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{12/09/2012}   Hiking Boots: passport to adventure?!

I’m not fit, I’m not a rambler, I’m scared of heights so don’t “do” mountainous climbing or narrow paths up steep places so I probably don’t need hiking boots.  However, having thrown my last pair out after ten years of service and discovering slippages were probably (ie definitely) caused by the soles having worn smooth in places, I feel oddly lost without a pair of walking boots.  While I may not require them for my usual free time activities, I have always used them and enjoyed having appropriate footwear for certain situations.

I do have a rather beautiful pair of plummy pink Scarpa pavement pounding type shoes and I thought these might do.  But I feel somewhat bereft without proper walking boots.  I told a friend I was thinking of shopping for some the other day.  I was unexpectedly embarrassed when she enquired where I was going to need them, for it’s true that I rarely off-road beyond footpaths and grassy cliff tops.  I told her I like to be prepared.  She gave me a look!

The pair I threw away had been on some adventures with me.  They have been through water (they were waterproof until about two years ago), in volcanic mud, submerged in manure, lost a lot of their remaining colour in a sand-related incident and been through mud, over rocks … ah, see, they’re making me feel adventurous, and maybe that’s why I feel lost without them, like my adventure passport has been taken away from me!

I was with a friend in the Lake District when I bought them and it took a long time to find a pair that fitted well and they never rubbed my feet or felt uncomfortable, even the first few times I wore them.  I can see it might sound a bit excessive lamenting the loss of a pair of boots, but they have been to some cool places with me and enabled me to walk with relative ease in places all other shoes would have let me down in.  So maybe I do need hiking boots after all.

I tried a few pairs on in Reykjavik but the only ones in my size that weren’t insipid colours, in fact were very funky, it transpired were designed for fell running.  Er, yeah, right!  I have spent a considerable amount of time online but there they also seem heavy on the greys and browns.  I want comfort and colour, surely that’s not too much to ask?

It’s an unexpected feeling though to miss having boots and to feel a sense of something being missing from my “need to have” things.  But I really do feel a little bit of adventure potential has been taken away from me.  I was trying to think what countries those boots had been to and I realise they’ve been pretty much everywhere I’ve been over the past ten years – and I know it’s ten years and four months since I bought them because that holiday and shopping trip was after a friend’s wedding ceremony not hugely far from the Lake District and they’ve just had their tenth wedding anniversary – from North Wales, France and Germany to the Faroe Islands, Georgia and Japan.

Oh shoot me now, I can’t believe I’ve just written an ode to walking boots!  If anyone sees me out and about in a wax Barbour jacket, that really will be the final straw and the final farewell to my (rose-tinted alert) adventurous youth!

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