I am the proud owner of four pairs of walking/mountaineering boots. Let’s call them 1, 2, 3 and 4. Choosing the right boots for my trip is of the utmost importance as damaged feet will soon put a stop to any forward progress and as I have some long days ahead of me I am worried.
Pair 1 is a very old pair of light leather boots; very comfortable but a bit narrow and mostly used nowadays for walking the dog and gardening. So they have been discounted.
Pair 2 is a pair of very solid and quite old Scarpa Mantas which are kept exclusively for winter mountaineering as they are ideal for crampons. Also easy to discard for this trip.
Pair 3 is a pair from Salomon which I have used for walking in the UK and trekking in the Alps. They are a little flexible so they are good to walk in and are very comfortable. These were my first choice. But they developed a loud SQUEAK so were discarded. Nothing more annoying than an accompanying squeak.
Pair 4 is another from Salomon but higher in the ankle cuff, stiffer an overall more robust. These have been with me all over the UK, the Alps and Atlas Mountains in Morocco; these are THE ONES.
So last weekend I took Pair 4 to the Brecon Beacons for an old climbing club reunion and on the Saturday took them out for a long walk. I had chosen carefully a stiff climb followed a long and mostly level walk on reasonable tracks which should be similar to the first week of my pilgrimage walk. It was mostly cold and sometimes wet (we are talking Wales after all) and I was careful with my feet and took the boots off at lunchtime to give them a breather and by the end of the day apart from being a bit footsore they felt OK. But then I took my boots off and had several red patches where the front had rubbed and so had the cuffs – PROBLEM!!
Back home I went for a walk in Pair 1 and it’s clear that they are too narrow and Pair 2 are inappropriate so I cleaned, conditioned and waxed Pair 3 and I have to say they are looking good. Wore them when I took Maude for a walk this afternoon and they will be fine. Phew, what an utter faff.
All the washing is done and all the bits and pieces assembled on the spare bed ready for packing on Sunday before I head off to Gatwick Airport ready for an early flight on Monday and then it begins. Excited now!
12 September 2013