About the Loon

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A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

Monday, 31 March 2014

Sair feet no more

I did the Maud to Peterhead spur of the Buchan and Formartine way last week with about 15kg on my back, I don't know what I did but as soon as I stopped the soles of my feet felt like id been beaten by bamboo canes, the next day was even worse, it was a good two or three days before it improved.
The pain seemed to be mainly around  the outer edge (outsole???).  That's twice this has happened now, different boots each time, once while up the proper hills and once on a long hard flat walk, I'm blaming the socks, anyway lots of Gehwol and baths during the week but I still thought it better to give the walking a break for a few days, so i never got out this weekend (drank guiness, G&T and red wine instead)

Stunning weather (again) today so after I passed a rigorous late fitness test I took advantage of it and did a quick 3 mile circuit around white cow wood, up near Mintlaw in Aberdeenshire with 17.5kg on,

  I had planned to go a bit further,  but decided halfway round just to do the first loop and let the feet off as ive got a big weekend planned....

A bit more evidence of the some of the mad winds we've had this year, quite a lot of trees down over the track that weren't down last month. 

Looking away NE towards Crimond and Fraserburgh

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A bit of a blow out on the Scarp 1 the other week, the wind was reported as gusts of 111mph about 8 miles north (cairngorm top  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-26575896 ) from where I was camped.  It was certainly the windiest ive ever been out in and in hindsight I made a wise decision to stay down in the glens. Even then it was a night where the pegs were being pulled, I awoke when the fly started beating me about the head, I actually thought the worst, but on inspection it was a case of the guys slipping and the pegs being completely ripped out, a quick hunt in the dark and a couple of house sized rocks were sourced and promtly deposited on top of the pegs, problem solved, although I just couldn't get the corner stays to sit as they should.

The door was also blown open twice and that was with the little securing clip fastened,  luckily I had previously put paracord loops on the zips as pulls and was able to use them and  peg the door shut/down.

My seam sealing seems to have worked fine though

A couple of days later and back home I set the tent up to dry and change a couple of guys, I noticed the corner stays were still looking a bit out of shape,  on further examination I presumed the inner pole had burst through the sleeve

A quick stitch hopefully fixes it, I sewed the whole hole thing up before realising that there is actually a gap at the bottom of every sleeve, presumably to allow the poles to be replaced/removed, i put a couple of stiches in each one to hopefully stop the problem re occurring.


My current selection of footwear (yes I know they need cleaning), but what pair is the question?

I think the Salomon boots are excellent when going up and down big hills, I dont think they are so great on long flat stretches.

The Salomon shoes are comfortable both going up and down and on the flat, they have been worn more than anything else this past winter, but they're not waterproof.

The Brasher boots are like slippers, they were once waterproof but aren't anymore, although ive just started using dubin (blast from the past) so they might be ok for puddles, the soles are going flat but i love them, comfort personified.

Wear the shoe and go down the wet route, wear the big boot and hope the water doesn't get in and put up with comfort issues on long flat sections. Or the old faithfuls, all comfort but suffer with water ingress (probably)

Thursday, 27 March 2014

After a weekend of childish shenanigans and drunken debauchery down in Glasgow cheering on the mighty Aberdeen fc to their first sniff of success this century,  I decided it would be a good idea to partake in a spot of pre TGO Challenge training, great idea at the time, 4 hours sleep is plenty, hangovers are for the weak, 15kg is nothing and absolutely nothing will wipe this smile from my face..........  Aye right you are then.......

 To be fair it was a great day to be on and around mithers tap, the mildest winter in living memory seems to be moving seamlessly into spring (long may it continue), and a monday morning jaunt was just the ticket, only a handful of cars in the car park promised for a quiet day, the standard route up mithers tap is probably only a couple of miles at the most,  I needed a bit more exercise so plotted a more vague roundabout route of approx 5 1/2, 6 miles.

Being overly cocky and not quite clear in the head I followed a really nice path for 3/4 of a mile, a good steep section, just what i needed really, a cure for all ills, until I realised I should have left it 3/4s of a mile back, ok two full water bottles and a super sized snickers later, it was back down and off up the really quite obvious spur that id breezed past 30 minutes previously. 

 After finally clearing the lower forestation the marked path became a bit of a walk in the heather, eventually it petered out completely, leaving me the choice of going back and following a better path,  or continuing on, knowing that there would be a main path about 250/300yds above me on the ridge, I decided to bash on, through thigh high heather and covered/hidden boulders, a couple of falls (not great with a 15kg bergan on) and about a gallon of guiness tasting sweat later I finally made it to the path, great views but I was fairly puggled.  

 Good views out over Aberdeenshire mind

The top and the rain


 View towards, inverurie,  newmacher,  home and bed

Mean and moody

 The obligatory summit shot 

 Heading down


Nearly there,  I'll never drink again

Actually a very satisfying wander that hopefully helps in the build up to some sort of  decent level of fitness

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Glen Dye

Horrible day weather wise, but strangely a really enjoyable and satisfying jaunt, i was doing a bit of a recce in the area and decided to have a wander up glen dye to the bothy for a brew before returning,  cant remember how far it was but a decent tab with a good heavy bergan on, the marmot cerro torre and mountain equipment over trousers got a good workout,  very impressed with the jacket, especially the hood, with the wind driving the rain in from all directions it did what was expected of it. Salomon aero s were also impressive after getting thoroughly immersed early on, it was quite hypnotic watching the water getting forced out with every step, the initial dunking was freezing, but within half a dozen steps the feet we're tasty again and stayed like that until I got changed back at the car. Happy with them to, dread putting boots on these days.

Another day,  another jaunt around millstone with 15kg on, February and the weather is stunning, stopped for a good long brew, then spent 20 minutes scaling the fallen forrest

A wander (about 8 miles) around millstone hill, nice crisp day, carrying 15kg