Start Here

Welcome to Just Up The Trail and thanks for joining us here at the trail head. Whether you’re an outdoor veteran, just starting to get out there or coming along for the adventure from the comfort of an easy chair, we’d like to welcome you to our little band of adventure seekers.

We believe in the power of the trail to surprise, inspire and rejuvenate. It brings our family closer and provides opportunities for kids to show just how capable, adaptable and resilient they can really be. Test them, they will surprise you!

Mile One
Meet the Family

If your curious about the type of people who hike 100 miles with a tiny tent and 3 kids and still call it a holiday, then you read a little about each of us on our Meet the Family page.
Then drop us a note to say Hi or to tell us about your latest adventure or to tell us you think we’re crazy,  send us an email or use the comments section at the end of the page.  

Mile Two.
Join Our Band of HikerMums, HikerDads and HikerKids

While solo hiking has it’s place, it’s far more fun for us to hike as family and we benefit so much from the support of this little community we’re building. We’d love for you to be a part of it.

Follow our adventures, give us ideas for future expeditions, help us navigate this trail we’re on and inspire us to carry on.

For new posts straight to your inbox and an occasional newsletter from us use the form below.

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Trail Magic
The biggest thing you can do for us is join our community and shout about it. Find a post you enjoy, feel free to share it, tweet it or how about this, grab your friends phone or laptop or tablet and bookmark Just Up The Trail for them. They might not ever notice….. or they might be buying hiking boots next week! 

There’s our growing Facebook page for more regular updates on trips and trails and we use Twitter and Instagram for live updates from the trail. Just click the links below.

 

Mile Three
Find your Trail Legs

Just Up The Trail started in 2017 as a way for us to document our adventures for the kids to look back on when they’ve grown up and found trails of their own. While that remains its core purpose, we’d feel selfish if we kept all the fun to ourselves so we decided to share them with you, our new hiking buddies.

Our first ever trip was up Snowdon in 2015 when the kids were 8, 6 and 4 and since then we haven’t looked back. Multiple trips to the mountainous regions of the UK spurred us on and in 2017 we headed out on our first major backpacking trip. The West Highland Way. Not every thing goes according to plan as we found out in early 2018 but we have finished this hiking season off in a great fashion. 

And while we’d encourage you to get off trail a little and explore the site, it’d be a little rude not to provide a few waymarkers to help you navigate your way Just Up The Trail. So here’s a few posts to get you underway.

Mile Four
Hike your own Hike

One of the biggest benefits of hiking with kids is that we have no choice but to take our time. We hike at the pace of the slowest (which isn’t always the smallest) and we have more than enough time to take it all in and the next day we do it all over again.

So if your here, and you have time, feel free to dig deeply into this little site. You might find something enjoyable, or interesting or maybe even useful and if you do, please let us know through a comment or an email. And don’t forget the Trail Magic.

Trail Magic

We’re working really hard to build something rather special over here at Just Up The Trail but we do need some help from time to time.

The number one, top of the tree, thing you can do to help us out is to spread the word. Shout about us on your Social Media channel of choice. Just find a post you like and click the button to share.

By signing onto the trail register you are confirming your support for Just Up The Trail. It tells us we’re on the right track in building this little community of adventure seeking families. If you haven’t yet done so, its below.

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Sometimes we need a little helping hand to get to the mainland as often as we’d like to. Here’s a few ways you can help us get on the trail more often.

Affiliate Links
If you see a link to a product* or a brand, the chances are that they are an affiliate link. Basically, you click the link, buy that product you were going to buy and the RETAILER/BRAND gives us a little commission for sending you there. It costs you nothing and we get a little something. Thanks. 
We won’t send you anywhere we wouldn’t go ourselves.

*any reviews are of products that we have bought ourselves and have personally tested. If that isn’t the case we’ll shout loudly about it.

