The Vault Regulars

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saddleworth Today Pt.2

 Just to put some meat around the bones of the last post. Sheila sent the photograph using her new Samsung Galaxy S3 phone. What a lovely phone this is, if ever there was a smart phone, then this is it. 
 It was just a trial run really, to make sure it was set up correctly.

 Today's walk didn't work out exactly as i planned yesterday because, i thought it might be a bit too much for Dorothy. I am also struggling to shake off a sore Achilles tendon that i picked up whilst running, when we were in Gairloch a few weeks ago.  

 Unfortunately for me, I had also been invited to join Martin Bamfield who's blog is here, to do a couple of days walking with him and a mate from Scotland which, due to this tendon problem i have had to decline his kind offer. 

 So todays walk, was a walk of 2 halves. One up on the moors above Diggle and Marsden and the other a walk along the canal to Uppermill and return to Diggle.

We started more or less where i finished my mid week walk at the Diggle Hotel.





 Empty, derelict house on route. Some renovation work seems to have been started and then stopped suddenly.
 Marsden Moor sign


 The Great Western Inn taken with telephoto lens.


Approaching Redbrook reservoir


 Redbrook and Pule Hill


 The Pennine Way, Standedge Trail crossroads
 Not sure what this stone represents. It is probably a boundary stone but i cannot confirm that. It is located just to the south east of Redbrook Reservoir.
Brew time, east of Warnock Hill
 The return point. The Carriage House. 
We resisted the temptation to call in although it seemed to be doing well with all the cars outside. We walked back more or less the same route over to Diggle. 
 Approaching Diggle on return leg
 Some temporary Diggle residents
 West entrance to the Standedge tunnel. Huddersfield narrow canal.
 Saddleworth Viaduct
On my last visit i couldn’t help but get some chips from Betty’s fish and chips in Uppermill, and because i had told Sheila how nice they were it just had to be done again. This time because it was past lunch time and we were quite hungry we sat in and made pigs of ourselves.
Yummy, mushy peas.

 Sheila and Dorothy buying Ice Cream on route back to the car.
(Well they didn’t do Ice cream in the chippy)


Saddleworth today


Nice walk, a bit nippy on the top but rain held off so far.



Sent from Samsung Mobile

Thursday, September 27, 2012

B&C X-Lite Softshell jacket from Polo-Shirts UK

 I received a kind request asking me if i would be interested in testing a jacket for a local company based in Manchester. Polo-shirts UK
 Now this company was new to me and so it was even more interesting that i had been asked to carry out this review as the majority of the catalogue is not what we would class as designated hardcore outdoor gear, it’s more in the line of fashionable, high street gear with a plus sign.
 However, i contacted the company and i emphasised that my gear reviews are fair and show both the good and bad points of the particular item being tested.
Apart from integrity on my part, i explained that this was because of the harsh environment that gear could or would be used in. They fully agreed, it was not a problem.

 So with the next post i received a softshell jacket from the company and on the label it said B& C. Not a label i was familiar with i admit to say.


 Removing the packaging, it is certainly a smart looking jacket and feels quite different to my previous Rab soft shell garment.
 It also felt quite light. My usual first test, i check out the weight.
This jacket weighs 558 grams and that is a size M.
In comparison, my Rab Cioch softshell, which is windproof but definitely not waterproof weighs 660grams also size M. So a positive first sign.


 The B & C jacket is a waterproof softshell, specified as 8,000 mm or 5,000MVP.

 This jacket is manufactured in 3 layers. The outer layer is 94% PES woven with 6% Elastane. It doesn’t say in the specification but this must have been treated with a DWR because in my first test on a very wet day it beaded the rain very well indeed.
PES or Polyethersulphone is not renown for beading rain in it’s normal guise so i was impressed with the result.

 Bonded between the outer and the PES mesh inner is the waterproof and breathable middle layer or membrane. I have found this to be adequate. Now i say adequate because there are so many factors to take into consideration with the “breathability” issue. I have had walks where there has been no condensation whatsoever. On other occasions, like yesterday (26.09.2012) when it was quite a humid day and when i was purposely pushing the pace there was some condensation. I was wearing a rucksack and to be honest the weather didn’t actually justify me wearing a jacket at all. But i needed to see how it performed.
 Now it doesn’t matter what jacket you wear, if you have a rucksack against your back you are going to get clammy in that area. No two ways about that.
 So i did get clammy, but at an acceptable level. I was quite surprised just how quickly it dried after removing the jacket. Within the hour.


