Category Archives: Kit and other stuff

Comfortable kit : best buys

Another weekly prompt photo challenge from GC and Sue has made me think.  Best buys?  Well, how about our walking kit and gear.  It’s what we love spending our money on.  Here are three items with detail about how long I’ve had them and how many miles they’ve travelled.

A new and fairly recent (last Christmas) purchase was my Rab alpine jacket. This jacket was not cheap.  Infact it was three times more expensive than my previous puffer/padded winter jacket.   But, this one has a hood and more importantly it’s purple!  That’s what matters most doesn’t it – the colour?

Fingers crossed for many warm winter walks with this.  So far i think it’s travelled about 150 miles including trips into and around our fine city of Norwich.  Here’s me sporting the jacket in Norwich Cathedral cloisters.

Two years ago I bought my Tilley sun hat. This famous Canadian brand has a great reputation and lifetime guarantee.  An heirloom for one of my nieces? Who knows.  So far so good with this hat…..scrunch it up and put it in your back pack and out it comes as good as new.  It’s probably travelled about 500 (often sweaty) miles.

About 25 years ago I bought a pair of Leki walking poles and they are still going strong.  Used all over the Lake District, Peak District, South West Coast Path, Snowdonia, Scottish lowlands and of course our home country of Norfolk.  They also went on holiday to Switzerland, Madeira and Mallorca.  They must have covered many thousands of mile, helping me uphill, downhill and all sorts of terrain inbetween.  They are, however, due for retirement.

The thing is will a new pair last as long?  Will they see me through into my old age?  Can these new light weight, shiny models be as good?   Decisions, decisions….

Me with Leki Treking Poles, on Cat Bells (fell) in the Lake District National Park : about 20 years ago.

Me with Leki Treking Poles on Crinkle Crags (fell) in the  Lake District National Park : 3 years ago

Photo Challenge Best Buy

Superhero in red

This time last year Tim and I were about to start a weeks holiday in The Lake District.  The forecast was for snow and very cold weather but we were prepared.  We had our Microspikes!

Here I am on day one of our holiday, on the western slope of Skiddaw (Lake District mountain), sporting my new Kahtoola Microspikes.

The great online reviews that we had read were all true and we felt like everything was possible in our non slip, extra traction foot wear.

The weather turned out to be truly amazing all week, snowing at night and sunny during the day, and I wore those spikes every day.

I added lots of photos to a post about this trip which can be seen here :-

Something I didn’t mention in that post is that on our way down from Skiddaw summit we passed several walkers struggling downhill and uphill.  One lady, on her way up, stopped us and asked how we made it look so easy.  We explained it was our new spikes.  Then she said she actually had a pair with her but didn’t know how or whether to put them on, having borrowed them from her daughter.  Tim immediately insisted on helping her out.  Here he is doing just that….

After this she plodded upwards for a few steps then stopped, turned and gave us a thumbs up, big smile and thank you.

My hero, in red, in his red microspikes. Doesn’t need a cape or superhuman strength – he just always strives to help whoever, whenever and wherever he can.

Keep safe in the snow and ice and buy a pair of Microspikes

Photo Challenge RED


WordPress Challenge : Weathered

This photo clearly shows how well loved these Ordnance Survey maps have been on our travels!

Not always wrapped in plastic map protectors they have faced the best and worst of weather.  Sun, rain, snow and gales.   Looking a little bit ‘dog eared’ and faded around the edges we can’t throw them away, even when they are replaced.

They are, like us, a little bit old and weathered.

In order of scruffiness (with age of map) :-

1. Snowdonia (1992).  2. Lake District  ( 1995)  3. Norfolk (1996)

Love a map!




One backpack just isn’t enough

Christmas has just come early for me in the shape of a new backpack.  Not everyone’s idea of an exciting purchase but it couldn’t be better for me. My trusty banana coloured Osprey (22 litre) daysack has experienced wintery showers and summer heat, ridges and trails, scrambles and even a few city shopping trips and never let me down but we have something in mind for next year (in its early planning stage) that means more litres are required!

Having this new purple 30 litre Osprey (women’s fit) should be just the trick.  Take a look at it and I’m sure you’ll agree – it’s a lovely bit of kit!


Oh and the map its sitting on will be needed next year too – if all goes to plan.

I have suddenly felt sorry for my old pack so had to photograph that too – it still has a few miles left in it.


These boots are made for…

Of all the clothing and gear we use today to enjoy our walking adventures my walking boots are, perhaps, the most important.  My newest boots are pink and I love them!

My home is Norfolk – a big flat county with big skies, beaches and lots of waterways.  We’ve done lots of walking here (as it’s nice & local!) but these pink boots were not made for marsh and sand, they were made for rocky ground.

For this we travel ‘up North'(and then West a bit) to the beautiful Cumbrian Mountains (called Fells) of the Lake District.  To an area that Tim and I have now been exploring extensively, on foot, since the early 1990s.  It’s a place that changed us.  A place where our choice of footwear became really quite important…..


April 1995 – Wellington boots and trainers

We had no idea when we first went to the Lakes, on our very first exploration, which followed a path up onto higher ground.  We were following a route in Loweswater, which is a quiet spot in the western lakes, from a small guide book.  It was basically a circuit of the lake but included the romantically named ‘Darling Fell’.

It was Easter, the sun shone, lambs skipped in the valley, both lake and sky were beautifully blue in early spring sunshine.  The mountains to the south and east looked impressive but we only had a small climb to Darling fell summit.  The climb was worth it for the view.  However on the way down Tim split his new trainers and I really struggled in my wellies.  Walking got just a bit more difficult.

Darling Fell had fooled us.  Even a small hill can do that.

We eventually limped into The Loweswater Inn – our half way point.  The place was heaving with happy walkers all enjoying the local food & drink.  It was here that our eyes were opened to the world of well equipped (and booted) walker.  Smiling shiny faced people with maps and backpacks – we wanted to join that club!

Within a day or so we went to the shops to buy our first boots and we became smiling shiny faced people too.

Here is a photo of Loweswater with Darling Fell to the right of the lake.


I have to add that there is nothing wrong with trainers or Wellington boots – just the terrain you use them in.