Sponsorship
We long for adventure in the mountains and wild spaces. However the high cost of ferry travel restricts our visits to the mainland
 
If you would like to sponsor a future trip financially please get in touch or donate via Paypal.
Any monies collected will be used to fund the next adventure and contributors will be credited on this site.

Youtube: Oh The Places We’ll Roll.

Ever dreamed of packing everything into an RV and disappear on a never ending road trip. Of course you have but these guys have only gone and done it.

www.ohtheplaceswellroll.com

I’ve only watched the first few episodes so far and, “tainted Mac’n’Cheese” and vehicle troubles aside, they all appear to be embracing life on the road, dogs and all.
I’ll put the first episode here but please make sure you click subscribe

As well as new episodes every Sunday you can follow the adventures on social media AND if you’re feeling generous you can contribute to the coffee fund on Patreon

Facebook:

 
And On Instagram:

 

Podcast: Hike or Die.

It was this or the drone of the mower engine.
And wasn’t I pleasantly surprised.

You know those days that happen every so often, you’ve got a long day at work, mowing lawns and you’ve caught up on all your favourite listening material. That happened to me a little while ago, after sticking “Hiking” into the search of the Podcasts App and scrolling past those I’ve heard and those I’ve tried,  I stumbled upon this “little ripper”.

HIKE_OR_DIE_OUTDOOR_ADVENTURE_PODCAST_LOGOPressing play on Episode 1 (there were only 4 at the time) my heart sank a little as the loud guitar riff kicked in and I started to wonder what I let myself in for. As the hosts voices came into my earbuds I realised they were Australian and by putting the opening riff and the accents together I decided that I couldn’t be bothered with listening to a pair of typical Aussie Blokes, probably brash and sweary and anyway what does Australian hiking got to do with me anyway. I listened to something else for a while but the autoplay function put this on while I was mowing a massive lawn so it was this or the drone of the mower engine.

But wasn’t I surprised.

First off, Tom and Craig (our hosts) are both well AND softly spoken and have a real passion for getting out there which comes across during the podcast, and during that first episode I found myself giggling as they recounted the story of their first hike and how they awoke to a massive bush fire and try and save themselves and their new gear.

On later episodes they discuss topics such as photography, Leave No Trace and Trail Safety, all the while dropping little nuggets of wisdom or more than valid opinions, but it’s their reminiscence of their times on the trail that prove to be the real soul of the show. Mind you, even hearing them talk about the stats from their Youtube channel is pretty entertaining.

My own highlight is Episode 3 where they record the episode from the comfort of their rainforest camping spot. The lost coffee sachet is the real star of this particular episode but I won’t reveal its location here because, Spoilers.

I would take this opportunity to apologise for my initial impression of this great little show and I’m really glad I gave it another chance. New episodes appear in my feed every month or so but not on any set date so it’s always a nice surprise when a new one appears in my feed. I would add a little warning; Don’t listen when driving late at night, the soporific tones could lead to an accident, but as it’s tipping it down and the kids are at school and I’m at home, I’m off to listen to Episode 9, Hammocks Vs Tents.

If anyone else listens to this or does so as a result of this post, let me know in the comments below as well as any other Outdoors Podcasts you know of. I’m always in the market for more armchair hiking resources.

Review: Mountain Hardwear Lamina 0 Sleeping Bag.

So here’s a story. Last Christmas my dear old Mum gave me this sleeping bag. Brilliant, a nice warm sleeping bag for late autumn/early spring, just what I needed. Turned out she had bought it for my brother who didn’t like it, and so she gave it to me instead. Again brilliant, it would be perfect for our Easter trip on Glyndwrs Way,  and if a little heavy, it would be warmer than the one I already had.

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Trying out the new sleeping bag (thanks Mum)

A post shared by Rob Jones (@justupthetrail) on

At some point before we go backpacking, Mum decides she would like to join us for a couple of days on the trail. No problem. Whats that? She needs a warmer sleeping bag? Well being a dutiful son I suggest she use the one she gave me for Christmas and I’d make do, and when she leaves the trail, she can take my old one home and I’ll continue on with this one.

