I have most of my accommodation booked now, all but four locations in fact. These have been emailed but have not yet responded, so I’ll give them a couple of days more and then phone them. I would hate to miss out on a place now that so many others are pencilled in and waiting for deposit cheques.
I had a nice email from Lana at Eastview in Garrigil, basically asking me if I was sure i wanted to book a room with her as there is no longer a pub in the village and therefore nowhere to get an evening meal. She’s not able to make an evening meal for guests, so was warning me in advance that pickings would be slim that night. I appreciated the honesty – rather than just taking my money and letting me figure things out for myself. I also appreciated the offer of the use of her microwave if I was so inclined for an evening meal. I booked the room and made a note to try and pick up a microwave meal the day before.
I ummed and ahhed about the Border Hotel for the last night of the walk. I could arrange to be picked up on the last day at Kirk Yetholm, my wife has kindly agreed to collect me when needed. However, I sort of fancied one final night, relaxing with a pint after the walk, feet up beside the fire, the babble of other finishers in the background (fanciful I know!). So I though “hang the expense” and booked it.
With the accommodation planning all but sorted I must soon move onto kit. Peewiglet has been nagging me (in the nicest possible way) to start the kit discussions; so here goes….
If I’m not using a baggage courier (and that’s still in the balance and is likely to be right up until the start of the walk), okay so let me digress a minute… I’m not sure I mentioned this earlier or not, but for Brigantes (the only people to do the whole length of the PW) to make a baggage run pay they need 4 bags or more from the start point on any one day. So as I’m walking on the 5th May, I need 3 other people to book baggage transfer starting on that day – the chances of this are unknown, but I guess quite slim. So I’m banking on the worst (no baggage transfer) and hoping for the best (3 more people decide to start walking on the 5th May and book baggage with Brigantes).
So, if I’m not using a baggage courier then I need to save as much weight as possible, which means new kit! Well some selected new items anyway. The first item under scrutiny is going to be my pack. My multi-day pack at the moment is a 3 year old Berghaus Arete 45, which has served me well on the few wild camps and multi-day walks I’ve used it on. However, I reckon with the right replacement I could shave at least 500g off the weight and possibly increase the volume a tad as well. 45 litres has been just about enough for a three day backpack – its a squeeze, but it all goes in. I tend to favour everything inside the pack, nothing swinging about on the outside to catch on trees, stiles etc. I would love the luxury of another 10 litres. My first thought was something in the GoLite range – perhaps the new Pinnacle or the Jam 2. They both come in long sizes, which would suit my 6’ 4” frame and they would both shave 500g off my base weight. I think a trip to Ellis Brigham is in order.
The next area of spend is likely to be boots. I’ve moaned recently about the longevity of my Inov-8s and the fact that I won’t be buying anymore after these Roclites die, which they’ve been promising to do for a while, but have actually seemed to plateau in the descent. However, I think waterproof, lightweight boots are in order for the Pennine Way – not sure I want to walk in wet feet all day and then put them on the next day wet as well. I’ve been considering some Salomon Fastpackers, not least as various outdoor bloggers have recommended them and the ones I’ve tried on have felt superb. I’m sort of hoping the price will drop in the new year and I can pick some up for under £100. Although will be a net weight gain over my Inov-8s they will be a considerable weight saving over my Scarpa boots, which is the current alternative to my Inov-8s.
Thought and comments welcome of course. More soon….