￼￼“Alpinism is the art of climbing mountains by confronting the greatest dangers with the greatest prudence.”– ￼Rene Daumal
I recently took my VIVOBAREFOOT Off Road High boots on an adventure to the Scottish Highlands. This is a short account of the trip with emphasis on the value and importance of good footwear.
On the fifth of March six artists set off on a four day expedition into the Scottish Highlands. I was fortunate enough to be one of them. The expedition titled Winter Resort was the second manifestation of a residency program that was initiated by two Irish artists, Tom Watt and John Rayan.
We were aware that to venture into the Scottish Highlands for four days in early March would be no walk in the park. None of us are experienced mountaineers or hikers and we wanted to make sure we survived the experience and were also able to enjoy it. The most important equipment for this in my retrospective opinion is good boots and a good sleeping bag if you have those two you are fine. Most of our backpacks were taken up with food and fuel to last the six of us four days. This meant that we only packed a minimum amount of cloths we wore most of our warm cloths and just brought plenty extra socks and some changes of the inner layers.
“So what’s the point? Only this: what is above knows what is below, what
￼is below does not know what is above” – (Daumal, Mount Analogue)
Before this trip I had never really owned a pair of hiking boots that I was happy with, most of them had been quite clumpy, things that made you trample along in quite a heavy way feeling completely disconnected from the ground below.
I have been wearing VIVOBAREFOOT shoes for the past six years now and have become quite accustomed to being on a flat sole and feeling the ground under my feet (I wear most of my shoes without insoles now for a more extreme experience) so I was very excited to try the Off Road High Boots and to see how they held up to the harsh conditions.
From the first moment I put on the boots they already felt like a well worn in pair, comfortable and still very supportive especially around the ankles.
I wanted to make sure that my feet remained dry as well as comfortable during the trip so as soon as I got the boots I treated them with Nickwax, and did so regularly before and now after the trip.
The weather conditions in Scotland where quite mixed down in the valleys where we spent the nights, it was quite damp and marshy, as we then climbed higher up the mountains it quickly got colder and icy and towards the summits there was a good deal of hard snow.
I am quite thrilled to inform you that throughout the whole trip my feet remained dry with contrast to every other member of our expedition who ended up with wet feet the Vivobarfoot boots were surprisingly durable to the wet and cold. Their lightness and good grip allowed me to hop along without fear of slipping these was particularly handy when coming down from the mountains as we did not follow paths and at times had to scale quite steep slopes of wet grass.
Another important item of clothing for the trip were a good set of gaiters even ￼though they are not essential they prevented the bottoms of trousers form ￼getting wet and also snow from getting inside my boots, which is not a pleasant ￼experience.
￼When it comes down to it what you wear is not so important as long as it keeps ￼you warm and dry what you really want to do is not concentrate too much on ￼what you are wearing but on wear you are. I was delighted with my boots as not ￼once were they a problem or did they prevent me from going where I wanted to ￼go.
￼The trip itself was stunning; I was blown away by the dramatic beauty of the ￼highlands in all their golden glory. I hope to return soon.