I had some doubts about being fit enough, and managed too few practice outings. I did get far enough one day to find my heavier walking boots rather uncomfortable, so opted to take a lighter pair.
This was not a particularly good decision, as in the event we crossed a lot of snowfields and the soles had little bite. The flexing also left me with a sore foot halfway through trek which needed to be blasted with anti-inflammatories.
I had greater confidence in my trusty, 30-years-old karrimor rucksack. It has seen good service, with me mainly in Scotland, with my children in Iceland, America and India.
Fully loaded, the rucksack weighed in at Manchester Airport at 16.5Kg, so the early days of our expedition as (I hoped) I built my fitness up were never going to be easy. You will realise by now that I was not going to win any prizes for being the best turned out trekker with the smartest kit. Even my friends found it hard not to comment on my non-matching walking poles.
They have stories to tell. The green one is the survivor of a tricky day/night in Fisherfield which ended in a plunging, tumbling crossing of a bad-tempered bog as we sought out Shenavall bothy - its mate bent under my weight in a half-fall and was irreparable. The one on the left was a crafty Ebay purchase to make up a 'pair' - its wooden knob unscrews to reveal a camera mounting thread
which allows you to take great group photos like this:
This was our group in the Oetztal, on an excursion day from one of the many Alpine Club mountain huts we stayed and ate in. We all managed the high paths, but not all of us bagged the peaks. After all, someone has to take the spectacular photos:
We had a great time, and now the kit is back in the cupboard. Both walking poles came back slightly bent after snowfield tumbles but straightened up nicely with a 15mm plumber's bending spring. Maybe it shouldn't be too long before the kit is given another outing.