I like this months column better. There’s a bit of banter in there as well as facts. The Laurel and Hardy reference isn’t just me shoe-horning in analogies (again). When I was on the West Highland Way a few months back, I was regularly passing folk who did have that very aesthetic. What struck me was that all the vital stuff was strapped to the outside of their monster packs, so what the hell did they have on the inside?
The modular carrying subject matter, may seem only tenuously “lightweight” as many folk understand it, but it’s actually at the core of carrying only what is necessary. It’s a concept that’s being developed with varying degrees of success by manufacturers from big to garden shed. It’ll be interesting to see how much of it makes it into the shops as it’ll be completely over the heads of the store buyers who largely decide what we get to play with each season.
My other piece this month is me worrying the Trail nutritionist. My lunchbox contents are partly the result of having to think fast on the phone to Claire Maxted when making up the list, but seeing it again it’s not too far from the truth.
I would swap a Mars Bar for a Honey Stinger energy bar, maybe add in some energy chews. But more often than not on a day trip I’ll have less that is on the list. That’s not going lightweight, that just taking what I need.
This is again part of the notion that hillwalking in the UK is an expedition to the greater ranges/another planet for which you have to be appropriately equipped. It isn’t as we all know, it’s walking up a slope.
I know there’s dangers, the fatalities we see make that all too plain. But instead of building up the mystique and aura of the mountains, maybe we should make them the places of equal accessibility and hazard that they actually are. Would that allow more people access to information and safety issues, rather than folk looking at equipment and skills feeling overwhelmed and carrying on thinking “We’ll be fine”.
The hills should be more inclusive rather than use-of-equipment led as it seems they have increasingly become. That’s another target going lightweight hits near the centre.