I’m looking forward to some nice autumnal weather out in the hills (although that seems to be what we’ve had all summer!)
Due to wind and bad weather I reacquainted myself with trekking poles. For whatever reason, over the last few years I’ve stopped using them. I now find that when I’m out for a long time I get a bad back, and I thought they might help with my posture. Though I knew they should, it was a revelation all over again: going uphill is so much easier, and they really do help. They came into their own on a gnarly wet windy traverse across boulders and steep terrain, when the extra stability made moving quick and easy.
I’ve been using one of the Salomon Race Vests (a running rucksack which fits like a gilet, incredibly comfortable) with ‘quick stow’ pole attachment for when you get onto ground which requires both hands; there’s no faff to stow poles away, then easy to get back out. The poles I’m using are the Black Diamond Z poles (£120 and well worth it), really comfortable handles which don’t rub despite having totally soggy hands (again due to the great summer weather…) If you do want to pack these poles into your bag they fold into three sections, easier for travelling with. I was so enthused that I couldn’t help myself in trying to encourage Liz, a work colleague who has a bad ankle, to try them out. I’ve not succeeded yet. Liz calls them ‘sticks’ and reckons she’d trip over them. She should give them a go; they’re not just props for ‘old people’ and a significant number of Ultra Distance runners are now using them to help reduce fatigue. You may not count yourself as an Ultra Runner, however if you’re out walking on your feet for six to eight hours you will feel a difference, however young or old you are.
I’ve hardly worn a summer vest all year and now heading into the autumn I can anticipate more long-armed layers! If it’s anything like last autumn we’ll need to keep on our toes when it comes to layering up, no two days were the same. Lucky we have the new Patagonia Capilene base layer garments to look forward to. Made of a new Polartec Power Grid fabric, these have a brushed grid back for fast-wicking moisture management when you’re whizzing up the hills aided by your new sticks! They come in light and mid weights, and when it gets really cold (yes, I really would like snow) there’s a thermal weight. Capilene garments vary in price from £40 to £80 depending on weight and style, zip and crew necks.
We are surely due some cooler days, and possibly even the odd frost would be nice. I’m looking forward to flipping footwear into the Salomon S-Lab X-Alp boots - the first test pair I had last autumn seems to cope well with greasy Cumbrian rock - but if it remains like last year’s autumn I think I’ll still be trotting around the fells in the new Salomon Speedcross Pros for a while longer. Salomon has worked on its classic Speedcross, improving the upper and more importantly the sole unit, where they’ve focused on the grip. Look out for our ‘Run with Ricky’ days where you can test Salomon shoes alongside local hero Ricky Lightfoot; I can almost guarantee mud and rain. Bring on the autumn!
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Image file name: 112177_CARB_Distance_CarbonZ_ext
(can use 112177_CARB_Distance_CarbonZ_open if it fits better)
Caption: Black Diamond Carbon Z poles
Image file name: WBF15_44455_CDTX
Caption: Patagonia Women’s Capilene Midweight Zipneck
Image file name: S Lab X Alp Carbon Black
Caption: Salomon S-Lab X-Alp