I spent most of May Walking, running and cycling around Scotland in a glorious month of adventure and I took lots of lovely Sherpa gear along for the ride.
We started out with the Skye Trail, a 128km walk through the dramatic mountains, ridges and coasts on the Isle of Skye and then continued by cycling the North Coast 500. With notoriously changeable weather and challenging terrain this was the perfect chance to try out my Sherpa Naulo Trousers, Preeti Jacket and Lithang Jacket.
The first stage of the Skye Trail was absolutely unexpected. As we set off there was not a cloud in the sky and as we walked along the cliffs at Rubha Hunish, we wondered if we were actually in Scotland or had somehow hitchhiked to the Med by mistake! The air was fresh and my Preeti jacket provided just the right amount of layering to keep the cool breeze off but without overheating. When it got warmer, the Preeti jacket kept me cool and the sun off my burning arms (honestly!).
I now consider the Preeti jacket to be one of my most versatile bits of clothing. I have worn it running, cycling, walking and climbing and in all instances it has come out top. The fabric is comfortable and highly flexible, with a good fit and importantly, after a few days of wear it still doesn't smell thanks to the Polygeine technology, which uses silver salts to fight odour. I also really like the pattern and colour scheme. It is refreshing to find some technical fabric for women that is not just block colour and its style means that when I am on multi-adventure trips it is also great for wearing casually as I travel around. The additional security pocket is a nice touch, perfect for travel but also great when you are more active and want to stash a key, or more importantly some sweets, without carrying a bag or belt.
On the NC500 (North Coast 500) I used it daily as part of my cycling layering system and this time the standout feature was the hood. Most cyclists wear hoodless jerseys but it fitted perfectly under my helmet and protected my ears from the cold Scottish wind and as the fit is so good, it didn't flap around as I rode.
After the first day of glorious weather, we were treated to a Scotland that I am more familiar with where rain and drizzle prevail. This brings its own beauty to the landscape, with the sun bursting through occasionally in dramatic revelations. But it pays to stay warm and dry so you can really appreciate this other, more raw side to the landscape and the Lithang jacket stood up to the most persistent soakings.
The most intense rain we experienced came on the NC500 as we left Ullapool. It had been drizzling all day, but we pushed on, with our hope maintained by signs promising "The Summer Isles" with "Sandy Beaches". The rain seemed determined to dampen our spirits but my Lithang Jacket stood up to it admirably. We arrived 100km later in the driving rain and although my jacket was drenched, I was in fact, remarkably dry underneath. As the jacket is not built for cycling I was unsure how it would stand up to the increased impact of the rain from this kind of movement but it did its job regardless. The sculpted elbows also adapt quite nicely to time on the bike, maintaining comfort in an awkward position. My only plea is for Sherpa to release another colour, I chose Rathee Blue over Tika Pink as I have had enough of pink gear. The Men's Geelo Clay colour looks great, as does Yuu Blue and Fresh Jalebi, I like my gear bright and so these colour options would definitely be welcome!
Last but not least I was extremely impressed with the Naulo Pants on this adventure. I wore them constantly on the Skye Trail and despite bringing an additional pair of trousers with me, decided I was just too comfy to swap! They are the ideal companion for multi-day trekking, lightweight, fast drying and flexible. Crawling around to take photos (often with my pack still on) was done with ease - but perhaps not grace - and scrambling on Bla Bheinn was comfortable throughout. I was a bit unsure by the absence of articulated reinforced knees at first, but they really aren't needed on these trousers and the lack of additional seams that may rub or restrict is the reward for the omission.
The Preeti Jacket, Lithang Jacket and Naulo Pants are all now staples in my rucksack and they will certainly be joining me on my next adventure in the Alps in June.
Additional photos of me by Zlatko Vidrih. Instagram: @maliopica.