The Angry Corrie 25: Nov 1995-Jan 1996
Fashion page No. 6.5
Hillwalkers do not equip themselves in utilitarian fashion. They continue to be moved rather by the Spiritus Mundi, which again we fearlessly refute here in the capable hands of
Not using collapsible ski-poles
I am a convert to collapsible ski-poles. It took a wee while because we don't seem to use them in Scotland. They are however utterly ubiquitous on the continent, and once introduced to the notion by Walter the Mighty Guide of the Pitztal Valley, I have never looked back. They are an aid to balance in snow, on scree and when fording burns. They help cushion the knees when going downhill. They have been known to fend off the mad goats of Ben Vrackie and can make the heart slightly stiller when negotiating a group of dubious cows. Sport a pair in Scotland and what do you get? "Where's your skis then??" "I'd use a zimmer before a pair of those" and other such Wildean epithets. Ordinary pedestrians who hardly leave the car park will stoutly proclaim their abstinence. Folk will risk blisters and skelfs from some old branch they've picked up rather than carry a pole or two. And all for some sort of notional resonance with Harry Lauder.
"What's this?" you may ask - "TAC goes all dangly on us?" Not yet. I refer rather to the growing habit of attaching various items of kit to one's rucksack or person with dinky wee karabiners. Despite their size, these have a breaking strain of 7700 Newtons. For the Percy Sugdens out there that's a rather heavy object, of the order of, say, a Narnain boulder. Maybe I've just been lucky in my walking career, but never has an old tin mug or compact camera dangling from my rucksack been subjected to such a force. And if it was I think I would prefer the attachment to just give way rather than subject my body to an acceleration of 100 ms-2.
Dangerous waters here, as Ed himself and his principal co-linguist Grant Hutchison both sport a pair; but it's got to be said: these are not worth the money. Fair enough if they were actually waterproof in the true Scottish sense - ie 4 hours in wet grass and bogs; but even their advocates would not claim that. So what are we left with? 100 plus notes for a pair of lightweight boots. Wait a minute here - lightweight boots? The reason we wear boots is for ankle support. Otherwise why not wear Val Hamilton's famed flip-flops? Or Muriel's stockings and high heels ... oops, perhaps too vivid a recall here for a very incidental item in The Munro Show. Well forgive me, but the last time I looked, Goretex didn't suffer much from rigidity. Your back isn't held erect in guardsmanly style like Lawrie McMenemy from having it encased in Goretex. In fact the cagoule can be crumpled into quite a small ball, making it ideal for the rucksack. So ankle support goes out the window. The only apparent benefit of Goretex boots is that you don't have to wax them. Except Ed does. I rest my case. (You're just jealous - Ed.)
NB - Continuing our p2 theme of TAC Eds losing things, fashion guru Warbeck mislaid his priceless ski-poles on the A83 roadside at Stronafyne Farm, Arrochar (NN298050) on Sun 5th Nov. These, like the Eds themselves, are an odd pair: one a burgundy Leki Stubai, one a pink Fitzel, both three-piece. Anyone find them, get in touch and a TAC T-shirt will be yours!