Aktoman has provided some useful links dealing with some of the objections in the wild camping access debate in Scotland: 



Keep the pressure on

Darren’s petition  on wild camping has now garnered 136 signatories (I’m excluding two jokers).  To increase the pressure, I suggest that everyone writes to their MP. If we communicate our views directly to our MP, we are far more likely to get things done. To that end I’ve drafted a letter that you can copy (if you wish) to send to your MP. Feel free to use or amend as you see fit.

Dear xxxxx,

I wish to draw to your attention an e-petition (http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/wildcamp/) urging the government to give walkers in England and Wales the same rights to wild camp that walkers currently enjoy in Scotland under the access  code  approved in 2004 by the Scottish Parliament  (http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/access/ApprovedCode050604.pdf).  I am writing to inform you of my strong support for this petition and to urge you to consider its merits. I see no reason why an English and Welsh version of the Scottish code is not workable and feel very strongly that walkers in England and Wales should enjoy the same privileges as those in Scotland.

Yours sincerely,


 Let’s reclaim democracy for the people. Up the revolution!

Spending my money

For my recent birthday I was given some money. What should I spend it on? I’ve already got enough gear to open a shop. But have I got the right gear? Am I consuming too much? If I don’t buy am I putting someone out of a job? Terrible dilemmas.

The two major pieces of gear I’m thinking of are a GoLite Quest rucksack and a Paramo Vasco jacket. Why bother as I’ve already got an Osprey Aether 60 and a Paramo Viento, both of which are not that different? I’m tempted by the Quest because it’s a bit larger than the Aether and sometimes it can be a squeeze, especially if I’ve got a lot of food. I also quite like the idea of the large front pocket and the hip belt pockets. I like the idea of a mouldable back system and it is slightly lighter than the Aether. I’ve also just read Geoff’s review of the Quest on his website and he’s very complimentary. He remarks that although it is not waterproof, it sheds water well. This is one aspect where the Aether is not so good, although I always pack my gear in waterproof stuff sacks. That credit card is beginning to twitch in Bob and Rose’s direction.



What about the Vasco? Apart from looking a bit more stylish than most of Paramo’s offerings, it is supposed to be a slimmer fit. I could probably use it for mountain biking as well as walking. I quite like the Cobalt Blue. Most of Paramo’s colours are bit dubious. The OM reviews are good.

Yeah let’s go for it! It is (was) my birthday after all.


Darren’s petition now has 109 signatories (excluding two jokers). 91 to go until they need to take notice. You never know it might just happen. Perhaps Gordon will listen for once. Go on Gordon get that old Force Ten out of the attic! Darren, why don’t you get in touch with Chris Smith (now Lord Smith) and see if he can help?

Starting a fire

Sometimes someone catches the moment. Amongst the blogging community (readers and writers), Darren appears to have articulated something that many of us have thought is “a good thing” but for one reason or another failed to do anything about. It’s about time that the ownership of large tracts of wild land should be seen as stewardship rather than as possession. It seems to me that Scottish law has framed this correctly in emphasising the responsible exercise of the right to wild camp in terms of ensuring no damage and consideration for the property owners. If more people treated their “rights” as privileges, then we would have a better society.  Society would be a better place if everyone treated each other in the way that they would like to be treated (hey someone said that 2,000 years ago and what have we learned?). It would also help if the press ceased treating the irresponsible actions of the few as the norm for the many. Aktoman has very helpfully designed some logos for the campaign (below). By my count, there are now 57 signatories. I got in before Cameron! Let’s hope TGO/Trail etc put some welly behind this. Let’s use our democratic rights to get something done. Darren in the New Year’s Honours List, now there’s a thought.


In praise of boots

I like trail shoes but I also like boots. I love my Aku Icaros and I’m not chucking them out for Inov-8s and that’s that! In the rush to go lighter, it seems to me that there is an element of chucking the baby out with the bath water. Different footwear is appropriate for different conditions. Also personal preferences have to be taken into account. For instance, I hate wet feet. I don’t care what anybody else says, I really do not like wet feet. Hence, using trail shoes across Scotland when it’s wet is not for me. I could use my Trekmates Gore-Tex booties, but I prefer my Icaros.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy to use my Montrails (CTC & Hardrock) in dry weather for day walks, but where there is wet involved, boots for me. I can’t see the point in trail shoes with membranes. It seems to me you get the worst of both worlds. If it’s wet, surely you want boots to ensure that water doesn’t go over the top of the shoe. Presumably you spend most of your time tiptoing around in membrane shoes.

The breathability of the Icaros has been a revelation to me as most of my previous experiences with membrane boots have ended in very sweaty feet and blisters (except the Montrail Stratos, but the mid sole chassis broke on those). The other advantage of boots of rough ground is they help prevent turned ankles. I can hear howls of outrage coming from the Inov-8 jihadis: “you don’t need ankle support!!”. It’s not the ankle support per se that is the issue as the Icaros are very flexible and don’t provide much ankle support in the traditional sense. Ankle movement is farily free, but it does provide a support in preventing turning your ankle if you trip (same reason for using Montrail Namches).

I love my Icaros so much I use them for dog walking in cooler weather, they are more comfortable than slippers! Quite frankly I don’t care what anyone else wears and I don’t care about the arguments about ankle support, I like boots. Perhaps I should modify that: I like Icaros!

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