walkhighlands

Gear reviews

Gear Review: Hanwag Banks SF GTX boots

Recommended price: £210Weight: 1060g pair (women’s size 5.5) I have wide feet and often struggle finding suitable stiffer boots, ending up either with pinched toes or a larger size with a loose hill grip that let my feet slide forwards when walking downhill. German company Hanwag has a reputation for making boots in a range of fits so I’ve been trying out the Banks, which comes in 3 different fits for women. This is a traditional looking boot in navy nubuck leather with mesh fabric tongue and ankle cuff. There is a good amount of extra reinforcement around the heel

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear Review: Black Diamond Mission LT Approach shoe

Recommended Price: £130Weight: 600g (Pair, UK size 6 womens) The Mission LT is one of series of new shoes by Black Diamond aimed firmly at climbers but as this model is also supposed to be suitable for a longer walk in, I was interested to test it for day walks and scrambles. I’d been wearing it for a couple of months on any dry day walks prior to lockdown and since then it’s been my shoe of choice for shorter local walks – so it has also seen a fair bit of pavement pounding. The all-in-one knitted sock structure of

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Book review – Wild Light

I know from our social media pages – and my own experience – that looking at photographs of nature, and of wild landscapes and well-loved places that are currently out of reach are a comfort for many of us in trying to get through these testing times. So I was delighted when this stunning book of Scottish panoramas – taken by Craig Aitchison – dropped through the letterbox for review. Craig was the inaugural winner of the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, and this is his second book – following on from the successful The Highlands: Land &

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Posted in Books, Gear reviews, Magazine

Lockdown reads for lovers of the outdoors

Isolation Shepherd – Iain R. Thomson Delve into the world of remote isolation in this moving and very readable account of a shepherd and young family’s life in Glen Strathfarrar. Set in the mid 1950’s it tells of a world before modern communications and comforts but with many aspects – the mountains around Loch Monar, the relationship between laird and tenant, the tough winter weather, and the working of sheepdogs, that remain to this day. Plenty of photographs help to bring the story to life and the loving descriptions of the landscape mentally teleport you to that remote cottage at

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Posted in Books, Features, Magazine, News, Walkhighlands news

Gear Review: Kathmandu Aikman fleece jacket

Recommended price: £64.99Weight: 430g (women’s size 8) Once ubiquitous, fleece jackets have fallen from favour somewhat in recent years, with many walkers switching to synthetic insulation that offers more warmth to weight. They are, however, usually more breathable which makes them still a great choice when it’s slightly less cold or when your sweating heading uphill. This fleece jacket from Kathmandu is made from Polartec Thermal Pro, a high performance fleece. In addition to the usual soft fleece inner, the outer surface is a knitted structure giving the garment a distinctive look. The surface has proved robust with no piling

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine, Midlayers

Gear review: Walking trousers for winter

Rab Spire Pants Recommended Price: £110Weight: 495g (Men’s 34″ waist) Described by Rab as ‘mid-weight softshell’ trousers, the Rab Spire are made from a double-weave Matrix fabric – 92% polyamide and 8% elastane. There’s a very tough-feeling reinforced fabric on the knees and the inside of the lower leg, great for me as this is where I find my walking trousers usually get badly abraded. Despite feeling robust, the main fabric is also stretchy, with a very soft inner face, and the design includes a diamond gusset and articulated knees – I’ve found them very comfortable to wear. On the

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Posted in Gear reviews, Magazine, Trousers

Gear reivew: Hoka One One Sky Toa mid boots

Recommended price: £160Weight: 720g (pair, women’s size 5.5) French company Hoka One One (the name comes from Maori meaning “to fly over the earth”) is well known for it’s running shoes, often favoured by ultra distance competitors and characterised by the outsize midsole and deep layered cushioning. Hoka have now added 5 walking boots to their stock as a lightweight alternative to lower profile trail shoes. I’ve been testing out the women’s Sky Toa since late summer and through the autumn. First thing to mention is the bulky outline – the large midsole gives Hoka’s a distinctive bulbous look. The

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear review: Hanwag Alta Bunion GTX boots

Recommended Price: £195Weight: 1510g (Pair, size 10.5) I’ve long been interested in trying out footwear from Hanwag, since hearing that they make some models on a special last suitable for people with bunions. Though less known in the UK, German company Hanwag have a long pedigree, having been founded in Bavaria in 1921. The Alta is a pretty sturdy but fairly lightweight traditional full height leather hiking boot. The uppers are nubuck leather with a waterproof gore-tex lining, and the sole is a Vibram unit with a decent tread, providing good grip. The ankle cuffs are lined with soft leather,

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Posted in Footwear, Gear reviews, Magazine

Gear review – Alpkit Definition Jacket

Usual Price: £229 (currently on sale)Weight: 545g (men’s large) The Definition is Alpkit’s top of the range mountaineering jacket. On handling, you can immediately tell this is a serious hardshell; the fabric feels quite stiff and very robust and the fit is quite generous. The Definition feels like a waterproof built to inspire confidence that it will cope with the toughest conditions Scotland can offer. The fabric is a 3 layer laminate, with a nylon inner and outer, enclosing unbranded waterproof membrane. It may be the latter that is key to the very competitive pricing, but the specs show high

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine

Gear Review: Mammut Whitehorn Jacket

Recommended Price: £199Weight: 640g (men’s large) The Whitehorn is a new insulated downjacket from Mammut, with a few innovative features. The 115g of filling in the main part of the jacket is recycled 650 fill power goose down, but the shoulders are filled with a recycled synthetic insulation – which should boost durability when worn with a pack as well as aiding performance in damp conditions. Not only are both fillings recycled, the face and lining fabric is too; the Pertex Quantum Eco has been treated with a durable water repellent finish – PFC free, to complete the impressive environmental

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Posted in Gear reviews, Jackets, Magazine, Midlayers


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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.