Hi MK. Thanks for the advice but there are a couple of factors you're not aware of.
I've had a boot fitting at Ellis Brigham. On the information they gave me my feet are still a basic size 8 and I'd be sold a size 9, so length has not changed much. But my feet do seem to have spread. They tried me in their widest boot and it seemed fine on the right foot. However the left foot sems to occupy less volume and kept slipping in the boot, on descents. We tried 3 different insoles and tightening up the laces and nothing worked. He suggested I might have to resort to Altberg boots.
A friend of mine had a 'similar' problem many years ago and went to his doctor. The doctor told him his arches haven't collapsed and that feet never really stop growing. Over 4 years from the age of 65 - 69 he went from a size 41 to 43.
I've had preliminary discussions with another boot fitter and he says feet should be measured every 18 months!
Both my physio and the guy from Vivo barefoot encourage me to do without orthotics although I have used them in the past. The view seems to be that they may alleviate the problem but they introduce or encourage a weakness in the muscles.
Last year I had to throw out 2 pairs of boots because they pinched, including my beloved Meindls. Still at least tjey had done 900 miles. This year it's even worse as so far I've thrown out or given away 6 pairs of footwear including slippers, sandals, trainers and walking boots. All feel tight across the toes.
What's galling is that I have several pairs of walking boots with low or very low mileage so I'm not going to get full value out of those and will have to spend more money replacing them. This includes a pair of La Sportiva boots that have only done 11 miles
I have one more pair of boots to test. I know they pinch by the time I've clocked up 15 miles. I also know that they seem fine at 6 miles and up to about 9 maybe 10. If they don't do me any harm at 12 I can still get plenty of use out of these and just need one more pair of boots for long distances.
I suppose in some ways it serves me right for stockpiling what were comfy boots whilst I could still get that make and model. However this year it seems just about everything has to go.
My feet are expanding and practically all my old footwear including my walking boots are no longer comfortable. I need a wider fitting. I was thinking of posting my old footwear on here for sale but from what I've seen I'm not convinced that footwear actually sells if its posted. So should I even bother?
I know I won't buy footwear from the internet unless I can try it on first so I can understand other people's reluctance to buy boots from this site. On the other hand since I'm having to get rid of so many pairs of footwear including slippers, sandals, casual shoes and walking boots it would be nice to recover some money to fund replacing some of them. I'd only post the walking boots if there's any chance they'll sell.
I have a Deuter pack and I have wondered if the suspended back actually makes a difference .....until a few nights ago. I stood side on to the wind and actually felt the chilly wind across my back so I'm now convinced. I think some of it has to do with what you're wearing at the time and whether or not it bunches up under the rucksack thereby negating the effect of the air gap anyway. I still get sweaty anyway so it's an improvement not a cure for a sweaty back.
The slate mine does indeed offer parking. I've stayed there several times parking my car and walking over to Blacksail for a two night stay on OM meets. I think I paid something under a tenner for a 48 hour stay, but I can't remeber the exact figure.