Posts tagged ‘Scarp1’

July 14, 2014

Backpacking Upper Teesdale

by backpackingbongos

These days Reuben is quick to work out when I am getting ready for a backpack. The pile of gear and boots by the front door being the most obvious clue. Unfortunately on this occasion he was left to sulk in his bed. The North Pennines are one of the least dog friendly hilly parts of the UK. There are plenty of footpaths where he can walk but much of the access land prohibits dogs. This is mostly to do with disturbing grouse which are due to be blasted out of the sky in less than a month. I did try to explain this to him but he said that it defied common sense. What do dogs know?

Total distance – 47 kilometres with 1045 metres ascent

Upper Teesdale

Day 1 – 14 kilometres with 460 metres ascent

There are no restrictions on leaving a vehicle overnight at the car park near the Bowlees visitor centre, so that’s what I did. As I was getting ready I looked on jealously as a woman opposite fried some fish and then fed some returning walkers. I put on my hungriest face but she barely glanced my way.

Bowless gives quick and easy access to Low Force, which is a picturesque spot but not at its best during a dry spell in summer. I was heading towards the end of the road past the small hamlet of Holwick. The meadows were a riot of yellow, a beautiful sight under the steely grey sky. They are great to look at but soon had my nose streaming as the hay fever kicked in.

I had my sights on the unremarkable summit of Bink Moss, a 2000ft Nuttall which has eluded me for years now. To be honest it has not really eluded me, I have just avoided it. Looking at the map it does not scream out, ‘Climb me’. The ascent turned out to be easier and more pleasant than anticipated. A good path took me up Holwick Scar and onwards to Rowton Beck, the air full of the calls of Curlew and Golden Plover. I then followed a wall or fence over moorland to the summit (I have no recollection if it was a wall or fence, my memory has erased that detail). With not much in the way of stones or boulders in the vicinity the summit is marked by a post with a welly on top. I think that was the summit but just to be sure I wandered around onto various lumps and bumps just to be sure. It’s that sort of exciting place.

After another trackless moorland jaunt the large cairn at the wonderfully named Hagworm hill was reached. The plan had then been to take the non-existent right of way to join up with the bridleway across Cronkley fell. With a bird’s-eye view the going looked like it would be grim. Therefore I decided I would climb up onto the summit of Long Crag and cobble together a route from there.

Once on the extensive plateau the going was easy with a faint path along the northern edge. I soon ran out of access land and found myself face to face with the Warcop range. I then mounted a minor incursion and snuck across the line, heading for Merrygill Beck to get back to where I was allowed to be. A sense of wrong doing added a little excitement to this excursion and there were great views from the northern tip of Long Crag. Mickle Fell looked tempting but I thought that would be pushing my luck. I will leave that for a non firing day.

After collecting water from Merrygill Beck I pitched just above the River Tees, a light breeze just enough to keep the worse of the midges away. The view as I lay in my sleeping bag after dinner was superb.

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Day 2 – 19.5 kilometres with 445 metres ascent

There was a fine drizzle in the night which may have been midges attacking silnylon. I did not open up to investigate fully. Instead I shivered in a new Montane Prism sleeping bag which I bought to take to Arctic Sarek in a few weeks time. It has since been returned for a refund, heavier and not as warm as advertised.

After packing up I followed a delightful stretch of the River Tees along its south bank, all the time looking for a place to cross over to the Pennine Way. It would have been easily wadeable but would have meant boots full of water. Instead I continued upstream and crossed the nearly empty Maize back, Cauldron Snout thundering nearby. It’s always an impressive sight.

Once I had climbed up to the dam it was a very long trudge along the track on the east side of Cow Green reservoir and all the way to the summit of the B6277. Once the reservoir has been left behind there is a shooting hut which has an unlocked room at the end. This provided a good excuse to get the stove on for a coffee and a big pile of fig rolls.

The track allowed for quick and easy progress, Cross Fell beginning to dominate the landscape as I got closer. There is a real sense of space and although not wilderness it’s about as wild as you can get in England on these moors. As if to emphasis this it started to rain for a while.

The road with its fast traffic was a brief intrusion in the feeling of being somewhere remote. I simply crossed it and started climbing towards the summit of Burnhope Seat. A line of grouse buts gave a feature to follow but I was dismayed to come across several empty bags of animal feed discarded on the moor. Pretty poor and lazy land management in my eyes.

I knew that the trig siting on its large concrete plinth does not mark the actual summit of Burnhope Seat. This lay across a very boggy stretch of moor which had to be crossed twice.

