One of the things I enjoy about walking, hiking, camping and similar outdoor activities is all the gear I can buy. I’m also a real sucker for badges, patches and similar collectable items. The perfect confluence of all of this is German walking sticks…

I bought this stick from a gift shop on the shore of a lake in The Black Forest, Germany in 1998. It was unadorned at that time but I saw many German walkers with badges nailed to theirs as souvenirs of places they visited. I didn’t have much money at the time so couldn’t buy stick and badges. I also remember worrying about getting it home in my rucksack as it has a traditional alpine spike ferrule. This was a much more relaxed time for air travel though and I had no issues at all

Fast forward to 2001, Catriona and myself were on honeymoon in St. Johann, Austria. In one of the tourist trap gift shops I spotted two small badges for walking sticks and they were sold to me without even thinking about it.

I don’t use this stick very often as it’s about 10cm too short to make it perfectly comfortable but it’s full of memories for me. It’s come with me to many homes over the years but it always comes. On Sunday it came with me to the woods. While preparing and enjoying my hot chocolate my mind spent more time in Germany and Austria than Donegal…

2 thoughts on “memories

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