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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

TGO Challenge 2013: In limbo - RIP Wanda

LIMBO

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.

WANDA, AT HER BEST

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 Solomid

[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.

HOWARD & HILDA

38 comments:

  1. I wasn't at all nervous when I washed my down jacket last week, having washed it a few times before. I was far more nervous when I submerged my sleeping bag in a warm bath the week before. Both survived their ordeals.

    I did fear for a while that I had managed to destroy Mick's down jacket (and he is rather attached to that jacket so there would have been some sulking). Patience was the key. Turned out Mick's jacket required as long in the tumble drier as my jacket and my sleeping bag combined.

    So, we're all lofty and ready to go (well, except for not having dehydrated all of our food, bought supplies, thought about parcels etc, etc, etc)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the downwash for my PHD bag. I have the bath. I don't seem to have the bottle! Please, please tell me it'll be okay to do this? The last one I did was over ten years ago and it worked.... but it's my very very best most expensive sleeping bag and I want it on the Challenge but it desperately needs sorting....

      OOOOOH! Panic!

      Delete
  2. Phil is going to have a field day...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I won't tell him then. It can be a surprise on the first night...

      Delete
  3. Fancy dumping poor Wanda for a younger and fitter model. You hussy you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just an unreconstructed old bastard, deep down. But Sally will love me for it. Wanda - well, she's history!

      Who's Wanda???

      Delete
  4. How exactly are there no comments yet?

    Folk are continuing to talk about you two. This won't help!

    Is Martin lending you all that other kit too? He is a helpful chap, eh?

    Have a great crossing and please don't report the good bits. Just tell me it was miserable all the way across. Please!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I promise to be as miserable as possible, starting at the first party at the Bree Louise. We'll all have a minute's silence for you, Carl....
      :-)

      Delete
    2. Yes! You have to finish it before this coming Wednesday.

      Delete
  5. You had better be Hilda then, because you have ladies feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahem! I have slim elegant tootsies, you mean, surely?

      Will you be wearing that chocolate "lipsalve" again, sweetie?

      Delete
    2. I am going Aloa Vera this year sweety.

      Delete
    3. Is it just me, or did anybody else suspect that Hilda was suppressing a wilful and passionate soul?

      It was just me, wasn't it? Fair enough.

      Delete
    4. Dave: Now I am going to have to find a copy of the show to check on this wilful and passionate soul.
      :-)

      Delete
  6. Good job that didn't happen to you when you were on TGOC ! Good of Martin lending his tent out. Good luck on your umpteenth Challenge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That thought did strike me - for years I had never taken a pole sleeve for Wanda - her front pole seemed indestructible and her rear had never been too much of a problem in even the fiercest of winds. - it had always flexed and stood back up again.
      My mistake was in threading it through the sleeve in a high wind and the tent fabric getting caught in a gust and taking off... Poor campcraft really.
      :-(
      Fortunately, Pete Shepherd (Morpeth) had his Akto pole sleeve that I borrowed and it got me through the Daunder.

      Martin is an absolute star - I had been thinking about the Solomid (and the Scarp 1) for a year or so to replace Wanda but had been unsure about the Solomid's internal space, so this will give me a wonderful opportunity to try it out!

      Thank for your best wishes, Mark. They don't get any easier as the numbers pile up...

      Delete
  7. The thing about the SoloMid is it space needs to be used to work . Rucksacks stashed over the mesh and down the side. I lived in it last year on stormy nights, and dark forest nights wondering if bears would visit me and take my food that I might have accidently not hanged in the bear bag (I needed sweeties some times at night) . You will soon find out Alan if it too small. It works fine I feel. El Tel (TeeryBnd Aka Bivy boy) thought it was rock solid. Also roll back the inner for loads of room cooking in wet weather and to be honest if no bugs are about drop the mesh and sleep on top of it. Its space is then so easy to max out on. Pitch it without the inner and get in to appreciate its not bad space wise.

    Fact:

    30sqft of floor space and can fit up to 6'4 Well now lets look at another well used TGOC tent.

