Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review: Alpkit Morphosis - first look.


I called in at Alpkit on my return from Nepal to check out their new Morphosis Jacket. I was so impressed with it that I also bought the Half-Zip Top too.
My old Softshell has started to see better days and I was looking to replace it. The Morphosis is Alpkit's modern slant on the classic softshell. It's classic Alpkit - all function and no faff, just how I like my gear.
It's made from a breathable, wind resistant, DWR coated outer material that has a bit of stretch, and a 140gsm micro-gridded fleece liner. The fleece liner is exempt from under the arms and the sides, ideal for heat control under exertion. The usual stuff like internal baffles and hem & hood adjustment are simple and effective. I'm a regular medium and the fit and cut are excellent.

With some foul weather on the near horizon I'm looking forward to giving them a rigorous test. I'll let you know how I fare in a couple of months. Below is a bit of information to be getting on with.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Stop all the clocks...

Darren Holloway 1970-2012.
Why would one year be different to the next? Isn't it strange how we put significance to some numbers more than others, when, in fact, they are really just numbers?
Today doesn't feel like just a number.
The wind outside is howling through the trees. The sky, although not quite leaden, is brooding with the threat of rain; and yet, just occasionally, the sun pops through to briefly brighten the spirit.
It is five years today since Darren died.
It is one of those significant anniversaries, one of those significant numbers. Insignificant to all but those who knew and loved him, significant to me.
I'm being battered by that wind today, a hurricane of emotions cloud my every thought. A deluge of tears threaten to sweep me away at any moment. And yet, just occasionally, the sun pops through the clouds and saves me, a memory of Daz; a fleeting glimpse of a moment shared, to lift me up and remind me that, although he is lost to us, he is still with us every day in our hearts and minds.
Darren, my cousin, was a Fell Runner who fell, running, high upon the Fairfield Horsehoe on October 7th 2012.

You may have slipped the surly bonds of earth my brother, but the bond around our hearts grows stronger with each passing day. We love you DazH. Dig in.

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Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Less is more. Finding Nemo.


The Final Frontier.
Last year I awakened a whole new passion: singlespeed mountainbiking. I hadn't ridden a singlespeed bike for well over 20 years.
I brought a cheap, but good value, Vitus Dee 29er from Chain Reaction Cycles for commuting. it proved to be something of a personal revelation. I had been a bit of a sceptic when it came to singlespeed mountainbikes, partially dismissing them as ridiculous, and a hipster fashion accessory. I was wrong (well partially wrong, they're still a hipster fashion accessory).
After 15 months of regular use I decided to build myself something a bit more suitable to my all round needs, a bit more trail friendly if you like. Fortunately I have a shed full of components stuffed in boxes or just laying around so the actual build hasn't cost me an awful lot of money (well it cost me money once upon a time but not on this occasion).
Also considering the support I have had from Alpkit over the last few years I thought it was about time I stepped across one of their very highly regarded Sonder machines.
So my starting point was their new entry level hardtail frame & fork bundle - The Frontier - a bike they have designed as an all-rounder for everything from "campsite and crag" to "trail centre and bikepacking". It's sound like just the bike for me, plus I was particularly enamoured with the "Nemo" blue colour scheme, and the ability to run plus sized tyres should I wish to. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Fungi Factor.


With my recent incapacitation I've been forced to enjoy my wood as a spectator for a change. 
Thankfully most of the work takes place in the winter months so I haven't got behind with my plans.
I have been popping down quite regularly to keep an eye on it, and to enjoy the changing of the seasons. It's very nice to just wander around rather than spend my time working away like a demented beaver.
Long gone are the tumultuous swathes of spring flowers. The soil is becoming damp underfoot, the woodland floor is carpeted with a million acorns, and the leaves are started to change & fall.
August and September have seen a proliferation of fungi blooms, some of which, as you will see from the photographs, have been spectacular. I like fungi, a lot. It's fundamentally important to the health of the wood, and I seem to have quite a variety. I am, however, hopeless at identifying individual species, but I do enjoy spotting new ones.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Peaks 200 - by Mitch Bryan & Pascal Lally




Rainbow Chasers Mitch Bryan, Martin Tansley, and Pascal Lally recently took on The Peak 200, an Individual Time Trial (ITT) that circumnavigates most of The Peak District National Park. This is their account of an epic days mountain biking. I really enjoyed reading it; I hope you enjoy it too.


Mitch takes up the first half of the story:

"What time do you reckon it is?"
"Erm... 22:30?"
"You what! Try 01:30"
"Oh"

Where had the time gone? As I lent against the fence trying to force down one more gel into my grumbling stomach I pondered how time had run away from me. It only seemed like an hour at the most since Pascal and Martin had switched on their lights as we began our final technical descent into Roych Clough. And yet now here we were taking a moment to refuel after pushing our not so laden bikes up the steep sided valley out of Chee Dale.

I could hardly believe that over twenty hours earlier the three of us had set off from the pub car park at Rowsley full of apprehension for what the rest of the day had in store for us as we attempted to complete the Peak 200 ITT in under twenty four hours, although I hadn't told Martin and Pascal this as it thought it might have put them off.