From the vaults: A crisp walk (29/11/2010)

A crisp walk, plus a gear test (of sorts)

I’d started this entry at a time when we had yet to get any of the snow which was arriving by the skyload elsewhere; a couple of flurries and the odd dusting were all we’d seen. I have mixed feelings about snow: I love it on the hills and in the woods; not so keen when it hits the roads and car parks.
We’d not escaped the sub-zero temperatures though; even the daytime readings had been struggling to make zero, so it’s been time to bolster up the layers, appreciate the landscape on the move and cut the pauses to a minimum. The birds have been hammering the feeders; and occasionally each other when the queue doesn’t move quickly enough.
Overnight, and again during today (Tuesday 30th), we’ve had the first proper falls of the winter; light but sustained, and with the promise of more to come. So the pictures are no longer typical of the scene outdoors …
DSC02410The solitary wagtail – usually to be found inspecting the grit on the roof of the outhouse – put the untidy table manners of the goldfinches to some advantage; hoovering up the escaped sunflower seeds in company with a robin, a few chaffinches and a posse of dunnocks. Despite the diversity there seemed to be no significant disagreements at ground level.
Which was not the case a few feet above, where goldfinch, great tits and blueys jockeyed for control of the feeders, spilling plenty and only rarely agreeing to any inter-species sharing or armistice. A low-level pass by the local sparrowhawk did briefly leave them all looking suitably chastened.
Sunday’s outing, a relatively windless but bitterly cold afternoon, provided the opportunity to try out a new pair of mittens. Mrs B has suffered long and silently (well, maybe not entirely silently) with cold hands, so I’d treated her to a new pair of Trekmates Dry Snow mitts. I’ve had a pair of the Trekmates Dry Gloves for some time now and found them to be very warm and roomy enough to accommodate an additional liner on the really cold days. The mitts however are of a different order of warmth altogether.
In the event, Mrs B – happy with her existing liner/sheepskin mitt combo – declined the offer of the new kit, so I tried them out myself. The inner is in the form of a glove (separated fingers), with the outer being a mitten; the fill between the two is Primaloft. The effect is a bit like putting your hand into a glove already inside a tea cosy; if anyone reading this is plagued by cold hands then I’d certainly say they’re an option worth considering. Obviously the loss of dexterity when it comes to operating a camera can be an issue; opening a box of tic-tacs is pretty much out of the question.
I hadn’t realised, until I was looking for a link to post, that they had featured in a short (but expert) review on the TGO site: (here)


(Above) The very last seconds of the weekend sun


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