We are going to Scotland in September and plan to do some day hikes as we drive through some of the beautiful areas from Stirling to Glen Coe to Fort William and Isle of Skye (or maybe Isle of Mull instead). We are 70 and fit, but don't plan to do anything too terribly strenuous - but likely for several hours at a time. Should we carry hiking boots from home or buy Wellingtons in Scotland? Any advice is appreciated. Susan
Susan, my opinion would be to purchase hiking shoes or boots that can do double duty as walking shoes and get them well broken in before your trip. It would be terrible to have your trip ruined by blisters from new shoes. I would also suggest some merino wool socks. You might want to have your choice of socks on when trying on boots.
Boots with a breathable waterproof membrane construction treated for surface water repellent unless you plan on walking across bogs. Ankle high boots should be fine and trekking poles will save your knees descending the steeper paths.
Be prepared for rain. Gaiters help seal the gap between your rain pants and boots. I walking with a spare pair of socks. Rain cover for your pack or dry sack for what you don't want to get wet and waterproof map case. But no Wellies needed.
I'd have thought that with that much walking the Wellies would have gone through. Nothing worse than wet wellies. They are heavy and clunky too.
I would never hike in Wellies! Bad blisters just waiting to happen.
Gore-tex hiking shoes or boots are much more comfortable and suitable. We did a lot of walking in Scotland and Wales in wet conditions and I was very happy with my Raichle hiking shoes---- lighter weight and less bulky than full hiking boots. The soles delaminated on our recent trip to Arizona so I have replaced them with these Asolo waterproof hiking shoes from REI Outlet:
I am taking them on our May UK trip where they will be used for hiking in the Lake District and Yorkshire, as well as city treks in London.
There are lots of other choices as well.
If you are a member there is a 20% off sale going on now, on both full-price and Outlet items. It would be easy to visit the REI store nearest you and consult with the salesperson regarding a good waterproof walking shoe or boot, and get them properly fitted.
Susan, I would vote for hiking boots over wellies, but I thought I would call your attention to this company:
It publishes wonderful, compact guides to hiking in various regions of Scotland (and elsewhere). You can buy these books at various information centers in Scotland, or order them from Amazon.
PS My image of Wellies is footwear for sloping the pigs.
My only experience wearing Wellies is during a stay at a backcountry lodge in Canada with outside facilities. The lodge provided Wellies at the backdoor for quick trips to the outside facilities in the dark of night as an alternative to booting up.
Unless you're planning to be in a Ralph Lauren photo shoot, I'd say hiking shoes and boots. And, yes, well worn in. :) I don't own Wellies, but I own two pair of LL Bean hunting/duck boots--similar concept. Great for watery conditions or standing around but not for trekking very far. If you really don't want hiking shoes, a compromise might be a decent equestrian shoe like Ariat, but I would still break them in before your trip.
If in serious muck and water, then search eBay for U..S. made XTRATUF boots.
Don't wear wellies. They don't provide enough support when walking and can be slippy on rocks.
They also have a horrible habit of sticking in mud then falling off your foot when you try to walk.
I'll put in a plug for my favorite Ahnu's. I have a navy blue pair and a gray one. They're not supposed to be totally waterproof, but on our last trip I did go through some deep puddles in a rainstorm and my feet stayed dry. They are comfy right out of the box, but I still wear them quite a bit before taking them on a trip. My favorite part is the fun colors. Or maybe it's the fact that my size 9.5 feet look small in them. Or maybe it's that they provide excellent support. I've worn them for hours on end on both rough and city terrain and through lots of standing around looking at stuff. They seem to help from my lower back down to my toes.
I wear Sockwell Circulator socks with them. Those also help to support these 70-year old ankles and legs when doing lots of walking and standing. I stick to the striped ones. I've tried the ones with the other patterns and they don't seem to work as well for me. Odd, eh?
My husband and I used what we call "barn boots" when we lived in WA, but we were on acreage that was muddy 80%+ of the time. We still have a pair in the race trailer for those times when the water around in the areas around the race track is ankle deep and sloppy mud. And yes, I did walk out of those boots in the pasture on more than one occasion. I'd never wear those heavy, uncomfortable, non-supportive things to walk any farther than the barn or the port-a-potty.
Thank you all for the helpful info. I am buying a pair of Asolo hiking shoes. They sound great and as was mentioned this is the perfect time to buy with dividend available and the annual member sale. Best and happy travels, susan
So, so happy you decided on the hiking boots and that you've found some that are waterproof. I've done a fair bit of hiking in Scotland and the trail tend to be wet. Even if the trail is dry, you will likely come across numerous streams and boggy bits that really require waterproof hiking boots. The trails can be rocky as well another reason for good boots. Mine were made of gortex and were marvelous. I recommend good walking socks. I had some pairs of smart wool hiking socks. Also, I am not gaiters person, I preferred full on waterproof pants. I got some in the UK that stuffed into a little sack that easily went into my backpack. (I assume that you have a wonderful waterproof jacket with a hood.) I liked the rain pants as it kept more of me dry. You cannot let rain (unless it's the all day downpour) stop you. Also, when I was in the UK I picked up a midgie hat. It went over my head and helped me stay sane on the few times that I did encounter midges. I also had some REI bug repellent.
I loved walking in Scotland. I hope that I can get my health back so I can return. And, I once did get a Scottish Sunburn in the Hills above Ullapool--walks which I highly recommend.
Hi there, I was in Ireland for 2 weeks last October, and hiked for miles and miles in the ll bean boots... They were great. Next is Scotland in June and I'm taking them again! I wore them on the plane and put some light flats in my backpack - easy!