Calming picture

I was going to have a rant about Gordon Brown’s incompetence and gall, but I decided to calm down and post another picture. This time it’s Dovedale from Caudale Moor (March 2008).



Thunderbirds are go

It looks highly likely that I will be able to do a long weekend trip at the end of October. I’ve already been doing a bit of pre-planning. My gear spreadsheet has seen a bit of use this weekend, in between filling in my income tax return. My base weight is just over 9kg, but 865g is my tripod and Quickfire jacket which are not strictly essential, so I kid myself that it’s nearer 8kg.

I found the tripod very useful in Wales and think, on balance, it’s worth taking. I could take my Gorillapod, but it’s nowhere near as good. The Quickfire is an experiment to go over my Vasco jacket after my (seemingly controversial) experiences of the Exos and Paramo.

Now this is going to sound a bit odd as I’m probably not going to take the Exos, but use my Mariposa Plus (saving 340g, neatly offsetting the weight of the Quickfire). I just want to see whether it works together. It also gives me an extra layer of protection against cold winds. Last year, admittedly in November, I could have used an extra layer over my Viento.

I am taking a heavier sleeping bag (Pipedream 400) and I want to see how good the NeoAir is. I’m tempted to take my Exped Downmat, but it’s double the weight. I’m going to take a thin piece of foam tent underlay to put under the mat, which only adds just over 100g, which is a strategy I’ve used before to good effect.

Most of the other gear is going be be the same as I used in the summer. I’ll fill you in with a few more details nearer the time. Where to go though?

I think it’s going to be the Lakes, as I’ve not been there this year. I am tempted to do a similar trip to last year, only with wild camping: Dovedale wild camp, Fairfield, Grisedale wild camp, Angle Tarn Pikes, Kidsty Pike, Riggindale wild camp, Harter Fell, High Street, Hayeswater wild camp. The mileage is not very ambitious. Hopefully this means that I will actually be able to do it! I’ve got some time to mull it over so it could change.

 Lower Dovedale, plenty of flat pitches!


Dr Bonkers soap

I bought some Dr Bronners liquid soap from Bob and Rose recently and have been using it daily for washing for about two weeks. I bought the unscented and the tea tree varieties. I felt that lavender didn’t go with the manly image. I’ve mainly used the unscented soap and I’m very impressed. You only need a small drop, which makes a good lather and is a very effective and gentle cleanser. It should last a long time, as a little goes a long way. I would liked to have tried the citrus and the peppermint varieties as well. I’m not sure that I would like to use it as toothpaste, but I’ve not tried. One slight disadvantage is that it does tend to solidify. I decanted some into a small squeezy bottle and it blocked the spout after a few days. It’s easy enough to unblock with a toothpick, but worth bearing in mind. The bottle has some slightly zany philosophy on it, amplified on their website. Very hippy! However, it is organic and Fair Trade accredited, so your conscience can be as clean as your body.

dr bronners 2

“Improvement”, not

Apple are not the only ones that have messed up an improvement. I saw the new Panasonic Lumix TZ7 this week, which is the model replacing my TZ5. I can’t tell you whether it takes better pictures. The body is slightly slimmer, but the stupid change has been to the bar that you grip when you hold the camera. Below on the TZ5, you can see a nice, chunky, grippy bar for your fingers to rest on.


The new TZ7 replaces this grip with a thin bar, which is absolutely no use. Seeing it in the flesh made me realise how poor this modification is. Form triumphs over function again. Why do companies do this? One of the reasons I really like the TZ5 is that it is much easier to hold and grip than other cameras I’ve owned. It’s a shame, because some of the other features look attractive.