Thursday, July 26, 2018

Castle Crag and the Borrowdale Valley

Date: 26th July 2018
Start/Finish: Rosthwaite Hotel
Wainwrights: Castle Crag (951 feet)
Distance: 5.6 Miles
Height Gain: 2080 Feet
Time Taken: A very leisurely 4 hours

Social Hiking Map Link

The Route: Clockwise from the Rosthwaite Hotel

Castle Crag is a bit of an outlier as it doesn't easily link up with any surrounding fells without significant height loss. Its nearest neighbours of High Spy to the west and Grange Fell to the east are best climbed in a circuit of their respective neighbouring fells. For this reason, Castle Crag is often the last Wainwright climbed on the circuit of 214. However, I was in the area on a family camping holiday and it was a balmy windless day ideal for a low fell with good views. So instead of marching my 11 year old lad up one of the high fells we decided to tackle something lower. Castle Crag fitted the bill nicely, especially as part of a circuit of the Borrowdale valley. It also had the advantage of finishing by the River Derwent where we could cool off afterwards.

We parked on the Rosthwaite Hotel car park and duly paid the £3 all day fee. The walk took us on a wide circular route out towards Seatoller and then looping back towards Castle Crag before descending steeply down to the Derwent. 

Views over to Stonethwaite

First sight of Castle Crag (centre left)

Surveying the destination

A steep ascent

Remnants of previous quarrying

Views southwards from the ascent path

Slate cairns 

Summit views of Derwent Water

The summit

Cooling off in the Derwent 

Those fish were actually nibbling our toes!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Review - Real Turmat Cod in Curry Sauce

Product Review

I was recently invited to be on the 'tasting panel' by Basecamp Foods. The deal is that they send me a free meal and I write an honest review. Seems fair enough. They sent me my first meal a few weeks ago and having no wild camps imminently planned, I took it on a recent campervan holiday in the Lakes.

Real Turmat is a brand that I've heard of via the @basecampfood twitter account, but I have never tried any of their meals. Its essentially a freeze dried meal similar to many others that I've used but this particular brand uses a vacuum pack to minimise packing size/weight and improve shelf life. This one was dated 2021 and weighed 101g on my scales (manufactures dry weight is quoted as 85g).

101 grams 

I like the vacuum pack. It feels as firm as a brick which gives confidence that it can be crammed into the corner of a rucksack with the assurance that its unlikely to tear. It definitely feels like a stronger format that the loose freeze dried packaging that I've used previously. The only disadvantage is that its not easy to read the instructions as the pack is so crinkly. Thankfully, its not rocket science though.

The pack has 2 tear lines. The top one is torn so as to open it for filling with your boiling water. Just under this tear line is a grip seal which is then closed to keep the heat in for the required 8 minutes while the meal rehydrates. There is a water level marker on the outside of the package. Personally I found this a bit awkward to line up. It is however preferable to the system I've used previously where you have to add a certain volume of water which can be difficult to measure accurately when out in the field. In my opinion, a marker line inside the pack would be the perfect system.

Vacuum Packaging

After 8 mins, you can then undo the grip seal and your meal is ready. You can use the lower tear line if you want a shallower package for eating out of. In this way you can use a normal size spork and still reach right to the bottom without dousing your knuckles. You would otherwise need a long handled spoon.

Looks good / Tastes good


I must admit to being a bit dubious about a dehydrated cod curry but it was actually very nice. It reconstituted really well despite me probably using slightly less water than would be ideal (see previous comment about getting the water level right). The consistency was good. There was a nice mix of cod and potato/veg/sauce. The cod tasted great. The pack was easy to handle and stood up by itself due to the flat base. My only complaint was that is was a bit bland for my taste. A hotter curry flavour would have been more tasty for me but that's a personal preference. Overall though, this was a really nice meal which I would be more than happy to have again. At £9.99 its certainly not cheap but the quality is markedly higher than similar meals I've had around the £7 to £8 price point. I have had some shockingly bad freeze dried meals over the years but this one is right up there with the very best. I would be interested to try some of the other meals from this brand - a chicken curry would be nice please dear Basecamp Foods :-)

Nutritional info is as follows :- Energy 1615kj / 386 kcal, Protein 19g, Carbohydrate 34g, Sugar 4.6g, Fat 19g, Saturated Fat 5g, Salt 3.6g.


This product was sent to me free of charge from There was no obligation to write a favourable review. My review is honest and independent.