I wore my new Scarpa boots. After buying them a couple of weeks ago I read on this site that some weren't keen on Gore-tex liners for leather boots. The argument being that leather, if well waxed is waterproof on its own; it doesn't need an extra layer of waterproofing and if the inside of the boot gets wet the Gore-tex lined boot takes much longer to dry. I found this to be the case with mine still not dry a day later.
I managed to get a lot of water inside my left boot (I'll explain why in a minute) and the water just squelched around inside until I had chance to take the boots off and wring out my socks. Previously, with my last pair of boots which weren't Gore-tex lined the water managed to seep out and when I stuck my boots in the drying room, the next day they were dry. My conclusion is that Gore-tex works as an extra layer of resistance to water but if water gets inside the boot from over the top you're going to have wet feet for a long time.
As an experiment I wore my army issue DPM poncho instead of a waterproof jacket to hike up Whernside in horizontal rain. The poncho acted as a giant sail, catching the wind and blowing me off balance. Rain ran down the poncho and then collected and dripped in rivulets inside my boot on the windward side. Lesson learned: buy a decent waterproof and eschew a poncho unless using it as a tarp or ground sheet or for sentry duty. The only bonus I can see to wearing a poncho on a wet hillside is that it saves you having to cover your back pack with a waterproof covering.
I like hiking in loose sports shorts because they create zero resistance on my fat thighs. But in rain the water ran down my bare legs into the inside of my boots. Even with gaiters on this can happen as the seal with your calf isn't watertight (and I looked odd; a bit like a low rent Batman). Solution: carry waterproof trousers in your pack and slip them on over gaiters and shorts when rain is imminent. Make sure they fit over your boots easily so you don't have to pull your boots off. Or just start the day with them on if you don't mind trousers.
When hiking my inclination is not to stop. But the right thing to do is stop when the rain begins. It seems a hassle to pull out your wet weather coat and trousers, stop, put them on and start off again. But compare that hassle to the massive discomfort of walking the rest of your route sopping wet through to the bone and freezing and having cold, soggy feet. I failed to stop. I wanted to keep on, hoping the light shower would pass, but it became a storm and the heavy rain and ridiculous poncho experiment channelled water into my boots like a power shower. If I'd put my gaiters on immediately the rain began this wouldn't have happened.
Buy a pair and wear them, especially if there is mud en route. My walking companion had a lovely pair of Meindl boots on his feet but this helped not a jot when he stopped paying attention and put his foot into a muddy hole up to his knee. We were four miles into a 24 mile trek. Gaiters would have kept the majority of the mud from sliding down the inside of his boot. And I had to stop to empty my boot of all the little seeds and twigs and stones that worked their way inside to irritate my foot. Gaiters would have prevented this.
This might seem like a pansy thing to do: (but I am a southerner and I live in London) take some dry clothes. Before the last hill our spirits were sagging a bit. We stopped and I changed my wet socks for freshly laundered new ones (merino wool which, by they way, has excellent insulating properties even when wet). I put on a fresh, dry t-shirt and felt better. It was sweaty within seconds of panting up the seemingly vertical slopes of Ingleborough but the brief lift in spirits was welcome.
Head off Early:
I go walking to get away from people and enjoy the quiet of nature. If you're doing a popular route like the Three Peaks it pays to leave before the hordes, that way you're at the front of the pack and provided you keep a good pace should stay there. This means what you see ahead of you is nature rather than a train of humanity snaking off into the distance. I of course was hungover after excitedly downing the local Black Sheep ales on offer in the local pub and didn't get going until 9am. Which meant I was behind all manner of charity walkers, work outings, clad in a dizzying array of day-glo clothing. Walking single file at a snail's pace up Whernside in the rain reminded me of those Everest climbers grimly trudging to the summit as the oxygen depletion increasingly limits their progress. Get out of bed early and on the trail. You'll have it more or less to yourself and be home in time for a nice rest on your extra narrow YHA bed before dinner.
Get a room:
I paid a bit extra and got a room for me and my buddy. Last night there was a man in a bunk room down the hall who was snoring so loudly I could hear him in my own room through two doors. I wore ear plugs but pity the fellows sharing with him.
Despite some mistakes I had a brilliant day out, clocking in around the 10 hour mark for a round trip of 24 miles which seems quite respectable. I ache today but the elation of finishing will remain. I almost started crying at the end. Must have been the endorphins.