    Akto has 18.3sqft inner and 8.6sqft in the useless porch, which has one way door opening, and the angle cuts back so sharp thus reducing usable space in reality.

    You will be able to sit up in the SoloMid. Try that at 6ft tall in an Akto.

    Anyway enjoy. Oh and Carl we will think of you when we sink the first beer next week. After that I fear we wont ☺

    Also Andy got a stove off me and he will get a ground sheet sometime when I manage to boot my mate into getting it back to me.

    This week other old kit has been sent out to share the joy. I am nice like that. Also I will be collecting on beer on the train. Alan and Andy mines a pint ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoop Whoop!

      Sally has arrived this morning! I might be nipping out for a trial pitch later today.
      :-)
      Thank you, Martin - You are an absolute star! Beers are on me, fella!

      Delete
  8. PS http://www.summitandvalley.com/2011/10/aviemoor-to-blair-atholl-route-2.html look at the porch space and do the math vs a Akto porch.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Have you seen the new very light down jackets,vests,socks,trousers from PHD. I wish!what top gear.900 fill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alan
      I have the emails too.

      Hmmm: I would like to see that 10 denier material in the flesh before laying out cash for it.
      Down gear, when out backpacking, comes in for some right old wear & tear - I just wonder if the material is up to it? Especially so for the down socks!

      Delete
    2. I am confident that if PHD have released it then it will be fit for purpose. You can't have failed products on expeds.

      Delete
    3. I can think of numerous companies who have launched products that weren't fit for purpose. It's the "early adopters" who find these mistakes to their cost. Look at the early failures of Cascade Design's NeoAir mattress, and similarly mats from POE. I've also just seen a pretty dodgy failure on a brand new lightweight Terra Nova tent.

      I just cannot see that a 10 denier material will be robust enough for backpacking tent socks.

      "Wait and see" pie, for me.

      Delete
    4. I can think of a few / lot of SNP's who aren't fit for purpose.

      Delete
    5. I've read it on Facebook, so it must be true: Our very own Mr McNeish is grateful that the Scottish Government has listened to his tireless lobbying and campaigning and have decided to throw in the towel on those nasty wind farms that are threatening to destroy the wild places.

      Expect to see the Stronelairg decision overturned, Dunmaglass dismantled and all the rest of the proposals in the hills kicked into touch.

      No, Honestly!

      Good grief!

      Delete
  10. Oh how he mocked and mocked the yellow of my Trailstar last year.....

    Just sayin......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll make sure I park p close to your Golden Trailstar, Andy, as it's bigger than Martin's Solomid and so, hopefully will attract all the copulating flying creatures.
      :-)

      We will look marvelous together, I'm sure!

      Delete
    2. They'll use yours as the birthing pool.

      Delete
  11. There was a young woman called Wanda
    Who decided to go for a Daunder
    She met with a Sloman
    Now her poles are are broken
    That unfortunate woman called Wanda

    (with apologies to the very wonderful Edward Lear)

    ReplyDelete
  12. An impetous woman named Hilda
    Deserted her husband – a builder
    She struck up a chord
    With Sloman – who snored
    Through a night with that woman named Hilda

    Enough of this nonsense! Have a wonderful time, and hope to see you at the finish!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dear Heart!

      There was a young fella called Humph
      Who walked all he could for a month
      When asked why he did it
      He swigged a Glenfiddich
      And fell to the floor with a "crump."

      Delete
  13. That first pic - Saturday night in Braemar?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This Limbo thing - it looks to me to be like quite a lot of fun. There are acres of bare flesh in there. But I couldn't see a single shred of Gore-Tex or Paramo.

      It's probably Braemar before the Challenge hits town - it's the Wallace Arnold coach parties at the Fife Arms.

      Delete
  14. Ah canny wee laddie spiered Morpeth
    Gang oor fair a radge aye the footpath
    Tho' no kent dialect
    Yon mae gie due respect
    Tae yon gey gallus laddie speired Morpeth

    ReplyDelete

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