Rainbow Rising

I was meeting Linda on the beach at half five, just so we could get a wee walk in. There’s always a chance of a view, but jeezo Monday night was epic.

We just stood and stared with the wee group that gathered to see it. There were phones and cameras, but mostly eyes up to the sky like it was the alien mothership arriving.
It was quite an astonishing event to witness as it all evolved above us over half an hour or so.

Nature always wins, from the most depressing miserable day to the most life affirming moments of joy, nature brings it all.

Part two coming up, that’s when it gets properly psychedelic.

Three (giant) steps to heaven*

The sun was breaking through off and on all day and it was a little distracting. I was taking calls and I really was trying to be where folk needed me while keeping Holly on track with school stuff as she drifts into browsing online fashion shopping every time she thinks I’m not looking.

I can’t complain, she’s done so well considering all the stuff she’s had to deal with and her work completion rate is very high. It’s not always correct (she has my maths brain), but she’s trying. Best girl.

I got some work done eventually, but I went dressed for the crags. I’m no’ daft.

The sun was still there, way over there actually and the rain swept in just as I got onto the edge of the crags. It was very windy too, definitely shell jacket and hood time. It was just magic.

I had another old jacket on and I was very comfy, I remember saying years ago that Gore Tex Paclite was fine, folk were just using it wrong. It’s true, with brand new Polartec 100 weight fleece under it and a couple of hours of constant sweat, it was fine, excellent in fact. The rain was intermittent so the jacket never wet out completely which I know would have accelerated the condensation build up inside, but still, happy.

I tried some timer and tripod photies, although most of the shots in this post are from my phone. I used to be so quick setting up for doing shots as I was doing them all the time for on here or for my actual outdoor work stuff back in the day, now it was a faff with unfamiliar buttons and gangly tripod legs.
Most photies have me looking directly into the lens to see if the timer’s gone off. Jeezo. I’ll get there again.

It was lovely light though, the cloud was broken and fast moving and I did get to see some glorious blue between the showers. The land just glows when the low winter sun hits it and the horizon is snow streaked and familiar but unreachable peaks. Beautiful to see as always but it wasn’t tugging at me today, I was happy enough with the buffeting from the weather and playing with the camera. It was quiet too, hardly saw a soul, I hate to say it given my propensity for random banter with strangers, but I think I enjoyed today’s mini adventure even more because of the solitude.

I’ll need to watch that.

I nipped into see the cup marked stone and check on the other possibles nearby. One is now buried under moss and the favourite one with the dice style five indentations is also looking very mossy. That’s good, nature will protect them better than we can

A march downhill and home to warmth and dinner and dealing with being caked in red mud. I love being out but I love being back home more, glad that’s not changed.

*the giants step reference is about the ascent route, the steep and quite craggy feeling giants staircase. I’ll take you sometime.

 

Gothika

Either solo or team, most nights are having a good walk with distance and urgency part of the agenda. Well, until it looks rather nice and we stop and get our phones out.
The nearly incessant rain hasn’t been a deterrent, it just means more jackets than ususal are hanging up and drying. It is giving some wonderful light though.
The old railway is mostly in a deep cut lined with tall mature trees, the A82 lights are high on one side and the village is low on the other so at night it really does feel a little like you’re adrift from the rest of the world.

The phone does its best to capture the darkness through shaky hands and repeated screen fumbling and I really like what it comes up with: atmospheric poor quality shots.

When we get back sometimes we find we’ve been out for a couple of hours which is brilliant, it’s hours not spent in front of Netflix. Oh, the new Snowpiercer episode came out last night. Dammit.

It’s a blur of muted tones in a blur of hard to measure time in this endless lockdown limbo state. It really is things like this that are saving the day, time spent not wasted. It’s been too easy to swing the wrong way on that equation but hard not to, and there’s no judging for that for any of us.

But just think, a year ago if we’d shut the borders, strictly adhered to social distancing and not let the stoopids run free would we be where we are now or would we be looking back at recent memories of the best winter for years spent playing in Highland snow with ice axes and the ones we love?

