3 Trips Thursday #5

Blackcraig and Cannock Hill 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday

Back again with another 3 Trips Thursday and another dip into the Evernote archive. I’m starting to lose track of what links I’ve shared so I need to come up with a system for that. Don’t want to bore you guys with repeats.

This week it’s a massive hike through in America for something far-flung and a couple of closer to home Scottish trips for the other two links. Hopefully you’ll find one of them to your liking and maybe even inspiring.

The Links

  1. Tramplite’s Travels – Pacific Crest Trail Hike 4184km of greatness. Brilliant account of the PCT. Colin is currently on a 1113km Arctic Circle hike so hopefully another good post to look forward to when he gets back.
  2. Martin Rye’s post, Aviemore to Blair Atholl route 3 is great looking walk over some really beautiful and remote country. One that I’ve added to my really long to do list.

  3. The Black Dog vs the Dalai Lama over on the scottishmountaineer.com is such a great over night camp and the photos that my friend Michael takes are such top drawer. Go have look, you won’t be disappointed.

And on that note that’s us done for another week. Exit. Stage. Left. Feel free to leave some words in the box below. Let me know what you think of the links. Until next week…

3 Trips Thursday #4

Towards the Barns of Beinn Mheadhoin 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday

Something a little bit different for week 4 of 3 Trips Thursday. Not blogs per say. Two flickr photo streams and a photography blog or a landscape photographer hill walker that blogs a bit would be more accurate. There’s some absolutely outstanding images on that site. The two photo streams because both of them don’t have a blog or one that I could but they’re still worth a share as the photographs are just as inspiring.

The Links

  1. http://www.stewartsmithphotography.co.uk/ The boy Stewart knows how to take a photo or two in the outdoors. If you read any of the usual outdoor publications then you’ve probably seen his work. Top notch. Go have a look and be inspired.
  2. Richard Flint aka @FlintyRich on twitter has his photographs here https://www.flickr.com/people/richardflint/ Loads of pointy stuff and beautiful snow-covered hills to get you in the mood for winter walking.

  3. Hugh Spicer, you can find his photographs at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hughspicer/ Islands, ferries, hills and lochs mostly on the west coast of Scotland. Makes me want to pop over to CalMac and get an island hoping ticket.

There we have it a full on outdoors photographic odyssey for the 4th edition of 3 Trips Thursday. The usual applies, if you have something to say leave it in the box below. All feedback is more than welcome.

3 Trips Thursday #3

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3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday back for another week of link sharing love. Bikes, islands and keeping it local for this weeks trips.

The Links

  1. This post from Keith Foskett really struck a chord but more on that in another post. Have a read then give it a go. Walking in Circles – A Trail around your Town.
  2. The second link this week takes us on a cracking bike packing trip in the Highlands. Short Sleeves and Storm Clouds.

  3. For the last link I’ll go back to Writes of Way for some island hoping. This time to Scarba on the west coast of Scotland. Between the Grey Dog and Breacan’s Cauldron. 

And that’s another week done. Time flies when you’re having fun. As usual comments and feedback in the box below are more than welcome.

See you next week.

3 Trips Thursday #2

GallowayWildCamp000037280512 3 Trips Thursday

 3 Trips Thursday

It’s that time of the week. 3 Trips Thursday  #2, another set of 3 random links from my Evernote archive for you peruse at your leisure and hopefully enjoy. A varied bag. The Borders, Galloway and some european flavour from Sweden.

The Links

  1. I’ll start with the european flavour. This one is a fairly recent one from the other week over at Backpacking North. It’s been doing the rounds but that’s no reason not to share it some more, Views from Sarek. It’s full of beautifull photographs of a stunning landscape.
  2. Hiking, biking and a bothy in the wilds of Galloway. What’s not to like? Galloway Forest Park.White Laggan.Millfore. I really love the Galloway hills and Millfore is one of the best. Great views over the Galloway Forest if you ever get the chance to walk up it on a clear day.

