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  1. What Is Thermal Mid Layer Clothing?

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    Thermal mid layer worn by two cross country skiers in the Alps

    Most outdoors people understand what a base layer is and the function it performs in keeping you warm and dry. However, when it comes to a thermal mid layer there is still a lot of confusion about its purpose and what one exactly is.

    PURPOSE OF A THERMAL MID LAYER

    The primary role of a thermal mid layer is to add extra insulation to your layering system without being overly bulky. It is usually worn over your base layers but some garments, like our Factor 2 mid layer range, can also be worn directly next to the skin.

    Its secondary role is to carry on transporting moisture away from your skin via your base layer to the next layer of clothing. If your mid layer has poor wicking properties then you are going to get damp very quickly when working hard. This can lead to rapid heat loss when you slow down or stop.

    TYPES OF THERMAL MID LAYERS

    Personally i think a lot of companies wrongly label garments as thermal mid layers, such as micro fleece jackets and lightweight down jackets. For a start they are far too baggy to be true mid layers and are often poor at managing moisture. A lot of the time it is a clumsy attempt by a brands marketing team to adhere to the layering system – base layer, mid layer, outer layer – when their range is not complete or when their range is too large.

    Our classification of a mid layer is pretty simple. It should be snug fitting, offer good moisture management, and be insulating. Basically it is a thicker version of a base layer. When we were developing our  award winning Factor 2 mid layer range, we took these parameters and designed a bespoke fabric around them. Nearly three decades later our Factor 2 is still one of the best thermal mid layers you can buy.

    WHEN SHOULD A THERMAL MID LAYER BE WORN?

    Deciding if wearing a thermal mid layer is necessary is dependent on the weather conditions, the activity you are intending to perform, and ultimately your own personnel tolerance to the cold. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution, as you can always remove a layer.

    For a relatively sedentary activity such as fishing where little heat is generated from movement, you are going to want to wear as much insulation as you can to ensure you trap and retain body heat.

    On the other hand, if you are a proficient skier, then you are going to have an aerobic workout even in very cold temperatures, so overheating may be a problem wearing a full layering system. In this situation we would recommend wearing a base layer top and bottom with just a mid layer top to protect your core. If you find you are getting too warm then you can always remove a layer relatively easily.

    For extreme cold conditions, such as polar expeditions, then a good base layer and thermal mid layer are a necessity, and a re just the start of your layering system.

  2. South West Coast Path National Trail Crowned as Best British Walking Route

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    South West Coast Path National Trailwww.southwestcoastpath.com – has been voted the best British walking route by Walk magazine for the second time in a row and the timing couldn’t be more apt. In the past months, the UK has suffered some of the most severe weather ever to hit these shores and the South West has taken the biggest battering.

    Those images of wild storms sweeping the south-west earlier this year were a reminder that you don’t need to be on exposed mountain tops to need the benefit of a top performing layered clothing system that offers comfort, protection and flexibility. Combining a good thermal baselayer, such as a Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus,  with an insulating mid layer and an outer for weather protection is the answer; not forgetting a hat and gloves.

    What the award and the weather have highlighted is just how well-managed the coastline is for walkers. Mark Owen, the National Trail Officer for the South West Coast Path, said,

    “The storms have put enormous pressure on those that maintain the Coast Path on a day to day basis with the Highways Agencies and National Trust coastal rangers out in force trying to keep the Coast Path accessible wherever possible – and they’re doing a fantastic job!”

    “Relatively few areas have had to close and where there are problems that can’t be solved immediately, due to a landslide or unstable cliffs, short diversions have been put in place to re-route walkers along an alternative public right of way. While walkers need to take care when walking along the more rural routes that are harder to reach and may take longer to repair, the majority is still safe, especially in the more urban areas.”

    The award was voted for by readers of the magazine, published by the Ramblers’ Association, and the editor Dominic Bates agrees that it was a well-deserved win, “With management of national trails now devolved to local trail partnerships and cutbacks beginning to bite, the organisations behind the South West Coast Path have been hugely successful at raising money through public and private funds to invest in improvement projects along the route. It’s proof positive of the public’s appetite for coastal walking and will be grist to the mill for our continuing campaign to get the England Coast Path completed.”

    If you’re planning to walk more than a couple of miles along the SWCP, then it pays to be prepared. Whilst not an expedition, the ups and downs of the route plus its remote sections mean that you should be packing your rucksack carefully. A map and guidebook are useful for reasons beyond navigation – transport, food, drink, local interest, for instance. When wet, walking on sections of the path can be demanding so decent footwear is important, particularly socks – pack a spare pair.

