Trail, August ’10

The Trail mag that’s just out is the lightweight special as well as the 20th anniversary issue, and it really is full of stuff and things.
I don’t mention my Trail stuff much, I probably should as most of my trips would make more sense if the route in the mag was flagged up. Like the Beinn Fhada trip, anyone who read the July Trail will know why I re-pitched the tent at lunchtime on day 2. Aye, it’s all about the photies.
This months route is the South Glen Sheil Ridge, and it was fun trying to shoehorn that amount of description into 500 words, I love the shot they chose for the introduction page too, I can remember standing there. Brilliant night that was.
I really enjoy doing the routes, and I think I’ve gotten better at making the words less dry as time’s gone on, helped by an understanding and long-suffering editor, for both my frequent Scottishisms and lateness with copy. I do try and make them all a little different from the usual routes you find in the guidebooks, but still accessible to readers. I also try and get my trail shoes into shot in every one…

But, the biggest fun bit for me this issue is the Wheelie feature. Unlike my previous feature, I read this one right away when I got my copy of the mag, I wasn’t apprehensive this time. The reason being that I just sat down and wrote this one, no inner turmoil or trying to fit some imaginery Trail-compatible format that I’d invented for myself. The word count was about average for a blog post after a trip, so er, I wrote a blog post. Banter, odd references, cheek, attempts at humour and outpourings of joy, all the usual shit I put on here, it’s all there. As are “burn” instead of stream, and “wee” instead of small.
I had fun with the boxouts too, lecturing some poor reader on what gear they should be carrying. There’s a few extra points I’ve underlined about packing light in the main text, things I would probably let go when writing on here, but important enough to stick a flag on in the mag.
The funniest thing about it is that I took all the photies myself with a 10 second timer, I wonder if any readers will spot that? At least it gives me an excuse for taking so bloody long to do the walk. Oh the amount of reversing I had to do with Wheelie.
Now, I probably sound like I’m all pleased with myself here, well I have to say that I kinda am. I really enjoyed doing it, the trip and the writing, and I’m happy to stand behind it as the best I could do on the day, there’s no big bad editor to blame for changes or cuts as I think it was tightened up both minimally and brilliantly by the folks in Peterborough, if anyone thinks it’s pish, it’s my fault alone.
But, I’m entirely aware that its just a few pages in a mag packed with articles from writers who do this stuff every day, so I know my place.
As anyone who has a blog will know, reaching people, communicating your enthusiasm, insight or simple joy at being outdoors or elsewhere is a wonderful thing, and I love having opportunties to do that.

I didn’t really write the trip up properly on here, I thought it would have ruined any chance I had of writing a “fresh” article, and now having the read the thing I was right. Learning.
It was great fun though, but as usual I started late…
I stopped at Pitlochry to see the guys in Escape Route, who liked the look of a Wheelie in-store for hiring out, but cuppas and banter there meant that time evaporated. I picked up some supplies in town, the wee deli made the biggest fluffiest tastiest sammidges I’ve ever seen, and them hit the cross-country road to Braemar, where a few TGOC stragglers were wandering around looking for new shoes.
The drive to Linn of Dee is glorious, and packing in the carpark amogst the trees was a leisurely affair, with gazing at the sky through the branches taking priority over actually getting ready to go. Never in hurry am I.
Wheelie’s huge, I packed the regular gear into stuff sacks, eVent ones from PODsacs and Sea to Summit, and some regular Exped rolltop drybags. There was plenty space though, so I started sticking in more food, and a bottle of Irn Bru, my PHD down gilet, and I lied in the feature, I had three hats as well extra stuff and things just to pad it out a little. But here’s the thing,  I really couldn’t feel the weight, pulling more is “lighter” than carrying less.
All the stuff that happened is in the feature, apart from the stopping and starting to do the photies, that was funny as hell. If I haven’t had the blog and was used to placing myself in shot I’d still be up there now, walking up and down whispering one thousand, two thousand, three…
It was doing that that robbed my of my time to climb the other summits, that was the only downside. It didn’t feel like I came away with a second prize though, it was a fantastic trip, rich for both the eye and the heart. I rediscovered the Cairngorms after all.
My time at camp was brilliant, I had pastries, biscuits, three different types of coffee, Pot Noodle in-a-bag and more, it was a super comfy time I had up there, and still went to the summit with just a poly bag hanging from my shoulders. Magic.

31 thoughts on “Trail, August ’10”

  1. A great article I thought..cracking job!

    Wheelie looks like a seriously useful bit of kit and the only downside I can see is that it has a fairly serious price-tag to match. It’s a fair price I daresay, given it appears well-made and does the job but… you’d have to get a fair bit of use of it to justify the expense.. I’m tempted but my list of ‘must haves’ is already too long hehe!….

  2. That’s very kind :o)

    Wheelie is something you’d have to need or really want, it’s too expensive for an impulse purchase for sure.
    I’m glad I took it over such rough terrain, iot kinda proved it’s possible, and I’ll do the WHW later in the year with it.

