Tuesday, 13 December 2011

2011: a year in review

gr8trails began 2011 with Rick mountain bike racing the Terra Australis ‘down under’. An amazing 7 day stage race through the Victorian Alpine region also known as the Snowy Mountains. Starting in Falls Creek and finishing in Beechworth 7days later crossing 550km of high country along the way. Rick and team mate Stuart finished 7th in category, against a very competitive and experienced field.

Whilst Rick was away, Adrian headed to Scotland for a weeks Winter mountaineering. Although the conditions weren't as good as the previous year, gr8trails still managed to bag a few snow capped Munro's, only another 224 to go! check out our Facebook and Flickr pages for some gr8 images!

gr8trails opened the UK Spring walking season with several weekends in the Lake District around Wasdale, Grasmere and the Langdales. This included kayaking on Lake Windermere and biking at Whinlatter Forest. Set in the beautiful area between Windermere and Coniston, our preferred accommodation providers in Hawkshead are The Kings Arms Hotel & the Queens Head Inn & Restaurant

May saw the gr8trails team support, guide and sponsor the Yoxall Dads 3Peaks Challenge, with a successful day walking Scafell & Wasdale in preparation for their 24hour Challenge, you can see how they got on at, Yoxall Dads.

gr8trails was also proud to support the annual Pike View Hike for young people in the Scout organisation, by participation in the events safety team. A safe and fun event marked the anniversary of the 10 years of this successful event.

Our second race of the year was in more familiar territory, Eastor Castle and the Malvern Hills for 24hours of Mountain Mayhem. gr8trails sponsored several teams in solo, 4man and 10man categories, you can see how we fared at OSMountain Mayhem.

June also saw us visit the hills and valleys of Wales for another of our short breaks. With stunning early summer weather our walk round the Snowdon horseshoe was very rewarding, followed by a days biking at the little known Penmachno trailhead. gr8trails recommends staying at a variety of accommodation in Wales including The Eagles in Penmachno.
July saw gr8trails announce their partnership with premium UK outdoor retailer Ellis Brigham, the UK’s favourite mountain, trek & travel store. With over 75years of expertise, Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports are an established and trusted name when it comes to offering the very best advice and latest equipment suitable for your next gr8 adventure. Stocking innovative outdoor brands such as Gregory packs, Source hydration and Meindl footwear in their 23 stores, it was a logical step for these brands to pledge their support for gr8trails in August.
Meindl have been producing quality handmade, durable, comfortable and award winning walking boots for over 300 years. Gregory is committed to making the most comfortable outdoor backpacks available and Source’s unique, care free antimicrobial hydration products provide a clean, healthy and easily accessible solution for clean water on the move.
August saw the gr8trails crew visit the off road, manmade biking trails of the 7Stanes in the Scottish Borders. Staying at Glentrail House, with days spent at Ae, Innerleithan and Glentress, groups built upon their own existing skills reinforcing their confidence on their bikes and these fantastic trails.

Friends Plush Hill Cycles, Church Stretton celebrated their first full year of trading earlier this summer and the gr8trails team joined up with them to give our support and promote mountain biking in Church Stretton and across the UK. ‘Plush’ is a combination of enthusiasm and mountain biking experience from around the world, dedicated to all that is biking. Big on service, Al & Kate offer a wide choice of well known brands as well as fixing and upgrading your bike, they offer a bike demo and hire service too.
The onset of Autumn saw the gr8trails team walking and biking the leafy, golden valleys of the Peak District. For our short breaks and outdoor activities here, gr8trails recommends our guests stay at the award winning, 5 star B&B, Underleigh House or the only 4 star hotel within the Peak District National Park, Losehill House Hotel, both hidden along a leafy lane in the Vale of Edale. Ensuite accommodation, allows you to relax and unwind in comfortable surroundings with your group of family or friends, after your days activities with gr8trails.
Winter is now all about the planning for the exciting weekends gr8trails will be running in 2012. Short breaks to cater for you, whether you are a large group or on your own wanting to meet new people, whether you are wanting to participate in a new sport or build on previous experience, gr8trails hopes to cater for you.

Looking forward to sharing your next gr8 adventure with you.

Adrian and Rick.

Directors & Co-founders

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Durable footwear, packed with technology, delivers the ultimate in comfort!

My Meindl Vacuum GTX walking boots are still going strong after 6 rigorous years of hard mountain walking and guiding around the UK and abroad.

What originally appealed to me was the patented ‘Digafix’ lacing system, which gives what I believe the most secure lacing and fit of any mountain boot available on the UK market. With the additional advantage of being able to unlace partway down the front of your foot, for very easy removal of your feet after a long days hill walking.

The hard wearing, durable Multigrip Vibram sole shows wear after 6years of use, but remains grippy in all conditions, with the high ‘rand’ around the front of the boot, protecting against knocks and scrapes whilst out there on the hill.

Whatever the UK weather can throw at these boots, they have remained watertight with the breathable Gore-Tex lining and Nubuck leather outer finish – remember to treat with Meindl Sportwax and Wetproof every so often to prolong the life of your boots.

The high, cushioned soft & comfortable leather upper supports your ankle. Cushioned memory foam insoles and the patented MFS Vacuum footbed ensure that even on long hill days you can still walk with comfort.

We know that buying walking boots is a very personal process, since we all have different shaped feet. However, this would be the first time I would re-buy the same brand and model of walking boot, having not quite found the most comfortable & durable all round boot over the many years of mountain walking I have enjoyed, until now.

Enjoy your walk! Don’t forget the rest of your essentials on our recommended kit list.

Mens, womens & kids sizes are available from our retail partner Ellis Brigham, Mountain Sports. Click here to find out more about the broader Meindlfootwear range, our recommended walking boot brand partner.