Listen to the first episode of the Hawkins' Adventures podcast! It's about 9.5 minutes long and covers my latest walk, gear and book reviews, as well as a memory of a past adventure.
The transcript is below too, if you prefer to read it!
Hello and welcome to the first episode of the Hawkins' Adventures podcast!
I'm Will Hawkins and this podcast is all about outdoor fun and adventure.
You will probably wonder who I am? I'm a former soldier in the British Army where I travelled around hot and cold parts of the world. Plus, I cycled down Africa with my brother in my 20s, and I've done a fair amount of sailing too.
In this episode, I'm going to cover my latest micro-adventure in the Peak District National Park in the UK, taking in the magnificent area called Kinder Scout.
You'll hear about the latest piece of outdoor clothing I've been trying out, the Extrem FAst Hike trousers from Berghaus.
Also, I'm going to talk to you about a great outdoor book called by Wild Pub Walks!
And, to finish up, it's a short walk down memory lane when I talk about a past adventure and what I was doing.
Right, let's get on with it!
Firstly, I've just come back from a quick trip to the Peak District National Park. If you don't know where that is, it is a beautiful area in the middle of England which sits between Manchester and Sheffield.
It's wild moorland with rocky outcrops, peat bogs and great views on a clear day.
There are plenty of walking and hiking routes in the Park. Its highest point is Kinder Scout, 636 metres above sea level. Kinder Scout is more of plateau than a peak.
Penny, who's my wife, and I have a favourite walk 10 miles long and starts near the small town, Hayfield. We escaped for the day to do this great walk.
You can park outside the town near Kinder Reservoir. If you want to camp, there's a Camping and Caravanning club site close-by. It's open for campers, motorhomes and campervans.
The route we took, takes you north of the reservoir and towards a re-entrant called 'William Clough'.
It's a rocky track through the heather. You'll hear grouse in the right season and we've occasionally faced herds of sheep being taken of the hills by a farmer.
It's steep and we were sweating hard by the time we got to the top of it.
Once, you've reached the top of William Clough, you turn south-east and up a steep slope onto Kinder Scout.
You'll see more walkers and hikers at this point.
This section of the walk, possibly the most dramatic. We stopped a little further along for a mug of tea from our flask and a bite to eat.
Penny and I sat down overlooking Kinder Reservoir below. In the middle distance, we saw some peaks including Brown Knoll and the intriguingly named 'Mount Famine'.
Off to the right in the distance, we could see Manchester with its high rise towers.
Unusually, a ewe and its lamb walked up to us and saw we had sandwiches. The ewe came right up to me and was almost in my lap, sniffing out my lunch. I've never seen sheep this tame.
Moving on, we walked past the dramatic rock formations along the ridge. After a mile or so, you reach Kinder Downfall. It's a stream drops off the ridge to form a waterfall. In winter, when it's frozen, climbers climb the ice fall.
When we got there, the water only trickled over the edge. It's been hot and dry here this summer.
Next, you turn sharp right and head south south-west along the track towards the triangulation point on Kinder Low. This is part of the Pennine Way too.
The walking is easy although rocky in places. We reached Kinder Low, stopped to take a quick photo and carried on towards the big rocks, called Edale Rocks. You can see the picturesque Edale Valley to the left.
The track is paved with slabs of local rock to reduce the erosion caused by walkers.
It's all downhill from here on.
Penny and I walked around a small hill called the 'Swine's Back', and reached the track at 'Edale Cross' which heads west down 'Oaken Clough'.
It's a steep, rocky track. We've mountain bikers riding up here in the past.
This leads you down into the valley at Coldwell Clough. The views are great and we stopped for some more tea and a rest before we headed down.
Soon enough, Penny and I reached the bottom of the valley and headed north up the small lane to Bowden Bridge where we'd parked our car.
This is a great walk. It's 10-miles of beautiful but rugged terrain. You will need walking boots or shoes to do it. Plus, it can be chilly on Kinder Scout, so pack appropriately and take some food and drinks.
OK, it's time for this week's kit review.
