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How Hiking Has Changed My Life

By Phil on 2015.06.03 In General

Prior to the summer of 2012 my life consisted of weekends going out drinking with friends, trips around Europe and not really doing much with my life. In May of 2012 my step brother Ian asked me if I wanted to join him on a trek through the French Pyrenean foothills to do the 250km Cathar Way trek. He convinced me with the promise of good weather, fine food, cheese and wine as well as a good laugh along the way. Little did I know then, that what was meant to be a life changing trek for Ian, was to change my life as also.

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After completing the Cathar Way I wanted more, so I started heading to the Lake District most weekends. I then joined the Edinburgh Young Walkers and Scottish Ramblers to be among like-minded people striving to complete the Munro’s. Though so far I have only managed 13(as at June 2015) out of the 282. Still some way to go but plenty of glorious Scottish countryside explored.

In the summer of 2013 I set out on the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc. Walking around Mont Blanc through three different countries was yet another amazing experience. Seeing Mont Blanc in all its glory during the trek made we want to ascend it someday, which I’m hoping to achieve in 2016.

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During my new found love of the outdoors I discovered the Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven. After buying a few of their products I saw an advert for the Fjällräven Polar. A competition to win a place on a unique, once in a lifetime 300km dog sled trek north of the Arctic Circle. I was determined to win a place, so I planned my application well in advance of the competition opening. Thanks to the help of family, friends and work colleagues I came first for the UK and became one of only twenty people from around the world lucky enough to take part in 2014.

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The Fjällräven Polar in the winter of 2014 really was a life changing experience where I got to meet some amazing people from around the world, who I still keep in regular contact with. We have had many reunions, doing some amazing adventures together. Many of them have visited me here in the UK and we often go hiking in the Lake District, with many more reunions to come. Our reunions have included doing the 110km Fjällräven Classic trek in Sweden, hiking Trolltunga in Norway (one of my most eventful weekend hiking experiences I have ever had and also got to fly a plane!), wilderness hiking to a friends log cabin in Finnish Lapland for New Year and snow shoeing/ski touring in Norway.

Processed with Moldiv

Processed with Moldiv

Processed with Moldiv

Since getting hooked on trekking and outdoor adventures, I decided that all my holidays and spare time has to involve some kind of hiking adventure where possible. There are so many places I want to hike and experience. Last October I did the Toubkal Two Valley trek in Morocco with Exped Adventure, where we summited at 4167m, my highest ascent so far.

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Before I started my hiking adventures I had always preferred winter holidays as opposed to summer ones, this encouraged me to attended two winter skills course in the Cairngorms in Scotland and try to get out in the winter as much as possible. I really don’t think you can beat hiking with crampons and an ice axe and the stunning views you experience in the winter. I hope to continue this and take it to the next level before attempting Mont Blanc.

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I’m also a member of international blogging community Outdrr where I blog about many of my adventures at http://philyourboots.com and where I like to share my experiences and photos to anyone interested. I have also become a product tester for Suunto and Peak Design outdoor camera accessories as well as writing product reviews on the Fjällräven clothing and equipment I use.

In the last year I have had two eight page articles published in outdoor magazine Trek & Mountain on my Fjällräven Polar and Toubkal Two Valley adventures.

I really can’t believe how much my life has changed since the summer of 2012. It has certainly helped improve my overall fitness, wellbeing and given me a new lease of life as well as meeting lots of amazing like-minded people from all around the world. All I want to do is get out on those hills, which I try to do most weekends, whether it be the Lake District, Scotland or even closer to home in Northumberland, while always thinking of my next big adventure abroad.

I really can’t imagine not living the life I have now and having the experiences I have had to date and which I hope to experience for many years to come.

It’s never too late for anyone to have their own outdoor epiphany and I would urge everyone to give it a go to get outdoors and Phil Your Boots!

UPDATE: In 2016 I decided to permanently re-locate from Sunderland to Edinburgh to be closer to the outdoors and one of my goals of completing all 282 Munros! #onelifeliveit :) It really is never too late to Phil Your Boots!

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Welcome

Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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