Snowy Tent

Now if you’ve read our trip report from Glyndwrs Way you’ll know just how cold it got and how we called the trip off after a couple of days because of the weather. I never got to try the new sleeping bag but on a positive note, the kids didn’t have to dig out Nana’s frozen corpse when the snow came.

Once Spring arrived properly I put this bag away until just last week, when I thought I might like a little extra comfort on our Round the Island hike, after all at the end of October we could get ALL the weather. It was quite a bit heavier than my alternative but it packed down nicely into the same size dry bag and to be honest, once I started hiking I didn’t really notice the difference.

The first night of the hike was quite chilly, around 5°C, so while setting up bed for the night I got out my spare fleece, puffy jacket and woolly hat and used them as a pillow and handy extra layers. I didn’t use them although I did get a little cold in the early hours. The second night we were a little further inland and it felt a little warmer and I was more than warm enough but the 3rd night we camped on the cliff tops right next to the sea and it was freezing out. I did climb into the bag with a fleece on and was glad of it for a start but woke up sweaty about midnight so I lost that extra layer and slept soundly for the rest of the night. The last night of the hike we spent “camped” in my Mother in Laws basement which was pretty luxurious and I used the bag as a duvet so I could stick a leg out easy enough to cool down.

Overall, this sleeping bag was great. It was a little on the small side for my larger frame and I’m not sure it would have been very comfortable if I hadn’t lost 2 stone over the summer, however it was easy to get in and out of, the zips worked and didn’t snag every time I used them. I didn’t notice the extra weight once I got hiking and I know if I had taken my other bag I would have been wearing all my spare clothes to stay warm, especially when we camped closer to the coast.

So it’s a great bag for late Autumn/Early Spring and a great gift. If I was choosing for myself I might get something slightly bigger so it’s not quite so tight, or I could lose some more weight! Oh and remember it kept my Mum alive in a Welsh snowstorm, which is kind of a positive.

Meet the Family.

Please allow me to introduce the stars of this little blog, the kids.

Evan 

IMG_1452Ev is the eldest of the bunch, he’s 11 as I write this and we can’t believe where the time has gone. He’s a steady hiker, although he much prefers hiking in the afternoons and is generally most concerned with the availability of snacks. He also enjoys scrambling around on boulders and has started rock climbing at a local sports centre. Most importantly, he is great company on trail and carries a fair amount of stuff for us. He’s like a little pack pony, so much so his trail name should be “El Burro”. You can watch the little hiking film we made together in the New Forest here.

Lil

IMG_1395Meet Lil, she’s 9, and while she’s sandwiched between the two boys she really holds her own. She is a great hiker, a bold climber and is fearless on the slackline. She’ll try anything in search of adventure and will always be the wettest or muddiest child as soon as possible. Later this year Lil and I and will be trying out hammock camping for the first time  and we really can’t wait. You can read her own account of her birthday hike here

Isaac
IMG_1824

Here’s Isaac, he’s 7 and being the youngest his hiking resume sounds the most impressive. He climbed Snowdon and Cadair Idris at 4, Moel Siabod at 4 and 3/4s and hiked the entirety of the West Highland Way at 5 and a half. He’s a real trooper on the trail and will often be far ahead of the rest of us, looking for scrambly bits! He’s also another one that’s fearless on the climbing wall and wants to climb in the Olympics when he’s bigger!

Mum and Dad or Hazel and Rob if you’d prefer!

IMG_0212We have made our home on the Isle of Wight and while we’re a little far from the mountains, we have found plenty of adventures on the island. We’re the proud parents of 3 adventurous and hardy little people. Whatever challenge we have undertaken, they have risen to meet it and we are  firm believers that kids are more capable and adaptable than they are ever given credit for. We look forward to many, many more adventures with these three and hope to share them with you.