Quote Originally Posted by ba-ba View Post
I'm a fell runner so have never used poles. Simple as that. I have no underlying issues where their use might be required, and feel they're an unnecessary expense that would just get in the way (nearly had my eyes taken out a couple of times by people not knowing where the end of them was). Also mean you can't hold the map. And you look like a trail wonk

1/I have been hit by poles, but luckily not in the face, though it has been close. Whether carried by the handles, halfway along the shafts, or attached vertically to a back pack, their owners often seem unaware of where the points are, putting other people at risk.
2/Are poles an aid to balance and therefore safety? I think they subtract from the normal rhythm of walking, and act like the opposite of balance training - and you see people doing all sorts of silly manoeuvres with poles when they should be using their hands, not the pole ends.
3/They are just another bit of kit, and are prominently advertised in the trail walking magazines - and of course people like kit, so they buy them.

I can see that they might have a role to play in long events to help preserve leg strength, but most who use them are not doing anything remotely long.
So I was pleased to read that ba-ba had not used them!