Thursday, 24 February 2011

Route option number 3 - and Inov-8 deliver!

Some things take a while to put together and Route option number 3 fits the bill. 

Strathcarron to Montrose - This Could be IT

It wins over the other two routes because...  

...The train will take me right to Strathcarron for £45.50. 
...The train will take me home from Montrose for £38. 
...The hotel at Strathcarron is reasonably priced.
...The route gets down to business right away - mountains and wilderness from the off.

I really like the look of this one, oh, and thanks to Dave's comments on this blog, it's about 15 miles shorter than it would have been - Gordon Menzies (and the Monadhliath) permitting!  If I haven't come up with anything better before I write again, I'll put a bit more detail on here so folk can offer their assistance with any known tricky stretches.  Typically, I think I have thought of most obstacles, but doubtless have missed many!

Kit-wise - some exciting things (for me):

- I've bought some Inov-8 X-Talon 240 boots to test out.  Bargain price too!  So far they feel very comfortable, but that makes me nervous - there's rarely such a thing as a free lunch so I am waiting for the sting in the tail.  It may have already stung as one of the little "Foot" logos has become detached from the tounge webbing - another gram lost!

- I've embarked on a journey of kit manufacture.  I want a pertex wind shirt/pant combo but don't want to pay full price.  So I've employed my mother as my personal trainer... clothing manufacture, and I am going to stitch my own wind shirt and pant combo. I'll post my progress and maybe even the pattern on here if it works out. 
- A custom Tarp will follow if the windshirt is a succcess...   ...if!!

- Did I mention Bob Cartwright?  Well if not - I will now. and kit, podcasts and sweeties - all you need except from the wilderness!


- Lately I've been helping my good pal Dennis Taylor plan his big challenge - LEJOG for 2012.  Den is not to be confused with the man of Green Baize fame, but is a man who has walked the PW more times than I care to discuss.  He's doing it again this year, North to South just before setting off on the C2C from East to West. 
What a dude!  He's getting his head on for LEJOG.  Semi Retired at 64 yrs of age he is doing all the things he wanted to do when he was twenty years younger and all the things I want to do now but probably won't be able to (afford) to do until twenty years from now!
I think of him as the physical polar opposite of myself.  He's not so tall, slight in build, and sports a top tash.  I am not so short, not so slight and sport a lazy batch of overgrown stubble - Oh, and I am 35!

Last year we put together the UK's Top Ten Highest Mountains and climbed them all in a single expedition.  On the Nevis Range we packed our bags for the overnight on the bealach between CMD and Aonach Beag/Mor.  Went over the BEN, across CMD Arete, over CMD and down to the bealach.  Sat down, had a drink, had a munch, got up and scrambled up onto the Aonachs and got back down in the same day.  If ever I had rued the fact that I had pack ALL my backpacking kit...   ...the look on Den's face when we got down said it all.

So now, after a Winter in Suffolk with my now slightly larger family, I am getting back into shape for the hills, and long days on foot.  Highlands - I'm coming to get you!

If there are any vetters reading my blog - as a potential TGOC first timer in 2012 - I am willing to beg to get a place, both knees if required!

I dribbled on a bit there, but hey-ho it got it off my chest.

Night folks.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

TGOC 2012 - Kitlist

So I thought it might be prudent to go through my kitlist to see where I can improve the weight and where I cannot.  This has given me a small shopping list which I think can't be avoided and I will have lots of time to beg, borrow, steal and save for what I need.  This is what I think I should need in the pack:

DescriptionWeight (g)Weight (oz)
MACPAC Pursuit Pack1,85065.12
ME AR Ultralite 1 Tent130045.76
Inov-8 Terrocs66023.23
snugpak softie kilo105036.96
ME helium 3.8 mat75026.40
bush cooker1906.69
trek kettle2528.87
petzl elite270.95
torres gilet37013.02
velez smock72525.52
2x evian bottles1003.52
1st trousers41014.43
1st baselayer2007.04
2nd trousers46516.37
2nd baselayer2007.04
3 x socks2007.04
lowe alpine mountain cap732.57
buff x 2722.53
toilet paper501.76
1st aid kit2007.04
TOTAL is 9.8kg / 22lb of which I will be wearing around 1.8kg/4lb.  Not bad!

I think I have everything but the Windshirt, Windtrousers, Terrocs which should cost me around £150 total.  I guess I will have to beg for xmas, birthday pressies etc. 

I do have another option which will bring the weight down by at least 1.1kg (2.5lb) and that is to replace the MACPAC with a Golite Jam.  But...   ...the MACPAC really is soooo comfortable I can't imagine the Jam (even with the weight saving) will be worth the £80.

I'm off now to take Ashley (my new son) up wooden hill to his moses-basket after a late feed from mummy, and possibly to retrieve Hope (my existing daughter) from the heap on the floor as she has doubtless fallen out of bed again!

Plugging into ipod for the outdoors station podcasts on the 2009 challenge (sounds like a wet one!).  BTW - Really can't recommend enough!


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Will there be any trees left?

I'm just reading about the latest measures to stop a virulent influx of Black Death - a disease that spreads rapidly through larch plantations and can spread to other species of trees and even shrubs causing the death of the plant.

The forestry commission are acting fast at a time where they are hearing of job losses totalling 450 throughout the commission. All hands are currently felling as many trees as possible to stop the spread. Let's hope that they nail it before it nails the forests and ancient woodlands of the UK. I'd hate for our enjoyment of the outdoors to be robbed of it's boreal splendour.

Imagine if we sold the forests. Would a collection of private owners act as quickly? Or would they await a government order?

Something to mull over....

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