Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Berghaus Akka Jacket - Part 2

Berghaus say the Akka is: Great when worn on its own or as part of your winter layering system and the temperature is hovering around freezing.

Since giving some details here the weather has mostly been very wet with occasional dry mild days so, as yet, I can't comment on the above claim*. However, there have been a few days best described as 'raw' - when the cold and damp gets into your bones even though the temperature is well above freezing. On these days, it's been lovely to slip on the Akka over a T-shirt and light fleece and immediately feel warm; I doubt I'll need to wear very much more underneath, even in lower temperatures, but I'll report on this when real winter arrives.

- looking again at the quality of construction (made in China) I have to say that the sewing is immaculate.

Inside pocket - takes small wallet, mobile 'phone (although I find the latter uncomfortable)

- The soft outer fabric is continued on the down-filled collar which I find very comfortable although, like similar jackets, there are no draw cords to enable a really snug fit around the neck; and I do wonder just how much wear and tear this outer fabric will take.

- I like the combination of velcro and elasticated cuffs which allows me put the jacket on and take it off without undoing the closure. Lazy, I know.

- the Akka is reasonably packable

It could probably be packed smaller

However, packability (and weight 645g) are really only important if you plan to use the Akka on the hills;

 - I see it primarily as a jacket for everyday use during the winter months for shopping, walking local tracks and so on;

- on that basis I can't fault it so far but, for the sake of completeness, I will also use it on the local hills and report back in due course.

Finally, just a point about the DWR coating and cleaning the garment:

- It says on the swing tickets that the DWR is durable to extensive home laundering, but personally I'd be more worried about the effect of home laundering on the down than on the DWR.

- professional cleaning by a down specialist is recommended but the label does also say that careful home laundering is possible. Take your pick but I'll stick with professional cleaning if needed.

* I have now used the jacket on a couple of low level walks in much lower temperatures than previously - around freezing - and as expected was as warm as toast.

- it's early days, but if I'd bought the Akka, I'd be happy with my purchase.

- there are other similar products on the market but since I haven't used them I obviously can't offer any opinion on their relative merits. I see this as a problem with nearly all gear reviews unless, of course, the item falls to bits, leaks etc.

- My two other down jackets are completely different so any comparisons would be meaningless.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Areva factory in Scotland

Read this and weep.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Berghaus Akka Down Jacket

Mine is blue but this is a better photograph

This Berghaus Akka Jacket has been sent to me for review.  It only arrived yesterday so I've not had an opportunity to use it (and in any case the weather is mild and wet at present), but here are some details together with initial impressions. 

Outer shell - made from Berghaus AF nylon face fabric which is wind resistant, breathable, DWR treated and pleasantly soft to the touch. 

Insulation - 600 fill power with a down to feather ratio of 80/20. Sewn-through construction - the outer shell is sewn directly to the inner lining in a quilted fashion thereby trapping the down.

  Features : - full length zip with easy-pull toggle and internal baffle
                    - chin guard lined with soft, brushed fabric
                    - small internal security pocket which takes my BlackBerry and small wallet
                    - two good-sized, zipped, hand-warmer pockets
                    - velcro adjustment on partly elasticated cuffs
                    - thick insulated collar
                    - drawcord hem
                    - there is no hood

Fit:             Berghaus Active Fit which is: 'Not body conscious. Not
                    baggy. Just a streamlined cut for every kind of activity'. The medium size fits me
                    perfectly and feels extremely comfortable.

Quality:      as with my other Berghaus clothing, the Akka appears to be manufactured to a very high
                    standard. I certainly can't find any faults.

Price:          prices vary whether online or on the high street:
                    under £100 to £140 approx.

Weight :     645g approx. (manufacturer's figure)

Use:           First impressions suggest that this will be a versatile jacket equally at home in the town     
                   or country. I'll add to this brief introductory post once I've used it in the cold/snowy
                   weather which hopefully will arrive soon.

Note: I have no connection with Berghaus or their agents who sent me this garment.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Variety is the spice etc

A reduction in grazing over many years has resulted in longer grass in the Ochils, but this is even more obvious in those parts now owned by the Woodland Trust where there is no grazing at all. Since mid-September walks here have been relatively short (12 km)  to 'assess how the knee holds up', but the tussocky nature of the terrain is as hard on the ligaments as so-called rougher ground.  Outcomes have varied.

We've had some lovely days though.

Roe deer - a regular sighting

Easter Downhill

A little bit of Mozart

It's not all been about hills and knee trials. Last month an email arrived from MUSA, Museum of the University of St Andrews, informing me that Scottish Opera were performing twenty minutes or so of  'The Magic Flute' in the Bell Pettigrew Museum, Bute Medical Building. Having spent much time in and around this building in student days I am ashamed to say that I could not recall ever being in the Bell Pettigrew (I suppose I must have been!) so, apart from listening to a snippet of opera, it would be an opportunity to view  some of the 3000 or so specimens collected mainly during the Victorian era.

There were four members of Scottish Opera - a flautist (obviously), a harpist, singer and a storyteller who very amusingly set the scene prior to the next piece of music. As he said at the end: 'when I've turned Grand Opera into pantomime, my job is done!' What a superb thirty minutes! Prices for the full performance at various venues varied from £17.50 to £74.

A walk along the east sands in wild weather rounded off the day.

Enjoying quite rough seas at St Andrews (rougher than it looks!)

 The Carpow Logboat

Discovered by Scott McGuckin at Carpow Bank near Abernethy on the Tay Estuary, this dugout canoe from the Late Bronze Age has been dated 1260-910BC and is therefore around 3000 years old. It now has a permanent home at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. We just had to see it.

It was a fascinating afternoon and the full story can be found in the excellent little book by David Strachan, The Carpow Logboat - A Bronze Age Vessel brought to life, published by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, and also online of course.

WWII aircraft

Airfix models that is. I built any number of these as a boy and Lynne gave me a gift of a Supermarine Spitfire MkIa kit last Spring. It was suitable for age 8+ please note. 

Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia of 92 Squadron, RAF Manston, December 1940

Naturally, it couldn't stop there.

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3

and from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc

Next is another Spitfire (Mk IIa) and an Avro Lancaster B. Mk I, both of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. I must get started, although I've learned that a little more preparation before painting will give better results so these will take a little longer to complete. The models are 1:72 scale.

Weeks not without interest but I do wish my knee would hurry up and get better. By Christmas if I do zero the doctor says, but he probably knows me well enough to guess that there is little chance of  that.  Anyway, I've got this Berghaus Akka jacket coming soon for review !

Finally, I need to get round the blogs and catch up with what's going on.