  3. The last link for this week is one of my new favourite hills, if you can ignore the turbines. Luckily or unluckily I’ve still to climb it in good weather so the turbines haven’t been an issue, yet. Reading this last year got me in the car and down the short distance for my new home to here for the first time. My route was different but still a great walk. A weekend in the Borders seeking Donald and Graham (but finding turbines).

As always let me know what you think in the comments below , or if you have a link of your own to share leave it there too. Alternatively use the share buttons and let your friends know.

See you next week.

3 Trips Thursday #1

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The Premise of 3 Trips Thursday

I’m going to try something new here. Well new for this blog. I’m going to share links every Thursday to 3 walks, 3 Trips Thursday as I shall call it, hikes and trips that have peaked my interest, whetted my appetite or fired my imagination. All going well that will be 52 weeks of goodness and 156 bits of link back love.

They maybe new, they maybe old or you may even have seen them shared elsewhere before. Hopefully it will get me inspired to write-up my own trip reports again but more importantly is that you will get inspire to go outdoors or even write about your experiences.

The Links

  1. This trip has been a recent favourite, Summer on Airstrip One over at Writes of Way. It’s a report of a week spent on Jura. A place that’s on my massive to do list.
  2. This one is a relative old one but still a good walk up a great wee hill that has a great view over some of my favourite places. This one is courtesy of Neil’s Hillwalking Exploits and it’s Nutberry Hill.

  3. The final link for this week comes from Nick Bramhall’s blog which is full of great trips but this one really stuck out for me recently. The photographs are great so don’t hang about go read Mona Gowan and Morven and feast your eyes on the photographs.

There you go. The first 3 trips shared.  Hopefully you found it all good. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Maybe even share a trip report and if it hits the right spot with me it’ll get included in one of the next posts. In the meantime have fun and there will be more links next week. Same place, same time.

The Liebster Award – Pay it forward

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The Liebster Award.

I must thank Michael Thomson of Scottish Mountaineer fame for the nomination. Up until very recently I had never heard of the Liebster Award. Then a few days a go it started appearing in my Facebook and Twitter timelines as well as my RSS feeds. All very good and interesting posts by those that took part. Not once thinking it would ever come my way. Especially since the blog has been a bit quiet for awhile. Not to say I’m not out and about. Finding time to write them up is the problem but here I am so without further ado I’ll get to answering Michael’s questions.

The questions:

1. What was it that first got you into outdoor activities?

My family; mostly my parents, we would always go walks all over the place. Growing up in the countryside helps as well. I was no more than 5 minutes from hills, woods, rivers, fields. I enjoyed exploring and was given a lot of freedom to roam, get dirty, wet wading burns, drink water from puddles, building howffs, fishing and the like when I was younger.

2. You’re on a multi-day backpacking trip. Which luxury item do you take?

Beer or IRN-BRU

3. What’s the most physically challenging trip you’ve ever undertaken?

They generally all are as my fitness levels are shocking….

4. Lager or real ale?

Both, can I have both? Please? I’m a card carrying CAMRA member and like a good pint of beer, Arran Ale being a particular favourite. However and ice cold bottle of Miller Draft is always a winner. I’m pretty sure my CAMRA membership card just went up in flames there….

5. What’s the best thing about camping?

Sleeping under the stars.

6. What’s the worst thing about camping?

Picking the ideal spot.

7. What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?

You don’t have to wear big heavy boots and carry everything including the kitchen sink.

8. What’s the oldest piece of gear you have? Do you still use it?

It’s a tin cup that I recieved as a present along with a tin plate and knife, spoon and fork kit. Yes I still use it.

9. Headphones on the hill, yes or no? If yes, what’s playing?

On the hill, no. In the tent yes. What’s playing, could be anything my musical tastes are eclectic to say the least. Rock, soul, house, techno and everything in between. iTunes on shuffle is always fun.

10. If you could only climb one mountain, which one would it be?

Don’t think I could pick one. One with a good view?

11. When will be your next big outing?

I don’t do big being a short arse but as is often said the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley.

