Thursday 25 April 2024

April Snow on Creag Meagaidh

Camp in Coire Ardair

High pressure building. Wind dropping. Clear skies. The forecast for the Cairngorms looked good. My friend Tony Hobbs arranged to come up from England for his third trip this winter to gain experience in snow in the mountains. There was still some left high up, as often in April. The first trip, in January, we had crossed the Moine Mhor and camped in the snow but hadn’t needed to use ice axes or crampons, something Tony was keen to do. On the second trip in February high winds had prevented us even reaching the snow.

Once arrangements were confirmed the forecast began to change until strong winds and fog were forecast despite the high pressure. The weather looked better further west so I suggested Creag Meagaidh, almost as high as the Cairngorms and still likely to have snow.

Lochan a' Choire

Late on a cloudy, breezy afternoon we walked up Coire Ardair to Lochan a’ Choire below the huge impressive Creag Meagaidh cliffs, still encouragingly splattered with snow, where I’d camped many times before. Not this evening though. The few places flat enough for a tent were sodden, oozing water at every step. We retreated back down the path and soon spotted what looked a suitable spot on the other side of the Allt Coire Ardair. With care we crossed the rushing water on mostly submerged rocks, managing not to get water over the tops of our boots. The area we’d seen was dry in places and fairly flat. It would do.


The view up the corrie to the cliffs was magnificent. However a cold wind sweeping down the corrie meant we pitched our tents facing the other way.  The sky was cloudy but began to clear at dusk, the sky briefly turning pink and orange. Later a moon started to pierce the thinning clouds. It’s light soon dimmed though as the clouds thickened again. The night was quite warm, with a low of 4°C. A gusty breeze blew.

No need to hurry! Tony has a brew.

At dawn mist covered the top of the cliffs. The forecast was for a clearance in the afternoon and sunshine by 4pm. A good excuse for another brew and a slow morning. It was after noon when we finally set off back up the corrie to the lochan. The joys of the long hours of spring daylight!

Tony reaching the top of the steep snow in The Window

The way on to Creag Meagaidh leads up a wide rocky gully known as The Window. It’s just a steep walk but can require the use of ice axe and crampons when filled with snow. This day the lower section was snow free but at the top we had to climb a snow slope. There were big steps from previous walkers and the snow was soft. Even so we used our ice axes, a good opportunity for Tony to use his for the first time.

Tony going through The Window

At the top of The Window we met a walker coming down from Creag Meagaidh. Mist up there, he said, and lots of snow. He was right about the latter but not the former for us. As forecast the clouds began to lift and although the sky was dark the summit was clear. The sun began to appear, right on cue. Also as forecast there was a strong cold wind though so we didn’t linger.

Tony and his dog Lassie on the summit

We did stay high for a while, relishing the feeling of space on the vast Creag Meagaidh plateau and enjoying the views of other peaks fading into the hazy distance. From the summit we crossed big snowfields to Puist Coire Ardair on the edge of the cliffs and then less snowy terrain on the gentle descent to Sron a’ Choire. 

Descending snowfields to Puist Coire Ardair

The views from the edge of Coire Ardair were superb but the wind rushing up from below was ferocious and we mostly kept back from the edge.

View down to Lochan a' Choire. The Window is the notch in the centre.

Steep boggy slopes with a few snow patches led back down into Coire Ardair and a walk back up the corrie to our tents. A great late winter day.


That night the sky did clear, the temperature falling to just below zero. The strong wind that had me lowering the edges of my tent to keep it out was gone by dawn. I woke to cliffs glowing golden brown as the sun rose. Glorious, glorious light!

Walking out. (Thanks to Tony for taking the photo).

Without time to do anything more we packed up and walked back down the path to the cars, satisfied.

In camp (thanks to Tony for taking the picture)

Tony in the Window

Crossing the snow on the plateau

Cornices on the cliffs

View to Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin and Stob Coire Easain

Golden dawn light


Wednesday 17 April 2024

High Summer Update

Mount Sir Alexander, a great view on a tough day of cross-country travel. September 3.

As it's over a month since I mentioned the new edition of my book High Summer about my walk the length of the Canadian Rockies in 1988 I thought I'd give a brief update and show a few of the pictures I've scanned so far. 

Unnamed lake near the Graham River. October 5.

