Volunteers are needed to improve climber access trail to the Lower Slabs. Trail work weekends are April 10-11, July 10-11, and September 25-26. Stop by or contact Seneca Rocks Climbing School located in the Gendarme climbing shop.
Many of us like to go for a walk along the riverside or a canal tow path. Most of the inland waterways in Britain are looked after by British Waterways, who conduct an annual survey of the wildlife on our canals and rivers. The survey is carried out by the general public, who report sightings of wildlife that they have seen whilst out and about on our canals and rivers. Last year, people taking part in the wildlife survey reported more than 42,500 sightings of nearly 300 different species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and mammals making their homes on our canals and rivers.
British Waterways are currently requesting the help of the public for their 2010 survey:
We need your help. Between now and October, we’d like you to tell us what creatures you’ve seen on your local waterway, how many and where. Each sighting you record helps British Waterways’ ecologists to monitor, protect and conserve the amazing biodiversity found on our canals and rivers.
Taking Part in the Wildlife Survey is Easy!
Walkers using canal tow paths and trails by the river bank are in an ideal position to take part in the wildlife survey. Fortunately taking part is easy. All you need to do is make a note of when and where you have made a sighting and, what animal you have seen. It could be an insect, bird, mammal, fish, amphibian or reptile, all are included. To log your results simply go onto the British Waterways website where you can enter the information. Alternatively ring British Waterways on 01923 201120 if you would like them to send you a form.
The most common animals that are seen on our waterways are shown in the table below, however you could see an animal that is not listed here. To help with identification, British waterway have an excellent wildlife guide.
The Kingfisher is this year's star! Source: Flickr by Sheffield Tiger
Each year the British Waterways’ Wildlife Survey has a star species. This year it is the beautifully coloured kingfisher. Have you been lucky enough to see one whilst out walking? You can easily find out if anyone taking part in the survey has, using the interactive wildlife survey results page. Sightings of five animal types are shown on an on-line ordnance survey map. The animals types shown are the Bat, Dragonfly and Damselfy, Grass Snake, Kingfisher and Water Vole.
Waterways Provide Crucial Habitat
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. Globally we are losing many species of plants and animals. One of the reasons for this is due to habitat loss caused by human activities. Fortunately, Britain’s canals and rivers provide valuable habitats for thousands of animals and plants. By knowing the population of various species of animals in different locations, conservation programmes can be suitably designed and provide significantly better results. Wildlife surveys are a great way to find out this information, so when you’re out walking along the tow path or river bank, why not keep a look out for wildlife and take part in the survey!
As you may remember in October 2009 we spoke to the RSPB’s Northwest Campaign Talks Officer John Loder, about the society’s Birds Of Prey Campaign. Six months on we can report that the campaign has been an overwhelming success.
John has asked me to pass on his thanks to the CheapTents.com readers, for your interest in the campaign and support he and the society have received in trying to stop illegal killing of birds of prey.
John used the support he has received from the public to get political support from the Barbara Keeley MP (Deputy Leader of the House of Commons) who has backed the campaign.
The Story So Far
One of the aims of the campaign was to receive 200,000 signatures within three years nationwide and thereby increase awareness of the illegal killing of birds of prey. John reports that this target has been smashed and the 200,000 figure was achieved in just two years. As a result, in February the RSPB were able to hand these signatures to the Wildlife Minister the Huw Irranca Davies MP.
I’m delighted to support this RSPB campaign and it’s great to see that hundreds of thousands of people want to see these marvellous birds protected and have signed this petition.
Huw Irranca-Davies MP Wildlife Minister (Source RSPB.com)
The other aims of the campaign such as the continued protection and enforcement of the law can only be assessed at a later date, but so far things seem to be on a positive path.
There Is Still Work To Be Done
In our original interview, John showed us examples of how local economies benefit from birdwatching tourism. The Forestry Commission in January released the figures for 2009 showing that the 10 pairs of white tailed sea eagles brought in 6000 tourist and £2 million to Mull’s economy.
White Tailed Eagles, Soon to be introduce to Suffolk? Image by Surub
Financial figures such as these and the success of reintroduction has lead to the idea of white tailed eagles being released in Suffolk. This has however proved controversial due to the agricultural nature of the county, fears over destruction to livestock and potential habitat/human conflicts. With August 2011 being targeted for the first release it seems there will be further twists as possible impacts have to be studied and fears of the farming community and other locals eased.
