Teamwork: How to not be that guy.

img_20161101_223220Spending prolonged amounts of time with a small group of people can have its challenges – especially when the pretext is that you’re all good friends. Unlike in the workplace, where you’re free to dislike one, two, or all of your colleagues. There’s a lot at stake here – not only years of friendship potentially undone within a weekend of camping; but it’s in your interest to maintain that friendship – it could be the difference between launching a rescue attempt to save your sorry ass – or them enjoying some extra tent space and the additional food supplies!

remySo here’s some tips to not only keep your friends – but ensure you’re not abandoned hill-side by your team.

1. Don’t be annoying for the sake of being funny – okay so obviously there’s just some moments during a 12 hour drive, or 3 hour flight where someones going to be fast asleep with mouth wide open; these moments should be enjoyed by all [click here for evidence] but just know when a jokes a joke, and when you’re being an absolute…twit?

2. Just be cool – I mean being cool is in direct opposition to being a Dork, so I guess we would struggle with this one; but essentially just keeping an eye out for everyone; well, in our case Remy – as you can see (left), when he’s not asleep he can look sad. Maybe he is sad. We didn’t think to ask. Poor Remy.

Image result for hangry

3. Know yourself – If you know you’re prone to getting hangry (in our case this is Mike), keep yourself fed! Otherwise you’re not only going be spending alot of time feeling grouchy, but also your team will think you’re being an idiot. So really this is just being aware of what annoys you, and basically making sure you’re not putting yourself into situations where you’re going to turn irrational and irritable – applicable to smokers, coffee addicts, and the sleep-needy.

4. Know your mates – so we’ve learned through experience, that Dave really hates The Adam and Joe Show podcasts. We learned this by exposing him to them for around 7 straight hours on the way home from a weekend hiking in Scotland. We don’t listen to Adam and Joe Show podcasts now…because we’re nice like that, sorry Adam and Joe.

5. Space. We all need some Space – this is true, we all need some space, but y’know what – you’re not gonna get any, especially in a small hatchback stuffed with 4 guys, hiking gear and camping equipment! So what needs to happen here is for you to let-go of your personal space needs – reduce your personal boundaries and just deal with it. The important thing to remember is that it’s not the other persons fault that they’re in your space. So don’t get moody with them!

There’s loads more I’m sure; take our poll so we can finally decide, name, and shame!

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10 Tips for Safe Hiking

1. Start small and choose the right trail for your fitness level.

Select a hike a little shorter than the distance you can normally walk on a level or paved surface. To estimate the time required to hike the trail, figure a pace of roughly 2-miles per hour. Next, review the elevation changes and add an hour to your estimated hiking time for every 1000 feet of gain. After you’ve been out once or twice, you’ll have a sense for what distance and elevation changes work well for you.

2. Familiarize yourself with the trail.

Once you have selected a trail, obtain a map of the area and review reports and data. There are some excellent online resources available. Find out if the trail is a loop, or if you’ll have to backtrack or spot a second car. Take note of any intersecting trails where you could potentially make a wrong turn. I also like to look for a good lunch spot such as a lake or peak with a view.

3. Check the weather.

Leading up to your hike, and again a few hours before, check the weather. This will give you valuable information on how to dress and what to pack. If the weather is forecast to be awful, it will give you the chance to change plans instead of getting surprised on the trail.

4. Tell someone where you will be.

It’s important that someone not on the hike knows the itinerary and what time to worry and call for help. Note I didn’t say, “when you expect to be done.” The “worry time” may be several hours later than your planned finish to allow for slow hiking, amazing views, or perhaps a sore ankle causing a delay.

Another option is to carry an emergency device such as the SPOT tracker, which allows you to summon emergency assistance by satellite. One caveat, devices like the SPOT are not an excuse to shirk responsibility for your own personal safety – they are a backup.

