Having come into some money recently, it was obvious that the time had come to update my footwear. The past three years on the hill have seen five pairs of Hood Bullseye wellies through their lives from box fresh to leaking ruin. It is a two mile circuit around the bottom hill, and I have now been walking it at least once a day for the past two years. Wellies are all very well and I intend to buy a new pair of bullseyes as soon as possible, but proper hill boots have been on the horizon ever since I first became actively involved in grouse and heather moorland.
Somewhat in awe of proper keeper boots (which, as a matter of course, are calf high slug crushers with laces long enough to suspend the Forth Road Bridge), I looked around at the various footwear on offer and was initially put off by the variety of different configurations and makes. Buying boots is a minefield, and I decided that such a big investment warranted some in depth research and the necessity of trying the damn things on before parting with money. After several weeks, I finally succumbed to some extraordinarily expensive boots made by Chiruca. Gore-tex lined and warm enough to repel even the most determined drift of snow, I decided to give them a road test before mentioning them on this blog, if for no other reason than using them would give me an idea of what to write.
The most important thing about them is that they are totally waterproof. As dry as wellies but close fitting enough to give support on lumpy sphagnum bogs, as far as I’m concerned, I hit the jackpot. The novel lacing “system” does away with the necessity of hooking laces in and out of eye holes everytime I want to put them on or take them off, which is perfect for someone who is essentially a lazy and impatient person. A few twists of the ratchets secure the boots neatly into place, and disengaging the ratchets lets them slacken off so that it feels like I’m wearing rigger boots. They slip on and off as easily as wellies, and they are beautifully comfortable.
It feels like a major extravagance to spend just over £200 on footwear, but when you effectively live in your boots, it’s less of a luxury and more of a necessity. I’d recommend them to anyone who spends a significant part of their lives on the hill, and as long as you don’t mind looking like a bit of a pratt with “door handles” on the tongues of your shoes, there’s little to say against Chiruca Dogo Boa boots.