We walkers get attached to our equipment. And perhaps the most beloved equipment of all is our boots.
My first ever pair of boots were chocolate-leather. But after 500 miles, they developed cracks around the toe creases.
My second pair of boots were soft and far more comfortable than my leather ones, although not as good-looking.
Sadly they developed splits in their stitching, an injury I presume was due to my overenthusiastic drying technique involving a hairdryer and full-heat blasts. They still felt as comfortable as slippers but were no longer waterproof.
Remembering how they took me along the south coast of England, from Kent across the white cliffs of Dover, over Beachy Head and her Seven Sisters, through Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset and Devon, and past the mid-way point of the South West Coast Path, they seemed steeped in the history of my walking. I couldn’t bear to throw them out. And I still wore them from time to time – but only when the weather was dry.
With the end of the year approaching I decided I had to give up this old relationship. We were going nowhere exciting anymore. It’s four years since we first met and we’ve had fun together – but all good things must come to an end. And my allegiance has shifted. In fact, I have several newer companions hanging around my back door (you can never have too many pairs of boots!)
Yesterday I took my old friends for a farewell tour around the Hambleton peninsula of Rutland Water.
Tomorrow they’re going in the bin.