Category : Uncategorized

Berghaus Sullivan Jacket – Review

It’s been around 8 months since I purchased my Berghaus Sullivan GoreTex outer shell jacket and things have gone pretty well.

My original requirements when looking for a jacket were :-

  • 3 Layer Goretex (heavy duty)
  • Just an outer shell (none of this 18 jackets in one nonsense)
  • Able to cope with the typical demands of mountaineering in the Scottish Highlands (rain, rain, rain, snow, wind, hail etc)
  • Value for money.

At the time my local outdoor shop (Cotswold Camping in Reading) had a special offer on Berghaus Sullivans. Originally £200, they were reduced to £120 (clearance or new season stock coming in or the like).

 I can honestly say that the Berghaus Sullivan was a great buy. It fitted my needs almost to a tee. It is very comfortable to wear, very waterproof and just does the job I need well.

I do have a couple of small niggles with it :-

  • It doesn’t have a map pocket, so I need a map case and have to store it in my rucksack (pain for getting it in and out)
  • The zips on the pockets are a bit of a pain (it’s those small zips that seem to be made of a malleable plasticy material), I just leave the zips open and use the Velcro strip to hold it closed (unless it really wet, which is quite often in Scotland).

Overall, a great bit of kit – I’d recommend it to anyone and if I had known at the time of the sale, I’d have bought two !!.

 

Two weeks in and he has a name !!

Alastair Mitchell Hughes (aka ‘Wee Man’)

Two weeks in and we are starting to remember how hard this stuff is…
– Feeding at all hours of the night
– Nigh on constant nappy changing
– Sterlizing and making up bottles

But neither of us would change it for the world. He is the spit of his big sister, very wriggly (more so than Ruby was) and that look on his face when he is well and truely zonked, head back, mouth open – Amazing !!

New Baby

He’s here !!

Born at 11:10am on Friday 1st September 2006. Weighing in at 8lbs 7oz and sporting a big pair of lungs, both he and mother are fine.

The bad news is that Sarah and I have both agreed that he doesn’t look like a ‘WILLIAM’, so we’ll have to be thinking of names over the next few days / weeks.

We have a name !!

After months of debating, listing, reviewing, comparing and disagreeing and with only 3 weeks to BoB Day (Birth of Baby day) we almost have a name for the new baby…

WILLIAM

Nest is well and truly built – the whole upstairs of the house has been redecorated, carpeted, walls knocked out and rebuilt, plastered etc etc etc in the last 2 months, all the necessary items have been purchased, hospital bag is packed, baby’s clothes are bought, washed, ironed, folded and stored in the relevant drawer / chest.

Now it’s simply a case of ‘hurry up and wait’

Munrobagging – Reaching Halfway / Ticking the Fannich's

Well, I finally reached the halfway point (in fact I passed it by one) of “munrobagging” (reaching the summit of all 284 of Scotland’s munros – mountains over 3000ft).

I left work in Reading, UK at 6pm on Thursday night, drove until 1:30am when I reached Crianlarich Youth Hostel and met my brother Dougie (needed him to open the Hostel front door as they shut and lock them at 11:30pm.

ASIDE: Youth Hostels are a fantasitic way to experience Scotland, a bargain at around £11 – £13 per night (per person), hot water, extensive cooking facilities, warm bed – everything you need. Much more comfortable than our old method of ‘tent’ which now has comparable costs in many places

Anyway, back the trip report…

We stayed at Ullapool Youth Hostel on Friday night. Saturday morning we got a nice early start and drove South, dropping a car off at the bend in the Wester Ross coastal road from Garvie (GR-NH161760) – there is a fairly big (10 car) parking area just on the roadside on this bend. We jumped in the other car and headed further South (and then West) to Grudie where we left the car by the Picnic area about 100M East of Grudie Hydro Electric Power Station (GR-NH313624).
The road to Fannich Lodge was unlocked and we could have driven up it, but we didn’t know if it might be locked the next day when we eventually returned for the car – best not risk it….

