This is a blog created for the Freedom Trail, which I am hiking on the 15th September, 2014.  The walk itself is very historic, and follows the Freedom Trail, or Chemin de la Liberté, one of the toughest WW2 escape routes from Nazi-occupied France. Local people risked their lives to help the thousands of allied servicemen and Jewish refugees fleeing to safety, and we pass plaques and memorials dedicated to their bravery. The trek is arduous and steep, taking us through spectacular scenery of cirques, rocky ridges, beech forests and mountain lakes. We walk on remote trails, reaching 2522m before we descend into Spain.

Matt with GoPro hat

Matt with GoPro hat

To watch three days of footage from the trek, please visit the videos page.  I managed to capture a frame every 5 seconds, which came to about 7,800 images!  Unfortunately the solar power charger was not good enough (this is not the Voltaic charger, but it was a light-weight one from Lidl that I tried) So the highest climb on day three were not captured, or the crossing into Spain as we had to abandon that due to a storm.

Okay so looks a bit funny, but I’m not that bothered about fashion up a mountain.

So why am I doing this?

Well there are a couple of reasons, one is that I wanted to do this for myself as a challenge.  Another reason is that there are some things happening in my life that are a little difficult at the moment and I’m also hiking the Pyrenees because I wanted to do my bit for charity and so I’ve setup a Just Giving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/Freedom-Trail

MIND is the mental health charity and I felt that this was something that has had some media coverage recently, with famous people such as Robin Williams sadly taking their own life.  It’s not just famous people though, it’s something that can affect everyone and there have been a lot of cuts recently (don’t believe the government when they say things are getting better….)

I have also been involved in some projects around mental health and I’m not afraid to say it’s something I have battled with for many years.  It’s also very hard to speak to friends and family and often people don’t know what to say and doctors can be too willing to hand over anti depressants.  Fortunately I have avoided medication, but I know a lot of people that have not and many friends of mine take medication to stop themselves from potentially harming themselves.

Equipment and capturing the adventure

GoPro Camera

GoPro Camera

With the GoPro camera, I have been testing out different settings and unfortunately the battery life is very poor when taking video, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  So I have been trying out different time lapse settings, so taking a picture every 5 seconds.  This still only gives about 2 hours and 20 minutes of battery life…  So I’m about to run another test with the camera and hike on Dartmoor with the camera taking a picture every minute, so for a long trek that’s about 480 pictures assuming an 8 hour walk time.  I could try 30 seconds, so that would be 960 pictures….  Not sure yet, but I have 6 batteries in total and so if I can’t charge them then it won’t last…

I bought an AMP Voltaic solar power charger, it initially worked and now it’s been struggling to do anything at all.  So I many not even take this with me.


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