Hiking Epic Rap : Hiker Tim

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Epic Hiking Rap : Hiker Tim

Lyrics / Q&A
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Inspired by Dan Bull’s Skyrim Rap

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Unclimbed mountains by night, Jiptik Valley, Batken Province, Kyrgyzstan

Hiking Epic Rap : The Background

So you’ve seen the Epic Hiking Rap, and now you want the background?

Are you serious or is this a joke?

I’ll leave you to apply Poe’s Law.

Where did this start?

For years, the University of Manchester Hiking Club had a tradition where a specific longstanding club member would write and present a poem at their AGM. In 2012, for the first time in a long time, that club member was absent, and so people were each egging each other on to write something. Originally, I parodied Dan Bull’s Epic Skyrim Rap, and included various bits of club folk-lore.

This looks like a skyrim screenshot, only even prettier.

Sometime afterwards, I cleaned up the lyrics, rapidly recorded it, took various videos of me rapping in Sweden & in Kyrgyzstan.

A friend saw one of timelapse stills from Kyrgyzstan, and mentioned Skyrim, and it started to come together. I finally finished the video editing, put it on youtube, and there you go!

How long did it take you?

Days, sporadically, over several years.

How did you record the track?

Poorly. With much difficulty. Ardour and some condenser mics were my friend, but gosh, it’s hard work. New respect was developed for people who can perform stuff well enough to record it easily. I’d say I’m good enough with audio editing to produce something that’s a thing out of what I can perform. That’s not a very high bar.

Where was the video shot?

Sweden, Kyrgyzstan & the UK. All mountainous timelapses are in Kyrgyzstan (with one of the mountains shown currently being unclimbed), there’s two shots of the peak district, and two from the lake district.

What was the video shot with?

I shot all but four of the shots on a Canon 5D mkII with the Magic Lantern Firmware. The remaining four shots were a Sanyo CA100 (I bet you can easily spot 2). I think they’re all with my f24-105 f4 lens except the timelapses, which were a 50mm f1.8, and all the shots in Sweden were taken with a Glidecam XR-2000.

It was edited on a Debian system with Kdenlive.

Who do you have to thank?

Dan Bull, for being a massively awesome and generous dude, for giving me the track to record onto, and always being so supportive – it really makes a difference! Anyone who’ve ever had me point a camera at them, or held a camera for me. (There’s a shot in there that my girlfriend Clara held the camera for on our first date!). Anyone who ever encouraged me to try something, or give it a go.

What are the Lyrics?

Who’s rapping?
Hiker Tim!
I’m in nature’s gym.

I’m sprinting like a shadow,
who knows I’m running right behind him.

My hike-shout-flow is sweeter than a post-hike swim
You won’t believe you eyes
I’m like an overload of adrenaline!

An ice-axe in one hand
and a scared hiker in the other

I’m the last of the Hiking Kings!
There’s no other my brother
don’t run for cover!

If you’re going up-dale
then I’m on your tale
and I will NOT fail

like a half-crazed freesoloer
I’m off the rails
I walk the trails
through awful gales
and storms of hail
til all your ramblers
are racing for the bottom

I’m not stopping, til you’ve all gone home
and I am alone
in amongst the peaks
there’s silence for weeks
until I’m disturbed
by the sound of your shrieks

And I walk with this bloodthirsty hound!
She follows with a growl and a bound!

I’m draining my force, so chemistry comes into play with retorts and recipes.
Ceildih dancing like a DJ

My legacy,
written in heavenly bodies
and buried
with every hiker
that ever did bother
to mess with me
Deading them

I’m a celebrity!
You’re a wannabe!
I’m a prodigy!

The suggestion you’re better than me at being a hiker?

It’s a gift to me, I don’t just bag peaks lyrically, but literally
and the OS maps are scripts in which I’ve written your obituary

I am the Hiking King
I’m risking life and limb!

I’m Hiker Tim,
known globally
you’re nobody at all!

A photostory: Bowfell and Crinkle Crags from Langdale

A walk up The Band to Bowfell via Climbers Traverse, then Crinkle Crags via Bad Step, descending back to Dungeon Ghyll.

The way up - The Band
The way up – The Band
Starting out on the walk
Starting out on the walk
Pike o Stickle from the valley floor
Pike o Stickle from the valley floor
Crinkle Crags
Crinkle Crags
On the way up The Band - Pike o Stickle
On the way up The Band – Pike o Stickle
Bowfell Climber's traverse
Bowfell Climber’s traverse
Bowfell from three tarns...
Bowfell from three tarns…
Descending the bad step on Crinkle Crags
Descending the bad step on Crinkle Crags
Langdale from Crinkle Crags
Langdale from Crinkle Crags
The bad step on Crinkle Crags
The bad step on Crinkle Crags
Langdale from the descentf rom Crinkle Crags
Langdale from the descentf rom Crinkle Crags

We parked at the National Trust car park at the Old Dungeon Ghyll.
More about The Lake District on Wikivoyage.