    Though well populated with pubs and cafes, carrying some food and drink is a sensible precaution. Anyway, you may prefer to avoid the hurly burly on a quiet headland. A first aid kit for tackling scrapes and blisters plus sunscreen (sea breezes can disguise the power of the sun). The sea-breeze can easily mask the strength of the sun, and if the weather is bright and you don’t want to end up pink and sore at the end of the day, don’t forget to slap on some sun screen.

    Photo credit: Richard Taylor

     

  3. Ten Reasons Why You’ll Enjoy Walking in Jersey

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    Walking in Jersey allows you to discover the islands heritage and natural beauty that otherwise would be missed when driving a car. In a series of free guided walks designed for you whatever your age and experience, the Walking Weeks offer almost 40 walks to choose from – over 1000 participants usually take part in both Walking Weeks.

    Put a spring in your step as Winter starts to draw to a close but don’t relax your guard on staying warm and dry. A snug baselayer combined with an insulating mid layer under an outer layer to protect you from wind and rain will ensure flexibility and comfort.

     

    Top 10 Reasons For Walking In Jersey

     

    1. Green Lanes

    Jersey’s famous ‘Green Lanes’, found in all but two of the Island’s twelve parishes, are identified by a special road sign. Walkers, cyclists and horse riders love these tranquil, highly scenic byways. And – for once – walkers have priority, not the car, since the maximum speed limit is just 15mph (24kph). In other words – this 50-mile network of narrow, tree-lined lanes are a walker’s paradise.

    2. Coastal Walking

    The Island is also renowned for its fifty miles of coastal walks with splendid views of Guernsey, Sark and Herm from the north coast, and of France from the east. On the north and south coasts you’ll spot big differences. The north is rocky and rugged, with a curtain of spectacular 400ft/120m cliffs that slope to a south coast fringed by vast expanses of sand.

    3. In the Country

    Jersey may be famous for its coastline, but the Island is also a rural paradise of green lanes and hidden valleys cloaked in wildlife-rich woodland. Jersey Tourism also has a selection of pub walks that combine great walking with good food, heritage trails and parish trails.

    4. Wildlife Watch

    Red squirrels still live and thrive in the woods and the Island is a stopping-off place for many migratory birds. Other residents include the green lizard and the rare agile frog (not found anywhere else in Britain). You may even meet the brown or olive toad that gives local residents their nickname, ‘Crapauds’ (a Jèrriais or Jersey-French word).

    5. Two Feet; Four Wheels

    At nine miles by five and with an excellent public transport network, the Island is easily accessible for walking with only a bus timetable as a guide. Linear and circular walking routes are easy to put together. The local Connex bus service operates all year, and in summer there are additional ‘Island Explorer’ buses bringing even greater frequency and coverage, enabling you to link up services with added convenience.

    6. Warm Walks

    The Island’s southerly location and its protected position in the Bay of St Malo result in an attractive, temperate climate that makes Jersey one of the warmest and sunniest places in the British Isles. In the warmer months, walkers tend to head for the coast, tackling the cliffs and beaches. In contrast, the colourful and sheltered valleys, woods and scenic reservoirs provide an entirely different atmosphere in autumn and winter.

    7. Walks for All

    Jersey suits all kinds of walking. If you’re ambitious try the ‘Around Island’ walk that can be completed with the aid of an OS -style map over three or four days or as part of a guided group during one of Jersey’s two Walking Week Festivals.

    8. Naturally Speaking

    In 1997, Jersey became the first Island to gain Green Globe status. There are many designated ‘Sites of Special Interest’ and four internationally-recognised wetlands known as Ramsar Sites, covering the south-east coast and three offshore reefs.

    9. En Route

    You’ll encounter Jersey’s rich and diverse history on paths and trails everywhere. Fort Leicester and L’Étacquerel Fort, both located at Bouley Bay, were built to keep out the French. Look out for the Island’s iconic Jersey Round Towers and ghostly remnants from World War Two.

    10. Get Yourself a Guide

    Jersey Tourism’s programme of escorted walking tours with experienced Blue Badge guides takes in the Island’s unique history, heritage, landscapes and seascapes – see the latest ‘What’s On’ guide for details. Best of all are the Island’s two annual walking festivals – the Spring and Autumn Walking Weeks, with a huge choice of guided walks for all abilities.

     

     

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