It is therefore important to remember that not everyone supports the RSPB’s campaign, comments received on the original post show that the Pigeon Racing Community have major concerns over Birds of Prey. This has been raised in Parliament by Hazel Blears MP. The concern that more and more racing pigeons will be lost as raptor figures rise is quite understandable.
However birds of prey being top of the food chain, will never be vast in numbers and independent studies found only 14% of racing pigeon deaths can be attributed to raptors with the percentages for the rest of the deaths are as follows;
36% straying and exhaustion
19% collisions with solid objects like buildings and windows
15% collisions with overhead wires
14% predation by birds of prey
8% shooting, entanglement in netting, poisoning and oiling
8% predation by mammals, including domestic cats
The campaign to date has been successful due to a lot of hard work, but this is only the tip of the iceberg as reintroduced species must in time, become totally independent for reintroduction to be a success. This can only be done by the small steps taken to date and the RSPBs continuing to work with communities such as racing pigeon owners and farmers to alleviate their fears, and to continue to prosecute those who break the law.
The Teva Mountain Games are the nation’s largest celebration of mountain sport, lifestyle and music featuring top professional and amateur athletes from around the world. The environmentally-friendly adventure sporting event hosts approximately 2,000 adventure athletes, along with an estimated 40,000 spectators. Athletes converge on Vail’s mountains and rivers to compete in eight sports and 24 disciplines for over $100,000 in prize money. Events include kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, road cycling, World Cup Bouldering, amateur climbing, fly-fishing, trail running and a half marathon. Stand Up Paddling makes its debut at the 2010 Mountain Games with two competitions on tap, as well as a freestyle demo in the heart of Vail. Additional events at the Teva Mountain Games include: a film series, Outdoor Reels; a photography competition, Mountain Click; an interactive expo area, Gear Town and Green Light District; DockDog canine competitions; free concerts at Mountains of Music and the Teva Mountain Ball. The Teva Mountain Games are a project of the Vail Valley Foundation.
The North Face Mica 12 is a 3 season one man, lightweight tent perfect for mountain marathons or solo hikes and cycle tours. The mica 12 is fairly lightweight weighing only 1.39kg. The tent looks great with striking asymmetric lines.
The North Face Mica 12 Lightweight tent with and without flysheet
The tent isn’t exactly cavernous but its big enough to sit up in and as long as you’re not too much more than 6ft you shouldn’t struggle. Again the vestibule of the tent isn’t big but considering the tents light weight and its intended use it’s more than adequate for cooking, storing wet gear and fitting in a 65l rucksack. The inner has quite a few mesh pockets which always come in useful for helping to stay organised in a small space. Glow in the dark zip pulls also help increase livability. The tent is also compatible with the north facegear loft although fitting one does drastically impact available headroom.
The vestibule door is angled well which provides a drip line well away from the inner which makes it easy to get in and out without letting any damp in. The tent is well contructed with strong yet lightweight DAC Featherlite aluminium poles in a sturdy “kickstand” arrangement. The bathtub floor is fully taped which provides even greater security on very wet ground. The High-low ventilation design of mica 12 works well to help expel moisture vapor and prevent interior condensation.
Pitching the Mica 12 is easy when you know how with microclips and colour coded poles, although some of the pole clips can be a bit fiddly and it can only be pitched inner first. We’ve made the following video as a guide to pitching the north face mica 12.
Video guide of how to pitch The North Face Mica 12
Can only be pitched Inner first
Cramped if you are much over 6′
Summary of the tent
The North Face Mica 12 is a good 3 season ultralight tent ideal for anyone who wants a more comfort than a bivi but doesn’t want to take the hit of carrying extra weight.
When it comes to Adventure Racing, Ian Adamson has achieved phenomenal success, winning the World Championships no less than six times! He has achieved fifteen world championship podium finishes and fourteen international adventure race championship titles, including Eco-Challenge and Primal Quest.
Ian Adamson: Adventure Racer and Kayaker
In 2004 Ian broke the Guinness world record for endurance kayaking. To achieve this he spent 24 hours kayaking along the Yukon River in Canada. He racked up an impressive 262 miles, smashing his previous world records of 217 miles and 203 miles from 1998 and 1997. That’s 400,000 paddle strokes! Endurance kayaking is not just a case of settling down to a steady pace along the course of the river. “You need to find the fastest current, which means your net speed is slower, but your distance covered is greater.” Ian wrote in an interesting article for Paddler Magazine. Using a GPS is essential for maximising the benefit of this strategy, however it does not help prevent you getting sore buttocks, which is a common ailment in endurance kayaking.
