3 Trips Thursday #39

Culzean_Castle_DSC3873 Arran View 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday.

A right good mixed bag this week, If I do say so myself. A couple with snow in and from some nice warm climes for those of you tired of the cold and snow. Get the tea on and the biscuits out. Start clicking and reading.

The Links.

  1. Carn Mor Dearg.
  2. Lycian Way with packraft.

  3. The Dodds from High Row.

Thanks for reading. You can start a conversation with me over on Twitter. Send me an email through the contact page or just leave a comment in the box below.

3 Trips Thursday #38

Castle_Douglas_DSC4232 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday

Seriously couldn't have worked that out if I had tried. Today is my birthday and I'm 38. Best not forget to put a lottery ticket on. Anyway back to the matter at hand. Three more links for your outdoor inspiration. Get comfortable and get clicking. As all was I think these are cracking trips and well worth a read.

The Links

  1. Stronelairg - 5 snowy days in the Monadhliath part 1.
  2. Something simple.
  3. Bute. West Island Way. Arran Ridge. Scotland in Springtime.

You can leave a comment below or use the contact me page to send an email. Also you can get me over on Twitter.

Thanks again from reading.

3 Trips Thursday #37

Douglas_DSC3262 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday.

Well we've had some crazy weather. Seems Spring has decided to lapse back into Winter. Sleet, Snow, lashing rain and cold winds. It really does not make for a good time in the outdoors. Hopefully the weather will get back on track towards summer soon. In the meantime why not get your planning hat and maybe pull some inspiration from the links below.

The Links.

  1. Lockerbie. Eskdalemuir Forest Trip. Bothy nights.
  2. Beinn Bhuidhe.
  3. Red & Black Cuillin – The Isle of Skye.

Hopefully you enjoyed those trips. There will be another 3 trips a long next week.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. If your local to the Clyde and Avon valleys then check this out, Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival.

Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival

Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival

Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival.

The Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership are putting on a Spring walking festival from Friday 22nd to Tuesday 26th May 2015. There's loads of walks to do and something for every one.

Friday 22nd May

  • Discovering Castlebank Park, Lanark – 1pm
  • Bluebell Walk, Cleghorn Glen National Nature Reserve - 1pm and 3:30pm
  • A Walk in the Woods at New Lanark - 2pm

Saturday 23rd May

  • Restoring the Historic Landscape at Chatelherault - 10am
  • Ranger Guided Walk to the Falls of Clyde, Peregrine Watch Site – 1pm

Sunday 24th May

  • The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful at Dalzell Estate – 10am and 1:30pm
  • Kirkfieldbank Orchard Open Day – 2pm - 4pm

Monday 25th May

  • Lanark Health Walks – 1pm and 3pm

Tuesday 26th May

  • Spring Evening Walk at RSPB Baron’s Haugh – 7pm

The walks are free but booking is recommended. Click on the gallery below for more details.

You can read their official news release on there website or on go straight there with this link. Step Out for Clyde and Avon Valleys Spring Walks Festival. There you can click through and book yourself on one of the walks or you can use this link to go through to the booking page and sign right up.

I've booked myself on one of the walks on the Sunday so hopefully I'll see you there.

Vango Ultralite 900 Sleeping Bag

VANGO_ULTRALITE_900_DSC3143 sleeping bag

Vango Ultralite 900 Sleeping Bag.

I've had this for a while now but I’ll start this like every other review I do; with a disclaimer, that this Vango Ultralite 900 sleeping bag was sent to me by Rachel to review. Rachel works for a company called Silverfox Travel & Outdoors and she contacted me. We had a discussion over a few emails and she suggest that I could choose a sleeping bag from the website. I picked the Vango Ultralite 900 sleeping bag and Rachel was kind enough to send it to me and I get to keep it. I have no vested interest in Vango, the company that Rachel works for, Silverfox Travel & Outdoors or the sleeping bag itself other than to share my views and opinions; good, bad or otherwise.

First Impressions.

I had the Vango Ultralite 900 delivered to my work to save some hassle if I missed the delivery at home and jaunt over to Lanark and back. It was delivred pretty quick and all compressed up in it's stuff sack. Compressed down like that it's pack size is about 25 cm by about 20 cm. Which is pretty reasonable for a synthetic sleeping bag. Not really being able to look at it properly at work I left it alone.

