But he’s not Northern…

Camping in the Lakes...My name is Matt Hobley and I live (nearly) in the hills to the east of Manchester, right on the edge of the Peak District (I’m from Leicestershire originally).

I started Northern Walker as a kind of test bed for a project I was working on. It felt good to have the opportunity to write about those things that make life worth living so I kept it going.

This site is largely about three things:

Hillwalking and Backpacking I love venturing into the hills, usually alone, and sleeping out somewhere. I try to be a lightweight traveller although it’s a challenge finding lightweight tents to fit when you’re 6’6.”

taking a beather iceland bicycle tourCycling is a central part of my life. It’s my daily exercise, a mode of transport when I commute into Manchester and London, and allows me to get off the beaten track when touring. I love working on bikes, too, having built my touring bike pretty much from scratch. I’m more of a road trundler than road racer and my tastes in bikes tend to be traditional… steel frames and Brooks saddles all round. I currently have four bikes (a much-loved Woodrup Sportivo, Surly Troll, Surly ECR and a Brompton H6 for multi-modal trips) and am always interested in growing the fleet.

Lagavulin Still

Whisky: I love Scotland and I love Scotch, particularly Islay malts. From time to time, I’ll put something on the blog about what I’m drinking. I don’t have a particularly refined palette, but am always keen to try something new.

If you fancy dropping me a line or have questions about anything on these pages, you can email me here.

13 thoughts on “But he’s not Northern…

  1. Hi matt, I’ve done a fair bit of back packing over the years but have grown a bit tired of lugging a full bergen of kit. I like the idea of wild camping over nighters, with a more minimal approach. Would be interested to know your views on a quality bivvy bag for this purpose (I have seen your blog on big agnes) What I would like is a bag that performs well above the tree line, and doesn’t soak your sleeping bag with condensation. I enjoy reading the blog, the ones about Lathkill Dale, Kinder Scout and Scotland were very good and all very close to my heart. Cheers Tom.

    1. Hi Tom. Thanks for getting in touch.

      I suppose it depends on budget to an extent. The more you spend, the better the fabric in terms of breathability. However, even the best bivvy bag will not perform unless you choose your pitch with care (same is true of tents, but I think pitch considerations are more pressing with the bag)… a good breeze is really important.

      There are number of models out there which perform well. A quick search on the following will find reviews on the web:

      Rab Ridge Raider
      Vaude I Person Bivvy
      Terra Nova Jupiter

      Hardcore bivvy users feel frames are a waste of time as essentially you have a very small tent rather than sleeping out under the stars. However, the frame does help air ciruclation and makes the bag a bit more liveable.

      Chief consideration has to be the size, though. I am tall and restricted on the models I can use. The Big Agnes is huge and I fit with not problems. If you are at all cramped in the bag, then the loft of your sleeping bag will be hampered leading to cold spots etc.

      Hope that helps. Gvie me a shout if you need more.



  2. hi tom, hear is jens. i just want to ask you, if the brompton folding bike is still your own? did you ever wanted to sell it?
    sorry for bother you, but in germany there was a guy, offered a brompton via quoka.de with your pics from your blog. if you google “Brompton H6L 2013 Folding Bike” and open the quoka.de results in cache you will see.
    the guy cheated me and now i want to prove that he cheated me for the police.
    thanks a lot.

    greating from germany

    1. Hi Jens, Sorry to hear this. This is the second time photos have been used from my blog for fraudulent sales. Yes, this bike is still in my possession and it is sitting under my desk right now.

  3. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for sharing your site. I also have an old galaxy and have been looking to upgrade the brakes. I have new shimano levers and tried to fit the v brakes but the blocks are hitting the frame. I’m guessing I’m doing something stupid but is it possible to get your advice?

    Best wishes


  4. No I’m using v brake levers combined with shifters on butterfly bars as since an op on my neck I can’t see where I am going with drops. I bought bosses to get the brakes away from the forks but they don’t fit. The problem is getting the brake blocks to not hit the forks.

    Thanks for any advice in advance 🙂

    1. Hmmm…. I haven’t encountered this problem myself but I know they can be a real fiddle on some frames. Quite hard to suggest something without seeing a pic to be honest. When you say you bought bosses to get the brakes away from the fork, what did you buy?

  5. Hi Matt, really nice to stumble across this blog – we’re just getting into tandem touring down here in Oxford and I’m starting my own blog too. Nice to see you’ve been bitten by the L’Eroica bug too – we rode a 1980s Claud Butler tandem around for this and it really sowed the seed for us both to get into more serious cycling. Lovely to see that you still strive to get all the family out on two wheels! Best, Jack


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