The Vault Regulars

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Moffat Roundup

Our sojourn to Moffat ended today with the weather forecast being wrong again. It rained the whole way home.
Driving south, the Howgills looked bad as did the Eastern and Northern Lakeland fells. The Southern Fells looked ok from the car.

It has been a good trip despite the lousy weather. (Although it would be possible to dispute the weather from the photo’s but i assure you it was bad).
The photo’s of the trip are here. Sorry there are 145 of them.

So, what a beautiful area the Southern Uplands are. Moffat is a good place to spend some time with plenty of walks available, both high and low depending on the weather. The campsite is run by the Caravan club but non members are welcomed. No kids allowed so that was very pleasant.
The hotels and pubs seemed to be doing well and there is a good coffee shop culture.

The walk from Moffat to Ettrick head is pleasant with fine views but the Ettrick Glen was magic in the rain and the wildlife such a pleasure to see and hear. The path from the bottom of the Glen over to Tibbie Sheils Inn is clear and well marked and even in bad conditions is easy to follow.

The camping facilities at Tibbies are basic but adequate although there is no way they can cope with the volume of weekend campers. The ground is good but i hear it can be liable to flooding occasionally so be warned.
Once we got the tent up i was in need of a warm shower, i grabbed my soap and stuff and once in the shower, which was barely warm,  squeezed what i thought was soap on my hair, only to find out when it didn’t lather that it was Gerwhol foot gel. Back out to the tent for what i thought was shampoo and repeated the event with clothes wash. It was not my day. But we had a laugh later.

Tibbies itself is a great place, good bar and food and warm wood burning stove to dry out those wet clothes. Very helpful staff.

We managed to get a walk in up to Loch Skeen and the Grey Mares Tail in between the low cloud. This is a lovely walk and should not be missed. The surrounding hills were begging for us to walk them but it will have to wait until next time.

What about some of the gear we took.
Well before we went i couldn’t decide what to take regarding footwear. It was going to be very wet, we knew that. I decided to take my Meindl Softline Ultra GTX boots which have a membrane.
Big, Big mistake. I obviously had forgotten why we moved to trail shoes. They got wet and took on the guise of lead divers boots.
Yes, my feet were dry but back to the trail shoes asap! Boots are now redundant.

Sealskinz socks.
I have called these socks for ages because when i bought a pair years ago they leaked after about 1 hr and i never got over it. I bought Gore-Tex socks ever since.
However Sheila bought a pair against my better judgement but they turned out be slightly too big so i had them and wore them a couple of times through the week with my Inov-8’s. They were wonderful and didn’t leak at all. I take back my comments about them and i will wear them on future walks.

Optimus Crux gas stove.
I gave this stove another chance and to see if it could redeem itself to me after i was very harsh about it’s regulator. I thought that in a warmer clime and with full gas cylinder it would perform better but alas no.
The regulator is bad and only stays stable when full on.
Another piece of kit destined for redundancy.

Inov-8 130 Mistlite Overtrousers. 
We both wore these for most of the week and they did a really good job. I have no complaints about them whatsoever and they have had a hammering.

Tarptent Scarp 2
Love this tent. The inner space is huge for 2. I don’t know a better 2 man tent. It’s a bit awkward to pack up with having fixed poles but you learn to get by with it.
It developed leaks at the very ends of the 2 roof vents where the vent is final stitched to the fly. All 4 places were found vulnerable.
It was easily resolved, i bought a tube of silicon and spread a little onto the stitching and underneath. Problem resolved until we get home, then i am going to add a circle of silnylon under the ends to give it some extra re-inforcing. I know you shouldn’t need to do this and it may have become worse if i hadn’t been base camping but i will live with it.
I had previously sealed the seams but this area is a vulnerability in my eyes and needs to be changed.

Icebreaker base tee.
I have always liked this base layer and it excelled this week. Warm when damp and fast drying. It didn’t smell after 4 days of wearing it and that included the smoky atmosphere created with the bothy wood burner. I am so impressed i am going to look for a polo neck type with a front zip.
Those 2 items will then do all my walks.

Carn Cobra shoe.
Sheila wore her Cobra’s throughout and found them excellent. Comfy, good grip and supportive.
She finds that they do take longer to dry than her Inov-8’s but with wearing Sealskinz socks it didn’t matter on this occasion.

Well enough of gear. It can get a bit boring and we don’t want that do we.
Thanks for reading.


Alan Sloman said...

Loved the bit about the shampoo...

I once tried it as toothpaste. Not nice... (I had dispensed creams into little bottles rather than taking great tubes of it on jaunts) I went back to branded toiletries after that!

AlanR said...

Hi Alan,
It was funny. I don't fancy it as toothpaste though. Yuk. I think i will also go back to buying the smaller travel packs.

QDanT said...

good reviews you must have a duff Crux stove though as it's my favourite in the collection (shed full)and it's ability to simmer Risotto 10/10 have you queered it with Optimus ?
cheers Danny

Phreerunner said...