The book should be out in the not too distant future once I've sent more images to Andrew Terrill, who is publishing the book through his imprint, Enchanted Rock Press. Andrew then works some magic on the images to prepare them for publication, which will be in colour in the e-book and black and white in the print edition (due to the cost of colour printing). Andrew has also recently posted an update on his blog with some of the pictures he has prepared. 

Brew stop on a cold sunny day in the forest in the Hook Creek valley. September 18.

There will be far more photos in the new edition than the twenty in the original one, which will, I hope, show much more about what the walk was like and the variety of landscape, weather, and terrain involved.

Trail in the rain near Maligne Pass. August 1.

Now back to scanning more slides!

Halfway River. October 6

Now back to scanning more slides!

Monday 15 April 2024

Thirty Years Ago In Greenland


First snow camp

Searching through my rather disorganised photos from film days for more Canadian Rockies ones for the forthcoming reissue of my book High Summer I came across some black and white prints from a trip to SW Greenland in 1994.

On Tasermuilt fjord

The pictures are from the first four days of a two week trip - I'll see if I can find some from the rest of the trip. I was leading the expedition for a company called Mountain & Wildlife Ventures for whom I worked every winter and spring in the 1990s on ski tours. On this trip I had a co-leader, a mountain guide from the Lake District called John White, as we planned on climbing some summits. I was responsible for the ski touring and the camping, John for the mountaineering.

John White

A fishing boat took us some 50+km up a fjord hemmed in by magnificent rock spires and towers rising some 1500 metres out of the water. This was a breathtaking landscape.

A view from the boat

The boat dropped us on a beach near the head of the fjord where we camped for one very windy night. For the next two weeks we were on our own. With ski gear, climbing gear, camping gear, and all our food our loads were heavy so we'd brought two pulks to handle some of it. As there was no snow lower down these were more of a nuisance at first.

The first two days were spent moving our gear inland to the toe of a glacier that would take us up to the icecap. This was slow hard work. The first day we managed 4km, the second 8. The scenery was wonderful though.

First inland camp

The glacier was steep enough that hauling our pulks up using skis, or more likely crampons (the glacier ice was hard), looked difficult - and there were stony ice-free sections to ascend too. John's climbing and mountain rescue (he was a member of a Lake District team) came in useful here and he set up a pulley system that worked well. Soime members of the group didn't really like him referring to the pulks as stretchers though!

Our first camp on snow was at the top of this glacier. From there we climbed much more easily to the icecap and what was meant to be our base camp for climbs and ski tours over the next week. This didn't happen though. Instead we sat in the tents for four days as a warm, wet storm raged, wrapping us in mist and rain.

When there was finally a clearance we decided we should head down whilst we could do so safely. We stopped again at the toe of the glacier and made one easy ascent of a small peak that was actually lower than our camp on the icecap. Then it was back down to a beach camp and a day waiting for the boat. 

Even though we hadn't gone far, just some 20k in a straight line, it had been an exciting trip in a glorious wild landscape. Mind you, the next two years we went to California!


Photographic note: the original photos were taken on Ilford HP5 Plus 400 ISO black and white print film with a Nikon FM2 SLR and Nikon 24mm lens. I photographed the prints with my Sony a6600 camera and Sony 35mm lens and processed the raw files in DxO Photolab and the HP5 Plus rendering in DxO FilmPack.

I also carried a Nikon F801 SLR and Nikon 28-70 zoom lens which I used with slide film. I'll have to see if I can find these images.

Sunday 14 April 2024

Book Review: Playing Tribute by Graham Forbes - about rock and roll not mountains!

Back in 2012 I read Graham Forbes' first book Rock and Roll Mountains and enjoyed it very much. The book tells the story of the author's discovery of the pleasures of mountaineering after a life as a musician. Indeed, I liked it enough to read Forbes' following books, Rock and Roll Tourist and Rock and Roll Busker, which are also good but without the outdoors content.Now he's written a book about his return to playing and touring as a member of various tribute bands and its a wonderful insight into these bands and the people who play in them. Here he tells the gritty stories of life on the road, the hardships and excitement involved, and the joy of being a working musician. It's a reminder that there are far more people playing music, and loving doing so, than the big name stars and that their stories are worth telling. Unlike his other books it doesn't have "Rock and Roll" in the title but that's what it's about.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

A Spring Trip Last Year With A Look At The Gear I Used

A chilly morning at the camp in Glen Affric
Glen Affric is one of my favourite glens and I hadn’t been there for over a year, which is far too long, so I decided to make a visit my first spring trip of the year. I started the walk on a sunny day along the Kintail-Affric Way in the woods above Loch Affric, an easy stroll on a forest track with good views over the trees to the hills.

