Due to allsorts of circumstances its been a pretty barron last 3 months when it comes to wanders the year started really well with every weekend being spent up a buffalo or two, even managed a week up around cape wrath and a long weekend around Aberfeldy. But other priorities took a front seat and as a consequence the fitness has suffered. Only five months to the challenge so this morning it was on with the bergan and around the 4 1/2 circuit in front of the house.
I really enjoyed it, came across 5 Roe, a couple of engleesh eagles and another hawk that I couldn't id and some rather tubby pheasants, the weather turned very pleasant, a bit of a biting wind but my new favourite craft gloves (with wind mitten bitty) soon had the hands right toasty. Should have taken the house keys though, got home to an empty and locked abode, everyone had headed off to the big city. Schoolboy error and lesson learned.
The search for a new tent continues, initially id decided cheap is good and was happy enough with a zephyros, eventually sense prevailed and I remembered how often ive been stung with the buy cheap, buy twice adage.
So I then went to the other end of the scale deciding that an Atko was the answer, great reviews, in fact fantastic reviews, but something still niggles about it, I have the same "anti" problem that I have with apple owners, so far up their own backsides they can inspect their own fillings. So thats it, I'm getting down with the real people and getting a lazer instead, definitely, maybe, ok maybe not today its all change again, ive now decided I really really want a scarp 1
Ive been trying to get a pair of "non waterproof" shoes/trainers/hikers for a while, amazing how hard that was. Anyway I eventually settled on the Salomon eskape aero, I already have a couple of other Salomon boots that i really like, so that went quite a way towards picking these, in the end it came down to a straight shoot out between these and a pair of merrell.
Initial thoughts are that they are very comfortable, as expected really. I was initially worried about the heel depth being quite shallow, im not used to shoes as everything from my work to leisure wear is in some sort of boot form. But after wearing them for three days those fears have been allayed. I like the mesh, its sort of similar to the adidas climacool running shoes, theres no suede (one of the reasons I took these over the merrells, hopefully that allows them to drain off quickly. Im going to wear them a lot over the winter, get them really broken in and comfy then try and utilise them as my main tabbing shoe next year, More to follow....
I live in the back of beyond near Aberdeen, looking out my front window I see a field of lamb chops on the hoof (some quite cute but thats for a different blog.........), out the back window there's a futher four fields full of them, if I got off my butt and actually went to the window I would have a view over dozens of fields, all of which are home to the wee wooly blighters. The farmer (small holding) mentioned he had 300 ewes lambing earlier this year, the majority had twins.
So, sheep/lambs everywhere but 9 or 10 quid a kilo for lamb chops, thank god the fields are full, imagine the price if we didnt produce them...
Funnily enough ive just returned from a holiday in paxos, a wee greek island only a few miles long and maybe one mile wide if that, everything arrives and leaves by ferry to corfu about an hour and a half away.
I never saw a sheep or lamb the whole time I was there, ive also been to corfu a few times and cant remember seeing any there either, like me Greece is reported to be having some cash flow dramas, so imagine my delight to find lamb chops on the menu's of all the restaurants in the little fishing village we stayed in, the dish below cost 9 euro, so about 7.50/8 quid, there was four huge lamb chops on it, an other meal on an other night served up 6, yes 6 chops, still for 9 euro, tbh it was to much after a calamari starter
Help your local skint farmer, eat British meat, aye right..
Being at a loose end this week i went for a wee walk recce yesterday (after being forced to partake in girdle scones and coffee at raemoir in Banchory and as they say up here they were afy afy fine min........).
I wanted to confirm a possible start point and maybe an overnight bivi area for something im hoping to do next year, anyway a nice drive from Banchory to the Clatterin brig via the cairn o mount, and on to Stonehaven via Auchenblae (due to a rd closure) skirting the southern edge of the Fetteresso forrest.
We stopped on top of the cairn for an all round view, looking west towards Mt Battock and glen esk it is thankfully still stunning. Looking east and around to the south and salmonds folly appears from the clouds, monstrous wind turbines dominating the once wonderful hills, thankfully the low cloud base hid some, while others faded in and out of view like mutant triffids, at least three giant cranes were assembling more for the never ending sea of monstrosities, a disgraceful scarring of one of Scotlands major selling points, its beauty lost forever to line the pockets of the already rich.