My questions:

1. Where do you spend most of your time outdoors?

2. Favourite hill?

3. Favourite spot to camp?

4. Any burning desires?

5. Favourite tipple?

6. Favourite song, poem or book?

7. Compact camera or dSLR?

8. Funniest thing you’ve seen outdoors?

9. What inspires you to get outdoors?

10. Outdoor hero or heroine? 

11. Best joke?

My nominations.

I’m only going to do five nominations. The minimum according to the rules but also in the hope that I’m not duplicating anyone and multi-nominating them.

Helen @Gauperoar- Helen’s Wondering Wanderings,
Stewart @stewyphoto - Stewart Smith Photography,
Chris @PilgrimChris - pilgrimchris.com,
Phil @Daylightgambler - pilsorrell.com,
Lady P @CumbrianBlondie - Adventures of Cumbrian Blondie

The Rules

As you see some of the rules have been bent a bit but not much.

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

  1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

  2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

  3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

  4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.

  5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

  6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

  7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Culter Fell, cloudy as hell

Culter Fell

Ever since I moved further out into South Lanarkshire I’ve been looking at walking Culter Fell (pronounced Cooter). I kept going to the circular route that’s on the walkhighlands website and also another walker that blogs, James Boulter (@bpackingbongos) posted a walk that he had done recently on Culter Fell. That really made me want to get out and do it. For the list tickers, Culter Fell sits on 3 list. It’s a Marilyn, Graham and a Donald. It’s the highest point it South Lanarkshire at 748 metres or 2244 of good Scot’s feet so that should make for a good view. It is also part of the Southern Uplands. What’s not to like.

An opportunity presented itself so with the blessing of my wife I was off early Saturday morning. I set the alarm for 0630 ZULU. Up and out the door before the house wakes up. My bag was at the door ready and packed. The only thing I didn’t have was a map of the area. I had a thought to stop at the motorway services at Abington and pop into the WH Smiths and pick one up. Off I went chucking everything in the car and joined the M74 at the ‘gow. I doesn’t take long to get to the Abington junction from Blackwood. I was at the services before I really had time to think. Parking up I wasn’t very impressed with sky, clouds hanging low and heavy but it was breezy and the clouds were moving fast. I was hopeful for clear skies and good vistas.

The service station was busy even at this early hour and with half the concessions were closed at that. I made my way through to the WH Smiths and their books/map section. After scanning the shelf a few times it was becoming pretty clear that they didn’t have the map I was after, the Ordnance Survey Explorer 336, Biggar & Broughton, Culter Fell & Dollar Law or even the Landranger 72, Upper Clyde Valley would have done. I think I could have had any map for the rest of Scotland and the Lake District that morning. A little put off but unperturbed. I’ve got OS maps for all of southern Scotland on my iPhone. It’s just nice to have a back up. Since I was at the services I grabbed myself a roll and sausage. It would have been not to. Extra Fuel for the engine. After stuffing my face and costing myself a small fortune in the process. I jumped back in the motor and headed along the road towards Biggar. A map is cheaper than a meal at a service station.

The village of Coulter is only a few short miles along the A702, parts of which apparently follow the route of a Roman road. I drove into Coulter and turned right where the 702 turns left at about 90 degrees and heads for Biggar. There’s a small junction on the corner. This road takes you past the new primary school and out towards the reservoir. The road is marked as a dead-end but it’s a few miles before you need worry about that. I followed the single track always mindful of other cars driving towards me especially around some of those twisty bends. However it wasn’t cars I needed to be worried about but sheep. A few yowes had squeezed under a fence or through a hole hugging the banks next to the road and getting skittish as I approached. Always makes for fun driving trying not to play dodgems with the yowes. Don’t think the fermer would be happy.