So, we set off at 9:30am and walked the 7.5Km from Grudie on the Fannich Lodge road to the head of the dam at Loch Fannich – this is actually a pleasant walk and a good warm up for the day.
From the track we simply headed up the hillside onto the obvious knoll and then kinda contoured around and up onto the ridge to get an easy route to the summit of An Coileachan (923M GR-NH241680). This summit was in cloud unfortunately.
On and over to the next munro Meall Gorm (949M GR-NH221696) and a bite to eat for lunch. From there there is a small top on the ridge, the cloud cleared and the views from the ridge for pretty much the rest of the day were fantastic – Corries, Lochan, steep drops, wilderness, deer, it had everything !!

The next munro on the ridge is Sgurr Mor (1110M GR-NH203718) with a bit of a pointed summit, but to the East of this, out on a ridge lies Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich (954M GR-NH220724), also a munro (so it has to be bagged).
To do this, we contoured on a (slight) path about 100M below the summit of Sgurr Mor (1110M GR-NH203718), got onto the East ridge, dropped our rucksacs and nipped out and back.
There is a small Howff by the path (GR-NH207716) – stone built, completely enclosed – looks like someone put a fair bit of work into it, probably only fits two people sitting up.

Coming back along the East ridge, we picked up our sacks and climbed to the summit of Sgurr Mor (1110M GR-NH203718). Again, incredible views from here, we could almost see the car we’d left at the Northern point, Loch Fannich to the South and the whole ridgeline in between.
We had planned to nab the most Northern munro on the ridge on the first day, but by this stage we were getting a bit tired and so decide to head straight to our overnight camp spot by the small Lochan (GR-NH189721). This turned out to be a great spot, we set up the tent, got our sleeping mats and bags out, dived in and got some soup on (We always go for Baxters Crofters Thick Vegetable).
Had the weather held, we would have nipped out to Meall a’ Chrasgaidh (934M GR-NH185733) after our soup, but as it turned out it started heaving it down with rain so we snoozed instead.

Before we knew it it was 10:05pm, we forced ourselves away and put on evening meal (Spaghetti, Chicken and a Tomato Sauce) – this turned into a disaster (see next post)

Anyway, back to sleep and an early start the next morning (6:30am), jumped out of our sleeping bags and nipped out to Meall a’ Chrasgaidh (934M GR-NH185733), nabbed it and back to the tent for an hour long leisurely breakfast (1 munro bagged before 8am, not bad going)
After breakfast we packed up the tent etc and climbed the formidable looking (from our campsite) Sgurr nan Clach Geala (1093M GR-NH184715) – it turned out to be much easier than we expected, topped out, nice views of our planned route for the day and the whole area around us. headed South on the ridge to the low point (dropped our rucksacks) and then continued on to bag Sgurr nan Each (923M GR-NH184697). After this it was back to the sacks and then off the low point of the ridge to the bealach on the track from Loch Fannich to the boathouse at the head of Loch a’ Bhraoin (GR-NH174705) at an altitude of 500M, meaning another 500M climb the other side.

From this bealach it was heads down and into the climb, after a short time I was suprised to see the summit of Sgurr Breac (999M GR-NH158711) coming up (again much easier than I had anticipated). It was a bit of a relief getting to this summit as it was the penultimate and the last real big climb of the day. It was also the mid way point for me in terms of munros bagged (142)

If I remember correctly it was in a bit of cloud and there wasn’t a great deal of visibility at this stage so we carried on to a lower top, Toman Coinnich (935M GR-NH149713) between this and it’s Westerly neighbour. Here we left the sacks and nipped up to bag the last of our 9 Munros, A Chailleach (997M GR-NH136714). Quickly, we hurried back to the sacks and then off on the ridge to the North.
This is a nice wide ridge with a somewhat faint path, we followed this and were getting a bit sceptical as it seemed to head directly over the edge of the ridge into what was marked on the map as crags – however when we got there the path became more pronounced and picked it’s way through the crag and down the hillside to a small (ricketty) bridge at the head of the Loch. Cross the bridge (GR-NH159750), follow the track past the boathouse and on to the road and that was us – back at the car.

