Trekking

Video: Mark Walking The World

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So following on from Ali's walking video, Here is my 10 months of travel condensed into a few minutes. We recorded little moments of walking, trekking or hiking (they're all the same thing right?) from across the globe that took us all across these countries: Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Jordan, Armenia and Georgia.

Music is Lemon Jelly's 'Ramblin Man', Enjoy...

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Travel: 5 Day Wild Camping Loop In The Lake District

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The roasting sun had been shining in London for months, our flat was dry, creaky and sun bleached.  Parks were bursting at the seams and my tan was reaching it’s Mediterranean limit.

So, we jested, why not ditch the the hottest heatwave since the 70s for some of England’s tallest mountains, largest lakes and most glorious countryside during its wettest month of the year! Welcome to the Lake District, a place whose precipitous weather predictions were correct. Despite the wet weather we had a fantastic time exploring lakes by foot, which was made all the more adventurous by wild camping.

 

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

We were drawn to the lakes after a short trip in May offered by Ali’s family. The Lake District provides many activities and it does so across a relatively small area of land. We saw potential for a walking adventure, so we arranged a trip back a few months later, oblivious to how wet it might be. Our plan was to take our camping equipment and wild camp our way between as many of the northern lakes (the quieter ones) as possible. We didn’t plan the route and did most of our mapping via Maps.me, deciding as we went where we’d go next. We also opted to keep this trip budget, aiming to spend £25 a day, we’ll let you know how we got on.

 

Travel

We travelled to Penrith from London via National Express on a night bus, acquiring £10 tickets pp per way.  We slept on the bus and set alarms for 5am when we arrived at Penrith. Luckily there’s a 24hr McDonald’s next to the bus stop were we could wait until 7am when the first bus (X5) to Keswick arrives. The bus takes about 45 minutes and costs £7.40 pp. For the rest of our visit we would be walking, so pack your boots!

Lake Buttermere

Lake Buttermere

Planning

There aren’t many places to restock your food provisions once you leave Keswick. So if you’re planning on walking the route, make sure you’ve thought about your supplies for the amount of days you'll be camping for. The following supplies lasted us for 4 days. We carried cheese, which could pose a few health risks if it gets hot, luckily for us the environment was cool and the cheese lasted well in the depths of our bags. Our food cost £22 for 4 days.

 

Breakfast

  • Instant Coffee

  • Milk powder

  • Porridge

  • Cinnamon

Snacks

  • Biscuits

  • Nuts

  • Bananas

  • Apples

Lunch

Sandwich made from:

  • Cheese

  • Bread

  • Spicy Chipotle Paste

  • Tomato

Or

  • Noodles

  • Spicy paste

Dinner

  • Salt & Pepper (brought from home)

  • Olive oil (brought from home)

  • Garlic

  • Pasta

  • Courgette

  • Tomato purée and water

  • Cheese

Those homemade sandwiches....

Those homemade sandwiches....

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Water

This was the trickiest part because people we chatted too were iffy on if we chould drink from the streams as there’s so much livestock. We didn't take any risks and filled up at pubs, cafes, campsites and even knocked on someone’s door. Everyone was happy to help us. We left London with 2 x 1 litre bottles and scavenged 2 x 500ml plastic water bottles, which we cleaned and reused. This was enough for half a day, with water for drinking and water for cooking with. We brought water purification tabs with us too but didn’t use them.

 

Equipment

We didn’t buy anything new for this trip, opting to use our beaten old equipment that wasn’t very expensive in the first place. Point being, you don’t need fancy equipment to get your camp on...you will find a link to our living in a tent post at the bottom of this article.

 

  • 2 person lightweight Berghaus tent - 2kg

  • sleeping bag (1 per person)

  • hob

  • gas

  • pots, pans and lids

  • small wooden spoon

  • 1 litre water bottle (1 per person)

  • penknife

  • cup (1 per person)

  • spork (1 per person)

  • waterproof jacket

  • decent hiking boots

  • gaffa tape

  • first aid kit

  • quick dry towel

  • torch

  • waterproof trousers

  • warm clothes, hat, gloves

  • phone charger / battery charger for emergencies

  • entertainment - ebook, cards, music etc

  • suncream and hat

Optional luxuries

  • roll mat

  • blow up pillow

  • dry bag

 

Map

Here is the route we took on our wild camp adventure...