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I continued along the single track road until it forked at Birthwood and Culter Allers Farm just before the public road ends. I swung the car around as the road was wide enough. I was now facing back the way I came. Just in case I need to make a quick getaway. Getting out the car I looked up towards Culter Fell, only not to see it as it was covered in cloud. I was there so there was nothing left to do but get on with it, in the hope the cloud would clear. I grabbed my new hand made wooden walking stick. My dad makes walking sticks of all styles, types of wood, horn and antler handles. I opted for a plain stick that felt good in my hand and light with a vee notch at the top. I swung the rucksack on and headed off along the road. As I went I set up ViewRanger on the phone to record my track so I could upload it later. Airplane mode and locking the SIM to save the battery and only use the GPS. I stuck the phone in my pocket.

I crossed a cattle grid and the road started to climb slightly. I was on the look out for a small burn that the road crosses as after that the path I was to take started on the left. As I wandered along the road looking for the path taking in the glen, I heard the cattle grid rumble and rattle with what sounded like a quad bike coming my way. I waited until the noise of the diesel engine got closer and stepped off the road and turned to see a JCB Workmax with the fermer and his sheepdug in the passenger seat rather than the quad bike I had suspected. We exchanged a couple of nods and a wave has he drove away.

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There was no need to worry about spotting the path as it’s pretty obvious where it starts. It starts off nice and gentle before it picks up a mean gradient. It’s a very clear track to follow up Fell Shin and you soon pick up some great height and the views down the glen back towards Coulter are great. From here though the reservoir is hidden. Views above 600m still weren’t looking good with all the cloud but the wind was still brisk and the clouds were moving fast. I still had some hope of clear tops. I was fascinated by some really old ancient looking stone structures almost kist like in their construction minus the coping stone. Such wonders these are as the followed the path up the hill. Amazing, what was their significances? Who built them? Bronze age, Iron Age? It was also amazing that in some places due to the lee of the land or the way the wind was blowing all of a sudden I would walk into a small pocket of calm. Maybe only for a couple of steps but it was like walking through a door into another room. All of sudden silence and then you would pick up the sound of birds singing and the grouse calling. No wind whistling. I found myself stopping and listening every time I stepped into one of theses areas.

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I turned back to look down the line of the fank like things and noticed some crazies. Hill runners, crazies to me. Why would you want to waste a perfectly good hill walk by running. Not me. It didn’t take long from the to catch me. I was taking my time and enjoying the walk. As they got closer, I moved out their road on the track to let them pass. We said our mornings. I asked is this a regular thing for them, the answer was yes. Crazies. The one at the back walked with me for a bit, talking. I think he was trying to get his second wind. I asked what route they were taking and what I had hoped to do. Weather permitting. The 3 of them run these hills most weekends. See crazies. The route is a good one and the views great on a clear day. Here’s hoping I said, with that he picked up his pace and went to catch the other 2 crazies, I mean his 2 buddies. It wasn’t long before the 3 of them were out of sight and over the top of Fell Shin. Once gone I got back to my structures. Was it coincidence that pockets where the wind dropped was round most of these stones I wondered. It wasn’t till I got home that I found out there was nothing magical about them. Just some old unloved grouse butts. Obvious now looking back. Jeezoh, I got carried away with myself.

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The wind had gone from breezy to a severe buffeting. Nothing drastic, 3 pints of the stellar tortoise on an empty stomach as I crested Fell Shin and up on to Culter Fell properly. There’s a single solitary wooden post here just off to the left of the path. It’s purpose is definitely a mystery to me. One for Scooby Doo and his mystery bus. I took a walk over to check it out and to my surprise a pair of glasses were hanging from it and for a while by the nick they were in Well weathered. Some poor soul had lost their reading glasses and some good soul had stuck them on the post to be found. From there I headed over to a small marker cairn. Here the clouds were drifting across the front of me and up ahead the track was disappearing into some heavy clouds and no views. If I turned my back on the clouds I had good views over to Tinto and the hills otherside the glen, Dod Hill and Hillshaw Head above the reservoir. Luckily the clouds were hiding the majority of the large turbines over there. The closer ones keeked in and out of the drifts. There was some pluses to all the cloud.

