Wednesday, 9 May 2007

AAR Glas Bheinn Mhor

I can't really call it Ben Starav, as we didn't get to Ben Starav.

Lessons learnt:

  • water - only take what is needed. If walking by a river, why fill a hydration sack that you won't empty.
  • kit - if I only used spare clothes, sandals and bivvy bag a few times on the SUW, why take it on a weekend hike.
  • writing down the weather forecast when listening to it on the radio is a good idea if being asked questions about it by others ... and your memory is as bad as mine. PS: an AM/FM radio is a great idea, with headphones so as not to annoy others. PPS: the 'regular' weather forecasts on the radio are woefully inadequate and detail is random. Regions of Scotland were often omitted.

Tasks before next time:

  • rationalise first aid kit. This is mainly blister repair kit (by the number of days out) and 'real' first aid, i.e. plasters, tablets etc.
  • sauces separate from the pasta. The pasta was filling (I used the pot cosy to keep it toasty) but the sauce just clung to the spaghetti.
  • small version of the Suunto instructions so I can set the various instruments on the move.
  • 'Explorer' scale maps for hills which have tricky bits. I've been using the Landranger series if a Harveys map is not available.
  • small pen for writing with, rather than the 'normal' pen I have. Of course, I'll have to wrap duct tape around it too.
  • when new poles arrive, I'll need to check the diameter against the 'pole fixing kit' that Hilleberg included with my Akto ("ooh, is that what that bit is?")
  • I started to decant the "lotions and potions" into smaller containers, and picked up one of Boots' "stacking travel pots" for around two pounds. About 35mm diameter, 5 pots high (each about 17mm high when closed), the plastic seems quite tough, and non-drip. Although I wouldn't trust it with liquids, I'm planning on adding some of the foot creams to them. More details later.
  • Bought an Exped Crush Drybag today from Nevisport. I recently discovered a cracked screen on my mp3 player. I don't want that to happen again, so a padded drybag is a nice and simple idea.

Suggestions:

  • Maps should have accurate Gaelic pronunciations on them [1]. This will, of course, take into account regional pronunciation differences (eg between Skye and everywhere else).
  • If running a place frequented by outdoors folk, eg bar or hostel, it would be a nice treat to pin a copy of the recent regional MWIS forecast somewhere.

11 comments:

Jerry said...

Radio Scotland do hillwalkers' weather forecasts at a few minutes before 7pm. Many outdoor shops and youth hostels put the MWIS or met office weather forecasts up. Real experts listen to the shipping forecast, and work it all out from what's happening in Malin, Hebrides, Cromarty and Forth. Several years ago I camped within a couple of hundred metres of your site - it was a really clear night so I just slept out under the stars. You're right about water - hardly any point carrying it if you're walking up a stream! Keep blagging!

AktoMan said...

If I had a choice, Jerry, I'd have chosen a better forecast. But no doubt experts have better AM receivers than me (and I received nothing on FM). At one stage, the best forecast was extrapolated from BBC Radio Ulster's!

I have notched on the dial where to listen to the channels, and try various tricks like using my body to boost the pickup of the radio antenna.

Maybe someone could recommend a better radio to carry? I use the Blacks solar-powered AM/FM radio.

Jerry said...

The absolute best wee radio is one of the tiny Sony Worldband receivers; loadsamoney though, but you can not only get LW/MW and FM but all the shortwave bands too with incredible sensitivity, so you can listen to Radio Moscow and more importantly the BBC World Service wherever you are - there's always a cooperative bit of ionosphere. Mine broke, couldn't afford to fix it, so I now use a wee Roberts LW/MW/FM pocket radio; it has a speaker too, which can be nice in a tent, especially if there's more than one of you. Using the speaker means you can move the aerial/headphone lead about to get better reception - vertical usually works best, sometimes touching the tent pole with it helps too. But it is still fairly chancy what stations you get, especially on FM which is quite a local service.

AktoMan said...

Had a quick look at one of the Roberts here:
http://www.simplyradios.com/acatalog/rev99881.htm
And like the idea of the 'safety'. More thought required here. I don't want to worry about breaking expensive kit. I'll have a look at the price of the Roberts as the other option is the one from Maplins:
http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?TabID=1&ModuleNo=45961&doy=13m5
Cheers Jerry.

AktoMan said...

John Lewis' have the Roberts range...and they are round the corner from my work. I'm tempted by this one:
http://www.robertsradio.co.uk/r9994.htm
5quid dearer that the Eton/Grundig model. 20quid cheaper than the R9988 unit (which does look shiny).

Jerry said...

Roberts is a well respected make and the R9994 looks a good model - the mono/stereo switch is useful because switching to mono cuts out a lot of noise on a not very good FM signal (which is all you usually get!) Don't know anything about Eton; no LW but has SW, though whether you'll get any useful SW without a long (ie 10metres) aerial is debatable. Still, Maplins let you take stuff back so you have nothing to lose trying it out, and it has a fancy digital read out. LW can be useful for Radio 4 in the UK. Make sure the speaker is switchable - you don't (if you are like me) always want it on.

Jerry said...

P.S. just noticed your comment that Eton = Grundig in USA; in which case, it should also be good; Grundig have always made decent radios, a European alternative to Sony for SW fans. I fear for your sanity though if you get SW; you will hear morse code and wish you understood it ... something more to learn .. decode secret messages from Moscow, Radio Teheran .. stay up all night chasing crackly noises in the ether ..

AktoMan said...

I'll have a look at the Roberts tomorrow, Jerry. I failed to get to Maplins on the way to Bennachie - my id telling me something no doubt.

As to morse, I used to be able to understand some, as I had a teacher in my final year in primary school who was ex-Navy. While the girls went off for cooking and suchlike, we got nautical skills and the chanter. None of which I was any good at, and of course regret bitterly now. Okay, so lumping morse in to the "regret bitterly" statement is a push, but you know what I mean :)

AktoMan said...

Bought the Roberts r9994 unit at lunchtime today. I look forward to trying it out this weekend. Hopefully no more extrapolating Radio Ulster weather forecasts.

Jerry said...

Have fun .. worth remembering that some FM stations are vertically polarised and others horizontally polarised - this is to reduce interference between transmitters - so its worth trying your aerial vertically and horizontally as you scan for stations.

AktoMan said...

thanks, Jerry. That'll explain the usual 'wiggle the aerial about' tactic :)

I'll try the radio(s) out this weekend.