Ben Nevis Summit

Ben Nevis Summit

Long Distance Hill Walking...!

Completing “The West Highland Way” once in May of 2007 would be enough for anyone; But my good friend John; has come up with another "crazy idea" that this year, we could walk the W.H.W. Again!

If you’re not familiar with the W.H.W. It is a Long Distance Hill Walk starting in Mulgavie Glasgow, and finishes in Fort William, some 97 miles later.

Mind you, it is a walk with breathtaking views; and some serious, "Lung Busting Climbs"

But this time John and Mick thought he would make it interesting by adding on the fact that we can; climb Ben Nevis while we are in Fort William...??? Hold on; there's more!!

Then we can carry on and walkThe Great Glenn Way” from Fort William to Inverness...!!!! This totals 200 miles plus; over 10 days, and a quick trip to the top of Ben Nevis.

Well, all I can say is, John; you were spot on mate; I would not have missed my chance to climb the famous Ben Nevis.

Even though I never thought that I would? For anyone reading this blog; if you are in reasonable health, and you like a challenge; you will not be sorry...!!! On a serious note…


The Mountain Trail of Ben Nevis, {A K A, The Tourist Trail} is a full 4 to 6 hours of serious uphill walking depending on how fit you are.

Then you got 3 to 5 hours of hard downhill walking. You must not treat it like a walk in the park! Climbing Ben Nevis is a serious challenge?

You must be prepared and you must carry all the necessary kit that you will need for the day...???

Like Food and Water,

At least 4Ltrs. Safety Equipment, Cold Weather Gear, Spare Boots, First Aid Kit, Whistle, Torch, Compass, and Wet Weather outfit, and a Survival Bag.

So as you can tell by this list... this challenge is definitely not to be taken lightly...

Now; having said all that; you will absolutely love it when you reach the top. There is no other feeling in the world to compare to it;

The sense of achievement is overwhelming, coupled with the feeling of elation. "You Can't Beat It" And you will NEVER” forget it!

Blisters...!!! How to Guard Against Blisters from Your New Boots!

Most all blisters you get on your feet come from “NEW BOOT and SHOES” rubbing your feet. Therefore it is imperative that you; “break-in” your new walking boots or shoes completely… before attempting to do any walking in them.

This is what I do when I have new boots… Mind you it is a good idea to have two pair of  walking boots/shoes that’s if you are serious about your walking. But you already know that don’t you!

You know when the ladies go out to buy a new pair of dressy shoes to match the outfit they brought, to go out in on Saturday night!

They take three hours to choose a pair of shoes, and then go back to the shop that they started from and buy the first pair they looked at…!!!  {I know; but we still love them for it}

My point is, the new shoes fit great at the point of trying them on and they look amazing!  Now on a night out ladies do not normally walk very far?

But I always find it funny that, three hours into their evening out, the lovely new shoes are crippling them to the point where they dis-guard the new shoes under the table; and end the night out walking around in bare feet…???   

“Oh the price of vanity”  There is only getting to the taxi to worry about… and our lovely ladies walk bare foot to the taxi; and bare foot from the taxi to the house.  {The distance covered in the new shoes, LESS than a quarter-mile} all night! 

The price of some new shoes for the evening for our lovely ladies; some pain and discomfort and one or two small blisters on the heel and around the big toe, the ball of the foot & the small toe. Never mind, in a couple of weeks they will do it all over again… {Bless their hearts}

Walking in new boots is a totally new ball-game; if you are on a long walk in new boots over rugged and or uneven ground…  you will NOT be able to kick your boots of and walk bare-foot; you will have to suffer the pain and discomfort of the rubbing and burning on your feet till you reach your destination.

When you eventually stop walking for the dayand remove your boots, the blisters will be able to evolve from the burning patches on your heels, toes and the balls of your feet, your ankles and your lower shins.

Plus the back of your lower leg these are all the places that new boots can and will rub you! Especially if you have never worn; ankle boots before?

Even if you are used to wearing ankle boots, new boots will still rub you because they are stiff and need softening up

O M G, the relief!  Unfortunately this relief will not last… because as soon as you put your boots back on the pain will return! Only this time it will be 100 times worse.

A good treatment for soft and delicate feet is to apply surgical spirit several times a week for two weeks, while you are breaking in your new boots.  This is an excellent way to harden the skin on your feet especially where your boots will rub you!

And that’s just putting them on, now you got to walk in your new boots some more. Believe me the pain… it just gets worse until in the end you can’t walk any further in your new boots, because they have tore your tender little feet to shreds’.

It’s going to be at least two weeks or more before your feet get back to normal, providing your Blisters are not to sever; and you now associate your new boots with pain and discomfort! Naturally you will shy away from the thought of ever wearing your new boots again!

Let’s get the facts down…

Always chose the correct type of boot for the terrain you are going to be walking on! If you are in doubt, ask at your outdoor store for assistance!

Always ensure your wearing your walking socks when trying on new boots/shoes!  Make sure your boots/shoes are the correct size for you! {Do not by new boots while wearing normal socks}

Once you are happy with your choice and have taken the above advice into account. The first thing I do when I get my new boots home is…

The First thing I do…

Leave my walking socks on, Take the laces out of my new boots and wear my new boots and walking socks around the house for a couple of hours a day, for several days!

The second week I put the laces back into my boots put my walking socks on and tie my boots very lightly on my feet. Again as above; do this for several days

Week three, wear your socks and boots as you would normally wear your ordinary boots and shoes… But guard against over-tightening your laces, especially across your instep? Adjust your laces several times if necessary until they are comfortable.

By week four my boots are beginning to feel very familiar to me, my walking socks and my feet. We are becoming very good friends and we are starting to trust each other! {This is what we want to achieve}

Please note; Leather boots  take a lot longer to soften up than other walking boots, do not rush this process or you will find that you’re walking boots will very quickly become your enemy.

By now your boots should be feeling like a pair of comfortable slippers… and when you slide your feet into them with your walking socks on you should hardly notice that you are wearing them! {Nice}

O K, Providing that you are happy and comfortable with your new friends; {Your Boots} let’s go for our first walk outside in our new socks and boots “Yes” 

Now… because the ground outside can be uneven and can vary greatly from being flat, to being sloping, going uphill or downhill.

My advice is to keep your first walk short say no more than 1 mile: You may be wondering why…? Well you have up to now, only worn your boots in the house… the terrain in the house is very flat and easy on the feet! Outside is a different story.

Your feet will be twisting and bending and adjusting in your new boots to cope with the uneven surfaces, this may cause some rubbing where your boots have not rubbed before?  This is normal, so keep your first walks short for a couple of weeks.

Well done; your new best friends {Your Boots} will look after you now for months to come while you are enjoying your walking and hiking, When walking, Your boots are the most important part of your walking equipment. Look after them, treat them with respect and they will take you a long way, and get you back again!

I wish you many miles of happy walking, and please remember; you can’t enjoy your walking with sore or blistered feet, Blisters are a direct result of ill-fitting boots/shoes that have not been properly prepared for your feet or for walking.

I cannot advise you on which boots/shoes would be right for you as everyone is different, and I would not dare presume that I know best! I only know what has worked for me, so if my advice stops you getting just one blister then I am very happy to have been of some assistance, and this article has done its job.   

PS. Don’t skimp on your socks either, buy good quality socks and make sure they are the right ones for the type of walking that you will be doing, if you are in any doubt always ask at your local walking and outdoor store.
The correct socks will add more protection for your feet against rubbing!

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