  The internal armpit seams are also taped sealed and the elbows are articulated giving good freedom of movement.
Jacket turned inside out showing the armpit and shoulder seam sealing tapes and also the inner pockets. You can also see that there is no drop tail.

 The main central zip, both hand warmer zips and chest pocket zip are manufactured by YCC and are nylon and smooth operating.
The main zip has a top garage or chin guard and also an internal rain flap.
None of the zips are water resistant although when i have used it in the rain, i havn’t suffered from any water ingress so far.

 The bottom hem has a shock cord with locks on each side for adjustment against the elements. The jacket does not have a drop tail, although the description on the web site says otherwise.
The sleeve ends have rubber hook and loop tensioners and they work very well.

 The jacket has 2 zipped hand  pockets and are a good size and shape. There is an outer zipped chest pocket that is a little disappointing. Size wise it will  take an MP3  player or a small  phone. There are entry slits on the inside for the headset, however the pocket is not big enough to take a GPS or a pair of glasses.
 You don’t want to put your glasses or GPS into the side hand warmer pockets as these would be covered when wearing a rucksack by the hip belt. On the other hand it isn’t detrimental as pockets on the rucksack hip belt itself could be used. I just think a larger pocket would have been a better option.

 On the inside of the jacket there are 2 excellent, very large pockets which will easily take a map or a pair of over trousers for that matter. (See photo above). Disappointingly  there is no security fastening to either pocket.
 I found that my map was gradually being forced upwards by my hip belt whilst walking. This was a real shame and i would have to add some form of security here, maybe a self adhesive velcro strip, so that i didn't loose the map or anything else.

 The collar was the only disappointment, a little uncomfortable and it is just far too open for this type of jacket. One thing you need when it’s windy or raining is to be able to zip up the jacket and have a protective snug fit around the neck. Keeping out those cold elements as best as possible for as long as possible. (I’m a size 16 collar).

 There are also 2 cord loops in the collar to hold your Mp3 headset wires but sadly no central hanging loop.

Summarising,

Its a good looking jacket, very comfy, nice feel inside and out.
Excellent warmth to weight.
Small chest pocket,
Good sized side pockets and excellent internal pockets
Waterproof, adequate breathability and windproof.
Loose fitting collar.
Weight, size Medium 558gr.
No drop tail but good hem closure.
Hook and loop rubberised sleeve closures.
Good abrasion resistance.
Small pack size for a soft shell.
MP3 compatible.
Quick drying.
Competitively priced.


The jacket is available in navy, green, black and white. Sizes S - XXXL and also in ladies version.
Cost is variable depending on quantity but a one off is a decent £42.58 plus VAT.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Greenfield to Diggle

 I have been reviewing a jacket for a Manchester company and was well on the way to completing that review when i very reluctantly, (ha), had to go to Greece.
 The part of the review which was lacking was, what is the jacket like for condensation when the walking pace was a steady 3mph for a few hours, and this i did today.
 I will post the report on the jacket later but today's walk was a really lovely walk along the Huddersfield Narrow canal and short sections of the river Tame and a very short section of the Standedge trail.
 The morning started grey and with short showers, the roads had plenty of standing water and i was wondering if it was going to be another day like the previous 2 days, when it hadn't stopped raining.

 The M62 was as busy as usual but once off the motorway the side roads through Newhey, Denshaw, Delph  and into Uppermill were all quite clear. Again, lots of local flooding was obvious with the numerous road works, temporary traffic lights and plenty of sand bags along side and outside peoples houses.