There are some essential clothing items you need to be comfortable when out walking and hiking.
Boots are important, as are waterproof jackets and warm layers in the UK and cooler countries.
Another essential is walking trousers.
When you're working hard walking up a hill, you get hot and sweaty. But, when you reach the top, you cool off. All that sweat will have seeped into your trousers. You will soon feel cold when your sweat starts to evaporate.
Therefore, you need walking trousers which are going to help you keep cool when you are working hard. And, which will dry off quickly so you don't get cold.
Plus, you need your trousers to be flexible to cope with the extra bending and moving you're doing when you are walking in the hills.
I've tried many walking trousers over the years and it has been hard to find a pair which are comfortable, hard wearing and which dry quickly.
This week, I've used a pair of Extrem Fast Hike Trousers from Berghaus.
The first thing to say about them is they have one major feature which sets them apart from other walking trousers. They have zips on the each thigh which you can undo to open up a venting panel.
The panel contains a mesh to let air in and out. They work. Climbing up Kinder Scout this week on a sunny day, they made a big difference to how my legs felt. Working hard on the way up, I opened the vents and felt cooler immediately.
As soon as I got to the top, I zipped up the panels to stop myself cooling down too much.
Also, they're made from a wicking and quick-drying material, so you don't get clammy with sweat. And, they dry out quickly.
When it comes to comfort, the Extrem Fast Hike Trousers have stretch panels on the bum and knees. That means they give a lot when you walk so you don't have that discomfort when you stretch or bend.
Extrem Fast Hike Trousers have two front pockets, one rear pocket and a pocket on the right thigh, just the right size for a smartphone or compass. Plus, they come with a belt.
These are great trousers and should last you for ages.
The retail price is £95, but I expect you can get them cheaper online.
My outdoor book for this week is a favourite. It's called 'Wild Pub Walks'. The author, Daniel Nielson, has put together a collection of 22 walks around the UK all of which include a good pub at the end.
Given the Campaign for Real Ale (or CAMRA) publishes the book, you can guess that the pubs will have some good beer in stock.
I've used a couple of Daniel's routes and they were both good. The first one I tried was the walk I did with Penny over Kinder Scout.
The routes take you into some remote parts of Britain, and make sure you can savour a decent pint at the end of it. The routes vary in length and their difficulty. But, there are routes to suit different tastes and abilities.
Daniel Neilson marks the routes on Ordnance Survey maps in the book, but you will need to buy a map for most of the routes for the full details on the ground. He describes the route and each recommended pub too.
It's well worth buying if you want some interesting routes to add to your collection. And, if you like a good pint after your walk.
You buy Wild Pub Walks, by Daniel Neilson and published by CAMRA for £7.91 on Amazon.
Here's my adventure memory for this episode.
It's been a long, hot summer in the UK. The last time this happened, I was nine years old and it was 1976!
But, this hot summer brought back memories of when I set off in August 1991 with my brother, Dan, to cycle to Cape Town, South Africa.
It was warm when we set off from our Dad's house in Hampshire. But, it was to get much hotter when we got into France.
The heat was intense and we were going to have to get used to it. We covered 60 and 100 miles a day, but we'd not trained in any heat at all.
In that heat, you need to drink a lot of fluids. Our aluminium bottles didn't keep our water cool. In France and Spain, we could stop to get cool water. But, later on as we went into Morocco, it was not going to be so easy.
But later, we learnt to cool our water down with a simple trick. We wrapped a wet sock around each bottle. The evaporative effect kept our water as cool as you'd expect from a bottle of refrigerated water.
This small but effective trick helped keep us fresh and hydrated in the heat of the coming months.
That's the end of the first Hawkins' Adventures podcast. I hope you enjoyed it and thank you for listening.
I've love to hear your feedback, about your travel adventures or any questions you have.
In the next episode, I'll be talking about wild camping and canoeing in Sweden. Plus, I'll review another outdoor book, more equipment and adventure memories.
Thank you again for listening. Find my website at whawkins.uk and I look forward to hearing from you.