Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Less Talk, More Action

Okay, not much action either but at least I did manage to get out for an overnighter. I had the idea of biking up to the hills for a quick overnight camp, mainly just to get out but I had some gear to try and a few mods to test. I had intended to bike up to Quolie Dam, ride in the lane as far as possible before ditching the bike and heading up Mid Hill to pitch just NE off the top. Mid Hill being the highest top over looking Upper Glenariff Mountain I was hoping for a cloud inversion at best or a nice sunrise at least. I decided to stay lower as it'd been thundery over the past weekend and I got hit with a persistent shower on the way up and I wanted to avoid being the highest object in the area.

I took the Phreeranger and sleeping kit consisted of an ME Xero 250, Alpkit Wee Airic and luxury item, a Tesco inflatable pillow. I wanted to try my new Karrimor Trail Run 83 shoes and LIM 45 and only took the EK Kombi Meths burner, Mitymug and Heinie 330ml mug. I wore a pair of Columbia light trousers, H/H t-shirt and my old ME Ultrafleece jacket, headwear consisted of a Buff and Technicals (Blacks) Bush Hat.

I left at about 7.00pm and biked as far as the upper Quolie reservoir, walked the bike up the Soarns burn a bit before leaving it behind and continuing on foot. I looked for a spot that was flat, level, with short grass and well drained close to a supply of reasonably clean water, in the end I settled on a reasonably flat, pretty level pitch with long grass and rushes beside the burn.

By this time it was after 9.00pm and I was steeped to the knees what with having no gaiters or goretex socks but the tent went up quickly, the Silnylon footprint went in a treat hooked to the inner/fly hooks and with sleeping mat and bag laid out it was time to think about getting the stove fired up. I was beginning to feel the chill but pulling on the ME Xero soon had me feeling comfortable even with wet feet.

The 1st and thankfully only problem reared it's head when I went to set up the stove, I hadn't taken the woodstove but had forgotten to take the meths burner pot stand which was still stored in the woodstove. I initially thought of simply propping the Mitymug up on some stones but I had a Foil windshield and some spare tent pegs, 2 Vargo Nails later and I had a windshield and pot stand and the water was on the boil.

There wasn't quite the sunset that I'd hoped for or if there was I was too low to see past the surrounding hills so with little else to do I turned in after changing into a pair of dry socks and fresh L/S T. I must have got over to sleep quite quickly but wakened again at about 1.30. A drink of water and a chocolate biscuit then back to sleep and it was 5.30 when I awoke again. Looking out the door it was a bit misty so another drink and another 2 hours sleep. I wakened again at 7.30 to brilliant sunshine hitting the back of the tent and this time I decided to greet the day. There were 2 wee birds flitting around the burn, probably after the midges and stuff which surprisingly weren't a problem possibly due to the light breeze and the remains of the midgie repellent from the previous night although I stuck the headnet on to begin with. I draped my wet socks and rain gear over the fly and tramped around with no socks and wet shoes while I got coffee, hot Museli/porridge mix, coffee, coffee & coffee on the go. I footered around for quite a while content to sit in the sun and let the gear dry off but was on my way back to the bike by 9.30or so.

The bike was where I'd left it and it wasn't long before I was back on the road. I'd worn the Buff in Pirate configuration when biking up the previous evening but decided to wear the bush hat with the result that my shadow looked like a bike mounted Pony Express rider, That amused me and I tried to take a self portrait while biking along but it didn't work, I settled for a shadow shot instead but it wasn't quite the same. I rolled into the yard at 11.00 and sat around to let my feet dry before getting the kit sorted out.

All in all it was a nice wee camp out, the tent was fine, the footprint worked but needs a shockcord loop on the porch side corner tabs. My Heinie 330ml mug worked but needs a silicone band round the rim and grip wrapped, I've already got some kevlar wick on order from Tinny along with one of the bigger cans to use as a pot. My accidental pot stand works well enough that I won't need the welded wire mesh one. I broke my disposable plastic teaspoon, the second time that's happened so a plain kitchen one will be used from now on and sod the extra grammes. The LIM 45 was fine although I didn't hike far so I can't say how comfortable it would be over a longer hike. The trail shoes performed pretty much as I'd expected, I have a pair of goretex socks ordered but without gaiters in long grass I'm not sure how effective they'll be, no matter they'll work in certain conditions and when they don't I'll just deal with wet feet/socks. My MP3 player turned out to need charged and my Hayes front disc squeaked endlessly but apart from that.........

A nights camping always makes me hungry for more but the longer the time gaps the harder it is to get in gear and do it again. My shifts rotate monthly with the last month being the least favourable for nights away, hopefully I'll get a couple more in before it swings back again. That's the problem with work, it gets in the way of life ;-)


  1. Great photos and report. Good to see people making the most of the last minute overnighters. Petesy was all over one recently too.

    You may have found me the perfect hat, as I've been after a bush hat for a while. Do Blacks still make them?

  2. Thanks,

    Blacks still list the hat on their website,