Saturday, 30 July 2011

Pennine Way musings

Now that my adventure is over, I've struggled a bit to get back into the swing of real life. It really is much simpler when all you have to think about is putting one foot in front of the other and getting from A to B under your own steam.

The gear that I took with me all performed faultlessly. My absolute favourite was without doubt the Satmap GPS.

It got charged every night and sat on my belt each and every day. It was a matter of a second to get it out and check my position - no wondering whether I was at one field boundary or the next, no trying to figure out which bit of hill or forest I was looking at, the Satmap plotted my exact track and told me exactly where I was. The fact that it has OS maps on it meant that it was a familiar format for me and I had spent several months learning to use it. The only time I missed a turn it was completely my own fault for not paying attention and being seduced by a house that was for sale at Sleightholme farm. I had paper maps and compass with me of course for back up - and I know how to use them and I'm not saying that I couldn't have done it without the Satmap - but for me it made it a whole lot easier and a lot more fun. I met lots of people along the way and some were intrigued by it and some were downright dismissive of it but for me it was brilliant and I would have no hesitation in recommending one to anyone who could afford it. I think that because I was walking alone, it just gave me that extra level of confidence that was important for my own peace of mind.

The other fantastic piece of kit was my boots. I have always been a bit suspicious of Goretex in boots and never really believed in it until now. Zamberlan have certainly got it right. Despite all the rain, bogs and ceaseless mud, my feet were always bone dry. Companions would end the day by literally pouring the water out of their boots and wringing out their socks and would express astonishment when gently encouraged to touch my toasty dry feet. It's a great magic trick and I don't know how long the Goretex will work but it has converted me for sure.

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