a hundred quid on the train one way). Time restrictions mean that we can’t do the coast to coast and we don’t feel like sticking to one area (i.e. the Lakes or Snowdonia). So we’ve ended up with an outline of a route that looks really varied and should be loads of fun. The idea is to get up to the Dales by train, before heading north over possibly Whernside, Ingleborough and through Dentdale. A crossing the Howgills shall then entail, before making a long winded crossing of Lakeland to take in a path along the western side of Thirlmere that we walked last year on Duke of Edinburgh Gold and really want to do again.

The plan was to head out for my first backpack of the year this Saturday, with a trip up and round the Kinder plateau and Bleaklow. However I seem to have been struck down by the most awful cough I can remember having for years. Coupling this with an unfavourable forecast and an absolute mountain of work the prospects are looking down. At least I pencilled in both this weekend and the next one on the calendar, so all is not lost if this weekend doesn’t go ahead. The only downside to not going is that I’m really itching for a trip and to get out. Ah well, it doesn’t always go in your favour.