Sunday, 25 August 2013
Ireland. Last Day.Slieve Binnian. Gear Review.
'God loves a trier!' I told myself.
The photograph above is a small zoomed section of the Slieve Binnian ridge. A magnificent mountain with close to a dozen separate large tors spread out along it's long central spine. It looked impressive and immediately caught the eye from Slieve Bearnagh the previous day.
Approaching Slieve Bearnagh. What a difference one days weather makes.
He was kind enough to drop me off at the gates of the Silent Valley Mountain Park. This is just under £5 pounds to get in with a car so I proceeded on foot up a long straight boulevard lined with trees until I came to the dam itself.
On a good clear day a better option I think would be to travel up the flat water board road along the floor of the silent valley reservoir then up to the secondary dam. From here the map shows a good path up over Buzzard's Roost then the Back Castles, exploring every tor on the mountain. That would be a spectacular outing but a long hard day best saved for decent weather.
I struggled back down over rocks and grass heaving with torrents of water. Water ran up both sleeves on the scrambling sections as it had been a surprisingly arduous ascent this way over boulders and short slabs of moss and rock. Streams and substantial puddles appeared where puddles had not been before an hour ago. Back down at the reservoir area not a car or a visitor remained in the car park and the rain hammered off the tarmac all the way out to the main road.. I felt like God's lonely man as I walked shivering alone down that mile long straight corridor of tarmac with not a soul in sight as the heavens opened like Noah's Flood.
Graeme and Sandra had enjoyed a pleasant time down at the coast and rolled up just in time to save me from hypothermia. Cant win them all!
A fantastic hill I can recommend on a good day. Fairly grim on a bad one.
It has not gone unnoticed that everyone else on blogs seems to have received free gear to review apart from me despite the fact that I am out doing adventurous stuff nearly every weekend. Maybe I'm not the right sort of person or I'm just not in the loop:) To be honest I've never been that interested in what's the best gear, or reading about it, or surfing though mountaineering or hillwalking forums. Everybody's different. I've always preferred just doing it rather than reading about it. Same with the Tour de France. I enjoy cycling but have no interest in watching anyone else doing it unless it's a tour through the worst housing schemes of Paris I haven't been to yet. Now that would be fun viewing.
So I'd probably make a crap gear reviewer anyway as I'm not that fussed what's the most stylish or elegant as long as it does the job and it's cheap but I do know a bargain when I see one.
As I decided to purchase an Asda Ozark Trail 2 Person Tent for £25 pounds and an Asda Ozark Mummy Sleeping Bag for £12 pounds for the Mourne camping trip, and, feeling left out, sniff, sniff, I thought I'd review them instead :)
It's also too heavy and bulky for enjoyable lightweight back packing but apart from that it's a cracking tent for the price. It looked durable enough to stand up to most conditions apart from severe winds and stayed dry inside even after heavy overnight rain. Other online reviews state that it remained dry after a week long rock festival where it rained most days with an amorous young couple inside, on drugs, humping nonstop every night. That's road testing the equipment with a dedicated approach. Serious competition to the established models of tents I'd imagine. Market forces at their best. Although I use supermarkets regularly for speed and convenience they really are the tiger at the bottom of the garden, eating up any other animal within reach or sight. A full range of camping gear. What area will the supermarkets get into next I wonder? Must be a big worry for any independent business that. They've already slashed the price of new paperback books and DVD,s to £3 each which is good news for the buyer but really bad news for the creators of the work. Might as well give it away for free at that price by the time the publisher and agent take off their percentage.
They do a cheap spacious day rucksack as well 45litre capacity £16 pounds in bright orange and grey/white similar to the tent colours. The whole three items for £53 quid. That's a real bargain for anyone starting out.