I shot with a Canon 5D mkII with a 50mm f1.8.

All photos are “Copyright Tim Dobson 2013″, and are licenced under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0. Please attribute “Tim Dobson / tdobson.net” wherever you use them.

A photostory: hiking in Buttermere

The valley bottom was rather muddy...
The valley bottom was rather muddy...
But much betterwhen we got up onto Red Pike
But much better when we got up onto Red Pike
We stopped past the beautiful Scale Force
We stopped past the beautiful Scale Force
We had fun scrambling the airy "big walls" of Haystacks
We had fun scrambling the airy "big walls" of Haystacks
And got great views down the length of Buttermere from the head of the valley
And got great views down the length of Buttermere from the head of the valley
Climbing Grassmoor via Whiteless Pike gave us great views of the valley below
Climbing Grassmoor via Whiteless Pike gave us great views of the valley below
Whilst the summit of Grassmoor gave us great views of Hopegill Head
Whilst the summit of Grassmoor gave us great views of Hopegill Head
...and Crummock Water in the valley far below us.
...and Crummock Water in the valley far below us.
Finally, a lamb grazes near fields of Bluebells in Rannerdale
Finally, a lamb grazes near fields of Bluebells in Rannerdale

We stayed at the Syke Farm Campsite in Buttermere.
More about The Lake District on Wikivoyage.

I shot with a Canon 5D mkII with a 24-105 f4.

All photos are “Copyright Tim Dobson 2013″, and are licenced under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0. Please attribute “Tim Dobson / tdobson.net” wherever you use them.

Catbells, Maiden Moor and High Spy from Grange

Several weeks ago I went on a walk with UMHC, up Catbells, Maiden Moor and High Spy from Grange:

Hike up Catbells
Hike up Catbells (Open Street Map CC-BY-SA)Skiddaw, Derwent Water and Keswick

I’ve been up Catbells before – in fact my first ever walk with the club was up Catbells from Keswick, but this time, we were dropped off at Grange and walked along the valley before ascending the hillside.

The weather was lovely – warm, clear and a surprising amount was on display for those who knew what to look for. Skiddaw, Blencathra, Derwent Water, Keswick were all laid out below us. The peaks of the mountains were lightly dusted in snow, yet at our height, it was ice free and actually reasonable warm.

It was at this point that my camera’s zoom lens really came into it’s own with me being able to get wonderful shots of scenery that one rarely sees from the other side of the valley and almost never sees in sunlight. There’s something quite magical about being able to look around, recognise and name so many peaks from such a low vantage point.


Outlined against the sky
Outlined against the sky

Grange from above
Grange from above

The walk was relaxed yet with people who also wanted plenty of time to stop and admire the views. I think this is the first time that I’ve really just thought “wow” when looking at Lake District landscape.

Ultimately, we descended before Dalehead and followed the stream back into Borrodale, where we followed the river up to Seatoller where the coach was waiting for us.

Conquerored: Beda Knott, Loughrigg Fell

Last weekend, I went to Patterdale, in the Lake District on a weekend trip. It’s nice to get out of Manchester, and even though the weather wasn’t fantastic, there was still plenty to do.

A more energetic group wanted to do St. Sunday’s Crag, Fairfield, Helvellyn, Striding Edge, which sounded good and strenuous and exciting, but wasn’t my idea of fun given the icy conditions about about 500m.

Saturday walk in Patterdale
Saturday walk in Patterdale (c) Open Street Map 2012 - CC-BY-SA

Fortunately, I really wanted to explore the landscape to the east and so, with low lying cloud looking like it was going to obscure most felltop views, we left the bunkhouse in Glenridding, and walked north along the side of the valley, next to Ullswater.

Once we reached Martindale, we started up Winter Crag, Beda Fell, Beda Knott. The original plan (in green) was to go on to Angle tarn, but time was running tight and we weren’t sure on the light, so in the end we cut shot and dropped back down into Patterdale and headed home!

Place Fell, Patterdale from Beda Knott.
Place Fell, Patterdale from Beda Knott.

The next day, we headed up Loughrigg Fell near Grasmere from the car park at Rydal. Although the walk was quite easy, the weather was much better and the views were stunning.

