NNAS Courses in March 2018

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Coming up in March 2018 we have two National Navigation Award courses on the 2nd and 3rd of March we are running a Silver course at Venford (day 1) and Shipley Bridge (day 2) and then on the 12th and 13th of March we are running a Bronze course at Haytor and Trendlebeare. Both courses are non-residential 9-5 (with a bit of homework!) and cost £70. For fuller details see www.NNAS.org.uk or www.moorlandguides.co.uk or just email through our contact page.

NNAS Courses running in 2017

We have two more National Navigation Award Scheme courses running on Dartmoor this year:

19-20/06/17 NNAS Bronze course at Haytor and area cost £70 (non residential).

18-19/09/17 NNAS Silver course at Venford Reservoir and Shipley Bridge, cost £70 (non-residential).

Before booking on the silver course please ensure you either hold the bronze award or are competent with the skills described in the bronze syllabus. Please also register as a candidate (free) at www.nnas.org.uk  and then “enquire” through their website or email adrian@hillwise.co.uk using our contact page to book. Fuller details can be seen on the courses page of www.moorlandguides.co.uk

Review of PHD Tundra Jacket

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PHD Tundra jacket review…….a study in evolution.

Back in the day, back when I was young and short of cash Mountain Equipment produced the “Mountain Jacket” I should say THE Mountain Jacket. To my mind this garment was the bees knees able to compete with anything that is produced to this day. The jacket was made of Ultrafleece (Karisma by another name), a fleece marginally more windproof than other leading fleeces. It had four pockets, two chest ones positioned to avoid rucksack hip belts and two lower hand warmer pockets which likewise avoided the hip belt too. The waist was elasticared to hug the body and the arms were cut to maximise freedom of movement. The wrists had thumb loops and there was a fitted hood with a stiffened peak. The pockets meant that the torso was protected by a double layer of material at the front making the jacket quite windproof. The jacket also had abrasion resistant material on shoulders and the backs of arms etc. and it looked great. Plans Y Brennin staff told Mountain Equipment this was the one jacket they shouldn’t drop from the range…so ME did! It was years before they produced another jacket I would buy….decades in fact!IMG_0637

L-R Mountain Jacket, Taiga, Tundra

Fortunately for me one of the leading lights of Mountain Equipment in those days was Peter Hutchinson who eventually left the company to form Peter Hutchinson Designs, a mail order only company making some of the best warm gear on the market. Their down gear is legendary and they have a “design your own” sleeping bag range that is world class. Well just as I was getting desperate to replace my Mountain Jacket with something of similar quality and miserably failing to find one in 2008 ( I think) a mate tipped me off that PHD had a sale on and included was the Taiga. The Taiga was almost a clone of the Mountain Jacket but without the handwarmer pockets and the abrasion resistant shoulders. The two jackets were similar in weight, the Mountain Jacket being 580g to the Taiga’s 550g and the Taiga chest pockets were made of a more windproof material, offering better protecTion for the upper Torso. I liked them so much I bought two. I had one embroidered with my company logo and had the second fitted with lower handwarmer pockets. That second jacket has taken a hammering….8 winter trips to Scotland, countless family walks, commercial walks and courses I have run and 15 overseas expeditions in jungles, deserts, mountains and almost any other abuse you can imagine. It has lost weight…..it is only 530g, the extra pockets have worn out and it has become threadbare in places, but until this week it has remained my “go to” jacket.

So time has come to replace the Taiga and lo I spotted PHD had their Tundra jacket on Sale. At first glance you would be forgiven for assuming the Taiga and Tundra were the same jacket, but the Tundra weighs 640 g. It is almost identical to the Tundra in its cut, but instead of 1 layer of material it has 2 layers of fleece sandwiching a windproof membrane. Either red with a blue lining or blue with a red lining. so it’s heavier, but much more windproof and quite water resistant. Again there are no handwarmer pockets and again I am considering making an alteration. The only fault I have found with the new jacket so far, is that the thumb-loops are cut larger and so may allow more cold air than they might. Why this has changed isn’t clear to me, unless it is to use the loops whilst wearing thick gloves?

So far I love the Tundra. The pockets are so voluminous I can stuff them to the point where I look like a 38 Double D! The fleece keeps me warm and there is no restriction in movement. I wore it up several Munros last December and actually I did wonder if it could be too warm and I suspect I may go back to my Taiga when I head off to Borneo for a month in July. I intend to give the jacket a good hammering and update this review this time next year.

Courses in March 2017

We have an NNAS Bronze course running on the 13th and 14th of March (non-residential) at a cost of £60 per person. The 1st day will run from  Haytor lower car park and the second from Trendlebeare down car park (just past the cattle grid). Both days will be 9-5 with a little “Homework” overnight. They will be entirely practical out on the moor, so dress accordingly!

On the 20th of March we have a Navigation Workshop running from 10am-4pm at Venford reservoir west car park. These are very popular usually so early booking is advised. £20

On 21/03/17 we are running a guided walk from Widecombe village car park from 10am until 4pm cost £10.

To book onto any of these events e-mail adrian@hillwise.co.uk or text to 07740983334

Autumn Navigation and Backpacking courses.

We have just posted details of our Navigation Workshops and Expedition Workshops for September and October on the Moorland Guides website so if you need to tweak your navigation or want to make the jump from daywalker to multi-day backpacker why not sign up! If you do miss these there will be more, but after October the weather is seldom so clement!

Upcoming courses

Our 2016 courses have been very busy so far, but there are a few vacancies left:

Currently there are 2 places on our Navigation workshop on 29/02/16, a space on out Night Navigation workshop at Haytor on 11/03/16,  and 6 places on the Navigation Workshop at Cold East Cross on 11/04/16.

Book now to avoid disappointment via mail@hillwise.co.uk

Suzanne passes her Hill and Moorland Leader Award

Hillwise are pleased to announce that Suzanne Partridge last weekend passed her Hill and Moorland Leader Award, a Mountain Training qualification that allows her to lead groups on moorland and hills which don’t entail scrambling, ropes etc. This means she can now take a more active role in the business when required, as well as assisting the training of local Scout teams training for the Ten Tors event. Her next challenge will the the MT “Expedition Module”!

Last Navigation Workshop of the Spring

Our last Navigation Workshop of the spring is on 11/05/15 at Venford Reservoir west car park. Cost as usual is £20 per person and it runs from 10am until 4pm. Telephone or email to book, it is already half full. Our Navigation workshops will then resume in early September for those who can’t make May! Don’t forget if you want a guided walk just ring or Email to discuss your options.

Hill Skills course 16/03/15

We are running a  2 day introduction to the skills required for hillwalking: Clothing choice, route planning, navigation, safety, environment issues, we will cover them all. The course is accredited by Mountain Training England. The first day will involve a half day inside at Bellever YHA looking at the theory before getting out for a half day practical. The second day will be all practical and run from Postbridge car park. The course is non residential, but you could probably book in at the YHA if need be. You will need good waterproofs, stout footwear, warm clothing and a packed lunch each day. Adults only, no dogs IT IS NECESSARY TO REGISTER WITH MOUNTAIN TRAINING ENGLAND (cost £20) prior to booking.

Closing date for applications

We have another Navigation Workshop on 13/10/14

Another of our popular navigation workshops run from Venford (west) car park. Starting at 10 am and running until 4pm, we will assess your current skill level and attempt to develop them further. It is essential to book (email adrian@hillwise.co.uk) and the cost is £20 per person. You will need to be 18yrs of age and bring stout footwear, good waterproofs and a packed lunch. A silva type 4 compass and a laminated OS map OL28 are desirable but by no means compulsory.