VANGO_ULTRALITE_900_DSC3156

Once home I got in about and had a good look over it and a thorough read of the attached bumpf on the tags. As well as going through the now standard Tookie Indoor Gear Test™ with the help of my daughter. On first inspection that sleeping bag looked well made, a few long ends of some threads but nothing loose or not finished. I fiddled with the zips and closures. Pulled on all the toggles as well as climbing in and out of the bag. My daughter did the same.

VANGO_ULTRALITE_900_DSC3132

As always I find a standard sleeping bag big. Being 5'7" on a good day. It does have it's advantages in that I can snuggle right down into the sleeping bag or stick I can just stick an insulated jacket or fleece down the bottom and eliminate that wasted space. In the house it did find the bag to be very warm but I do run hot. Even the small Bunten found the bag warm when she was doing her test. I think what helps this was that it has a really good neck baffle to keep the heat in and the drafts out and the hood seems to work well. However it does have a two zip that can be used to vent the bag.

The sleeping bag is made from Nylon. 40 denier ripstop on the outside to make it hard wearing and mini ripstop on the inside. This is very soft and comfortable next to the skin. The bag is insulted with Insulite® Superfine synthetic insulation. This is a blend of spiralised, siliconised fibres. The bag also incorporates Vango's Thermal Embrace System. Which comprises of elasticated threads with an off-set double layered construction. This always you to move freely and also helps to eleminate the dreaded cold spots.

The bag is rated down to -5°C, with and extreme of -22°C and has a maximum comfort of 18°C, personally at that temp, in that sleeping bag I would be far too warm. Again on the converse of that I would have to have all my clothes on for that. It does mean that it's a sold rated 3 season bag and 4 seasons at a push in my opinion. All their temperatures are independly rated against the EN 13537:2002 standard.

VANGO_ULTRALITE_900_DSC3140

According to Vango the Ultralite 900 is designed for wild camping and long distance backpacking. Personally the weight and pack size go against that for me. I would want something lighter and of less volume for that kind of activity but then that's where prices start to rise rapidly. It is good value for money.

In Use.

I found using the bag to be fine. The only real issue I had is snagging the zip. Having said that I having found a sleeping bag yet that I haven't managed to snag the zip. Except maybe my top bag but that doesn't have a zip. I did find the bag to be very warm for me at times and having to strip down to my underwear in the middle of the night as I was sweating. That led to a really cold morning trying to get dressed.

There's no signs of wear other than where I keep snagging the zip on the fabric on the inside. Bearing in mind I've only had a few nights in this bag but it seems to hold up well to general wear and tear.

After being compressed it lofts quite well after a good shake which might not be too practical in a small one man tent but left alone for a bit it's just fine. It's really comfortable to sleep in. Nothing to get snagged in and all the toggles are easily adjusted from in the bag for the hood and the baffle.

Conclusion.

This is really more of a my opinions of the Vango Ultralite 900 sleeping bag than a comprehensive review. That would need a few more good nights in the bag. The bag has some really good features for the price and looks to be a durable sleeping bag, time will tell but I'm happy to use it and I will. Maybe not for humpfing around the hills when I've got lighter bags available with the same temperature rating. However it would be a good all round bag for someone starting out.

You can view the full set of photographs on flickr here Vango Ultralite 900 Sleeping Bag. This will get updated from time to time as I sort through any photographs with the bag in it.

3 Trips Thursday #35

Old_Carlisle_Road_Blackwood_DSC3169 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday

Its going to be short and sweet this week as I'm off enjoying an Easter break. Getting outdoors, having windy walks, dodging the April showers, enjoying the spring sunshine and generally having fun. Hopefully you managed to get some time outdoors yourself over the Easter period. If not and you're looking for some inspiration get clicking below.

