Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Christening

We caught a train to Inverness, armed with new boots, new trousers, a new pack, a new tent, a new Tilley, Spenco 2nd Skin and a new sleeping bag. So, this was just an overnight trip to try out new stuff. Not much of which was mine.

SDC13682 Firing up Viewranger

SDC13684 Determined to get to grips with Viewranger…

SDC13685And finally we’re on our way

SDC13690 Lairig Ghru in the distance

We had a minor faff in Aviemore to buy paracetamol (suddenly realised I’d not replenished tablets whilst checking dressings in my first aid kit before we left) and a last visit to porcelain, then a GPS faff, before heading off towards Loch an Eilein. At Inverdruie we faffed briefly and then took a woodland track leading to the loch but at some point, we became slightly navigationally mislaid. The usual, I knew where I was, I knew where I wanted to be, I just had to take an unplanned route to get there! Shortly after that I had a minor left/right issue, but that was easily corrected after a few hundred metres. Oops.

SDC13688 Too hot

SDC13691 Pretty lochan…

SDC13692 …which strictly speaking we shouldn’t have seen

SDC13693 Wasn’t planning on going that far

Heading in the right direction again, we no longer needed the map as this is very familiar territory. We crossed the Am Beanaidh via the Cairngorm Club Footbridge and started looking for a pitch.

SDC13696 Crossing the bridge

SDC13700 The Pitch

SDC13702 Time for dinner

SDC13703 There were midges

*After sometime, a suitable pitch was found and the new Voyager Superlight was thrown up for his Christening. Gear was unceremoniously stowed inside, water fetched, boiled and meals rehydrated. The Voyager Superlight was duly toasted with a wee dram of Glenkinchie (it managed to survive the Challenge) and named ‘Sorley’, the anglisized version of the Gaelic  name Somhairle meaning summer traveller. A quiet evening was had before we retired to listen to the rain pattering on the flysheet, quite relaxed in the knowledge that TTS had seam-sealed a few days ago and we would be water tight.

9.67 miles, 632 ft ascent, 3 hrs 35 mins total and 2.7 mph average.

We woke to find a few drips. Some were splashes of condensation (TTS is a ‘moist’ sleeper’, I blame him…) but some looked more sinister. Like a bit of a leak. (Hey, I can blame TTS for that too!) This will have to be investigated thoroughly and I will be disappointed if it is not remedied easily as I have plans for this tent. There were a few more light showers and we decided to wait a while before making a move and breaking camp. We were in no hurry.

Eventually, after a luxurious breakfast of coffee and petit pain au chocolate (we were only out for one night on a short walk, we could manage a few luxuries) and baby bel (not together, yuk) we stuffed everything back into our packs and set off back to Aviemore in time for a couple of pints of Cairngorm Brewery Wild Cat and a bite to eat at the Winking Owl before making our way to the station to catch the train back home.

SDC13705 Aviemore station

2.42 miles, 66 feet ascent, 54 minutes total, 2.7 mph average speed.

The New Gear

Meindl Burma Boots

We both have a pair of these now, but at least they are different colours so aren’t quite matching his and hers. We both found them extremely comfortable although quite warm, so walking on a hot day like I did towards the end of the Challenge could be interesting. I had no rubbing or discomfort and considering my feet have only just fully healed, so are potentially still vulnerable, I was pleased. Of course, we were using easy tracks, so it was only a gentle test, but I don’t foresee any issues.

Berghaus Ortler pants

I concluded after the heat at the end of this years Challenge that I needed some summer walking trousers. I settled on a pair of Berghaus Ortler pants and I have to say they are extremely comfortable. They fit well, which I often find difficult with my silly shape of ridiculous waist and unfortunate hips. I love the leg venting and the feel of the fabric. I am overall very pleased with these.

Osprey Kestrel 58

I have persuaded TTS into an Osprey pack, but he still feels more comfortable in something more substantial, so a Kestrel it is. He found it very comfortable to carry when loaded and loved all the features, especially the external bladder holder and pole stashing system.

Tilley TH5

I have finally persuaded TTS into a hat he will enjoy wearing and avoid the glowing pate he tends to sport when out and about. I adore my hemp Tilley and having tried a few on, TTS also settled for this model. Bit of a shame, now we have matching his and hers, but they are excellent hats!