In the interview below Ian tells us about his achievements, his plans for the future and his route to becoming an endurance athlete, as well as providing some tips for anyone wanting compete at a higher level.
CheapTents.com: What inspired you to get into Adventure Racing?
Ian Adamson: My parents were my initial inspiration to start exploring, although I have always had an in built drive for adventure. One thing that drove my folks nuts was my habit of disappearing for most of a day from a very young age. When I was 8 I had an 8 ft plywood sailing dingy which I would take on long (6-8 hour) journey’s in Sydney harbor. We lived up one of the rivers and I would sail down into the harbor, dodging the ferry’s and container ships. By the time I was 14 I had a lazer (14 ft fiberglass sail boat) and was heading out into the ocean. This came to a head on day when I was run down by a large racing yacht.
At 17 I backpacked around Britain and Europe on a rail pass, and at 18 took a year off after high school and sailed a 36 ft wooden yacht 6,000 miles up and down the great barrier reef. I then walked most of the way across China and Tibet when I was 20 (1986), and them made my way through south Asia, north Africa and eventually to Britain.
Our family spent a lot of time backpacking and hiking, so map and
compass was familiar to me before I could read.
I’ve always raced anything and everything, including track and cross
country, swimming, Nordic skiing and road cycling from elementary
school, then kayaking, orienteering, triathlon and adventure racing
CheapTents.com: What has been your biggest sporting achievement?
Ian Adamson: Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the ESPN X-Games were super cool, although I’m most proud of my Guinness World Record in kayaking (262 miles in 24 hours.) The one I remember most was my 7th and final world championship win in Sweden in 2006. We had a close to perfect race in fantastic weather and on a brilliant course. It was good enough for me to retire and call it good.
CheapTents.com: What is you biggest weakness?
Ian Adamson: Ice cream, chocolate and red wine! If you mean athletically, I was probably worst on my feet, which is paradoxical since I was a handy middle distance runner at school and have decent PRs in 10K through 50 miles.
CheapTents.com: When did you feel like you ‘made it’ as an Adventure Racer?
Ian Adamson: After winning Eco-Challenge, X-Games, Raid Gauloises and Southern Traverse (which morphed into the Adventure Race World Championships.) This was 1998 and we were making good money with sponsorship from Salomon and prize money. “We” being Team Eco-Internet which Robert Nagle and I co-founded in 1995, and later Salomon and then Nike.
CheapTents.com: Do you feel like you’ve satisfied your goals?
Ian Adamson: Absolutely yes. I went way further and way longer than I would have thought possible. This is really due to my exceptional teammates and sponsors, too many to mention. OK, I do want to throw in John Howard, Keith & Andrea Murray, Steve Gurney, Danelle Ballangee, Mike Kloser, Michael Tobin and Monique Merrill as well as the cast of rotating teammates we were fortunate to bring on the team over the years.
CheapTents.com: What do you find most challenging about training?
Ian Adamson: These days making the time is the kicker since I have a more than full time job as Dir or Research and Education at Newton Running.
CheapTents.com: What has been your worst injury from outdoors sports and how did it happen?
Ian Adamson: Probably the brain damage from lack of sleep over the years. I’ve not had a significant traumatic injury, so acquired diseases (such as Leptospirosis from Borneo), and sleep damage are the big ones. I mostly don’t remember because sleep deprivation destroys your memory.
CheapTents.com: What will be your most challenging event for next year?
Ian Adamson: I was asked to run Badwater so I’m going from office chair potato to running fried potato in six months. So far so good, I’m up to 45 miles on my long run since new years.
CheapTents.com: Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
Ian Adamson: Doing pretty much what I’m doing now. Working at Newton Running and directing/producing events. I’m currently in Haikou, Hainan working as the swim course director for Ironman China.
CheapTents.com: What are your main ambitions?
Ian Adamson: Pay off my house and spend more time with my partner Leah doing fun and pampered adventures. We aim to sail somewhere tropical each year, or cycle overseas (she has family in Spain and mine is in Australia.)
CheapTents.com: For other budding outdoor sports enthusiasts, what tips can you provide to help other compete at a higher level?
Have fun with whatever you do.
