The Vault Regulars

Monday, October 26, 2015

A bit of Nostalgia.

Years go by faster than we think and we take lots of photo’s that stay out of sight. Then one day you come across a few and have a laugh or cry as the case may be.
So here are a few of mine that bring back great memories. The images are not as good as today’s digital as quality gets lost with scanning and also years ago we didn’t seem to mind too much.
 Hiking in Cradle Mountain National Park. Tasmania
 Sun going down in Wasdale.
 Hiking in The Outer Hebrides.
 Sheila’s Mum and Sister’s first experience of camping.
 The best campsite in Wasdale.
 Fully loaded on Wainwrights Coast to Coast.
 Never to be forgotten. My visit to Hiroshima peace park.
 Hiking across Norway. Besseggen Ridge.
 A very cold night out Hiking with Sheila and Martin Banfield.
 Finishing the 2014 TGO Challenge.

 2 photo’s above. One of the most windy nights i have been camping in. On the slopes of Cadair Idris.
 Our Special Day.
 When i was fit and used to fell run.
 After a rainy ascent of Crib Goch we came out to a wonderful experience on Snowdon.
 Our two girls.
Lisa, youngest daughter. Fell running in Hiking boots. Sat at the summit of Scafell.

Where did all that time go.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shock and Awe

I read an article in the Manchester Evening News last night that seriously shocked me. I am not surprised by what i see around me but the numbers are frightening.

It said, 917,000 new National Insurance Numbers were given out in 6 months this year to foreign nationals. That’s close to 2 Million for the whole year if the trend continues.
Its no wonder the NHS, our trains, buses, roads, etc are so busy and are at the point of collapse.
To put that into some sort of perspective. That’s more new people than the combined populations of all the Islands listed below.

Isle of Man
Lewis and Harris
Isle of Sheppey
Isle of White
Walney Island
Orkney Island
Canvey Island
Hayling Island
Portsea Island
Mersea Island
Achill Island
South Uist
Scilly Isles

Figures courtesy of Wikipedia.

Can you just imagine what would happen if all these islands decided to move to the mainland all in one go? Well it seems that it’s kind of happening, but in a different way.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Merino NuYarn Tee Update

I did an initial review of this new Merino material back at the end of August 2015 when the Tee Shirt arrived from New Zealand. Here
I have been quite surprised at how much interest it created and how many folk have messaged me to see how it was holding out.

I’ve worn it quite extensively both on hiking days and also just for everyday wear. 

The material is new and isn’t widely available yet here in UK. However the manufacturers claim some fantastic features over the standard Merino that we have become to love or hate as the case may be. 
I for one like Merino but i’m not overjoyed with the feel when its sweaty and i have found that it is easy damaged by rucksacks. I have numerous Merino tees and so the comparison i make is against various companies offerings. Icebreaker, Trekmates, Katmandu for example.

The Nuyarn is said to have the following advantages against std Merino.

  • 35% Comfier. The material is said to loft better.
  • 35% Stretchier.
  • 5 x Faster drying times.
  • 35% Warmer.
  • 47% Stronger.
  • 120% Tougher seams.
As a customer who paid for this garment himself i have no reason to make it out to better or worse than it is. My view is purely from a users point of view and not under lab conditions or controls. 

35% Comfier. 
The loft is far better and it feels in some ways that its a double layer. That’s the best way to explain it. It is great to wear on it’s own as a Tee Shirt, rather than it just being a simple base layer. 
If the % is only 35% better, then to me it feels more like 50%.

35% Stretchier. 
I think the amount of stretch in this material is amazing. Again if its only 35% then to me it feels more. I would say that choosing the size that suits the individual is going to be a “Try before you buy”scenario.

5 x Faster drying.
At this i disagree greatly. 
When you expect the garment to dry 5 times faster than a std Merino tee then you are almost expecting the water to disappear in front of your eyes. I have tested this out against all my tee shirts and of varying weights and the difference is minimal. I would even go as far as to say there is no difference. So where the 5 times faster has been calculated i don’t know.
I did find that it wicked sweat away from the skin better than std Merino and you don’t get that hard feeling in your armpits.

35% Warmer.
I can go along with this. It seems about right. An ideal base layer for winter and a good all rounder for the rest of the year. If you feel the cold then this top will suit you as part of the layering system.

47% Stronger. 
I am surprised that it’s only 47% stronger than std Merino. It certainly feels much stronger. My thoughts are that it’s pretty tough and rugged. I do wonder what would happen if it got snagged and torn? I wonder if the hole would just get bigger and bigger. This is just a thought after all there is a lifetime guarantee with this Tee shirt.

