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  1. The difference between walking boots and trekking shoes

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    It’s incredibly important to have a pair of comfortable footwear when you are walking or trekking.

    With footwear, you need to pick the right choice for your feet, activity and terrain. Without them, it can lead to bruised, sore feet that could end your walk or trek earlier than expected.

    As similar activities, it can be confusing to understand the difference between walking and trekking, and why they may use different footwear.

    That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you can tell the difference between the two and pick your perfect footwear.

    Walking boots

    Walking, or hiking, is a leisurely activity of walking long routes or nature trails. Walking is generally completed in a day, but can involve overnight stays in camping sites, hostels or huts along the way.

    Walking boots are sturdy, thick boots that provide protection for your feet. With a tough sole and high ankles, walking boots help provide support for your foot and prevent you from spraining or rolling your ankles.

    The thick protective material will also limit your range of movement, which can feel too restrictive for some walkers. The material will also need breaking in before big walks, otherwise, the shoes can be uncomfortable and cause rubbing or blisters.

    Walking boots are also made with waterproof materials to keep your feet dry in wet conditions.

    However, the waterproofing and thick material mean that water vapour can’t escape easily.

    So, if you need to cross rivers or your feet are fully submerged in water, your shoes will take a long time to dry out. If you wear them in the summer months, your feet will sweat more easily and can cause blisters.

    Overall, walking boots are strong, sturdy waterproof boots perfect for the colder months. They are also durable and can last you up to 1,000 miles when looked after.

    Trekking shoes

    Trekking is a multi-day long distance walk, where you will carry all your luggage and essential items with you. In general, trekking is a more challenging activity than walking and takes places in areas where other means of transport can’t access.

    Trekking shoes, such as trail runners, are made from lightweight and more flexible materials than walking boots. The lightweight material offers more flexibility, giving you a better range of movement in your feet.

    Trekking shoes are perfect for those who prefer lightweight footwear and are the ideal choice to get an overall lightweight kit. The shoes also need no breaking in and are ready for action right away.

    Designed with a low-cut ankle and multiple mesh patches, trekking shoes give you maximum breathability. As they are fast-drying, they are great for crossing rivers or through the summer months.

    However, trekking shoes aren’t as waterproof as walking boots and can’t offer the same amount of warmth through the winter.

    The lightweight material also doesn’t offer the same amount of protection as walking boots. With narrow soles, you can feel bumps and rocks under your feet which can be uncomfortable on the long days.

    Overall, trekking shoes are a lightweight, breathable and fast-drying shoe. However, they don’t offer the same protection, warmth or durability as walking boots.

    On average, trekking shoes should be replaced every 500 miles to prevent potential damage to your feet.

    Conclusion

    Overall, walking boots are tough, durable and waterproof boots that protect your feet. Trekking shoes don’t offer the same protection or durability but are more lightweight, breathable and flexible.

    When choosing between walking boots and trekking shoes, it’s important to bear in mind the weather and type of terrain you are going to face.

    During the summer months, or places where you are likely to cross a river you may prefer the fast-drying trekking booths. However, in wet, and colder months the waterproof walking boots may be the better fit.

  2. What are gaiters and when should you wear them?

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    Many backpackers and hikers swear by gaiters and use them year-round.

    Despite offering essential protection, gaiters are often overlooked and get confused in a long list of outdoor equipment.

    That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you know what exactly gaiters are and when you should be wearing them.

    What are Gaiters?

    Gaiters are lightweight, breathable and waterproof pieces of fabric that cover the upper boot and lower part of your legs.

    Working with your boots, gaiters protect all the tiny nooks and crannies that are vulnerable in certain weather or environment conditions, such as the top of the boot.

    In wet, muddy or snowy conditions, gaiters are essential for keeping your feet dry and can also provide an extra layer of insulation.

    In drier weather, gaiters will also protect you from debris such as rocks and sand that can uncomfortably lodge themselves inside your footwear.

