Monthly Archives: May 2009

New Toys

Got a few new bits of kit coming soon !

I have ordered a Suunto Core as my Techtrail has seen better days and has suffered from the typical strap failure.

It looks like a good bit of kit and even tells the time !

Also as its getting warmer (but not warm enough for the Big Agnes Pitchpine) I have ordered up a minimus from PHD with 900 down fill in it.

I opted for the short but wide bag to experiment with the shape as my 500 is standard and has a wee bit extra that I have to pull up to get my feet in to the foot section.

All I need now for them to arrive and then find the time to get out and see how they go !

When you go into Tiso in Glasgow you get the feeling that nothing really is moving forward in the Kit department.

It all is happening with the wee independents selling small amounts of great bits of kit.

Hopefully the economic climate wont put an end to these guys.

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Fox and Hare

Its been a funny few days !

We were up north in Perthshire last week with a group from The Nautical College.

A really nice group to work with despite the weather and the snow on the hills !

It was all too good to be true and then we had hassles with the last morning just before the group was leaving thanks to a few drunk regulars invading the accommodation.

Usual you try and help a mate and it comes back and bites you in the arse.

So there was angry calls all round with me stuck in the middle whilst at the same time sitting in Tiso with PTC and Craig from Fast and Light.

This disrupted the Top Secret “Educate the masses with our beliefs” brainstorming meeting.

Then another mate dropped me in it by text, saying he had double booked and could not help me this weekend !

In the end it all came right as the numbers had dropped and I did not need him after all !

So a stress buster was called for and the Kilpatricks in the sun was in choice.

Not on foot but bikes, I say not on foot but Craig decided (his bike is bust ) that he would run with us !

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We slogged up the hill finally giving up and having to push as a group of guys effortlessly passed us on bikes and then disappeared onto the bare hill.

We caught up with Craig at the top as the wind hammered us and cooled the sweat from the climb.

We passed loch Humphrey climbing the stile and pushed/ rode the muddy path till we hit he new one in the woods.

Still not finished it gave some challenging surfaces to ride on and Craig had to focus hard dancing from one rock to another.

We exited the trees to be greeted by an amazing skyline looking North passed Ben Lomond.

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The fun bit was to come to the icing on the cake !

The down hill single track was truly smile stretching as we picked our way down the track thanking the inventor of full suspension as it soaks up all my bad lines and riding skills.

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Craig amazingly was not that far behind and for a man that has just run 10 odd km’s he was just smiling too much for my liking !

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After terrorising some ladies out running we hit the tarmac and sped down the hill with the distinctive noise of knobbly tyres disappearing away on tarmac (sorry asphalt !).

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After stopping at the petrol station for some healthy snacks, we headed back to the cars.

We all agreed it was a good way to wash away the woes of work and re balance the soul.

Well done us !

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Arran Adventure

With the bank holiday and me not working for a change, Jules and I decided to boost for the weekend.

We settled on Arran and hastily booked accommodation finally finding a place in Lamlash called Oakbank Farm.

Next was the Ferry to be booked ! this turning out to be bad news as almost all crossings were booked only leaving the 7am crossing with space.

An alpine start was called for so the car was packed the night before and alarms set for 5am !

We woke to the sun just coming up and were on the road as the sun started coming right up.

It was a bit weird to be taking in the sunrise from the car and not from a tent or rock on a mountain.

We crossed over to Arran and checked into the accommodation and contemplated the plan of attack.

As usual the weather forecast was not great so we decided to take advantage of the present good weather and climb to the highest point on the island Goatfell.

We popped into one of the outdoor shops to pick up a map but did not linger long to look at kit as the selection was poor (thats being polite!)

We parked the car at the Brodick Country Park side of the hill and set off up the good track in the sun.

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At 874 m and almost a sea level start its a fair hike in up the motorway of a path that snakes up the hill.

Once up on the main shoulder it gets a bit steeper and rockier.

Some of the rock formations are amazing.

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A short pull up through the rocks rewarded us with a windy summit and a look back down the hill to see the snake of tourists coming up behind us.

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The ridge from here to Beinn Tarsuinn looks impressive and tempting but Jules was feeling the climb and my knee was starting to get tender again from the Ben Lui trip.

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We headed back down the hill in the sun and stopped off at the pub at the bottom for some late lunch.

We woke on Sunday to sunshine again.

We headed over to Brodick again and headed out on the bikes on some tracks which were badly signposted !

We ended up pushing up a narrow path next to an impressive wee gorge.

At one point I was trying to ride up the hill when the the back wheel spun in the grit, I came to a stop lost my balance and did not manage to get my foot out my clips as I fell of the edge of the path down into the gorge !

I managed to grab a bush and climbed out with my bike back onto the path to the amusement of Jules.

Finally we reached the big track that we could actually ride.

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We were rewarded with a nice wee downhill section and stopped off to visit te Castle before heading back to Brodick.

The rain fell on Monday as we packed up for the ferry at a more friendly time.

All in all we were a wee bit disappointed with Arran.

It has the potential but it just isnt there yet.

The food available in restaurants and bars is all very much the same from place to place and lacks true Scottish Fare.

Bike routes and paths are not well marked or displayed/advertised with the tourist board.

An old mate Callum lives on the island and runs Arran Adventure but I couldn’t get a signal on my phone so missed his call.

I reckon getting him to act as a guide would be the way to get some good biking done on the island.

It was good to get away from work !

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