Friday, 25 April 2014

Barry Bucknell Lives!

Nice New Guying System

When I had to go out to work for a living I was driven to seek promotion after promotion for one reason only.  I needed and wanted to earn enough money so that I never, ever had to open my car bonnet or to go into a branch of B and Q or the like again.  My intention was to be able to afford “to get a man in” to do it.  Or as Mrs Fellbound sometimes says, with that tone that appears to be suggesting something more than the actual words she uses, “get a real man in to do it”.  So my dizzy climb to the top of the greasy pole of public servantry was a result of nothing more than my inability to do anything practical under the bonnet of the car or at my non-existent work bench.

However, after studying the Yellow Pages I was unable to find any man or woman listed who could do for me in relation to some desired modifications to my Scarp 1.  I had thought of sending a train ticket and a wad of fivers to employ Robin, as he is the master of modifications when it comes to the Scarp 1. And he seems actually to enjoy doing these things.  But selfishly he had headed off to Dartmoor to have a final pre-TGO Challenge jaunt.  Thus, I was in the awful position of having to do it myself.

   The problems:       

  • The Scarp has nowhere to hang your wet smelly socks to dry after a day walking through bog in trail shoes.

  • The Scarp’s supplied guys appear to be extremely short, putting a strain on the pegs and limiting the choice where you can stick the peg – a potential problem in rocky ground.  Further, the hoop has no supplied guy lines.

I am not certain whether the short guys really are a problem. One assumes that Henry Shires at Tarptent knows what he is doing.  But my own doubts were heightened by the various sharp intakes of breath from fellow Pre-Walk Daunderers when they saw just how short the guys were.  They said little but their stolen glances to each other said it all.  One gust of Scottish wind and that tent will reach Montrose a week or so ahead of poor old Fellbound on the TGO Challenge.  Alan suggested I replace them with an Akto style guying system.  In the end I opted for something simpler.  This was because my poor little brain wouldn't have coped with that and also it might have mucked up the postioning of the crossover pole eyeletes which are attached to the standard guys.  In any case, for me these modifications were already as challenging as would have been undertaking open heart surgery.

The solution:

  • I bought some Dyneema from Bob and Rose. “Dyneema” means expensive string but it is very good.

  • I cut a piece off and tied it across the inner as a washing line for my smalls. This required me to know how to use a pair of scissors and tie a round turn and two half hitches. Thank goodness I had been in the Scouts.
  • I removed the existing guys and replaced them like for like but over double the length.  This requires knowledge of how to tie an overhand knot and correctly thread a linelock.  It was quite technical but I Percy Veered and it seems to have worked.

  • I added guys to both attachments on the hoop.

  • I have also done this clever thingy with some guy line, linelocks and my trekking pole to help with stability and to give more clearance between inner and outer, which should help reduce condensation.  This wasn’t, of course, my idea.  Others do this.  I saw it on Steve's brilliant bloggy you tube thingy-me-bob of him putting the Scarp up on Hindscarth in the Lake District.  I would recommend you check this video out, not least for the catchy folky background music.  The photo below shows this set-up reasonably well.

I sealed the cut ends of the Dynamee with a lighted match. I decided this was best done straight after cutting and not once the cord was attached to the tent.  This was to avoid conflagration nightmare.

Trekking pole thingy guy
All in all this has added 80gr in weight.  And more pegs but I will not bother with spare pegs now as the two trekking pole thingeys are not strictly necessary so I will have pegs for those which could become replacements for crucial pegging points.  Also, I have ditched some of my blue pegs for grey as Martin has advised me that the blue paint is heavier.

The cleverest bit is that I replaced one guy at one end with different coloured Dynamee.  This shows me which side of the Scarp is the “head end” as the inner door is at one end of the tent.  This should help when putting it up. If I can remember “red is for head”.

That’s enough about modifications. It's doing my head in, as Phil Mitchell or Ian Beale might have said.

Now, which way is Scotland?


  1. That looks like a fine pitch. I might be stealing some of those ideas, especialy the different coloured guy line to indicate the door end ... now why didn't i think of that? Also I agree that the music is the best part of that dodgy video. Amateurs eh!

    1. The video wasn't dodgy in itself. But I seem to recall you were wearing shorts. Now your kness are dodgy ;-)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Ahh. The mysterious delted comment. You shouldn't have explained, it would have made me slightly nervous. It was the great Duke of Wellington who said "never explain, never apologise". Another of his memorable lines relates to his birth in Dublin to English parents. When someone suggested to him that this made him Irish he replied "and so if I had been born in a stable would that have made me a horse?"

    2. I meant "deleted", of course, not "delted".

  3. That above deleted comment was me editing it and ticking the "notify me" box

    Very impressive!
    May I suggest one last very minor tinker?
    Under heavy wind load, that lifter might have have to take sudden large forces. Too big a sudden force may well damage the tent. You could connect a 6 inch long loop (ie doubled up) of 3mm diameter shock-cord to the lifting point to smooth out these sudden pulls.

    Of course, you will have worked all this out already - you were just teasing us.
    MLD do something similar on the back of their Solomid.

    1. The shock cord is a very good idea and was also suggested by Peter Dixon on Tiwitter. He is a new Challenger this year - but a very experienced Munroist.

  4. I have been evaluating this erection, and it has come to our attention that you have not done a proper Risk Assessment on the shelter in populated areas.
    We consider that this constitutes a serious trip hazard.
    There is a definite risk of constrictive injury, and possibility of compensation liability to be considered.
    Also, the ground area has now been extended and an increase in rental space will be required.
    Further more, we have noted that the Pegs appear to be RED, and not the normal statutory matching blue to complement your eyes so well. They may however be very appropriate from Braemar onward.
    If you need any more assistance in resolving any of these legislative issues, please call someone else.

    1. You can be assured, Andrew, that my new get up will only be used in the wilds and not on busy camp sites, although it still takes up less space than your Trailstar. But then so does Wembley Stadium. I am slightly concerned about the lack of blue pegs in my bag but the steely grey titanium ones do show my eyes off very prettily. I shall lend you a red peg at Callater as your eyes very definitely will match it.

  5. So is it going to be used on the TGOC ? Glad we haves moved along from the Blue tent peg thing. Really bad idea that was. Good chap, and do well and keep up the standards you now have attained. Hanging out with Andy and Alan has done you some good it seems :)

    1. Yes, it will indeed be the Scarp for the Challenge. It will serve me well. You have been instrumental in changing my view that kit choice should be about how well the colour of a piece of gear sets off my eyes or complements my skin tone and for that I shall always be in your debt. Mind you, those pegs were a beautiful shade of blue....