Leaving the woods behind I walked up the open upper glen and camped near the river Affric, a fine site with spacious views. That evening I sat watching the sun set over the mountains, glowing gold in the last light. As the sky darkened stars appeared and the temperature quickly dropped. Dew formed on the tent and soon froze. There was no wind.

A frosty starry night

By dawn the tent was crackling with frost inside and out. The hills were in mist, soon dispersed by the sun and the sky was clear when I set off on the track up to the Bealach Coire Ghaidheil.

One reason for taking this route was to explore a path marked on the map that made a rising traverse across the hillside from the bealach then stopped abruptly not far below the summit of Mam Sodhail. I couldn’t remember ever taking this path before and I wondered how clear it was and if it really did just stop part way across the hillside. It turned out to be more dramatic than I expected. The path is narrow but easy to follow - I don’t think many people come this way as it’s not an obvious route – and towards the end it runs along the edge of steep crags with excellent views of Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe, the two highest summits north of the Great Glen.

Carn Eighe and Mam Sodhail from the path from the Bealach Coire Ghaidheil

The path did just stop too but from its end it was an easy short walk up grassy slopes to the ridge above and then on to Mam Sodhail and its massive cairn, built by the Ordnance Survey in 1848. The wind was strong and cold on the summit. The views were excellent though distant hills were hazy.

My plan had been to take a path down into Coire Coulavie but the top of this was blocked by a large steep snowbank. Attempting to descend this without ice axe or crampons seemed unwise so instead I took the long ridge over Mullach Cadha Rainich to Sgurr na Lapaich. This is a splendid walk and gave better views than I’d have had in the corrie anyway.

The ridge to Sgurr na Lapaich

As the wind was fierce on the ridge I descended from Sgurr na Lapaich before camping. An intricate rough narrow path winds a way down through little crags on the steep south-east ridge of the hill to a flat boggy area where I had to continue a fair way before finding anywhere dry to camp. Here on the edge of the woods I was sheltered a little from the strengthening wind. The sky was clouding over and that night there was no dew or condensation. In the morning it was just a short walk through the trees to my car.

Camp below Sgurr na Lapaich

Planning & Preparation

The forecast was for sunny and windy weather the first two days with a frost at night then clouding over with rain on the third day. As usual for spring trips in the Scottish Highlands this suggested a bit warmer sleeping bag and clothing than in summer but not full winter kit.

Glen Affric & Beinn Fhada

As the weather had been hot for the past week I suspected there’d be little snow left so I didn’t take ice axe or crampons. As it was I had to change my route once due to a steep snowbank. The dry weather also suggested the ground would be fairly dry so I chose non-waterproof footwear, reckoning comfort from good breathability preventing sweaty feet would be more important than keeping out water. My feet did get damp once, in the bogs below Sgurr na Lapaich near the end of the second day.

I planned on low level camps due to the likelihood of strong winds up high, though I still took a tent with good wind resistance.

As I intended climbing at least one Munro with the full pack and I knew the ascents in the area were steep I wanted to keep the weight as low as possible so where there were choices I went for the lighter option.



Atom Packs The Mo VX60    935g (M)   £285  ****1/2 best buy

  • Likes: ultralight, pockets, tough fabric, comfort
  • Dislikes: expensive 
  • Capacity: 60 litres
  • Materials Body: EPX200 200g/m2 recycled 200 denier face fabric, 45-degree cross ply, recycled 70 denier backing fabric. Back: 500D textured nylon. Side pockets: 210D Robic Extreema. Front pocket Dyneema Mesh.
  • Closure: rollover with stud and buckle fastenings
  • Back System: framesheet with 12mm alloy bar, shaped 8mm closed cell foam panel
  • Hipbelt padded: adjustable
  • Pockets: 2 open side, front mesh, base mesh, 2 mesh shoulder strap
  • Features: front and side elastic
  • Sizes: 4 length, 5 hipbelt
  • Load capacity: 19kg 

The Mo 60 is the larger version of the Mo 50 I gave Best Buy to in 2021. The extra capacity is the only difference between the two packs. For this spring backpacking trip the 60 litres were welcome as I had bulkier clothing and sleeping bag than I’d carry in summer.