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I turned around and head off in the direction of the cloud and the top of Culter Fell or so I hoped. I decided that it would be a good idea to get the phone out hand have a check. I’m really glad I did. The battery was hovering on 21% and I hadn’t even been out for more than a couple of hours. I can only assume that ViewRanger and iOS7 don’t get on very well or it’s how I have my settings in ViewRanger pinging away. This wasn’t going to end well. No paper map and phone not long from flat and me somewhere I had never walked before. Decisions were going to have to be made. Go on or go home. I knew I wasn’t too far from the summit. I could see that from the screen on the iPhone. As the 20% battery warning popped up. I took out my compass and took a bearing. You can’t beat the Silva 1-2-3 style of navigation. Get me doing a bit of proper navigating. Kind of. Compass in hand a followed the path towards the cloud and hoped for the best and the path would hold true. Worse case I would just turn round and head back the way I came. No blood, no foul.

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In the cloud I had the feeling of the distance expanding but my view contracting, almost like time was standing still. Gone were the birds and grouse. Just myself and me with the wind ringing in my lugs. As the steepness levels out here to a gentle incline towards the summit of Culter Fell, the ground is no longer hard but wet and boggy mire. Lots of standing water and a faint track that was flitting in and out. Check the compass, check the path or check the compass and hold to the reading and hope to pick the track up. This really slowed down the last few hundred metres. Felt like I had walked an extra mile, the time it had taken. Eventually the trig point and the summit top of Culter Fell started to solidify out of the cloud. My compass reading had been good and the path had stayed true most of the way. Had I missed the pillar I would have walked into a fence.

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I hung about for a bit had a bar of chocolate and big long slug of water. I tried my hand a taking a few selfies with dSLR; set the timer, run for the count of ten, hope for the best. I really need more practice at this. Some just looked terribly out of focus. There is no shelter to speak of, that or it was hiding in the cloud and the wind was at it’s buffeting best and the view non-existent. My phone was flat so I wasn’t going to attempt to find the path for the circular route I had planned. A the best laid plans o’ mice and men. A bit of a downer. It was what it was. Time to reverse my bearing and head back the way I had come. Culter Fell wasn’t going anywhere. I can come back. I picked up my walking stick that was resting against the trig pillar and started singing to myself;

Let the wind blow high
Let the wind blow low
Through the streets
In my kilt, I’ll go
All the lassies say hello
Donald, where’s your troosers

morphed into….

Let the wind blow high
Let the wind blow low
Through the hills
In my kilt, I’ll go
All the grouse say chut, chut, chutttttt
Tookie, where’s your troosers?

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I wasn’t even wearing a kilt. Plenty of grouse shouting on the lower slopes though. I’m a bit daft in the heid at times. Chanting away to myself it was long before I was back down below the cloud and the world opened back up to me no longer enveloped in cotton wool, enjoying the pockets of quiet on the way down as I had on the way up. After sauntering around for a bit I was back on the road and in the car heading for home.

The full set of photgraphs can be seen over on my flickr set, here

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe Collar

I’ll start like I start all of my reviews; with a disclaimer. That way you can decide if you want to read on or not. This Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe was sent to me by Hannah at Snow+Rock to review. Hannah contacted me. I was given the choice of a few bits of kit that I could have to review. Snow+Rock were kind enough to send me Icebreaker Anatomica and I get to keep it. I have no vested interest in Snow+Rock or Icebreaker who make the merino top itself other than to share my views and opinions; good, bad or otherwise.

Out the box, yes it came in a nifty wee box, so once I got it out the box the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe felt light and soft. I have a couple of merino tops as I’m a fan of them, they are around the 200/260 weight. This was 150 weighted merino fabric and I could feel the difference. The top is made from 96% merino and 4% elstane which I assume is to help with keeping it’s shape. I stuck it on the scales and it came in at 155 grams for the size medium. Definitely lightweight. Icebreaker are marketing this more as underwear than a base layer. Not sure what the difference there is unless they are going for the, you can wear it everyday not just on the hills, other outdoor activities? I got the monsoon (grey)/heat(orange) colourway which measns some colourful contrasting stitching for the seams in a bright orange. All these seems are forward facing which really helps to stop the chaffing. Nothing fancy going on just practical well made top. I like long sleeves as you can pull them up and down depending on how I feel, the weather, midges These ones are raglan sleeves for extra freedom of movement, it also means no seams on the top of your shoulder for rucksack straps to sit on.

