A new pair of boots
One of the results of my renewed interest in long walks and hill climbs has been that I've needed to invest in some new gear. When I started out earlier this year all I had was a very old pair of walking boots and a "waterproof/breathable" coat which I quickly discovered was neither waterproof nor particularly breathable. My earlier walks were undertaken in jeans and cotton t-shirts, which any serious walker will tell you are highly inappropriate items of clothing. So, as the year has progressed and my walks have increased, I've had to invest in several items of kit.
First on my list was a new pair of boots. I'd had my old boots for nearly 25 years and they had been wonderful. I worked out that I must have walked hundreds of miles in them but even so there was very little sign of wear to the soles and they still had their original laces. It was the insides that were wearing out, to the extent that they had begun to rub and after one of my moorland walks I was left with quite a nasty blister on my right heel.My old boots were Brasher Fellmasters - faithful old friends for many a mile and I didn't exactly relish the idea of having to break in a new pair.
I needn't have worried. Walking boots today boast of "out of the box comfort", meaning they don't really have to be broken in, although of course it would be foolish to set off on a long walk in a new pair straight out of the box. As my old boots had lasted so well, I was adamant when I set off to the outdoor shop in York that I wouldn't entertain any other brand but Brasher and I had in mind a pair of their "Hillmasters". What I actually wound up buying though was a pair of Scarpa Terra GTX. The very instant I tried these boots on I smiled. It felt as if my feet were saying "ooohh...thank you". They just seemed to wrap my feet in comfort. It almost seemed too good to be true and I was convinced that this was a false sense of comfort, so that when I actually got out on a walk I'd be cursing the day they'd tricked me into buying them. With this in mind I went on to try nearly every pair of boots in the store, interspersed with repeatedly trying on the Scarpas - and smiling inanely when I got them back on my feet.
Now I've had these boots for nearly four months and have walked for many miles over all kinds of terrain, I can happily report I definitely made the right decision. They are fantastic boots! I've walked through long wet grass, mountain shale, rock-strewn paths and even waded up to my ankles through streams without the slightest hint of wet feet, blisters or injury (even though I've cockled over on rocks a few times). The Vibram soles provide excellent grip in wet conditions and after each walk, with the aid of Scarpa's excellent HS12 boot cream, they are quickly restored to looking as good as new.Although I'd never heard of the brand Scarpa until July, I can now wholeheartedly recommend them. And they still make me smile every time I put them on!