Monthly Archives: August 2009

Its not pretty !

We had a mega busy day on Saturday, 2 raft trips on 2 different stretches of river and a canyoning trip after that.

This meant by the time I finished work it was 7pm.

I had thought about attempting Carn Liath and Beinn A Ghlo again but we changed the location of the canyoning due to high water and I found myself on the Aberfeldy side running out of daylight !

The dangerous currents of the “Aberfeldy Eddy” were trying their hardest to retain me and spit me out in the pub.

I fought the tiredness and hunger hard and managed to escape the pulls as I looked at what other maps I had.

I had a moment of inspiration as I unfolded one and caught a glimpse of Schiehallion at the top left of the sheet.

This would be a good way to gain altitude quickly pitch the tent and get some food.

I chucked my semi prepared kit into my rucksack, noting a few bits of standard kit were missing (actually sitting on the floor at home), it was fine I could do without for this short mission.

The forecast for the Sunday was crap and as I walked the massive path I started questioning myself as what I was trying to achieve ?

There was no glorious sunset to be had as the cloud had came in.

There was a severe doubt that there would be an amazing sunrise to wake to.

But something kept driving me up the hill despite being tired and hungry.

I got about three quarters of the way up onto the small plateau before the summit ridge, the light was going fast and the wind was picking up.

Any higher and I would be totally exposed to the wind so I opted to find a spot in between the rocks.

After a stomp about I found a reasonable bit of ground and tipped the Haglofs Genius out as I did that and assembled the poles I realised one major thing was missing, the pegs !

I tried to hold the corners of the footprint down with small rocks as I inserted the ends of the poles.

This did not work an it flapped in the wind twisting and making life difficult.

I was tired and hungry and had no pegs !

I sat down and weighed up my options, the wind was gusty but the forecast was for it to die off later that night.

I re packed the tent, put my head torch on and headed back down the path.

Again something was driving me to stay on the hill and not woose out and head back to the car.

I had spotted an old howf on the way up and decided that if the ground was good I would get a bit of shelter there pitch the tent and I would be sorted.

The grass was long but flat so I chucked the footprint out inserted the poles and pulled the flysheet over the poles and put rocks on the valances round the tent to hold it down whilst I got rock to hold the guy lines.

All this done I climbed inside, I had ditched the inner as its heavy so had bags of room as I got the water onto boil and inflated the clearview pad.

I climbed into my sleeping bag as I waited for my food to re hydrate, Exped Spag bol was on the menu with a sprinkling of beef jerky to bulk it up !

I had the PHD minimus with me on its first outing.

It felt like I would freeze to death as the 900 fill down weighs nothing !

The Gold Dri-Shell outer made me smile and all of a sudden life was better.

I had shelter,food and warmth Happy days!

I finished my food and contemplated a brew, but I was just too tired so I admin-ed my kit and it wasn’t long after my head contact with my new Exped mat Pillow that I was out for the count.

I woke about 1am as the rain started to get heavy, the forecast was spot on.

I dozed back off but was woken at 2am with a drip of water on my face.

I switched the torch on and could see another drip forming on the pole, I wiped it with my buff and put it down to condensation caused by not using the inner tent.

At 3am I woke up with the rain belting off the flysheet and what can only be described as the feeling of someone squirting water out of a mist nozzle !

I am not sure if it was the force of the rain hitting the outside of the flysheet and then displacing the condensation on the inside, but I did also notice that at the point where the clips are stitched onto the inner of the fly for the poles has water seeping in.

The tent is not taped and there was seam sealer supplied which will be getting used asap.

I decided it was pointless, I packed my sleeping bag up, deflated the clearview and donned the waterproofs.

I stepped outside in the torrential rain de pitched the tent and stuffed into the top of the rucksack and legged it off the hill by torchlight.

I got back to the car and tilted the passenger seat back, climbed into the Minimus and was sparkers in 10 mins.

I awoke in the morning (or later that morning!) and debated a brew.

I lowered the window on the truck to a hungry swarm of midges also looking for a morning drink !

The window went speedily up and I shuffled across to the drivers seat and took off for the sprawling metropolis of Aberfeldy.

