In August 2021, the Gearing Company headed up to the highlands of beautiful Scotland, for a well deserved break and to do a little product testing at the same time. We knew that the trekking poles had worked brilliantly down south - we used them hiking around the south downs and they had been used on four day hikes in Cornwall and Devon, but we wanted to trial them on entirely new grounds. The Scottish moors provide a very challenging terrain underfoot, and so we thought that these would be the perfect place to put their strength and longevity to the test.
We had several days in the highlands, and we wanted to make it the ultimate outdoors holiday. On arrival into Aviemore, we jumped into the truck we would be driving for the week and headed off to do some free rock climbing. Elle has been a keen rock climber since we were small - her father is a mountaineer and climber - and so she showed me the ropes. The sun doesn't set this far north until about 10pm, so we were able to spend the evening photographing the sunset and exploring by the river.
The next morning, Elle’s family arrived to join us for the holiday. We made everyone a big breakfast of freshly foraged chanterelles, vegetarian haggis and toast, packed our lunches, and set off for the moors in our truck. The sun was set to shine all day, and we wanted to make the most of the good weather. We had heard of a particularly beautiful area about an hour's drive north of our cottage by Forres, with huge flat moors and a wind turbine farm. The turbines were incredible to see up close, and it was great to hear how such an environmentally friendly project was giving back to the local community.
Before we set off on our hike, we disassembled two tripods and added three trek kits, sharing the poles around the group. The handles were carefully crafted to be as comfortable as they could be, particularly over extended periods of time, and we found that they really were worth the time and effort in their design. Our poles are made of eight layers of carbon fibre, sourced to the highest quality we could find. This makes them virtually indestructible, although occasionally a break could occur if a pole is trapped and forced under immense pressure (this didn't happen in Scotland). We know that our customers could be out trekking for days, or far into the wilderness when this occurs, and so we have made our trekking poles field serviceable, meaning that should they snap, they can still be used until you get home and the faulty part can be replaced.
The terrain beneath us was a lot more challenging than we had imagined - heavy rain in the months before had unsettled the ground, and the heather was incredibly thick. However, this was no match for our trekking poles, which planted through with ease and provided us with stability that we so needed this day. We brought the dogs with us, and they had a harder time getting through the heather than we did! We walked through the day and stopped for lunch in a flat clearing at 4pm, enjoying the sunshine, the company and being away from home in such a beautiful and remote location. There really is nowhere like Scotland!
After a long and lazy lunch, we decided to have a more gentle walk back to the truck. We had brought some untested products with us, our brand new monopod converters. We had been apprehensive but excited to try these out, Elle had thought them up some months before but kept them as an idea for a long time, before deciding they were worth a trial. They fit the Gearing ethos perfectly - that everything we make should do more than one thing, and we wanted to add yet another string to our tripod legs. Removing the trekking pole handle, we screwed on the monopod converter, which then twisted into the ¼ or ⅜ thread in the camera base. This transformed a standard leg into a monopod in seconds, providing a really stable shooting platform for our cameras. Despite the strong winds that can batter the highlands, the carbon fibre kept movement to a minimum, especially when combined with the spike from the trekking pole. We used these for the rest of the afternoon until we arrived back at the truck, and looked over the photos that evening. We were amazed at the results. Our tripod offers such stability and we were concened that the converter could really weaken the quality of images, but it stood up brilliantly.
We spent the rest of the holiday fishing in the rivers and the sea at Lossiemouth, exploring the Loch’s around us on boats, and enjoying each other's company. It was such a welcome break from the office and life, and a great time to reset.