Tuesday, 20 March 2012

An update from skier Ellie Koyander

A couple of weeks ago, skier Ellie Koyander sent us an update about her progress in 2011.

"This season began well for me with a top 20 finish in Meribel, France back in December 2010.
I then flew home for a very short but really enjoyable break over Christmas, and then straight out to Mt Gabriel, Canada for the next World Cup mogul event."

"The whole spring, summer and autumn has been about being aggressive and just skiing with the dial cranked to '11' . I am 2 seconds faster this season which in any World Cup skiing discipline is a huge leap. Converting training into a competition product takes time and the Mt Gabriel comp was a great learning experience as I was able to turn my skiing up and was on the edge the entire run skiing faster than ever. I did have a few leg splits because of my new found aggressiveness which meant several deductions from the 7 judges but dynamically my skiing was great and I finished up 26th place knowing exactly how to push myself for the next event in Lake Placid, USA."


"When we arrived in Lake Placid it rained and rained and rained all day on the first day - but training goes according to strict schedules and we skied regardless! Then the next day the temperature plummeted to a freezing -20C turning the mogul course into a blue/black ice skating rink! I had to focus on trying to keep my feet underneath me and to stay in control - skiing the ice demands a lot of mental agility. Again I pushed myself hard out of the start gate with more speed than ever before and went HUGE on my 360 at the top air! This was great, only I landed three meters further down the landing hill than in training , landing in the moguls and having to fight hard not to get spat out by the treacherous icy bumps and ended up 26th place again."

"I am feeling confident about my skiing and have been able to learn a lot from each event. With the pieces all working as well as they are, it is only a matter of time before I lay a perfect run down in a competition environment and I'm excited about that!"

"I now head to Sweden for the next event, pumped up and ready to ski fast, jump big and just go for it!"

Now, since Ellie sent us this update came the amazing news she's been selected as an Olympic Torchbearer on the 30th June in Burton on Trent - more details here 

You can follow the rest of Ellie's journey leading to the 2014 Winter Olympics at www.twitter.com/elliekoyander             www.facebook.com/elliekoyander       www.elliekoyander.com

And, well done Ellie so far!

Monday, 19 March 2012

More reviews coming soon...

We've got some more reviews coming soon here on the Walks Around Britain blog - we've got 2 tents and some walking poles from Vango, a base-layer and a jacket from Berghaus, more walking boots from Hi-Tec and the Dicky Bag.

We've also got some items from Regatta from their Regatta Clearance website - a sort of factory outlet for discontinued Regatta products.  Bearing in mind all these 3 products we're reviewing were on sale at a much higher price, I can tell you - without giving too much away - that they all offer fantastic value!

So, keep an eye on this blog for all of that - plus on 1st April there's the second edition of our new monthly walking and outdoor podcast!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Gear Review - Brasher’s Tora GTX children's walking boots

Getting children out walking from an early age is so important – not just for their health as kids, but hopefully exposure to the countryside as nippers will engrain into their psyche for rest of their lives.  But that hasn’t always been very easy, what with games consoles, music players and television all pulling children back into the house.

However, over the past couple of years, kit manufacturers have been steadily bringing out proper walking gear for children.  And I don’t mean just making some cheap tat and painting it blue or pink – I’m talking proper stuff; stuff that’s like grown-ups would have – but shrunk.

Brasher’s Tora GTX walking boots are just the sort of thing I’m talking about.  I mean, who have thought a Gore-Tex lined upper in a kids boot?  These are real walking boots, with the same technology in them as many adult boots. 

And that seems to be the idea here.  Make a boot for children like adult boots.

Take the styling – it’s not that far removed from Brasher’s Kiso GTX Men’s Boot.  The Tora GTX does have a more walking trainer style, but the boot shape helps to finish it off.  The laces are tough, although the classic and familiar walking boot lacing-up system can be a bit daunting for even children who have mastered shoes.  And these will last a lot longer than your young ones’ school shoes too, with the upper produce from abrasion resistant suede.

The outsole is a tough affair and makes these boots perfect for even the most challenging ascents most of the young wearers will be attempting.  The stiffness is about right, and the tread inspires confidence.

I liked the support given to the ankle by the Tora GTX – but that protecting might take some getting used to by your young one if they’ve only been used to low-level trainers and shoes.  They could find it quite enclosing and restrictive – which is a problem for all children’s walking boots.  However, Brasher have added a fairly padded collar to help alleviate this.

The midsole has a good level of absorption, and the tester - my eldest daughter Alannah – reported she found them to be very comfortable even on difficult terrain.  It seems like Brasher’s traditional rubber sole – so that’s why.

Taking of Alannah, I suppose I should let her give you her take on the Tora GTXs – after all, she wore them…
If you are going to be climbing up a steep mountain or walking down a bendy path, you need excellent walkingboots.  I recommend these boots because they are comfortable, have good grips and are water proof.

The boots give you good heel support which helps to stop your heels hurting while you are walking.  My feet felt very comfy because inside the boots were quite springy.

They are waterproof too.  When I was going up Mam Tor, I trod in a big puddle with just my wellies on and got my feet extremely wet. But when I went up Glenridding Dodd me and my dad had to go through a muddy marsh and my feet were as dry as can be.

The only thing I could find that was wrong with the boots is the laces.  They are a bit difficult for me to tie up and my Dad has to tie them up for me.
I don't like the fact that some other brands make the children's boots look silly and not like proper walking boots so I would definitely recommend these boots. 

So, in conclusion then, another smashing boot from Brasher which just happen to be for kids.  And that’s the way to look at them really - adult boots for children.  If you’re looking for the perfect way to get your children out hill-walking, then a pair of Tora GTXs would certainly help do the trick – and they’d be keeping your young ones feet dry and comfortable for the entire walk.

What's good...
Waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX lining
Adult-like stylingGood ankle support
Comfortable to wear on different terrains

What's bad...
Could be pricy for less active children although the price is justified for regular walkers
Some children could find ankle support restrictive

Brasher Tora GTX children's walking boots - Rough Price - £70
Walks Around Britain rating 9/10

Friday, 2 March 2012

Podcast Edition 001 - Show Notes

This first edition of the Walks Around Britain podcast features walking around the Isle of Man, some exciting new gear for Spring/Summer 2012 from Webtogs and an interview with comedian and hill-walker Ed Byrne.

We hope you enjoy the first edition of our new podcasts, and here on our blog we'll be putting show notes - with photos, short videos and links to relevant sites about the topics covered in each edition.

Isle of Man

We flied with Manx2.com from Leeds Bradford Airport.

Airport arrivals and departures

For information about travelling by ferry to the Isle of Man

For infomation about bus and rail times including services which call at Ronaldsway Airport and Douglas Sea Terminal

The two walks we filmed will be available on our website on these pages - at the moment, there's the coming soon trailers to watch...

Ramsey and the Albert Tower - http://www.walksaroundbritain.co.uk/ramsey_and_the_albert_tower.html
Port St. Mary to Port Erin - http://www.walksaroundbritain.co.uk/port_st_mary_to_port_erin.html

Some photos Andrew took around the stunning Coastal Walk - The Way of The Gull - between Port St. Mary and Port Erin...

For more information about the Queen's Pier in Ramsey, visit the Friends of Queen's Pier website here http://www.queenspier.org/

To find out more about the island and the annual walking festival, Visit Isle of Man is the best web destination - http://www.visitisleofman.com/