Saturday, 19 April 2008

Ice Cold Tea Bag

Back at Braemar after overnighter at Derry Lodge. Mike volunteered to spend a night out for the first time in years. Sadly in was so cold that gas canisters had to be kept warm, and he had my secondary kit. Photos n stuff later. Non-gas cooking to investigate, and winter warmers for gas stove.

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Leaving Aberdeen at 6pm, we were at the Linn of Dee car park for 8pm with light dipping failing, and a red tint to some clouds. (maplink)

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Exiting the woods in which the car park is located, we encountered a large herd of deer near Creag an Diuchd. They fell back in an orderly manner. Pausing occasionally to allow us to take blurry photographs.

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We got to Derry Lodge after just over an hour  of walking. We encountered a few ground-dwelling birds (and not mutant deer as I first thought), and some more deer just before Bob Scott's Bothy. It was a pleasant evening, and the moon and some stars came out.

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Pitching Mike's tent first (my old Illanos tent), I made a hash of the flysheet - but that wouldn't become apparent until the morning. But I was sure there should have been a porch on the tent. We had some freeze-dried Norwegian foods left over from last year's trek, and some Polish foods Mike had bought in town. Followed by Earl Grey tea, some Scotch and Turkish delight. Foods from all nations. Across the river some kids were refusing to get tired out and were running around enjoying themselves with torches. The Alpkit torch I got at the Outdoors Show performed well, and I found myself favouring the single low-powered LED.

The night gets colder. There isn't much cloud cover. The cooking had taken ages, but I had put it down to a nearly empty gas canister.  The Primus Gravity stove I had lent Mike works fine, seemingly confirming my thoughts.

In the morning, I give Mike a quiet call - "You awake?" ugh "if you look out of your tent, immediately to your left there is a herd of deer 3 trees away"

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After some more photos, the deer are wise to our presence, and start moving off. We let them alone and get on with breakfast. Mike said he hardly slept - he was in the warmest synthetic bag that I had and was in all his clothes. I was in my down bag and had my down jacket on top, allowing me to sleep in base layer. To avoid headaches brought on by rebreathing gases, I didn't try the facemask recently mentioned in TGO magazine. I did try wearing the buff over my nose and mouth to prevent warmth escaping from my respiratory system, but it didn't work and left me feeling constricted. Wearing an insulated hat and getting low into the sleeping bag was good enough for me.

As we were talking, Mike produced a frozen tea bag from his waste pile, and I recalled the problems of gas fuel at low temperatures, so wrapped my jacket around the canister. It did improve things for a short while, but not for long enough, so I resorted to using the buff as impromptu insulation.

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After what seemed an aeon, we again resorted to the Gravity stove (which has a pre-heat tube) and found it better in the cold. I set my brain to thinking of alternative fuel again.

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We broke camp as the 3rd group of walkers strode past, and headed out by 10am, leaving no trace.

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Pausing for a few photos along the way, we were back at the car by 1130 and had a good long shop in the Braemar gear shop, and a sedate drive back to the city.

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Checking the temperature at the Met Office site, Saturday night in Aviemore dipped to -3°c. The comfort level of the synthetic sleeping bag was rated to +4°c.

6 comments:

Story Quine said...

Dearie me - I guessed it would get cold though, bright sunshine in April still means frost at night.
I'll have to get oot there under canvas again soon.

Simon said...

Good to see you out and about. Nice pics too. Mike doesn't look very happy.

Simon said...

Gas in the cold. I recently did a wild camp so cold that my water bottle froze. But my ( full ) gas cylinder worked fine once I had given it a good shake, tightened the burner and so long as I didn't rest it on the cold ground. I used the wee plastic box that I carry my pasta in as a base.

Big Kev said...

I came within a baw hair* of being up that way myself on Friday. On my packing list was the wee Vargo Triad and a couple of ounces of meths, as a backup in case it was too cold for gas. Hindsight's a wonderful thing eh?

*Very close to

AktoMan said...

It never even crossed my mind that the ground temp may have been affecting the gas too. Ah well, one for experience.

I'm told that meths are affected by the cold too, but not sure of the temp levels. It was an ideal day for meths or esbit (which was back at the car).

Ach, if it came to it, I knew I could steep the gas cannister in warm water, but I felt it wasn't worth it, being happy to just watch the flames dancing and the warmth from the fire.

Wick alcohol stove now on order. I'll need to get out and test it.

Michael G Clark said...

My brian was affected by the cold, no wonder after seeing what that bag was rated to. Poor me, it turned my hair white..