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#NationalMapReadingWeek : The Twitter Quiz – Questions

19 October 2016

It’s one thing to sit at the kitchen table one weekday evening with the map spread out in front of you as you delight in planning your next Sunday walk. You’ve plenty of light to see-by. The minor draught coming through the kitchen door is nothing compared to the 50km winds you might experience walking along a ridge. And assuming your roof is in good order you are likely to be warm and dry.

It’s quite another when you are actually out there. The cloud base has dropped. An unexpected front has passed over, the temperature has fallen, humidity risen and it’s started to rain. Your companions want to cut the walk short, and you need to look at the map and find a safe “escape” route quickly.

What makes this map easy to read..?

In Britain, this week is National Map Reading Week #NationalMapReadingWeek and it is that initiative that gave rise to this Twitter quiz to help you discover how a map is made so that you can work efficiently in those conditions.

I asked five questions, each one focusing on one bit of map detail. We’ll take a look at the answers at 11am on Thursday 20th October. In the meantime you can view the questions again here.  So read on…

Read more…

Kelly Kettle Hobo Stove

30 September 2016

This simple add-on  transforms an already excellent open-country water boiler, into a serious contender as your principal stove for everything from the family pic-nic, to your wild camping trips and wilderness backpacking adventures.


Kelly Kettle Hobo Stove Accessory : The Hobo Stove fits perfectly on to the fire base

What’s it for?

A simple accessory that could turn the Kelly Kettle into your new best friend. Using only foraged fuel, the Kelly Kettle has long been one of the best ways of boiling water when you are outdoors. Doesn’t matter what you are doing, fishing, rambling, bird-watching, checking out the landscape geology, or taking a family pic-nic. Just scout around for a few bits of stuff to burn, top up the chimney with water and away you go. Boiling hot water for whatever you need, in minutes.  (If you don’t know about the Kelly Kettle, read my review).

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Mourne Walks : The Slieve Muck Loop Walk

22 September 2016

Even on days when the Mountains of Mourne seem to be overwhelmed with ramblers & hikers, yompers & footsloggers, you’ll be alone on Sliabh Muc.


The secret of the solitude you will find on this summit, is clearly in the name: Muc. A deeply wrinkled brow that scowls across the landscape, prods the curious and cautions the unwary.  And presents itself as unassailable. It is not named after pigs


This walk offers both a good introduction to following a route without way-marks, and the experience of crossing trackless open country. It starts and finishes on the old Banns Road, a green lane that penetrates deep into the mountain heart. On a clear day, there are plenty of features in the landscape to help you find your way.

Fitness challenges: There are no great demands as you rise progressively to the summit of Muc. Just take the time you need. But caution is required as you make the steep descent if your legs are tiring.  There are a couple of less-demanding ways home for the prudent. Expect to take 5 hours plus breaks.

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Suunto M-9 Wrist Compass

16 September 2016

You can’t always count on seeing the sun, gazing at the stars or having moss on the trees …. And getting a compass out of your pocket every 10 minutes to check a bearing in some fog-bound bog, is an unnecessary distraction.  Wearing a sighting compass on your wrist however ….


Suunto M-9 Wrist Compass : Showing sight and sighting window.

Ease of use

It’s a sighting compass, balanced for the northern hemisphere, weighs 16 grams and is impervious to water. Liquid filled and with a luminescent compass card mounted on a sapphire bearing. Giving low-light viewing and a steady settling of the bearing.

Raise it to eye height and take a beat on the horizon with the simple gun-style sight. Then immediately read-off the bearing through the window directly below the sight. Now you might find all this too slow and the sighting window too narrow, if you are running in some orienteering race. Walkers will just take the mini-moment it needs. Read more…

NATO Zulu Mariner style watch strap

15 September 2016

Writing a press release:
OK lets see how many really cool marketing expressions we can find that are used to describe this totally sexless utilitarian watch strap.
……….…  NATO (Yeah that’s always a good one)…  Zulu (Even better, they say that a lot in Hollywood) … Ballistic (Awesome, we’re really getting there now).  PVD…  ( Hmmm, just a tad geeky, maybe we’d better stop at that).

wp_20160917_010_edited : Model Pt-KB06Bzu : NATO Zulu style watch strap

The conversation continues…
So it’s a NATO Zulu style ballistic nylon mariner watch strap with PVD coated keepers and buckle. Yep… Where did the “mariner” creep in?  Dunno.  But you were using the strap on the RIB.  …You mean Rigid Inflatable Boat?  Can we say RIB-Mariner??? No better stick with the model no: Pt-KB06Bzu.

It seems like everyone is wearing them now, even my mother-in-law. I blame James Bond. Read more…

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