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Monthly Archives: October 2012

  • Rambling Associations

    It is often said that a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step, usually by people who have never walked 1000 miles, but like to sound worldly wise.

    Actually, I've never heard anyone say it, but it's a way of introducing the next bit of the blog, and it's what they call in the movies "product placement".

    1ooo Mile Socks - guaranteed blister free - check our online shop!

    They've got a clever little lining in them to help reduce friction and therefore the possibility of forming blisters. They have padding in the right places and we've got the winter weight ones in now. Christmas is coming.. what a smart stocking filler for that outdoorsy person or relative that you never know what to get!!

    Anyway, back to the script.

    Catstycam, The Outdoor Shop 's current team consists of Andrew, the owner, Jamie and Mike, the Glenridding crew and Georgia who runs the Pooley Bridge shop single handed- and a jolly good job she does too, although she does drink an awful lot of coffee.

    I've been trying to morph all the team into one character so that the new boy, who is from now on to be known as Piet can have a dialogue with one authority figure, but there aren't enough vowels, A,J,M,G see what I mean?

    I'll just use italics for the time being.

    This, by the way, is what we call, " a willing suspension of disbelief" a useful tool in literature and drama.

    Speaking of useful tools... Catstycam also sells Leatherman multi tools, a Trekmate multi tool @ £9.99, Swiss army knives and a good range of camping hardware including a neat little folding trowel, just in case you bump into a bear in the woods.

    Suspend your disbelief now please.

    So where will I be working?

    Initially here in Glenridding but sometimes at Pooley Bridge, especially during the school holidays. Glenridding is open every day, except Christmas Day, Pooley opens seven days a week from February half term to November half term, then long weekends till  the Christmas holidays when it's full time again.

    And what about product knowledge? I've got the basics and I've done walking and camping, a bit of skiing, cycling, canoeing,  stuff like that. You've got a lot of good gear here and quite a variety.

    Still, as they say, a journey of 1000...

    Yes, yes. We've already done that.

    Get the kettle on Piet, milk and one sugar for me.

    That's the hoover over there, he's called Henry, you'll get to know him quite well!

  • Winter Walking Devices

    Ice Warning Triangle

    Winter Walking

    Winter walking can be one of the greatest experiences in the Lake District, the pure solitude and beauty of making new tracks in an untouched snowscape.  But as with everything round here, there are some things to know first.  Limitations are something that don’t just apply to physical fitness or time constraints, it heavily applies to the kit we use, and how we use it.

    Walking Aids have been on the market for years in the form of Full crampons (an area we could write essays on), but for now we shall leave them in cupboard and focus on what’s available to your average walker with reasonable levels of self preservation.

    Firstly lets identify which is for you… here’s some points to help:

    • Yaktrax Walker - £14.99

      Low Level – Great on packed snow and ice, limited to lower levels.

    • Yaktrax Pro - £20.99

      Low level – Great on packed snow and ice, limited to lower levels. More secure than the walker with a toe strap and stronger coils.  More off-road than Yaktrax Walker

    • Grivel Spider - £29.99

      Low to mid – Work on snow, ice, mud, grass. Low profile with an aggressive grip.  Fits all shoes. Packs away well.

    • Hillsound Trail Crampon - £49.99

      Up to high – Very versatile, good flex to match most footwear.

    • Stubai Twin peaks - £74.99

      Up to high – Walkers crampon, slight flex, no front points, not for steep use.

    • Grivel Monte Rosa - £79.99

      High – C1 Crampon, front points, compatible with B1, B2,  B3 Boots. Lightweight. Great first pair.

    Overview

    1. Yaktrax Walker

      Yaktrax Walker

      Firstly we shall start with the Yaktrax Walker, which last year were in such demand that retailers all over the country sold out several times. They are a simple design of walking aid that works very well on packed snow and ice. The way they work is more of a 360° friction, as opposed to the aggressive purchase you see from walking spikes etc.  The benefit of which is that you don’t run the risk of creating a trip hazard with the very thing designed to help you!

    2. Yaktrax Pro

      Yaktrax Pro

      Next is Yaktrax’ other contender, the Yaktrax Pro, this follows the same design as the Walker, with the added benefit of a more durable coils, and a toestrap, this gives more security and less chance of them popping off at a crucial moment.

    3. Grivel Spider

      Grivel Spider

      Third on the list is a different solution called the Grivel Spider, a Ten-pointed instep device, which is a versatile beast devised for use on all shapes and sizes of shoe. As well as all sorts of terrains, Snow, Ice, Mud, Grass…pretty much anything they can get their teeth into!

    4. Hillsound Trail Crampon

      Hillsound Trail Crampon

      Hillsound Trail Crampon is where things start to ebb towards the more serious; here we have a rubber/chain/spike affair that comes in several sizes, working under a similar fit mechanism to the Yaktrax, but incorporating a far sturdier, far more aggressive grip design. You could really call this a miniature ten point crampon.

    5. Stubai Twin Peaks

      Stubai Twin Peaks

      Now we would look to the Stubai Twin peaks, a “walking crampon” which essentially is the same format as a full crampon but without the front points, now this is an intentional limitation, that reduces the chance of tripping and/or stabbing your stationary leg! Nice and lightweight, this crampon is aimed at the walker without a crampon rated boot, but still requires relatively stiff boot for use.

    6. Grivel Monte Rosa

      Grivel Monte Rosa

      Finally we look to the Grivel Monte Rosa, now this particular one IS a full crampon, with a C1 crampon rating.  What this means is that it is the lowest use rating afforded to a Crampon, and that you can use it with all crampon compatible boots(B1,B2,B3). This then steps up the intended use of the device, and as such the risks.  They are a great first crampon and should standardly be used with an ice-axe in hand (Ice Axes are to stop you once you’ve fallen or slipped, and are essential when on a higher level winter walk).

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