Thursday walks with Pete have been erratic with absences on other sorties, but we were back this Thursday.
Pete is punctilious and attaches importance to reliability in friends. When I arrange to collect him at 10:15 it means 10:15 precisely. I am similarly inclined, so when concentration on a difficult game of Freecell found me overrunning I panicked and rushed off to keep lateness to a minimum.
At Arkholme, an attractive village upstream from Lancaster on the River Lune, I found I had forgotten my now famous Mountain Warehouse trail shoes. I was still wearing my Crocs.
Tarmac was followed by the footpath following the river Lune, over stiles and through long grass, and sections of rugged cow-trodden pasture. and then more Tarmac. Even though I had previously removed the heel strap from the Crocs for packing and lightness when backpacking they remained comfortable and fit for purpose over more than five miles.
Since my shin wound last September, which took six months to heal, I have had problems on that ankle resulting in consultant's diagnosis of venous eczema which is uncomfortable, and not a pretty sight. I have to daub the affected part with emollient and wear knee length compression stockings permanently. Boots cover part of the ankle so for some time I have been wearing trail shoes. but my Fleming moment came on Thursday when I realised the Crocs' performance across off-road terrain, combined with their low sides may provide a practical aid to my problem.
I hope to do another twenty day backpack before the end of summer, and subject to awaited medical advice on the ankle I intend to wear the Crocs on Tarmac and dry paths and tracks, but also taking the trail shoes to use in the wet or in case the experiment fails. I think there is some tunnel-vision about walking footwear. I agree boots are advisable for Munro type mountain territory, although I understand Chris Townsend generally only uses trail shoes, but for benign country backpacking I don't think stomping stout footwear is necessarily essential. Comfort is the most important factor.
|Now that's what I call a proper stile. If only they were all like that|
|River Lune. Ingleborough in background|
|At the top of the hill|
|Tufted vetch I think , enthusiastic botanists feel free to dispute if you want|