Gunnerside


Several years ago both Liam and I read the remarkable biography of the late, great Norwegian Joachim Rønneberg (1919- 2018). The book obviously orbit around the sabotage mission named Operation Gunnerside, in which Joachim Rønneberg commanded a small group of SOE agents through one of the most successful and hazardous undertakings during WW2, the main objective being the heavy water production facilities at Rjukan, Norway. The story was made famous through the Hollywood movie Heroes of Telemark starring Kirk Douglas, countless books and  television series - a captivating story of courage, planning, ability and great leadership. That neither Hollywood nor the modern TV- series manage to convey the greatness of the achievement is maybe not surprising, as reality often is more extreme than the mind can accept or believe. In short: Joachim Rønneberg was a bona fide hero on many levels, right up to his death in 2018 at age 99, and a role model for a whole generation.

I am not going to recapitulate the mission here as it has been told so many times before, but rather recommend you search out Joachim Rønnebergs biography (sadly only in Norwegian) or read Damien Lewis book Hunting Hitler Nukes; The Secret Race to Stop the Nazi Bomb. Both should fuel your imagination for a while, maybe forever. 

Anyways: while reading the biography we encountered a segment that describes the training at the SOE camp in Scotland, while preparing for Operation Gunnerside. It might seem unimportant to most, but this got our attention: during training in the 

Scottish Cairngorms Joachim met two students trekking in the moors with what looked like really great mountain boots. As Joachim considered the British equipment not up to the task, he asked for the maker of said boots and visited the shoemaker to make a pair for himself. As an avid mountaineer and skier he knew what a pair had to endure in the Norwegian winter mountains. The name of the shoemaker was Robert Lawrie.

A few words about Robert Lawrie: a fascinating character and brilliant shoemaker, he was also an active climber, a racing driver that participated as a privateer in four 24 Hours of Le Mans races, and the go-to producer of expedition equipment for nearly all British expeditions between the WW1 and up to the sixties. A pair of Lawries became an expression among British mountaineers, and there is even a glacier in Antarctica named after him. So when Joachim Rønneberg went searching for proper boots, he was sent to the best. In meeting with Lawrie, Rønneberg ordered a pair of boots to his own specifications and on his own last, obviously. This pair went on to accompany him on Operation Gunnerside and later Operation Fieldfare that ended with the liberation of Norway in 1945. 

As you can imagine, both Liam and I had exactly the same reaction when reading this: We sure would like to see those boots!


Unsurprisingly, as the world is a small place and Norway just a tiny little freckle on the face of the planet, we went out on our own little mission to find out if the boots were still in existence. The best method seemed to get on the phone to Joachim Rønneberg himself. Which, I am ashamed to admit, postponed for over a year in fear of wasting his time with something as trivial as a pair of old boots. Luckily I somehow lost any sense of dignity and called him anyway. Being in his nineties, his memory of the details a full lifetime ago was crystal clear, and he confirmed that the story was correct and that his boots might be at the local museum. The local museum? Really? We had already been in contact with the museum with no results. A few telephone calls and emails later the left boot of the original pair was found in the basement of Ålesund Museum. 

And what a boot it was! Battle-scarred, repaired by unskilled hands on various mountain tops, beaten and bruised; it was still one of the most beautiful boots we had ever seen. The leather was in perfectly good condition, and the overall shape had wonderful proportions. It was not a question of not making a version of these boots, only how. 

Due to the extremely specialized craftsmanship on a boot that was constructed to ski, climb and survive winter mountains, it would make an extremely expensive boot that no one would use unless they were doing reenactments of Operation Gunnerside in period equipment. That is way too much of a niche product, even for us. Still: the proportions and character of the boot were too beautiful to let go. With generous help from Ålesund Museum we borrowed the boot and brought it to British based last-maker Michael James, who made an exact replica of the last. 

We have named this last «Gunnerside». On this last we create our own interpretation of Joachim Rønnebergs sabotage boots. These are not climbing boots, but solid, brass screwed walking boots for everyday use. It is our homage to a great man whose determination, principles and character inspires us every day. The name Gunnerside is chosen because of the history, and to remind us that freedom and democracy does not come cheap. In Joachim Rønneberg´s own words: "It ought to be obvious that peace and freedom have to be fought for".

2 % off the total sales price will go directly to the Norwegian Veteran Organization.


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Size chart
When purchasing boots, particularly online, it’s a good idea to have all your measurements squared away—the last thing you want are ill-fitting boots that makes you miserable! While keeping in mind that the width of the boot last and the volume of the boot are important factors in correctly sizing your boots, figuring out your Mondopoint size is a good first step.
It’s easy! Stand on top of a piece paper with your heel against a wall and all of your weight pressed down upon the foot you are measuring. Then, draw a line at your big toe. Measure (in centimeters) the length of the paper to the line, and voilà! That’s your Mondopoint size. You’ll need to measure both feet, as they seldom are equal.
Our measurements are made from inside the boot so you have to add 5-10mm to your measurements to find the size. 

SIZE CHART – DUNDAS FOOTWEAR
Choosing the right size for your long lasting friendship is essential to get the experience. Below presented the different sizes for the different product categories.

SHOES

Type 01/GUNNERSIDE

 

UK 4

UK 5

UK 6

UK 7

UK 8

UK 9

UK 10

UK 11

UK 12

UK 13

 

EU 37

EU 38

EU 39

EU 40,5

EU 42

EU 43

EU 44,5

EU 45,5

EU 46,5

EU 47,5

In mm

227

242

249

255

267

272

282

297

300

312

 

Type 03

 

 

UK 6

UK 7

UK 8

UK 9

UK 10

UK 11

 

 

EU 40

EU 41

EU 42

EU 43

EU 44

EU 45

In mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Store & Lille Bjørn - Mountaineering

 

UK 7

UK 7,5

UK 8

UK 8,5

UK 9

UK 9,5

UK 10

UK 10,5

UK 11

UK 11,5

 

EU 40,5

EU 41

EU 42

EU 42,5

EU 43

EU 43,5

EU 44

EU 44,5

EU 45

EU 46

In mm

 270

 274

 277

 280

 286

 289

 293

 297

 300

 303

  

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!