Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

If you’ve been reading this blog you will notice that it hasn’t been updated for some time, like many others I have fallen out of the habit of blogging.

So I wish you well, I may return to blogging in the future but meantime I shall satisfy my online urges with the occasional post on the Backpackers Club facebook page.

Happy wild camping.


My new tent.

I’ve finally taken the plunge and ordered a Scarp1 from Henry Shires. I’ve been looking for a new tent for a number of years, because I ‘ve never felt able to trust my Laser Comp in wet and windy weather. It may be ok, but all that flapping when its windy does not inspire confidence.

So if there is anyone out there who has a Scarp1, which seams do I need to seal? When I’m sealing the flysheet should I seal the inside or the outside?

Aigas Forest – an opportunity for improvement


Wind Farm free zone Wind Farm free zone

Aigas Community Forest has been an apple in our eyes for some five years but, now in possession of part funding, we are moving forward to acquire the whole forest of 700 acres. This will be gradually felled and the 60s monoculture will be replaced by native species and the forest opened up for Community use. To this end we have won a grant from Bank of Scotland of between £500 and £3000 based on votes raised in a  ballot. The cash will be used for providing safety equipment, tools and training for volunteers who will be helping to clear paths, create new paths and improve the quality of the forest for it’s users. This is where you can help! We need votes as the more we get the higher the grant and the better we can look after the volunteers. Below are ways of voting…

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Is bothies policy designed to seal fate of Garbh Choire Refuge?


Garbh Choire Refuge, Cairngorms The Garbh Choire Refuge: a part of our culture worth saving

It’s now over two years since I first wrote in this blog about the Garbh Choire Refuge and it seems the only thing that’s changed is that the door’s off again and someone has tried to waterproof the inside.

It’s not for want of the will to do anything. For years now, bothy activists – active members of the MBA, experienced and with access to the resources  – have been asking Mar Lodge Estate for permission to properly renovate the refuge.

The consistent reply from the National Trust for Scotland-owned estate is that it is going to hold a consultation on the future of the structure, yet no consultation has taken place, although a number of organisations, including the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, the Scottish Mountaineering Club, and the Cairngorm Club, have expressed their wish that it should remain…

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Constraint payments in Scotland soar by 1,300%

Don’t you just love wind farms! 


Stirling Castle From the Times, 11th May 2014

PAYMENTS to green energy firms under a controversial government scheme that compensates them for wasted power have soared by more than 1,300%.

About £35m has been awarded since the start of the financial year to the owners of 21 renewables projects — all of them in Scotland — because Britain’s power network could not cope with the energy they produced.

The figure is a huge increase on the £2.4m paid in 2011-12 under the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change’s “connect and manage” scheme.

Campaigners warn the compensation payments, paid for by the public through their electricity bills, will continue to increase as more wind farms are built. A 2009 report by Frontier Economics for regulator Ofgem estimated the cost of the scheme would reach £2bn by 2020.

A Question not asked, or answered, yet is would constraint payments be made to a…

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Flashback to the 1960’s.

Whilst looking around Bob and Rose’s show last weekend, I was very taken with the Titanium Esbit Stove. It brought back memories of the emergency brewing kit that I used to carry in the 1960’s.

IMG_2229 trimmed

The following day I thought it would be interesting to sort out the old brewing kit and see if it still worked.

Now I’m a bit of a gear horder, so I was fairly sure the brewing kit would be in the loft somewhere, but finding it amongst all the junk might not be so easy. However my luck was in, the first bag I searched was my wife’s 1967 Karrimor Pinnacle rucksack, half way down there it was, tucked between an old climbing helmet and a pair of Barbour mitts.


The kit consisted of an old elasterplast tin, a collapsible metal stove,  some Metafuel tablets, a few matches wrapped in plastic, a square of sandpaper to strike them on, and an aluminium mug. Total weight 219g. 

The kit lived in my rucksack during the winter monthhs for about ten years, but the only time it was used in anger was on Tryfan in a snowstorm, when it produce enough boiling water for a brew. Today was the first time it been opened for over forty years. The contents were a bit battered and dusty but otherwise looked ok. I assembled the stove, placed a mug of water on top and put a match to the fuel. The tablets lit instantly and appeared to produce as much heat as when they were new.


It took eleven minuets to come to a rolling boil which thought was pretty good. At 68g the stove is heavy compared with the Esbit’s 13g, but surprisingly the aluminium mug weighed in at only 71g compared with my current titanium mugs 73g.

Having had a couple of hours fun and a trip down memory lane, I’ve also been reminded how light solid fuel is. Maybe I should consider using it rather than gas to save weight.


AAC Kincraig Meet.

Early May saw us in the Cairngorms, the weather prospects did not look good, with high winds and sleet forecast on the tops.
The first morning dawned cold, wet and windy. Not being prepared to spend the day following a compass bearing in unpleasant conditions, we decided on low level walk to Ryvoen Bothy.
It turned out to be a good choice, we took an early lunch in the spotlessly clean bothy, then spent a pleasant afternoon ambling along the track towards Nethy Bridge.
The weather continued to be stormy so the next couple of days were spent biking in Glen Feshie, hoping that the weather would improve.
After what was to be the final outing of the trip, we returned to the hut feeling somewhat down hearted, our visit to Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy had been cut short by a rising Allt Garbhlach.
But all was not lost!
We entered the hut to find that good weather was forecast for the next day good, and our trusty meet leader had managed to extend our stay by one more night, which meant that at long last we might be able to visit the tops and get a view.
And what a day it was!
Sgor Gaoith was our objective, its been on my peaks to do list for years, but I had determined that I would only climb it on a clear day, and today hopefully was the day.
Blue sky over Glen Feshie.
The start of the path to Carn Ban Mor.
The path crossed a steep snow slope where a fall would have meant a slide of hundreds of feet. .
Having decided it wasn’t worth carrying our ice axes we had to take the safe but steep grassy slopes to the left of the track, these eventually spat us out near the summit of Carn Ban Mor to be greeted with this fabulous view.
Braeriach, Sgor an Lochain Uagaine (Angels Peak) and Cairn Toul.
Sgor Gaoith in the distance.
Loch Einich, Monach Mor and Beinn Bhrotain.
After a leisurely lunch on the summit soaking up the view in warm sunshine, we retraced our route back to the car.
It had been one of those special days, well worth waiting for.