With cloudy but settled conditions I decided that I would spend the night pitched right on the summit of Great Stony Hill. To get there I had to cross a great swathe of moorland with various disused mine shafts dotted about. I have to say that I have a fear of falling down a deep hole and not getting out again. I paid close attention to where I was going and was almost disappointed that I did not see any bottomless pits.

Great Stony Hill has a few stones scattered around its grassy summit, I’m just not sure that it qualifies it to have the words great and stony in its name. I pitched on a flat area of close-cropped grass, keen to ensure that the pegs were secure in such an exposed spot. Water was collected from a nearby small tarn and filtered. An unexpected bout of wind and rain then lay siege to the tent so I hunkered down to read my Kindle. A break in the weather led to impressive skies, dark clouds lit up by shafts of sunlight. The weather then closed in for the night, rain singing on the flysheet all night. Clouds descended leaving me in a grey swirling world. I kept half an ear out for thunder, ready to flee with only a hint of it approaching. Thankfully it did not.

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Day 3 – 13.5 kilometres with 140 metres ascent

It was another cold night, especially considering that it was close to mid summer. The mist had dispersed by the time I had packed up and set off. I passed more old mine workings and what looked like an unfenced shaft at the bottom of a depression in the ground. I decided against having a closer look.

The summit of Three Pikes is located across moorland that can be best described as boggy and peaty. Progress was slow as I worked my way between many hags, luckily the peat had dried enough not to be the dreaded black ooze that tries to remove boots. A fine cairn overlooks Harwood, a good place to rest and listen to the sound of summer on the high Pennine moors.

The actual summit was located before dropping down into the headwaters of Langdon Beck. This was followed downstream before climbing to High Hurth edge along the boundary of access land. Dropping down into pasture I had to pass a large herd of cows with calves. Aware of the potential danger I skirted along the edge of the field rather than follow the path through the middle of them. One gave me a cold hard stare.

Tracks and lanes led back to Bowless where I was tempted into the visitor centre for a bite to eat. I left with just a can of drink as I baulked at the price of a sandwich. I decided to drive home powered by left over fig rolls.

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March 15, 2014

Winter’s final bite? – backpacking the Grasmere hills

by backpackingbongos

Looking back at my log book it appears that the last time I went backpacking in the Lake District was July 2011.  I think that is far too long.  The reason why I avoid the whole National Park is probably pretty obvious considering that I am a misanthropic backpacker.  It can also be a bit of a bugger parking for a few days.

I suddenly found myself with a Wainwright bagging itch, an urge to tick off a few arbitrary hills listed by another misanthropic hill walker.  I planned an illogical route lurching up one side of a valley to collect a couple of stragglers, before descending to yomp up another set of hills.  All good exercise for the calf muscles.

I arrived at a large and free lay-by on the outskirts of Grasmere late on a Friday afternoon.  Luckily enough the road system through Ambleside had confused me enough to prevent stopping to explore the numerous outdoor shops.

Total distance 23.5 kilometres with 1,400 metres ascent

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The plan was to camp on the summit of Stone Arthur for the night.  It has been a while since I have dragged a backpacking sack up anything resembling steep.  I was a wheezy and sweaty mess, frequently stopping to take in the view and have a few puffs on my inhaler.  It was a punishing introduction back to the Lakeland Fells.

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Stone Arthur although a Wainwright cannot be considered to be a summit in its own right.  The futility of peak bagging being that you are ticking off against a list of hills that someone else has deemed worthy.  It does give a good focus to a walk though.  Stone Arthur was however a great view-point.

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There was still a bit of daylight left and after the initial physical shock I was keen to gain a bit more height.  I now had the hills to myself, the day trippers having returned to the valleys.  The setting sun bathed the hillside in a warm glow as I plodded upwards before finally picking a spot on the 600 metre contour on which to pitch my tent.

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It was a quiet and wind free evening, dew and then frost quickly covering the fly of the tent inside and out.  Stars soon filled the sky, mirroring the lights down below in Grasmere.

I set my watch for 1.00am as there was the possibility of a glimpse of the Northern Lights.  There had been a good display the night before as far south as Norfolk.  Sadly when I stuck my head out of the door I was enveloped in cloud, visibility down to a few metres in the beam of my head torch.

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I woke early morning to the sound of rain that somehow was not quite right.  I opened the door to a swirling world of mist and snow, something that had not been forecast.  It was unpleasant wet snow, not the sort to get too excited about.  I punched the snow off the top of the tent and settled down for a couple more hours of sleep.