At least my energy bills will decrease..............
Finally Mr Salmond, iam a diehard fan of an independent Scotland, but never ever can i vote for it under the SNP and their plans to destroy my country, if these things are required put them out to sea, or is there less proffit to be made by the rich landowners and energy companies.
For the last year or two I've been craving some after hike footwear, i was often coming off the hill after a long day and driving home in bare feet, to be honest its not so bad, but then when passing the Ballater chipper it would mean more faffing about getting the boots back on, (the law states that you must stop at the ballater chipper for a white pudding supper after hiking the east cairngorms).
Flip flops are fine in good weather for scuddging about but are worse than bare feet for driving in, I've also never really been much of a trainer person, so recently after a couple of very long and bloody hot days i started to put a bit more effort into finding an answer, first off I discovered that its actually quite a common whinge and recovery shoes seems to be the moniker given rather than after hike shoes. Google is my friend (what ever happened to the other search engines?) and a quick search threw up some options, as luck would have it, sport persuit were doing a INOV 8 sale at the tine and the Recolite 190s were available and dully purchased at a decent price.
A wee while down the line, and after my initial "WTF" are these moment i have decided that they are exactly what i needed, initially they were a bit of a scutter to get on, especially at the heel, but after a couple of wears that has eased up, now I find them to be really comfy, last week i took them to the Greek island of Paxos and actually wore them while wandering along the donkey paths and cliff tracks, they performed brilliantly, I'm that happy with them that I reckon next year they will get a run out while munro bashing and not just the driving home/recovery shoe.
If I wear the recovery shoes all day, what do I wear to recover??????
Patagonia down sweater half price from the mountain factor, as always a fantastic service, great shop with far to many bargains to choose from. Marmot Cerro Torre jacket an even bigger bargain from sport pursuit, I've had some great stuff from them recently, bargin central for the outdoor inclined.
First frost of the year yesterday morning, bit of a shock scrapping the car windscreen again, to be fair it seems to have been a pretty decent summer up here in the "frozen north" this year, pay back over the next 6 months nae doot.
A new light weight 50 litre (or thereabouts) bergan
Currently the big bergan position is held by a berghaus number with a fancy back system, very nice, very comfortable but to heavy for a long multi day wander. I love osprey bags and currently have 3 on the go, but just up too 33ltr. Initially they were my choice to supply the new bigger lightweight one, but after hours of research I've added the montane grand tour 55 into the mix, I have a soft spot for montane clothing and their forays into the rucksack world have been getting good reviews. That, the price and the "not as common on the hill" factor have combined to push it into the lead for the honour of carrying my freeze dried hard boiled eggs.
A new lightweight tent 1, maybe 2 person (weight and price dependent).
Usual story, Haven't got a clue here really, price dictates it wont be one of them fancy Ackto's unfortunately, would really like the tarptent 1, but again cost and the import hassle might be the dampener on that one, the terra nova laser competition looks decent and can be picked up at a bit more realistic price and maybe even its cheaper clone. Although i really should pay heed to the buy cheap, buy twice adage, ive been caught out often enough. More thought required on this one I think
As lightweight and compressible as i can afford sleeping bag
Again I don't really have a starting point, cozy from April to September in the Scottish hills, packs small and weighs little , down or not? As before I've spent hours reviewing, reading and researching and I'm still no further forward, the current position of "sleeping bag to the virgin" is held by the biggest waste of hard earned pounds possible, a spur of the moment whim that went wrong.
On line shops only doing mobile web sites do my nut in, mobile sites are shite, no question's no arguments they are universally shite. (Apologies)
Complete outdoors UK, fail, really really bad fail actually. Mobile sites on tablets are sh.......... anyway you get the idea, they're not good and to compound the uselessness there's no "switch" to classic site toggle available. No sale I'm afraid and site on block, to ensure I don't inadvertently end up there again, its akin to following a 105 year old towing a caravan with a fiat up the A9