Saturday, 28 August 2010

I can't believe that it's already tomorrow that I'll be jetting off after an evening performance of Henry IV Part II to catch the Caledonian Sleeper! Where has the summer gone?

Before I relay my excitement about heading for the hills, yesterday I did take the opportunity to hang out at the British Library again, after being treated to a lovely lunch of quite authentic Indian cuisine at Diwana. Despite the thrill of holding manuscripts in my hands, I headed straight for the facsimile section and proceeded to get very excited about the differences between Italian and English ornamentation in the same manuscript sources. But why does no one sing these pieces? They do look fabulous.

While putting the books back I used my usual check-what-else-is-on-the-same-shelf technique to come across a facsimile of the three-volume anthology of polyphony that Francis Tregian the Younger copied out while he was in the Fleet Prison from 1609 until his death in 1619 for not attending Anglican church services. The collection is beautiful and vast, if not as well known as the other manuscript Tregian was working on at the time: The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.

The last few days have been filled with preparations - the third fruit leather (plum) is drying in the oven now - the first two (blackberry and apple) have turned out well. I've had to modify a few preconceived ideas of meals to accommodate what I could find in Sainsbury's (maybe there's a bulk food shop in Glasgow to supply the still-missing dried onions?), but overall I should be eating well. I've also been hitting the many outdoors shops near Charing Cross, all of whom are having end-of-season sales, much to my advantage. My old Canadian water-filter, a model that they don't make anymore but with a flushable filter, just passed its test of filtering blue-coloured water back to clear.

I'm trying to be as prepared as possible for my weekend on the Knoydart peninsula because it will be my first time backpacking overnight alone. I've been hiking in the Alps alone and have led trips through the Adirondacks and other places, but I've never gone solo before. I will post an OS map of where I think I'll go once I've done some day hikes next week and have a better idea what's reasonable, but I do hope it will include Ladhar Bheinn. Don't worry, I won't try to do it all in one day, I'll camp at the base and hike with a day pack up. In the mean time, can anyone tell me please if I'm missing something?

Day pack for the mountain
Walking poles
Boots with new shock-absorbent insoles
walking Sandals (for camp)

Waterproof map case
Silva compass

Sleeping bag
(No mallet: there be rocks)

rain coat (orange)
tops, bottoms and underwear (as much quick dry as possible, as much orange as possible)
MEC sweater
poncho (very bulky but I love it)
extra socks (for those puddle-up-to-the-middle moments like I had in the Lakes)

Water filter
chlorine tablets (in case there is a virus risk)
water bottles (2)
Pot (foil lid)
Pot handle
Mini mini espresso mocha
plastic knife, fork, spoon
Flask for hot drinks/soup with folding spoon
flat-folding bowl (orange, very cool)
all-purpose highly biodegradable soap

matches (waterproofed)
emergency candle

meals, packaged in sandwich bags (1 extra meal)
lots of snacks
espresso, tea
powdered milk (num num)
cup a soup (extra)
all in a dry bag (orange)

Army Knife (with saw, scissors, tweezers etc.)
Duct tape (mini)
bungee cord with carabiners
nylon rope
large plastic bag for waterproofing backpack
Phones (O2 covers most of the peninsula and my Swiss one can choose vodaphone if not)
Bug repellent
First Aid Kit



  1. Well, if you're looking for something interesting to read on your trip and can find a French bookstore, I highly recommend "Le Trajet d'une Rivière" by Anne Cunéo, a historical novel based on the life of Francis Tregian.

    And be careful out there!

  2. Oh, that sounds brilliant - thanks!

    If I can't find it in Glasgow, I'm passing through Paris a couple times next month.

    P.S. I've added to my list:

    My Toothbrush
    toilet paper (UK: toilet roll)