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My partner introduced me to Anna Frost in 2014, when we watched Home on the big screens of Kendal Mountain Festival, treated to the raw emotion often neglected by film makers. A year on, he secretly signed me up to spend a day with Anna and like minded women at the beautiful Visitor Centre in Coed Y Brenin. I felt excited, curious and itching to get away from my desk and surround myself with passionate trail runners.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 20:54

New Women's Brasher socks

I have long, narrow feet, which look 100% girlie. I have long, fine toes and a narrow “waist” to my feet. My heels are slender and my feet look all pink and smooth. If you compare my feet to those of most men, they are very different indeed. But I also have a UK size 8.5 foot, which means for most of my adult life I have mostly worn men’s socks! The problem is that men’s socks are made for men’s feet (fair enough!) and they are usually too wide for me along the entire length of the foot. So I was thrilled to be sent a pair of female-fit walking socks.


Over the years, I have generally just put up with the poor fit of men’s socks because the alternative is to buy women’s socks that are usually too short – and all too often end up with my big toe worn through the toe.

But socks are changing.You’ll already have noticed the huge range of different socks for different activities, including running, cycling and hill walking. There seem to be a wide spectrum of socks, from different brands, within each of these disciplines. Indeed, I have blogged about the mesmerising range of socks to buy before.

Please don’t be too envious of me because the new Gore-Tex Pro waterproof fabric will be available in the shops in a wide range of branded jackets in the autumn of this year (2013). But for now, only a few dozen people have a sample jacket (made by Arc’teryx) to test. My Gore-Tex jacket has been nicknamed the “Starburst Jacket” by my daughter and you can see from the pictures that you’ll either love the hue or hate it. I wasn’t sure at first, but it has grown on me.

This is my first top-of-the-range Gore-Tex jacket. Until now I have got by with a Paclite jacket, which has done pretty well. I have washed and reproofed the jacket with a warm iron a few times and it continues to keep me about 95% dry in the Scottish hills. I have found it a bit light on windproofing in our tough wintry conditions but I really can’t complain.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 22:23

Nevica Ladies Ski Helmet Reviewed

There was a time, not so long ago, when ski and snowboard helmets were not the norm. If you have been skiing in recent years you might find this story had to believe but I can recall in the last decade when the majority of adults did not were a helmet. Kids, yes, grown ups, no. But things have dramatically changed.

In a similar trend to cycle helmets, skiers and snowboarders mostly now wear a helmet. Looking back I can’t believe that I spent the first few years of my snowboarding life without a helmet. The knocks and falls of this sport are legendary, especially when you’re learning, and I often ended a day on the slopes with a sore and bruised head. I can’t think why I didn’t wear a helmet but it just wasn’t what you did.

I have worn a helmet for at least the last six years and it has definitely prevented a few serious injuries. Not only have I taken an awkward fall because of my own ineptitude but I have also been crashed into and knocked over by others on the slopes. The usual point of contact is bum or hands and arms followed swiftly by my head. I’ve been hugely thankful for my helmet on many occasions.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 22:34

Bergans Tecnowool Humle jacket

I’m loving this new range of Tecnowool® jackets from Bergans. There are many reasons why.


Great combo: I like the mix of traditional and modern materials. The Tecnowool® combines durable, warm and natural wool on the outside with a softer, fleecy fabric on the inside. Wool, if you don’t know, is naturally water repellent so if you were caught in a spring shower you would not end up as wet as you would if wearing your average fleece.

Versatility:The jacket – I am testing the Humle for women – is perfect for a range of activities. I would wear this jacket for a casual social outing, for example to the pub after a long walk. It also serves as an excellent mid-layer for activities such as hill walking or dog walking, especially as there is a hood for days when it’s wet or windy. And I have found it to be the perfect accessory for cold days sitting at my desk.

Thursday, 01 May 2014 10:05

Gore Bike Wear Xenon 2.0 Lady jersey

 Lady’s fit bike jerseys have come a long way in the last decade. This is a great example of a beautifully designed and practical summer cycling jersey. Add arm warmers for chillier days and the superb  Gore Waterproof cycling jacket for wet days.

Size range: XS to XXL

Colours: lime, turquoise, raspberry and black all with white contrastst


Price: £89.99

From: Gore Bike Wear

Sometimes I wonder why the names of outdoor clothing are so long, especially walking boots! However, this isn't relevant when wearing the boots. The Salomon Women’s X Ultra Mid GTX, take a breath, walking boots are, in a ntushell, wonderfully comfortable.

As soon as you put your feet into the boots they feel as thought you’re owned them for years. You could imagine walking for miles and miles without any blisters or pains. And if you fancied breaking into a jog, these mid-height ankle boots do a fine job, too.

The technical stuff makes for good reading, too. Stable and protective, lightweight and with GORE-TEX® weather protection and an aggressive grip.


Described by other test walkers as akin to wearing a pair of trainers, the Brasher Women’s Supalite Active GTX walking boots live up to this testament. They feel lightweight and immediately comfortable. More robust looking than the recently tested Salomon women's Ultra GTX walking boots, they still feel great to wear.  As you would expect from leading brand Brasher, the boots offer a host of features such as an upper made from lightweight, breathable and abrasion-resistant materials, a Supalite sole unit with shock absorbing EVA midsole, Ortholite dual density footbed and GORE-TEX lining.

When does a walking boot become a causal kick-around boot? Or, when do trainers become walking boots? The answer: When Hi-tec brings out the Sierra Lite Original Women’s (and Men’s) boot.

I couldn’t decide if the boot was best suited to popping to the shops, walking the dog on muddy trails or climbing a local hill. In the end I tried the Sierra Lite boot on all occasions and while I was doubtful about the footwear’s ability to serve all different uses they do so pretty well.

This boot is not for serious hill walking. It doesn’t have high grip soles or Gore-Tex waterproofing but then Hi-tec haven’t created this boot for mountain goats. This is the boot that can be worn to school, office, pub, dog walking and for a stroll on a countryside trail (that’s if you don’t mind messing up the fab range of colours, including beige with a choice of orange or grey laces, a pink boot and a navy boot).

Thursday, 01 May 2014 10:59

Vango Hurricane 200 tent reviewed

Robust, roomy and practical. Three words that sum up the two-man Vango Hurricane 200 tent. And also quite light at 4.2kg. The website said that this tent would take 15 minutes to pitch and even coming cold to the instructions I managed to have the tent up and in good working condition in that time.

The shape is geodesic, which means it’s kind of round and because of the five crossover points, it’s very sturdy. The shape is good if you like a little bit of head height and space to move around in the tent. The fabric of the outer is, to use their technical terms, Protex® 5000mm Siliconised PU ripstop polyester 70D. To my eye and feel it is good and tough. The inner is breathable ripstop inner tent, which means that it lets all your hot air escape during a night of breathing. The groundsheet has sealed seams and is good quality. A lot about this tent is high on quality.

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