Tuesday 18 August 2009

Coast to Coast Preparations 1

I’ve just counted the days until our Scottish Coast to Coast and now wish I hadn't - 38 days is a long time.

Booking the flights a few weeks ago made it all seem real and I’ve been busy getting or making the things I need to take. Gear-wise I think I’m getting there, gradually ticking things off the list. It was quite  shock to see how many extras I need. It’s the little things that I wouldn’t take on an overnighter but are necessary for a longer trip. Things like a tick remover, foot cream, a length of dyneema, a larger pack towel, a few more dry bags, a toilet trowel and of course a larger hip flask! Like most lightweight enthusiasts I’ve also made the very light MSR tent peg toilet trowel, courtesy of Colin Ibbotson! This has to be the equivalent of my 18th birthday in terms of lightweight backpacking!

Some of you may remember that I was after a lighter pack for this trip and had decided on the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus. However it looks like this isn’t going to be coming with me as Grant at GG and Ian at Winwood are all out of the medium sized packs until an unknown time in September. I highly doubt I’ll be able to get one in time so I’m planning on taking the trusty Litespeed for now.

There are a couple of logistical issues I still need to iron out before we fly and these are an unfortunate consequence of our mode of transport. Although we knew that flying enabled us to make the most of our time in the hills, some inconveniences are quickly restoring karma! As I can’t take gas onto the plane I’m having to work out where I can buy gas or if I can post it ahead. For most this wouldn’t be a problem but timing on the first day is a little tight so we could do without having to go into Inverness to buy gas. I’m sure we’ll sort something.

I’m having to be quite careful with packing so I can get the poles inside the pack for the flight and not have to carry too much as hand luggage. I’ve got an OMM Trio chest pouch for additional storage which I’m hoping will make life slightly easier.

I’ve been playing with my spreadsheet (I know, I know) and bar a few last minute additions I think I’ve got the overall pack weight to around 10.5kg. This for me is positively heavy but I will tolerate it knowing that I’m carrying 6 days of food and fuel. The base weight for this trip, including spare clothes and crocs etc is 7.7kg so by mid-way through I should be looking at a more reasonable weight.

More to follow as the plan evolves….


Alan Sloman said...


From where and to which destination?

Looking forward to it, Dude!

James Boulter said...

You cant beat the anticipation of a good backpacking trip!

Dave Hollin said...

bet you cant wait eh? ;)

Shame about the GG rucksack not being there in time. I have a 2008 GG Mariposa pack and its very good for long distance trips.

The weight of 10ish kilos inc 6 days food isnt that bad! The thing with week long trips is that the devil-may-care attitude some of us develop for weekend trips disappears. Yes you probably do need back ups of clothing here and there!!!

James Boulter said...

When is the magic date?

Marcus said...

Sorry for no response guys, I neglected to moderate the comments and apparently I have to do that now!

All over it right now guys. Its Evanton to Ullapool Alan and I cannot wait.

James, I have you to thank for this trip really as we were qwuite deflated about having to abandon our Cape Wrath walk until I saw your report. The magic date is the 23rd!

The Mariposa Plus is a shame but now I'm starting to think that it should have been the Gorilla all along. Seems a bit more durable for the same weight and is more compact for my style of backpacking. 10Kg is nothing really but for some reason I can't let it go!