Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus

Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus

Within the UK you will find Bilberry bushes growing amongst heather and gorse plants on upland acidic soils. I’ve found them on pretty much every UK mountain I have climbed or visited, even if the species was only represented by a few straggly bushes clinging on between some rocks, away from the relentless grazing of sheep or deer.

It is sometimes known as the Judas Tree, from the tale that Judas Iscariot hung himself from the bough of an Elder. There are also many (often paradoxical) folk tales surrounding the use and planting of the tree – from seeing the devil himself after burning the wood to planting Elder near a home to ward him off. Continue reading

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REVIEW: Firepot Dehydrated Meals

REVIEW: Firepot Dehydrated Meals

Firepot are a relatively new supplier in the UK expedition food market but the information both on their website and what I had heard from other users was encouraging. I’ve been trying them out on wild camping and bivvying trips over the past few weeks – and so far I haven’t died. Continue reading

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Course report – Wild Camping Weekend June 2018

Course report – Wild Camping Weekend June 2018
Course Report - Wild Camping Weekend Photos and notes from our June 2018 Snowdonia Wild Camping Weekend Last weekend I was joined by Richard, Allan and Amy for our 2018 Mountain Wild Camping course in the hills of Snowdonia. This course has two learning outcomes - planningRead more...

REVIEW: MSR WindBurner Group Stove System

REVIEW: MSR WindBurner Group Stove System

The MSR WindBurner range has been updated for 2018 with a wind-resistant remote canister stove, new pans and even a huge 4.5L stockpot. Richard Prideaux has been reviewing it in the mountains of Snowdonia and Scotland over the winter of 2017-2018 for UKHIllwalking.com Continue reading

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The mystery of the Cwm Tryfan ice axe

The mystery of the Cwm Tryfan ice axe

The trip to the summit and back was uneventful (apart from my stirring rendition of Auld Lang Syne on the South summit), but as we descended the path out of Cwm Tryfan alongside the stream leading to Gwern Gof Uchaf something strange occurred… Continue reading

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Outdoor Fashion Shoots in Snowdonia

Outdoor Fashion Shoots in Snowdonia

It seems like 2017 was the summer of location work for Original Outdoors. We have been putting our experience of working in the world of outdoor adventure in North Wales to use as consultants and location scouts for several years, but this was a busy summer for us.

We were contacted by Claudia from German production company Natural Born Explorers for a project they were working on for a European outdoor clothing and equipment retailer. They had already chosen Snowdonia as a general area for their shoot but wanted some help finding locations, gaining permissions and just the logistics of shooting in a different country. After several Skype conversations and emails we narrowed it down to some key areas in the mountains and forests of Northern Snowdonia.

Then it was down to the usual pre-shoot planning – working with landowners to gain permissions for commercial photography on their land, timelines to make sure we had enough time on location to get what the client needed and be in the right place for the ‘golden hour’ at sunset. We also needed to keep an eye on the weather and make sure that the entire crew were equipped for several days in the mountains. Continue reading

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We want your outdoor questions!

We want your outdoor questions!

We want your outdoor questions!
Pretty much every week we receive an email, Facebook message, Twitter DM or comment somewhere that is asking for advice, information or just somebody asking for help with their own adventure.
Of course we try to help as much as we can, and it’s not unusual to find ourselves on the phone for quite a while talking through one subject or another.

This has given me an idea – why not make this more of a public process? The questions we get are often very similar to each other and I know that more people would possibly benefit from those answers.

So this is the idea – you can submit your questions to us via one of the following sources, and we will do our best to answer them in our upcoming videos: Continue reading

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Our 2018 course dates are online!

Our 2018 course dates are online!

The 2018 Courses are now live! Around this time of year I normally find myself pretty much locked in the office working out course dates and descriptions for the courses next year. We’ve found that a good number of our course participants attend our courses after receiving

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REVIEW: Fjallraven Kaipak 58 Rucksack

REVIEW: Fjallraven Kaipak 58 Rucksack

There is enough padding on the waist and shoulders for them not to be noticed, but it doesn’t seem excessive. For one overnight trip with clients the overall ‘wet’ weight of the pack (including food, water and camera kit) was around 17kg and our reviewer was not left wanting more foam between the straps and my body. The adjustment for both the waist and shoulders stays in place once set, which is more than can be said for many packs on the market. Continue reading

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Private Expedition Training in North Wales

Private Expedition Training in North Wales

Private Expedition Training with Mike and Wayne In the winter of 2016 I was contacted by a gentleman (Mike) who was enquiring about the possibility of some bespoke private training. Funnily enough, Mike had found us through the review of the Katadyn Gravity Camp Water Filter we

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REVIEW: Mammut Ayako High GTX Boot

REVIEW: Mammut Ayako High GTX Boot

I have been using the Mammut Ayako High GTX boots for a few months and they are sticking equally well to rock and to mud. The full review is on the UKHillwalking.com website here, and the video review is below. Continue reading

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Wild Camping in Snowdonia during a storm!

Wild Camping in Snowdonia during a storm!

