Badge of Honour

It's that time of year when the wind has changed direction and along with the rain there is an icey wind blowing. That of course means the trusty Down Jacket comes out of the closet has a bit of an airing and then gets thoroughly abused until the Spring comes. I've had this beauty since sometime in the late Nineties when I bought it on a Staff Deal directly from the Carringtons ( it was actually Sue I dealt with, wife of Rab Carrington ). It's a 'Kinder Guide' which means it has the re-inforced shoulders for carrying a pack and a better face fabric. Not sure if tney still make this model ( The company was sold a while back and I don't think it is family owned anymore ), not that I would replace it.

I've always seen a well used Down jacket as a Badge of Honour for those who enjoy the Outdoors. These are not the dreaded 'Puffa Jackets' full of nasty polyester, these are technical bits of kit which will serve you well for years. So if you have a Rab, North Face ( like the Missus ), Mountain Equipment, Mountain Hardware, or Patagonia ( like the nipper! ) get them out of the cupboard and use them with pride!

It's a pity that Immy's jacket won't last as long as mine ( she may have grown out of it by next Winter )


The Best Frett-fiddling Concert Ever?

I remember having this on video and watching it on full blast in the early nineties...has there ever been a better line up of fret-fiddlers?? Watch it ( and ignore the bit with 'More than words'... ) and turn it up to 11.


Northern Cali

Managed to get some camera time whilst out in Northern California. Nothing to hot, but with some cheeky processing there are some nice images in there ( I purposely went for a more washed-out, saturated look, not sure why, maybe I wish I was using a Holga? ) Click here or the image above to view the album.


Kid You'll Move Mountains...

Imogen is 11 months old today...and not so long ago we had a naming day ceremony for the wee nipper. Friends and family came and we shared a special few hours welcoming her to the world. Following that day I had a word with my mate Wrennie to see if he could use his artistic talents to put some of the words we spoke that day onto paper.

A few things got in the way ( most notably Wrennie having a 'tactical dismount' during a Downhill Mountain biking session on Moelfre which resulted in broken ribs, a punctured lung and some pneumonia. I still think he was just being soft ), but then the old Ginger Prince came round for a spot of din-dins and to show us what he had drawn.

We were blown away that day and we continue to be so......I'm not sure I can use this blog post to explain how awesome these are and how much they mean to us. Just click them to get the bigger versions and ask yourself why this guy isn't doing this for a living?
To coin a phrase....stoked.



Getting back in a kayak..

Yep that time of year has come when I run out of excuses and jump back into a kayak for a run down the mighty Tryweryn! Taking advantage of the Pyranha Fest and stealing a Burn from an old Team paddler Jamie Burbeck it wasn't as harsh as it could have been. In fact the river was pretty much the same as it always was. I may have been a little shakey, but I didn't expect to be hitting every micro eddy after 12 months out of a boat.

Weirdly the sun was shining ( the sun never shines in Bala ), and it does make me think about alpine trips and classic Ogwen sessions. But then he muscles in my back remind me why I used to end up sleeping on the floor ( as it was the only place comfortable after a day in a boat). 10 years of paddling will probably keep a Physio in business when I get older!

I always joke that not much has changed since I left the industry. In fact I was paddling a Burn which was the last kayak I worked on ( I still claim ownership of the name! ). However I did catch a look at the new Mark II Burn ( slightly softer, probably for the lame ass US market where edges are the sporn of the devil ) and the new playboat the Pyranha PDQ ( which I know as the machines that process credit cards, though it more than likely relates to 'Pretty Darn Quick' ). There are even rumours of it being available to the public in carbon....that could be interesting!

So yes, it was a cracking day on the river. Lots of awesome paddlers hanging out, the sun shining and Vicky and Immy there for a spot of lunch. Yeah, it would be nice to get a run down the Conwy, Llugwy or Ogwen this season, but with the water levels so hard to predict, it probably won't happen ( but it would be nice if I could at least squeeze a run down the classic Conwy..just to get my face wet ).

Roll on next year and another day out in a kayak....