Sun on Snow on Loughrigg Fell
Sun on Snow on Loughrigg Fell

Someone had brought along a horse’s head, so we had a lot of fun, wearing a horseshead whilst walking up the hill. One thing we learnt very quickly was that “why the long face” became unfunny very quickly, but the expression of surprise and confusion on people’s (strangely, mainly adults!) was hilarious.

Horse navigates on Loughrigg Fell
Horse navigates on Loughrigg Fell

As you can see, it was good weekend! :D

Target: Langdale – what I learned.

Last summer, I went on a week long cycle tour around Skye and Rasaay. In preparation of doing so, I figured it would make sense to test the new kit I’d bought for the expedition with two day “dry run” in the Lake District.

I got the train to Windemere with my Bike, cycled up to Langdale. Dropped all my kit into a rucksack, and, as it was getting towards dusk, I started up the hill and made camp by Stickle Tarn where I made this video:

Wild Camping at Stickle Tarn, Langdale

Tent: Vango Helium Superlite 200
Sleeping bag: Mountain Equipment Xero 550
Mat: Thermorest NeoAir
Stove: Trangia (Standard 4 person version)

The trip was actually very helpful. At the time I was using an all-in-one frayed pannier thing, held in the centre with what was essentially a large elastic band. On my cycle back to Manchester, this elastic band somehow managed to come undone and, whilst I was cycling, wrap itself around my back axle and gears. This lead to the rather unpleasant moment where my Bike started braking and I couldn’t work out what was wrong. It was on a section with double white lines and I had cars behind me so when I had to pull into the side and walk my bike (lifting the back wheel off the ground) to somewhere I could pull in, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience! Ultimately, I had to cut the rubber band off bit by bit as it was well and truly wrapped around the wheel.

This spurred me to go and buy some nice snap-on, snap-of Altura Orkney 85 panniers which turned out to be just what I needed!

Langdale is lovely

Last March I went hiking with UMHC to Langdale for the first time. This was the first time I did, Jack’s Rake, Harrison Stickle, Pike o’Stickle, Pavey Ark etc.

I made a bit of a video that day and it came out rather well. It did help that it was a beautiful day of course:

Pavey Ark, Great Langdale

Step outside analogue boy!

Bowfell summit, Lake District
Bowfell summit, Lake District

Who says that hiking has nothing to do with digital rights? Today I walked up Bowfell in the Lake District (from Dungeon Ghyll, Langdale) in the beautiful snow!

Any analogue or digital boys and girls are more than welcome to come hiking sometimes and chat about their thoughts and concerns. :) Hiking transcends usual boundaries. :)

I am very tired now thoug;  as my friend Zhelyo said,

“Being alive can be too much fun sometimes!”

#timontour: Central Fells – 5 Wainrights

I have known that I really wanted to go camping (as in backpacking) sometime in January for quite a while.

Why? Why January, you might reasonably ask. You might point out it’s cold, the weather is rubbish and so the mere concept is bordering on crazy. Perhaps I should “go and watch TV instead”…

After the annual hype balloons of Christmas and New Year are ceremoniously popped, January begins with an anticlimax; nothing happens, no one wants to socialise, everyone wants to recover from Christmas, people must go back to work, students have exams… Instead of letting the infectious gloom of January get to me, I decided to head off to the Lake District for some wild winter camping fun!

#timontour: Central Fells – 5 Wainrights

After work on Friday, I caught the train from Manchester to Windermere, from where I caught the last Stagecoach 555 bus from Windermere station to Grasmere, arriving about 23:30 From Grasmere, I walked up Easedale, past Sour Milk Gill (given how pretty it was in the dark, it must be doubly impressive in the day) and up to Easedale Tarn.

I’d been warned about the wind a few times – my dad had mentioned it, the bus driver mentioned it, I’d thought of it anyway and read the forcasts; from what I read it didn’t look too bad.

As I turned the corner up to the tarn (00:05 by now), the wind hit me head on. It was strong. Very strong. I battled forward, the full moon supplementing the light of my head torch, illuminating massive crags round the tarn. It looked amazing. Well, it would have looked amazing, however, the wind was blowing so hard, it make it unpleasant to look directly into it. Finally, I was through the gap and the wind, subsided, minutely. My head torch could pick out white horses on the tarns surface. It was seriously windy. I briefly considered turning round and descending a couple of hundred metres to where it was a lot more sheltered, but I’d been told that there were some lumps and bumps one could pitch a tent behind – I went in search of them.

After failing for some time to find any respite from the wind, I noticed my head torch reflecting off a strange object near the shoreline; three reflective points shone back at me in a triangle; I walked closer and then suddenly, over the wind, I heard a shout – it was a tent. Hastily, I retreated my steps – it hadn’t been my intention to surprise any other campers – I hadn’t even considered there might be people as mad as me!

