This blog post is a departure from the normal type of blog in which I write about the walks I have been on and describe the route taken etc, and to further differentiate it from the ‘usual’ stuff it has the added benefit of video – did I hear someone at the back say Betamax?… or if getting down with the kids, it has a “vlog” (video blog) embedded in it. Progress eh?
As some of my readers will know I send out the occasional Tweet now and again to fill in the time between going out for walks and taking photos, and the other week I was quite surprised to be contacted on Twitter by @Grisport_UK, a manufacturer of walking boots. GriSport made the kind request of asking me to undertake a boot review for this very blog, to which I agreed. So, those kind folk up at GriSport sent me a pair of leather “Peaklander” walking boots which I then proceeded to try out. Now, this review is my own opinion of the boots, and everybody and his dog has an opinion, so should you feel inclined to disagree with what I’ve written then by all means do so, however, do note that I have tried to be objective and reasoned and to give a fair account of what I thought about them.
GriSport are an Italian footwear manufacturer who is based in the foot hills of the Dolomite Mountains – walking territory indeed! They were established in 1977 and have extensive research and development facilities, and through this have become a major supplier of footwear in Europe with a growing reputation for good quality, technical footwear and they have a very large range of walking boots available too. Their mission is “to provide the most comfortable footwear available”. I had heard of GriSport, and seen their boots in the shops, but I had never really paid much attention to them when I had been browsing the footwear sections of my local outdoors shop. Still, when a manufacturer contacts you and offers to send you a pair for review, you do tend to sit up and pay attention.
|GriSport ‘Peaklander’ with Pen Y Ghent in background|
The boots were used on various types of terrain; grass, limestone, up and down stiles, along tarmac and through a stream too – they performed very, very well, and were comfortable throughout. I have perhaps done about 6 miles in them so far and not a pinch or grumble from the ‘plates of meat’. I must admit to really liking these; however I will be doing quite a few more miles in them and posting up my findings in a month and in six months in order to give a more objective review over a great time scale.
The route taken up Pen Y Ghent was from Horton in Ribblesdale, and up the lane leading to Brackenbottom. This then took the main 3 Peaks Challenge route up the prow of Pen Y Ghent, following the Pennine Way. We camped over as we arrived on Saturday evening, and had chosen the same weekend as The Royal Signals has chosen for their Lanyard Trophy which took place on the Saturday. The campsite, which in my experience is usually sparsely populated had transformed into a military camp – however, they were very accommodating and managed to squeeze us into a corner with a few other civi’s. The Lanyard Trophy is an inter-regimental challenge of differing regimental teams having to complete a 40 mile hike all with 40lb packs on their backs. Just thinking of this tires me out, but it would have been a good test of the GriSport boots. After chatting to one of the participants, he told us the winning team this year did it in just over 10 hours, and included the Three Peaks in it. The slowest team completed in just over 18 hours.
We set out on Sunday morning, passed through Brackenbottom and started climbing the path to Pen Y Ghent, where we met with a constant stream of people coming in the opposite direction who were doing the 3 Peaks for a heart charity. I must admit to being taken aback by the number of people passing us. I have done the 3 Peaks about 6 times previously and the last time would have been in the mid 1990’s (my personal best is just over 6 1/2 hours) but I don’t remember it being like this – I’ve seen less people in Manchester city centre! We got to the Pennine Way and decided to turn around due to the numbers of people streaming off the summit – it would have been a battle just climbing up there against these numbers and a large number were carrying blow-up dolls; it seemed more of a stag party than a charity walk.
|An old lime kiln below Pen Y Ghent|
I’m all for raising money for charitable causes; I’m a trustee of a charity myself, but I must say that the numbers of people I experienced on this short stroll have really put me off going to any of the Yorkshire three peaks at any other time than Winter. Call me a whinger, but the numbers do seem to be out of control.
Anyway, we got back to Horton in Ribblesdale and then went to The Crown Hotel for some lunch, only to find that they had stopped serving food; however, to their credit, they did knock up several bowls of chips and some bread and butter – so it was chip butties all round! This surprised us because we have never been to a pub with so many notices pinned up telling us what not to do – you know the type “Don’t do this, Don’t do that, Don’t do the other, No this, No that, No the other….” All on A4 paper and laminated too!
Watch this space, as I’ll update the blog in the coming months as I get more used to the boots.
Thanks for reading.