I’m directing blame quite precisely and I think I might have grown a little vein of bitterness to carry forward because of it. I’ve never fueled up on negative energy but you could also say that if you don’t ever get angry you don’t care enough. I do care, and I’m angry. I always have been. But joy motivates me more, it always has done.

There will be no closure for any of us after this has died down, because it will not ever be over, I think we just have to make our peace with the effects on our own lives and those close to us.
That’s going to be the hard part, right now we’re holding on, once we can relax our grip and have time to think, really think. That’s going to be a lot to work through.

Anger and joy, the cocktail of tomorrow.

Border Crossing

I never though Argyle and Bute would feel like a foreign land. With documents and accurate accent in place I headed into the unfamiliar on a solo mission of extreme urgency.
Church heating needed my attention.

It was a glorious day and a joy to be out. The previous perfect white blanket of snow on the hills is now streaks after the thaw but Ben Lomond still looks very fine, and oh so very close to where I was driving.

The church is familiar to me and my toolbox, most of them are around here, and I always try to do maintenance visits in Spring and Autumn because it’s the loveliest graveyard I’ve ever seen.

Colour bursts from the ground (thank you to those pushing it up from below) in Spring and rains down from the trees at the tail of the year, but this year it’s a veritable explosion and a very early one too that I found when I pulled off the road onto the gravel with crocus’ and snowdrops flooding the grass from stone to stone.

The currently rare sunshine has other delights that I was glad too see when I got inside, even my wee pal up the back was getting some warmth on her cheeks.

I was very happy indeed to be at my work and overjoyed to be out and about. It’s such a lovely world waiting for us.

Sigg Saltire 0.6L Bottle Review

Is this the most pointless review I’ve ever done due to the general familiarity with the object? Actually no, there was some relearning done with this gallus wee thing.

I left Sigg behind years ago because they were initially slow to address the public concerns regarding BPA and the like and the wholesale industry change to safer plastics used in our drinks containers.
This is why you see a lot of Tritan and “BPA free” and stainless steel around although this has actually quickly become just another lifestyle spending opportunity with no thought given to health or sustainability. I mean one bottle really could do you for life but it’s all about new colours to match your latest gym outfit.
I also liked the wide mouthed bottles I was reviewing, still do, easy to fill from burns, pack with snow etc and the Siggs went to the back of the cupboard. But…

Fast forward from then or rewind from here and I was handed this 600ml Sigg a year ago. Sigg has long since addressed the lining in their bottles and they’re as safe as any other current alternative and I was happy to fill it up and take it out to play.

It’s joyfully light at 104g of aluminium body and plastic cap and a good size in the hand. The narrow opening is actually a joy to drink from, there’s less spills when I take a quick slug on the move, how did I not spot that before? Aw man.
The cap has that finger loop which is easier to grab that the looped caps on the wider mouthed bottles because there’s just less plastic (oh wait, that’s a good thing in general isn’t it?) and even a lightly gloved finger is whisking the Sigg from a pack pocket easy peasy.

The finish is excellent and hard wearing with barely a mark on it after a lot of use. The white cap is taking a bit of dye from my constant Robinsons diluting juice filling but both it and the bottle are resisting the scent of orange and lemon despite my near daily attempts to permanently tarnish them.

It’s been a wee bit of a revelation how different using a again Sigg has been and this 600ml is my go to bottle now.
Of course, this special edition design might have opened the door for me but the simple practicality of the thing has kept it wedged open.

Highly recommended to try out for lapsed Sigg users like me, the 600ml size is much easier to manage for on the move use than the classic now monster looking 1liter and it weighs practically nothing.

The saltire design is a special edition available from retailers up around my part of the world.