    Gaiters provide great protection across a diverse range of conditions. Whether you are facing thorny bushes, marsh land or even snake bites, the gaiters will provide you an extra layer of defence to stop anything from getting into your boots or trouser legs.

    Made from mostly synthetic materials, gaiters are breathable, lightweight and quick drying. Gaiters are designed to be comfortable for walking and hiking long distances in a variety of conditions, making them an essential item for your pack.

    From puddles to thunderstorms, gaiters will keep you waterproof, insulated and protected.

    Generally, gaiters come in one of two heights: ankle-height and full-length.

    Full-length gaiters

    Full-length gaiters are a perfect fit for extreme weather conditions such as deep snow or heavy rain.

    Covering the tops of your boots and most of your lower leg, full-length gaiters offer the most protection.

    If you’re in terrains covered in snow, long wet grass, thick bush or you need to cross streams, full-length gaiters are essential for you.

    Ankle-height gaiters

    Ankle-height gaiters are made to simply cover the top of your footwear and bottom of your trousers.

    They don’t have the same level of protection as the full-length ones, and are best used for less extreme conditions.

    This type of gaiter is ideal for outdoor wear, with a good chance of rain and mud. It’s also perfect for offering protection from bits of debris such as stones, sand or bits of twig entering your footwear.

    This type of gaiter can also be a great fit for off-road and fell runners to provide protection from debris.

    For runners that want a more lightweight and fuller protection, our padded running gaiters may be the perfect fit for you.

    Conclusion

    Snow, water and debris can find a way into the most waterproof of boots and trousers. Gaiters are lightweight, waterproof and breathable, covering the ends of your boots and trousers, providing you with extra protection from the elements.

    Gaiters protect you from a range of outdoor conditions, including muddy puddles, debris, deep snow, streams and thick bush. Small and lightweight enough to stash in your pack, gaiters can be used year-round for almost every condition.

    Ready to unlock the benefits of gaiters? Browse our range today.

  3. Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival – Free Guided Walks

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    Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival (Saturday 3rd – Sunday 11th May) is offering a choice of over 50 free, varied walks in and around the stunning Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, where the Industrial Revolution began over 300 years ago.

    From challenging all-day hikes for the more experienced walker to family friendly trails and short informative walks, this year’s Festival has something to whet the appetite of all ages and abilities. With the newly acquired Walkers are Welcome, status a warm welcome is guaranteed in the town.

    As well as nearly 20 new walks, the 2014 Festival will be introducing the first 100 Mile Ironbridge Challenge. Those taking part must finish seven specified walks on seven different days with the combined mileage topping over 100 miles. Walkers completing the challenge will receive a certificate and woven badge for their rucksack.

    New walks include an early evening family outing on 7th May to explore the nature and wildlife in the enchanting woods at Loamhole Dingle, Coalbrookdale with a surprise for all and an opportunity to learn about the variety of wild flowers in Lodge Field under the guidance of an expert from Shropshire Wildlife Trust. There will also be additional nature walks with information to help identify trees and birds and an early evening ‘quiz walk’ around Coalbrookdale finishing at a local inn.

    Popular tried and tested walks being repeated explore historic trails and the part played by The Gorge in the Industrial Revolution. There’s also a gentle two-hour family treasure hunt suitable for pushchair and wheelchair users, alternatively experienced walkers can join a strenuous 15 mile circular hike over the Wrekin, ideal for walkers happy with steep climbs and rough terrain.

    For those wanting to discover more about the heritage of the area there is a walk that take in the history of the river bridges and a 15 mile circular walk skirting the edge of the World Heritage Site. Three walks explore the many churches and other places of worship in and around The Gorge on 6th and 9th May.

    All walks are free however pre-booking is essential; well-behaved dogs on a lead are welcome on most walks but check before booking. To reserve a place or request a copy of the programme contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre by email at tic@ironbridge.org.uk; details at www.visitironbridge.co.uk/walkingfestival.