5. Pack the 10 essentials.

The 10 essentials have gradually shifted from a list of items to a list of systems. These are the systems you should pack to stay safe in the outdoors, including facing a potential overnight. Depending on the length and remoteness of your hike, expand or minimize each system. For example, on a short summer hike near services, a compact emergency blanket should be fine. However, a remote winter hike would require something more extensive. Here are the 10 essential systems:

Ten Essential Systems

  • Navigation (map & compass)
  • Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  • Insulation (extra clothing)
  • Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  • First-aid supplies
  • Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  • Repair kit and tools
  • Nutrition (extra food)
  • Hydration (extra water)
  • Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)

This list may look daunting, but once you tailor it to your hike, it won’t be so bad. Many of these things are what you’d pack for a picnic.

6. Wear the right shoes and socks.

Painful feet can ruin a hike. Invest in quality hiking shoes and socks. This doesn’t mean heavy leather boots, there are a lot of “light hikers” available that require little break-in compared to the old hiking boots I started with. Also, don’t skimp on socks and for goodness sake….no cotton! Wool or synthetic socks are the way to go. Also pack blister dressings just in case.

7. Dress for success.

Once your feet are taken care of, dressing right is key to comfort on your hike. Skip cotton anything, it gets damp and stays that way leaving you feeling clammy and causing chafing. Instead go for synthetics. To easily adjust for your temperature and the weather, wear layers that you can add or shed as needed. Lastly, pack an extra warm layer beyond what you think you’ll need, preferably something that will block wind too.

8. Keep it light.

Okay, now that I’ve told you to pack all of this stuff, I’m going to tell you to keep you pack light. This means opting for the lightest of each item. For example, a travel size tube of sunscreen instead of the NoAd 16-ounce tube you found on sale.

9. Pace yourself.

When you first get on the trail, you may feel like powering forward like a hero. However, you’ll be a zero by the end of the day if you don’t pace yourself. Instead, pick a pace you can maintain all day. It might feel a little awkward at first, but after a few miles, especially uphill, you’ll be glad you saved your energy.

10. Leave no trace.

The beautiful trails we love will only stay beautiful if we care for them. Take time to read the Leave No Trace Seven Principals and follow them. It’s up to every outdoor enthusiast to take care of our natural spaces.

Source: http://blog.liftopia.com/10-essential-hiking-tips-beginner-hike/shoe

Summer 2017 #dorksinAfrica

Our plans are now pinned down for the summer season and man we’re pumped for it! Everything between now and August will be leading up to our summit attempt of the immense Mt.Toubkal , the highest point of North Africa.
This will no doubt be our most challenging adventure to date and we cant wait to share the experience with you all.
toubkal

Between now and then however we have loads of awesome things lined up…not least the Orwell 25 Mile Challenge next month!

Stay tuned for more regular updates…

Lessons Learned Adventuring the UK

Whether you’re part of our glorious island nation or you’re considering a trip to our shores (before we go into full Brexit mode and ask Trump to build some walls for us!) we thought it might be useful for us to share some of the things we’ve learned from adventuring across our stomping ground.

Geography:

Okay so let’s just get some geographical basics out the way for those reading this from foreign lands; the UK – made up of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. Four entirely different countries, all with different languages (although English is spoken throughout, accents and dialects can make things tricky for even native speakers…just bare this in mind if you’re struggling with the language!) we’ve had entire conversations up in Scotland without having a clue what’s going on…also trying to converse with a Welsh speaking stag-do was equally as baffling. eu-united_kingdom-svg

Transport

As crazy as it may seem; it was cheaper for us to get return flights to Italy than it was for us to travel up to Scotland…go figure. So that being said you can gather it’s not exactly cheap to get around the UK. Fuel prices seem to increase the further north you go, and the further into the wilderness you go – for reference current fuel prices are around £1.20 per Litre.

If you’re relying on public transport you’ll pretty much need a second mortgage to do any serious travelling – again for reference I’m a 1hr 40 min drive from London – return ticket is an eye watering £100+ if bought on the day. Advice here is book early…really early.

There’s also plenty of coach routes with National Express – which although take an absolute age to get you anywhere are a much more cost effective way to get about.

Failing all that…you could always walk!

