Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
02, Jun, 2017
Turning a summer of adventure into something a bit more, errm, oddventurous
Hang about, what the heck is an Oddventure?
Good question. It’s an ideology really. The idea that getting to know the world’s wild places doesn’t have to be done conventionally. You don’t necessarily have to reach the summit, top 100km or burn 10 million calories, and not focusing too much on the goal, often leads to much more magical experiences. We might be preaching to the converted here and we've all probably seen videos of people taking homemade rafts down river for days, or crossing continents on scooters. Our friend don't hold back from injecting a veritable oddness to some adventure challenges.
But of course it doesn't have to be the craziest thing you can think of. The essence of an Oddventure is that you can explore areas you may not have been to before, try getting around in different ways, find out about any odd features and history that you'd not known before. Basically you can turn this process as odd as you like, we're not suggesting you need to get all whacky with it. In the making of Outpost issue 5 we decided to trial a little adventure on Kinder, our own space between that tied the issue together. It turned into a bit of a magical mystery tour, a historical and meta-physical exploration of the odd things found on Kinder.
However.... for another type of Oddventure then check out the Tutus and Beer Kegs daring deed. This in itself got us thinking about other more eccentric British races and challenges. In fact the more we got thinking about it the more wacky and crazy ideas we started coming up with, but we'll keep those to ourselves before we get talked into doing them. Why not make up your rules from a lucky dip, split criteria into categories such as transport, destination, companion, random object to carry, list a few and pick one of each from a hat. Who knows, you might end up having to travel to the coast, with your gran in a pedal go-cart, carrying a surfboard.
"And so like so many brilliant ideas, this idea to get to know our local hill better started in the pub. We’d been listening to an ex Peak District warden tell wonderful stories of rocks charged with energy, a strange honeycomb structure with no reason or permission to be built, aircra wrecks and upside down waterfalls. And slowly, an idea to discover something different on our home patch formed. We’d all climbed, walked, cycled and ran around this moorland plateau - could it still surprise us?
Armed with a list of some weird and wonderful spots on Kinder, we were inspired. We even had a new name for an unexpected adventure – an Oddventure, and after a few more beers we all solemnly swore that this would be the first of many. A couple of us decided to run, while the rest opted to hike. Maybe the gods of weird knew we were on a mission to discover their secrets, because the forecasted sun never appeared. We’d considered some sort of ceremonial robes for our magical tour, but we were glad of our waterproofs as we ascended into the dank cloud.
We almost missed the unassuming Edale Cross, an ancient stone monument. According to its little plaque, it's of national importance – it just seemed humble and modest to us – perhaps there’s a lesson for us all somewhere there. We turned northwards as the clouds began to shi and whirl, gritstone outcrops appearing briefly before being elementally eaten up again. We found the stone path which led us to the burial mound on Kinderlow End. Odd to think that over 3,000 years ago our Bronze Age ancestors were laying their dead to rest in this bleak, exposed spot. Who knows whether the dead can tell - but their view from the barrow is spectacular.
Back on the path towards the upside down waterfall, we bumped into our runner friends. The weather had turned more malevolent – the taste of angry pebbles of rain rather than springtime. We all sought sanctuary amongst the boulders. Over lunch they told us they’d got as far as the mythical Mermaid’s Pool. She hadn’t shown herself – probably a bit blowy for mermaids that day. The legend has it that if you see her on Easter Sunday, you’ll be given the gift of immortality – other versions of the story are a little more macabre. They’d been hoping to run to the Charged Rock, a little further along the path on Sandy Hayes, but had decided to turn back when the rain started to really bite. Once a year the druids of Manchester make a pilgrimage to this rock, collect the energy in a little wooden box and return it to Manchester to be released. Our minds fill with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark scenes somewhere in Cheetham Hill, but the truth is probably more nylon fancy dress meets a bit of harmless chanting.