Sgurr na Cladach

In summer, beating the first rays without being in a tent at height is a thankless task with tired eyes behind the steering wheel and joyless miles before setting foot on the ground that had drawn you so far.
Better to see the low sun warm the slopes across the glen with a fresh cuppa sitting on a cool rock or a dry patch of grass if you’re lucky with a rainless night. The slopes are thrown into relief in a different and more subtle way than under snow, but it’s no less grand.
Dawn gold slides into fresh green as the new day’s warmth reaches your face and evaporates any thoughts of another wee kip before setting off on day two of a leisurely and most likely unnecessary mini adventure. But what hill isn’t worth two days of your time, one is never enough.

The pack is lighter with food eaten and water drank and it sits easy on shoulders that are soon damp under the straps as the sun climbs towards a warm noon.
A bead of sweat escapes my hat’s soaked brim, day two was warm and the ascent was maybe more than I was expecting. It was longer certainly and my pace was slow as much to subconsciously stretch the day out than the usual tired legs and burst lungs.
Slowing down your steps means that the end of the day is yours too, long after the day trippers are back on the road I’ll be watching the sun slipping away again. Just enough left to drink to get me smiling before I get downhill to a burn to fill a bottle, just enough snacks will be found after a rucksack rummage to keep the rumbling at bay until I get close to home.

Close your eyes, you can feel it too can’t you.

Berghaus Arkos Reflect Down Jacket Review

The Berghaus Arkos Reflect Down Jacket has been in my pack and in the motor ready to be pulled on the for the past few months. I’ve been swapping around with some favourites to try and get a feel for it too, insulation is very hard to get consistent feedback from, there’s so many personal and environmental variable. But, use something enough and you reach for it without thinking when you’re packing to go, so am I reaching for it?

The Arkos has a lot going on but luckily you can’t really see any of it so I haven’t been distracted by any thoughts of inner tech. But it is useful to know, so…
We have a mostly down jacket with 700 fill of water resistant ethical duck down around the torso and upper arms with synthetic Hydroloft in the hood, the lower arms and around the tail. All good choices for the synthetic, it’s where gets wet.
There’s no sense of zoning here in general feel, the Arkos feels like a single jacket. The Hydroloft is soft and compressible, I had to check carefully with the jacket inside out to see what the extent of the zones was.

The lovely shiny red fabric hides another bit of fanciness, the reflect technology (which I will come back to later on another Berghaus test jacket, we are far from done with this) which is an inner mesh which is meant to trap and er, reflect the heat back onto the wearer. The principle of this sound and it’s a concept that’s been implemented by various outdoor brands as well as across many other apploications. Does it work? I have no idea, at 720g for a size large the Arkos feels warm, and quickly warm which I would expect from what is a proper mountain down jacket. So is the reflect picking up some slack from using the duck down fill rather than goose down which is traditionally lighter and warmer? I have no idea, it’s warm and light, that’s all I can say. Warm enough where I’d be happy on any winter overnighter with the Arkos in my pack.

That same shiny red fabric shed water pretty well, I’ve been in rain and sleet a few times and it does give in eventually but I’ve only had it wet out once. In fact it got so bad that the arms were soaked, although the body stood up well. it dries fast though, the down fill too, I had the arms like a mushy pulp they were so wet and they came back like new to full loft very fast. Hydrodown or my big cast iron hall radiator? Again, no idea, it works that’s all I need to know.

The black fabric is there too, it’s not shiny but it’s resisting the damp just nice. I think it’s main job is to make the red look shinier, so I’m good with it.

Features are all sensible and as you’d want probably. Fixed adjustable hood, two chest pockets, inner pocket (all zipped), adjustable hem and zip pulls you can find with gloves on.
The chest pockets are brilliant, set a little lower than some they’re clear of a hipbelt but not too high either. They’re fleece lined and the pocket bags are behind the insulation, they are born to warm my hands.

The cut is slim, I could probably get away with a size up for over multiple layers but over base and 100 weight fleece it’s more relaxed. The body is nice and long too with decent arse coverage. This is where the synthetic insulation strip at the back comes in, sit down in the snow all you want, your down won’t get wet.
The arm movement is exceptional with complete freedom to swing my arms up and around without the hem moving. Berghaus managed this on a down jacket and I have base layers that can’t do the same.

