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I did the Pennine Way back in 1981. The red Jag 7 rucksack was every bit as heavy as it looks in this photo of fresh-faced youth and tweed. We hitched our way up the country during one of the many rail strikes that were a feature of growing up in the 70’s. I could barely lift the darn bag into the cab of the lorry that had stopped for us. We made the usual travellers conversation with the driver who was just a little older than us. “What are you delivering?” His reply did not seem strange at the time,  “Coleslaw”.

Mark, me and my red rucksack

The first day of the walk I put a sweat shirt, two t-shirts and a pair of jeans in a rubbish bin in an effort to lighten the horrible beast on my back.

Then as now, the weight of food and how you go about cooking it is a problem for the self-propelled traveller. We have cycled across France twice without taking any cooking system as we were in a hurry and the restaurant visits were part of the holiday. For  the world trip however, simple economics mean that we have to get cooking sorted or we will be bankrupt, starving and possibly both.

I am waiting for a Titanium frying pan from Japan made by Evernew, that should arrive at backpacking light this week. Everything else is MSR Titanium as we really like the handles  of the pans and it all sits on top of a roaring Primus Omnifuel stove.

The bushcraft trip to the woods today was for the sheer joy of it all but also to hone our skills at fast hight calorie snacks – Bannock loaf and the less well-known Mini Pitta bread filled with artisan dark chocolate and then toasted in a homage to Pain au Chocolate ( from the Camping Cook book by Annie Bell).

Fire steel ignition

Bannock ready to eat

As we travel we use our Kelly Kettle for as many tea making sessions as possible and it pays back its weight and bulk in fuel saved and brings a smile to our faces. It’s the cheapest and simplest way to experience some of the thrills of being an engine driver from the age of steam. Great fun- get one now!

The Bannock production went very well indeed and so did the chocolate melt pitta bread. Two from two and with a little Autumn sunshine warming what had been the first cold morning at this end of the year things had turned out splendid. We were joined by dippers shooting past us up and down the stream (strangely this is the third bird I could identify after Robin and Budgie as it features on the cover of my first nature book, the title of which I can also remember, ” My first Nature Book”( I have it still somewhere) . Wrens called out from the root twisted banks. Pound for pound the loudest of birds. It was a great day and we learned stuff on our trip to Saltoun Big Wood – and even though Esther had forgotten the tea bags we could fall back on some of our bushcraft training.

Heather tea