Bin Forest

Located approximately 2 miles north of Huntly on the A96, the Bin Forest offers a number of waymarked trails and some stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a forest that we have passed many times en route to/from Elgin but never got around to exploring – until Sunday 24th August that is!

Opting for the Bin Hill Trail, the yellow route, we were taken out of the car park on a steep little start, winding through trees on a fairly narrow path in darkened woods, a wake up call for the legs having been sat in the car for the best part of 50 minutes. The gradient was sharp enough to be challenging yet rideable, even with a toddler in a WeeRide sitting in front of me.

“It might be called ‘the Bin’ but it’s got nothing to do with rubbish! This site takes its unusual sounding name from the Gaelic for hill or mountain – bheinn (pronounced ‘ben’). Bin forest was first planted in the 1840s with fir tree seeds brought back from North America by the famous Scottish plant-hunter David Douglas. Originally planted to supply timber, this forest now offers much more than just wood.” (http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/visit/the-bin)

“Look across from the high paths to the River Deveron, Look up for a glimpse of Peregrine falcons or Sparrowhawks, Look out for signs of Fox and Pine Marten, and look down to see many wild flowers growing along the paths in Summer. Explore this Working Forest to find the Gallon of Water, a shallow pool at the top of Bin Hill, which legend has it was thought to cure whooping cough.” (http://www.visitaberdeen.com/attractions-and-activities/view/the-bin-forest)

We did spot numerous birds of prey circling above, but we didn’t know to look for the Gallon of Water (Should have done my research beforehand!). However, with plenty more routes to explore I’m sure we will be back to explore further in the not too distant future.

Huntly is located close by, which proved to be the perfect place to grab some lunch and to visit the excellent Huntly Castle, a most impressive ruin cared for by Historic Scotland.

  • Gallon of Water Trail, 0.7m/1.0km (White)
  • Ord Brae Trail, 1.6m/2.5km (Green)
  • Ferny Knowe Trail, 1.6m/2.5km (Red)
  • Queen Tree Trail, 3.5m/5.5km (Blue)
  • Bin Hill Trail, 4.1m/6.5km (Yellow)

Links

Ultimate Direction FASTPACK 20 Vest/Backpack

The latest offering from Ultimate Direction, the Fastpack 20 Vest/Backpack, will soon be available from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com.

“Providing all the features and capacity you need and nothing more, the Fastpack 20 is a streamlined pack that will get you there and get it done. Perfect for day hikes, peak bagging, or a quick weekend, the Fastpack takes inspiration from our Signature Series vests, with its super stable and comfortable fit.” (http://ultimatedirection.com/p-633-fastpack-20.aspx?category=hydration-packs)

The pack offers a versatile approach to hydration, offering front, side and bladder options, or indeed all 3 or any combination of, that’s likely to be one of the main attractions of the Fastpack 20 for anyone looking for a pack that’s equally at home whether running, fastpacking or hiking.

It’s described as building upon Ultimate Direction’s Signature Range, with the functionality and capacity of a regular backpack but the fit of a running vest/pack.

With 5 accessible compartments on the front, 15 to 20 litres of capacity with compression straps to remove any excess, a waterproof rollable top closing mechanism, two adjustable sternum straps and 2 large mesh side pockets, capable of holding everything from bottles to tent poles and/or trekking poles, it’s a pack that’s likely to have wide appeal.

The Fastpack 20 comes in 2 sizes, Small/Medium and Medium/Large. After months spent waiting on the PB Adventure Vest last year I was gutted to finally receive it only to find that I couldn’t fasten the straps across my chest, so it’s good to see two sizing options for this pack.

For a detailed look at the pack features, head over to iRunFar.com for their Fastpack 20 review.

Features

  • Patent-pending Infiknit harness is a continuous, seamless back panel and shoulder strap system to prevent abrasion and discomfort
  • Large, main roll-top compartment expands from 15L to 23L
  • Rear stretch-mesh pocket with low-profile daisy chain system
  • Water bottle compatible front pockets also fold flat to store other items
  • Dual adjustable sternum straps and side straps for stability and fit
  • Integrated side compression Z-straps for varying load capacities
  • Removable foam back panel for comfort
  • Available in 2 sizes

Specifications

  • Volume Capacity: 915 – 1403 in3 / 15L – 23L
  • Weight: 1lb 3 oz. / 535 g
  • Height: 20 in. / 51 cm
  • Width: 9.5 in. / 24 cm
  • Depth: 11.75 in. / 30 cm

Sizing at chest (Unisex)

  • S/M: 24 – 40 in. / 60 – 102 cm
  • M/L: 32 – 46 in. / 81 – 116 cm

Materials & Design

  • InfiKnit Harness
  • Mono Hex Mesh
  • Cool Wick Air Mesh
  • 340g Power Stretch Mesh
  • 210T Nylon Mini Rip Stop

Available from September 2014:

Barefoot Running Magazine – Issue 12 (Summer 2014)

The latest Barefoot Running MagazineIssue 12, Summer 2014,  is now available including my reviews of the Altra Lone Peak 1.5, Vivobarefoot Trail Freak and Vivobarefoot Evo Pure.