The chunky main zip has a lovely baffle arrangement that I’ve seen on sleeping bags but not a jacket. AS you pull the zip up insulated tubes on either side are pressed together to seal the zip. It’s a brillaint we touch and works well with not one snagging incident so far.
The top of the zip is covered inside by this baffle too so no beard plucking and there’s fleecy patches for cozy face time fun when your all battened down.

The hood is a good size, not sure if it’s helmet sized, I don’t have one anymore, with good face coverage and a stiffened skip to keep the snow off my glasses.
The adjustment come from a double bungee drawcord at the back which is easy to use, even with gloves.
The trouble is what this does though. The drawcord channel runs from the back of my head to around my ear, so when you pull the cords in as well as reducing the hood volume for a better fit it also raises it upwards. On a bare head this can leave a gap above my forehead for the wind to get in and I have had the hood pulled off my head in strong winds.
With a beanie on, this effect is much improved, with a midlayer or shell hood on too the situation is largely resolved and even in staggering winds, the hood will stay put.
It needs a look at I think, it’s quite literally the only niggle I found.

The Arkos is a great jacket. It’s warm, compressible and light and it looks neat too. The arm movement is amazing, it’s a proper activist jacket this, not a town cruiser.
The hood I’ve learned to work around, I like the jacket to much to spit the dummy out just for that.
Sensible use of fabrics and fill for our damp climate, thoughtfully positioned pockets and little touches like the zip baffle that come from experience of use rather than aesthethic considerations.

Nice bit of kit, Berghaus always surprise me.

More soon.

Sugar Ring and The Jam

We had a wee window of opportunity and it was early enough that the stupids would not be present in great numbers, we packed and ran.

We know this place well, as a couple as well as on our own separate adventures but we’ve not had good winter days here together, I think we knew this was going to make up for that as we rushed the two minute drive there.

The views were simply spectacular. The hills pure white with cloud cast shadows flowing over them throwing their contours into focus but also showing just how windy it was going to get a little higher up.

Ben Lomond just looked epic. I’ve rarely seen it look so, yes I’m going to say it without a hint of irony, Majestic.

We had spikes on early, the turf was frozen and the snow was thin over ice and every step was a pleasing rip of teeth digging in.
We talked options, I’d taken the gully a couple of days earlier, but Linda was keen on the view from the crag edge, so we’d go that way.

Conditions had changed a lot since then and the snow had been blown or melted away except for the top where a cornice of sorts had fallen down and made it all feel rather mountainy. Linda took a moment or to think this through, because believe me, it is steep. But the cursing soon gave way to giggling once she was up and over .

A few mountain bikers appeared from the east. Shouting and whooping away, they were having a blast. They stopped at the lip of the crags for photies and swapped stories of the trail to this point and the way ahead.
Good effort in these conditions, I haven’t ridden on snow in years, don’t think I’d have the balls for this stuff now. I’d just think of the recovery time from any crashes.
That’s not getting old, it’s being pragmatic.

We slipped away the way they came through the coldest wind I’ve felt in a long, long time, even at just over 1000ft. I had my big insulated winter gloves on and my hands were still frozen by the time we crossed the Black Linn reservoir to find some glorious sunlit and windless shelter for lunch.

Home made pieces and a flask in the sun without a whisper of wind reaching us. It was just perfect.
I like being part of a team, I’ve spent so much time out here on my own and now I have banter and laughter and it makes the day better. Aye.

It’s going to be interesting when lockdown is behind us and I can head for the far away peaks with a tent. A lot has changed for me in the past few years, I’ve either been in the hills with a pal or exploring with Linda or Holly, or both.
I think the lone mountain man is still there outside somewhere, but I don’t if he’s very high on the guest list for getting in.

It’s not a big climb from the Black Linn, it’s swing across an undulation the moor, or should I say arctic tundra today, before it rounds a little in outline to swell into the little rocky outcrop that is Donut Hill’s top.