It was one of those damp and still nights where everything gets covered in condensation.  Luckily I had taken a MLD Spirit quilt to layer over a summer weight down bag.  This meant that the down bag remained totally dry.  The tent when packed was a soaking wet mess, fingers going numb as I wrestled it into its slightly too small bag.

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Suddenly the clouds lifted and my spirits soared with it.

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I had initially planned to head to Rydal via Alcock Tarn but decided it would be a shame to lose height so quickly.  Instead I climbed to 650 metres and contoured below Great Rigg.  Along this pathless section the clouds would come and go giving views of the snowy fells.

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In the end the clouds covered the hills in a thick blanket which was to remain until I had descended all the way down into Rydal.  There was a large amount of foot traffic as I followed the path over Heron Pike.  People were clad in everything from full Himalayan winter gear to jeans and canvas shoes.  It was good to be going against the flow.

Even down below Nab Scar the cloud refused to clear.  I sat for a while on a rock and watched it stream and rise across the nearby hillsides, occasional shafts of sunlight punching through.  All very atmospheric.

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I had planned to jettison some rubbish and an empty gas canister when I got to Rydal.  However I was half way up Loughrigg Fell when I realised I had forgotten to do this.  I also managed to misinterpret my map and took an unmarked path instead of the right of way.  This soon disappeared in a tangle of dead bracken.  Unfortunately a couple pointed my way from the car park and followed me. I hid in shame for a while behind a rocky outcrop until they passed.

Hunger pangs timed themselves perfectly with a hefty snow shower close to the summit of Loughrigg Fell.  This resulted in my hunkering down whilst trying to construct a tortilla wrap.  It was far too much hassle to get the Jetboil on for a cup of coffee.

The summit itself was a superb spot, views being much better than is suggested by its diminutive size.  The skies were turbulent after the heavy snow shower, layers of cloud drifting across the higher fells.

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Height was quickly lost on the descent towards the Youth Hostel, a narrow muddy path being wet and slippery.  I was soon climbing once more, the Langdale Pikes rearing up at the head of the valley.

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The undulating ground after Silver How was a joy to walk, easy-going and deserted.  A cold wind was picking up and the skies to the west were getting heavier.  Wet and windy weather was forecast to sweep in after dusk so I became eager to seek out a sheltered spot for the night.

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The Scarp was pitched in the lee of a grassy knoll, sadly the wind soon changing direction.  A scenic spot but one that I did not enjoy outside for very long.  Spots of rain were carried along on the wind in the gathering gloom.  The final job after collecting water was to deploy the crossing poles as insurance in case it got stormy in the night.

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After dinner I decided to rest my eyes for a moment before escaping into a good book.  I must have been tired as apart from being woken by wind and rain battering the tent I slept solidly for nearly twelve hours.  The book remained unread.

Thankfully the wind had dropped and the rain had stopped when I got up.  The higher hills once again had a dusting of snow, the clouds just above the summits.

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Packing my rucksack mist rolled in, quickly followed by rain.  Visibility was down to a few metres as I trudged up to the summit of Blea Rigg, tricky due to the complex terrain.  I had no qualms about navigating with my Satmap.  Even with GPS technology it took me a while to find the path that led me down to Easedale Tarn.  It was a thoroughly miserable day, even the lower Easedale Tarn was hidden in the clouds.   What surprised me was the sheer number of folk out on such a grim morning.  There was a constant stream climbing up the path next to Sour Milk Gill.

I was soaked by the time I reached the car.  My Rab eVent over-trousers had completely given up, even though they were proofed before setting off.  I could have wrung out my trousers they were so wet.  A naked bearded man then spent ten minutes drying off in the car with the windows steaming up……

January 24, 2011

24 stormy hours in the Howgills

by backpackingbongos

A plan was hatched before Christmas with Martin to get in some training for the TGO challenge.  Get some miles and hills under our belts and test the gear that we each planned on taking.  The weather forecast the week prior to meeting up was not looking good and there were email discussions of Plan A’s and plan B’s.  In the end we decided to just have a plan A and see what the weather threw at us.  The Howgill fells are easy to walk out of within a couple of hours, if it got too bad we would stay low and head back home.

We hoped to meet up with Mike and Bruno on the morning after our wild camp.  Mike forecasted that we were doomed…………..