Day one started at 9:30am and we got to the mid camp at around 6pm (at a fairly leisurely pace)
Day two started at 6:30am and we completed it at around 3:15pm (including about an hour or so at the camp for breakfast)

All in all this was a succesful trip, very enjoyable, strenuous but not over taxing. Enough distance and climbing to make it challenging but not so much that we didn’t get to savour the surroundings.

Here’s a Google Earth view of the area we covered.

Ben Vane and Ben Ime

Saturday 15th April – drove from Rothesay (we were visiting for the Easter weekend) to Inveruglas to do Ben Vane and Ben Ime.

It starts with a pleasant (if it wasn’t raining) 3K walk along the road towards the Dam and then turns off, over a bridge to the left. After a couple of hundred metres there is a thin path heading directly up the shoulder / ridge. It’s a nice (if strenuous) walk up the ridge, however the mist came in from about 600m and the ground started giving way to snow covered ground.
The summit if fairly bland and we pretty much headed off straight away, down to the glen bewteen these two hills, found the highest point of the glen headed for that and crossed there.

It was then a log, tough slog up the hillside to a wide ridge – although, we headed directed for the summit up steep slopes (in very poor visibility and lots of snow underfoot).
We actually found the summit fairly accurately, topping out directly onto it.

The walk off was very pleasant, we headed down the ridge in a South direction to the bealach and from there down in an easterly direction to the end of the forested area where there is a landrover track all the way back to the road to the Dam.

7 ish hours all in and another 2 Munros bagged (total is now 134).

Ruby's sibling.

We found out on 27th Dec that Ruby has a little brother or sister on the way.

3rd September is the due date (by our initial calculations)…

 

New Jacket – Berghaus Sullivan III (Bargain at 120 pounds)

I popped out at lunchtime to by my brother’s Christmas present. I went to Cotswold Camping, I’ve always been a great fan of them (and Field and Trek), ever since my Army days getting me a 10% discount.

I had noticed from their website that they are selling the Berghaus Sullivan III jacket at the discounted price of £120 (normally £200). Having looked at the Sullivan previously as a good outer shell in 3 layer Goretex (not many using 3 layer now), I just could not resist buying it there and then.

It’s a fairly basic 3 layer outer shell garment, no frills, 2 mid pockets (allowing access even with a rucksack waist belt done up) and a wired hood that can be secured down with poppers. None of your ‘underarm ventilation zips’, ’56 different pockets including one for your mobile phone and one for your smoking pipe’ etc. – It’s just the kind of thing you cry out for on the hill when the rain is horizontal looks like it’s settled in for the whole week (instead of the ‘trendy’ paper-thin Paclite you decided to wear and have found that your freezing and soaked, but you did save 170 grams…)

 

Teaching Ruby 'Eskimo Kisses'

This morning, as usual I got up with Ruby at around 7am, took her downstairs whilst I made some tea and had a bit of breakfast.

I then spent 5 minutes teaching her how to do ‘Eskimo Kisses’ (rubbing noses together). She thought this was hilarious (she is only 16 months old currently) and remembered the word ‘Eskimo’. Now every time I say it she rubs her nose against yours and laughs.

This may not seem a big deal, but what a great start to my day – I know it’s going to be good and I hadn’t even left for work at that stage…

 

Nose Secretion Management

Whilst researching waterproof mitts, I came across this great feature on Outdoor Design’s Fitzroy Mitt

Flocking patch
allows for nose secretion management

All through my life my mother / girlfriend / wife have been telling me to STOP wiping my nose on my sleeve, now these guys are giving me free reign !!

I have been looking for a waterproof, breathable outer shell mitt to put over my Windstopper gloves on mountain days for some time now. It’s actually proving more difficult than I imaged to find something. Berghaus did do a Paclite Mitt that looks like it might be ideal but they are difficult to source (and I’m not sure they have the ‘Nose Secretion Management’ feature…)

Anyway, now I have settled on a pair of Extremities Tuff Bags – these babies have a Goretex outer with a re-enforced palm, no inner lining (so I can use my own gloves) and the cheapest place I’ve seen them is at ‘Up and Under’ for £31.50 plus £3 P&P