Monday, 21 June 2010
The Daleswear Outdoor Clothing store staff embarked on a leisurely team trek of the very beautiful surroundings of the Ingleton Waterfalls Walk on Wednesday 5th May 2010. Their mission involved trying and testing the Hi-Tec 'V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe Wpi' boots with a revolutionary new technology called ION MASK! This new substance works like Gore-tex, (as it is waterproof and breathable). The best thing about it is you do not have to spend added pennies on re-proofing them, such as wax, special cleaning solutions etc. Simply rinse any mud or dirt straight off under a tap. Simple! The ION MASK looks after itself and continues to protect the surface of the boot without a helping hand. A revolution for most hikers out there, as the last thing you wish to do after a hard days hike is to spend time scrubbing your boots clean to then start treating them to keep them in good condition.
How does it do this? Well, the ION MASK liquid is applied to the surface of the very traditional style Hi-Tec boot. The ION MASK is everywhere, on the leather, in the stitching, on the laces and tongue. It is invisible as a finished result and works on a molecular level to make the boot 'hydrophobic'.
Along with two representatives from Hi-Tec, a representative accompanied the Daleswear team from 'Sidas' who provided custom made insoles of which you can have made in store (see our website). The 'Bridgedale' Sock Company kindly supplied us with 'Comfort Trekker' (Midweight) socks to finish off the trial experience. The very well known Waterfalls Walk in Ingleton provided the perfect terrain for our first venture out in the new boots. With a variety of men, women, feisty teenagers and keen kids of all fitness levels we set off from the central village square to walk the reverse directional route up through the falls. The River Doe produces the mesmerizing sights of Snow Falls right up to Beezley Falls. Staff stood in the shallower areas to test waterproofness, which most definitely worked. From road to gentle wooded area the pathway then leads to the base and start of the falls. Lots and lots of steps and winding pathway that changes underfoot from gravel and shale to hard (and sometimes slippery) rock to soft mud that tested both the temperament of both staff and boots! After crossing Oddies Lane we did one last ascent up to Twistleton Farm to head up to the top (sadly the ice cream van had long gone by this time) before heading down slippery gravel paths as the weather took a brief turn to rain. The waterproofs came out and the boots once a gain were successfully tested for their waterproof capability.
As we reached the impressive Thornton Force waterfall (caused by the River Twiss), some of the younger staff decided to walk on the wild side. They ventured the intrepid slippery rocks to climb and conquer the unusually large square rock that sits in the pool at the base of the waterfall. I think it was because of my vanity that I did not want to dare scuff my lovely new, shiny boots that I did the worst impression of a seal beaching itself onto the rock with all the elegance of a sumo wrestler attempting ballet. The boots most certainly put up with the slipperiness of the rocks. I think it could have been more that my adventurous streak mixed with the fact that fitness levels are certainly not at their peak that I didn't allow the boots to assist me at that point!
The trek evened out over to Kingsdale Road which led us down towards the Marton Arms Pub at Thornton-in-Lonsdale (funny how the pace quickened as soon as the pub was spotted!) We were welcomed at the door by Auntie Sue (Landlady of this lovely 17th Century pub) just as we were losing light. The Hi-Tec representative surprised us all by popping a bottle of champagne at the end of the walk and we had a great meal and well deserved beer in the pub to celebrate the end of a very successful testing experience.
The Daleswear staff recommend the boots to customers looking or a good all round boot. I have to say to conclude this report that I was most impressed that it's the first time my heels have not suffered with fifty pence sized blisters especially seeing as we took the risk of not breaking the boots in before hand. This is another of the boasts of the Hi-Tec 'Altitude Ultra Luxe Wpi' ION MASK boot and I am glad to say it did what it said on the box!
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
The hiking we know and love today has been around for many years. It might not have crossed many people's minds, but for some, the question of 'when was hiking invented?' is a curious one that still needs answering. People who are passionate about hiking genuinely want to know how it all started, where it all came from, and who had the crazy idea to start trekking for miles and miles!
Of course, hiking wasn't really 'invented' as such; it was more a case of discovering it. A German named Philipp Bussemer from the quaint city of Baden-Baden is said to have opened the first tourist information centre in the Black Forest at the end of the 19th century. He generated huge interest in hiking and general exploration by publishing hiking maps and guides and soon started signposting hiking trails in the Black Forest. This was his love; his passion and he had a loyal set of followers who were curious to know more about hiking and how they could explore various locations through the simple art of, well, walking.
It sounds simple and it is; hiking doesn't require any skills as such, it's a hobby for people that want to get more out of life and Philipp Bussemer was keen on promoting the wonders of hiking. He lectured about hiking trails and provided estimated times of when people could be expected to finish a hiking trail.
There is in fact a crossover between hiking, power walking and trekking, and this is something that is still evident today. People fulfil their love of walking by turning it into something more exhilarating, which is where hiking and trekking come in. Walking enthusiasts know that you have to develop your walking skills to become an excellent hiker / trekker, and this is a sport in itself.
Philipp Bussemer helped the German community to discover hiking, and we're grateful to people like him that the spirit of hiking is still very much alive, all over the world.