Friday, 28 August 2009

Waymarking the Hills

Just picked up on an article over on grough entitled Waymarking would be 'dumbing down the mountain', this is an ongoing debate as to whether Scotland's mountains should be waymarking as is done in Europe.

The debate was started by a journalist named Iain MacWhirter; who published article in The Herald newspaper back in July.

In the latest article of grough; they mention an interview with Iain Macwhirter and David Gibson, chief officer of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland's Morning Extra show. This particular show went out on Wednesday 26/08/09 and luckily this can be picked up on the BBC iPlayer.

The actual interview starts at roughly 31.30 minutes into the programme, and does get a bit heated.

The show is available for more 5 days on the iPlayer.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Project Flag

I like flags; I don't know why but I do. I like seeing them flying around town, I like seeing them at football matches.

So I want a flag of my own but not just a run of the mill, England or Union flag but one that represents me.

The cost of having a custom flag made is quite expensive, so I went down the DIY route. the only real way of doing this was to use iron-on transfer paper but using this in the past the results have never really been that good.

Searching the 'net I found a company selling a new type of transfer paper and after watching their video's, it looked it would do the job.

Next up was finding a design the linked to me and my name; the backpacker part was easy enough to work out and do. The London part seemed a bit more of a challenge, until I realised that London has its own flag.

So combining these two elements I came up with the London Backpacker flag.

The transfer is printed on linen cloth and is double sided, and the size is roughly 11 x 8 in.

The idea is to attach it to one of the walking poles when camping, I may also attach it to my pack and let it fly whilst I walking.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Rainy day project

This project has been about on the internet for a few months; but I haven't able to get hold of the main component.

On Sunday I noticed that the main component was back in stock at Ultralight Outdoor Gear, so I ordered it and it arrived this morning. So great service from U.O.G.

The component is a MSR Blizzard tent stake, yes; you can see where this is going.

I made myself a Colin Ibbotson Peg Trowel

For a few years I have had a pretty heavy steel? trowel; it was the one advertised in the TGO, and weighed in at a hefty 156g including carry case.

My CIPT weighs in at 37 g or 40g with the added spike protector, this was added as I am worried that the spike may go through the side or pocket of my pack.

CIPT with protector and old trowel in case

Colin recommends using grosgrain ribbon for the handle but as I didn't have any; I went with the old standby of silver duct tape.

CIPT and old Trowel

I've had a quick try out of the CIPT in the garden and although it doesn't dig out as much as the other trowel; it certainly works and has a weight saving of well over 100g.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Moan, moan, moan

As usual there hasn't been much going on in the world of Londonbackpacker through the Summer; well there has but most of it has been domestic, painting and decorating being the main hobby over the Summer.

With most of the decorating finished; I've started to turn my attention to some walking, the first real one will be in September, a 4-5 day backpacking trip probably in Wales.

Also in September will come the publication of the October issue of the TGO with the application form for the Challenge; hopefully I will get on for next year as I missed out this year, so that means looking at possible new equipment.

I have been looking at some pieces and have actually bought some; the bought items are the X-Socks, I have heard a lot about them so thought it would be good to get a couple of pairs to try. So far I have been impressed with them especially with trainers.

Talking of trainers the next purchase will be a pair of Innov8 Terroc's that's if I can find a place in London selling them in my size.

I need a new pack, not want a new pack. My Sixmoondesigns Comet pack is showing signs of heavy use and a few of the seams are starting to unravel and although it will see me through another few years of 2-3 days backpacking; I wouldn't want to trust it to a 2-week backpacking trip across Scotland (forget to say IF I don't make the challenge I'm off to Scotland for a coast-to-coast anyways!).

I'm reluctant to order a pack from the USA, mainly because of the import taxes, actually not the import taxes but the extra tax the Post Office impose on items.

So its a case of buying one in the U.K. I know the sort of pack I want and like; its either the Comet or the Gossamer gear Mariposa plus mainly because of the side pockets, I really like these on the Comet and the G4 I own. It gives me great flexibly in the way I can pack my pack.

Like I said I don't want to order for the USA, so it means ordering from the U.K; and as far as I know there is only one company in the U.K. that sells a pack that I want and that is the Mariposa Plus.


On the 3/8 I ordered a pack and on the 5/8 the monies was taken from my account, then nothing.

On the 11/8 I happened to notice on the sellers website (I'm not going to name them; as, 1. I don't want to give them any publicity; 2. I'm guessing that anyone reading this will know who I mean) that the item was now out of stock (if OOS you can't add to your cart, so was in stock when I ordered).

I fired off an email; to find out what was happening with my order as I hadn't heard anything for 8 days. Now I'm not sure how long you should wait for an email to be answered but personally I think 48 hours is plenty of time.

On the 15/8 (a Saturday) I decided to give them a ring but got the usual 'we are only open Mon-Fri 9-4'.

So on Monday morning I phone to find out exactly what is going on. The person I speak to tells me that they have been on holiday and don't know what is going on, and the person who needs to deal with it, is on holiday until tomorrow (Tuesday) but if I give them my phone number they will get back to me.

Tuesday 3pm; no phone call, am I surprised, no not really. So I phone them, 'oh we still not sure what is happening but xxxx will be in touch soon'.

Wednesday I arrive home to the following email:-

Sorry about this but the mariposa is sold out and xxxx does not have an order in the pipeline. In view of the fact it takes several weeks for these to arrive from the states we will refund you. We are sorry for the delay in this update and regret having to let you down.

O.K. so I'm a bit annoyed, especially as I have had to do the running around to find out what was happening and I was going to let it slide.

What has really F****D!!!!! me off with this company and prompted this post; is that they refunded me on the 9/8, I know this because my statement arrived on the 19/8 and has the refund on it, and they couldn't be bothered to get in touch and let me know or even tell me this in the two phone calls THAT I HAD TO MAKE!!

I am willing to give companies the benefit of the doubt and sometimes things happen that causes a problem and items can't be supplied but when it seems that you don't know your arse from your elbow; then they don't deserve to have my custom.