Cornish Challenge- Day Two

Cornish ChallengeEager to leave the Youth Hostel before our little, erm, discretion was discovered, and with the knowledge that we had another long walking day ahead of us, we decided to forgo a shower and were setting off through the wet fields back onto the South West Coast Path by 7:20am. Breakfast was a cereal bar apiece and a few nuts and seeds, but we planned on something more substantial at Sennen.

A rocky, undulating path took us high above the cliffs, past Whitesand Bay and eventually into Sennen by way of a sandy track. Sadly no cafes were open yet, so we had to settle for a cold cheese and onion pasty and a bottle of diet coke, which we ate on a bench overlooking the quay.
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Cornish Challenge- Day One

Cornish ChallengeIt had been raining for several hours and we felt thoroughly chilled and wet, despite our waterproofs. The forecast had mentioned showers, but this had gone beyond that- the showers we had experienced earlier had morphed into a cold, insistent downpour.

It had taken us much longer than we had anticipated to complete our mileage that day, slowed by our heavy packs and tricky terrain. As we trudged wearily down the road in pitch darkness, desperately searching for the Youth Hostel we had been trying to locate for the best part of an hour, the realisation hit us that it was now nearly 11pm and our chances of checking into the Youth Hostel, even if we found it, were now remote.

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Cornish ChallengeStop press- Helen and I completed our Cornish Challenge, raising an amazing £1000 for the Alzheimer’s Society in the process!

It was pretty tough, pretty wet at times and pretty spectacular, and there were times when we thought we wouldn’t finish, but finish we did and we ended up walking nearly 90 miles over the four days instead of the 80 we thought we were going to complete!

Look out for daily reports (plus photos) to follow…

It’s here- the Cornish Challenge!!

CornwallToday’s the day! I am packed, I have triple checked my stuff, I have packed sweets in little bags for each day’s walking (vitally important!) and will be shortly setting off for Cornwall, dropping the cats off at their holiday accommodation (AKA the cattery) en route…

Our itinerary is as follows…

Friday– Day One- we will be walking from Carbis Bay through St Ives and along the South West Coast Path, passing Zennor, Sennen Cove and Cape Cornwall to our overnight stop at the Youth Hostel at St Just. We will be walking around 21 miles and apparently this part of the Coast Path is some of the most challenging due to the amount of climbing and descending! It is gonna be quite tough for a first day- but then we don’t like to do things by halves…

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Nearly Cornish Challenge time…

Cornish ChallengeI cannot believe how fast this year has gone. It seems like only a few weeks ago that Helen and I first started actively planning our Cornish Challenge and yet it was last September!

We drive down to St Ives on Thursday to start our walk on Friday, and, of course, in true British tradition the weather has been lovely for days but it gives rain at the weekend…

I think we are ready. After the Pride of the Peak epic we have had another couple of walks of about 15 and 17 miles with the packs. One involved navigating our way round footpaths and bridleways linking Staunton Harold Reservoir and Calke Abbey grounds with Foremark Reservoir. We took Spud with us, and ended up having an impromptu weight training session as we had to physically lift him over several high stiles, much to his disgust!

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The Pride of the Peak Walk

Pride of the PeakIt was pitch dark- all we could see was a little circle of ground a few inches in front of our feet, partially obscured by the persistent rain drops lit by the beams of our head torches as we trudged uphill through the mud. We had no idea what time it was, but we knew it was late… and getting home depended on reaching the exact spot where there was a gate through the woods- not easy when you are in a meadow a couple of miles wide…

Helen and I had decided that we needed a big walk as the culmination of our training for our Cornish Challenge in three week’s time. I had planned to enter us into the 26 mile Bassetlaw Bash, but decided that we needed to up the ante a little and do something tougher…

So I raided my walking books and found the 30 mile Pride of the Peak walk that I had done with mum and my two sisters several years ago… the difference was that then we walked it over three days, not one!

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The Cornish Challenge, May 2016

CornwallI realise I have mentioned in passing the challenge Helen and I are doing in Cornwall in May but have totally neglected to give the full details… I apologise- this is very remiss of me and so will be rectified immediately!

From 20th to 23rd May we are walking around 80 miles of the South West Coast Path over four days- from St Ives to Coverack, taking in Lands End and The Lizard plus miles of gorgeous coastal scenery. That’s three days of walking over 20 miles in a day and a ‘rest’ day of around 15 miles. Of course, our accommodation (B & Bs and Youth Hostels) are not necessarily on route and so the mileage may well increase…

Plus we will be carrying everything we need on our backs for the duration of the walk- we had a ‘dress rehearsal’ of 14 miles along the canal on Sunday with fully weighted packs and mine seemed bloody heavy!

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Event Report- the Three Shires Challenge

009Well, I entered this one with high ambitions of finally smashing out the 29 mile route this year… but as usual I had had fantasies about getting much fitter than I actually have done…

I met Sue at the start, in the village hall at Swythamley, one of those Peak District villages that manages to be rather difficult to find and, as I have heard described, in the ‘arse end of nowhere’.

As we set off, it was quite clear that the overwhelming theme of today’s walk was going to be mud. I haven’t seen such a variety of mud in a long while… sticky mud, slippery mud, glutinous mud…

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Coventry WayIt was quite a shock to realise that I last completed this event 11 years ago! Where does the time go… I nearly didn’t do it Sunday as I had succumbed to yet another cold, this time accompanied by a bad cough, and had been feeling really poorly right up until Friday.

It’s frustrating- I seem to have picked up one thing after another recently- colds, tummy bugs, the lot! I am usually such a healthy bod so this is really quite worrying. I am due to have some blood tests taken next week (mainly to shut Mum up!) so we will see if there’s anything untoward going on or if it is just work stress and the result of constantly pushing myself when I am not feeling great…

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Back to Back Walks and Faster Runs…

020After the non- event that was the Millennium Ultra, what’s been happening since?

It’s not all doom and gloom. Helen and I have been doing some training as a preparation for our four day charity walk in May, which involved a couple of back to back walks the weekend before last of around 16 miles each day. We loaded up our packs in a bid to strengthen those muscles as we will be carrying everything we need with us along the South West Coast Path.

On Saturday we completed the short route of the Charnwood Forest Marathon, which involved quite a few climbs- Broombriggs Farm, Beacon Hill, Windmill Hill and the Old John at Bradgate, whilst Sunday we walked from Helen’s house to Calke Abbey, where we walked through a tunnel from the old lime workings. It is amazing how much carrying a heavy pack makes you ache when you are not used to it! I’m sure we will be carrying a lot more gear in May too…

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