The basic theme of today's Classic Walk is centred on the idea of heading out into midwinter weather which, in this windy western peninsula of ours, can be a hit-and-miss affair, to say the least.
After the all-important topic of walking boots, the second most common question I'm asked by readers is about what gear I wear to keep warm and dry…
I'll go into the subject of "layers" – and the importance thereof – another week, but let's get the basics covered straight away. By which I mean, the main jacket and trousers which are going to keep 95% of your body protected from the elements.
Allow me a moment to reflect how bad things used to be – I recall being a paper-boy in my youth and coming home freezing and soaked time and time again. You just couldn't buy decent lightweight clothing that would keep you fully protected from the elements in those days – the only alternative was full-on oil-skins.
We are incredibly fortunate nowadays to have so many products that will do the job so efficiently and affordably.
One winter's day last year – caught out in terrible weather with no choice but to carry on with my outdoor duties minus a proper coat and trousers – I called at a handy Mountain Warehouse shop in Sidmouth and purchased a perfectly serviceable anorak and waterproof leggings for under £80. They've served me very well, but this winter I've decided to a little bit more upmarket in my outdoor gear…
The anorak I chose was the multi-purpose Karrimor Alpiniste made of eVent waterproof fabric, which allows sweat to quickly evaporate leaving you dry and comfortable. It features breathable mesh panels and a hood with wired peak and adjustable drawcord which is essential in our driving rain.
I've been out in half a dozen downpours in full-on gale conditions and not a drop has found its way past the adjustable cuffs, hem or the water resistant zips.
The jacket retails at £199.99 – to find out more, visit their website, karrimor.com.
To protect those hard-working and weary legs, I wear the insulated version of Craghoppers' best-selling Kiwi Pro Stretch trousers. They're fully weatherproof – and would be far too warm for summer wear – but are wonderfully snug at this time of year with a comfortable fleece lining. RRP £60 from craghoppers.com.