The back system is comfortable and stable with the frame transferring the weight to the wide hipbelt well. The body-hugging style does lead to a damp back on warm days, as I found on the walk down Glen Affric, but I don’t mind this as I’d rather have good stability. The latter was very useful for balance on the steep rough descent from Sgurr na Lapaich.

The pack is well-made from tough materials and feels very robust. There are plenty of pockets for items needed during the day, though none of these are waterproof so drybags are needed in wet weather. I added the Atom Packs optional hipbelt pocket (28 grams, £20) for access to small items while wearing the pack. There are also long adjustable shockcords on the side and back for attaching extra gear. I used these for carrying the bulky closed-cell foam Multimat.

I can’t fault the Mo 60. It is expensive though.


Atom Packs The Roo VX bum bag  105g (L)  £39.50     ****1/2  Recommended


  • Likes:            volume, water-resistant zip, made from offcuts
  • Dislikes:        expensive
  • Capacity:       2.5 litres
  • Materials:      VX21   210D nylon/polyester/PET film
  • Features:       Lycra stretch front pocket, YKK Aquaguard zip, nylon strap

This little bum bag held various items I wanted quick access to such as smartphone, mini binoculars, sunglasses (on and off many times) and more. The first day I wore it as a waist pack but it didn’t feel that comfortable. I guess I could get used to it like this but for the next two days I wore it as a sling, which I preferred.

It’s made from offcuts from pack manufacture and has a waterproof zip and a mesh pocket on the front. I used the latter for my phone. There’s a key clip and a small compartment inside the bag. The long strap is adjustable but not removable.

For both backpacking and travelling (I used it for phone, keys and wallet in cafes on the drive to and from Glen Affric) this is an excellent little bag.


Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL       575g (outer)    $275/£218* (outer)  ****1/2  Best Buy

*price conversion correct in early May

  • Likes:                   lightweight, spacious, headroom
  • Dislikes:               only available from USA
  • Design:                 pyramid
  • Material:               silpoly
  • Pitching:               flysheet first
  • Fabric:                  20D silpoly, hydrostatic head 5,000+mm
  • Pole:                     trekking pole
  • Dimensions:          280 x 142cm, max. height 140cm

This tent was my Best Buy in June’s Solo Tents review due to the low weight, roominess, headroom, storm resistance, and ease of pitching. It’s made from silicone polyester rather than silicone nylon which has the advantage of not stretching when wet. This was a boon the first night of the trip as by dawn the tent was soaked with dew and condensation. Silnylon would have sagged. The silpoly didn’t.

By dawn the dew had frozen. This soon melted once the sun rose, and the tent dried very quickly. Silpoly is meant to absorb less moisture than silnylon.

The SoloMid is easy and fast to pitch, not that there was any hurry on this trip. I didn’t attach guylines to the four tie-outs on the sides, though I had them with me, and the tent resisted the gusty wind on the second night fine. Just one trekking pole is needed.

I enjoyed the space inside and the wide door, which I never closed so when I work during the night I could gaze at the stars. I just used a groundsheet inside as it was too early in the year for midges. In summer I’d want a mesh inner tent. 

Therm-A-Rest Parsec 20F/-6C   865g (Reg)          £415     ****1/2  Recommended

  • Likes:                          lightweight, warm, comfortable, recycled fabric                        
  • Dislikes:                      expensive                    
  • Fill:                             800 fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down
  • Shell:                          Recycled nylon
  • Construction:              box wall baffles, heat mapped zoned insulation, quilt
  • Zip:                             full-length                              
  • Sizes:                         Small, Regular, Long                         
  • Rating                         comfort 0°C, comfort limit -6°C

With the likelihood of frosty nights I wanted a bag that would keep me warm a few degrees below freezing. The Parsec 20F seemed a good choice and so it proved the first night when the temperature fell to -2°C. I slept warm without even closing the hood.

The Parsec is designed to attach to a sleeping pad and has two stretchy straps on the underside. I find doing this restrictive as it prevents me sitting up in the bag so I didn’t use the straps. This wasn’t a problem as there’s enough room to move around inside. The base has less insulation than the top but stayed under me both nights. If I’d felt too hot I’d have turned the bag upside down so the base was on top.