The Links

  1. Blair Atholl bike n hike.
  2. Spring at last in the Cairngorms.

  3. Balloch to Drymen.

You can connect with me over on Twitter, use the good old form on the contact me page to send me an email or failing that just leave a comment in the box below and I'll get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

3 Trips Thursday #34

Douglas_DSC3367 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday

You can tell spring is in the air. Not just by the change in weather and the plants starting to bud and bloom. Also by the amount of blog posts that are appearing. Folks are venturing out more and enjoying the better weather it's all good. Though winter is still clinging on a bit in some of the more sheltered and wilder spots. She's not quite ready to give it up yet.

Get yourself settled down and enjoy the following links. Hopefully you'll like them and get some inspiration out of them.

The Links

  1. Time Away.
  2. April on Lake Angeles Trail.
  3. A fond farewell to the magnificent Monadhliath.

You can leave a comment, link or some feedback in the box below. You can also say hello and start a conversation with me over on Twitter. Failing that you can just the good old form on the contact page to send me an email.

Thanks again for reading.

3 Trips Thursday #33

Towards Loch Striven 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday.

3 Trips Thursday on a fake Friday. Surely and excellent way to set up your Easter weekend. If like me you're lucky enough to have the time off. Hopefully the weather will be kind.

Pull up a pew an lets see if I can get you inspired to make some plans and have some fun in the outdoors. Click away.

The Links.

  1. North Monar Hills.

2. Deer and Detours.

  1. Winter Clings on.

You can leave a comment, suggestion or link in the box below. Start a conversation with me over on Twitter. You can also email me direct through the contact page if you would prefer.

Have a happy Easter. Thanks for reading.

3 Trips Thursday #32

Auchlochan_DSC2972 3 Trips Thursday3 Trips Thursday.

Are you ready for another 3 trips this week? The daffodils are on the bloom and Spring is definitely in the air. The days are getting longer, meaning we can all stay out later and have more fun in the great outdoors.

The Links.

  1. Another visit to Craig of Monievreckie.
  2. Ae talking Head Stane.
  3. Spring is on the Wey Triggs and Bowers backwaters.

You know the drill? If you enjoyed the links, found a little inspiration or have a link you want to share. Then leave a comment in the box below. Send me a message through the contact page. Look me up on Twitter.

Thank you for reading.

3 Trips Thursday #31

Marker Cairn 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday.

Another Thursday and another 3 trips for your perusal. Get your snacks, pull up a pew, gather round and click away. Hopefully you'll enjoy them all. Hopefully you'll get some inspiration to get outdoors and have some fun.

The Links.

  1. Sandy, minus the dug eases himself back into some wild camping with a fine trip to the Arrochar Alps. Great photographs and good tale too. No sunset, I'm afraid.
  2. Another wintry trip, this time James goes in search of some Wainwrights that he's still to bag. Mungrisdale Common, a boring hill?

  3. A small hill with a big view. I love a sma' hill a with great view and this one has prominent vistas over looking Nithsdale. The Doon.

As always. Leave a comment in the box below. Send me an email through the contact page or you can get me on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

3 Trips Thursday #30

From the top of Bennan Hill 3 Trips Thursday3 Trips Thursday.

I haven't delved very deep into the walks archive this week. All these are fairly recent and all well worth a read and all have excellent photographs. I right mixed bag; Scotland, England, Norway. Settled down and get clicking for some outdoor inspiration for the weekend.

The Links.

  1. Helen has a new name, a new blog and new post. Brilliant writing. The Østmarka Mil.
  2. Neil has been out and about again this time up Beinn an t-Sidhein. Some cracking views up Loch Lubnaig now the foresty trees are gone. Beinn an t-Sidhein.

  3. Always a great read and the photographs are brilliant from this circular route. Some light but bijoux bagging.

Same as always, you can look me up on twitter, send me an email through the contact page or leave a comment in the box below.

Thanks for reading.

3 Trips Thursday #29

UpperNethanGorge000943131013

3 Trips Thursday

Time is marching on. It's March all ready. Twenty percent of the year done already. Hopefully you've been outside enjoying it. Spring will be here soon. Not that you would know that with the way March started and all that snow. One last hurrah by the snow gods? Who knows? I don't think the daffodils would have been too please waking up from their winter slumber to be snowed on. Settle down, get comfortable and enjoy this week's trips.