Wild Camping in Snowdonia Wind, rain and a microadventure in Snowdonia Rhian and I head off one evening for a wild camp on the side of Moel Siabod in northern Snowdonia

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How to put together a first aid kit for the outdoors

How to put together a first aid kit for the outdoors

How to put together a first aid kit outdoors Wilderness personal medical kits How do you put a first aid kit together for the outdoors? Or a bushcraft first aid kit? Are first aid kits for mountain biking different to ones for kayaking? Carrying a first aid

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REVIEW: Fortis SAS Waterproof Smock

REVIEW: Fortis SAS Waterproof Smock

Back in the middle of 2016 we visited the Fortis Clothing factory shop and this is the coat I walked away with. I wanted an all-round tough outdoor jacket, and the Fortis SAS Smock fitted my needs. I ended up with one of the last with the older ‘Country Covers’ branding, Fortis being the new name for the family business run by Oliver Massey-Birch, but as far as I can tell this is the same build and design as the current Fortis SAS Smock. It’s worth noting from the outset that I have sewn a patch onto the arm pocket, through the outer pocket layer only. Continue reading

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RSBC on Ben Nevis – with Jon Culshaw

RSBC on Ben Nevis – with Jon Culshaw

RSBC 2016 Ben Nevis Trek Raising money for RSBC – featuring Jon Culshaw Back in October we helped organise a trek to the summit of Ben Nevis with RSBC – the Royal London Society for Blind Children. This is the accompanying video of the trek, featuring RSBC

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The role of Mountain Rescue

The role of Mountain Rescue

The role of Mountain Rescue? What job should UK mountain rescue teams be doing? Below is a quote from the wife of a UK Mountain Rescue team member, posted on the Facebook page of a regional newspaper on a story about Police pay: It’s an interesting one.

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Hunting for the Welsh Bigfoot

Hunting for the Welsh Bigfoot

Hunting for the Welsh Bigfoot with The Unexplainers About a year ago we were contacted by a production company producing a show for BBC Radio Wales to provide some training in tracking for the two presenters on a show called The Unexplainers. This isn’t too unusual for

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Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016

Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016

Outdoor First Aid Course Report March 2016 we’ve been working witht he team of volunteers at the Brymbo Heritage Project near Wrexham for over 6 months on a few projects, but the one that has really inspired us has been the pilot of a new outdoor qualification

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Beware the GWR… The rise of the Facebook guides

Beware the GWR… The rise of the Facebook guides

Beware the Guy With Rucksack (GWR) We’ve seen a troubling rise in online groups taking people into the mountains without training, experience or any of the necessary skills over the last couple of years. There is a term in commercial photography, particularly the type involving models –

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Weekend Navigation Course Report February 2016

Weekend Navigation Course Report February 2016

Over the past two days I was joined by George, Chris and Barley in the hills of North-East Wales and the Clwydian Range AONB for the first Weekend Navigation Course of 2016. Continue reading

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10 Books you need for your Summer Mountain Leader Award

10 Books you need for your Summer Mountain Leader Award

Ten books for your Summer Mountain Leader Award The Mountain Leader award is often seen as the gateway into a career in outdoor instruction in the UK. The effort required to gather enough Quality Mountain Days, to go through the registration, training and assessment process and to

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NAVEMBER 2015

NAVEMBER 2015

NAVEMBER 2015 Every year we run a month of navigation training courses in North Wales and the Lake District during November. The courses run from entry-level Basic Navigation Courses through to GPS and Natural Navigation courses. November Navigation Course Dates Basic Navigation Course (Grasmere, Lake District) 7th-8th

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Bear Grylls – a fiction too far?

Bear Grylls – a fiction too far?

Bear Grylls – a fiction too far? Somebody asked me a question yesterday – a question that comes up most weeks with clients, or when people find out what I do for a living: “What do you think of Bear Grylls? Hmmm. Tough one. I normally answer

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The Autumnal Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox There are four dates in the year that are important for the natural navigator, and anybody whop wants to live their lives in touch with the seasons – the summer and winter solstices, and the spring and autumn equinoxes. Due to a 23.5 degree

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VIDEO: Water-to-Go – the water filter bottle

VIDEO: Water-to-Go – the water filter bottle

VIDEO: Water-to-Go – the water filter bottle We spotted Dave Shanks from Water-To-Go Ltd doing a demo of their water filtration bottle, turning dirty water into clean drinking water (with an excellent flow rate and inexpensive filter cartridge replacements!). Finding safe, clean drinking water is always a

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VIDEO: Paramo and the new Alta III Waterproof Jacket

VIDEO: Paramo and the new Alta III Waterproof Jacket

VIDEO: Paramo and the new Alta III Waterproof Jacket Richard managed to grab a short interview with Helen Howard from Paramo Ltd at the Outdoor Trade Show 2015 to ask her about the Paramo Directional Clothing System, how Paramo works and the new Paramo Alta III jacket

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Which is more accurate – mils or degrees?

Which is more accurate – mils or degrees?
Which is more accurate - mils or degrees? When folk book on to our mountain navigation courses we send a kit list over which includes something along the lines of "compass suitable for taking bearings, the baseplate type such as the Silva Type 4 is ideal". WeRead more...