So I decided to use the next best thing - some Daler Rowney soft pastels.
It's a bit thinner than other top brands of paper but being 100% cotton it is still quite tough.
I was surprised how well the pastels covered this paper. You can still see the texture but it's not as obvious as it is with some pastel papers.
I also found that I could lay plenty of pastel down without having to fix it before putting down further layers. Excess pastel seemed to lift off the paper well with a kneadable eraser.
I only used my finger to blend the pastels on the paper with my skin still being intact afterwards.
On the whole I think this paper is really good for sketching. The pads come in a variety of sizes with a mixture of colours, also available in single sheets.
Well worth trying.