Outdoor Stuff

Running with Kahtoola Microspikes

Rattling through the list of subjects I wanted to share with y’all but haven’t gotten around to, thoughts naturally turn to winter sports, and the issue of sliding about on ice like a drunken uncle at a wedding. Don’t you just love lockdown? With that, here’s a couple of words on a product that’s made me look forward to getting out on icy trails and frozen paths: my Microspikes.

Hiking Lhargee Ruy from Crosby

Hiker looking down into the valley, distant mountains on the horizon

A health-inducing lockdown loop from downtown Crosby to the roof of the world, or the top of Marown, which is pretty much the same thing. Pack the picnic blanket and Compeed, this one’s gonna be good.

Smashed my Half Marathon PB

Some Marathon Runners

Hardly a groundbreaking update, but finally some black-on-white evidence that the fitness regime is paying off. Yep – I smashed my personal half marathon record, and also bagged my longest ever run. Very pleased with this.

Step Count when Hiking with Poles

A pair of Saucony Ride ISO shoes with Garmin Foot Pod, Fenix 5+, and Leki Voyager hiking poles

A while back I saw a post on Reddit questioning the accuracy of step tracking when using hiking poles. This made me think. I use poles now and then for longer / steeper hikes – was I missing out on some tracked calories which could later be exchanged for beer? Time to find out!

Hiking Cronk Ny Arrey Laa from Dalby

Another hastily clobbered together route that turned out all right, on the hottest day of the year, and it’s only May. This one sees us getting sunburnt over 4 hours and 715 sweaty meters of elevation, bagging one of the island’s highest peaks and visiting an ancient hermitage. Welcome to the Dalby circuit.

Springtime comes to Cringle Plantation

Section of mountain bike track disappears into the distance between trees and little white flowers

I spent a couple of hours on the Stumpjumper yesterday exploring Cringle Plantation, one of the more technical mountain bike areas on the Isle of Man. Towards the end of the blue dot community trail I was transported into a magical woodland of mature, moss-covered larch, planted just wide enough to allow a carpet of wild clover to conceal the entire forest floor, and that carpet was now in full bloom.

CooSpo Heart Rate Monitor Review

CooSpo HRM H6 product box

I finally ended a 2 week period of iffy training stats by replacing the Garmin HR chest strap that died on me, and here’s a few words on the replacement product I’ve chosen as my daily activity heart rate monitor: cheap, accurate, compatible.

Garmin Fenix Optical Heart Rate Test

Back of Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Sapphire Titanium

My Garmin chest strap finally died. Originally bundled with the 920XT I purchased back in August 2015, I’ve been using the HRM-RUN on average three or four times a week without issues, but after two intermittent failures during road rides…

Open-source Mapping on Garmin

Small section of OSM map

Availability of open-source map data has been eroding sales of Garmin’s proprietary maps for some time now, and in this short post I’m going to share my approach for getting several countries worth of routable maps onto my handheld device and my laptop.

GPSMap 66s Mini-Review

Most of the major bugs with Garmin’s latest instalment in the popular GPSMap series have been ironed out, so I’m sharing my thoughts after living and travelling with the device for a month. Spoiler alert: there are still some – ahem – Undocumented Features spoiling an otherwise great outdoor GPS.