120% Tougher seams. 
I was a bit disappointed that ALL the seams are not flat locked. Some are, some are not. This may vary from company to company as more garments become available. However, the raised seams havn’t bothered me one bit. I have never felt any negativity towards them. They are fine. As for the strength of the seam i have no opinion. Its not easy for a customer to check this out.

In summary, the only thing i have found to disagree with is the drying times. The material is far better in all other aspects than std Merino. It doesn’t Pill either. I wouldn’t hesitate in getting another one.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hog Low Pike 383 metres and Calf Hey reservoir.

With a clear Saturday, something that is quite unusual for us, we headed off to Haslingden with the purpose of getting to Hog Low Pike Trig point. Where ever the route took us after that was just a finger in the air and go.

We parked up just north of the reservoirs (SD754228) on a Pay and Display carpark that wasn’t working and so parked for free. Bonus.
Plenty of chatty people about but mainly out to walk the dog. It was a calm clear day with just a slight nip in the air.

Just before we crossed the dam between Calf Hey and Ogden reservoirs, a sign read NO OPEN FIRES. So some very bright people decided that it would be ok to set their barbecues alight on top of a plastic picnic table. What is between the ears of some folk beggars belief. Calf Hey reservoir is the top one of three reservoirs in the Grane Valley which were built in 1860.

Just before we crossed the dam an old 20” sluice gate is passed.
Good views all round we headed up the grassy and muddy slope towards The Rossendale Way path, here we turned west and on a raising path. Quite a glutinous ascent into a mixed wooded gorge where numerous narrow sheep tracks caused much head scratching as to which was the correct route. The ferns were quite high and never having been here before meant plenty of stopping and checking the map.
 20 inch diameter sluice gate.
 Calf Hey Reservoir
Calf Hey and Ogden reservoir in the background.
Fortunately the ferns and grasses were dry and so no need for waterproof over trousers. The clough is quite a hidden gem and worth a visit to explore more another time. Reaching above the tree line we got our first view of the trig point on Hog Low Pike.
A good stone path leads almost to the top where the views are excellent.

 Hog Low Pike 

 Trig Point number S4555.
 View West with Winter Hill on skyline just left of centre and far right is Jubilee Tower at Darwin Hill.
 Coming off the top we planned to follow the county boundary to where it meets the corner of Broadhead Rd. Sheila mentioned how boggy is was and that it must be cows. I though it was nothing, just like Scotland really and never gave it another thought until we were face to face with a herd of the horned critters and worse still they were all watching us. The brown one in the photo below was particularly interested in us and so we gave it a wide berth. I didn’t see any calves and so thought we would be fine passing them. It wouldn’t have made much difference if it wasn’t fine as there was no walls to get over just open boggy moorland.

 Unusual Snow Fungus. We found 2 fairly large patches of it.
 Obviously the cows use this route, a lot i guess.
 We had lunch just before reaching Broadhead Rd. The wall being a perfect height to sit and take in the surrounding. Across the way, maybe a few hundred yards we could see this large standing stone. It wasn’t far off our route and so went to see what it was about. It was just a disused quarry. It was also noticeable along this small road that people in cars use the verges as rubbish dumps instead of going to the tip.
 Back on route we squelched our way on what looks on the map as a green lane. Quite deep in parts and care had to be taken not to go knee deep in the black stuff. Cresting the hill the path improves and the views open up down the Grane Valley. I guess we were on the old pack horse route from one valley to the other which has now become neglected. Numerous old gate posts still stand showing where enclosures were many years ago. The walls now just traces and robbed out.

 The reservoirs come back into view. Taken from near Boardman Close. 
After a little map reading we made our way down through fields without a marked path until we came to the Rossendale Way. Here we passed an abandoned farmhouse of some size. Another winter should see the gable end fall down. The marked path from here enters the woodland but it didn’t bear any resemblance to the map. Still we followed it to a deep clough with a footbridge, again not marked on the map.

 Mushrooms of the inedible type.
 Footbridge not marked on the OS 1:25.000 and very nice it is too.
Back at the track around the reservoir we decided to continue in a clockwise direction instead of re tracing our steps. I’m glad we did or we would have missed the history boards telling of how it used to be before the reservoirs were built and who lived in the properties.

 It’s great the way the footings have been preserved although i bet the occupants were a bit dis-chuffed at the time.

View down the Grane Valley. and almost back at the car park.

Our route. Only 7.5km but delightful.

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