19/04/2012 12:14:52

Words by tcsh

A wintry walk up Blencathra for TCS staff, courtesy of Bramwell International

On Tuesday staff members Mick and Paul took part in a a staff training event held by Meindl, Gregory and Source distributors Bramwell International.  They were joined by other retail staff from around the Northern region.

The event, held at the excellent Rheged visitor centre near Penrith www.rheged.com, involved a full morning of product training on both Meindl boots and Gregory Packs.

The training on Meindl boots, given by Amanda (Bramwell Int’s northern area sales rep) gave a really good insight into how the Meindl family have been making boots for 9 generations in the same town, Kirchanschöring in Southern Germany.  After 300 years its still very much a family business and their focus on craftsmanship and innovation is extraordinary.

Both Mick & Paul were really impressed with the quality and the attention to detail found in Meindl footwear, and how hand made their boots still are (particularly in this age of mass production where most outdoor kit is now being manufactured in the Far East).  Meindl boots have always commanded a relatively high price tag, but seeing how they’re made, you really get a lot for your money.  Think of them as the Audi of the boots world – German engineered to a exceptional standard.

To check out our range of Meindl Footwear – click here

Part of the training day was also a hill walk and the chance to try out some Meindl shoes and Gregory daypacks in their natural environment.  The hill walk was lead by instructors from the local Outward Bound Trust centre at Watermillock on the shores of Ullswater. 

Lead instructor for the day was James Lancashire, an accomplished mountaineer and ‘7 Summiteer’ (the elite group of climbers who have successfully climbed the highest mountains on each of the 7 continents) and before the lunch break James gave a superb talk on his experiences in completing the 7 Summits challenge.  To read about his exploits go to http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/outdoors-news/7-out-of-7-summits-for-james-lancashire/8556-3.html

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After lunch the group headed up Blencathra, in pretty unseasonal and unsettled Lake District weather.  Snow, sleet and hail were accompanied by high winds and the occasional sunny spell (when it actually got quite warm).  Many in the group opted to use their own walking boots as conditions underfoot looked like they may be beyond the capabilities of the Meindl Respond GTX shoes everyone had been given to try out.  Mick however stuck with the shoes and despite the boggy, wet ground and rough terrain had no problems at all. The Respond GTX proved more than adequate for the challenge, even when Quincy, the Irish Terrier, decided to drag him right across an ankle deep bog.

The group enjoyed a fairly rapid and energetic ‘stroll’ up from the Scales car park, up onto Mungrisdale Common and up onto the summit of Blencathra, with Quincy helping to keep everyone in the ‘herd’ in line. With flurries of snow falling (horizontally) at the top and a very noticeable wind chill, the group beat a hasty retreat back to the awaiting vehicles at Scales, having had a great (half) day out on the hill.

The shoes provided by Meindl performed superbly as did the other items of Bramwell kit provided.  The Climbers Shop guys had an very enjoyable and informative day, as I’m sure everyone from the other stores did too.  Many Thanks to all the Bramwell International staff involved (and of course, Quincy).