The Vault Regulars

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ponsonby Fell. Cumbria. NY 08198 07026

The blog has been quiet of late. It has been an enforced quiet due to a long standing problem with my back. It’s never perfect and it cannot be repaired, according to my Neurosurgeon.
For some reason over the past month it has been playing up and it’s been too painful to walk more than a couple of km.

However, a while ago we booked a weekend at Gosforth Hall in SW Cumbria and with the good weather forecast decided to go anyway and just do a short walk or two.

I decided that Ponsonby Fell fitted the bill as it was easy walking and not too far if i had to make a early retreat. So that’s just about the crux of the post.

Ponsonby Fell is in the Wainwright Outlying Fells book and stands at the unremarkable height of 315 metres or 1033ft if you prefer and is classed as being part of the Pillar family of hills.. Wainwright does the walk as a circular route through Bleng Forest but we had done this section many times, and with all the logging that takes place in this area i decided not to chance it and chose my own easier route.

If you collect tops Ponsonby Fell is also a Birket, Synge and Tump. Wonderful names.

Leaving Gosforth Hall on a lovely spring morning we went east towards Wellington Bridge, passing Dorothy’s previous residence which still looks in fine fettle and then leaving the main road to go left along a minor road following the river.

This minor road is quite steep in parts but is a quiet backwater and pleasant enough, passing some manicured gardens to admire. At the junction for Hurlbarrow, NY07070473, signpost accompanied by a wellington boot for some reason, we joined the land rover track north.

Reaching and passing Hurlbarrow Farm we inadvertently scarred a few sheep that bounded off from some outbuildings as they heard our voices which then set the farm dogs off barking.
Unfortunately for us the haze was increasing and visibility of the surrounding hills was reducing to just an outline. Our goal was still not in sight.

Reaching a gate and then across Scargreen Beck the route had to be checked. The obvious way, especially if in conversation, can be easily taken and bends away to the west towards Scargeen, but this is not the route. We needed to go NW, which on the ground is not an obvious path as a low wall is crossed and then a second tributary of Scargreen Beck is crossed before following a hedgerow above on the left hand side.

After another couple of fields and stiles we joined a land rover track leading to Laverock How.  After a hundred yards at a new gate on the right the “path”, again not obvious on the ground follows the boundary fence NE. Now on open fell the ground becomes more tussock grass and boggy in places.
The views open up and our top is visible. It’s a shame that the extensive views of the higher fells cannot be seen. To our west the sun is dropping fast and the Power Station can only be made out by silhouette.

At this point i guessed that Dorothy was getting a bit tired but we were close enough to carry on rather than call it a day. My back was holding up and i wanted to get to the top. Across the valley we could see the ruin of the Farmery, an isolated farm which dates back a long way. It was certainly a working farm in the early 1700’s but i cannot find out when it was built.
Through a gate in the boundary fence, across another boggy section brought us to the final gate before the last uphill section.
The bog was deep here and especially so around the gate itself which had to be waded. Another couple of hundred yards and we were into knee deep bleached grasses for the last section to the small rocky cairn.

The “top” has two distinct high points and the cairn is on the southerly one. Normally we would have great views from here but today Haycock, Seatallon and the Wasdale Screes were nowhere to be seen.

The return route was the same as the outgoing except when reaching Wind Hall we left the road and took the short cut path back to Gosforth passing the Holy Well.

Route Map. The walk was a surprising 10.5km and had taken us a slow 3.5 hours. 

Approaching Hurlbarrow farm

 Crossing Scargreen Beck
 MF 860 Backhoe Loader.
 The abandoned and ruined Farmery
 Approach to the last gate and Ponsonby Fell. Cairn on RH Top.
 Ponsonby Fell Cairn
 Visible Swainson Knott
Before the descent. A well earned 5 minutes.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

One for Conrad.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Brother, BRS-3000T Hornet Titanium Stove

Here’s quite an interesting little stove for all the lightweight gas stove backpackers.
The Brother, BRS-3000T Hornet Titanium Stove. Made in China.
It weighs just 25 grams on my scales and exactly what the specification says it should.
It comes in a tidy bag that weighs 2 grams.

This Photo showing thread connection and valve needle.
The stove fits onto common butane/propane/iso butane mixed canisters with the EN417 screw threaded self sealing safety valves.

The specification says Titanium and the majority of the stove is, except for the regulator and jet which i guess is brass, the regulator grip which is spring or stainless steel and the burner mesh cover which again looks steel or aluminium rather than titanium. So the weight of 25 grams is quite remarkable.

Power wise we are looking at 2700 watts, 140 grams of gas per hour, which for a small compact piece of kit is excellent. In comparison my Primus Express spider which is just 2000 watts and my Alpkit Kraku at 2600 watts.

I gave the stove a quick run out when the ambient temperature was  minus 2 degrees C and it boiled a 500ml cup of water in two and a half minutes with the regulator on full power.

The regulator is impressive and does simmer well.
For anyone interested in seeing how the flame performs, there is a YouTube video here.

One of the obvious things i noticed was that when used with the Primus wind screen the pot support is quite low down and so limits the useable pan width. The width of the screen is 111mm and so a pan width of 100mm is about as large as you want to go. Anything wider will cause oxygen starvation.

The Optimus screen has a larger diameter and would suit the stove better in my opinion.
Or you can MYOG to suit whatever pan you backpack with.

I bought this stove from Lixada on Amazon UK for £11.99 with free delivery. It took 5 days from order to delivery. I did expect a lot longer for delivery as the web page suggests but Lixada have a UK base and that made me a happy bunny.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Kuiu Storm Star 4 season 2 person tent.

A little while ago when i did a review of the Kuiu Mountain Star tent i flagged up the problem of flapping door material and opposing doors.
Read about here.

Most of the time, gear designers take no notice of end users as they know best. So it was a nice surprise to see that Kuiu’s new addition to the product range has incorporated a change which completely solves the problem of door material flapping and they have done away with opposing doors so that each person has protection from the wind rather than just one person.

The latest tent is a four season, 2 person tent called the Storm Star.

Here are 2 photographs showing the change made to pole attachment. The New tent is basically a 4 season version of the Mountain Star.
Well done Kuiu for not just listening but taking the issues on board.
The original Mountain Star tent which shows the tent pole attachment to the tent being quite high from the ground. This causes the door material to flap badly as it cannot be tensioned properly.
The new Storm Star which now has pole sleeves at the base of the poles that will allow the door material to be tensioned and drastically reduces material flapping.

(Pity the photo is superimposed onto a snowy background though)

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