The Links

  1. Everyone loves a howff? I know I do and this looks like it's going to be a cracking series from Michael. Nothing quite beats a night in a bothy with the fire on and good friends. The Dossers guide: Slugain Howff.
  2. True words from David but in this post the photographs tell the story. Some fantastic winter scenery to get in the mood for the outdoors. Blessed by Friends and Mountains.

  3. Some Lake District loveliness from Stewart. He really does take a great photography and these are from a recent trip. Deepdale.

Any questions, suggestions then drop me a message from the contact page, look me up on Twitter or leave a comment below

Thanks for reading.

3 Trips Thursday #28

BlackwoodEstate000017011114 3 Trips Thursday

3 Trips Thursday.

Hopefully you know the score by now. Three trips to get you inspired to go out and have fun in the great outdoors. What's in the pot this week? A really cold but excellent bivvy. A walk through Barrach Wood and finally a night filming with Terry Abraham. Get comfortable and get clicking through to enjoy some great posts.

The Links.

  1. Terry is not just a great outdoor film maker, he also has a cracking blog. This recent post is a cracker in my opinion. Stunning photographs. A night on Souther Fell.
  2. Another recent one that would freeze the bits off a brass monkey. A braver man than me. A wintry bivvy in Gleann Mhairc. At least there's still some snow further up north.

  3. I love walking through woods but I must admit I never really take notice of the flora and fauna. Yes I notice a flower or piece of fungus that stands out. I'm mostly just enjoying the feeling of the place and on the look out for the birds and animals. These trees up at Cougie next to Glen Affric look super. Return to the Barrach Wood.

Hit me up on twitter and say hello. Leave a comment below or get in touch through the contact page. More trips next week. Thanks for reading.

Blackhill

Blackhill000208051214

Blackhill

I've moved to pastures new a while ago, further into South Lanarkshire. Deepest darkest Lanarkshire, back to the countryside. Or almost so, if it wasn't for the rather large M74 next to the village. However saying that it's all green fields, hills, woods and little glens nestled down next to the Nethan and a stones throw from the Clyde valley and all that it offers. A happier pig in mud could not be found and to my great delight was some pretty good hills not so far away. Tinto and Culter Fell being a couple of big ones within easy driving distance but also some hills virtually on my doorstep. One of those hills being Blackhill. It dominates the sky line because it's so close. I see it everyday. Not the biggest by any stretch of your imagination. It stands at 951 of your good Scottish feet or 290 metres in the new money. A Scheduled Ancient Monument as well as being owned by the National Trust for Scotland. It's not big and it's not pretty but Blackhill is my local hill and at times I have it to myself. What's not to like? Blackhill000016051214

Why's it so special?

That's easy. It's has over 4000 years of history seeping up through the very grass and rocks of it's sides. On the top under the OS trip pillar lies a Bronze age burial cairn. I'm not sure of it's size but it's pretty big. 20 metres across. Next it's has an Iron Age fort and settlement attached with a number of platforms that could have been wooden round house. The fort and adjoining settlement take up the entire hill top. There's ditches and protective walls running round the whole summit. There's possibly a Roman road that runs across the foot of the hill that may have been part of a road that ran from Peebles to Castledykes on the other side of Lanark over to the Irvine valley down to Loudoun Hill. There's archaeological records of standing stones. Apparently at one point it had a couple of standing stones, possibly three. One stone to the south at Clarkston Farm and definitely one but maybe two on the north side at Blackhill Farm. As well as evidence of Medieval occupation and field systems. It's all going on. The National Trust have had it in their possession since 1936 when Messrs Robert Howie and Sons donated it to them and because of all the history it was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1969. 20150216000003Blackhill

The View

For this particular visit I had a bit of spare time and it was a crackingly clear afternoon and I fancied catching a sunset. I grabbed my camera and jumped in my walking gear. It's only roughly a couple of miles from my house but to maximise my hill time I got in the car and set off for the little layby at the bottom of the hill. Once parked up I promptly marched to the top off the hill which started with a hop over a fence and stile. Then it was just a case of heading upwards following a farm track. There's a big gate to pass through then your in the enclosure from this side you enter the settlement first and it's pretty obvious from the trig pillar where you're heading. Like it's not the biggest or most challenging but once up it pays you back in spadefuls for the little effort you put in. Blackhill000065051214

The sunset was still probably a good hour off so I dumped by bag at the pillar and take out my down jacket and hat as it's a bit baltic on top. There's a good breeze going and it is December. What is lovely winter sunshine down by the road isn't warm enough to heat up even at the top of this modest hill. Wrapped up I set of an wonder over the lumps and bumps wondering what it looked like before loads of the stone were robbed and the walls collapsed. Where the standings were. Were they lined up with something. Did they have anything to do with the fort or settlement. Trying to guess the path of the Roman through the much plowed fields. I've got my camera and I'm snapping away. The view's are 360.

