I’m pretty heavy on walking boots – they get a lot of abuse – and if I’m honest, I probably don’t care for them as well as I ought to. They’ve been soaked, they’ve been dragged over scorching sand and lava, they’ve been frozen and caked with snow… they’ve been submerged in salt water, caked with mud, torn with thorns and cacti, and have collected worms, leeches and ticks alike. Were these boots a girlfriend I’d have been dumped a long, long time ago.
I’ve had them for six years, and it’s now time to let them go – their soles are worn smooth and are coming away from the uppers, and the leather has cracked and split on top. They’re dangerous on slippery surfaces, and they leak badly.
It wasn’t always this way. I broke in these Meindl boots during a two week trip around Iceland, a journey that saw me circumnavigating that brilliant country on my own. I crossed abrasive lava fields, walked onto glaciers, and amongst other wonderful birds got up close and personal with Gyr Falcons and Harlequin Ducks – and even swam with Red-necked Phalaropes. (The boots sat the latter one out).
After that they took me onto the Hungarian puszta and through the Iberian peninsula’s varied habitats… into the Sonoran Desert in baking Arizona and across the border into Mexico… along the icy rims of heavily wooded canyons and onto the snow-crusted plains of Colorado looking for mammals and grouse… and into the cloud forests of Ecuador and the humid foothills of Costa Rica searching for hummingbirds.
And to many, many other places besides. I’ve patched them up with the wonderful black magic that’s Sugru, and that extended their waterproof life for a further two years after they started to fall apart on me. But now it’s time to let them go.
I shall be leaving Shetland shortly, but they won’t be coming with me.
Goodbye old friends. It was fun while it lasted.