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”

Unexpected Joys in the Clag

Barely am I back from my cruise to Greenland, Iceland and Norway (more about that if I get around to it in due course), then the post-holiday gloom of returning to work hits full face. A lack of decent walking opportunities on the cruise, means it’s 3 months since I did any form of backpacking, and I’m itching to get out. One break from work quickly spawns the need for another.  Continue reading “Unexpected Joys in the Clag”

Review: AZ Adventure Atlas

So I was reading this review by Catherine Redfern, aka London Hiker (@LondonHiker), and picked up on the point that these atlases include OS 1:25k mapping, which we all know is the best kind possible. I’d been vaguely aware the atlases existed but somehow this had passed me by. I had a look at A-Z’s own site for a bit more detail and the only potential flaw I could see with them was that the paper’s not waterproof. I happened to mention this on a tweet to @LondonHiker and all of a sudden A-Z were offering me a map (and case) to try out. Clearly they wanted to change my mind about these. Continue reading “Review: AZ Adventure Atlas”

By the time you read this…

…I’ll be heading north to do battle with the last dregs of my Wainwright round.  With 10 Western fells to do to complete the 214, plus another two nearby Southern fells that I want to redo as I used a car to get to them, I’m hoping that by the weekend I’ll be celebrating the end. Continue reading “By the time you read this…”

A Tour of the Tarns with a Damsel in Distress

The creature stepped from the bog, covered in jet black ooze, spread its arms wide and started to lurch in my direction. I took out my secret weapon and brandished it in front of the foul wretch attempting to fend it off… Continue reading “A Tour of the Tarns with a Damsel in Distress”

Right Back Where I Started…

Earlier this evening I had an idea as I stared at my chart of Lake District Fells. I was taking a break from planning my assault on the Cambrian Way and was instead thinking about how I could put together a walk that would be good preparation for that project and which would also help propel me further onwards towards completion of the Wainwrights. Continue reading “Right Back Where I Started…”

Far Eastern Odyssey – The Debrief

Considering that the first attempt at this trip went tits up due to the weather taking umbrage at my presence in the Lakes, this second attempt went really well. This is a short post on why. Continue reading “Far Eastern Odyssey – The Debrief”

Should I stay or should I go ?

I hate leaving things until the last minute.  There’s always more to do than you think, and in the final rush to get it all done, you have to cut corners and risk not doing it properly.  However, I find myself in the position of having to leave this decision to the last minute… Continue reading “Should I stay or should I go ?”

Looking north from Esk Hause


Each lunchtime I take a walk, both for the exercise and to get what passes for fresh air in the centre of London.  It’s a walk of about 3 miles, which is about as long as is decent for lunchtime.  The terrain isn’t particularly challenging of course, but what it lacks in ruggedness it makes up for in terms of being able to just switch off, plough on and let my mind wander.  Which is pretty much what this post does… Continue reading “Daydreaming”

Favourite Fells…

Ok, after the chat on Twitter last night when I announced I was working on a post about my favourite fells, I imagine a few people will have come over here to see the list.  Well I’m sorry, I’m going to disappoint you.  At least for the moment.

It would be too easy simply to give a list of my favourites and then sit back and let the arguments begin.  No, I want to draw the pain out a bit longer.  And some of my favourites I love so much, that simply including them on a list is unfair to them.  So I’m going to lead up to the big reveal by covering them a few at a time, and for the really special ones I’m going to do individual posts.  But first, I think I should talk a bit about how I came up with my list.  And I do really have a list, I’m not just stalling for time. Continue reading “Favourite Fells…”