Work on your weaknesses and maintain your strengths.
Eat healthily (complete protein, complex carbs, fresh fruits and
vegetables) immediately after exercise.
Nap if possible after eating after exercise – this helps repair and
tissue building immensely.
Don’t overtrain, but definitely don’t undertrain.
CheapTents.com: What are your favourite bits of gear, and why?
Ian Adamson: I love topographical maps, especially marine charts. The aesthetic and function of a good map is hard to beat, and you can plan, dream and then execute with map in hand.
CheapTents.com: Any people or sponsors that you’d like thank?
Ian Adamson: Rail Riders Adventure Clothing was one of our first sponsors back in 1995, and John d’Arbeloff (owner) is still a friend and sponsor. He is providing my apparel for Badwater. Another long time and current sponsor is Princeton Tec, who were one of the first headlamp manufacturers and continue to push the edge of what is possible in lighting technology. I’ve used and still use their lights for everything from scuba diving to high mountain climbing. I’ve made some great friends over the years, including Kim and Coup at GoLite, and Murphy Reinshcriber who was my first sports agent and opened the door for me in event production. Robert Nagle of course, who is an exceptional teammate, leader and friend.
CheapTents.com: Anything else you would like to say?
Ian Adamson: Love what you do and do what you love. Pretty much anything is possible if you have a goal and a modicum of determination. I’ve had a full career as an athlete, a career as a bio-mechanical engineer, event producer, writer and now my new one at Newton Running.
Thanks for answering our questions Ian! A most enjoyable read.
As well as being an awesome adventure racer, Ian Adamson is a motivational speaker and also organises the 24 hour triathlon event.
Rail Raiders have produced this fun video highlighting Ian’s achievements. It shows him participating in range of adventure sports as well as playing the flute!
Ian Adamson International Adventure Racing Successes
Eco-Challenge – 1st 2001, 2000 and 1996, 2nd 2002 and 1997, 3rd 1995
The Eco-Challenge was an endurance adventure race competed by teams of four. It was an annual event held in the USA from 1995 until 2002. The race included mountaineering, trekking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camelback riding, whitewater canoeing, sea kayaking and scuba diving.
The ESPN X-Games (Extreme Games) event take place in the USA every year and includes extreme sports such Skateboarding, BMX, Moto-X as well as Street and Rally Car Racing. The Winter X-Games includes skiing, snowmobiling and snowboarding.
The Badwater Ultramarathon is the most demanding and extreme running race on the planet. Taking place every July, in temperatures up to 55°C, adventure runners compete in a 135 mile non-stop run, from Death Valley to Mount Witney, California.
The Jonathan Conville Memorial Trust are holding a 30th Anniversary Lecture called Boundless Horizons – Great first ascents achieved beyond Everest in the greater ranges. The talk will be given by their patron Sir Christian Bonington at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 3rd June.
The funds raised by the lecture will go towards subsidising young people on their Scottish and Alpine training courses. They provide a very worthwile service and thousands of students have benefited from their courses over the last thirty years. At only £10 per ticket it is a great opportunity to support the trust as well as getting to hear Sir Chris Bonington, one of Britains most sucessful mountaineers. For more details on the Jonathan Conville memorial trust and to find out how to buy tickets for the event see below.
What is the Jonathan Conville Memorial Trust?
The family of Jonathan Conville established the Trust after he died on the Matterhorn 29th December 1979, aged 27. He was a sound, ambitious climber who had been to school at Marlborough College, spent some time in Australia, joined the Army (Paratroop Regiment) and taught at the Outward Bound School, Lock Eil. He identified strongly with the outdoors where he constantly found challenge. The Trust’s aims are to encourage and assist young people to train for and pursue their love of the outdoors in the spirit of adventure, which Jonathan embraced during his life.
The Trust encourages safe and enjoyable practice in mountaineering, by operating subsidised training for young people, operating Scottish Winter Courses based in the Cairngorms and Alpine Mountaineering Courses based in Chamonix.
Boundless Horizons – Sir Christian Bonington CBE – Ticket Details
Thursday 3 June 2010 7pm – 8.30pm
Bar open 6pm – 9.30pm
The Royal Geographical Society
1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR
Tickets £10 Admits ONE
How to Buy
Please send SAE with name/email/telephone contact details to:
Cheques made payable to Jonathan Conville Memorial Trust
Telephone 01794 884118