The down is hydrophobic and the foot of the bag did get a little damp the first morning when I pushed it against the wet tent fabric. It dried quickly.

The shell fabric is very soft and I found the Parsec really comfortable and ideal for the conditions. It’s an excellent lightweight sleeping bag but it is expensive.


Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm NXT         455g (Reg)          £260   ****

  • Likes:             lightweight, warm, very comfortable
  • Dislikes:         very expensive
  • Type:              air bed
  • Materials:       nylon with reflective inner coating
  • Dimensions    183 x 51cms
  • Thickness       7.6cms
  • R-Value           7.3

The latest version of the XTherm sleeping pad is thicker, warmer, much less noisy and a touch lighter in weight than the original version. It’s thick and comfortable and reasonably light and compact given the warmth. It made for a very comfortable night’s sleep though I didn’t need such a warm mat on this trip. With an R-rating of 7.3 this is a mat for the coldest winter nights as it should be warm down to -32°C, which is lower than the coldest night ever in the UK. Therm-A-Rest says it has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any sleeping pad. This warmth perhaps justifies the very high price. For most UK camping a lighter mat like the XLite would be fine.

The low weight and high warmth come from its internal construction which has two layers of triangular baffles plus reflective material. The baffles also help the pad keep its shaped when inflated.

The XTherm is quick and easy to inflate and deflate. I found it most comfortable if I didn’t inflate it fully as then I could sink a little into it and was in no danger of rolling off.


Multimat Superlite 8    171g           £27.50        ****1/2   Recommended

  • Likes               ultralight, inexpensive, durable, warm
  • Dislikes           very bulky, not very soft
  • Type                closed cell foam
  • Materials         cross-linked Plastazote polyolefin foam
  • Dimensions     180 x 50cm
  • Thickness        8mm
  • Rating              -70°C

Given the warmth of the XTherm I didn’t need this closed cell foam pad for sleeping on. However it was useful for protecting against the cold, damp and hardness when sitting outside the tent and during the day as a sitmat. As it can’t be punctured I’d rather use a closed cell foam mat for this than a mat like the XTherm. There’s no need to check the ground for anything sharp. The mat can just be chucked on the ground.

The Superlite mat is very light but it’s also bulky so I strapped it on the outside of the pack, which was convenient for quick access anyway. The foam is quite tough so I wasn’t bothered about it being scraped on rocks or vegetation. I wouldn’t carry an inflatable mat like this.


Primus Express        75g                         £40         **** Recommended

  •  Likes:                  ultralight,         
  • Dislikes:               needs windshield
  • Type:                    canister-top stove
  • Fuel:                     gas canisters
  • Dimensions:          115mm/90mm
  • Burner Diameter:  35mm
  • Power:                  2600W

The Express stove is a simple gas burner that’s very light and compact. It folds flat and takes up little room in the pack. I selected it for this trip as I hadn’t used it in a while and wanted to remind myself how it performs. I used it with the Evernew and MSR 900ml and 600ml pots that have been favourites for decades and which have a combined weight of 229 grams plus a foil windscreen weighing 53 grams. Primus says the narrow flame is good for wind resistance but in more than a gentle breeze the windscreen is needed.

The Express doesn’t have a piezo igniter, though one is available as a standalone extra, which I don’t mind as I’ve broken many of them and so always carry a Light My Fire FireSteel to light the stove.

The pot supports lock into place firmly and could hold big pots. However the flame is narrow and concentrated and so best used with smaller pots.

The Express isn’t as powerful as some gas stoves but still boiled water fast enough for me, including on the frosty morning after being left in the porch all night. It simmers well too.


Inov-8 Rocfly G390       818g (9)  £175        *****    Best Buy

  •  Likes:        lightweight, durable, good grip, wide fit
  • Dislikes:     nothing
  • Uppers       mesh with overlays
  • Sole           Graphene-Grip
  • Sizes          men 6-14, women 3-8.5

With the forecast for warm weather breathability seemed more important for footwear than water-resistance so I wore these boots from Inov-8. Whilst they do have a higher ankle than trail shoes they are actually more like a beefed-up version of the latter than like a hiking boot.