Hi Alan
Have just caught up. Just as well as we are out again soon. Those Saucony shoes look good - lighter than Crocs!
We only just missed you in the Dales - the Hoffman Kiln was great, wasn't it, if a bit tricky to get down from the roof!
I thought I was getting some iffier weather than usual, but don't expect us to come seeking you out on any of your trips for the time being, we don't want to get That Wet!

AlanR said...

Hi Danny,
I have a few gas stoves, but not as many as yourself. I bought the Crux simply because of the light weight which was very good at the time.

If you take the regulator as steps between 1 and 10. 10 being full on. I would say that from 8 back to 1 it only remains regulated for about 5 seconds and then it dies back to no.1.

If i use it at 9 or 10 it stays there. But this is inefficient and therefore useless for backpacking.

I havn't been in contact with Optimus.

AlanR said...

Hi Martin,
Glad you liked the Saucony, they are good aren't they.

The Hoffmann kiln is very impressive and is worthy of a weekend in that area as there are other interesting industrial archeological sites also.

Martin we didn't have weather as bad as the TGO, but it was bad enough. Fortunately it wasn't windy and i don't mind walking in the rain but when the cloud base gets as low as 200 metres i don't find it fun.

We enjoyed what we did though and it certainly is a lovely area.

-maria- said...

Hello Alan,

just catching up with your blog! The shampoo story reminds me of my husband who once was waiting for the tram when he realised that he had not rinsed his hair after the shower...

I'm "happy" the Crux let you down; I'm using gas only when more than one kid is around, otherwise I'm using meths. In my opinion the alcohol stoves are a bit straightforward, but they never let you down. But when camping with kids, the gas stoves are quick. It is also important that the kids can't spill the meths. But when camping solo/in adult company/with just one kid the alcohol stoves are my choice.

AlanR said...

Hi Maria,
Good to have you back. Hope you have been doing something good.
Thats so funny, i can’t image how hubby felt no having rinsed his hair,

I have only gone back to gas this year or so, after 25 - 30 yrs of meths stoves. I like the Primus spider express gas stove but the Crux is rubbish. Or i should say the one i have is rubbish.

-maria- said...

Hi again, Alan

Well actually I hear the call of the gas stoves but I'm trying to resist it - that's why I try to find "gas stoves are rubbish" comments on blogs ;-) Let's see how this ends up!

AlanR said...

Hi Maria,
I would have thought that the Evernew Titanium DX with the Evernew Alcohol burner (or Trangia) would suit you. See link.

It does everything, Meths, wood and it will also do the Trangia gas convertor if you wanted to go gas. So you can use which ever fuel you want depending on conditions. With your countryside having so much wood available maybe this is the perfect combination.

There are a lot of backpackers in UK using gas as first choice and Danny at QDanT blog says his Crux stove is the best he has and he has many stoves. So my Crux might be a what we call a Monday morning build.
The spider on the other hand is fantastic.

If you want to try a reliable gas stove that is relatively cheap and light weight try the Coleman F1 lite.

Unknown said...

I'm recently back from a 4 day trip in Rondane in Norway and we also used our Scarp 2. I love the tent but I also discovered leaks around the ends of the vents. To me it seemed like the issue was where the velcro was attached but I'll be sealing the entire area. I also had one of middle crossing pole tie-outs leaking a little. This was only a problem under very heavy rain so I luckily only had the issue on one night. I'll be setting up the tent and seam sealing it today.

Unknown said...

Ok, just back from seam sealing and I see exactly what you mean by the weakness by the vents. You can clearly see the stitching pulling small holes in the fabric. My solution was to put a drop of silicon on the inside and outside of the hole as I don't expect it to grow larger (if it does I'm sending it back to Henry to fix), and the silicon should be strong enough to "glue" the fabric together and keep water out. Our next overnighter should be somewhere in GB in November so I'm sure we'll find out. :)

AlanR said...

Hi Tor,
Thanks for your comments. Sorry to hear you had similar leaks.
I eventually resolved mine by gluing on 4 small discs of sylnylon under the ends of the vents. Its been fine since.
I emailed Henry and he said that it was known and if the world was perfect it wouldn't happen. I wasn't too impressed with this response.
I love Norway btw. I havn't been to Rondane area but i know how nice it is.
Hope you enjoy GB trip too.

Unknown said...

Hi Alan,

I've posted the first couple of days from the trip on my blog if you're interested to see what it's like in Rondane. :)

I think Henry isn't very good at communications to be honest. I think he's making lots of cool stuff, but it's a bit hit and miss when he answers and I wonder if he's a bit of a victim of his own success...

AlanR said...

Hi Tor,
Yes i have read your trip posts and excellent too.

You may be right about Henry.
My idea is, if you know the design is flawed you change it at the first instance. You don’t put the same design on other models which just multiply’s the problem.

Just to say seam seal it better is not the answer.

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