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: 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.

You could say I took an arrow to the knee…

We don’t like to talk about much, but there’s a time to look at “crazy” challenges with a face of sensibility.

Sometimes it's important to check how you're doing... (Sweden, 2012)
Sometimes it's important to check how you're doing... (Sweden, 2012)

Last year, I did a 26 mile [sponsored] walk around Manchester, and so this year, I signed up to do the 55 mile version. I’m undoubtedly fitter than I was a year ago, and it looked like a tough, yet probably achievable challenge.

In November, I went for a hike. We went fast, the views were amazing, my photos were great, and it was a great day – however since then my right knee has started behaving in a temperamental fashion – sometimes being randomly painful to bend, whilst often being painful after a days walking.

In late December, I missed out on many exciting hikes in the snow because of it, and whilst I’ve done some fun things more recently, it’s still by no means on form – just the other day I did no serious walking at all, and yet found it painful to walk upstairs – not good. With my knee being in such uncertain condition, I thought it’d be prudent to have done at least one 20-30 mile training walk in advance of the real thing and I’d set myself this weekend as the deadline, however I don’t even feel up to the training walk really.

Starting and “seeing how I do” isn’t an option – once I cross the starting line, the red mist will come down and the only thing on my mind will be the finish line, the state of my body will not be in the equation.

I’d rather not jeopardise fun plans for later in the year, by doing something ostentatiously crazily difficult, and so, with sadness, I’ll be withdrawing from the Bogle Stroll 2013, to allow my body to sort itself out.

There’s nothing good about missing fun and exciting things 12 months because you tried to do something stupidly strenuous, when you knew you weren’t up to it.

(I’ve let the guys at mySociety (my would-be sponsoree) know I won’t be walking and they’re understandingly supportive about it.)

#ChallengeTim: Climb Something High

At the summit of Mount Toubkal
At the summit of Mount Toubkal

A few weeks ago as part of my ongoing campaign to challenge myself, I walked to the Mount Toubkal. At 4,167 m, it’s the highest Mountain in Morocco, and, in fact, North Africa. At 4000 metres, it’s a good deal higher than the next highest thing I’ve climbed – Ben Nevis (1344 metres) – the highest mountain in the British Isles.

To be fair, whilst this all sounds very impressive, I have to now put this all in perspective and explain why I don’t think it’s such a big deal.

Ben Nevis isn’t a very difficult mountain to walk up (by its easiest route!). It’s physically tiring if you’re not used to walking up things and that can be tough, but the main path is well made, well marked, relatively gentle and so long as you go slowly, the weather is good and you’re well dressed and determined you’ll eventually summit. It’s really that simple.

Toubkal isn’t quite that simple, but it’s close. There is a walk in from Imlil (or Aremd [2000 metres] where we’d spent the previous night), to Nehtmer where there are mountain huts and where most groups camp via a well marked, well trafficed (I mean, people, mules, goats etc!) path. From Nehtmer (3207 metres), it’s only about 2km/960 metres) away.

Think about that, Ben Nevis is 1344 metres and you climb it in one day, almost from sea level. With Toubkal you only have to do 960 metres on summit day, and perhaps 1207 metres the day before. Maybe think of it as two Ben Nevis’s on consecutive days.

Toubkal does have some challenges that Ben Nevis doesn’t: Altitude and Sun. On a lucky day, you might have an issue with sun on Ben Nevis, but on Toubkal, once the temperature gets up, it gets unpleasant. The altitude also starts to become noticeable. At “lowish” high altitudes like this, if you can expect a few things: you find it more difficult to breathe or you notice yourself being out of breath faster than you’d expect, and you’ll start to notice gentle signs that you’re high up. You can also expect to experience “gentle” mountain sickness symptoms if you’ve not acclimatised enough – in my case, mild headaches.

The cure to being out of breath is to walk R-E-A-L-L-Y slowly. The cure to mountain sickness symptoms is, well, in the short term, drinking lots of water. It’s a complex subject, but drinking lots of water makes a big difference. That was I think the only time I managed to completely drain my 3 Litre Platypus – everytime I noticed I had a headache, I drank. One of the other guys and I had quite a lot of fun singing acapella kareoke of popular songs on the way up this hill and noticed that, for me at least, the singing was keeping the headache at bay. I dread to think how much everyone else must have wanted to strangle us given they must have had rubbishy headaches and then had to suffer our rubbish singing.

To be honest, I don’t think “climb something high” was a very good challenge to set myself. Height in itself, is not necessarily very challenging, or very enjoyable.

I had a great time in Morocco, I greatly enjoyed walking through the mountains, I’m glad I reached that summit, but I don’t think the fact it was 4,000 metres high was what made it.