Here is the route we took on our wild camp adventure...

 

Walking Route

The walk up to Castle Crag

The walk up to Castle Crag

Day 1 /  10 hours walking 

This was longest walk of the loop as we wanted to wake up somewhere new for day 2. Arriving in Keswick at 8am we started by stocking up on food at the Co-op and set off clockwise around lake Derwent aiming for the Chinese bridge. You’ll pass the Lodore Falls Hotel where you can restock your water. From the Chinese bridge we skirted south around the fell towards Manesty and then Castle Crag, these are clearly signposted. If you’re feeling tired you could camp at Rosthwaite or Borrowdale, which lie at the bottom of the Honister pass. If you’ve still got the beans head up to the Honister pass along the roadside path where you’ll soon see a YHA hostel and slate mine with cafe. We were tired so it would have been rude not enjoy a cake, or two (£4.50) and a free hot water!

With our sugars replenished we set off down the western side of the pass towards Gatesgarth aiming for Buttermere lake. Unfortunately, the only route available, short of tackling the Great Gable, is along the road or an easily missed mountain pass (which we did miss). The surroundings are stunning and this particular road is often cited as one of the most beautiful in the country, so walking it ain’t so bad. After 2 hours the lake becomes visible and we trace around the right of lake to find a secluded spot under large trees just below the huge rough ramblers house. Camp setup, we continue along Buttermere for another 30 mins into the village to restock our water and enjoy a swift half at the The Fish Inn. The sun shines at 5pm and we smile contently in the beer garden before heading back to the tent for supper with aching legs.

 

Sunset at Lake Derwent

Sunset at Lake Derwent

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Day 2 / 7 hours walking

It’s very wet the next morning so rather than tackle the Hay Stacks, a high fell overlooking Buttermere, we decide to walk the opposite way around the lake into Buttermere villlage. A whole circuit of Buttermere will take 2hrs. We arrive completely soaked and hit up the Skye Farm Tea Room for cream tea, which costs £4.50 per person and fills us up like Popeye and spinach. A rest bite from the elements is welcomed as we plan the remainder of the day. Rather ignorantly, we failed to notice the huge lake nestled above Buttermere! So spend the rest of the day enjoying a circuit around lake Crummock, which is a far quieter and larger excursion than Buttermere. The walk is lovely and changes across the circuit, and the sun even comes out towards the end.  Ali returns to camp to find she has a burnt nose, that sneaky afternoon sun can catch you off guard so pack your suncream!

On the way to a rosey nose!

On the way to a rosey nose!

A circuit around Crummock takes 4 hours at a leisurely pace. Wild camping makes washing difficult so we decide to dunk ourselves in the ice cold lake in our underwear.  The French tourists laughed furiously as we flapped about in the water, it was worth it to hit the sleeping bag so fresh and so clean (yeah, think Outkast!).

Alternatively, if the weather is dry and mountains clear you could enjoy a day walk up Hay Stacks /Scarth Gap/ High Crag peaks.

 

On the way up Hay Stacks

On the way up Hay Stacks

Day 3 / 10 hours walking

The day started sunny with clear mountain peaks so we set off early and restocked our water with some kind rough ramblers staying in the house above our camp spot. Destination.... Hay Stacks. On a sunny day this is a relatively accessible climb to 600 meters. But on our trek the rain clouds returned, the wind picks up and we get drenched. The peak includes a scramble and the high winds put us off, so we found another route to the top around the back of the peak. This secondary route gave us a pretty sweet view of lake Ennerdale further east. The rain clouds were so misty that we couldn’t see any of the lakes to the north, so we go for a quick dash down. From the top of Hay Stacks it’s a clearly routed, if rather slippery, path that returns you to the farmhouse near Buttermere. We heard this walk should take 3 hours but it took us nearer 4.

 

Praying for some sun, we packed down camp and trekked to Buttermere village again and enjoyed another round of cream tea, at £4.50 each.  We just can't get enough of those warm scones!  Plus we need the calories with this much walking.  We had heard there was a shop at Lorton so we set off north along the road running parallel to lake Crummock. What Google suggested was a two hour walk was, in reality, a 4 hour one. Especially as we took a scenic path on a national cycle route via Thackthwaite. Although preferable to the road, it took far longer. If you’re tired then just stay on the main road. We checked out a few of the campsites nearby but they were pretty grotty and overpriced. So we headed to the hills behind the Wheatsheaf Inn for a wild camp spot, finding a secluded pitch about 10-15 mins from the pub. We enjoyed a rather lavish supper at the Wheatsheaf and slept like stones (or maybe scones) after the 10 hours of walking!

