Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Lowland leg crunches, Lakeland windblasts & more gear...

It's been a while since my last post (I wonder how many blogs begin with just those words?).  Anyway I have been out stretching my legs in the wilds of Suffolk with a day walk from Bury St Edmunds to Clare, and on to my hometown - Haverhill.  In all I'd guess its 26 or 27 miles (plus a bit for diversions - I took a couple of wrong turns).

This was largely a bit of preparation for The Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge later in June as a means to getting my head on really. 

The stretch from Bury to Clare (around 18 miles) felt pretty good but it all got measurably harder from Clare to Haverhill - the last 8 or so miles.  Having said this, the Inov8s performed really well (I threw away some memory foam inserts I was trying as they kept creeping around  my shoes) and my feet felt tired but ok by the end of the day.  The road walking had given them a battering but this was to be expected, and I don't expect that any of my days will even approach 27 miles on TGOC.

I've also been up into Lakeland (the scenic region, not the kitchenware shop!) again getting a bit more hillwalking under my belt.  A friday afternoon jaunt from Castlerigg to High Rigg of around 4 miles to get the juices flowing, followed by the three Dodds and Clough Head to the north of the Helvellyn ridge.  To say that the wind was strong was understatement of the century - I won't estimate the windspeed but thank Montane for their windproof gear - the Featherlight jacket and trousers nailed the windchill.  Just my hands suffered at one point when I picked up my poles (which I actually used to great effect this time) and jogged over to catch up with my brother in law who had gone off ahead.  I swear frostbite was moments away - brrr!

I took the opportunity to test out walking in running pants (I'd recently bought a couple of pairs for £16 from Aldi) and have to say they performed brilliantly, keeping off all but the keenest wind and when combined with the Montane Featherlight Pants made for an excellent alternative to regular mountain pants.  One slight downside is the lack of pockets.  Just a single money pocket at the back, but this really is a pedantic complaint and they are a definite contender to be in my pack for TGOC.  I'll just have to get over the psychological issues of walking in tights!

Helly Hansen's baselayer Tee is a new garment for me and I hardly noticed I was wearing it which has to be a good thing.  Two for £32 in Blacks Keswick was reasonable I thought.

I can't remember if I mentioned that I have sold a ton of kit on eBay but that's exactly what I have been doing.  Here's what I sold:

- Mtn Eqpt AR Ultralite 1 Tent
- Trangia 27 UL Cookset
- Primus Stove
- Thermarest Prolite 4 Reg
- Rab Summit Extreme Jacket
- Some climbing crabs and quickdraws
- My MLT confidence rope (spare)
- A few other sundries

and here's what I've bought with the money:

- Tarptent Moment (so excited about that)
- Montane AntiFreeze jacket
- Golite Jam
- Montane Featherlight Pants
- Vargo Triad Titanium Meths Stove
- Lifeventure Titanium Mug
- Helly Hansen base layer Tees x 2
- Fizan Compact Lite poles (pair)

I have had to put very little towards the new kit so my mantra of "BUY CHEAP BUY TWICE" has truly paid off here.  I look after my gear so its all in good nick.  If I had bought cheap gear it'd probably have packed up by now so I would be replacing it anyway, but by buying top gun gear, and looking after it I have been able to 'recycle' it into new gear for little if any extra outlay. 

The resale value of top gun kit on eBay is excellent.  Folk realise that well looked after kit on eBay can save them money and can be resold meaning that kit can be kept up to date without shelling out for more and more gear whilst the old stuff festers in the loft space.

That'll do for now, I'm at work and due back from lunch in five minutes.  I'd be interested to hear from anyone who reads the blog about connected issues so feel free to comment. 

Might try an audioblog next time.

Bye for now.