The water sparkled and danced in the shimmering light of the sun as I dipped my wooden paddle into its depths for the first time. A long-awaited dream of paddling in Canada, Algonquin Park no less was finally being realised as we pushed away from the wooden jetty to start our journey.
Meeting everyone the previous morning, some for the first time was less picturesque as we shook hands amongst a pile of duffel bags and rucksacks on a busy Toronto sidewalk (pavement to us Brits).
There were seven of us in total – me, Stuart, Alan, Rich, Paul, Dave (and Matt who we’d meet up with later on). We would be spending the next 16 days with each other on a canoe trip with little to no contact with the outside world. I hoped we’d all get along.
It’s funny how little time I spent on Dartmoor growing up living only half an hour or so away from it’s wild borders. We’d take the occasional trip up there, usually the popular walk up Haytor from the neighbouring car park, but I had little sense of what lay beyond.
Walking didn’t really appeal, even when the opportunity to train and take part in the Ten Tors Challenge at school came along. Many of my friends took part (though never completed the challenge due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease) but I never felt the sense that I was missing out on anything.
Only more recently have I spent any considerable time exploring the rugged landscape fuelled by a desire to catch up on lost time. Preparing to walk the Pennine Way this summer has provided the perfect excuse to spend more time criss-crossing the wild playground in my backyard.
Gear choices can vary depending on a wide range of factors. How long am I going to be away? What environment am I travelling through? What type of trip am I taking? Is the weather likely to be good or bad?
Even with all these variables there are some essential items that I wouldn’t be without. These are the first to get put in my pack, around my neck, on my belt or in my pockets wherever I’m going.
Everyone has their own thoughts and preferences when it comes to equipment. These are simply my choices and what has worked for me in the past.
Lightning is one of the most dangerous weather conditions that you can encounter while on a wilderness trip. A powerful, electrostatic charge that illuminates the sky, invoking feelings of fear and awe in equal measure.
Your chances of getting struck let alone killed by lightning are remote but that can provide little relief when caught in a dramatic storm. In this article I’ll aim to highlight the dangers surrounding lightning and how you can improve your odds of avoiding being struck.