Thursday, April 17, 2008


Neglect your feet at your peril by Malcolm Jarvis

Whilst perhaps not being the most exciting topic, recent personal experience reminded me of the importance of good footcare. I will spare you the details, but I developed an ingrowing big toe nail which needed antibiotic treatment, plus a minor procedure to remove the offending “spike”. Suffice it to say, my toe was very tender and stopped me from walking for about a week (Nordic or otherwise). A wake up call, perhaps, to the importance of good foot maintenance (my partner suggested that I looked after my poles better than I do myself!).

For basic footcare guidance I found the website run by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists to be very helpful. Their site is entitled “Feet for Life” and contains highly accessible information about nails, blisters, infections and other sexy stuff. Try them out at

Needless to say, if you develop something a bit nasty, pay a visit to a suitably qualified chiropodist/podiatrist.

Credit card sized Romer (UK use)

For those of you who record map detail as part of Nordic walk route planning, can I recommend a clever, clear plastic romer card* which I have recently obtained (*a device used to accurately plot grid references by measuring subdivisions of a kilometre square).

There are a few different kinds on the market, and some compasses have grids engraved on the plate, but this particular model is very clear and easy to use. It depicts a complete subdivided grid square, printed on clear plastic, which you place on your map (1:50000 or 1:25000) and read off the “tenths”.

The cost of the “special edition” is £2.59, but part of this (£1) goes to Mountain Rescue (England and Wales), which can’t be bad. They can be obtained from

Nordic language

There are a growing number of words and phrases now in use in Nordic walking circles which describe certain walking actions. Personally, I like a lot of this as it gives our activity its own arcane language – much as in any other sport. It would be fun to collect it together, with definitions, and so far I have encountered:

Spotty dog walking, jazz hands, Groucho Marx walking, and holding the little bird! I know what they all mean, but I came across “Moose Hoofs” the other day (used by skiers) and that had me beat. Any offers of an explanation? Are there any other colourful terms out there?

Malcolm Jarvis – Nordic Walker, Leeds, England

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