During the weekend it was time to join my friends for our annual hike adventure where we would get together for aching limbs and lack of sleep. This year was a special year, the tenth anniversary of our annual outing and what made it more special was that everyone who went on the first trip to Dartmoor in 2008 was able to make it this year.
Last year we navigated our way around the north east coast of the Isle of Wight, starting at Ryde and finishing in Shanklin, some 13 miles along the coastal path, before turning back the following day to hike to the final campsite inland.
This year we covered 22 miles of coastline in two days and as I write this post a day later, I can feel every step in my aching legs! But it was worth it!
An Opportunity to Prepare
These adventures always give me a chance to put my Bug Out Bag preparation to the test, because although I’m it’s not a race to escape from impending doom, there’s no support car following us around. If you want it on the trip then you’re carrying it on your back through every mile.
This year I needed to replace my original sleep mat which was both cumbersome and heavy (1.5kg / 3lb) with something much lighter and much smaller, whilst hopefully not sacrificing too much comfort. My search for ultralight mats resulted in the Klymit Inertia X Frame Ultralight Backpacking Pad, when I saw how small it folded down, that it was a third of the weight of my existing mat and had good reviews, I took the chance.
After a quick test of the mat on my living room carpet and with the rest of my pack checked and double checked to make sure everything could be as light as possible, we took stepped off the ferry and the walking began. Here I’d like to share some of the amazing images we managed to capture.
The journey took us through a vast range of scenery from the rolling windy paths on the edge of slowly eroding cliffs, to tracks alongside farmer’s fields, through seaside villages and crisp clean coastal defences, alongside botanical gardens and under dense wooded canopies and we all made it, some with a little more puffing and panting than the others, but we all made it to the pub in time for tea and medals, or a pint of local lager and a bacon and cheese burger, so it turned out.
And the mat! Yes, to my surprise I got a good night sleep. Although designed to go inside the sleeping bag, I found it was much more comfortable outside. It was comfortable in all sleeping positions and it definitely earns its place in the Bug Out Bag.
I hoped you enjoyed the photos and I can highly recommend the Isle of Wight coastal paths as a great place for rambling or hiking, either carrying a 90 litres pack or just out for a day trip.
All the images in this post are copyright Alistair Wilson.