DD Adventure Blog

Journals and guides from the DD Hammocks team and special guest writers - read through the blog entries for exciting expedition reports, helpful camping tips, and inspirational photos of set-ups and spectacular scenery across the whole world!

24 January 2023

200 Miles for Charity with @EastAnglianBushcraft

By Vikki

With a New Year comes hundreds of opportunities for new adventures, big or small!

Getting outdoors and experiencing the wilderness doesn't have to be done overseas or with a huge pack full of the latest kit, and in fact some of the best adventures can be had in your local area, regardless of season or ability.

With this in mind, for the first Adventure Blog of the new year we're catching up with DD Camper and seasoned outdoorsman, Craig W., also known to many as @EastAnglianBushcraft!

With a passion for the outdoors as well as a deep desire to pay kindness forward, Craig tells us about a 200 mile cross country hike around England that he completed for Veterans At Ease in the chilly winter months of 2022 - as well as letting us in on a few exciting plans for trips throughout the year.


Tell us a bit about what your long distance hike was for, and why you’re passionate about it!

I decided to hike the 200 miles to raise money for a charity called “Veterans at Ease”. They are a mental health charity that specialise in helping veterans overcome and deal with PTSD. 

I served two tours in Afghanistan as a Sniper so I’m passionate about the charity because they personally helped me through a dark phase of PTSD around 3 years ago. I had one to one webcam therapy sessions and “neurological brain training”. 

This year I raised just over £5000 for the charity and £5000 the year before on another charity hike for helping homeless veterans.

I also love the sense of freedom when out on multi day hikes; not knowing where I will be pitching up and discovering new sights in nature along the way.

What gear did you take with you and why?

As you can probably imagine I left most of my bushcraft gear at home to reduce my kit weight. I took my DD Tarp 3x3 - PRO - MC which is my go to shelter for most of my nights under the stars. I’m an avid tarp camper and DD has always been my brand of choice when it comes to tarps.

Along with the tarp was a bit of cordage. With my shelter sorted, I took a warm down jacket, down slippers (there’s nothing better than comfortable feet after a day of hiking!), softy trousers, gloves, spare pants and socks, beanie and a merino wool base layer as my warm kit. My sleeping kit consisted of a bivvy bag, down sleeping bag as well as inflateable mattress and compressible pillow. I also took a small first aid kit, toothbrush, toothpaste and plenty of foot care products in to stay on top of my feet which to me is a priority on long hikes. In my cook kit was 2 small gas cylinders and a small gas burner with a titanium mug for brews and boil in the bag meals. I carried 4 litres of water per day and some snack bars for on route.

Last but not least I had my DD Hiking Poles which at times I used to help carry me the last few miles of the day when the feet and shoulders started to ache.  

 

Where did you start and finish? How long was it in total miles/km?

I started at Knettishal Heath country park in Suffolk which is the start of the “peddars way” which is an old Roman route up to Hunstanton where you join the Norfolk Coast Path. Instead of the tarp I decided to camp in a “bus stop that isn’t a bus stop” which is basically just a bench with a roof over it!

I followed the coast path round to Hopton On Sea where the Norfolk Coast Path finishes. From there I hiked a couple of miles to Lowestoft to start the Suffolk coast path which finished in Felixstowe concluding my journey of 200 miles after camping in woodland, cliff tops and beaches.

How many days did the 200 mile hike take to complete? Where there any challenges during the hike itself?

The hike took me 12 days to complete; not the fastest and not the slowest.

It was never a race for me and I planned to just enjoy it and take on all the scenery and nature.  I averaged 16 miles a day which was a great pace to enjoy myself at. Being winter the days were short so I was finishing up at around 15:30 each day to get set up and into my warm kit. 

One of the challenges for me was hiking along shingle beaches for up to 3km at a time - it can really zap your energy fairly quickly! Some of the days were a bit of a slog towards the end of the day when I just ready to be chilling in camp. Other than that I’m confident in my fitness and I didn’t really have many dramas. The weather was kind to me for the first week but it showed me no mercy on the second half…Mother Nature always wins!

How do you feel, having completed your journey?

I felt ecstatic when I completed the hike - I had a real sense of achievement!

Over the moon as it’s the furthest I’ve hiked in one trip; seeing the charity money total going up and up was amazing to see too! When I got to the finish, I sat down for 5 minutes and reflected about everything I had done in 12 days; part of me felt like it was over in the blink of an eye and another part of me felt like I’d been walking/camping for weeks. I was ready to go home for a shower and a proper bed for the night!

Would you do it again?

100%! If you haven’t walked the Norfolk coast path it’s definitely one to check out! The freedom of multi day hiking is where it’s at for me. Challenging but very rewarding! 

I’m already coming up with ideas for this year long hike so stay tuned - I filmed the whole journey for my YouTube channel if you want to see some of what I saw!

What are your adventuring goals for 2023?

I’ve already been to the Peak District for a few days at the start of the year and I plan to go back over to Wales to camp, as I really love Snowdonia National Park. I plan on getting up to the Scottish Highlands for a few days and to camp back in the Lake District is on my list for this year - I just want to get out to as many different areas as I can this year. I have a few bushcraft camp build ideas that I would like to do as well!

 

The DD Kit that Craig packed into his journey includes the DD Tarp 3x3 - PRO - MC; fully stormproof and featuring a waterproof PU coating rated to 3000mm with fully-taped seams and measuring in at 3m x 3m, this tarp is the perfect size various hammock shelters, thanks to the many attachment points and buckles featured throughout the tarp.

The DD Hiking Poles provide not only adjustable and comfortable walking support, but can also act as an additional anchor point for a multitude of tarp set ups. 

If you'd like to see more of Craig's adventures, you can follow along on his Instagram and YouTube pages.


So that we can see how you're getting on exploring the outdoots this year, make sure to post and tag your DD photos with #ddhammocks to keep the adventuring inspiration flowing through the year and beyond!

For more hammocks, camps and stories of adventure, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

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About the writer

Vikki

A regular on the hiking trails of Northern Scotland, Vikki loves nothing more than being in the great outdoors. When she's not pulling on her hiking boots or trail shoes, this DD Team Member can often be spotted in the gym or curled up at home with a sketchpad and pencil.

DD Charity Update - January 2023

For the first DD Charity Blog of 2023, we kick off the New Year by shining the spotlight on the work of our two January Charity partners. We catch up with Mark Cropley of Wellderness CIC to examine the work of this non-profit, community interest company that brings people together in the wild. We also take a look at the ethos of our second charity partner Free To Be Kids UK; a London based charity that helps children of all ages and backgrounds enjoy nature.
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