The Emperor’s New Boots

By Phil on 2014.06.17 In Fjällräven Classic General

With just over 50 days to go before the Fjällräven Classic in August, I thought it was time to start practicing doing some long hikes with my full sized rucksack loaded with a similar weight I will be carrying during the Classic.

So on Sunday I loaded my Fjällräven Abisko 75 litre rucksack with a weight of 16kg and headed to Haydon Bridge to do the Hadrian’s Wall circular walk with my mate Jason.

me and rucksack

This was also the first chance for me to try my new Scarpa R-Evo GTX hiking boots which I bought from my friends at LD Mountain Centre two weeks ago. These boots are my 4th pair of boots since I started my outdoor addiction in the summer of 2012. It has now become a bit of a joke about how many pairs of boots I have gone through, but following LD’s manager Neil’s recommendation and great reviews I had read, I was confident these would be the right choice. I also own a pair of Scarpa Mantra Pro GTX winter boots, which have been really good so far, so I thought switching from my Salomon’s to Scarpa could be the way to go.

Hadrian’s Wall (Latin: Vallum Aelium) was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain, begun in AD 122 during the rule of Emperor Hadrian (a.k.a. Publius Aelius Hadrianus to his friends). In addition to its military role, gates through the wall served as customs posts.

photo 1

It was quite a warm start to the walk despite it being slightly cloudy. The walk also started with a steep climb out of Haydon Bridge before with hit the fields and headed towards Housesteads Roman Fort.

After 2 hours of walking we reached Hadrian’s Wall just north of Houseteads, just in time for a spot of lunch. This gave me the opportunity to try another of the ready to eat outdoor meals I have been trying recently. After eating the Real Turmat meals during the Fjällräven Polar in April, I have been trying to find similar quality outdoor meals here in the UK. Today was the turn of Beyond The Beaten Track’s Chilli Con Carne with Rice (ready to eat hot or cold). This was the 3rd meal of theirs I have tried, and I have to say I was once again well impressed. I chose to eat this one cold, despite me carrying 16kg in my rucksack, I hadn’t brought my stove to heat it up. It was actually tastier than some Chilli Con Carne’s I have eaten in pubs over the years, so will certainly be buying again. My only complaint is that there wasn’t more.

After lunch we visited the remains of Housesteads Roman Fort as seen in some of the photos below:

photo 4

photo 3

photo 2

Following our brief step back into time, we then started to head back to our starting point at Hayden Bridge. On the way back we had to cross a very large field with a large warning sign telling us how boggy and wet the field was that we were about to cross. They weren’t wrong. It was unbelievable and have never walked across anything like it before. You could quite easily go over on your ankle and do yourself a serious injury. Luckily my new boots were up to the job and received a pretty good christening on their first outing. I guess there was no taking them back to LD Mountain Centre now. God knows how the Roman’s crossed such fields in their sandals all those years ago.

With about 1 mile to go to the end of our circular walk, we came across two dogs wandering towards us with their owner following them in the distance. The dogs seemed friendly enough as they walked towards us wagging their tails, once passed us, one of them decided he wasn’t so keen on my new hiking boots as I was, as he tried to bite my ankle, before his owner told him to stop.

We finally arrived back at our cars feeling quite wrecked after our 22km hike. This was the first time I have hiked with this kind of rucksack weight since doing the Tour du Mont Blanc last summer and I could certainly feel the difference carrying the extra weight from my usual daysack weight, but was glad I had this first one under my belt. I was also very pleased with my new Scarpa R-Evo GTX boots and just hope these are “the ones” and that I won’t be buying another pair in 12 months’ time. I bet Emperor Hadrian wished Scarpa had been around in his day to make similar boots, rather than the footwear he had to wear back then and maybe Hans Christian Andersen would have wrote the story “The Emperor’s New Boots”, rather than “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

See if you can spot the difference below, between my new boots and the footwear worn by Emperor Hadrian in his day:


I will be doing many more practice walks over the coming weeks as the countdown towards the Fjällräven Classic in August continues.

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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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