Autumn has arrived and with it wet grass, still long from the Indian summer we’ve been enjoying. It’s now that you notice how waterproof (or not) those waterproof shoes/boots that you bought are. Also, if you’re like me, you may well be coming back from walks with sodden trouser bottoms. Squelchy feet and soggy bottoms – it kind of take the edge off a good walk! So what to do?
If your shoes/boots aren’t waterproof when they should be, the first thing to do is try and re-proof them. I’ve written about this before (click here to re-read). There are a number of waterproofing products on the market. I use Granger’s footwear repellant for my walking shoes and Scarpa’s own brand waterproofing cream for my Scarpa Terra boots.
If your footwear is still leaky then it may be time to invest in a new pair of shoes or boots. Now that we’re settling into Autumn I’m wearing my boots more frequently than my walking shoes – and although they are still waterproof I’m going to buy myself a new pair as these ones have seen better days, having walked in them pretty much daily through the last three winters.
If you don’t have waterproof shoes, a great alternative is to wear waterproof socks – and I know that many of you do. I came across a useful review the other day comparing five of the best sellers – here’s the link. Ros recommends wearing a thin sock liner underneath to protect the (relatively delicate) waterproof sock lining from toenails. I also know that many of you particularly like the SealSkinz mid length thin sock.
Wet trousers generally make your socks wet as the water leaches down, by-passing the defenses of your waterproof footwear. So, unless you’re wearing toursers/leggings which stop at your mid-calf, now is the time to get your gaiters out. If you’ve never tried them before, I would highly recommend them. As well as keeping water and mud off your trousers, they also protect against thorns and other things that are likely to snag and damage your trousers. All have a durable water repellent finish on the outside and the more expensive ones also contain a waterproof and breathable membrane, which means you don’t get sweaty lower legs. Gaiters come in different sizes and it is worth trying them on to make sure they fit round your calves. Finally, here’s a few tips on how to wear them:
- Most gaiters will have a small ‘hook’ at the base. This is meant to be at the front, hooked over/under your bottom shoe lace.
- Most will also have an elastic toggle at the top, so that you can tighten the gaiter around your leg. The toggles should be on the outer side of your leg, tucked in – that way they won’t annoy you by rubbing against your legs as you walk or accidentally getting caught by the spike of your pole (that’s actually happened to me!).
- The adjustment straps at the base can sometimes be annoying, either because you’ve cut them too short so that they come out of the buckle or else you’ve left them too long and the inside strap knocks against the other one as you walk. To avoid this, I keep my inside strap shortish and my outside strap a bit longer. Doing this also helps me quickly see which gaiter goes on which leg.
We’ve had a bit of a lull on longer walks over the summer months and I know everyone’s been missing them. We are therefore loading a few more onto our website. You can book directly through your bookings page. They are all local, except for the gorgeous walk in the Slad valley and the Sand Bay walk (which I’ve mentioned before). Don’t forget that if you are a member you get 25% off the cost of our longer walks. These walks will be up and ready to book over the next few days – they are mostly two hours long. Here’s a taster of what’s on offer:
Wednesday 2nd November 1pm – Sand Bay circular walk
Wednesday 16th November 1.30pm – Abbots Pool to Tyntesfield tea walk
Sunday 27th November 11am – Slad Valley rolling hills walk with pub lunch option afterwards at the Woolpack Inn
Wednesday 14th December 1.30pm – Long Ashton Redwood Tree discovery walk