The picture shows two tents pitched beneath Coroghon Mor on the beautiful isle of Canna. The picture was taken late one evening at the very end of May this year when I visited the island with Fiona, Dougal and our friends, Clare and Sarah. Both tents were mine – a Terra Nova Voyager and a Terra Nova Voyager XL. I pitched both of them.
It was a blowy old night in the tents and it was still very windy the next day when we went for a bracing walk along the high cliffs around the island’s coast. It was, however, a long way short of storm conditions otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to undertake our walk along the exposed 200m-high cliffs. When we came back from our walk one of the tents – the XL – had blown into the sea, the Voyager and a Crux two-man tent pitched nearby were unaffected; thankfully our possessions were rescued by the lovely Julie McCabe. Julie and her partner, Stewart Connor – the island’s NTS warden, loaned us sleeping bags (ours were wet) and a cheapo Eurohike tent, thereby rescuing us from our predicament. That night the Eurohike survived a windy night where the £500+ XL had given up the ghost.
In my opinion the tent blew away because of the combination of its larger (than a standard Voyager, for example) profile and its lightweight build. Arguably the tent’s lightweight, titanium pegs are also inadequate to withstand a strong wind. The XL is sold as a four-season tent and claims to have ‘great stability in windy conditions’. It doesn’t.
After two months of correspondence – emails, letters, phone calls – during which various employees of Terra Nova have claimed that I must have failed to peg the tent out properly and even that I should have used pegs other than those supplied (!), I have been offered a 35% discount off a replacement, which I declined. My insistence on a 100% refund was rejected in an email sent this afternoon. They’ve lost a customer, but they obviously don’t care about that.
I’ve always rated the Voyager and I want to be able to buy British products where viable, but I can’t accept such poor treatment from Terra Nova. I don’t have a lot of money and losing an expensive tent like this is a bit of a blow. What a shame that Terra Nova don’t care.