  4. Lifesystems Micro LED Head Torch – New Arrival

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    Lifesystems Intensity 24 Micro Head LED Torch is so small and lightweight that it can easily fit in to your trouser pocket or your survival kit bag. The 24 lumen bright LED light can be switched on and off with the easy access rubberised switch on top of the main light casing. The front light can also be angled to focus exactly where you need it and includes five light settings: white LED high, low and flashing; red LEDs constant and SOS to help being seen at night. The rear red light has two settings – fixed and flashing for extra safety and visibility. The reinforced elasticated head strap can be adjusted to custom fit your dimensions or used to fix on to an item.

    This Lifesystems Micro LED head torch is ideal when hiking and trekking, or for general use around the camp site when it starts to get dark. It is an essential piece of survival and emergency equipment that should be carried by every outdoors person.

  5. White Cliffs Of Wight Beckon This May

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    Adventure holiday expert Exodus is sponsoring the Isle of Wight Walking Festival 2013 – the largest walking festival of its kind in Europe. It will take place across three weekends between 4 and 19 May 2013, featuring over 200 guided walks across the stunning Isle of Wight countryside.

    Now in its fifteenth year, the festival will offer a full range of walking routes to suit all abilities, from leisurely ambles around the town of Ryde, to an epic twenty-four hour, non-stop journey along all 72 miles of the island’s perimeter. All walks will be led by one of 200 dedicated volunteer guides, each an expert in the area.

    Exodus will be running a number of dedicated walks over the two weekends, from the slow and gentle Tennyson Trail on Saturday 4 May, which will follow in the footsteps of the famous poet, to the challenging Charybdis Passage held on Saturday 11 May. While the dedicated Isle of Wight Walking Festival guides will lead these walks, members of the Exodus team will be taking part and providing fun motivational treats along the way.

    As well as getting their walking boots muddy, the Exodus team will be hosting their own special presentation evening event, led by Exodus director Jim Eite for the festival’s walkers to explore their range of overseas walking holidays.

    Jim Eite, product director of Exodus Travels, says “We are thrilled to take part in this fantastic event. Though we have been taking walking holidays across the globe from Oman to Argentina for over 38 years, this festival is a great opportunity for people to discover the wonders of walking right here in the UK, as well as celebrating our new series of UK walking weekends that we’re launching this year.

    To celebrate their involvement, Exodus is also running a competition to win a walking holiday for two to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The lucky winner of this walking holiday will be announced at the Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Weekend between 25 and 28 October 2013.

    More details and a full programme of walks can be found the Isle of Wight Walking Festival website at www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk.

    Whether you’re looking to enjoy a gentle ramble or a tough trekking holiday in the Greater Ranges, you’ll find what you need to make the most of your time in the Sub Zero Store’s product index with all walkers’ and trekkers’ needs from toasty thermal baselayers to mugs, flasks and first aid kits.

     

  6. Get Walking Fit In 2013

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    Pull on your boots, pack your rucksack and start planning now to make the most of the UK’s big push for everybody to enjoy walking. If the gym has been your route to fitness, then look outdoors to make the most of what the UK’s countryside can offer. We’ve got all the gear you’ll need to stay warm, comfortable and safe even in the hills.

    Get Walking Week, 4 – 11 May 2013, is Ramblers’ short walks festival designed to help the nation discover the wonder of walking. Get Walking Week is part of 2013’s Britain on Foot campaign which is a year-long call to action to get the British public fitter, healthier and happier in the great outdoors. In Wales during the weekend of 4-6 May, Ramblers Cymru will be hosting the Big Welsh Walk – inspiring families to take to their feet for some quality family fun outdoors.

    In England, Walking for Health, which is hosted by the Ramblers in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, will be inviting people across the country to join short, free and friendly walks with their local schemes, to help them get walking and stay active. It’s England’s national network of health walk schemes, offering free short walks over easy terrain led by trained walk leaders. The brainchild of GP Dr William Bird, who started leading health walks from his surgery in 1996, Walking for Health is now a national programme supporting around 600 local schemes across England that deliver a range of group walks for over 75,000 regular walkers.

