Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Conclusions and lessons learnt

Oh, there were lots.

With regards to kit. I was mostly happy with it, but have decided on a few changes.

My sleeping bag has always been good for me, but I’ve never used it when I’ve been so bushed before and I suspect this is why I felt the cold more than usual. I had ways to deal with this, but would probably fair better if I could hit the sack and go to sleep, rather than scrabbling around in the dark for solutions.

So a new bag is on it’s way (how did that happen?) a Marmot Arete down bag from Webtogs. It has more down fill than my current bag and same pack size but is 200g lighter, so I’ll see how that feels when it arrives.

It’s RED!

I got on fine with my Campingaz Twister stove and although that, together with my Snowpeak pots (courtesy of Martin Rye) aren’t too heavy, it is all quite bulky as they don’t stow away together. So, having caught a glimpse of Laura’s Jetboil, I had a quick peek at them online. Eventually, David took control and has ordered a Jetboil Flash in Violet for me. It looks beautiful and has the advantages I was looking for, lightweight and low bulk aswell as a tripod base for stability.

It’s beautiful too, did I mention that?

The only problem I had was the Travel Tap. It’s a great piece of kit for it’s ease of use and convenience.

So long as you’re called Popeye.

This trip, I was distinctly lacking in my consumption of spinach and I had difficulty squeezing the bottle to extract the filtered water. I also felt there was a potential problem with my hands having to be in contact with the bottle containing freezing cold water, as this is exactly the sort of trigger for my Reynaud's that gives me the most concerns and if I’m tired and cold, could be crucial.  Alan found my eventual solution to these problems very amusing as he was the only one with full view of me squeezing the bottle between my knees whilst aiming the water flow into the tin between my feet.

What a sight!

The solution is, so far, a 1ltr Platypus Platy Soft Bottle. So far, because I now have to options. I can either go for the Super Delios filter which Alan demonstrated (several times) and looks like a really useful bit of kit, or drops, which Laura demonstrated (with my help for timing) both of which will utilise the Soft Bottle. I’ll have to make a decision sometime. Soon…

(The Soft Bottle is violet too)

As to the weekend, it was fabulous. Mike planned us a superb route, the views were stunning and the toil to reach them was certainly more than worthwhile. Many thanks for your planning and hard work.

The company was brilliant, we all seemed to have very similar humour and my ribs were certainly sore from all the laughing. At least, I think it was from the laughing and not the heavy breathing uphill… Thanks for all the support, encouragement and ideas, these will be invaluable in a few weeks time (three weeks, two days…).

I had an absolute blast, even the hard bits were worth every minute and I’ve learnt so much, about myself and my expectations and tips for successful routines. I was delighted to find I hadn’t packed anything that didn’t get used, with the exception of those few items you have to routinely take on a trip. So with the few kit adjustments I’m making, I should be able to take another 1lb 8oz off the overall weight, but it’s all going to be far less bulky which will make the most difference.

Onwards and upwards! (A little…)


Alan Sloman said...

I'm so glad it went well for you, Louise. The Southern Uplands can be quite demanding - as can Mr Knipe and his Wrong Trousers.

A warm sleeping bag is absolutely crucial to getting a good night's sleep - as without that you will struggle the next day.

I wouldn't worry too much about filtering water - I don't usually bother. I did LEJOG without a filter.

It sounds like you will do fine on the Challenge. Best of luck

Louise said...

Thanks Alan, we had a ball. As to the filtering, I think we all did (except Mike)and I know a lot of people don't, but I just can't quite get my head around that. I'd rather not risk it.
Demanding! Yes, that about covers it, but I did it and that has boosted my confidence no end. I can start My Challenge with a positive attitude quite happily now. Mike's a hero!

Phil said...

A well wroted write up, Louise. Good luck on the Challenge - if you can do this, then you'll have no problems.

See you in Montrose, if not before :-)

Louise said...

Thanks Phil! This weekend boosted my confidence no end, so no worries now.

Braemar? Tarfside? If not, Montrose it is. I'll be at the bar celebrating (more than just a completed Challenge...)

Alan Sloman said...

So you ignored the old fellow?

Louise said...

Well I'll be! Wish he'd interrupted us and said hello, it's nice to meet people I've come virtually come across.
(Gosh, he's quite complimentary about the blog too, I like him already!)

The Odyssee said...

Hi Louise,
Enjoyed the read and the conclusions. Did i really mention the filter twice?
My opinion is this.
Filter the water, very minute risk of stomach upset. Don’t filter it and you never know when it will strike.
Is it worth taking a risk for the sake of a small weight penalty and of course a minute or two filtering. Answers on a post card.

I hope you have a great challenge experience, you have the right attitude for it anyway.
Good to meet you. Maybe again sometime.
Try the new kit out before you go! I know thats obvious.

Louise said...

Hi Alan!
I have to say, I'm not keen on the idea of not filtering/treating the water I intend to drink, I'm just not that brave. If it's going to go horribly wrong, it'll be me on the wrong end of it! I think I'll be plumping for drops like Laura's though, because this lessens the need for my hands to be in contact with freezing cold bottles for any length of time, (my Raynauds can be quite severe and sends me into shock, not useful if I'm on my own in the middle of nowhere!).

I'm already having second thoughts about the bag I've ordered, I think I want something more, but as it's coming from Webtogs, I've no worries about returning it.

It was great meeting you too, it was a lovely group of people to spend the weekend with and I learnt so much. Maybe we'll all be on another 'Daunder'.

Mike Knipe said...

I didn't filter, but I did use chlorine tabs on the water from the Loch used for drinking on the trail. I chucked the water away and replaced it from the beck at Black Douglas's tower. Cooking water was boiled till it squeaked.
You've not seen the virtual trousers in action have you, though?

Louise said...

No, please, not the trousers! Virtually anything but the trousers!

Phreerunner said...

Pleased to hear it went well, Louise. See you in Montrose, if not before.

Louise said...

Not long now!