Day 1 – 7.9 miles with 600 metres ascent

It was an early start to get to our rendezvous at the alloted time, the Bongo being rather thirsty if I do any more than a quick trundle up the motorway.  I arrived at Bowderdale Foot ten minutes early and Martin had phoned to say he was seeking out a bacon buttie in Tebay.  Time for a quick brew and some breakfast in the van.  Parked up on a grassy verge I asked a farmer passing on his quad bike if it was ok to leave vehicles here.  He did not even bat an eye when I said that we were heading up onto the hills to camp, he just warned me to be aware of gales tomorrow and said a couple headed off with large packs the day before.  I feel more confident leaving the Bongo in remote areas after receiving the ok from locals.

Martin duly arrived and we kitted up, the weather already was damp, gloomy and a bit on the breezy side.  We stepped off the road onto the boggy bridleway into Bowderdale and were almost immediately enveloped in mist.  No views backwards, forwards or side to side.  It would remain that way until dropping down to camp later on that afternoon.  When the wall ran out we peeled off the bridleway and headed uphill towards West Fell and the long old ridge that would eventually lead to the summit of The Calf.  We soon got into a nice steady pace and the conversation flowed easily.  The TGO challenge and routes were discussed alongside blogging and the usual kit talk.  As we climbed higher the wind got stronger and words would get torn out of our mouths and dispersed onto the surrounding fells.  Approaching Hazelgill Knott we were staggering around like drunks, so after contouring its slopes we sought shelter in the lee of the hill for a quick snack and chat.

We both cooled down quicker than anticipated so we continued on up the ridge trying to imagine what the views would be like.  Long grassy slopes are not the most fascinating places to be in poor visibility and a few checks of the compass ensured we were on track.  It was a case of heads down and plod on.

Suddenly a strange apparition loomed out of the mist.  To me it looked like an elephant standing head on to us, my heart did a little skip and then the elephant divided into two.  It turned out to be a couple with huge packs bent over a map!  Quick greetings and we turned onto the main Calf track and found the trig point, luckily just where we expected to find it.  Martin phoned Mike to confirm that the weather was indeed rubbish and arranged that we would meet him at 9.00am if the weather was not too bad the following morning.  At that point we were still being wildly optimistic!

The aim then was to find somewhere to camp within striking distance of Bowderdale head, close enough to meet Mike in the morning but with as much shelter as possible.

The bridleway down to Bowderdale head was easy to follow in the mist and we could sense the steep slopes to our right, eventually plunging down to Cautley Spout.

Readers of Martins blog will instantly recognise the profile above from the self timed photos he posts, indeed this is how I recognised him profiled against the sky when I bumped into him in the Lakes.  I have to say that I tried my best to get a photo of his face but his mystical powers ensured that they all came out blurry.  I can assure readers that he does have a face!

Just below the mist the higher reaches of Bowderdale felt like a wild spot, we almost could have been in a remote Scottish glen.

It was time to find a place to camp, hopefully sheltered as even here down in the valley the wind was gusty.  A few pitches were identified but the gusts were too strong.  We continued on down the valley to the nicely named Randy Gill where the air was as still as it could be.  Unfortunately there were no ideal spots big enough to accommodate two tents.

Crossing and recrossing the river we eventually settled on a spot on a shelf above the river.  There was a good strong wind blowing but it would have to do, darkness falls early and quickly in January.  Tents that are good in the wind still have to be put up in the wind and until poles are threaded and pegs positioned it is just a flapping bit of nylon.  Martin was testing his trailstar shelter for the first time in the hills and I have to say that it was amazingly stable, an equal to the Scarp1 with its three poles.

Some time was spent chatting under Martins shelter but before long I was feeling chilly so retired to my tent to change into dry clothes and get some hot food into my stomach.  There was a brief respite for a couple of hours when the wind stopped gusting and the sky cleared with a bright moon shining.  A false sense of security……………………..

Day 2 – 3.8 miles with 70 metres ascent

The wind built during the night, getting stronger and stronger, then around midnight the rain joined in the assault on our camp site.  Steady strong winds buffeted my tent all night with stronger gusts tearing down the valley at random intervals.  These sounded like trains roaring towards us, getting louder and louder until the full force hit the tent.  The rigid structure did not flap but shook as a whole, the air pressure changing inside with each gust.  The rain came down all night in bucket loads and I drifted in and out of sleep waiting for the fateful moment when a pole would snap.

