Archive for February, 2014

The Millennium Way Ultramarathon

On Sunday I am undertaking the longest event I have done for ages- the 38 mile Millennium Ultra Marathon following the route of the Millennium Way. The Millennium Way is a long distance trail created by Staffordshire County Council and crosses one side of the county to the other.

Beyond Marathon conceived the idea of doing the whole thing in one day- 11 hours to be precise. Although the route is predominantly flat, and along canal paths and disused railway line, there are stretches across fields which are unsurprisingly wet and muddy.

I won’t be able to get away with walking it so will need to use my shambling jog as much as I can. I am aiming to finish within the time limit, and enjoy the experience of crossing a county in a day!

A Grantham Canal Odyssey

Grantham CanalOn Saturday I walked out of my house, stepped onto the canal and followed it to its end in Grantham 32 miles away. I have done this walk once, years ago, and have always wanted to do it again, so with the Millennium Ultra coming up I decided to have a little adventure.

The Grantham Canal meanders for 33 miles from Grantham through the Vale of Belvoir to join the River Trent at Nottingham. It was opened in 1797 to enable coal and other materials to be delivered from Nottingham to Grantham, but during the 19th century it faced stiff competition from the new railways that were able to deliver goods much faster. Eventually the canal fell into disuse and is no longer navigable as many of the locks are derelict and bridges have been lowered.

It runs straight past my house and is the first thing I see when I look out the window in the morning. I have watched the swans and coots raise their babies on it  and have used it for many a training run, so I have a special affection for this canal. I had decided to start the walk from my house rather than try to get to the beginning a mile further back, and after filling my flask I set off into the pre-dawn darkness.

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A Walk around Worksop and Retford

IMG_1433As part of my training for the Millennium Way Challenge I needed to complete a fairly long walk on Sunday, particularly as I missed a week’s worth of training due to illness.

I dug out my copy of John Merrill’s Long Walks in Nottinghamshire with the intention of picking a walk in an unfamiliar area so it would be an adventure as well. I decided on a 23 mile route along the canal from Worksop to Retford and back along fields and through the woodland of Clumber Park.

I started my walk at the village of Bothamsall part way along the route as this was easiest for me, and set off along fields and tracks towards Clumber Park, an ancient tree lined mound of what was once a Motte and Bailey standing proud against the skyline behind me.

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