Blackhill000041051214

I still don't really have my bearings when it come to the hills I can see from here. Tinto is the obvious one, due south or there abouts. Apparently the massive cairn there and here are in alignment. It could be something or nothing or just a giant coincidence. With the trig pillar to my back, Lanark in a south easterly direction, I can only think it's the big peaks of Mount Law, Bleak Law, Byrehope Mount and the rest I can see but I'm not sure. Over towards the west and to the south I can see Nutberry Hill, again I think it is. It's all a bit alien to me. Supposedly further over to the west you can see Goatfell on a really clear day. That is one view I would love to catch.

By far the best view is to the north and west. It's an amazing view and one my camera skills can't quite do it justice, yet, I hope I will learn to. The Clyde valley opens up before you. All the big towns are there. Hamilton, Motherwell and Wishaw. As well as the famous big city of Glasgow. It's beyond them that really takes your breath away. I have in one big swathe, the Arrochar Alps, The Cobbler and Beinn Ime and Narnian. Ben Lomond and it's distinctive table like top, at ease standing proud. Then the full length of the Campsies. However it doesn't stop there, the hills of the Trossachs and all the way to Ben Lawers. I'm pretty sure it's Lawers. There is nothing taller then me in that direction. I have that feeling of being on the top of the world. I'm the only person here and the only one seeing this. I'm in deepest Lanarkshire and I can see all the way to the Southern Highlands. An absolutely stunning view for such a small bump. It's special. I don't think I will tire of this outlook. Yes, there's turbines, towns and city in the road but brain filters those out. Maybe they actually help the view be better, making the hills and the natural stand out against the concrete and the man-made.

The Clyde herself is not to be out done. Up close she's brown, fast flowing and a little bit tumultuous but from up here she's serine, a silver blue steel metal ribbon winding a path to the sea

Best for last

Blackhill000079051214

After my wanderings and musing I start to try and take some selfies. Not so easy with a dSLR or so I find. I'm a proponent of the @DavyWA, @petesy, @MThomson, @Rye1966 school of the outdoor selfie. Maybe they'll run classes in the new year. However they do it so much better but it's a good bit of fun. The sun is on it's final leg to setting. Tinto has a crowning of grey cloud and little jacket of snow on his shoulders. It's catching the sun beautifully and try to catch it the camera. Again I don't do it justice but I'm happy that I'm there to see. Lanark too is looking pretty on the other side of the Clyde. Rooftops, church spires and glinting windows catching the last rays of the sun. Glasgow and the towns to the north are the same. The light is great. It's crisp like the air. I can see mist gathering over towards the Stonehouse and Larkhall. It may over the Avon water. The river and the woods catching it and holding onto it. I'm looking north again and sure it's Ben Lawers catching the sun, way, way, way north. Has to be. I turn west and watch the Nethan gorge turn dark as the sun hits the hills. The street lights of home start to light up and burn orange. By pure luck I turn right instead of left to circle round and look at Lanark again. I catch a sight that drops my jaw. The moon is rising over the hills. I have the top of the moon peeking above one set of hills and the sun disappearing over another set of hills. It's almost perfectly aligned. Where I'm standing I'm the only person that can see this. I don't know if I should take photographs or just watch. In the end I just watch and try to take photographs at the same time. Then it's over. That special moment. The sun has gone and the moon is up. I linger on a bit in disbelief. I've never seen a sunset/moonrise as good as that ever. Even now I can't adequately describe it. The photographs don't either but I was there. The Blackhill really is a bit special in my opinion and any chance I get I walk up it. It never disappoints.

Blackhill000198051214


You can find a full set of photographs on flickr, Blackhill.