Monday, 9 September 2013

Mountain Laurel Designs Little Star

This isn't a review, unfortunately. For some time, I've looked covetously at other hikers who have an MLD Trailstar. It's not exactly a tent but, on the other hand, I would say that it's not exactly a tarp either although it's nearer to a tarp than a tent. It doesn't have a base and has a permanently open entrance doorway. All the reviews of it give the impression that it's absolutely bombproof. My main reservation has been that, frankly, it's too big. Its footprint just takes up too much space. That's fine when out in the big wide open but in a more restricted area it's just too big. Now, I'm not one to collect shelters but I almost exclaimed out loud when I saw that MLD have now introduced the LittleStar, some 15% smaller although not smaller in price. In fact, it retails at the same price as the Trailstar, which is, for the silnylon version, is $210.00 (the cuben fibre version is $355.00). It weighs in at 13 ounces compared with 19 ounces for the Trailstar. I would love one but I probably don't need three shelters (I already have a Golite Cave tarp and a Terra Nova Laser Competition tent).

If Mountain Laurel Designs would care to lend me a LittleStar for review I would be very pleased. It looks just beautiful.

Backpackers Cambridgeshire weekend

A select few (seven) of us gathered behind the Pike & Eel at Needingworth, just outside St. Ives. The weather was set fair and the rain earlier cleared during the afternoon. This may be my tarp's last outing this year. Now, here's a statistic. Usually on these weekends, there is the odd female contingent. This time, 28% were female (accompanying male attendees).

I'd planned a good leg stretch for Saturday and it looked as if I'd be on my own. Howard had to nip home to feed his ferrets and the others were planning something less strenuous. I was up early and was away at 6.45am, heading up the Ouse Valley Way for a mile or so before veering off to go through Bluntisham. I'd vaguely heard of this route but had no idea it was so long. It's 150 miles and starts in Syresham, Northants. At Bluntisham, I joined the Pathfinder Long Distance Walk, another one I didn't know. It's a 46 mile route starting and finishing at nearby RAF Wyton.

Other places I passed through were Somersham, Warboys and King's Ripton, all three quite picturesque and I'd happily have stayed longer given time. Just after Kings Ripton, walking along a green lane, I turned a corner and spied a young fox about 100 yards ahead. I stopped dead and, although it saw me, the fact that I wasn't moving perhaps didn't put him on his guard. I slowly brought my camera up and was standing still for about five minutes while this young fox faffed about in front of me. He was watching me, then he had a quick poo and then walked towards me a little way. In the end, I got bored and moved towards him, whereupon he legged it.

Then it was through Houghton and St. Ives. I really like St. Ives. The weather helped but it had a summery feel to it. Walking along the only street of Holywell, I couldn't resist taking a photo of a house for sale, a bit of a wreck and painted purple. I'll revisit perhaps in a couple of years to see what changes have been made.

From Holywell, I joined the Ouse Valley Way again, back to base. This was a really good day - 22 miles walked.