I’m going to consider this challenge done, but with a note to make sure that challenging things I do in the future are actually difficult, and don’t just sound difficult. :)

My Epic Pennine Way Night Hike

A couple of weeks ago I had a spare few extra days and wanted to go and do a longish hill hike. The Peak District is the most accessible and I was busy til late afternoon so I figured I’d get the train to Edale, then walk up the Pennine Way through the night.

Epic Night Hike Route : Edale, Kinder, Bleaklow, Blackhill Glossop
Epic Night Hike Route : Edale, Kinder, Bleaklow, Blackhill Glossop

I walked from Edale station, to Upper Booth, up Jacobs Ladder, onto Kinder Low, past Edale Rocks, along the edge of the Kinder Plateau, past the downfall, past Mill Hill. Over the Snake Pass, up to Bleaklow Head – at this point, dawn broke and I got to enjoy the view.

Summit of Bleaklow at Dawn
Summit of Bleaklow at Dawn

I then head down past the Wain Stones towards Torside Clough. I was pretty tired by this point so I threw up my tent in a shallow depression out of the way and slept for 10 hours… until 4pm!

I then walked along the Pennine way, across the Torside Reservoir Dam to Crowdon and took the easterly path up to Black Hill… which was incredibly boggy. Dusk came just before the summit.

On the way back, I was able to walk along the Pennine way,which fortunately is paved, because I really think more peat swamps in the dark would be been highly unpleasant. Ultimately, I got down to Crowdon by about 1am.

From Crowdon, I walked back across the dam, along the Longdendale Trail, off , up a little road, between the twin reservoirs, up Padfield main road and all the way down Woodhead Road to Glossop.

I did a bit of a videoblog, there’s not a whole lot to see, but it’s nice to document the highs and lows of the journey. My camera messed up slightly a few times so a few clips didn’t really come out too well. :(

My Epic Pennine Way Night Hike

Hike Statistics:
Distance: 29 Miles/47km
Ascent: 4243 Feet/1293m
Notable summit: Kinder/Bleaklow/Blackhill
Walking Hours: 18.5
Sleeping hours: 10
Daylight Walking Hours: 6
Headtorch Walking Hours: 12.5

The Bogle Ramble :: 26 miles across Manchester on foot

You can sponsor my efforts here on mydonate and let mySociety know how much you appreciate them!

The Bogle Ramble was an interesting challenge: throughout the day I made a video blog, capturing my thoughts, messages of thanks to my sponsors and other notable moments.

The Eighty Three Bus,
Overtakes me once again,
please let me ride you!

After we started, there was this guy who seemed intent on running it, but didn’t know his way to Oldham Road through the centre, so I jogged with him across the city centre to Oldham Road where I let him move onwards at an incredible pace, whilst I resumed walking to catch my breath. From there until Failsworth (Checkpoint 6), I only encountered one other Bogler – a lady who had also been jogging a fair bit.

Walking and jogging…
Staple bogle essentials.
Checkpoint seven soon!

On the stint between Checkpoint 6 and Checkpoint 7 I overtook a good number of clearly exhausted Bogle Strollers. One lot seemed to be limping so badly I jogged across the road and gave them a bunch of chocolate bars from my bag; their eyes showed their appreciation which they didn’t seem to be able to find words to express.

Crossing the River Irwell in Kearsley
Crossing the River Irwell in Kearsley

After Checkpoint 7, I noticed a lot more Bogle Strollers, many sitting on walls, comforting friends… or just plodding along. I’d been told that between Checkpoint 7 and 8 there were some hiking club strollers which I really wanted to catch up with. Once I reached “checkpoint” 7.5, I met up with them and found they’d dropped out. After stopping for a brief chat, my first snack and a friendly face, I headed on for Checkpoint 8 at Kearsley.

Shortly before Checkpoint 8, it started raining, which, given I hadn’t brought waterproof trousers with me, was unwanted, and quite depressing. Ultimately though, the rain broke away to sun and there was a DOUBLE RAINBOW.

Sunshine through the rain,
an inspiring sight to see,
a rainbow of hope.

Double Rainbow!
Double Rainbow!

From there on, I started to really notice that I was no longer up to short periods of jogging downhill and was it was beginning to lose it’s edge. I was largely walking following the signs the Bogle team had put up on lampposts and occasionally falling back to my map/route instructions for the bigger picture. Somehow however, I managed to completely walk past Checkpoint 9. From then onwards, then on, I suspect my average speed dropped quite a bit. I started to find people overtaking me, rather than the other way round. As I walked through Salford, I started to notice bunches of youths apparently eyeing me up and so I pressed on to checkpoint 10, just 2.5 miles from the finish line, and then onwards towards the finish.

