Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Nine weeks and two days..

That’s not long really, is it? I have more or less completed all my planning since our route was positively vetted by 12th November. Our travel to the start is booked, as is all our accommodation as we cross Scotland and for when we arrive in Montrose. I have printed off all my maps and they are tucked away in my Challenge box along with our route sheet and the real maps I’ll be carrying. I think I now have all the kit I wanted for my next Challenge (I have a list somewhere that I really should find and indulge in a bit of ticking…just to make sure) and since yesterday, I also have the main meals and puddings I’ll be taking.

2014-03-04 13.10.11

2014-03-05 11.19.05


This year, I have done a bit of searching and looking around. I have previously used Real Turmat, which was nice but expensive (even with a discount applied) and then of course there’s p&p. I don’t think I’ve taken Real Turmat on the Challenge, but I have used Fuizion on the Challenge before, which was nice, a better price and at the time I ordered, p&p was free. They then had problems, hence I looked around for alternatives and although they are now up and running again, I’ve decided to try elsewhere regardless. Reason being? Well, although they’re meals were okay, I found some things didn’t rehydrate well (mushrooms spring immediately to mind…) and I found the choice although large, strangely limiting. Even the simple options were too spicy, which I find tricky when I tend to eat my meal then cuddle up straight up in my sleeping bag. It just doesn’t quite suit me.

So, thanks to a timely reminder from Mr Pieman, (I’d forgotten where I’d been and couldn’t find it again!) this year, I’ve tried Mountain Trails. I haven’t eaten a meal yet, but so far the service has been outstanding. I ordered my meals on Friday 28th February, just before 4pm. By 7pm on the same day, my order had been despatched. It was delivered yesterday at lunchtime, how good is that? In the box was not only my order, all present and correct, but two free gifts! What can I say?

The food packs themselves are looking good. They are small and neat by comparison to some others and will fit easily in my pack. They should also be more robust and having had one or two minor puncture issues in the past, I’m hoping it won’t be a problem this year. There is also a choice of portion size. I have plumped for the smaller portions as I tend to have an issue forcing food down when I’m Challenging and hate being over-faced. For the greedy/hungry hiker, there are bigger portions. A brilliant idea, I thought. Another stroke of genius is packaging the rice or mashed potato portion in a separate pouch. I much prefer the idea of being able to distinguish the accompaniments in my meal, especially the mashed potato with the Minced Beef Dinner. Great.

Cost wise, they were very reasonably priced and as I ordered ten main meals and four desserts (light to carry and sometimes I can force down a pud more easily…) I was over the £50 minimum for free postage as well. Bonus!

I won’t be carrying all my meals from the start. I have no qualms about sending my freeze dried main meals to three convenient collection points. As we cross Scotland, we will be stopping at various points of civilisation to buy breakfast/lunch items and to enjoy the odd cup of tea and slice of cake, as is our wont. This way, I get the meals I want but we also give a little support to the local economy, a pleasing compromise.

All I need to do now is pack…


JB said...

Over-faced, eh?

So you're a rider as well as a walker? That's nice to know :-)

As for ticking things off lists ... it's a compulsion which walkers should strive to resist at all times and with all the fibres of their being!!!!!

Louise said...

Interesting. Few people make the riding connection, but yes I did, for over twenty years.
As for resisting list ticking, it depends on the list. Love a good list, but I'll never be a Munroist!
Catch you in Montrose maybe?

Alan Sloman said...



Good Lord Above, Woman!
You can't go taking rides on the Challenge, no matter how plump you end up after all this food!

Having seen your FB post on this yesterday, I plumped (sorry) for eight main meals and I risked a breakfast and a pudding. I always have a problem with breakfasts and usually only manage a couple of Nature Valley Granola bars.

I shall try the breakfast and pudding in the Cairngorms in April and if I like them, I'll order more for the Challenge.

So ta for the heads-up on this new supplier - and Ta to the Pieman as well - It's good to have a less expensive alternative. The money saved can go on nutritional beer.

Louise said...

Tsk Mr Sloman, as if I would.

I am, as with everything else Challenge related, unnecessarily excited by my parcel. Laura has called a Grand Food Meeting. There will be tea and cake.

Andrew W said...

Now look what you've gone and done.
I just spent over £40 on all my TGOC meals..

A timely reminder....

Now, where did I put my list?

Shame you can't make the Cairngorms though.

Louise said...

I thought you'd done this before? You Need a list Andy, at least one. Preferably several.
It would have been good to get a few days shake down in good company, but it's not to be, which is disappointing. Especially as Team Ls Belles can't fit in an overnighter. We'll just have to have few day walks together.
I'll be thinking of you, out in the wilds, in the snow and howling gales.

FellBound said...

I think you ought test all the meals, review them and post the outcome as a community service :-).. I'm wary about changing to an untried manufacturer without testing. Hope to finally meet you in May!

Louise said...

I ought to, but I won't be! I work on the theory that I should be hungry enough to eat a scabby donkey between two rusty bread vans...should be. Hopefully. We're sure to meet somewhere, even if it's thr Spar!!! xxxx

Louise said...

That should read The Park. It's early.