 

Walking to Lorton

Walking to Lorton

Day 4 / 5 hours walking 

We awoke early to a spritely farmer rounding his sheep in the next field, so we decided to do a runner before he told us off for camping there! At 8am we stomped into High Lorton and onto a country lane that would later join onto the B5292 via Whinlatter forest, heading east to Keswick. Finally the sun that the rest of country and had been enjoying all week hit the Lake District and we wonder through pine forests for 3 hours in beautiful sunshine. Although a lightly busy road, the fine views more than make up for the cars. We stop for some more cream scones (£5 for 2) in Braithwaite and arrive back in Keswick for lunch, cheap homemade Mali sandwiches of course! 

 

We doze in the Lower Fitz park all afternoon and set off around the Derwent for our final camping spot in the sun overlooking the lake. We find an absolute beauty about 40 mins in and watch an incredible sundown in surely the most stunning camping spot we’ve ever christened! A weather app makes us very aware that the forecast is awful for the whole next day. Enjoy it while it lasts, as they say.

 

Day 5

For our final day we had planned a hike up Skiddaw, north east of Keswick, but the weather was awful again. Think torrential rain until 12pm. Plans dashed, we moved to Weatherspoons to enjoy unlimited refills on hot drinks that fuelled the writing of this post. Later we jump on a bus (£7.40pp) back to Penrith before our night bus back to London (£10pp), with a few pints to inebriate the evening, ready for solid if awkward sleep on the bus. Last stop, the big smoke.

 

£4.50 Cream tea, get in!

£4.50 Cream tea, get in!

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Cost

Well our target for this trip was £25 a day, borrowed from the type of spending normally associated with Asia! We just about did it, averaging £22 (for two people) including travel and food. By wild camping we saved £75 and also gained the satisfaction of sleeping in some really interesting places, away from the often noisy hubbub of a campsite. We have omitted some of the luxuries like pints and cream teas because they’re not essential for the trip. If you were to add them in it will take our total up to £38 a day (for two people) which still ain’t bad for a trip in pricey old Blighty.

If you get a chance to trek up Cat Bells by Derwent Water on a clear day then you won't be disappointed by the views!

If you get a chance to trek up Cat Bells by Derwent Water on a clear day then you won't be disappointed by the views!

Video

 

With a bit of planning, the right equipment and the will to go against the grain a little, you can have a wild low cost adventure in one of the most beautiful spots in the country. We hope you feel Inspired to get out there and start your own exploration! It’s so much easier than you think...

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Travel - 5 Day Wild Camping Loop In The Lake District, By Studio Mali
 

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Video: Ali Walking The World

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Here is 10 months of travel condensed into just a few minutes. We recorded little moments of walking, trekking or hiking (they're all the same thing right?) from across the globe that took us to the following countries: Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Jordan, Armenia and Georgia.

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Jordan: Trekking Through The Mujib Nature Reserve To The Dead Sea

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Mujib to the Dead sea

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Wow - Jordan...

... you are a beautiful, relaxing and mystical place. It’s seriously civilised too making it the perfect place to adjust to middle eastern living. Although, we were very surprised just how costly our Jordan trip would become, we rarely do any detailed research before arriving in a new country.  In the case of Jordan, researching beforehand would have been useful. It’s a vibrant country to visit, but one aimed firmly at the medium to high end visitor, not the scruffy £30-a-day travellers that we are.  As such, it has been a bit of an adventure trying to get deals, get around and visit the countries top attractions. 

 

Arriving in Madaba, about 40 minutes south of Amman, we were struck by just how expensive the local attractions were. To drive up to Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea and back would cost £/JD 40 (£/JD 10 more than our daily budget!), to walk the aqua water trek of Wadi Mujib was £/JD 26 just to get in, not including transport. Most of the accessible parts of the Dead Sea are run by private hotels, which had rooms starting at £/JD 400 a night!  We were worried, how would we get to these places on our tiny budget? 