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe BaaCode

What I did really like about what Icebreaker do with clothes and not just the Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe and I thought was a bit different, was the baacode. You see what they did there baacode. Made me chuckle. You can trace where the wool and sheep originated from back to the source through the supply chain. They’re trying to be different, trying to show that they have nothing to hide. It’s a laudable concept and maybe one that more manufacturers could follow. My baacode took me to 3 stations out of a possible 120. All on the south island of New Zealand, Middlehurst Station, Te Akatawara Station and Walter Peak Station. The site gave me the names of the farmers, size of the farm. All sorts of stuff and some videos as well. It also made have a look at the nifty box that the top came in to see what it’s green credentials were. If your care that much for the animal and it’s well being then you should what your packaging is doing. I’m please to say that this born out with the package using sustainable inks and cardboard. Good show.

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe Icebreaker

Next step was to try it on. The Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe has a slim athletic fit which is tight but not in a restrictive way, it’s comfortable. It just means that if you’re built like me and not an model/athlete/body builder then there’s no hiding the big beer kite or those moobs. It also means there’s no embarrassing photos of me wearing it. Wouldn’t want to put you off your tea and I sure as hell don’t want to see myself. I put it through the Tookie Indoor Gear Test™. Which basically means I crawl about the house in it, relax on the couch, do the dishes and my daughter and I play with the Barbies in the toy room. I’m Ken obviously. You’ll be glad to know that it passed. No itching, scratching, chafing, riding up or any other general annoyance. Nice and light to wear. Never too warm or too cold. On this top the sleeves are long for me and stretch over my hand. It means they end up bunching at my wrists. Both cuffs have different stitching. Not sure if that’s deliberate or because it’s a sample that I have. Anyway I like it makes it easier to tell me left from my right. It’s also long length-wise for me which is great means it can tuck it in properly and keeps my lower back cosy and protected. Remember I’m 5′ 7″ on a good day with a reach of 30 odd inches.

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe Cuff Details

I’ve been pulling this on all the time when I’ve been going out and not just up the hills or walking through the woods. It’s even been on when I’ve been out tidying the garden but like all merino tops the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe has a tendency to get soggy especially around your pack where there’s less ventilation and restricted airflow but I found this one to be better than the others that I own. I’m no expert but it may just be down to the weight and fineness of the fabric that it dries out really quickly. It never really felt wet. I was never cold with this top on and most of the time I wore it under a wind shirt. It’s comfortable on the move, none of the itch I’ve had with other merino tops. I know for various reasons that merino is not everyone’s favourite material for a base layer but I’m a fan. You almost don’t know you have it on at times. If I could change something it would be to add monkey thumbs. Tops with monkey thumbs are great. It’s not a deal breaker the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe is still a good base-layer a very good one. It’s a winner for me.

You can see more photographs of the top on flickr here.

North and South Kyle Forests

Map of Kyle

There’s not been too much happening recently concerning walks or any that I felt were worth sharing. However something really interesting; for me at any rate but also something that maybe you could help with. I got a very interesting email recently which led to quiet a few emails going back and forth and then a meeting in Hamilton. What was it about you ask and how can you help? Well…

…the Forestry Commision are looking to open up the north and south Kyle forests. To you and me, that is all their land roughly between Dalmellington and Cumnock in Ayrshire. It’s at an early stage but they are looking for folks to have and input. They have the idea of using the area a bit like the Galloway forest park; walking, cycling, community orchards, conservation, social enterprises. Open to all. They want to know what your doing, what paths your walking, tracks you are cycling, what viewpoints keep drawing you back, what wildlife do you go to watch but it’s not just that. They are keen on the history of the area, stories and anything you think is special. Hopefully they can get a picture of the routes and interesting places. Maybe even join them up and make a place people stop off and visit.

