Sunday, 30 June 2013

#8 Twinwoods

7.52 Miles
125 Metres

Finished off the month with a usual.  Weather has started to warm up, which is nice.  Might have to start wearing sunblock.   It is noticeable how much my Berghaus Freeflow 20 has become my bag of choice.  Just perfect for days like this.

Stats for the month are encouraging.  82 miles walked in 8 walks.  Well on target!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Norfolk Coast Path

Well the walk is done and dusted and my foot is still sore and knackered.  All in all I'd say this is a good walk with a great variety of coastline to walk along.  It's better than the Peddars way in terms of variety and facilities (campsites, shops, ice cream).  Some sections are surprisingly hard work, especially the shingle!

Going into this walk I've lost weight and actually done some walks in advance, almost training!  So it was good to note that I felt 'better' in the legs, and I didn't really suffer any major aches or pains.  After other multiday walks I've had to hit the ibuprofen hard and felt very stiff.  However, my feet suffered a bit more than usual, which is a slight worry.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

#7 Norfolk Coast Day 4

Weybourne - Cromer

9.89 Miles
296 metres

After yesterday my feet were a tad sore, but walkable!  So instead of cracking on with the walk we decided to spend 2 hours in the tank museum next to the campsite!  The tank museam is a really good place, and a lot better tahn we expected.  Plenty of exibits and big tanks and a nice cafe for breakfast.  With our running trend of being lucky with the weather, we avoided a torential downpour that thundered on the roof.


As we set off it was lightly raining but nothing to bad, in fact the waterproofs were off after a mile.  The walk started back on the shingle for a very short distance before a steady climb up and along the cliffs.  The coastal erosion is readily apparent and in contrast to the well defended coast a few miles back.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

#6 Norfolk Coast Day 3

Stiffkey - Weybourne

13.02 Miles
70 metres

After a night of troubled sleep (condensation, heavy rain, repeated deflating of airmat) we woke to more rain, and in typical fashion we started slowly with a lazy breakfast and slow packing up.  However our slow start had the inadvertent consequence of allowing the showers to pass and giving us an OK weather window to walk in!  I'd like to say it was planned...


The walk follows a good path between the coast and the marshes.  It was quiet and everything was feeling Ok.  I had a small blister under one toe and one on the opposite heel, but nothing much to worry about.  The rain began to threaten again, but as soon as the waterproofs were on, the rain had gone.

Friday, 21 June 2013

#5 Norfolk Coast Day 2

Burnham Deepdale - Stiffkey

14.61 Miles
41 metres

We had a late and lazy start to the day, after last nights rush, by making use of the cafĂ© for a relaxing breakfast.  We also bought a guide book to solve our map deficiency!  Whilst the walk was very well sign posted, I always quite like to know where I am.  It's also useful for estimating times and distances to the nearest ice cream stall or pub.


The weather was OK but rain was again forecast.  Setting off from Burnham Deepdale the path follows the sea defences round the marshes and reclaimed land.  The vantage point of being on the sea wall was a running theme of the middle 2 days of this walk, and gave great views all around.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

#4 Norfolk Coast Day 1

Holme next to the Sea - Burnham Deepdale

10.71 Miles
81 metres

It was a slightly inauspicious start to the day, I was late packing, we got side tracked in Go Outdoors, didn't have a campsite for the last night, no plan for where to leave the car, a misread of how long the bus would take and I forgot the guidebook (hence the maps!).

Marsh and beach, needs a bit of sun!
So we didn't actually start the walk until 4.30 (despite leaving Bedford at 9) and didn't know how late the pub served food.  It was a bit of a rush and we didn't have time to hang around and admire the fact that it had stopped raining and it was a lovely evening.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Why do a challenge?

Well it's part training and part challenge to be honest.  I have 2 big holidays/treks next year that I need to be fitter for (less fat, more strength, more hills).  I wanted to do both for a while, the last 2 years, but I just haven't been fit enough.  The last challenge was meant to get me fit for this year... that ended well! :-)

I might as well put it out there what I want to do next year.  Everest base camp in March and the John Muir Trail in September.  Both very big and very challenging for a fat lump like me.  So far this year (Since March) I've lost 15Kgs, which is probably more than I have ever lost before, so I'm on the right track.  I probably need to lose another 35Kgs to do Everest base camp (along with getting 'hill fit) and another 10 on that for the JMT (along with lots more hills and learning to how to poo in the woods...).  Those are guidelines, I might be fatter but fitter in the end, but I'm happy to guess those figures for now.

I can afford it (or will have saved enough for both) and my planned dates for the treks fall nicely with my shifts, so I have the leave to do it.  All that I need to do is in my control.