7.30am my alarm went off and it was still dark, I popped my head out of the door into a violent grey world before retreating back into the dry sanctuary.  A coffee and some noodles before I was greeted by Martin, it was immediately agreed that we would bail out.  It was not a day to be on the hills, or even in the hills.

This is what my world looked and sounded like at 8.00am that stormy morning.

Tents packed safely away we examined the river which was now a foaming torrent and impossible to cross, anyone falling in it would be swept off their feet and carried rapidly downstream.  Instead we found a sheep track that contoured around the hillside.  Descending back down I had a nasty slip, my leg twisting at an angle behind me.  A jolt of pain but luckily I was able to get up and continue walking, it was not a day for being carried out.  Randy Gill was now in full spate, even though its source was less than a kilometre away the speed and volume of the water was astonishing.  The depth and speed would have meant being knocked off your feet if attempting a wade, a jump was the only way.  Martin had the height advantage and crossed with ease, I faltered and found it difficult to sum up the courage.  In the end I took off my pack and threw across to Martin before doing a running jump.  My heart was in my mouth for a few minutes afterwards.

The steep hillsides were literally streaming with water, large streams appearing that were not marked on the map.  It was slow going with any flat bit of ground being totally waterlogged.  A group of fell ponies added beauty to the bleak scene.  Bowderdale Beck lower down had burst its banks, a huge dirty brown swirling mass of water.  We began to worry that our vehicles parked next to it down stream would get washed away.  The track that would lead us back to our vehicles was finally reached and we began to climb out of the valley just as further gusts tore at us, we had to brace ourselves and let them pass.

Luckily at the road head we could see our vehicles sitting happily where they had been left, although next to a river that was swollen and angry.  It was almost exactly 24 hours since we had left them, 24 hours of wind, rain and mist.  I would have much prefered sun and frost but it was great to experience weather like that and emerge unscathed.

October 30, 2010

Scarp 1 – a belt and braces approach

by backpackingbongos

After one slightly drippy night in the Scarp1 where I was not sure if rain had come in through the vents or a leaky seam, I thought that I would test its waterproofness in the garden.  I decided that I would pitch it during a rainy night or leave up whilst at work to see if any drippy spots appeared.  I then thought better of it as I started having images of my nice new tent not being there in the morning / after returning from work.  If some tea leaves have no qualms about nicking a buddha statue and a pop up plastic greenhouse out of our garden then my tent would be gone in a jiffy (ahh the joys of city life!).

Instead of worrying about its waterproofness on my next backpack I thought that I should go for the belt and braces approach to seam sealing.  It has already been done once by Henry at Tarptent, although so fine you can only just about see it in a certain light.  Seeing as today is warm and sunny I pitched the tent and did my best at re-sealing it this morning.  I mixed up silnet with white spirit (about 50/50) until it was nice and runny and applied along both sides of the outer pole sleeve, paying extra attention to the crossing pole loop.  I only went as far as the tops of the doors as I am only worried about drips on the inner.  The stitching on the roof vents got a good soaking along with the inside of the crossing pole patches.

All in all, much easier than I thought it was going to be.  It is drying in the sun and I have noticed that one side is nice and neat and the sealant is becoming almost invisible.  The thin sealant ran a bit on the other side so there are a few thick patches.  At the end of the day though any cock ups are only cosmetic and won’t affect the actual performance.  Insects are sticking nicely to the sealant as well!

I now hope that my Scarp1 is waterproof as well as wind proof!

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October 25, 2010

Tarptent Scarp 1 – impressions from the first 3 nights

by backpackingbongos

It really was not a pleasant and satisfying experience purchasing my Scarp1 from Henry Shires based in the States.  You may remember the experience I had of pitching my brand new tent in the mountains of Wales back in August.  The quality was shockingly poor with missed stitching meaning that there was a large hole in the flysheet.  In fact the stitching on the whole tent was abysmal, almost embarrassingly so.  I personally would be ashamed to charge someone for it before posting half way around the world.  Luckily Henry Shires was quick to post off a replacement fly which I received a few days later and this time made by someone who could actually sew.  I got the excuse that they had been really busy when my original had been shipped, a sign of a company suddenly becoming too large and unable to cope?

There was then another Tarptent experience that left me feeling a bit frustrated.  Henry had asked me to post back the original fly, I was originally a bit miffed because I was planning on getting it repaired by a professional and keeping it as a spare.  Anyway I dutifully packed it up, went to the Post office and sent it off to the States.  I emailed Henry to let him know I had done so but got no reply.  No thank you, nothing.  I had been told that they would refund the postage to my card, but nothing had been forthcoming.  Over two weeks later I emailed a bit of a moan and immediately got a reply apologising for not getting back to me and saying that they would refund my postage which they did in the end.  I was peeved that I had to push the matter, I wished that I had kept the fly instead!

