Monday, 6 February 2012

Backpackers weekend - Northants/Bucks

Snow and sleet was forecast for both Saturday and Sunday but I don't think I remember seeing what the temperature would drop to. There was a good turnout of around twenty Club members. It was pretty cold on arrival at Grendon, a regular February meeting point. I pitched the tarp, cooked up a quick meal and then headed up to the pub, The Half Moon where they had Charles Wells Eagle IPA on draught. I slept well until around 5am when I woke with cold feet. Nothing I put under them made things any better and I didn't get to sleep again. Young Jess who was with us went across to her car at about 4am and reported later that the temperature was minus 11 Celsius and I can well believe it. The tarp was iced up inside and out but it was only my feet that were suffering.

Andris was later to go home as his sleeping bag was only a 1-2 season. Breakfast for me was a bit miserable. The gas cylinder was cold and took an age to heat water for coffee and I had partly frozen milk on my cereal - not ideal on a very cold morning. I was glad to be moving on.

Our day's walk took us through Bozeat and then south into Buckinghamshire for a change. It was along the Three Shires Way for much of the time. We spent perhaps too long at The Horseshoe in Lavendon, a village I used to pass through hundreds of times in another life. We dragged ourselves away eventually to head for our pitch for the night but found our intended route across the River Great Ouse blocked by works being carried out so an obliging farmer's wife allowed us to cut through her fields to avoid road walking and we detoured into Olney to get to our site behind the Robin Hood in Clifton Reynes by another, but longer, route.

As I pitched, snow started to fall but we got into the pub at around 5.30 and what a pub! Excellent beer and very good food. By the time I headed off to be horizontal the snow was several inches deep. However, it was probably about ten degrees warmer than the night before so cold wasn't a problem. I woke a few times in the night and pushed snow off the tarp.

It was a snowy walk back to Grendon on Sunday. By a pre-arrangement and a 'phone call before we left, we were able to cross the River Great Ouse, the resident guards on the work site having tethered the guard dogs and we walked through the compound to cross the bridge. After a while we were following the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk and then north through the village of Easton Maudit and then back to Grendon.


  1. Tarp did good in the snow Geoff. Bit of an interesting walk with all the changes and guard dogs needing tying up.

  2. Great post, can I ask what sleep system you use I.e sleeping bag, mat etc