Brasher Hillmaster Ultimate Challenge winner
Thanks to last week’s Brasher Hillmaster II GTX launch at Wasdale head Inn in the Lake District earlier this week, I now know a lot more than I ever could have imagined knowing about Brasher walking boots. So much so, that I walked off with the Brasher Hillmaster II Ultimate Challenge award!
However, while I’d like to leave my blog at that, and have you believe that I’m a brainbox and a top all-round outdoors navigator and walker that wouldn’t be too honest.
The Hillmaster II Ultimate Challenge required nine of us – all guests of the Brasher Hillmaster II launch – to follow a mapped route through Wasdale Head countryside in the Lake District. Of course, we were wearing our shiny new Brasher Hillmaster II GTX boots!
Along the way, there were clues to find and questions to answer, all Brasher-related. After more than two hours of negotiating heavy rain, water-sodden paths, swollen river crossings, darkness and the brightest head torch beam I have ever seen (worn by Mr Outdoors Magic!), I think my triumph was more about practicalities than intelligence!
While most of the others ended up with answer sheets so water logged they fell apart and squished into a sodden mess, I found a way to keep my sheet dry by covering it with the laminated map. So, because I had filled in a few answers and had a dry-ish answer sheet to present to the “judges” , there was a fair chance I would win.
I was fortunate to score another trump point over some of the others because while most walked past a checkpoint happily chatting away among themselves, I was part of a trio taking the map reading a little more seriously. Questions five to seven were overlooked by all those that walked past the checkpoint, and so I might have gained another advantage (if I answered these questions).
But I can’t say that any of this made me a challenge hero! I was just more diligent and a bit more dogged in my desire to answer the questions. I’m like that! I love an outdoors challenge and whatever I’m thrown I always play the game. (This could all be a throwback to childhood treasure hunts laid out by my mother and the bid to beat my friends and siblings so I could win the bag of sweeties!)
So I laughed loudly when it was announced later on that I had won the Brasher Hillmaster II Ultimate Challenge trophy. This trophy is something rather special (and much better than a bag of sweets). It boasts a new, full-sized Brasher Hillmaster II walking boot and is so big that I think I might need to build a mantelpiece to home it!
Learning all about Brasher walking boots
So what did I learn about Brasher? As I said, the questions in the Ultimate Challenge related in some way to the founder of the original Brasher boot, Chris Brasher (now deceased), the Brasher history books and their new and improved Hillmaster GTX.
Hillmaster GTX was originally developed in 1983 by Chris Brasher when he famously said: “Why can’t walking boots be as comfortable as trainers.” And so Hillmaster became the product that defined a new generation of walking boots. At a time when walkers had to suffer boots made from thick leather, incorporating steel or wooden shanks to make them stiff for climbing, the Hillmaster broke new ground.
I already knew that Chris Brasher had paced Roger Bannister in his bid for the four-minute mile and that he was a whisky lover and a fan of Robert Browning’s poetry. Don’t ask me how I know these things, but I am a sucker for outdoors facts and info.
For example, I was thrilled to find out that Wast Water lake at Wasdale Head is the deepest in England and is located below England’s tallest peak Scafell pike and close to England’s smallest church. I love outdoors geekery! Did you also know that Loch Ness is the largest loch/lake by volume in the UK and contains almost double the amount of water in all the lakes of England and Wales combined, while Loch Morar is the deepest of the UK’s lakes and Loch Awe is the longest?
See my kit review blog to find out more about the new Brasher Hillmaster II GTX walking boot.