Thursday, 23 January 2014

A new year and a new adventure off the beaten path

So its been a while since I penned anything on this here blog, but with the new year and new enthusiasm here I go. A quick look back at last year reveals a odd one, We found courses tough to sell? Our theory being that Packrafting is still at the 'early adopters' stage meaning it's still a bit new and radical for the general person. We still whole heartedly believe in the brilliant adventure tool that is an Alpacka Packraft and the Adventures having one or lending/borrowing/hiring one can bring.
Talking of hire, we will be hiring Packrafts this year, keepem peeled for more info.

So courses in 2014 might take a bit of a back seat while we continue to grow our online store, selling lots of cool things that help you have amazing adventures. our continuing partnership with Revelate Designs Probably the best bikepacking gear on the planet. As well as Cumulus sleeping bags who sell brilliant valued and feature rich down sleeping bags designed for UK conditions. Also having just secured a partnership with Force ten tents and sleeping bags who have been making great gear for donkeys years. some of there new tents are making people sit up and look and listen with amazing weight and fully featured technical bits and bobs at a cracking price point to boot.

Having recently moved into new business premises, the future seems good and having got some good  no Great ........ Amazing news on monday this week concerning another partnership that will see us bringing some amazing gear to you adventure seekers, things are looking the best they have ever.
More on this very soon.

P.S super excited totes amazballs!!!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Silva PAVE bicycle light reveiew

Silva Pave Bike Light
                                             550 lumen output and only 50 grams in weight                

The Pave is Silva's top of the range light designed specifically for bikes. The Silva Pave is ultra lightweight, compact and astonishingly bright.
Powered by 2 ultra bright LED bulbs the Pave delivers 550 lumens of output, and thanks to Silvas Intelligent Lighting system the light is directed to exactly where it is needed.
The light can be easily mounted on the handlebars of your bike, or if you prefer on top of your helmet. Mounting the light is a simple process that needs no extra tools, as it is all done with the integrated rubber strap that comes with the light.
The Silva Pave comes supplied with an externally rechargeable battery pack, which can be easily mounted on the frame of your bike. The Pave has also been designed with cold weather in mind, as all of the controls and adjustments can be carried out while wearing gloves. 
Our Verdict
  • Having used exposure lights for donkeys years I thought going back to the faff of wires and batteries would be to much, but I was wrong this light is faff free, It take 10 seconds to attach and 2 to take off.
  • Ultralight weight.
  • Battery life survived some blinking cold rides around  minus 10  and I didn't notice much reduction in burn time.
  • Astonishingly powerful on full power mode. 550 lumen output. With 2 hours 30mins  battery life.
If you need a lightweight powerful bike light then this is the one to get. At only 50 grams and with a 550 lumen output the figures speak for themselves. Not the cheapest bike light available, but with excellent build quality and its amazing specs you wont be disappointed..
Silva Pave Bike Light Product Features
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Attaches to Handlebars or Helmet
  • Easy to attach / detach (when going to the pub for post ride pint)
  • Large on / off button

Stuff we would like to see as an option
  • Silva do a Running version of this light with a elastic headband, we would like this head band to available aftermarket as we at come from a bit more of an adventure slant and the option to wear the light around the campsite appeals.
  • Another option that would be amazing would be the option of a battery pack that takes standard batteries, this would mean on prolonged tours finding new power would be easier.

Silva Pave Bike Light Product Specifications

Light modes
                                                                    Max, Min, Wide, Blink
Batteries / type
                                                                    2,5Ah 7,4V Li-ion
Discharge time                                               ( Max / Min / Wide / Blink )
                                                                   2h 30min / 10h /10h / 20h
Light distance 
                                                                   90 metres
Weight ( excl Batteries )
                                                                   50 grams
Bulb type
                                                                   2 x High power LED
Beam pattern
                                                                   Silva Intelligent Light
Temperature operating range
                                                                   -20°C -  -  + 60°C would like to thank Silva UK for enabling us to test this awesome new bit of kit.


Saturday, 29 September 2012

Pushing my bike up big bloody mountains part II.

As the next day dawned, wall to wall sunshine it was not, in fact wall to wall, floor to ceiling pissing down rain it was. Listening to the rain on the tent was not good but I thought to myself "it always sounds worse than it is" but no, it was pissing down!

 We retreated to Sourlies in the hope that after breakfast the rain would have eased, but no I think it just got worse. Eventually we plucked up the courage to pack up and start the next stage of our adventure through Glen Dessarry.

