Tuesday, 24 February 2009

A man and his boots.......

We all have things we genuinely don’t wish to part with; apart of course from the inevitable junk and bric-a-brac we all tend to surround ourselves with. I have never really felt able to subscribe to the ‘less is more’ school of modern living, and Lord knows I have tried.
One of my most treasured possessions is my old pair of Alfred Wainwright lightweight walking boots. Let me explain a little more:
They were made by The K Shoe Company of Kendal in the English Lake District, from the finest English leather supplied by Pittards. They are without doubt the most comfortable boots I have ever had.

Sadly, over the intervening years the soles had inevitable worn (so many Lake District walks, so little time…lol), so I reluctantly consigned them to the back of a closet.
When the K Shoe company went the way of all flesh and moved its production to China, they decided to produce the boots and their successors on lasts which complied with Euro foot sizes – no surprises there then!
The original boots were made on lasts that reflected the fact that the British foot is wider and longer than that of our European neighbours. This is bad news for a man with ‘plates of meat’ (feet) the size of mine.
Is there an end to this story Michael, I hear you ask, well yes there is.
Through the wonder that is the internet, I have found a family run climbing and walking store in the heart of our Peak District who bought the original lasts from K Shoe Company and were quite willing to resole my boots for a modest sum.
Isn’t that amazing news - well OK I think so.

Anyway, a little more about Alfred Wainwright the man who lent his name to these particular boots and who I hope made some handsome royalties from the deed.
Alfred Wainwright was born in 1907 and will always be known for his famous Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells which he compiled between 1952 and 1966. These handwritten and hand-drawn works of art have given inspiration to all true fell walkers for the past forty years. For this labour of love, as he called it, he was awarded the MBE. He died in 1991 and a memorial to him can be found in the church at Buttermere, his ashes were scattered above the village on his favourite mountain, Haystacks.

I shall wear my refurbished boots with great pride.


  1. Those boots look very comfy and almost brand new, I might add. Interesting booty background!

  2. This is my kind of success story, Michael! Hurrah for your boots!
    If you call me Firefly, may I call you Shooting Out Street Lights? (chuckling)

  3. Hi Willow, I was taught to look after my boots in a different life. My rigid boots are a lot more worn....!!! Happy walking by the way.

    Hi Firelight...oooppss, of course you may, we have a deal, grinning here.

  4. Egad, I wonder what your attic looks like. ;~P

  5. I'm glad you've managed to resole (resoul) your favourite boots. May you both (or should that be 3) have many happy hours tramping the delights of the Lakes. I'm a great admirer of Wainwright.. his books truely helped to lead me around many Lakeland Fells.. and fall totally in love with the area. Sadly, on moving 'south' a few years ago I have to keep my rambles in them for special trips..