After six weeks of not blogging, there was a temptation not to return, but I did miss it! It has been enjoyable just relaxing and surfing other blogs. The traffic on my blog has hardly been affected by the lack of postings. Perhaps the back catalogue of posts has been more useful than I had thought.
Although I have been extremely lazy, things have been happening. Gear has been purchased and plans have been made. I’m hoping to go to the Lake District next week for two three day trips around Eskdale and the Coniston fells.
I will be taking some new gear. During the break, I have taken delivery of a Force Ten Vortex 200 tent, a ULA Ohm pack (there’s a bit of a story behind this one), a Cumulus Quantum 350 sleeping bag, a Super Delios water purifier (thanks, Alan), a Duomid shelter with net inner, MLD Event gaiters and head net. Over the next few days I’ll give some initial impressions of these.
The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show seemed to have had more interesting items on show than the Friedrichshafen Trade Fair. Perhaps this was due to backpackinglight.com’s excellent reporting. That’s not to knock Bob’s excellent podcasts of Friedrichshafen, which were very interesting, but the reports both in the press (well TGO) and online were a bit thin.
One item at the ORSM caught my eye in particular, which was the new Terra Nova Solar Photon 2. A two person tent similar in design to the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 (presumably with a solid inner), weighing under 1kg, looks very attractive. The structure looks very stable. The cost is $440. It will be interesting to see whether this translates into £440.
Terra Nova are also releasing a Cuben fibre version of the Laser Comp, (the Laser Ultra), weighing a crazy 539g. At $700, even if it’s translated directly into sterling, I shan’t be buying this one. Is it just me, or is the thought of being in a transparent tent a bit off putting? It must be like a sauna in the sun.
TGO magazine landed on my doorstep yesterday. It is one of the better recent editions with interesting articles on a trek in Sarek in Sweden, an alternative West Highland Way and mad Eddy making his own pied d’elephant.
However, the most exciting thing is the pull out supplement on the TGO Challenge. I shall be submitting an entry for next year’s event. This is something I’ve wanted to do for the last three or four years, and now I have the time.
I know the Challenge excites some debate. Why not just go and do a traverse of Scotland anyway?. I guess for me, I like the idea of bumping into a load of nutters doing the same thing. It provides an ideal way of mixing solitude with company. Whether I would become a regular Challenger, I don’t know. However, I’ve already worked out three routes!
At a later date, I would be tempted to do an east-west traverse of Scotland. As Cameron McNeish mentions in the supplement, this seems a more “natural” configuration, but is logistically impossible for an event like the Challenge. I’ve also been watching the DVD of Wainwright in Scotland and was very taken with the panoramas of Sutherland. The Cape Wrath trail beckons at some stage.
I’m also very tempted to do some treks outside the UK. Scandinavia looks fantastic, so does the Pyrenees. I’m also mulling over whether to go on an organised trek in Morocco or Jordan early next year.
Any way that’s enough for now. There’ll be some more waffle over the next few days and then a bit of silence again next week when I’m in the Lakes. By the way, thanks for the comments that have been posted while I’ve not been actively blogging.