Kit

It’s true that we have an obsession with the weather – and for good reason too! Although mostly mild conditions and temperatures can vary widely – which is what makes packing your kit such a pain in the backpack. For any trip in the UK you will need layers, waterproofs, probably sunscreen, and some more waterproofs. On Peaks such as Ben Nevis snow can be found at the summit all year round – and so due precautions need to be taken.

Accommodation

The UKs best kept secret…the Youth Hostel Association (YHA). Run by enthusiastic and helpful staff up and down the UK; cheap beds…pretty decent breakfasts, but everything you could want to get in from the elements. They can get booked up; especially in peak season, so plan ahead – or like we do…take tents and play it by ear!

One of the major bonuses of the UK is its size; you’re never too far from the creature comforts – so as long as you’re adequately prepped for your hike, climb, or trek…you’re pretty much gonna be just fine…and if you get completely stuck – don’t forget it’s just a 2 hr flight to reach the sun drenched coasts of the med!

Doah.

Dorks on a Hill – where it all began

It was back in 2014 when I received the news that my Grandfather had been given a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. Not really knowing what to do to help out; I thought it might be a nice gesture at least, to raise some money for Parkinons UK. For no reason in particular I thought, Snowdon!
A couple of conversations later and I had convinced three of my good friends; David, Mike, and Remy to come and join me on the challenge.

We received such awesome support and in the end raised over £2000 in just that one event. Little did we know what Snowdon had in store; and how it was going to be the spark which ignited a passion for all of us.

watkin

It was a combination of the mind-blowing views, incredible weather conditions and the general excitement of being out in the great outdoors which captured our imaginations; something which still to this day keeps driving us (although the weather conditions are not always so perfect; as we found out in the Peak District, and Fort William!)

wales

Since that day in sunny Wales, we have reached the summit of 4 mountains; in 4 countries no less:

Mt. Snowdon – Wales
Scafell Pike – England
Ben Nevis – Scotland
Mt. Bronzone – Italy 

Our next step is the National 3 Peaks Challenge which we will be completing later this year – and between now and then…well who knows!

So that’s the story of Dorks On A Hill; and we would love you to join us as our story continues – remember to subscribe to our blog and take a look at our Instagram page to get all out best snaps from around the world @dorksonahill 

doah x

 

Ben Nevis – Benny to it’s friends.

Ben Nevis; for a group of amature walkers this was the first peak we had planned which we all felt a little anxious about. Snowdon was a tourist attraction, Scafell was a cardio killer, but Nevis…this, in the UK at least, is the big kahuna, the highest place on our modest islands.
It was the end of Summer 2015 and we had heard that snow was still at the summit…snow. Like many Brits, hearing that we might encounter snow instantly filled me with that childish excitement / dread / and even that small hope that school would be closed.
Not only was it the tallest and most challenging; it was also the fist time we has needed to take a whole weekend to complete a hike. After the very dull 12hour drive; for wnevishich Remy slept for a good 11.5 hours we set up camp and got aquainted with the local mosquitos. (we discovered the following morning that we had pitched up directly next to the ‘exo-mosquito 5000’ – the machine that lures them all in to the UV light of doom). It was raining…naturally…

Another flaw in our plan to camp out; was that in order to be warm and not bored in darkness was to be; rather unfortunately… in a pub.Where we were treated to some true Scottish hospitality, drunk far too much rum, and had many conversations with locals about…well, I have no idea.

So the morning came…and the morning went, and after a hearty full English, sorry I mean  Scottish, we were set!

…it was cold…it was long…it was windy…and at times it mad me sad…and that was that!

The combination of the weather conditions and Benny itself; made this the most gruelling hike  we had taken on to date. Truly, it was incredible; and Fort William has to be one of the most beautiful places in the UK. Looking forward to heading back up; the next  time will be to kick off our National 3 Peaks Challenge – Benny…we’re coming for you!

Get the rum ready!

To check out how we got on please take a look at our vlog by clicking the image below!

 

 Mike Wilson // Adam Watts // Remy Mcbsakjfhakj // David Sewell