Scotland – 2012

The ‘Prep’ phase…

6 days to go….So, kit prep, trip prep, food prep, it’s almost endless.

Over the past week I had been ‘ummming’ & ‘arghhhing’ over using Hostels / Bothys / B&B’s and camping. I have all the camping equipment you could shake a stick at but I felt like or at least had an attraction towards using a B&B, until that is, I started to think and pencil down the route I thought I would most like to take through the country.

I found that, as I have never been to Scotland I couldn’t decide where I really wanted to go or what I wanted to see & do. I decided in the end that, I couldn’t book a B&B, or any accommodation for that matter because I really don’t know if I’d ever arrive, I’m the type of person to see a place or road that looks interesting and follow it until something else catches my eye. Every time I found a nice looking place, I found another, then another… I found small single tracks that went off into the middle of no where, this is what I want, freedom. No plan, no destination.

Wild camping was the only thing for me, out in the wilderness, away from civilisation and going at my own pace. I have been researching and spending a lot of time on looking for the best wild camping spots, unfortunately a lot of them really are off the beaten track and only accessible by foot. In this case I started to scope some places on Google’s street view and through the posts from others on various camping forums.

Jack Wolfskin – Gossamer

I currently have a Coleman Bedrock 2, 2 person tent that I have been using for camping, however, as it’s only me on this trip I decided to look at a new tent for several reasons and something smaller that would be less space for my body to heat up and keep warm. I initially looked at small 1 person tents but soon stumbled across a hooped bivi made by Jack Wolfskin called the Gossamer and at £90.00 RRP I set to work to see how much I could pick one up for… £68.99 later from Trailblazer Outdoors, I soon had my new bivi delivered to my door.

 

After looking at the temperatures in various places around

Mountain Equipment Starlight IV

Scotland I soon decided that my small sleeping back I picked up from Decathlon in France would suffice, until I spoke to my father, who said I’d be mad not to buy a proper down or synthetic down bag for the trip as mine did only have a comfort rating of +9 Deg C and the temperatures are expected to drop to around 0 Deg C to +5 Deg C… So a trip to the local camping shop was called for. What I hadn’t expected to do was come out with far more goods than I really needed.

Thermarest Neo Air Xlite

I picked up a Mountain Equipment Starlight IV sleeping bag that has a temperature rating of +5 Deg C to -18 Deg C, Just perfect for my trip! I paid £108.00 for the bag From Go Outdoors. I spoke to a chap there called Chris who was up to speed on his knowledge base, I like those individuals you find in such commercialized shops like Go Outdoors, the sort of people that you only ever expect to find in the more pricey independent stores, not that many of those around around anymore. So after selecting the sleeping bag I had a quick thought, what about a sleeping mat?

Oh dear… I came away with the Thermarest Neo Air Xlite, something I didn’t need but boy, it’s so tiny I had to! The Thermarest Neo air Xlite come in at a price of £108.00, the best money I have ever spent on a roll mat! I tested the Bivi, sleeping bag and tent in the garden a few days ago and I’m so impressed with the roll mat, it’s immensely comfortable, if not more comfortable than my bed, that’s saying something!

Pitching and erecting the Bivi was simple, as you’d expect and it’s a very light tent certainly around the 1.5KG mark, the poles are super flexible and the material certainly feels durable, however it does suffer, like any other tent from Condensation, also, the fly sheet can not be removed from the inner but rolled up, in very wet circumstances, this may be a problem as it will get the inner wet. If it does get the inner wet at least it’s mesh and should hopefully dry quickly.

After a successful night under the stars in the Garden, I can say I am very pleased with my purchases so far, but, the real test will be Scotland.

I have selected to buy food from a company called Look What We Found, they produce food similar to other companies such as Wayfarer but LWWF isn’t so camping orientated so I thought I’d give them a shot to my usual Wayfarer selection.

This weekend I also selected some  entertainment for the trip. I have selected to use Spotify premium for the trips lonely moments when the going gets tough and I need something to take my mind off things, that happens on every trip right? right. Spotify charge only £9.99 for a months unlimited music, which for things like this is perfect, especially as a solo traveler I enjoy some musical entertainment.

I think now, apart from packing the bike up and checking the goods off my list, I’m done. Thursday night I’ll clean and lube the bike before departure to Worcester initially on Friday night which will take an hour off my journey before I start, a head start! 🙂