Training and A Pre-Walk Walk

After the struggle of last year’s Challenge, disrupted by hayfever that went so rogue it turned into full-blown asthma, I’ve been determined to make up for it this year. With the summer following the Challenge largely wiped out by getting the condition under control and finding a new normal, no sooner had I tentatively started backpacking again, than it was pretty much the end of the season. Coupled with an intensive period of art-focused rather than outdoors-focused activity, I went into the winter still in not great shape.

As is common, New Year came around and the inevitable statements were made about getting in shape. I re-started Parkrun on the first Saturday of the year. Despite some initial calf cramp problems, cured by a good pair of compression socks, I’ve started to get into the running, and have even been out mid-week. (*Whispers: I may even have started to enjoy it a tiny bit*). The hiking, though, has been sadly lacking.

I did make a point of finishing off the Essex Way in January, but that’s all apart from a 15-miler on the North Downs last weekend. Paul meanwhile has been regaling me with tales of weight lost and walks done. He seems determined to make up for last year’s withdrawal a couple of weeks from the start line. But he got me thinking that maybe I’ll be the weak link this year.

So far, each year before the Challenge I’ve been able to slot in a shakedown trip, or two: a section of Cambrian Way and a 4 day Dartmoor backpack in 2017; a short trip to the Lakes last year. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition, but to date the focus has been more on honing gear choices than training as such. This year’s trip felt like it needed to be more about training, or at least testing what sort of condition I’m in. After all, my gear is pretty stable, and the only decisions that really need to be made are clothing layers – ie whether to lean more towards a colder or warmer set of weather.

So with an invite to a 50th birthday do in Kendal, I decided to tack on a bit so I could get out on the fells and see where I was at… Continue reading “Training and A Pre-Walk Walk”

TGO Challenge 2018

I’ve already told the story of the actual walk, so this post is simply an index to the individual daily posts… Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018”

TGO Challenge 2018: Day 10 – Braemar to Ballater

Any thought I had yesterday of a better night’s sleep in a proper bed, was proven to be spectacularly wrong overnight. Not only did I struggle to get to sleep, but to say asleep, and was up in the middle of the night with a massive coughing fit. Perhaps it was also the fact that not being in a tent with others close alongside, I could really go for it. Whatever, it was an awful night.

Unsurprisingly, I’m feeling rather grim when I get up. So grim, in fact, that I seriously consider whether my Challenge is done. All that makes me go through the motions of getting ready for a day’s hike is (a) the fact that I usually feel better walking than I am overnight, and (b) the fact that to bail out I’ll need to head towards Ballater anyway, so I might as well at least make an attempt to start the journey on foot. Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018: Day 10 – Braemar to Ballater”

TGO Challenge 2018: Day 7 – Not Far Past Dalwhinnie to Glen Feshie

The noise of a vehicle on the track alerts me to a possible interruption. They’re clearly checking me out as the noise is not moving. Then all of a sudden they’re gone. Panic over. Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018: Day 7 – Not Far Past Dalwhinnie to Glen Feshie”

TGO Challenge 2018: Day 6 – Dalwhinnie to Not Far Past Dalwhinnie

I’m not enjoying the Challenge. There I’ve said it. Something is lacking. I’ve seen very few people, and it feels like a lonely one this year, and that’s even before taking account of my missing walking partner. We’d have eaten up the miles on the walk if there’d been the two of us, but solo it’s a much different proposition. Of course it’s lacking the novelty and excitement of my first Challenge last year. But now I look back and reflect on how good a route I put together last year. It had everything – sensible daily chunks (well mostly), plenty of other Challengers, scenery I actually got excited by, and better re-supply options. This year has none of them. I’ve screwed up. Continue reading “TGO Challenge 2018: Day 6 – Dalwhinnie to Not Far Past Dalwhinnie”