Boot update 23.7.15
I am rather disappointed that my lovely Zamberlan boots, which fit like a glove, are now fodder only for the charity basket. The tread has worn so badly that I have spent most of my Cornish trip slipping and sliding. They have done about 900 miles. I had hoped to get 1500 – 2000 at least out of them. I am glad I never spent much time polishing them, as the tops would long outlast the soles.
Rucksack update 23.7.15
The 26 litre rucksack was large enough for the 12 days i spent in Cornwall, but far too heavy – my knees are complaining bitterly. I am going to have to work out a better method for getting from place to place, as carrying the pack is spoiling my enjoyment. It is too expensive to use luggage transfers, so I’ll have to work something out with buses and staying in the same place for a few days, to limit bag carrying.
Maps galore! I shall be drowning in maps. I love them! To begin, I am planning by using the Long Distance Walkers’ Association Chart and Handbook and brushing up on my navigation skills using the Cicerone guide “Map and Compass – A Guide to Navigation” by Pete Hawkins. It got me safely through the Coast to Coast walk (yes, there were waymarkers, but I did take a couple of deviations, such as via Tan Hill, which necessitated a walk across unmarked moorland.)
162 – Greenwich to Gravesend – I have now walked off this map.
148 – Maidstone & the Medway Towns – turned out to be unncessary as it duplicates part of 163.
163 – Gravesend & Rochester – I have now walked off this map.
149 – Sittingbourne & Faversham _ I have now walked off this map.
150 – Canterbury & The Isle of Thanet – I have now walked off this map.
138 – Dover, Folkestone & Hythe – finished this one.
125 – Romney Marsh – finished this one.
124 – Hastings & Bexhill – finished this one.
123 – Eastbourne & Beachy Head – complete
122 – Brighton & Hove – complete
121 – Arundel & Pulborough – complete
120 – Chichester – complete
119 – Meon Valley – complete
OL 22 – New Forest – complete
118 – Shaftesbury & Cranborne Chase – complete
OL15 – Purbeck & South Dorset – complete
OL 20 – South Devon – complete
110 – Torquay & Dawlish – complete
115 – Exmouth & Sidmouth – complete
116 – Lyme Regis & Bridport – complete
OL15 – Purbeck & South Dorset – complete
176 – Blackwater Estuaray – Not complete – will need this for the last leg back up the Thames Estuary
184 – Colchester – complete
197 – Ipswich, Felixstowe & Harwich
212 – Woodbridge & Saxmundham
231 – Southwold & Bungay
252 – Norfolk Coast East
I have been walking with a half-full 20 litre day pack, but I couldn’t squeeze in quite enough for a three day walk so I have added a 26 litre pack to my selection. I have a 35 litre, but it is a bit big for me and doesn’t have the straps that squeeze the pack close to your back, so not good for long distances. How come no matter how many suitcases/bags you have, they are never the right size? 26 litres was great for three days, but for longer I could only manage if I don’t need a heavy waterproof. I am in two minds about carrying my gear or using luggage transfer again in Cornwall. It is rather expensive, but I don’t want to have to carry a heavy pack. I may look at getting a few more lightweight tops that can easily be washed to limit the clothes, but I will need to carry a selection of maps, which are not light.
I did buy new boots last summer, before embarking on the Ferrybridge to Plymouth leg. In the end, I didn’t go for Salomon but for an Italian brand (even my boots are stylish) called Zamberlan. They are leather, rather than nubuck, so require a bit more care, which I am not so keen about, but they are very comfortable. The only slight downside is that, being goretex lined they are extremely warm, so in the warmer months my feet are a bit hot. I am trying to get round that by only wearing one pair of socks, but that is not quite so comfortable for the base of my foot. I am trying various combinations of thinner and thicker inner and outer socks to see if I can get an arrangement that gives padding underneath, without being too hot.
I think the time has come to consider new boots – I will go for a Salamon pair again and wear them in over the next weekend in June, which shouldn’t be too strenuous. I experimented with single socks now the weather is warmer, and that seems quite comfortable for me – no blisters.
Trousers – I can thoroughly recommend the Rohan Fusion trousers – completely windproof. I did not feel the slightest chill.
Those of you with whom I have walked regularly know that I hate carrying a backpack, however for some of the stretches where I will be walking for a couple of weeks it will be essential, so I shall be trying out “ultralight” backpacks and will review and recommend.
Other essential gear will be my boots – fortunately, I have been blessed with feet which seldom blister and I don’t generally need to worry too much about breaking them in. I am starting with the boots I was wearing when I completed the Coast to Coast walk in in 2008. They have also seen service on the Ridgeway, completed with my friend Jon in 2012, Peddar’s Way (still working on that!), Offa’s Dyke (still working on that one, too) and the Wessex Ridgeway (also still in progress). I am a “thin inner, thick outer” sock wearer. There are as many variations of this as you can imagine for blister sufferers, but this arrangement works for me.
My trusty Camelbak, containing 3L of water will be coming with me – drinking enough water is something I am a bit slack about, but carrying 3kg of weight encourages drinking!
Fridges – I am trying to source one….