Monday, 13 February 2012

Fueling the fire - nutrition for a winter trip.

Food choice for a trip is a very personal thing, not only in preference/dislikes but also in the whole ethos or approach to meals.  Much of course depends upon the length of the trip!

When backpacking, choices are partially limited by what one can physically or comfortably carry.  For short sea kayaking trips of two or three nights (the typical "weekender"), the possiblities seem endless, especially if a bothy is used rather than a tent; things are just easier when you can stand up and use a hard surface to prepare and cook food.

Hardened winter athletes need a finely balanced nutrition strategy to sustain performance.  Here's ours :o)

Douglas and I share a very similar approach:

Meals are an integral part of the trip and should be as enjoyable as the other elements of the day.

Good food is one of life's pleasures, and fresh ingredients are likely to be more nutritious than packet alternatives.

     Image: Douglas Wilcox                                                                                     

Part of our kitchen during a recent trip.  Douglas' pressure cooker gets to work on baby new potatoes - just a couple of minutes cooking time in this produced great spuds!

Our menu for a three day/two night trip is below.  It's fairly typical of what I'd do even if solo, though sharing the planning and preparation of meals is all part of the fun of a trip for me.

We set out on our trip at lunchtime, fueled by some of Douglas' home-made Carrot & Coriander soup accompanied by slabs of his home-made wholemeal bread.

Our evening meal on the first night was Vension Casserole with baby new potatoes.  Dessert was Christmas cake followed by Smoked Deeside Cheddar with organic Orkney oatcakes.  We enjoyed a pre-prandial dram of 18yo Glenfiddich and accompanied the meal with a bottle of red wine. 

Breakfast was a simple affair of fruit and a cup of tea/coffee.  It was cold and we wanted to get moving.  Douglas had brought bacon and eggs, but we didn't in the end use them.

Luncheon on our second day was Douglas' excellent home-made French Onion soup, again accompanied with home made bread.  We also had slices of home-made fruit cake purchased from my local Farmer's Market (as a two kilo slab!).

Dinner on our second evening consisted of home produced individual haggis from my local butcher with baby new potatoes and pre-prepared carrot & neep, accompanied by a glass of red wine. Dessert was more cake followed by cheese (again from a small independent creamery and bought at a Farmers Market) and a fine vintage port.

This is Steve Wright of Mortlach Game - the best Venison in Aberdeenshire!  Steve shoots, butchers, packs and sells wild venison from Red and Roe deer. He also sells other game, all of it high quality. His website has the recipe for Venison Casserole which I pre-prepared and sealed into a container for ease of cooking; it's easy to prepare and very tasty.  This was our main course on the first evening. The meat we used was diced shoulder from a wild Red Deer hind.

Both Douglas and I are passionate about using good, local ingredients.  With one of us living in the south west and one the north east of Scotland, we have access to a huge range of excellent local food - in this we are very fortunate.  The majority of the food and drink we enjoyed on this trip was produced in Scotland.

It has been noted that we enjoy the occasional libation, both with food and occasionally on arrival at particularly fine beaches.  These measures are small, but satsifying!

At the conclusion of our trip we had sufficient food for a further 24 hours (at least) without resorting to dried food as well as a range of snacks and treats.


  1. Fantastic, Ian. Like you I love my food and drink but I generally 'rough it' to some extent when I am away for a night or two. This just shows what's possible with a bit of imagination and preparation.

    Thanks too for the link to Mortlach Game. I can see me making a wee trip to the market at Huntly in the near future.


  2. Hi Doug, This was roughing it sea-kayak style! :o)

    I don't think you'll be disappointed with Steve's produce - his recipes are sure-fire winners too.

    Kind Regards