I spent a great afternoon with the Forestry Commission talking about the area and the places I have walked and the views that I thought were special. It was excellent and it really brought it home, especially when you see it printed out on a large scale map just how much there is in the area that could be done. It’s all at a very early stage and there’s no guarentees that it will happen but I left the meeting wishing it could happen. Here’s to hoping.

Personally I think it would be a great for the area so if you can help or just want some more information then use the contact form here or drop me an email at davidtookiebunten(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll pass your details on to them and hopefully we can make this happen and help get it off the ground.

Berghaus PolarPlus Fleece Jacket

Berghaus PolarPlus Fleece Jacket Logo

I’ll start like I start all of my reviews; with a disclaimer, that this Berghaus Polarplus Fleece Jacket was sent to me by Gareth to review. Gareth works for a company that represents Berghaus and he contacted me. He a few things that I could choose but only this fleece in a size medium. He was kind enough to send it to me and I get to keep it. I have no vested interest in Berghaus, the company that Gareth works for or the Fleece itself other than to share my views and opinions; good, bad or otherwise.

Berghaus PolarPlus Fleece Jacket Collar and zip

This arrived pretty late in the year, just as the weather had turned for the better after the long cold winter and round about the time that I was gearing up (no pun intended) to move in to a new house, not that it matters greatly. I came home to a parcel waiting for me. There’s something about that, that gets me excited like a child. I opened the parcel and was immediately struck be the weight of the folded up fleece. It was heavy. I had a quick read at the tags. Polertec 300. That’s a proper fleece and a lot heavier that anything I’ve had before and made from recycled yarn according to the bumpf. Most, if not all fleeces I have had and use are Polertec 100. I was struck by how different this 300 material was. For a start it’s a double sided fleece fabric. It’s in a whole other level. Thick, soft and really luxurious feeling. Really a jacket in it’s own right. Next move was to stick on the digital scales. It came in at 768 grams. Heavy but not necessarilly a bad thing.

Berghaus PolarPlus Fleece Jacket Hem Drawcord and Toggle

Next thing was to try it on. It looked big for a medium when I took it out the wrapping. Trying it on confirmed this, it’s cut on the generous side of medium. This re-enforces the feeling of this standing up on it’s own as a jacket and not just a mid-layer. A classic fleece set up. Nice big collar, two large hand warmer pockets and drawstring elasticated hem to keep out the drafts. The collar is quite stiff and stands up which I like, right up under your chin keeping the wind out. The cuffs on the sleeves are not elasticated but theres no problem with them riding up because of the generous cut. The sleeves are on the longish side for me. They also have the attachment points for use with Berghaus InterActive system that some of their outer shells use along with the zip. Giving you that classic 3 in 1 layering system. The two pockets have zipped closures and are deep enough for a mobile phone and most compact point and shoot cameras in my opinion. They are also proper thick lined hand warmer pockets, more of that soft luxuirous comfort. The hem has the standard elasticated cord and toggle set up that can be tightened or loosened with one hand if need be. Quality was the word that came to mind after this first wearing.

Berghaus PolarPlus Fleece Jacket Zip and Storm flap

After that I put it through the Tookie indoors gear test, which was pretty short. It was like being wrapped in a furnace, a soft sumptuous deluxe furnace. I’ve said before I run warm and in this fleece even sitting around on the couch doing nothing I was roasting. The jacket is very comfortable to wear. It just envelopes you. There was no chasing the little Bunten round, that part is going to have to wait till it’s colder. Like a lot with this it’s just going to have to wait till the Autumn for an update. It’s not the weather for it.

Berghaus PolarPlus Fleece Jacket Sleeve and Cuff

All in all a well made fleece but I’m sure that comes as no surprise from a company with the pedigree and history of Berghaus. It might not be the most fashionable, trendy or cutting edge of fleeces to look at but I’ll look forward to the weather getting harder and giving this jacket a proper testing in the elements.

More photographs can be found in my flickr set here.