 

Well, we researched into a lesser known trekking route that passes through the Mujib Nature Reserve and finishes at the Dead Sea!  Sounds like the perfect day to us; trekking, adventure and stunning scenery. I can tell you now... we did it, it’s possible, we trekked through the nature reserve and swam in the Dead Sea as the sun set, it was an incredible day and cost only £/JD 12 but only with a bit of luck.

Stock up in the bakery on I Yarmouk in Madaba

Stock up in the bakery on I Yarmouk in Madaba

 

What To Prepare

It’s worth noting this is quite an adventurous route and requires some trekking experience, as well as being well-prepared and some common sense. You’ll be walking across Jordan’s rugged desert terrain with no guidance, roasted by the midday sun with only the continuous view of the ever enlarging Dead Sea as your guide. Be aware that you could be walking anywhere between 4 and 6 hours so you should be quite fit and happy to walk in the sun all day. 

You’ll need to run out and grab some supplies before you leave, all our supplies and water cost just £/JD 3.50. We use water purifying tabs to clean the local water, it’s cheaper and reduces our use of plastic. 

Firstly, download Maps.Me.

Ensure Jordan has been downloaded. Mark the following points ‘Mukawir’ ‘memorial for John the Baptist’ and ‘Herodus Spring’ (coordinates: 31°35′50.1″N 35°33′34.86″E).

Water - prepare 2 litres per person 

Food - Jordanian bakeries are perfect for cheap goods, we bought flat breads and sweet foods. We picked up hummus, crisps and fruit from a local shop. 

 

Equipment

  • Sun cream - high SPF, we had 50.
  • Walking boots
  • Clothing - that will protect you from the sun, so long sleeved tops and trousers, buff for your neck
  • Hat
  • Walking poles (optional but useful)
  • Swimming trunks
  • Light towel 

 

How To Start The Trek

This trek is best started from the busy city of Madaba, and 27km south of there at the top of a mountain is a village called Mukawir.  The day rate for a taxi is £/JD 40 but you can avoid paying that much by getting a one way Uber to Mukawir for around £/ JD 8. The Fortress of Machaerus is a local attraction and it’s also the treks starting point, luckily Uber will automatically set this as the destination as the site itself is quite popular. The journey takes around 30 - 40 mins. We arrived just after 9am.

 

The Fortress Of Machaerus

The fortress is worth visiting before you start the trek, especially if you have an interest in biblical references. It was a battlement used for spotting invasions and may have been the place where John the Baptist was beheaded! Duelling factions eventually destroyed the fortress, whose crumbling remains are still visible now.

Mujib to Dead Sea Trek-01.jpg

 

Starting The Trek To The Dead Sea

To visit the fortress you’ll need to walk up pathed route to the top. To start the trek you’ll need to walk back to the bottom again but you should look out for well trodden animal path in the rocky terrain. Follow the path with you eyes first, it should lead to the next mountain (named Qullat al Mashnaqah) due west from Machaerus. If you can see a path tracing the mountain to the west jump over the wall and follow the path to the top of the mountain.

The Fortress of Machaerus

The Fortress of Machaerus

Here is some general advice for following the route. There are several routes used by farmers, their herds and also roaming goats. The goat tracks are tight and generally trace higher terrain, which are more treacherous and best avoided. For the most part, the route is an easy walk and is well trodden. We followed a goat track following a locals advice and it quickly became slippery, steep and dangerous, if you approach similar terrain you are on the wrong path and should turn back.

Views from Mujib are stunning

Views from Mujib are stunning

 

Trekking From the Qullat al Mashnaqah to the Dead Sea

It’s worth noting that we walked the wrong way down the right-hand side of Qullat al Mashnaqah mountain based on the (incorrect) advice of a local farmer who wanted to help us. He rang a friend to give us directions in English but directed us towards the bottom of the Wadi where there was no actual path. We ended up wasting 1.5 hours following his advice and basically rock climbing a dangerous goats path. So, getting advice from locals might not be that useful. I’m sure these guys walk these paths everyday but they’re too dangerous for trekkers who aren’t experienced climbers. You can easily avoid this by simply climbing up over the top of mountain, the trail is pretty easy to spot.