My battery on my mobile was flat so I looked about for a car charger but most shops were shut or did not have one.

I passed 3 cafes of which all had big signs in the window saying “Closed Sundays” it was 10am and in the middle of the tourist season and these places were shut.

As PTC rightly says “Welcome to Scotland, You will have had yer tea!”

I drove to Ballinluig and stopped of at the greasy spoon services for a breakfast and endless cups of coffee.

The to Pitlochry where I managed to get a charger, this done I popped into Escape Route and had a look about, funnily enough Haglofs was not on my agenda !

As you can see no photies which is a bit pants in my mind !

Not sure if I achieved anything and if the jaunt was pointless.

Kept me out the pub though.

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I was lucky enough to be invited to the outdoor retail show by PTC.

As I have said before I am not one to play about with kit in shops etc, I would rather buy something on a trusted recomendation and use it.

I dont look too deep into things unless I really have a big problem with fit etc.

We left early on the Thursday morning and after negotiating the confusing streets of Keswick we arrived fashionably late for our first appointment.

I am not going to go into huge detail about various products as that’s the job of MR PTC.

Yes all this development is great but can you make me one in orange !

Yes all this development is great but can you make me one in orange !

What I will say after a mind stewing day of chatting to UK suppliers, that 2010 looks like it is going to be a good year for gear !

UK suppliers are fighting to get a price fix from European manufacturers to ensure that there be no price hikes mid season.

The pound Euro battle is causing gear prices to rise dramatically, mixed with the increased cost of manufacturing and materials.

Bad news for the “Joe Blogs punter ” at the end of the proverbial pooey stick !

I guess we will just have to be a bit more selective as to what gear we replace or add to our wish list for next year.

A couple of highlights of the day apart from being entrusted as photographer ( I did forget a few times and was reminded by PTC taking the camera from me !) were the following:


Some nifty shoes from the guys at 5:10 as brought in by Big Stone

Its nice to see something different in shape, colour and design

These below caught my eye

Desert Enforcer

And a derivitive of an old favourite of which I had a pair of the originals.

The new Canyoneer SAR

This is a slightly changed Canyoneer and the great thing is its in orange !

I think these will be going on the wish list with the new dry suit for winter Raft Guide Courses.

On that tangent we were speaking to Si from Lyon Equipment and he showed us a crevasse rescue kit in a nice wee bag which has a white outline so that you know what goes where or in raft guide terms what has been nicked on a rescue course !


This in essence is a Z drag system which gives you mechanical advantage to pull your mate vertically out the crevasse without the need for 20 Sherpa’s !

In rafting and paddling we use this horizontally to pull boats off rock or tension lines for rescues.

Lyon also do La Sportiva after much debate about the grip (or lack of it) of the Skylite we got to the Gandalf shoe.

Half climbing shoe half approach shoe this is a lovely concept.

Whats more it has a big brother in the form of a mid !


The sample above happened to be a 8 !

Which in the interest of research I tried it on.

It is a stroke of genius and I will be having a pair !

The only thing is I have to wait till spring next year and they will be approx £150.

Some of the new Exped sleep mats are looking good and I think will give the neo air a run for its money.

We were luckily enough to score a pillow each which you will see pictures of soon on the next oot !

Rabs has put some effort into its range for next season seeing a good mix of nice colours (orange) and a wee bit more shape to their jackets.

This put them up there on the possible list for a new jacket.

We had a look at the new Black Diamond Raven ultra which was looking like my choice of axe for this winter till we visited the nice chap at the Allcord/Rosker stand.

The head has been changed on the Camp walking axes to give a very distinct and comfy shape.

Also on show on this stand was Tendon ropes who do an “indoor ” rope for more sustained use eg centre use.

A new one to me and PTC was Fizan poles of which I think you may be seeing a bit more of giving the weight and the cost.

We dragged our selves round Ambleside to look at yet more kit but after being spoiled we were un impressed with stock !

After a quick and healthy chip stop we were on the road home.

Tired we stopped of at Gretna for coffee and cake with a free chuckle chucked in.

The next day I woke to being  a burst bagpipe !

Kit hangover ! I dont know how PTC and the other guys do it all the time.

Worth it though

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