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Welcome to our humble blog that will follow the misadventures of very average camping, hiking/rambling enthusiasts based out of Oxford. We will blog on camping trips, latest hikes, equipment reviews and whatever takes our fancy...

Monday, 16 August 2010

A Walk on the Mild Side: Notes from the First Team Hike

I’ve done hikes before, don’t get me wrong. When I did my bronze award for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award I had to cover some good ground, but I’ve never done anything quite like this before. Three peaks in one day….it sounds straightforward doesn’t it? Like at work if some asks me to do three reports in a day they’ll probably get a disgruntled sigh from me and I might complain a little, but in the end it’s easily done. This though is something quite different. I’m going to face a variety of testing weather conditions, no doubt fall over a few times to boot and be absolutely exhausted for much of the 24 hour duration. That’s not to say I can’t do it, I just don’t think I’ll realise exactly what I’ve let myself in for until I’m on some narrow path alongside a ravine half-way up Ben Nevis being buffeted by the wind and with rain lashing my face.

As you can imagine I’m not exactly flush with hiking equipment, which makes Hi-Tec’s decision to deck us out in their bestselling boots with water proof technology all the more appreciated. I could have worn my existing trainers but I slipped over playing indoor football the other week, never mind scaling the three highest peaks in the UK, so I’m thinking they’re not ideally suited for the job.

We did a practice hike last week and it was successful on every level. Uffington White Horse the location for our trial proved more than adequate for a first hike and boot review and the weather was perfect as we wound our way up and down the Oxfordshire countryside with the famous White Horse carved into the chalk hillside. We found the steepest slope available and made sure we climbed at a reasonable pace, whilst stopping for a moment at the top to enjoy the impressive view of the surrounding country.

Everyone was in good spirits and the banter was good, which makes me think we’ve got ourselves a good group to take on this challenge. Fortunately no one fell over or injured themselves, which is good news but also means this blog lacks a certain amount of drama or emotional impact.

The fine weather did mean that we couldn’t test our boots’ waterproofing, but we did pour our water over them:

V-Lite Rapidtrail's water repellency in Action

V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe WPi repelling water

I have also held my boots under the tap and marvelled at the way the water simply slides off the surface without any being absorbed. I can’t wait to see how the comfort and waterproofing last over the course of 24 hours and three gruelling peaks. I think my fellow hikers will agree with me that as first walks go this was both pleasant and important, both in creating that all important team spirit (I was told my jokes were rubbish but I’m sure I can convince people otherwise) and for testing the footwear to make sure it is comfortable, which it certainly was.

My first blog has come to an end. The Rambling Hikers are officially off and running (well….walking).

Iain (Rambler)

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