 

Once you’ve reached the top of the mountain the journey down is actually quite easy as you’ll have two paths to choose from. One is a walking route that contours the edge of the peaks, the other is a wide dirt path set back from the edge. We took the wide dirt road path because you can’t get lost on a road, right? You actually can’t, the route down is very easy but just watch out for loose stones and your ankles. Another benefit, you won’t meet any cars on this dirt road and it’ll take you through some incredible terrain. We stopped at many points to take in the rugged scenery and enjoy a picnic. You’ll also be walking ever closer to the Dead Sea and this a perfect gauge to work out how long you’ll have left. Our entire walk took 6 hours but 1.5 hours was added due to the wrong path at the start. 

Rocky... bring your boots! 

Rocky... bring your boots! 

 

Walking The Road To Herodus Springs

When the dirt road finally joins a tarmac road you’ll be close to the sea but you’ll need to navigate down some springs to join the main road, this is where the common sense comes into play. It’s not far so we’re sure you’ll find a route down, we found a well trodden route close to where locals were bathing in some springs by looking for heavy footprints in the ground.

Walking the hot dusty road was the only snag of the day

Walking the hot dusty road was the only snag of the day

Frustratingly, much of the Dead Sea in inaccessible due to government fencing, we guessed this is part of their border controls from Israel. You’ll need to walk down the hill to reach road ‘65’ and then north to Herodus Spring. We won’t lie, walking alongside a busy road for 3km is not the best. Some armed guards at an army checkpoint were especially interested in how we got to the road without a car, few people do this walk it seems. Continue walking until you spot big holes cut into the fences and then further on a whole section of the fence has been removed so cars can park near the springs and the Dead Sea. We were so happy to see local families down by the sea enjoying the beach. This spot was definitely a locals place to bathe but it was also pretty secluded and barely busy with no more than 3 families visible from the shore. Floating in the Dead Sea after 6 hours of trekking was the perfect end to the day. Don’t forget to rub some enriching salty mud into your skin for the perfect spa treatment, never has my skin felt smoother!

Bathing in the Dead Sea

Bathing in the Dead Sea

 

Getting back to Madaba

I’m sure you’ve been wondering how we got back to Madaba for free. Well, we were ready to pay for either a yellow private taxi, a white shared taxi or a local mini bus. But before we could hail any of those, a kind Jordian man named Musa and his friend Hasan stopped and offered us a journey, we offered him money but he didn’t want any because he was heading to Madaba anyway. This encounter turned our amazing day into an unforgettable one. Musa kindly offered us tea at his house and we had the privilege of meeting his son too. After two cups of sweet Jordian tea, some laughs and an amazing sunset across their veranda. Later, Hasan drove us back to our hotel in Madaba. What a day. One of our favourite from our entire 9 months on the road. 

Musa, his son and Hassan

We finished off our cheap day by eating in the local kitchen of Abu Yousef found on the back street behind the famous Haret Jdoudna restaurant. Our meal was just £2/JD for hummus, meat and tomato, huge breads, pickle dip and fresh onion chilli and tomato. Fresh, tasty and cheap. 

 

Our day at the Dead Sea was so memorable, trekking unmarked routes through a national park, floating in the salty water and our ad hoc journey home with friendly Jordanians. The perfect low cost day out in the Middle East. 

 

We hope you found our post helpful? If you have questions, suggestions or thoughts. Please add your comment in the box at the bottom of post. Thank you for reading.

 

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Video: Nepal's Annapurna Circuit

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After 3 weeks of continuous walking, where we covered more than 200km, with half of it at high altitude was not without it's challenges! Ali had an awful stomach bug for the first 7 days and I had my first taste of altitude sickness but we overcame these troubles to reach the highest lake in the world and walk the longest pass in the world, reaching an air thinning height of 5416 metres above sea!

For all it's aches and pains walking the Annapurna circuit has been one of the best things i've ever done. The landscapes are beautiful and change every day, we met loads of great people and the local Nepali are such welcoming hosts. What's more, two people can live in the Himalayas for just £20 a day! I'd swap that for London any-day... We just need to save some cash to come back now!

If you love the outdoors and haven't heard of the Annapurna circuit this video will give you a little taste of what it's all about.

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All of the articles on our website are free but if you can support us by viewing, sharing or even purchasing from our travel-inspired shop, you'd make our day! Every share, like or sale gets us closer to our dream.....you guys rock.

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