RAB Neutrino 400

David needed a better sleeping bag but wasn’t prepared to shell out (like I did) on a PHD bag, so we settled for a RAB Neutrino 400. He was certainly warm.

Terra Nova Voyager Superlight

There are investigations to be carried out and perhaps another seam-sealing moment will be in order, but the tent itself is easy to pitch and drop, splits nicely between two but I could quite happily carry it myself (and probably will) as it weighs no more than my Kraz but will obviously give me far more space and comfort.

Spenco 2nd Skin

I had the misfortune to need this on the Challenge (fortunately someone was kind enough to donate some to me) and it is magic stuff, so I have sourced some and will now carry it with me at all times. Hopefully, armed with my new Burmas, I won’t need it, but I know it’s in my first aid kit if I do.

* Now is probably the time for a small confession. I had intended a wild camp somewhere after the Cairngorm Club Footbridge, however, as we wondered up the track, everywhere appeared to be a tad damp and overgrown. I couldn’t be bothered to wander too much further on so we turned back and made a bee line for the Coylumbridge campsite. Porcelain and hot showers!


Gayle said...

That's a lot of shiney new kit to be enjoyed. I notice that you snuck in the new boots, which you'd said had to wait until Christmas!

Liking your decision on the 'suitable pitch' :-)

We're just pondering where to go away for a couple of days (Colin thinks he has been abandoned). Apparently 'back to the sunshine of California' isn't a feasible option...

Louise said...

Ah, yes, the boots. Ho hum, these things just fall into your basket occasionally, don't you find?

And yes, the 'suitable pitch' was an executive decision I was happy with.

No, stay in britain, somewhere. But where?!

Andrew W said...

Tent looks good.
I had my competition lomg before Wendy and now Treeza, and it was excellent.
I certainly never seam sealed it, although I believe that Sandy now has. (not because of leaks).

Spenco 2nd skin is the dogs (not literally).
Back in 2007 I had managed to ruin my little toe with a blister (I have had some). Margaret Brocklehurst gave me some Spenco.
I put it on, covered it in tape and left it untilo I finished 11 days later. When I took it off I was healed. It might be muggle magic but it works.
I also have pair of Meindl boots for winter, (although I am as you know, now a trail shoe man), but in snow, especially if crampons are needed, I cannot fault them, and comfort straight out of the box.
Osprey packs, (I love em).
And PHD...Wonderful.
One day I will be able to afford a PHD bag, but next PHD purchase unless Mummy Christmas comes along (so that will be me then), is a pair of PHD down trousers. MMMmmmmm :)
Ooh, I have gone on a bit there.

Louise said...

Gear gets everyone going Andy. It's addictive stuff. You can never have enough. Honestly.

Stan Appleton said...

Gosh, you'll have more new gear than Mr Evans at this rate !
What was Coylumbridge campsite like ? It might just be an option for TGOC2013 (assuming we want to do it and get in of course !)

Louise said...

(Psst, I already have much more gear than Mr Evans!)
The camp site is a funny one. The facilities are excellent. Clean and warm with toilet cubicles with hand wash sink and driers, shower cubicles with toilet and sink and indoors pot wash. All very lovely and modern.
The pitches are tricky. They're all between the trees, there are a lot of roots, stony ground, tree debris, ants nests. Admittedly, it's better with a solo/2 man tent than a family tent and at that time of year will be quiet.
There's also a hotel with a separate bar over the road, The Woodshed I believe. It is a very handy place for the Lairaig Ghru.

Andrew W said...

Gear gets everyone going Andy. It's addictive stuff. You can never have enough. Honestly.

I know that.
You know that.

I just need to persuade Lucy that.
She's ('ARD) and just does it regardless of gear.

Tony Bennett said...

I recognise that wee lochan - I was there last month with the bike. Was it still boiling with tadpoles?'ve just reminded me that I really must get that trip blogged. I think one night away is enough to justify a pain au chocclat - at least it always is for me. Nice walk but so much new gear ;) And I thought I was bad!

Louise said...

Hi Tony!
It was a pretty lochan, I'd say there was more pond lilies than tadpoles though. The pain au chocolat would've been better if we'd been able to enjoy them outside, but we had to try to minimise the crumbs in Sorley because of the dratted midges.
Gear. Yes. I have a bit.
And there will probably be more...!!