Friday, December 15, 2006

more stuff!

Probably the penultimate instalment of the lengthy saga of kit-buying for the Dartmoor trip. There's only so much stuff even I can justify buying. I say "penultimate", though, because I've still got to buy a large rucksack - the biggest one I've got is 45 litres, which sounds a lot but really isn't anywhere near big enough. Oswald Bailey do an 85-litre one for what seems to me an absurdly small sum of money, so I reckon I'll get myself one of those.

Anyway, on with the latest items of interest:

Clockwise from bottom left: some mini-karabiners (handy for attaching things to your rucksack for easy access), an assortment of bungy cords of varying lengths (ditto, as well as stopping them rattling around), an Energiser head torch with white and red light capability (7 quid from Wilkinson's including batteries - bargain), 8 metres of nylon rope (not sure what this will be for, really, but it sounds useful), a foil emergency blanket and an emergency whistle. Just in case I need to attract any sheepdogs, or pipe someone aboard a ship while we're out on the moors. You never know.

Next: I never go anywhere outdoors without my Trangia (well, if I'm just popping out to the shops I usually take a chance and leave it behind, though one of these days that is going to end in tears). It is an absolute classic piece of design, and great for all manner of weather as it doesn't blow over or out. The only problem is that it runs on methylated spirits. The reason this is a problem (and it's not a huge one) is as follows: firstly if you're going away for any length of time you need to take quite a bit of fuel with you, and secondly it's increasingly difficult to find shops that sell it. I think shops are a bit nervous that people are going to buy meths and then sit around outside on the front step swigging it, or feeding it to tramps, or something. The old-fashioned hardware shops still stock it, but they're increasingly hard to find as well. This might be a good moment to plug the one near me, Bishopston Hardware, which is a veritable Aladdin's cave of screws, reversible flange grommets, nipple grease, lawnmower parts, etc. etc. No idea if they have meths, but I bet they do. However, when I asked for a phased plasma rifle in the 40-Watt range, the cashier said "Hey, just what you see, pal", so they don't have absolutely everything. But then who does? The meths pictured (along with my 0.6 litre Sigg Brenstoffflasche) was purchased at a similarly rustic hardware shop in Dursley (or possibly Cam) just before we set off on our Dartmoor training walk a few weeks ago.

Lastly but by no means leastly, some Bovril. Very important to have a beefy drink capability while you're yomping across frozen tundra.

I didn't realise that for a couple of years Unilever had removed all trace of actual beef from the recipe because of fears over BSE, thereby turning it, effectively, into the dreaded Marmite. Apparently this was also done "to make the product suitable for vegetarians and vegans". Huh? Anyway, I checked the label and my jar (modelled here by Father Christmas, just to get you into the festive spirit) has a whopping 43% beef extract in it, so that's OK. Incidentally Father Christmas is not accompanying us to Dartmoor, though he should in theory be used to the prevailing weather, what with living at the North Pole.

There is another bit of kit I forgot - I also bought a tarpaulin for a quid from Warehouse Direct, who I think I may have plugged before, but no harm in doing it again, as they're very good. The picture shows the tarpaulin and the Trangia in use - this is us brewing up some lunch round the back of Hetty Pegler's Tump. Mmmm....noodles.


everlands said...
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everlands said...

A fascinating array of stuff. At some point this weekend I'll lay out all my gear, take a photo and then give you all an update on my preparations for this epic trip. Stay tuned.