Thursday, November 5, 2015

My Walking Boots

Six years ago I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a lifelong condition. A few weeks later I was allocated a free travel pass which allows me to ride on the train to Sheffield and then catch one of the frequent bus services out into the Peak District. I also had a large increase in the amount of benefits I receive so I'm able to buy some decent walking boots - which I consider to be the most important item of equipment that I need when I'm up on the moors.

I walk at least once a week in the Peak District or locally and must cover  hundreds of miles a year; during the past six years I've gone through several pairs of boots. I tend not to throw them away when they're no longer safe/suitable for long walks over difficult terrain, but use them for gardening, or for going to the shops when it's icy underfoot. There are several pairs of boots in various states of distress on a shelf down in my cellar.

My two most recent purchases of walking boots have been Berghaus Explorer boots, one pair the top of the range leather and the other pair the slightly less expensive suede option. I bought even the most recent pair more then a year ago so I can't be sure of how much I paid but I reckon about £100 for the leather option, and £90 for the suede. They are good boots, comfortable, supportive and they always keep my feet dry, however they have one major drawback; they are absolutely lethal when walking on limestone, I just can't get any grip...even when it's dry. It's for this reason that I no longer wear them when I'm walking in the White Peak area of the Peak District which is mainly limestone rock. This is a pity because I like the boots; they're so comfortable I could go to bed in them...but safety always comes first. I couldn't ask for a better pair of boots when walking across a peat bog or scrambling up the gritstone edges of the Dark Peak though.

The other boots I have are all perfectly adequate when it comes to comfort and support, but not every pair keeps my feet dry. My favourite boots for walking over limestone terrain is a pair of cheap boots I got from one of the discount stores: I do need to put cushioned inserts and gel packs inside though, otherwise it can be quite painful when walking over limestone chippings or jagged rocks.