I hadn’t realised quite how much I relied on my regular outdoor activity for my mental and physical well being. I went from being out and and about every couple of days to being in the house for almost three weeks straight.
It did not go well. I’ve learned something about myself from this. I’m still not a “Have to get to the hills, my soul needs fulfilling, ohhhh…” sort of bloke. But, I need the excercise, the air, the wind on my face, my feet on the ground, the clouds passing above me, the views, the dirt and the sweat. I was out today and although I’m out of condition, out of breath and I’ve done less miles than usual I feel so much better for it.
I feel like I’ve missed more than those three weeks though, the colours are different, the air is colder and damp. The winter damp that you breathe in and no amount of layers can stop you from feeling its bite, it’s far from full strengh, but it’s there.
I took some test kit with me, the ’09 Terra Nova Laser 20 pack and I wore the Montrail Hardrock Mids as well. But they weren’t intrusive as they both worked well, and that was very important. Gear has become such a focus I had been wondering if it had become the priority. It hasn’t, it’s still just a step ladder that helps you get up to the box of joy sitting on top of the wardrobe of day to day drudgery. It’s just that some gear is a slippy topped kitchen stool, some a big wooden step ladder covered in paint and some a neat wee aluminium set of folding steps. They’ll all get us up there of course, but I know which I’ll still be reaching for.

8 thoughts on “Oot”

  1. You’re up the ladder and hitting the nail squarely on the head again ptc*. The best kit is the stuff you forget about the whole time you’re up there. Unless you have one of those moments when a new widget improves a function dramatically and you find yourself saying “Now THAT is genius!”.

  2. PTC, I’m so with you on this one. Of late we have had family health woes and there has been no way I can get out for a walk. Yes, it is driving me mad that my new Paramo UL Valez is still untested, but much much more than that is just as you say “the exercise, the air, the wind on my face, my feet on the ground, the clouds passing above me, the views, the dirt and the sweat.” You really have put it in a nutshell.
    For me, it is a catch 22: can’t go out because I want to spend more time with my family, but need to go out otherwise there could be at best a row or at worst a form of depression.
    So your posting is ultra timely!
    Perhaps I should start wearing my buff to work or something?!

  3. I wear merino to work, so I smell like the outdoors quite often. I like it, I’m not sure about other folk though…

    Talking of genius kit, I am watching the mail as we speak. Apparently the Brunton range got canned for a UK release, but I’ve got one of the remote canister/stove adaptors coming from the US. Alright!

  4. OK, so it’s cheap if you’ve already got a cannister-top stove, but I wonder what it weighs? And the stove can still only be as stable as its pan supports allow, and it still won’t have a pre-heat tube.
    I can’t help thinking there’s a lot of benefit and probably little if any weight penalty in using one of the low-profile remote-cannister stoves. We used a Primus Gravity at the weekend to prepare vegetable curry and rice for three – 1.5 and 2 litre pans were rock solid, and we needed the preheat tube as ice formed on the cannister and I resorted to inverting it for liquid feed. (It’ll soon be time to bring out the Optimus Nova for the winter and enjoy the roar of a trusty multifuel flamethrower :))

    Finding a windshield tall enough for a cannister-top stove has been a problem but the lightweight foil available from backpackinglight.co.uk is great (if a bit pricey) and plenty big enough to cut to fit.

  5. I’m interested in how it does. I know it’s unneccessary but the stability and lower pan height appeals. There is a way to make a preheater out of a metal strip, but it’s hit and miss and also potentially dangerous.
    I’m going to break out my Thermotec remote stove this winter as well. It’s got a preheater and using the entire canister of gas is a good thing for the soul.

    BTW, the Optimus windshield that I use is great for canister top stoves, it’s both tall and sturdy. Aye, and light.

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