All 3 are impressive shoes but I’ve particularly taken to the Trail Freak and the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 for longer distance running. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Lone Peak 2.0 has to offer.

Issue 12 weighs in with a massive 174 pages and includes ‘In Focus: The indomitable spirit of Sir Roger Bannister’, ‘Vibram’s $3.75 million settlement’, and all the regular columns, review, tips and Q&A sections.

New Hokas & Hydrapaks At www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com/

There have been some nice new additions to the www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com recently, with the addition of new Hokas, the Hoka Stinson ATR trail shoe and the Hoka Stinson Lite road shoe, and new soft flasks from Hydrapak.

The Hokas have seamless uppers and improved ventilation, thanks to a single layer mesh approach in the road shoe, and a dual layer mesh approach in the trail version, with the additional layer preventing trail debris from entering the shoe.

Hoka Stinson Lite

“The Men’s Hoka STINSON LITE features an oversized HOKA ONE ONE proprietary (HIP) CMEVA midsole providing unmatched combination of high performance cushioning with inherently stable ride. A late stage Meta-Rocker is designed to create a more nimble and accurate foot roll through the gait cycle. The hi-abrasion rubber outsole has a flexible and multi-directional traction design. A highly breathable seamless upper construction provides a secure fit. An ideal shoe for runners looking for a lightweight, stable, and performance cushioned road running shoe.”

Hoka Stinson ATR

The Men’s Hoka STINSON ATR features an oversized HOKA ONE ONE proprietary (HIP) CMEVA midsole providing unmatched combination of high performance cushioning with inherently stable ride. A late stage Meta-Rocker is designed to create a more nimble and accurate foot roll through the gait cycle. The hi-abrasion rubber outsole has a flexible and multi-directional traction design. A highly breathable seamless upper construction provides a secure fit. An ideal shoe for runners looking for a lightweight, stable, and performance cushion running shoe for the trails. 

More new Hokas to follow.

Update: 19th August 2014: The Hoka Mafate Speed is now available:

“The Men’s Hoka MAFATE SPEED provides a super-cushioned but very aggressive and responsive ride in wet or dry conditions, the Hoka One One Mafate Speed is an all-terrain beast that simultaneously protects and propels. Fitted, breathable, and deceptively agile, the Mafate Speed will take you on a wild ride that lasts for as long as you can hang on.”

Hydrapak Soft Flasks

Fans of soft flasks should be interested in the new range of Hydrapak Softflasks™, offering the quality and functionality of a soft flask without the premium price associated with some of the branded flasks.

“The new molded bottom Hydrapak SoftFlasks™ are modular hydration systems that are highly versatile; allowing for placement within packs, jackets, handhelds, and other gear. The collapsible lightweight Hydrapak SF750 SoftFlask™ is easy to use and packs tightly for efficient storage and transport.”

Features

  • Collapsible for easy storage
  • Modular design for multi-purpose “on-the-go” applications
  • High-flow silicone bite valve with twit shut-off
  • Soft, durable TPU body for strength and flexibility
  • Molded top and bottom provides 3 dimensional shape and lashing options
  • RF welded to create superior bonds at a molecular level
  • Textile carrying loop
  • Optional dust cover included
  • Dishwasher safe (top rack)/Freezer safe
  • Exceeds FDA & EU Regulations
  • BPA Free

Ultra Tales Issue 12

Ultra Tales Issue 12 contains event reports from the following races Zion 100, Cotswold Ultra, Evesham Ultra, Iznik Ultra, South Downs Way 50, Marathon Des Sables, CTS Exmoor Ultra, Highland Fling, National 50/100km, The Oner, Thames Path 100, T60 Night Race, Brecon Summer Ultra, TNF 100 Australia, North Downs Way 50, Hardmoors 110, Weald Ultra, Grand Union Canal Race, Enduroman 50, The Severn Challenge, Northants Ultra, Comrades, South Downs Way 100, Endure 24 and The Wall.

In addition, there are runners profiles from Chris Baynham-Hughes, Ewan Dunlop and Ellen Cottom.

There are interviews with Paul Navesey and Edwina Sutton after the SDW50 wins and Mark Perkins after his SDW100 win and interview with Elite US runner Mike Wardian, a Paddy Buckley Round report and the usual Marathon report section.

Run, Walk, Cycle Scotland