So it has to be said that ordering from Tarptent has not been a pleasant experience and is not one I plan to do again.  It has rather put me off ordering from the States as things can be a pain to sort out if things go wrong.  Also after dealing with companies such as Backpackinglight where the service is simply outstanding you end up really noticing other retailers shortcomings!

So anyway I now have a fully functioning Scarp1, how has it fared on its first two backpacking trips?

The first night I used it was at the beginning of October high on a hillside in Mid-Wales.  It was windy, very windy and a battle to stop it becoming an expensive kite as I struggled to pitch it.  It was actually pretty easy to pitch considering the conditions, much easier than my Akto.  Because it was windy I had brought the crossing poles with me.  These were a little fiddly to attach with webbing and clips and I found the webbing a little too long leaving it to flap on the flysheet.  I ended up looping the webbing around itself which worked well but would be difficult with cold fingers.  When fully erected and guyed it really was as stable as a rock, no chance of tent flapping in my face that night!  The night was full of unpredictable gusts of wind hitting the tent from all directions, however it hugged the ground like a limpet with pretty much no flapping at all.  Therefore in terms of stability I would give it 10 out of 10 when using the crossing poles, possibly the most stable and taut tent I have used.

Being inside it was a joy, the inner tent is very spacious for a one man tent and it would be easy to avoid touching the inner if it got wet from condensation.  In fact with all that space I was not sure what to do with my kit.  I ended up putting my rucksack and wet muddy stuff in the porch not being used with my boots and cooking kit going in the other.

Dawn brought wind driven mist and mizzle, not rain as such but the air was very wet and you could just hear it being blasted by the wind onto the flysheet.  After a few hours of this I noticed some drips at the apex of the inner tent, especially around the central clip of the inner.  Now I am not sure if this is due to a leak through the stitching or if the mizzle had been forced through the upper vents.  I had shut up the windward vent as best as possible but the velcro strips do not go the full length of the vents.  Henry said he had sealed the seams for me so it should not leak.  I think I will test by pitching and leaving in the garden overnight next time we have heavy rain.  With me tucked up nice and warm in bed there should not be any mistaking leakage with condensation!

The second night was not really a test as it was dry, mild and with a good breeze.  I awoke in the morning with no condensation.  What I can say from that night is how easy it is to get the tent as tight as a drum (pictured below next to a baggy Akto).

The third night was an altogether different challenge for the Scarp1.  This time it was pitched in the dark without using the crossing poles.  It really is an easy tent to pitch and once again I had a separate porch for wet and muddy gear and another to cook in.  It was a very still night with temperatures around zero with a light frost coating the fly by morning.  I awoke to find that the inner tent was saturated with condensation and I had to be careful to ensure that I did not get too much of an early morning shower.  I had left the upper vents fully open and one of the fly doors was clipped at the bottom but left unzipped, therefore there was not a lack of ventilation.  I think to be honest that any tent would have struggled that night to be dry inside, the benefit of the Scarp1 being that you have more room to move without touching the sides.  The top of my sleeping bag was damp even though it had not been dripped on, it was simply moisture from my body condensing on the outer in the cold air.  These things are unavoidable in certain conditions.

One thing I did notice is that the fly of the tent was not as tight as I have managed to pitch in the past.  This could be down to the fact that I pitched in the dark or the heavy wet dew and frost made the material sag a bit?  More use will tell.  One thing that I have noticed is that the bug netting on the inner doors is not very robust.  The door closes by tying a piece of elastic and it is difficult to roll up the inner without exposing a bit of netting to the elastic.  This means that I have a few runs already where the netting has snagged.  Could be an issue if it gets worse and there are midges about.

However it was a joy to have both doors open to enjoy the morning views!

My impressions so far………

Pros: Very stable in wind with no flapping, easy to pitch, roomy inside for the weight, two porches.

Cons: Quality control issues, the general Tarptent ordering ‘experience’ was fairly poor, inner netting not very robust, no guys supplied for the hoop, no pole bag supplied,  not yet convinced it is waterproof! (even though I was told it has been seam sealed).

Hopefully in the next couple of weeks it will get a good drenching in the garden to test if fully waterproof before getting another outing.  Backpackingbongos will not be covering up any shortcomings!

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