The Angry Corrie 2: Jul-Aug 1991

The totally useless equipment guide No. 2:
The thermos flask

Bad points & features:

  • Invariably cracks from side to side the moment it's placed inside rucksack.
  • Should you be so irresponsible as to sit on rucksack in attempt to avoid wet bum on boggy hillside, flask instantaneously undergoes thermonuclear explosion, triggering chain-reaction of coffee to saturate spare clothes, maps, cheese & pickle pieces, Molly Weir novels, etc.
  • Naismith's Third Law: Thermos weight is such that energy gained through drinking of its contents is always outstripped by that expended in its carrying.
  • Easiest of all objects to leave behind on hilltops. In fact this has long been such a common and widespread event in the Highlands that there are several hills named Meall a'Fhlaisgaidh (rounded hill of the lost flasks).
  • On the warmest of warm days, tea or coffee will go cold once placed in flask, whilst even in the darkest depths of winter iced fruit juice will taste tepid.
  • No matter how tolerable the first cup, the second is invariably lousy, tasting of decaffeinated socks. No information is available as to the quality or otherwise of the third cup, since no-one has yet survived to tell the tale.

Good points & features:

  • Serves well as a cocktail shaker when high on the hill. Especially recommended is a mix of malt whisky and sheep droppings.
  • Heat escaping from flask can be used to warm hands frozen due to equally ineffective "thermal" gloves.
  • Include a tartan flask in your holiday snaps. Describe this as "foregound" if you are a hillwalker or "local colour" if you are a tourist.
  • If benighted on the Cairngorm plateau in winter, having inadvertently mislayed your iceaxe in the chairlift station, use the plastic cup to shovel out a commodious snowhole.
  • Once you have broken several flasks, string the cups together on an old piece of climbing rope so as to make a trendy necklace.
  • Alternatively, superglue four cups together by their handles and measure windspeed by letting them birl round on the point of your iceaxe.
  • When, as Wainwright was forever saying, "The doctor forbids climbing above a thousand feet", take an empty thermos with you in case you have sudden need of a urine sample to show to the Doc. If done discretely, not even your closest companion need notice anything untoward.
  • Imitate Manuel and his Music of the Mountains by removing top from thermos and allowing wind to blow eerily across opening.

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