The view though is just, I don’t know, what would the thesaurus say? All the words that go with awesome.
Hitting this top with it’s tiny wee crags and familiar trig point is like going into your local pub and finding 70s Black Sabbath playing up the back. It’s a “No way, this can’t be right” moment. It’s that much of a surprise and that big a reward.

The photie below does kinda show it, it just doesn’t show it big enough. I’m typing this on my laptop (hang in there old boy, you can make it, another few months if you can…) and I can see it big on the screen and it makes me all giddy and happy, but I know on my phone it won’t be the same. Damn you modern life.

But still. Happy, happy, happy.

His and hers?

We’ve been fleeced

Yes we have matching fleeces, so what, fight me.

Apart from that, I’ve become an increasingly devoted fleece disciple. I used to wear it all the time, 200 or even 300 weight in the case of my original TNF* Denali and then 100 weight or powerstretch up to now unless I was wearing some fancy do it all midlayer that was the best new thing ever.
While some of these things work fine with the various combinations of shell, light insulation, wicking layer etc, I always found their window of perfect operation to be much narrower than having an adaptable modular system, that is, base, mid, optional insulation, shell. You know, old fashion stuff.

I have completely returned to my original system and I am so very happy with it. Today in strong winds and subzero temperatures I had a modern TNF Denali in 255 weight recycled fleece over a merino long sleeve and I was supremely comfortable until around the 1000ft line where the wind which I had been feeling just a little through the upper arms of the Denali was starting to chill me rather than cool me so I pulled on an old pertex smock. Sorted and happy again.

I know I’m a bit older now so my metabolism will be different but I’m not overloading fleece like I think I did back in the day, or maybe the publicity for modern multilayer creations told me my fleece was always wet with sweat and I was a fool for using it. Hmm.
Anyway, I’m mixing 100 weight and occasionally heavier with shell as well as on its own and I’m just not having any bother, and I’ve putting the miles in during my quest to get back to full fitness.

It’s interesting, I turn it over in my head quite a lot as I expect to reach a point where I go “Ah right, that was why. I’ll go back to the new stuff…”. But no.
Fleece reviews coming I think.

*The North Face hated when I said that, I was in fact told at one point not to do it when I was writing about them. Ha. Good luck with that.

Saying When

I had to get out for a bit, even if was just for a round of golf with the girls. No, that’s Sybil from Faulty Towers isn’t it. Crags it was.

The new snow had been taunting me, not a directly personal way, but in a passive aggressive dismissive way, it didn’t care if I could get there or not, but it was enjoying my pacing and clock watching I’m sure.

I was already packed, all my favorites were right there to be grabbed, I just needed a wee flask and getting from front door to the Overtoun gate wasn’t even long enough to hear a single song on the stereo en route.

It was pretty grey lower down, I was initially a bit disappointed thinking I might have missed the best part of the day where the snow clouds were mixed with startling blue sky patches.
There were groups of people happily breathing germs on each other all around the accessible lower grassy bits so I just motored on, even if my chassis wasn’t ready for it.

The ascent was fast and occasionally breathless but I did hit my stride after a while and I felt actually, surprisingly rather good. The paths were powder on ice and I had my spikes on pretty early on which made the going even better. I had a warning from one gingerly descending pair and funny looks from another lot on their way down.
Don’t care, good luck to ye, I’m all about solo uphill today.

I took a shortcut from the top of the crags, which as always were looking fine, into the nasty cleared forest area to get to the reservoir and onto the plateau so I could sneak up on Donut Hill from the back. It was here the sky started to mix things up a bit and I thought: Oh, I’d better hurry up.

I charged on as patches of light skittered across the moor, picking out the rounded tops to the east as well as the little rocky crown of Donut. The sky was split so many ways, deep and dark, clear splashes of blue, shards of pink and orange and always the fuzz tones of the snow streaming from the clouds which were distant, then definitely getting nearer. Aye, they were racing me to the top.

Naw, ya bugger. This is mine.

I won. And the reward was light like I’ve never seen up here. The textures and contrasts over what I will admit is not the most dramatic of landscapes had me open mouthed and laughing, even saying “Look!” to absolutely no one.