Kinder downfall on a clear, blowy day is stunning. The wind angrily sends the water back up into the sky, creating a plume that can be seen from miles away. The waterfall may have been doing that on our visit – but we couldn’t see it through the cloud, so who knows? Despite a search for the newish beehive structure that apparently the park wardens are trying to investigate – Kinder managed to keep this particular secret. Everyone agrees it’s beautifully built but no one seems to know the why or the who. Answers on a postcard to Alpkit HQ please.
Though well-trodden, Kinder is still a magical place to spend a day and it seems to keep back a little mystery and intrigue, especially when wrapped in cloud."
BECOME AN ALPKIT ODDVENTURER.
Oddventures are about taking normal and tilting it a little. A new way to discover your home patch. A trip with all newbs rather than besties. Stay out longer, wake up earlier. Ditch Strava and go slower. Be a birder for the day if you’re a hard charging mountain biker. Learn bushcraft for the weekend if you’re a confirmed Air BnB’er.
Choose a way to mix things up and then write in to Alpkit Global HQ to let us know how you got on.
Keep an eye on the Alpkit Website and social media for more on #ODDVENTURE coming soon.
Shox Comfort TwinsModern sprung grip 3 section snaplock walking poles to improve motion and reduce knee impact on the trail.Sale: £29.99Was: £39.99
Balance [Mens]Perfectly balanced waterproof jacket for the wet weather warrior: a deceptively tough jacket, delivering bone dry days without the weight penaltySale: £139.99Was: £189.99
Kepler Boxers [Mens]Super comfortable, natural fibre technical merino boxer shortsSale: £21.99Was: £24.99
Chilkoot [Mens]Men's highly wind resistant softshell walking trousers with a DWR coating to shrug off the drizzleSale: £54.99Was: £69.99
Kepler Zip Top [Mens]Naturally anti-microbial superfine merino long-sleeved base layer with ¼ length zip neck for comfort, freshness, and next-to-skin comfortSale: £54.99Was: £64.99
TrekkersMid-weight trekkers. 2 pairs of COOLMAX® socks, for trekking, hiking, walking, and doing all kinds of awesome stuff.Sale: £11.99Was: £14.99
Koulin Trail Tee [Mens]Lightweight technical base layer t-shirt with Polygiene ™ technology, for activities where breathability and moisture wicking is keySale: £16.99Was: £19.99
Gravitas [Mens]Ultralight waterproof jacket for fast-paced running, riding and racing: a barely-there-barrier for ultimate wet weather freedomSale: £139.99Was: £159.99
Definition [Womens]Waterproof mountaineering jacket for the harshest of conditions: impenetrable storm protection, whatever the mountains throw at youSale: £189.99Was: £229.99
Kepler Zip Top [Womens]Naturally thermal and anti-microbial merino long-sleeved base layer with ¼ zip neck for warmth, freshness, and next-to-skin comfort in cooler climatesSale: £54.99Was: £64.99
Timbuktroos [Mens]Tough technical hiking trousers: comfortable, fast wicking and quick drying for hill-walking, travel and adventureSale: £38.99Was: £49.99
Koulin Trail Vest [Womens]Womens technical baselayer vest with excellent moisture wicking properties, fast drying with handy key pocket and flat locked seams for comfortSale: £16.99Was: £18.99
Gravitas [Womens]Ultralight waterproof jacket for fast-paced running, riding and racing: a barely-there-barrier for ultimate wet weather freedomSale: £139.99Was: £159.99
Carbonlite TwinsThe lightest fully-featured poles going! A high strength-to-weight ratio means minimal fuss for maximum support and reduced impact when walking, crossing rivers, going downhillSale: £54.99Was: £69.99
El Burro45 litre roll-top style duffle rucksack with sewn in daisy chain spawned from the legacy of our El Packer big wall stash bagSale: £59.99Was: £64.99
Kepler Lightweight BeanieNaturally technical, anti-microbial, and odour resistant merino beanie for keeping your head warm and comfortable when it’s chilly outSale: £15.99Was: £19.99
Gourdon 25Waterproof 25 litre roll-top drybag, simple, not fuss clean lines, ideal for anything from adventure races to the daily commute.Sale: £31.99Was: £35.99