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The Adventure Journals

The Borderlands: Cooking, Camping & Climbing In Hereford

The car rocks on its springs, warning us that the wind has gathered speed. Doors open and we can feel the wind-chill stripping our warmth. Shoving food and gear into our packs with almost indecent haste we're keen to get moving, producing energy and body heat.

Heading down a narrow tarmac road, then diverging off into grassland and trails, the wind is not the only thing that takes our breath away - serried ranks of terraces fall away on the horizon, man made from years of quarrying. Yet, with that work long ended, the terraces sprout trees and shrubs, wildflowers and mosses. These same quarries and rock terraces, natural crags and features shaped by human hands offer another kind of effort, that of vertical movement, practicing climbing skills on wind and water scoured stone.

We're on the border of Wales and England, visiting friends who run a free range and biodynamic pig farm, creating phenomenal Italian and Spanish style cured salamis and chorizos. We came for lunch, stayed for dinner, and now, with a new day and time to spare we head back to the hills.

Working the land here has come in many forms, on the surface, carving into the earth and far underground, where the light of day is but a thought, replaced by faint facsimiles. The tenacity of spirit and strength of arm needed to carve a living from the land should be honoured, individuals and generations working with forces far greater than ourselves. We can see on these hills, shapes and forms created by decades and many thousands of hands.

In and on these hills, many thousand new hands and feet create their own artistry. We can see shapes flowing up vertical walls. The distance stripping away shouted commands and the grunts and hisses of extreme physical effort. On the far hill, dots of bright colour move across ground of more somber tones, heading towards hills out of sight.

Somewhere in the distance no doubt echoes to the sound of rubber, steel, aluminium, carbon fibre, muscle and bone submitting to the pull of gravity, as they work together, weaving forms down rock strewn trails.

All of us, drawn to the hills and mountains come for reasons varied. Sometimes similar, sometimes vastly different. But the pull remains the same for everyone. In our dreams and waking moments, it calls to us.

Recipe - Welsh cakes with apple blossom syrup

Ingredients: Welsh Cakes

200g rye flour
75g caster sugar
40g lard
50g butter
50g chopped dates
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten Milk

Ingredients: Apple blossom syrup

Double handful apple blossoms
Peel of 2 apples, finely chopped
Zest of a lemon, peeled into strips
Juice 1 lemon
50g caster sugar
50ml water


Small pan
Gas camping stove, wood fire (if allowed) or wood burning stove.


At home: In a bowl mix the sugar, flour, baking powder, nutmeg together. Add the butter and 1/2 lard, cut into cubes. Blend into the flour mix with your fingers until you have a crumbly texture. Add the beaten egg, mix well, adding a little milk if the dough is too dry. Store the dough in a container

For the syrup: Mix the water and lemon juice in a pan and heat to a simmer. Add the peels, blossoms and sugar, continue to heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse overnight. In the morning, decant into a leakproof container.

In camp: Break off pieces of the dough in your hands - roughly golfball size. Flatten between your palms into a thin disk. Heat the pot to medium/hot. Melt the remaining lard in the pan. Cook in batches for 3 minutes each side. Drizzle with the syrup

Many thanks to Kieren for his Adventure Journal. If Kierens cooking has whet your appetite, visit his website here, or follow him on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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