What happens now then?
There’s a week before we set off to our start point on the west coast of Scotland. I am in limbo.
I’ve bought (and re-bought) my food and everything is now in separate piles for different parts of the walk. It just needs to be put into the food bag and the two parcels so they can be sent off on Friday. I’ve washed and re-lofted the down jacket (that was a nervy business!) so I shall be nice and warm on those clear starry nights sipping whiskies with the boys. The TGO big black hairy fleece has arrived and a new battery has been ordered for the phone. Why do they always decide to die just before the Challenge?
After dithering and wearing my Raptors on the PreWalkDaunder, I have flip-flopped back to my original decision to take my trusty Scarpa Nepals with the beefier sock combination. This also means taking some camp shoes, so the Walsh PB’s are coming too (in a very camp green & orange colour-way). Looking at the current conditions on the tops, I’ve decided to send the Kahtoola Microspikes in the parcel for Tulloch so we can canter over Creag Meagaidh and then on to our our first Cheese & Wine Party, with a bit more grip.
For the last six years I have taken the wonderful Wanda Warmlite 2C, but sadly on the PreWalkDaunder, a fierce gust of wind came along when I was threading the rear pole into its sleeve and Wanda suffered a fracture and, upon close inspection, hairline cracks elsewhere in the same pole. I was going to re-order a new pole from Stephensons, but having had a closer look at Wanda’s four pegging loops (at each pole end) I have noticed that the loops are almost sawn completely through. I’m afraid the work required to get Wanda through her MOT means that she is, in effect, a write-off.
I’ve decided to take up an incredibly kind offer from the excellent Martin Rye and borrow his MLD Solomid and Oookworks nest on the walk. The Solomid is a pyramid tent made from sil-nylon, supported by two trekking poles in an A-frame configuration.
[MARTIN’S PHOTO OF HIS MLD SOLOMID]
Sally Solomid (for that’s her TGO trail-name) is quite a bit lighter than Wanda, but of course, that comes with one or two sacrifices; there will be quite a bit less floor and head room, but as I see it, it will be similar to my old Akto that looked after me so well for a dozen years or so.
It’s from Mountain Laurel Designs ~ the same company that makes Andrew’s Trailstar ~ and it’s in the same colour as well. He & I both wear the same blue Berghaus jackets as well. At this rate, I fear we are going to become the Howard & Hilda of the TGO Challenge.