Archive for May, 2014

Event Report- The Leaden Boot

Leaden BootThe sweat crusted on my face as my lungs heaved and I tried to force my feet to lug my body ever upwards. The heat was relentless and I had been walking for hours now. Every part of my body demanded that this was madness and I should just stop right now…

This madness was the 26.2 mile Leaden Boot challenge walk, which I had first completed two years ago and remembered steep climbs and oppressive heat. Over 5,000 feet worth often steep ascent to be exact, much of it really steep. As I drove to the start in the tiny stone Peak village of Alstonefield the sun was already high in the sky, promising another very hot day.

The Leaden Boot has a charming and unique tradition called the Blessing of the Boots. A short service is conducted in the Old School Gardens opposite the village hall by local Vicar Rev Anne Ballard. At the end all walkers file out singing a heart rendition of Jerusalem, and as they leave the Gardens, she sprinkles water over boots and shoes to ‘bless soles’ and keep feet blister free.

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The Ambion Way

Ambion WayMy sister invited me to see her new house last Bank Holiday weekend and, as she lives around 45 minutes drive away from me, I saw it as an opportunity to try a walk in a different area. I haven’t done much walking in the gently rolling arable farmland of South Leicestershire so I printed off a leaflet for a circular walk I had downloaded some time ago and set out to complete it.

The Ambion Way is a 9 ½ mile circuit devised by Leicestershire County Council which begins and ends at Bosworth Battlefield visitors centre near Sutton Cheney. Driving towards the Battlefield I found a delightful little car park a few fields away from the visitors centre and decided to leave the car here rather than pay to use the official car park. This decision was to prove quite costly…

I happily left the car, and crossed the fields to the visitors centre using part of the Leicestershire Round long distance path. The Battlefield is famous for King Richard 111’s last stand against Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485. King Richard was the last English king to die in battle; the battle that ended the Wars of the Roses and ushered in the Tudor dynasty. The traditional site of the battle was Ambion Hill, after which my walk was named. However, recent archaeological excavations have now placed the likely battle site on private agricultural land a mile away. So technically the visitors centre is in the wrong place- but it is well worth a visit if you would like to know more about this turbulent period in England’s history.

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On the Wishlist- The GR20

What is it?

gr20I recently spent the day in Corsica during my cruise and, having previously known very little about this small Mediterranean island, was pleasantly surprised to discover how mountainous it is.

What I didn’t know until I got home, however, was the fact that Corsica boasts the toughest trek in Europe in the form of the GR20…

The GR routes (standing for Grande Randonnee in French or Gran Recorrido in Spanish) are a network of long distance trails which have been created across Europe. Some of them cross several different countries and they are usually characterised by way markings consisting of a red and white stripe.

The GR20 traverses the island of Corsica north to south, connecting Calenzana and Conca, with Vizzavona marking the halfway point.

How Far is it?

The GR20 is approximately 111 miles (180 kilometres) long and most people take around 15 days to walk it. That’s 15 days of tough, exposed, relentless walking!

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Break inAs endurance adventurers who clock up miles and hours of time on our feet, we can have a tendency to get a bit fed up of the same old local routes and get the urge to mix it up a bit by going further afield. As this often involves getting out into the countryside, using the car is often a necessity, along with a suitable spot to dump it for a few hours.

If you are anything like me you sometimes baulk at paying for the privilege of parking your car and leaving it while you go for a walk or run… some of these country car parks seem to be getting more and more expensive- yes I know they have to pay for the upkeep of the area but paying £5 or more for a few hours parking all adds up.

So if I can save a bit of change I will.

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