Friday 5 March 2010

New TGO - spring backpacking and soft shell trousers

The April issue of TGO is just out. My backpacking column is about the pleasures of backpacking in spring, though I suspect that this year I’ll be backpacking in snow for much of the season! But the longer daylight and warmer temperatures will still be here – indeed, they are already noticeable. My gear review covers fifteen pairs of soft shell trousers, which have all been tested in winter weather. Elsewhere in gear John Manning reviews trail shoes and describes the gear he used on a backpacking trip in the Yorkshire Dales while Eddy Meecham looks at the toxicity of methylated spirits (as a stove fuel of course!). Amongst the other interesting contents are Emily Rodway’s interview with Mark Diggins, Co-ordinator of the Scottish Avalanche Information Service, Alastair Lee on his new Lake District photographs book (with some tempting images), Cameron McNeish on Moffatdale, Ed Douglas on Nepal’s forgotten frontier and a delightfully splenetic column on the National Trust and its list of favourite walks by Jim Perrin.

Photo info: Spring camp high in the Aonach Beag hills looking to Beinn a’Chalchair, March 2009. Canon EOS 450D, 18-55@28mm, 1/80@ f5.6, ISO 100, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.6


  1. Hi Chris,

    Do you know exactly where that photo was taken by any chance? I ask because I'll be doing an event in September that may need 3 of us to camp on/near Aonach Beag (heading up from Steall), but being from Hampshire, we're not sure yet how feasible that is. Your photo makes it look perfectly doable? We're all very experienced wild campers, just unsure of the terrain so far.



  2. Mark, that's a different Aonach Beag!
    For the one above Steall you can camp high up beside the Allt Coire Giubhsachean or on the col with Carn Mor Dearg. If the weather permits you could even camp on the summit, which is quite broad.

  3. Thanks Chris, told you I wasn't local! Mind you, I think it's done deliberately to confuse us Southerners!

    Cheers for the info,


  4. Hi Chris,

    Do you think that there will still be a lot of snow about for the TGO Challenge, and would this drive any changes to the normal Challenge kit list? I'm coming in from Australia as a first timer.

    How is your Scarp going? It looks like you don't have the lower fly?

    Regards, Michael

  5. Hi Michael,

    It's too early to say whether there will still be much snow in May. There's still masses at present but a warm spring could see most of it disappear. If there is snow it's most likely to be at high level, in which case an ice axe and crampons could be needed. I wouldn't make any other changes to gear.

    I used the Scarp on the Challenge last year and it was fine. And before that I used it in some snowy winter weather. This was before the lower fly came out of course. I now have one of these but haven't had the chance to try it yet.

  6. Hi Chris, I too noticed the Scarp in the photo. I'm being tempted by the Scarp 1 myself but reviews appear scarce. I did hear you reviewed it in the June 09 TGO but I can't find my old copy and can find nothing online. Is it possible to get hold of a copy of your review and have your views changed/evolved with use.

  7. Hi Nigel, if you send me your email address I'll send you a copy of the review. It's too long to post here. Since the review I've used the Scarp 1 on the TGO Challenge and several shorter trips and it has performed well. The latest version has a longer flysheet and so should be even better.