The Bogle tired me in ways I hadn’t previously anticipated. I knew it would be a physically tiring time. I knew I’d have to tell myself just to keep going and that I was going to finish it. I didn’t expect the fatigue and stress of the previous few weeks to be brought close to the surface due to Bogle fatigue and for me to feel like I inexplicably was going to burst into tears. This, I was completely unprepared for.

I finished The Bogle at 17:57. About 8 hours, 37 minutes, 26 miles after I started – an average speed of about 3mph. There were no blisters or other injuries.

You can still sponsor me here!

How much fun can you make a 26 mile walk through Manchester?

You can sponsor my efforts here on mydonate and let mySociety know how much you appreciate them!

Have you ever considered why there are potholes in our roads? When there is a pothole in the road, what do you think it preventing it getting fixed?

It turns, when you ask the council, the answer is “no one told us about it”.

The Bogle Ramble Route
The Bogle Ramble Route (c) Manchester RAG

On Saturday, I’m doing the Bogle Ramble – a 26 mile sponsored walk around the north of Manchester for mySociety*

mySociety is an online democracy charity that runs most of the UK’s best known democracy websites. If you’ve ever used or seen The Downing Street e-Petitions websiteTheyWorkForYouWriteToThem, and WhatDoTheyKnow then you’ve benefited from the results of mySociety’s hard work.

As most of the the Bogle Ramble is on roads, I wondered what I could possibly do to make sure that every miles I spend walking the roads of North Manchester is put to the best use possible. Well it turns out that mySociety also runs FixMyStreet – a website that allows you to quickly and simply submit a report of a problem to the relevant local authority who will then investigate the problem and remedy as appropriate.

Almost fall off your bike because of a pothole? Report it on FixMyStreet

Obscene graffiti near your home? Report it on FixMyStreet

Flytipping in your local park? Report it on FixMyStreet

MySociety could use some help to build new sites, keep existing ones running smoothly (website don’t run themselves!) as well as adding new features, which is why this I’m fundraising for them.

Who said this isn’t a bit of fun?

Random suggestions of things and numbers that you could sponsor me:

  • 65p for every pothole reported via FixMyStreet
  • 25p for every time Tim tweets during the walk
  • 30p for every mile Tim manages to walk
  • 85p for every mile Tim manages to walk without tweeting
  • £3 for every photo of Tim posing with a random stranger (capped at £6)
  • £3 for every 20 minutes I talk to you on the phone, during the walk (capped £9 – 1 hour is enough for anyone!)
  • £1 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street
  • £5 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street and posts a video of it online afterwards.
  • £80 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street and unintentionally gets physically assaulted as a result
  • 10p each time Tim swears, grumbles or whinges about having to wake up before midday on a Saturday (capped at £10!)
  • £x every time Tim does y (capped at z) <—- Make your own!


Because I love you all so much, I’m providing several levels of bounties to you lovely generous people; if you donate more than:

£3 – I’ll sing out my thanks to you whilst I’m walking!

£6 – I’ll send you a personalised, signed, thank you card featuring a random photo from my collection (and the above).

£12- I’ll send you THREE, 10×8, high quality gloss prints of your favourite photos of mine (and all the above).

£18 – I’ll send you 100 glow sticks (and all the above).

£33 – I’ll send you an A3 poster of your favourite photo of mine (and all the above).

£49 – Dinner. You, Me. A suitably greasy pizza joint in Manchester. I’ll pay (and all the above).

£85 – I’ll consider fixing your computer for an hour ;) (and all the above).

£100 – I’ll use a Mac for the day (and all the above).


Let me know in a comment what I should do, use your real name, email address (only visible to me!) and I’ll be in touch to give you updates and collect teh monniez (or contact sponsorme @ tdobson.net)!

A random fact why mySociety should be supported:

On average, 44% of people who use WriteToThem have never written to a politician ever before. mySociety shows that the net can connect normal people with the political process, not just extend the power of those already in the know.

You can still sponsor me here!

*mySociety is the long running sole project of registered charity: UK Citizens Online Democracy #1076346).

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

Megawalk :: Chinley to Manchester

Back at the beginning of January, Ronni and I walked from Chinley to Manchester, right along the A6 as training for long distance roadwalks.

Chinley is about 20 miles away from the centre of Manchester so we got the train to Chinley at 6.30 AM on a Monday morning and walked in the dark to the A6 and then as dawn broke walked through Furness Vale to New Mills.

From New Mills, we pressed onwards to Hazel Grove where we shot this video:


From Hazel Grove we head straight on to Stockport and arrived about 10am. From there it was just a long slog for the last 10 miles up through Heaton Norris, Levenshulme, Longsight and Ardwick and finally into the centre.

I think we did 3mph for the first 15 miles but on the last 5, I’m pretty sure I slowed to 2mph. I’d not had breakfast or anything to eat yet and was struggling by that point.

All in all it was a good one, long but has helped me establish how I can cope with long distance, flat walks. :)