Sunday, 7 January 2007


Today was a big day.

I have a thing about plimpsoles. Cameron Mcneish has been banging on about them for a while now. Apparently they are the footwear of the discerning Ultralight hiker. Don’t even mention Chris Townsend’s obsession with tackling the great walls in his sandals. (That’s a joke, Chris)

Ultralight... Maybe that’s a post for another day.

Back to plimpsoles. My walking tends to be of the off road variety. I look at a map, see a hill and try to pick a nice route up it from the shape of the hill and the possible views, prevailing winds – walkery sort of stuff. Beardy perhaps?

The terrain I will be crossing will be of interest to me too – but, if it’s boggy, it’s boggy and it will be a little bit slower than nice springy turf. But bogs are great. The flora and fauna of a bog when you are up to your knees and elbows in it, is truly amazing – it is another world in miniature.

If you are up to you knees in it then you will probably have soggy socks. But you have been unlucky. Most of the time you can trot quite happily over a Scottish bog with dry tootsies, but mucky boots.

If, on the other hand, you are wearing these new technical plimpsoles so beloved of TGO and it’s Ultralight Acolytes you will have well and truly soggy socks for days on end. On my sort of walks that would be misery. The trackless Balmacaan followed by the trackless Monadhliath in five days of torrential rain fighting your way through waist high heather and tussock and bog would be an absolute riot in plimpsoles! Galloping foot-rot, and blisters can surely be the only result?

But, there are folk out there willing to try these gym shoes for a two week walk in potentially pouring rain. I cannot see it myself. But it is a free country and Phil is nothing if not open minded.

Phil wore his plimmies today on our two pub walk. The Red Lion at Kirtling and the comfy pub at Cowlinge.

Phil always embraces new technology. He is an early adopter. This was a big day for Phil. He wanted to see how they would fare with his solo bash across Scotland this year.

Well, we didn’t go off-road. We avoided all the streams that flowed down the road. Phil came through unscathed.

So – will we see Phil in his plimpsoles on the Challenge?

You heard it here first, dear reader.

Now I must go: I need to get my beauty sleep to be at my best for my adoring press tomorrow morning. The only fly in the ointment may be the fact that I will have a face like Marlon Brando for the photo-shoot as I will have just returned from what should be an expensive time at the Dentist.


  1. Dear Alan,

    Stick to your big expensive walking boots mate I've seen your 'gouty toes' and they ain't attractive!!. If you start wearing those things your feet'll fall off.

    However if you choose to ignore my advice you can always wear the pair you stole from me along with my copy of 'Machine Head' 30 years ago.

    Your trip to the dentist has got me thinking of my favourite scene from the all time classic movie 'Cone heads' ( Dan Ackroyd .. a must see before you die film where Velda goes to the dentists for some cosmetic dental work.

    good luck you Muppet

    Dave ...You little bruvver.

  2. Hello Little Bruv

    It was thirty five years ago and it was the smallest of all bruvver Gwyn that stole my Machine Head (You stole my socks)

    Not that I bear grudges. Not any more. No.

    I now have a lop-sided face and I can't stop dribbling. And the best part is I have to go back for more!

    Ho hum - Looking forward to this walk to get away from all this pain!

  3. Honest your feet will be fine in the right kind of trail shoes. They shed water quickly and I find them generally far more comfortable than boots. Gout-y feet is not a problem. I'll be crossing Scotland once again in May wearing Inov-8 Terrocs.

    More power to Phil's knees!


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