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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Walking Poles

Author: Ian Koszalinski
Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2006, 20:49
Joined: 2004
Local Group: High Peak
i started using poles at the beggining of the year after injuring my knee on the chiltern landmarks. They are excellent for pulling yourself uphill and make ideal stabalisers on the way down. I find that speed wise they slow you down,but not much, they are very good for banging out a rythym when faced with long flat boring bits, also they can be used to polevault boggy ground and ditches.I have three baskets a ski basket which i use in winter a medium for use in wet weather in spring and autumn and a small for summer or rocky walks, the only problems i have encounted are soft wet sticky mud when the pole has to be wrenched out of the ground, and checkpoints where i tend to leave them behind, when i bought them i did expect my hands to get sore whilst using them but this isn't the case, i used them all the way round the Northumberland 100 without a problem. I do wish that people who use them would put the poles over the stiles before they climbed over
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2006, 20:17
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
I have the good fortune to live in Cumbria, and poles are invaluable on the fells. They enable you to use your upper body strength uphill and reduce the stress on ageing knees both uphill and down. I currently have a foot problem and they form part of a package which enables me to walk much further than I otherwise could. As others have pointed out they are also useful for testing boggy ground, of which we have quite a lot here, and bridging & stabilising stream crossings. They are probably of less value on more typical lowland challenge walk terrain. Do use two poles, you will find with practice that you get into an easy balanced rhythm - they have the right idea in the Alps, where poles are only sold in pairs. Two points of pole etiquette. Don't use them on roads and hard tracks, the click-clack will drive your companions mad, and learn to control your poles when climbing stiles, etc. An idiot once poked my wife in the eye with his flailing pole. The main problem with poles is their image of pottering ramblers, but don't be put off, use them if they suit your circumstances. And by the way, I was the idiot with the flailing pole!
Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2006, 20:01
Joined: 2006
Thanks folks. Looks like it boils down to you either like them or don't or you need them or don't. I have found using one invaluable when walking the Pennine Way and Hadrians Wall but I forgot to take mine when doing the DD Challenge at the weekend and found that, apart from the small river crossing, didn't need one and probably got on better without it. Eileen
Author: Sue Allonby
Posted: Tue 27th Jun 2006, 10:22
Joined: 2003
I was given a pole after a back injury, which was useful on steep/eroded descents, but I don't tend to use it any more. I've also used it to aid river crossings. I've tried using 2 poles, but just found them to be a nuisance. I believe they give a better 'whole body workout' (when walking on good tracks), although I read that tests show their effects in reducing joint stress are relatively small.
Author: John Knight
Posted: Mon 26th Jun 2006, 20:57
Joined: 1999
Local Group: Anytime Anywhere
I have found them invaluable generally for minimising stress on my knees. Also useful for fording rivers & gauging the depth of bogs before I step in them...

Author: Philip Powell
Posted: Mon 26th Jun 2006, 15:25
Joined: 1981
Local Group: Northumbria
Two poles are better than one because it means you are equally balanced.
Posted: Mon 26th Jun 2006, 15:17
Joined: 1986
Well I have never used one (or two) but I might try sometime. The advantages seem to be assistance going up hills (using the arms to relieve the legs), steadiness when descending, ability to fend off dogs and push back nettles. The downside seems to be waht to do with them when not in use, the pointy end being dangerous to other walkers and the likelyhood of leaving them after a stop.
Posted: Mon 26th Jun 2006, 14:21
Joined: 2006
I am wondering what experienced walkers views on walking poles are. I have read, and been told, that walking with 2 poles helps you along more easily, taking a lot of the strain off your legs. I usually only use one which I find invaluable on steep inclines and declines and crossing streams. However, having done a few walks now with Northumbria Group and taking part in the Durham Dales Challenge at the weekend I notice that many walkers don't use them at all. Can some of you enlighten me with pros and cons and if using them at all should you really use two?
Thanks, Eileen

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