Everest Base camp will be a big challenge in just over 9 months.  Opinions of fitness range from 'reasonably fit adult' to someone who can do the PYG track in 2 hours 15 mins carrying 10kgs.  So if nothing else, I'll have to get out in the hills a lot more.  Starting next week along the Norfolk coast....

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Challenge MKII, The revenge...

OK, the last one was a failure.  I have been walking a lot more recently, especially over the last year, but it's not enough for various reasons.  So the Challenge has been reset, with a few tweaks.

From 1st June 2013 to 31st August 2014, I will try to do 120 walks, 1000 miles and 40000 metres of ascent.   I will also spend 60 nights under canvas, tent, bivvy, bothy, etc.

Basic rules -

- Minimum walk is 3 miles, anything less is just a stroll.
- No walks to the shops, etc. are counted.
- Walks to be predominately in the countryside/off road. i.e footpaths, bridleways, country lanes.
- I choose whatever walks I want, no restrictions on doing the same route over and over (would get boring mind!).
- I can do as many separate walks in a day as I want (though they have to be separate, not before and after McD's...)
- Long distance trails counts as multiple walks (4 day LDT = 4 walks).
- To count I must do a trip report/blog (Unless I'm doing the same walk over and over...).
- Mileages and ascent taken from GPS/Getamap/bikehike or the best I can calculate if abroad.

The basic rational is that I'm doing (if I walk enough) a big trek in September 2014, so I have 15 months.  I want to walk on average 8 walks a month (which is just less than the last challenge, but more likely to happen).  I have upped the average mileage to 8 miles and upped the ascent to 300m.

8 walks a month, over 15 months = 120 walks
8 miles average a walk = 960 miles (close enough to a 1000, to make it a nicer number!).
300m average a walk = 36000 metres (again its close enough to round up to 40,000).

So that's the plan! The numbers are big, but If I get ahead in the summer, I have a chance to keep it up over winter. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

#3 Twinwoods

7.52 Miles
125 Metres

Back to the usual! Not much to say really apart from it was nice and sunny! 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

#2 Twinwood & Clapham Park

8.2 Miles
149 Metres

Another day and another walk around the Twinwood area.  I'm afraid I might be doing this quite a lot!  Due to working shifts I often don't get out of bed till late, and in the past this has meant I don't go out for a walk as I can't be bothered to plan a route or drive anywhere.  So heading north from home, out towards Twinwoods is pretty much the only option (unless I walk more on the roads).


Today was pretty much my 'normal' route, with a slight variation towards the end.  I added 3/4's of a mile onto the route by walking round Clapham Park.  In theory (according to Satmap) the path cut through a wood and into open fields.  It looks like the woods have been allowed to expand a little (up to date maps show this!), so I ended up walking through more woods than planned as it was getting dark....  But it was good to get out in the sun beforehand!

Berghaus Freeflow 20 Rucksack

The Berghaus Freeflow 20 Daysack is a great little bag, ideal for a short day or for when you are traveling light.  At 20 litres it's certainly at the smaller end of the rucksack spectrum.  I have used this bag a few times now on day walks and it is about the ideal size for a summers day.

A lovely blue.
The capacity is enough for a jumper (or waterproof) and a packed lunch.  It's also big enough for a few odd and sods (camera, wallet etc) and comes with a few zipped pockets.  A small internal pocket is good for keys and wallet, whilst the external pocket is about right for a camera/GPS/etc. 

Monday, 3 June 2013

#1 Twinwood & Oakley Little Wood

10.51 Miles
176 Metres

Well back to the drawing board as far as the challenge!  So it was best I started someway as I meant to go on.  Exploring more of the paths around the North of Bedford seemed like a good plan.  There is plenty of good history up there, even if the landscape is quite flat and arable. 

Up a slightly hilly bit
Following my now usual route towards Clapham, I again headed up past the golf course towards the old RAF camp.  Instead of heading straight along as I have on numerous occasions I took a left towards Twinwood, an old RAF base, now used as a farm, museum and festival venue. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Challenge - Fail

Well it's becoming obvious (Ok it was obvious a while ago!) that I'm going to fail to hit my targets by September.  Even being very optimistic with the number of walks I can fit in between now and September, I'll still be quite a bit off!

At the end of June I had done 33 walks that qualified, leaving me 67 walks to do in 3 months...

On a positive note, the walks I had done averaged out at 6.45 miles and 278m per walk, which is pretty much on target.  I just didn't quite do enough.  I blame winter, but that's a bit of a poor excuse really and one that I allowed to grow.  I do own waterproofs(!), so I could of kept the walk numbers ticking over, leaving the miles to the nicer days.

Oh well.  Gives me a few ideas anyway.  Plus the 'event' that was planned in September is now a September 2014 plan, so maybe I need a new challenge?  Challenge MkII The Revenge?  Hmm planning...