Archive for May, 2012

TGO Challenge almost here.

The TGO Challenge is about to hit us in Aboyne. 

The TGO challenge is a self supported 180 mile walk running every May from the Scottish west coast to east coast with a maximum of 300 walkers following their own routes.  It is a tough trek requiring navigation skills, endurance, survival skills and hillcraft. This year those taking high level routes have had to endure fresh snow on the mountains and very high winds last weekend.

Many walkers choose a route through Deeside and quite a few come into Hilltrek for a well earned cup of tea and to rest their weary legs.

To follow the walkers and to find out when they will be in Deeside see the TGO Challenge website

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Braemar Ventile Smock on honeymoon in Namibia and Botswana

On of our customers Sebastian Aller sent us a report from his honeymoon
Dear Hilltrek
As a thank you for the quick service on upgrading the hoods of our (my brother Erik and me) Braemar smocks, so that I could take it on my honeymoon to Namibia and Botswana, I hereby send you some nice pics of the jacket in action.
The pics on the red sand dune are taken in Sossusvlei, Namibia, a magnificent area in the middle of the Namib desert.
It is a nature reserve with beautiful red sand dunes that are aligned parallel to each other in a north to south direction.
As a result there is a beautiful play of light on sunrise and sundown.
We got up at 4:15 in the morning  (we usually don’t do that during a holiday), before sunrise to drive the 45km into the reserve to see the sun come up at the dunes. One is only allowed in approx one hour before sunrise.
The drive takes quite long as there is a 60km/h speed limit, because 1: it is a nature reserve, 2: there is all kind of wildlife that runs around freely, such as springbok, wartogs, ostrich, oryx etc. You don’t want those animals on the hood of your car in the dark…
The nights in the desert are quite chilly, especially as winter is approaching on the southern hemisphere. The ventile jacket was a very much welcome protection against the cold desert wind.
Of course I also had to test the new hood, so we drove all the way to Livingstone, Zambia to stand in the spray of the Victoria Falls. As there had been heavy rainfall upstream of the Zambezi river, the falls were enormous: Almost 1,7km wide, resulting in milions of liters of water per second plummeting down a mere 100m into the narrow gorge. The waves of spray that were thrown back up, were blown over us as we were standing on the opposite side of the gorge watching the falls. We were litterally soaked to the bone in seconds. The hood fits brilliantly, but the poor smock couldn’t cope with this enormous amount of water (I doubt there is any jacket that can do so). And this was just the spray, not even the waterfall itself. Luckily the local climate was dry and hot, so it took less than an hour to dry everything while wearing it.
These are just a few examples of how your great products suit my/our needs.
In 2 days I have to go to work again.
The Braemar smock will be my companion once again when commuting by bike on chilly mornings or rainy days. Great piece of kit!
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New Paramo Grid baselayer tested in Assynt in the North West Highlands

I took the opportunity to test the new Paramo Grid Baselayer this weekend in Assynt with excellent results.

The weather forecast for the weekend was pretty awful  -high winds, high wind chill, intermittent showers – and that was Saturday.  Sunday’s forecast was constant rain and gales with 100 mph gusts on the summits.

We chose to climb the corbett Quinag on Saturday and take a long lie in on Sunday. 

On a cold day in the hills, I typically wear a Explorer Reversible shirt above a short sleeve Cambia baselayer and Alta 2 jacket on top, if there is heavy rain forecast. If not I will choose a Braemar Smock.

To test the Paramo Grid I started out with the same layering system on the long climb up the south-east crest of Spidean Coinich.  Within a short time I had to take off the Cambia baselayer as I was overheating.

At the summit of Spidean Coinich we had a lunch stop and I pulled on a Torres Gilet to stay warm as the cloud rolled in and there was little shelter from the strong west winds.

The ridge down to Bealach a’Chornaidh has some exposed sections which normally would not have been difficult but the strong gusts of wind made us extremely cautious and we had to occassionally crouch down to prevent getting blown over.  With reduced speed and high wind chill, I kept my Torres Gillet on until we reached the Bealach.

At this point we split up; Anna deciding to go out to the northen summit Sail Gorm ,as she had not done it before, and Ailsa had  had enough of the wind and walked back to the car. I decided to climb to the eastern summit Sail Gharbh and attempt to catch up with Anna.  It meant fairly brisk walking. Despite this, the Paramo Grid  baselayer kept me warm and any perspiration was quickly moved.

For the remainder of the day I walked with the Alta 2 and the Grid Baselayer despite high wind chill occassionally donning my Torres Gilet at stops.

I wore a Grid Technic which has a neck zip, useful on this walk for occassional venting, and a small chest pocket. The pocket is too small for a map  however I used it for my car keys.

See further details of Paramo Grid on our website.

To learn more about climbing Quinag see Sean Fallon’s excellent  website.

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Learn about nutrition for hillwalking at Hilltrek on 26th May

May 26, 2012
2:00 pmto7:00 pm

Dr Chris Fenn will be at Hilltrek on Saturday 26th May between 2 and 4 pm to chat about the impact of nutrition on hillwalking and other outdoor activities.

Chris is a well known nutritionist who has advised expeditions such as Rebecca Stephens, the first British woman to reach the summit of Everest, and Pen Haddow, the Polar explorer.

Many will know Chris from her columns in the TGO and the Trail magazine however she has also has achieved her own personal goals using her expertise in sports nutrition such as climbing Kilimanjaro and cycling across America.

At the event Chris will sign copies of her new book ‘Forget the Fear of Food’

To learn more about Chris take a look at http://chrisfenn.com/ and read her blog post on nutrition for hillwalking

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