I pitched my tent relatively nearby. Well, let’s say I attempted to pitch my tent. Tents are in many ways like kites, except that they’re not meant to fly. Pitching a tent in a strong wind however, requires thought, and some planning. My Vango Helium Superlite 200 is easy to pitch compared to other tents, but still not a trivial task in those conditions. After some time it seemed to be largely “up”, so I went round to tighten all of the pegging points to their maximum. It was at this point that I noticed that points I’d tightened seemed to be getting untightened in the time it had take me to tighten something else. I ended up tying little knots and half hitches in then just to make sure it didn’t loosen. I pegged and repegged some points to make sure the pegs (shorter than standard ones to save weight) were in at the optimum angle (very shallow!). Having come to the conclusion, there was nothing much else I could do, I put me and my bag in the tent and sorted out the tensioning system (arguably my tents answer to guy ropes). It was now about 01:15 and it still felt very dicey, but there was nothing for it so I made myself as comfortable as possible, burrowing deep into my down sleeping bag.

After a noisy night, I awoke to find out it was about 09:00 and it was light. Everything seemed ok. The tent was still here. I didn’t appear to be floating in tarn… A couple of minutes later, after a large gust of wind, I noticed that the end of my tent where my head was seemed to have collapsed. Not good. Little problems can turn into big problems very quickly if left unattended; I dashed outside – it looked like the tail end peg had been completely pulled out and then catapulted over the entire tent (length ways) downwind. I fixed it up, but took it as a hint to start taking down my tent – again much easier said than done in gale force winds.

As I was just finishing the guys from the other tent who’d just finished packing away wandered over to say hi. After asking whether it was me last night, one of them exclaimed:

Oh I know you! You’re from Youtube!

Which completely floored me for a few seconds – the probability of being recognised from those videos hadn’t even crossed my mind. It turns out he’d seen my video of wild camping at Stickle Tarn.

Codale and Easedale Tarns, Helm Crag, Fairfield in background
Panorama of Codale and Easedale Tarns

Soon, conversations complete, it was time to go and I marched up the path towards Segeant Man, passing Codale Tarn as I did and getting some stunning views of Stickle Tarn as well. After an exciting ascent, I was slightly disappointed that the lump itself had nothing noteworthy to define it. From there, I set off (with help from my fully working compass), in the direction of High Raise. The route from Sergeants Man to High Raise is boggy, but nothing compared to what was to come later. High Raise was intensely windy but the stone shelter there provided remarkably good cover and I took a moment to consult Wainright on what was to come. I had decided not to ascend Ullscarf as originally intended on the basis that camping anywhere above 200 metres would probably be a lot less fun given the wind I was encountering. The plan was to head down to Greenup Edge and then head up Calf Crag, with a view to possibly doing Gibson Knot and Helm Crag as well. Originally I’d intended to do this ridge, but on the second day and now, as I realised that I needed to descend a lot, before I could even consider getting my tent out again, I figured I could have a shot at it all in one go.

The descent from High Raise to Greenup Edge was hellishly boggy and slippery, as was the descent from Greenup Edge to the head Wythburndale. Wainright describes the Wythburndale as being isolated and boggy and in my short experience of it, the boggyness definitely was a defining feature.

Squelching up Calf crag, the wind hit me once again, this time from behind, and I learned how difficult it is to keep your balance when being pushed from behind. I noticed the wind blowing the water of a tarn and sweeping spray up into the air in a menacing fashion. This was still no place for tents.

I continued along the ridge, which largely lacked anything particularly notable apart from birdeye views of upper Easdale. As I started to get towards Jackson’s Knott, I realised that the question I’d been toying with – whether I’d reach Grasmere in the light – was irrelevant. I could jump on a bus and go home whether it was light or not – I didn’t have to go searching for a new sheltered camping spot and something else to climb tomorrow – I could just scoot home and be happy with what I’d achieved. With an extra burst of energy, I passed Gibson Knott and soon climbed my way up Helm Crag.

Clearly Helm Crag has a beautiful view, however as the light was fading, as was my energy, I started to descent down to mountain and back to the busstop and the delights of civilisation.

Things I’ve learnt:

  • That much wind is more than I want to put that tent through again
  • Sourmilk Gill needs revisting in the light.
  • Easedale tarn needs revisting in better weather
  • Wythburndale is boggy
  • Helm crag is probably quite an accessible climb for families etc
  • I can tick off 5 Wainrights
  • I’m tired after all that. :)