 I parked up in Uppermill on the 3 hour free carpark. I had wondered about moving the car elsewhere but i thought 3 hours would be enough for what i had in mind.
 My route was to walk the Huddersfield Narrow canal from Uppermill to Greenfield and then turn 180 degrees and return via the River Tame. Once back in Uppermill i would return to the canal and follow the towpath to the Standedge tunnel at Diggle.
 The canal at Diggle, cannot be followed into the tunnel and so i picked up the standedge trail passing the Diggle Hotel and onto the moor.
 I was walking on a time limit and so when that time limit was reached i had to return to avoid a parking penalty.  As it worked out i wished i had moved the car because it turned out to be a fine day.
Uppermill local poet and antiquarian. Ammon Wrigley 1862 - 1946. Most of his poetry was written about the Saddleworth Moors. This statue is adjacent to the Museum car park and where i started the walk.


The fine stone bridge and tunnel where the canal goes under the A670
Approaching Greenfield “Frenches” Moorings and the Kingfisher Public House.
 This is a fairly recent mooring and in a good spot. Just past the pub i enquired of a dog walker if the footpath along the River Tame was still open. We chatted for a few minutes and she explained that the new Tesco’s and new housing development had temporarily closed the footpath but with her help i found my way onto the riverside path.
 The river, flowing fast and brown in colour due to the extremely heavy rain over the last 48 hours. The peat being washed down off the moors giving the colour.
 At one of the weirs the river could be seen in spate and giving off quite a noise.


River Tame in Spate
I followed the flooded river path back into Uppermill and the view to my right was dominated by the Obelisk on Aldermans Hill, remembering the dead from the 2 world wars.
Obelisk on Alderman Hill
 Although dry, the day was quite humid and the higher hills were only just starting to shed the cloak of mist. Arriving back in Uppermill and picking up the canal once again, this time to head east, workmen had started the job of relaying the gravel tow path. I cautiously picked my way around them in order not to fall in.
 I was heading now for Diggle. I love that name. The journey is one of sheer delight with the surrounding moorland getting closer and closer. The river fast flowing on one side and then the other. The railway line also swopping and changing and we are all heading for the same junction. Standedge tunnels.
 Leaving Uppemill
 The restoration of this narrow canal is wonderful. They did a brilliant job.
 Approaching the Saddleworth Railway Viaduct with the Skew Archways.
View underneath showing the Skew stonework
The viaduct is a real gem but unfortunately from the canal you just don’t get to see it in it’s true glory. You have to get higher up on the hillside for that. It was completed in 1849 to transport goods during the industrial revolution, as was the Huddersfield Narrow canal. The viaduct has 22 arches and 3 of them are skewed. 
 The 2 locks either side of the viaduct, Dunge Booth lock and Lime Kiln lock were the first locks to be renovated.

 Wool Rd Mill and Transportation shed used for the movement of wool during the Industrial revolution.
The start of the Diggle flight of locks. Looking east.
Approaching Diggle lock 28W with Shaws pellet factory in the Old Dobcross Loom Mill on the left.
 Narrow boat leaving lock 32W. Summit Lock.
 This is the west entrance to the Standedge tunnel. The plaque to Telford can be seen on the left hand side. From here, we pedestrians have to take alternate arrangement to get to the other end of the tunnel at Marsden.
 The canal tunnel is the longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in Britain. It is 5,029 metres long, 194 metres underground (at it’s deepest point)  and 643 metres above sea level.
 Boats used to have to be legged through the tunnel in times gone bye but now boats are assisted with an electric tug.

 Standedge tunnel entrance.
 Plaque to Thomas Telford, engineer.
 Train entering the Standedge tunnel.
 The pedestrians route to Marsden can follow the Standedge trail and The Diggle Hotel is at the start of this section. It’s a good path with superb views.
 Views south East to Broadstone Hill
 View North East towards Round Hill
 View North
 Just one of the good looking souls i met on route. 
(Its for you Mike)

 Time ran out at this point, just as i was approaching Round Hill. I had to turn back. I was a little despondent because it was such a lovely day out and no complaints as to the weather. 

 I returned using the footpath on the opposite side of the canal and within an hour or so i was back in Uppermill. The waft of hot fish and chips was just too much to avoid and so i finished off just like Wainwright. 
 Five minutes after i got back to the car and before i had disposed of the chip paper, it started to rain and then it poured. How lucky was that.





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