  3. I’ll have to start buying the magazine again. The local newsagent changed hands and the new guy was not very friendly so I gave up going in. Must admit that sometimes the style of Trail gets a bit much – lots of excited twentysomethings zooming round in expensive togs. I’m more a grumpy fortysomething happy to get out in my old keks and cagoule.

  4. Ach, Trail is what it is, but I do think it’s got more depth that the naysayers would have us believe. It’s got the old hands and a beginners perspective as well, in fact there’s a new writer just started.
    I think folk forget that Trail isn’t an “authority”, it’s a product just the same as TGO, it’s just got more readers and that’s what makes it a target. It’s always cooler to wear the cult band t-shirt than it is the mainstream one.
    The truth is, as always, somewhere in the middle :o)

  5. I know – I’m not wanting to slag it off. As I said I will start buying it again. There is always good stuff in there. Truth be told I’m probably just jealous of the guys in the mag!

    I think magazines are in a tough competition now though with the blogs. When it comes to product reviews I used to go to the magazines, now you can quickly get a the same info – probably in more depth – from a variety of blogs. Maybe thats why they need to cultivate the beginner, the introductions etc to get people started.

  6. I thumbed through it in Tesco last night. Looks good. Never red the words as had to rush but I’ll get my Da to buy a copy before he goes off on his hols on Saturday.

    I’ve wrote up the last bike ride – finally!!! Apologies for the title, haha, it was all I could think of :o)

  7. Going to walk that Lakeland Haute route in August – looks like it might be fun… should hopefully get a decent field test of the Evernew pans and the Clikstand / Burner set up too….

  8. Chris, blogs have become a whole other properly viable medium. The brands read them, we all read each others and google search loves us! The mags are separate from all that, Trail’s the middle ground and a great starting point, TGO is a fanzine for experienced beardies (oh wait, that’s me as well!!), but the blogs are the whole spectrum.
    Blog gear reviews are both the best and worst thing ever, and you should hear what the brands say abouit some folk That’s for a day on the hill…

    Ange, your poor Dad. Wash my bike, hoover my car, make me tea, by me a Trail. I’m glad he’s away on holday :o)
    I’ll away and see the story, I’ve got a lot of blog reading to catch up on.

    Genaa, when I saw GT at the Innov_Ex show earlier in the year he was psyched about the Lakeland Haute route, it looks like the real deal and it’ll end up being a proper long distance route option.
    You have fun!

  9. hey i hoover my own car :o) Anyway, it’s what Dad’s are for and he loves doing it. He pretends I’m Andy Schleck in the TDF and he’s my race engineer. Wait til Holly’s asking you to clean her Golf GTi and her full-sus mountain bike. You’ll run and do it just like my wee Dad does for me. He deserves his holiday but they’ll have the kids & my sis with them so not really a break from everything. I’m the one being left home alone, Boooo!! Also he doesn’t believe me that I actually know a guy off of Trail magazine! Can you believe that?! :o)

  10. Just back from Morrisons where Trail jumped into the trolley, so it’s sitting on the pouffe waiting for me to browse its shiny pages.

  11. I like the excitement and freshness in Trail. At least I read the articles in it unlike other outdoor mags. Great article PTC this month and well done to Trail. When I saw this post as I checked my feeds I smiled as I just posted a bit on Trail. I expect negative comments. It seems to inflame some folks with anger. I don’t know why as it is a good mag. Had it times when I felt it lost its way. Been good for a long time. On blogs giving it a run. I doubt it. I like a lot of folks like the print copy in my hands and a brew in my hand and I am a grumpy soon to be 44y old :(. Keep it up PTC. Life is good when your in the hills or with the ones you love. Getting to write about that and share it in print is a bonus.

  12. almost totally off-topic other than being ‘lightweight’ kit related and getting the best out of stuff… I’ve just been really chuffed to find that the PHD Yukon jacket I purchased from the Outdoors Magic classifieds has custom zip-off sleeves that are of a size such that they can double up as down leggings to just over knee height when in sleeping bag – hey presto – my minim-ultra bag just became properly 3 season, maybe more hehe! I love kit that can multi-task :)

  13. Ah, you bought Stephen’s Yukon did you? I’ve got one – without the customization. Fab jacket, but I had to buy the minimus down trews to go with it!

  14. ptc* – nice article and some great photies there.

    One of your ‘go lighter’ tips is of course about footwear. I’ve just discovered that the chronic ankle problem that’s been bugging me *seems* to be being caused by approach shoes – Keen Targhees in particular – with quite a hard sole and an ankle cuff that’s stiff enough to irritate the outside of my ankle. The Targhee mids also have a stiff cuff at ankle bone height that don’t help. So, any suggestions for lows or mids with soft soles and soft ankle cuffs?

  15. Ange, no strange folk round the house while they’re away, I’ll be keeping my eye on you.

    Wise words Martin. The blogs are indeed separate, they don’t pull readers away from the mags, and whether we like it or not, the printed word is still the Top Trump in most folks minds.
    Doesn’t make anybody right or wrong though :o)

    Genaa, we’ll need photies of those arms on your legs!

