Back Garden Adventurers

Okay, when I say “back garden” I usually mean the Kilpatrick Hills. But due to post ice-age population distribution, and the change from black&white to colour in the late 60s, back gardens in 99% of cases have more of a lawnesque feel to them, with a fencette motif and bird bath standing in for the obligatory glacial erratic.

Geography gives us diversity and a reason to go somewhere else because it’s different. Of course we can’t all live near the mountains, or have the free access we enjoy up here. Living in the Big City kinda screws you if the outdoors is where you’re heart lies, but we need an economy, hospitals, bargain book shops with permanent sale signs and the like as well.

So, the back garden is where a lot of lightweight gear testing has goes on. I’m not worried about you or I maybe trying out a bit of kit before we go out. But there is a parallel a world of theory, of tweaking, of experimenting, postulating, of updating and of never actually using something in context and doing it for real. “Last summer I was going to…over the winter I’ve looked at…I’m going to try…and next summer…maybe, here’s pictures”. Give me a break.

Buy something lightweight, take it to the top of a mountain, onto the moors, the corner of the top field, the middle of a forest, the public park and then see if it works. At 0200, in the rain, in the wind, when you’re tired, and cold, and hungry.

Did it work well in those conditions?

  • Answer; Yes. You have a fine and practical piece of lightweight kit. You will be able to rely on it to operate quickly, just when you need it to. It is a tool to facilitate joy unto you and enrich your outdoors experience.
  • Answer; No. You’ve bought pish gear. “But it worked so well in the garden last Sunday afternoon”. Aye that’s great, but now we have the truth about the kit which we needed.

What makes us look like idiots to the boot wearing, weight lugging masses is this fannying about at home with gear inappropriate for UK mountain conditions. One look at some poorly attired fat knacker/scrawny American lying under a tarp trying to persuade a bowl of burning petrol to boil a cup of water and the fence sitters or the potentially interested are lost. Consequently we’re all tarred with the same brush and dismissed as retards.

Everything I have these days works at 0200 in a storm on the top of a Munro. It’s all lightweight. The blogs are full of folk getting it right on the money, yes in the back gardens, but also out and up there. So why does this outdated image persist in the minds of the public?

7 thoughts on “Back Garden Adventurers”

  1. Gee whizz – who rattled your cage?

    Feeling guilty about all that great lightweight kit you get given free “to test” perhaps? Oh, the responsibility!!!

  2. Does look a bit like a retort doesn’t it?

    I occassionaly get pissed off because folk think when I say “go lighweight” it means all that impractical faffy bollocks I was refering too, when what I mean is stripped down, functional and able to keep me warm, dry and fed in the worst of times on the top of a mountain.

    The faffy bollocks is all about the kit you’ve got and playing with it, lightweight should mean less faff and playing with kit and more time walking, sleeping, looking at the view.


  3. Cool yer jets, man (as we used to say in the eighties).
    You have, of course, forgotten the golden rule – we, the public, are inherently stupid. All you can do is test the kit and give your expert opinion and advice – you can’t change the world overnight with your lightweight utopian rhetoric. Some of us like faffing about in our pockets, taking the pack off our backs every chance we get. That doesn’t mean we’re not going lightweight, it just means we’re different from you, mr fussy pants. So get off yer lightweight high horse and go walk off some of that frustration – your soapbox will still be there when you get back!

    By the way, I scoff at your inappropriate use of the word “occasionally” above – not just for the spelling.

    PS: My bollocks only look faffy due to these ill-fitting, impractical cheap troosers I’m bench-testing at home.

  4. I’m going to have to get you to proof read for me :o)

    I’m never having a go at anybody in particular with these outbursts. Every pastime has it’s uber-geeks that give it it’s stereotypes, these folk are probably responsible for a huge anount of feedback and development. It’s just when it comes to this type of thing, the easiest to find source is that stereotype I portrayed above.

    I don’t think I’m actually worried by folk carrying big packs and wearing boots, I spent years doing it with the same stupid grin on my face as I have now. What annoys me is the disinformation from all the regular sources (and I don’t mean Trail, everything from outdoor instructors, out of date guide books, clubs, shop assistants…) to any suggestion that another way is possible. “Oh, your feet will hurt in bendy boots”. No. No, they won’t.

    Like all things in life it should be about informed choice, not following dogma.
    It turns out the blogs are the best source of the good stuff, I’ve picked up a lot from them. It’s the sifting involved.

  5. Jesus,

    If Das is telling you to cool your jets, it’s lucky I haven’t backed up your post with my carefully crafted, less tactful and more zealous response.

    I shall simply monitor these comments with a whimsical smirk and count myself lucky I held fire.

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