Seasonal best wishes to all readers.
Any hope of a Christmas backpack has been dashed primarily by the weather, in particular the state of the roads: many people seem to have the bravado to drive in these conditions but I’d be a nervous wreck long before I arrived at the hills, not to mention the worry during the walk of a deterioration and possible difficulties getting home. I’m afraid I couldn’t stand the anguish these days, I’ll wait for conditions better suited to a more delicate state of mind - snow on the hills and safe roads below. The Scots must be made of sterner stuff!.
Apart from that I have to consider my recovering foot:- the snow is the most extensive seen for years in England and Wales, I just heard the MRT guy on TV saying that the high deep snowfields in Snowdonia were frozen hard. Even on quite easy routes I would need to do some ‘edging’ and either kick steps or use crampons, and my foot just isn’t up to that level of stress. Incidentally, the MRT news item was about the rescue of a couple of blokes on Snowdon wearing tracksuits and trainers, the usual story - see here - all good entertainment if nothing else.
There’s an interesting point: I’m not sure if my lightweight flexible Kahtoola aluminiums would be adequate. They might be: their stubby spikes are fine in the modest snow and ice typical of recent years and they spend most of the time in my pack, but they have never been tested on extensive deep bone hard snowfields. Perhaps the Kahtoola steels with longer aggressive spikes would be required. The critical factor must be how steep the route is, and we always stick to reasonably gentle backpacks in winter conditions. I just thought of something else: ice axes!. We haven’t carried ice axes since 1996, conditions have never demanded them on our winter routes but they would be advisable right now I should think.
Anyway above is a picture of a pitch in the Lake District in 2005 to remind us of better times.