Alternative to Golite Packs — Backpack Light 70L

Reader James ‘Jay’ Keen has emailed to bring this pack to my attention.  Jay’s old pack — a Golite Pinnacle — has finally bitten the dust and he’s been searching for alternatives. I must admit I’ve lost touch with the Golite debacle; I know they are not available here in Europe but I presume they still have a presence in the USA.

Anyhow, Jay has been considering other option, most notably the ULA Catalyst until he came across the Backpacklight 70 L.

The BPL 70 is two packs in one. Created with comfort in mind, it has a great suspension for moderate loads and its ComPacktor system quickly converts it from a multi-day load hauler to a 25L day pack.

The BPL 70 is packed with light features you’ll love, from the dual compartment front hip pockets to the roll top closure. It’s tough: the white Dyneema® threads are 3x stronger than Kevlar and 15x stronger than steel.

It looks promising not least as it offers some decent back length options. It’s another international order but my experience of this has always been pretty positive, so long as you allow enough time for delivery and customs clearance.

Pyrenees Forum — User Announcement

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning on the blog and the Pyrenees Forum. I have had a problem recently of a thousand or so bogus user registrations. I’ve had to change the registration process for the Forum. 

New registrants will now have to wait until their registration is confirmed. I’m sorry about this but I’m trying too protect the system.

In clearing out these bogus accounts it is possible I have deleted a genuine account or two by accident. This should largely effect those who are lurkers, i.e.. people who have registered but have never posted. However,  if you can’t access the forum simply re-visit to register again. 

Sorry for any inconvenience caused!

Bob and I Rattle On. Again.

Let’s face it. This is a Christmas or New Year Tradition. Bob and I either go out to the hills and discuss how bad the next year will be. Or we do a New Year Podcast and discuss how bad the year will be.

This year we spent New Year’s eve having a nice time. And next day, we produced a podcast talking about how bad the new year will be.

You can find it here.

Enjoy 🙂

Registering Rights of Way — Restoring the Record

About this time every year I get a reminder from the Rights of Way: Restoring the Record campaign and it something that all of us in England and Wales should give a little thought to.

Currently all rights of way in England and Wales are under review but this is a very gently, almost silent, review. All footpaths and bridle paths that re rights of way have to be recorded by the end of 2025. All of those rights of way that are not recorded will simply be extinguished.

It is your local authority that registers Rights of Way, County Councils and Metropolitan single tier councils. And remember that many Metropolitan Boroughs, for example Leeds, have a great deal of rural land within their boundaries.  When this new registration and recording system started some time ago I found most local authorities to be taking this seriously but it is possible with the ongoing cuts in municipal budgets that this has fallen down the list of priorities. And, of course, local authorities may also be assuming that all of those rights of way that are regular used may already have ben registered.

If you are unsure about local rights of way go and check our the website of the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management (IPROW). IPROW’s sites contains a number of important FAQ’s and the organisation provides training courses for volunteers who want to know more about protecting rights of way (again details are on their website). The FQ explains the difference between various pubic rights of way and also tells you how you can get involved.

Rights of Way: Restoring the Record is also a book which is aimed at supporting those mounting local campaigns — details here.

And finally, rights of way are not just important for rural areas, they exist in cities as well!  Your continued access to publicly used land, through new residential developments and so on may well depend on an ancient right of way.

The Adventure Show: Roads Less Travelled — Not To be Missed (even south of the border)

Some of you might not have clocked the latest two episodes of ‘Roads Less Travelled, Cameron McNeish’s latest look at the quieter byways of Scotland. thanks to the iPlayer the programme is available to all of us south of the border. You find the programme in the Scottish section of the iplayer on our Smart TV or directly here

In these two programmes Cameron takes a long, circular, walks around the Cairngorms, taking in Speyside, Rannock Moor and Loch Ossian, Glen Bruar, the little appreciated Angus Glens and Glen Muick.

Some people get a but sniffy about Cameron’s stuff but I like it. OK it can be a bit cheesy and he sticks pretty much to the formula, but then the formula works! In this mini series Cameron explores the terrain on foot, by canoe and by bike. And as always he moves around in his beloved camper van and always seems to get the opportunity sing and play with his bouzouki.

The great thing about this series is that cameron shows how those who are getting a bit older can prolong their interest in the Scottish Hills, or even explore these hills for the first time.

The second episode features an interview with my friend Helen Webster who along with husband Paul founded the now legendary Walk Highlands website. It’s nice hearing Helen talking about past adventures and her passion for the scottish Highlands.

For those youngsters out there — those of you who’s knees still work — there is still lots to gaze at. Those hills loo wonderful. Hopefully it won’t be too long until I’m out there again!

 

So Long Phil and Thanks for All the Fish …

2018 is only a few hours old and yet we have already had our first outdoor industry fatality. Phil Sorrell has announced that his web service, Social Hiking — Share Your Adventure is to close later in the year.

Phil established social Hiking about 8 years ago. It was a reasonably well thought out and executed website. If you didn’t ever stumble across it, Social Hiking allowed you to upload GPS routes that you had walked and even more interestingly social hiking allowed walkers to upload their routes as they actually walked. Over the 8 years Social Hiking has amassed an extraordinary library of waling routes that ordinary (and extraordinary) walkers have actually walked!

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End of Year Review Year — Looking Forward to 2018

Happy New Year to you all!

Kate and I have just returned from Worcestershire where we spent a lovely New Years Eve with Bob and Rose Cartwright, of the Outdoors Stationed Backpackinglight.co.uk. 2017 was a strange year for all of us. Deaths in the family wiped out our TGO Challenge and Bob and Rose have spent much of the year settling into their new base.

All of us had better plans for 2018 and you’ll be able to hear many of them on the podcast that Bob and I made this morning which reflected on the likely industry trends next year and on how we saw the social media world changing. Knowing Bob this podcast will be up shortly. Some of this subject mater I want to write a bit about but the nice thing about the podcast is that we have now covered much of this ground.

So, the end of year review!

 

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TGO Planning: Q & A Session 1

The first TGO Planning Q & A covers more on route planning, carry food and resupply strategies.

The TGO Song can be downloaded here.

Simply Stunning! Review: A Pocket of Wind Resistance by Karine Polwart

Regular readers will now that I am as passionate about my music as I am about the outdoors. Everyone and then something connects these two worlds together in the most extraordinary way. The new album from Karine Polwart does just that, the effect rather like being discovering the books of Robert MacFarlane for the first time.

Polwart is one of the country’s best singer/songwriters. In recent years the demands of young children have stopped her touring and she has begun to explore more mixed media offerings, mixing song with the spoken word. Wind Resistance was commissioned by the Edinburgh Festival and received rave reviews. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t in Edinburgh this has now been transferred to CD.

The story (or show) focusses around the Fala Moor bog, Sutra Hill and the ancient Salter’s Road in between Edinburgh and the Scottish Border country. The story features migrating geese, love and loss during war and childbirth. Jude Rogers in the guardian described this as “an epic, emotional endeavour and a stunning one too”. She’s no exaggerating.

This might be the most perfect thing to listen to while out wild camping on the hills.

Can you tell, I just love this! 

North Face Make Gear Breakthrough

North Face have been a top brand for many years, truly international and truly innovative. But, arguably, they have just created their most innovative and most important product for many years.

I need one of these. No, I need at least three!

North Face launches range of gravy-proof clothing for the ‘indoorsy type’