The wind was strong here too and I pulled on my down jacket (review later this week…), hid in a rocky corner and poured some 3in1 Kenco latte from my flask.
The snow flew at me horizontally while the sun burned through as best it could. I was caught between the elements and the machinery of nature but it was fine, as engines go, it’s a smooth runner and an easy ride.

I was warm, I was comfy, my eyes were wide and my head was light. I really needed this. This wasn’t making do, this wasn’t an alternative or a replacement, I was full up.
I could even happily say when and leave before it was completely dark.

Epilogue.

I was in a fine eclectic mix of gear which did make me think several times as I walked. ’98 shell, ’94 rucksack, ten year old repaired trousers and a brand new fleece and test down jacket.
It all works together perfectly.
I’ve got a better perspective on this stuff that ever since I’m up here so often at the moment. How far has gear actually come in the past 30 years? I mean, really, design, not fabric and construction.

I’m enjoying fit and features on clothing that are clunky to look at but perfect to use. My pack is not very user friendly from a storage and accessibility perspective but it’s more comfortable and stable that anything new I’ve used in years.

I know what I’d like to do with this, but I don’t think I can. Well, it’s been done once with my Karrimor Whillans pack right enough, but I want to do more.
Who will make me old gear from new fabrics? Anyone? Contact form at the top or the side depending on what your screen is, give me a shout.

You’re just copying me

I occasionally dig out my piles of old photies and leaf through the packets wondering what to do with them as well marveling at my original hair colour.

I took some shots of them, just to try and copy them on the cheap in a half arsed way. Of course it didn’t work apart from these two which threw up a couple of rather lovely surprises.

Above is the Five Sisters of Kintail ridge looking westish around ’95 to ’97 I think. I camped at Morvich with my old mate Jimi and did the round up the Glen and back along the ridge to come down to camp in the dark tired and hungry.
It was a monster day and remember it well and fondly. The memories are on paper though, I wish I had the oomph to digitize all this stuff, but it’s the sheer volume of it all that I can’t face.
Eventually my misguided enthusiasm for unlikely and pointless endeavours or a desire to relive my youth etc will probably overcome that. Until then, I’ll take occasional half arsed shots in the kitchen like these two where I put the print against the wall on the worktop and took a photie of the photie.

Above it worked out well, it’s somewhere between a Horatio McCulloch painting and a colour plate from an old guide book. I actually really like the accidental effect.
Below is an early indication of the obsession to come  and I have no idea what hill I’m on. Deary me.

 

I am a Rabot, I am a Rabot

I have significantly reduced my outdoor cupboard during lockdown. Family and friends are now wearing all sorts of weird and wonderful things and I’ve just got my favourites left along with a smattering of review kit still to write up.

Some favourites are looking rough though, even stuff that feels like it’s recent is showing real signs of wear or even decay and it had me looking around for current equivalents and alternatives as well as doing some more glueing and sewing. Which I really enjoy actually and I think is the way forward.
I never liked the seasonal product model, improve gear, test it and release it, don’t fanny up existing models for a stock release deadline. That’s not inspiration and innovation, that just product and marketing. Don’t fall for it and don’t encourage it.

The shopping has been interesting and I think I’ll cover some of that. Are reviews different when you’ve parted with PayPal? We’ll see.
Some prices are hilarious as well, there’s just no way, I know how easy I tore the arse on my Keb pants, as good as the design is I’m not paying that for them.

But years and years of gear accumulation as well as the review avalanche I had has meant that some stuff got missed and forgotten.
I was overjoyed to find these, a brand new with tags pair of Haglöfs Rabot Flex Pants. Size 52, breathe in…
I think these are maybe up to 15 years old and they could be about the best pants I ever wore, because I’m sure I bought these in (the much missed) West Coast in Ft Bill as spares for the pair I wore on probably every trip outside of the dead of winter in the last half of the 2000’s.

