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Lands End to Cape Wrath
Rucksack Berghaus Quartz Cyclops 3. 65 + 15 litres. New at Christmas, a present from Vivienne and replacing my trusty 20 year old Karrymore Jaguar companion on many adventures.
I chose it because it seemed to be the most business-like on the Cotswold racks made with the thick Cordura and lots of useful big pockets and big chunky zips and not too high tech with it’s straps and padding. Also soft blue and grey not too offensive colours. One or two quibbles it developed along the way that required some attention and gave it some character.
Rucksack rain cover, Storm Shield, bought in Oban Millets.
Internal canoe bag for main compartment. Just to give that reassurance that when I fall into raging mountain river or have to swim to escape bandits, clothes and sleeping bag will still be bone dry.
Sleeping bag. Ajungilak Kompakt Extra MTI loft hollow fibre. About 5 years old, quite light and low maintenance. Not the warmest bag but good enough for a summer jaunt.
Sleeping bag liner. Cocoon thermal extra layer to boost the bag and washable and a little more cosy than the slimy nylon sleeping bag inner.
Sleeping mat. Therm-a-rest light weight short length. 2 of these; the one I set out with was 5 or 6 years old and gave up developing into football lumps so I had to discard that one and buy a new one in Blacks in Liverpool. Essential these for aging bones on hard ground and also making the following possible:
Sleeping mat too seat converter. Inspirational Thermarest contraption for turning a mat into a seat. A luxury adding a few ounces to the load but such a delight of an evening to be able to recline. Back support while cooking and eating and reading and writing and digging the sunset.
Tent. Hilleberg Acto. Where to start? Having this on my back and feeling strong and safe and confident. Recommended as the best light weight one person on the market. Super easy to put up, fly and inner tent up as one piece so staying dry, masses of space inside and in the porch for storing everything and cooking. High enough to sit up, low profile against the wind. Tendency to collect condensation is it’s only real fault.
Walking pole. Leki Super Micro. Just one and with a kind of T shaped handle at the top, not the up and down sky pole type thing. I like to be able to lean on it with a straight arm. Trusty and actually essential companion offering support on tricky ground, relief for soar feet and extra boost to push me along. All kinds of swinging it around bowler hat umbrella in the park type games and also turn it around and brandish slightly heavier end when approaching dog barking farm yards.
Water containers. 1 three litre Camelback Unobottle 100 long pouchy thing with a drinking tube. First time I’ve used one of these and absolutely marvellous thing. Have the tube there by my right shoulder strap and keep gulping all day, stay hydrated. Wander down to the stream and fill it up in the evening and enough water to get me through the night cooking and breakfast. You have to have an auxiliary bottle for collecting; scooping up water from streams and ponds so; 1 litre Nalgene plastic container with a wide screw top. Also useful for storing milk or wine.
Hats. X4 setting out. North Face Trekking Hat for sun/rain. Outdoor Designs Gortex and fleece lining peek and flaps for ears primary cold weather head gear. Fleece tube type scarf with draw string to become a hat hat. Thin cotton peaked sun hat.
Boots. Han Wag all leather and bought in October cheap in the Cotswold sale. I wore them in through all my training over the winter but they were comfortable right away. I had my old boots as my number 2 pair packed ready to be sent out to a post office when the number 1’s gave out. These were a trusty pair of Karimore KSB’s actually in their prime and anticipated not needed.
Sandals. Lightest pair of rubber sole Velcro strappy sandals as my other foot ware. Relief from boots in the evening time and happy to be out in the weather strapped on the outside of my pack.
Glove. Extremeities thin Sticky. Used occasionally on chilly evenings in spring but becoming essential every evening on the west coast of Scotland as part of midge protection regime.
Coat. 8 year old Karimore blue-green thigh length heavy duty type Gortex, almost water proof but not really. Robust extra layer, good pockets business like. Happy wearing just this over a T shirt and feeling protection walk all day.
Gaiters. Mountain Range green khaki Gortex standard kind with a strap under your instep and a hook into boot laces on top and zip up the back. Strap on and zip up and be invincible.
Socks. X3 pairs, Brigdale Treckers. After trying lots and these are the best for me with minimum friction and staying woolly and soft when they’re wet. 4 or 5 days on rotation. The evening clean dry pair becomes the next day time pair.
Pants. Three pairs of pants.