The boots have one feature that makes them very comfortable – Graphene-infused foam in the midsole. This is meant to deliver greater energy return than other midsole materials. It’s certainly soft and comfortable on hard ground, like the forest road I followed on the first day. Graphene is also found in the outsole which should mean excellent durability. I found the grip fine on the wide variety of terrain I crossed on the trip.

The uppers are made from breathable knitted mesh with a tough rand to protect against abrasion. Breathability is excellent and my feet never felt too hot or sweaty. Drying time is good too. I did get the boots wet at the end of the second day on boggy ground. They dried very quickly during the short walk the following morning.

The Rocfly G390 boots have a wide fit, which is just right for my wide feet. They’re very light too and ideal for three-season backpacking. 

*Note: currently on sale on the Inov-8 website. It looks as though this non-Gore-tex version is being discontinued, which would be a great shame.


Falke TK1 Adventure Wool Trekking Socks       95g (42-43)      £29        *****      Best Buy

  • Materials:      70% merino wool/30% polyamide
  • Length:          calf

I’ve had these socks for a few years but hadn’t worn them much until last winter. After wearing them on many trips I’m impressed. They’re soft, comfortable and warm. They come with shaped left and right feet. I’m never sure how much difference this makes but these socks certainly fit closely with no bunching or loose fabric. And they’ve kept their shape after many washings and when worn for three days at a time, as on this trip. They wick moisture fast and combined well with the Inov-8 boots so I never had sweaty feet. Near the end of the second day they did get damp in the bogs below Sgurr na Lapaich but still felt warm and comfortable. They dried quickly the next day.

Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie    315g (L)   £220   ****  Recommended

  •  Likes                light, warm
  • Dislikes             non-adjustable hood
  • Fill                    85% recycled VerticalX SuperStrand polyester
  • Shell                  ripstop nylon
  • Front                 full-length zip         
  • Hood                 stretch rim
  • Cuffs                 stretch
  • Hem                  stretch
  • Pockets             zipped hand
  • Sizes                 men S-XXL, women XS-XL

Since I first used it in spring last year this lightweight insulated jacket has become a favourite. In sub-zero weather I’ve worn it while walking, on trips in milder weather like this one I’ve worn it in camp. On this occasion it was just right for keeping me warm at the first frosty camp.

It’s filled with an 85% recycled synthetic insulation that mimics the shape of down clusters and has a lattice structure to keep its shape. This fill is very soft and compresses easily so the jacket is comfortable to wear and packs down small for carrying. The jacket has distinctive discontinuous quilting that is also said to make compressing the jacket easier and which also reduces the amount of stitching.

The jacket has roomy handwarmer pockets. These are cut off by a pack hipbelt and I did wish this wasn’t the case when walking in the jacket in winter. On this trip it didn’t matter. The non-adjustable hood does blow back in a strong wind if worn on its own as its quite loose but worn over a hat it stays on.

Overall this is one of the best insulated jackets I’ve tried. It’s very comfortable and has excellent warmth for the weight.


EDZ Merino Wool Plaid Flannel Shirt   365g (L)    £110 ****1/2      Best Buy


  • Likes          temperature range, comfort, wind-resistance
  • Dislikes      pockets could be bigger
  • Fabric:        merino wool
  • Pockets:     2 buttoned
  • Cuffs:          buttons
  • Sizes:         S-XL

Like the Outdoor Research SuperStrand jacket I first tried this shirt in spring 2022 and like that jacket it has since become a favourite and an excellent alternative to a lightweight fleece. I’m particularly impressed with the wind-resistance of the close-woven fabric. This is just enough to keep out the wind on days with above freezing temperatures. It was the only outer layer I wore while walking on this trip and the wind was quite strong and cold at times. The only other walkers I saw on Mam Sodhail were both wearing waterproof jackets.

The fabric is also very breathable so when the sun came out and the wind dropped I didn’t overheat. It’s more comfortable over a wider range of temperatures than a fleece. The thin, soft wool doesn’t itch and feels comfortable next to the skin. On this trip I wore it over a thin short-sleeved base layer. On winter days I’ve worn it as a base layer.

The shirt has buttoned front, cuffs and pockets. With cold fingers the small buttonholes are a little awkward to use and could do with being a bit larger. Bigger pockets would be nice too as they won’t hold a smartphone. Overall though this is an excellent shirt.

This feature first appeared in The Great Outdoors last year.