    Throughout Scotland, Wales and England, Ramblers’ groups will be extending invitations to join them on a variety of guided walks through countryside, cities and along the coast which are five miles or less. All of the walks will be led by trained walk leaders providing the perfect opportunity to discover the freedom, fresh air and fitness that comes with exploring the great outdoors.

    Photo: Walkers above Croyde Bay, Devon. Credit: Neville Stannikk

  7. Help To Create Inspiring Walking Routes And Build Your Skills With The Ramblers

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    Britain’s Ramblers are looking for walkers with a keen eye for detail to help quality-check its growing library of walking routes for independent walkers.

    Ramblers volunteers across Britain have been developing walking routes as part of a new project – Ramblers Routes – which will offer walkers access to hundreds of inspiring self-led routes to enjoy with family and friends.

    But a great walking route takes more than just one walker, so Ramblers are looking for regular walkers to help check routes on the ground to ensure they are interesting, easy to follow, safe and graded to the right walking ability.

    Route checkers road-test the route description and map for each walk, ensure the route matches any special features – like being child or dog friendly or having easy access – and carry out a simple risk assessment.

    You can check routes in your local area or in your favourite walking destinations and there are free route checking and development workshops and online training available for Ramblers members and walkers keen to get involved.

    “Route checkers are a really important part of creating quality walking routes” said Ramblers Routes Project Manager Justin Bend. “Even if they have been checked by the person who developed them, routes also need to be checked thoroughly and risk-assessed by a different person.”

    “All our routes will have the Ramblers quality stamp, meaning walkers can enjoy them with confidence” adds Justin. “We also want to make sure the routes are appealing and attractive, so it’s always good to have a fresh eye on something.”

    Find out more about checking or developing routes by watching the Ramblers Routes video or register as a route checker for the opportunity to improve and expand your existing walking skills.

    Ramblers have also proposed a fantastic future for England’s National Trails with its new vision document National Trails: a fantastic future. Creating a charitable National Trails Trust is the best way to support, develop and promote the 13 National Trails in England and ensure they reach their full potential, with Local Trail Trusts to help manage the trails on the ground. The government currently plans to hand over responsibility for the trails to hard-pressed local authorities and voluntary groups, but without a national champion there is a real threat the quality of these long-distance walking routes could seriously decline. You can show your support by donating to our National Trails Appeal to help continue campaigning to secure the long-term future of Britain’s most treasured walking routes for generations of walkers to come.

  8. Herefordshire Walking Festival 2012

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    Nine days of 44 varied walks through the Herefordshire Countryside 16th – 24th June 2012

    Two long distance walks this year.  ‘By Canal from Ledbury to Hereford’ follows the stretch of the Hereford & Gloucester Canal within the county, along the towpath wherever possible, over farmland, tracks or minor roads.    The Hill Forts & Castles Walk has never been walked before by the general public.  Created by a Hereford Ramblers’ member, four of the sections have been researched especially for the festival and will be led over both weekends.

    Old favourites include ‘On the Black Hill’ particularly apposite this year with the general release of the film ‘Resistance’ based on the novel by Owen Sheers.  Learn about butterflies, vendettas, farming practice, geology, tree husbandry, archaeology, myth and legend.  Take the small children on a Sunday morning family wander or take yourself on a good bracing walk with wonderful views.  Enjoyment of Herefordshire food is never far away be it tea and cakes, a ploughman’s in the village local or a farmhouse supper.

    New departures include an introduction to ‘geocaching’ and a tour of a historic house plus some very surprising adventures around Symonds Yat.   ‘And Now for Some thing Completely Different’ is a treasure trail that can be walked and puzzled over on any day and at any time during the Festival by a single sleuth or a family group.  Correct answers will be entered into a draw and the winner will receive a prize!

    All walks  must be booked in advanceclick here for details

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