Wednesday, 17 June 2009


I cannot remember if it was Eric Shipton, Chris Brasher or Mowgli who wrote that one elephant on your feet is equivalent to ten elephants on your back, but whoever it was they had obviously never had their foot stood on by an elephant, let alone having carried ten of the blighters on their back. I know this as I once ran over my own foot with the fork-lift truck that I was driving. If a fork lift truck is heavy then my guess is that an elephant is even more so.

There has been a great deal of chatter about ultra-light gear over at Andy Howell's place. Having waded my way through his article and all the (currently) 69 comments, I thought that maybe, just maybe, it might be time to take stock of my entrenched, firmly held, indeed finely honed views, on footwear. Maybe it is time to have a re-think.

But I am an old dog and this could possibly lead to a new trick? Best tread carefully then.

I found myself in Cambridge this afternoon, in a bit of town I don't usually frequent. You know how it is - you see an outdoor shop - the golden haired sirens calling mesmerically. You cannot resist. You are dragged in, with all the will power of a lemming. Even the pimply yoof loitering about, purporting to be a shop-keeper, cannot dissuade you from examining, nay, fondling the goods. They are pretty things. Precioussssssss. Oh yessssssss.

And that's how I joined the super ultra-lightweight boys! I didn't know what I was doing. Honest, Phil!

A pair of new Plimsolls are now sitting on my desk as I type this.


  1. So ... do tell what plimsolls you bought Alan!!!

    And, while you're at it, perhaps you could explain how 'I once ran over my own foot with the fork-lift truck that I was driving.'

  2. Yes, but what make and model of Plimsolls? How much do they weigh? Do they sing and dance? You can't tantalise like that and then fail to give the gear-freak details!

  3. I recall you thought about getting some Salomon mids like Robin uses a while back?. Your kit is light anyway with the right end of comfort VS weight. The debate on Andy's is only up to 69 comments!!!. Have fun in the new shoes.

  4. Ooh! What did you get?


  5. Hyperventilates? Do they have a Ventile membrane? Titanium laces?

    Alan, Martin's right - anyone who can pack as much quality hooch into their pack as you do, alongside your backpacking gear, has to be classed as a lightweighter in every respect – bar the bar.

  6. Don't forget Bob's foot creams for those wet feet :-)

  7. Take a pair of your socks. Weigh them. Soak them in water. Weigh them again.

    Now, take those plimbos back to the shop ;-)

  8. Socks? Why wear socks, a true light weight-er would only wear cut down trainers. Indeed why wear anything, move quickly enough and you'll keep warm and rain can't penetrate God's own gore-tex, it dries quickly and don't shrink!

  9. A true ultra-lightweighter would hike in nothing but a thong, tattoos of ballet shoes and a mental vision of a warm fire.

  10. I can see that some members of the congregation are not taking this post seriously!

    Grumpy & 'Anon' - See me after class.

    His Holiness, the Incredibly Irreverend Dave: Yes - When I filled in the Accident Book they didn't believe it either - so I had to demonstrate how it was done to the H&S Officer - and almost succeeded in doing it for a second time!

    But this was all a long time ago now.


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