 Now we had read lots about Dessarry and none of it was good, but the stubborn men we are thought it'd be OK. It wasn't OK in fact it was pretty far from OK and the lashing rain only made it worse. At one point we had to stop and look at the map just to check that the burn we were walking up was in fact the path. Upon reaching the high point before Lochain a Mhaim and narrowly avoiding falling to our death down a ravine there was the first chance to ride our bikes that day (4 hours in). We cycled round the edge of and into the now swollen Lochain a Mhaim and then pushed the last wee bit to the water shed where, after a little route finding, we descended all the way down to A Chuil Bothy. This was not in the plan but we had wildly underestimated the amount of time Dessary would take and soaked to the skin we hid inside and built a huge fire to dry our wet kit. We had planned to make it over into Glen Kingie and out towards the Tomdoun hotel for beer and hot food.

 The next day it was dry so we got a move on and ate breakfast. Now at this point we realized that our pal Dawid was surviving on rolled oats, as in rolled oats for breakfast, rolled oats for lunch and rolled oats for dinner either with cheese or raisins and all washed down with nettle tea. The plan for today was to make it to Barrisdale Bay not too far as the crow flies but a bloody long way via the village of Kingie. So off we set and within an hour the first hike a bike of the day was well under way taking the path heading north from Glen Dessarry House towards Glen Kingie. Upon reaching the high point we were confronted with a vast boggy Bealach with an Argo cat track weaving it's way through the peat hags, my fat fronted Salsa el mariachi found the going a little easier than the others but it was still hard going every time the trail pointed upward. As we neared the descent into Kingie the ridge comprising of Sgurr Mor Sgurr Beag and Sgurr a Fuarain dominated the skyline this helped take my mind away from the effort I was having to put in to keep the wheels rolling. Soon the trail pointed down and the surface firmed up into what seemed to be an old zigzag stalkers track we enjoyed the rocky corners, steep sections and boulder strewn single track until we reached the river Kingie where again it was time to get our feet wet. By this time our bellies were crying out for food so in the shadow of Sgurr Mor we tucked into some grub. My choice was a tub of nutella and a tub of full fat butter and oat cakes, yum ! Dawid had rolled oats!

 We cracked on, as time was against us. The next section of trail was a seldom used land rover track but the going was good and at times I was even enjoying the ride ;-) right up until the point we ended up in the wind blown, devastated forest of doom, crawling under deer fencing, up to our thighs in gloop then appearing out of the wind blown devastated forest of doom in the wrong place and having to cross the river Kingie which was about 20m wide thigh to waist deep and about a grade II rapid! But we made it and regrouped our thoughts on the other side and cracked on towards Barrisdale.

 This section was on the road and let me tell you road riding can be good at times. The road followed the edge of Loch Quioch and we just enjoyed the views in between the passing squalls and put some km's under our belt. The final descent to Kinloch Hourn was mental tight ,twisting, undulating ,super fast, horses and great views. We reached the bottom and quickly decided to keep going as our destination of Barrisdale Bay was still 8km away on what we thought would be a nice coastal track with a couple of wee ups and downs. But after the monster day we'd had it just about killed us, the hike a bike bits had ruts as deep as I'm tall! Finally the bay came into sight and at this point we all went into survival mode and zoomed down the last wee descent and around the corner to Barrisdale Bothy. The light was fading and it was starting to rain again, so we nipped into the bothy to see if there was any room at the inn. We were met with a frosty reception with a couple people not even bothering to look up and acknowledge our existence. I had a quick look in the bedrooms only to see a sleeping bag on every bed ;0 so back outside it was to pitch our tents and cook some food.

 The next bit I don't really remember but Phil who was sharing a tent with me said he woke up at some point  to see me asleep in my dinner!     


Monday, 7 May 2012

Knoydart - the return!

This time last year we headed out to Knoydart on a bit of a 'hell biking' trip to ride as much out there as we could.  So after a winter of rubbish snow, and being ill, thoughts headed back to the 'rough bounds'.  We decided to take advantage of a good weekend forecast and head out for another wee trip there before the midge wake up.  Instead of bikes we grabbed our packrafts and a bit of walking kit and headed off.  I must admit that, outside work, I do very little hill walking these days - the lure of shiny kit and speed generally wins!  The packrafts could well be changing this though, the ability to gain access to remote areas or link together previously unthinkable routes allows some amazing adventures to be put together.  We came up with a two day trip that involved a paddle and walk each day with a wild camp in between, linking fresh and sea lochs and some of the old Knoydart estate tracks.  This really is an amazing place and I would recommend everyone goes there at least once, it can be hardcore or a chilled trip like this one but it will always leave a lasting memory.

Barrisdale bay

Flooding to make the resevoir has removed the peat but leaves clues of the past.

Paddling out along Loch Hourn with following tide and wind - life is good.

Now little used estate tracks, someone put a lot of work into these at one time.