    Kate, the ankle bone thing can be an issue, I know exactly what you mean. I think lower volume feet/bigger volume shoes make it worse. Inov8 seem to have the consistently lowest cuffs and softest sole combo.
    Those TNF Assailant Mids I’ve got might be perfect as well. Trying many things is the only way.

  16. Kate, yes I bought Stephen’s Yukon – it’s great!!

    ptc*, as for photies with the arms on my legs I’ll see what I can do but it’ll be like a ‘zombie does flashdance’ horror show methinks hehe…. I’m glamping / slackpacking at Tolpuddle this weekend so will take the camera and see what comes out….

  17. Tolpuddle? Good thing you’re slackpacking, Genaa, you wouldn’t want to be a martyr ;-) What on earth’s going on there anyway? (I’m originally from Dorchester)

    ptc*, I’ll have a look at the Innov8s; unfortunately TNF don’t seem to do the Assailant mid in a women’s fit (grrrr). Interesting comment about low volume foot in bigger volume shoe – I think that’s me. You’re right though that I’m going to have to experiment. Which could get expensive (sigh).

  18. Genna, you sold it to me as soon as you said “zombie”. Looking forard to hearing about it!

    Kate, it’s been the greatest joy testing so much footwear, I’m really dialled into what works for me now, I can usually tell what’ll work when I slip it on these days. It’s a total nightmare trying to get it right one pair at a time.

  19. hahaa! I laughed when I read that. See I knew the title of my blog post was appropriate :o)

  20. My bank account had quite an interesting time when I was trying to find footwear after I had to move into orthotics a few years ago (boots, ordinary shoes, you name it!).

    In addition to the Innov8, I’ll have a look at Camp 4 Tennies and will try to look at Kayland Crossers which at least look fairly light round the ankle.

  21. Kate – Tolpuddle Festival is a celebration of trade unionism given that Tolpuddle is the place where arguably ‘it all began’…. a few thousand people in a field with a beer tent and some bands followed by a series of speakers on the sunday afternoon after we march up and down the road with the various union banners, brass bands etc… it’s supremely cheesy but also a really nice ‘top up’ of being around folks that make a point of looking out for one another – seems to be an increasingly rare thing these days though much in common with good outdoors folk! … link gives and idea of the eclectic mash-up of line-up!

  22. Kate, 5.10 make several models, of which one is the Guide Tennie and another is the Camp Four. I’ve got both.

    The Guide Tennie I use for casual and for my occasional forays into low grade rock climbing, but I’d never choose them for a walk – you only need to see the soleto know why… minimal tread and cushioning.

    The Camp Fours on the other hand (foot?) are a versatile shoe with lots of cushioning, good tread, rubber armour and fantastic grip with the sticky rubber – you can hear them peeling themselves off dry rock. I’ve used them for days out like Tryfan and Crib Goch, some backpacking, and a trip to the Dolomites. They’re great in rocky terrain. I steer clear if possible of using them in wet, boggy terrain, partly my own efforts to keep them in good nick but also a sense that they’ll take forever to dry and my Inov-8 Roclites are more suitable for that.

    Btw, my ankle bones are quite prominent and some footwear catches the underneath of them around the ankle bone, but these don’t. I’ve cured the problem in some other shoes, e.g. Inov-8 Terrocs by adding a simple volume adjuster to raise my foot – just watch that it doesn’t raise your heel into an area where it might rub.

  23. On the question of Shoes. Can you recommend any that have a similar comfort level to inov8’s with greater sole durability and decent all round grip.

  24. I’m doing the rounds of the showrooms and UK trade do’s over the next few weeks, I’ll keep an eye on the shoes, it’ll be nice to get something different in anyway.

    Ant, that’s the eternal conundrum, getting it all in the one pair of shoes. I’ve kinda given up on it, I’ll wear the comfiest pair now and just endure whatever wee compromise that pair has.
    Try Montrails (if you can find them!), LaSportiva, the new Adidas stuff look good, Vasque, just try as much stuff on as you can find.
    The problem with Inov8 is that they do seem to be the best performing in most cases, you can get more durable, more comfy, but nothing that makes your feet into a weapon like an Inov8 :o)

  25. Thanks, Matt, I’d clocked the Camp Fours (in fact I emailed 5.10 last year to ask when they were bringing out a wimmins’ version), but wasn’t sure how low cut they were and how soft the ankle cuff was. But it sounds like they may be worth a try, and they might be more easily available than some of the others.

  26. Locally the only outdoor shops are Mountain warehouse and Yeomans. So I’m a bit limited to what footwear I can try on without traveling further afield.
    Think I’ll just get a couple of pairs of cheep Hi-tec shoes and save the inov8’s for more serious outings.

  27. Ant, some of the Hi-Tecs are great, but some are heavy clumpy horrors as well. Definitely not a second class brand though, worth a look.

  28. Defently taking some scales with me- at my size (11 1/2 UK size) even most lightweight offerings get a little on the heavy side.

  29. That really is a good route actually. Very sensible to focus on valleys/passes – the Lakes is so small an area that doing just the central, big tops rapidly leaves you chasing your own tail :)

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