T shirt. One Millets cotton for the day time. I like mostly to walk in a cotton T shirt. It goes against the whicking wisdom I know but it’s the most comfortable for me. Nylon gets me into all kinds of chafing and soar nipples and for heavens sake everything else is nylon so please just a little bit of natural-ness. After a week of walking in the same t shirt though and it never gets dry, clammy and damp and a delight to put on first thing in a cold tent. In Mallaig I bought a new one from a yachty clothes shop. The first was by then rotting and full of holes so a concessions to polite society.
Thermal T shirt. Jack Wolfskin mottled grey long sleeved Polartec. Dry and ready to be cosy and warm of an evening and occasionally on wet cold days to wear under my rain coat. Polyester but somehow not with that shiny plastic felling.
Fleece. Light weight dark blue and from the Gap years ago. I think meant for cycling with a flappy extension down at the back. Chose to take this as an extra layer for evenings and for all day time walking duties, no heavy fleece needed because I had with me:
The Buffalo Special 6. A fleece, a coat an altogether altogether garment that I could wax over, just to know it’s in my pack and I’ll be Ok.
Trousers. 3 pairs. For stepping out a pair of North Face with leg zip offs; super practical drying in no time just the job. For evenings and in the pack ready for emergencies; a very cosy pair of Rab fleece lined Pertex outer sort of extreme weather and very light to stuff away. Put these together with the Special 6 for the ultimate shell suit and so stylish evenings on the mountain, and:
Waterproof Trouser. Sprayway Trecklight actually very good with a zip right the way up the hip each side for very quick on and off.
Swimming trunks. Doubling as pyjamas.
Pack towel Therm-a -rest strip of blue felty viscose (what ever that might be). Just about enough to get dry and rub down springing from icy mountain stream. Not satisfying but functional.
Pillow case Baby blue fleecy bag to stuff clothes into. Little bit of a luxury to ensure night time comfort.
Hand kerchiefs x 3 large with Yin Yang pattern one in black one in red one in blue to rotate between various functions from residing in day time pocket to general dish cloth around camp site and especially for wiping the due or rain of the wet tent or internal condensation. Speed up the drying in the morning so that the tent wasn’t packed away wet.
Stove. Mountain Safety Research. Dragonfly, Marvellous. Pumped up and roaring like a jet engine, boiling water no time flat and nicely controllable up and down heat for one put gourmet preparations. I’ve always used gas stoves in the past but out this time I couldn’t rely on finding gas so went for a multi fuel thing using mainly white spirit so cheap and available everywhere. “Know hoe to use your stove” it says in the instruction manual, three foot leaping flames if you don’t get the ignition procedure quite right quite scary inside the tent so care and concentration. Concentrate now, pump and prime and lighter and ready with a hat for smothering.
Stove repair kit. With spare seals and washers…..
Fuel bottles. 2x 1.2 litre aluminium MSR.
Cooking pots. The 1 litre copper bottomed pot and lid and the frying pan/plate from a set of Vango Cook Kit and one of the half litre aluminium pots from my old Camping Gazz Globe Trotter stove.
Cutlery. “unbreakable” plastic KFS set all gradually breaking and being replaced eventually by the magic silver tea spoon.
Chopping board. The 6 inch by 6 inch cut out side of a large Tupperware container. How to do without one? Along with:
1 litre Tupper Ware box.
2 125ml Nalgene screw top containers. For herby mixture and ground chillies.
1 250ml Nalgene screw top container. For olive oil.
Purification tabs. Life Systems chlorine and neutralising
Lighters. Several cheapo scattered in various locations.
Sun glasses. X2
Midge net. Arriving the Lochmaben supplies parcel. Absolute necessity.
Radio walkman and headphones.
Camera. Pentax Optio 5 mega pix and setting off with 2 memory cards; a 256MB and a 512MB and I bought another 256 in Malaig.
Mobile phone and charger. Very light just plug sized charger figuring I can top up when I’m in a BnB or youth hostel or maybe a lunchtime pub, battery should last for a week turning if off when not using it.
Leatherman. Multi-tool for the man in the hills.
Leatherman micro. With scissors for toe nails.
Compasses. Silva cheep and best x2
Pedometer. Silva; recording paces and converting into miles or clicks. Stitched into a hip pocket sitting there and recording it all. Complicated relationship; who’s in charge? Who decides how far I’m walking?
Maps. 4 or 5 OS Landranger 1:50.000 arriving in each food parcel and sent home again from post offices along the way.
Binoculars. Mini 8 x 21 I set off with but I wasn’t using them so they went home in a rationalisation when I got to Bude.
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