I go on about vintage gear a lot, I find it more fun and more inspirational that anything new I’ve seen in a long time and I’ve often wondered what it would be like to take old gear out as new again, without nostalgia from previous use clouding the view.
Well, I’ll get my chance with these to an extent along with another couple of reissued things that I’ll get to.

Now, all I need is to get the weather I had wearing my original pair of Rabots in the photie above. 2008, feels like yesyerday.

Russell Hobbs Vintage Coffee Percolator

One of the things that has kept me sane so far in lockdown has been working on improving the quality of time just spent at home. I’ve fixed things that were long needing done, tidied (it’s ongoing…), sorted, found, filed and also discovered a whole new world in the kitchen.
I used to cook years back rather than just heat stuff up as I seem to have been doing, but now I’ve really found a new home by the hob and although not everything I do is from scratch, I’m enjoying the creative process and enjoying actually eating the food, because it doesn’t taste like I made it, if that makes sense.

Part of all that has been the addition of a vintage coffee percolator, from I think ’84 at the absolute latest. It’s a weekend morning ritual and it’s a sign of a meal well cooked and much enjoyed if someone says “Will I stick the pot on?”.

My folks bought one of these back in ’79 or so and it’s actually still going now, having been repaired several times over the years. I always associated it with faff, too much cleaning and prep for a cuppa, but the taste could not be denied.

It’s a nice simple and clean looking bit of kit and the one I got on ebay last year for a handsome sum (it turns out these are collectible and surprisingly popular) is probably the best version to get.

This design was discontinued in the early 80s as tastes literally changed. The coffee is recirculated inside which thickens up the flavour and adds richness, I’ve read some saying it adds a burnt flavour rather than depth. Not being a cork sniffer, just being a plain enjoyer of a tasty cuppa I don’t see any of that as a problem. But the world moved onto drips into jugs and few percolators of this type remain in production to still buy new today.

This version has a plastic base rather than an aluminum one which they had a for a good while before they changed it, and there was Bakelite before that. This isn’t just an aesthetic thing, this base takes a regular current kettle lead for power rather than one of the earlier half round or twice as long variants. Sometime it’s good to standardize things, this plug and socket is one clear example.

It sits on its own molded base too, the aluminium one had a foam ring glued on so the metal base didn’t touch your kitchen surface. Every one I saw online was manky and torn or missing altogether. So, look for the plastic base.

The coffee making process is very clever and delightful to listen too. Inside the pot there’s a shaped metal pressing that’s heated by the element inside the plastic base. The stainless steel disc with the tube fits snugly over this and as the water heats, it boils and sends steam bubbles and boiling water up the tube where they hit the spreader plate and then drip through the holes into the basket with your ground coffee in it.
This becomes a cycle with coffee soon being boiled and sent up the tube to pull more flavour from the grounds in the basket.

I can see how this could overcook your coffee if left on for too long but the timer on this old Russell Hobbs gets it right. You can hear it boiling and bubbling away, the lid even rattles a little and them there’s a big exhale and a click as the little red light goes on at the base.
This turns the heat down and after a few minutes to let any ground coffee that got through the holes in the basket settle, you are good to go.

There are three levels in the basket and on the tube which respectively correspond to coffee and water fill points for solo, date night and family amounts.
I don’t know why I thought this was a faff, must have just been teenage angst.
Cleaning is easy enough too, the lid and metal parts wash as normal and I fill the pot with boiling water and wipe it down. It’s darkening a little already, the original owners obviously didn’t use it. It’ll eventually go black, just like my folks did and that’s fine. It means it’s been much enjoyed.

It really does bring a wee sparkle to the day filling this up and sitting there with our wee cups and saucers and cream in a jug.

Hmm, I fancy a cuppa now.

One Way or Another

I have my favourite spots on the crags, some on the track, some hidden away for those who know or for those with a little adventure in mind.
So it’s bound to happen that I get a few photies that repeat themselves.

Don’t think I could have done this any better if I’d tried and I just realised what I’d done as I was deleting the folders from the laptop now tat they’re all safe on a hard drive.

Before and after, late autumn and in the midst of this winter, the wonderful Lang Craigs.