Duck Tape / Duct Tape–Whatever, its coming with us!

WP_000029I’ve never been entirely sure as to the correct name. This roll seems pretty conclusive evidence, but the ultimate font of all knowledge, has a slightly different take – see here. Whichever, after our experience walking then I’m convinced that it needs to go in the backpack. What happened was…

We were booked to walk the Dales Way (from Bowness to Ilkley) over 5 days over the extended Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend. Plan A was that I would use the walking boots that I would be taking on our trip (and that served me well on a similar walk along Offa’s Dyke last year). Unfortunately, on our trial walk they pinched my ankle and there is no way that I could cope with the 80-odd miles of Dales Way.

So, Plan B then is to wear my old faithful leather walking boots. They may be 30 years old, but what could possibly go wrong? Halfway through the first day, 10 miles in, I start to find out when I notice that the sole is starting to come away from the boot at the toe. And, the saga with duct tape starts. Thanks to a friendly local, the first set of tape is applied which gets me through the remaining 7 or so miles that day. This is topped up overnight, but for safety I get to tape the back of the boot too.WP_000026

Unsurprisingly, walking along with one boot liberally covered in shiny silver tape gets you noticed. More practically, not only did the tape get me through 7 miles on Day 1, it also got me through 20 miles on Day. With hindsight, I should have known what would happen next though. Towards the end of Day 2, we came off a field onto the road for the final 2 mile section to our B&B and I noticed that the noise of boot on road changed. Looking down  confirmed that the sole had gone completely. I never noticed the difference while walking on grass – indeed, the photo of my boots was only taken about 15 minutes earlier.

Fortunately, I was still able to complete the 2 miles to our B&B – but that was the end of our walk. Next day it was up the hill to Dent Station (not in the town of Dent, BTW) to get the train home. At least we got to go over the Ribblehead viaduct. Regardless of the outcome, I managed about 25 miles of walking over all sorts of terrain in a boot that was held together by duct tape. I’m convinced that I need to find space in my backpack for a roll.

As for the walk, I would thoroughly recommend it. The Dales Way in 5 days is hard going, but we are convinced that we would have made it. The scenery was stunning – and would probably have benefitted from a more leisurely approach to appreciate it.

Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way!

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