England Archives

A Tale of Two Walks

One moment I was walking on the crusty surface of the snow, the next moment my leg disappeared as I plunged through it up to my thigh. Cursing, I heaved myself out, only for the same thing to happen a few steps later. We had been walking like this for hours, relentlessly uphill, and I felt exhausted already.

Suddenly a man walking just ahead of me plunged headlong into a snowdrift, floundering as he struggled to get out. I realised that we were walking in full on winter conditions…

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The Wilmot Wander- Event Report

Having thoroughly failed to complete last year’s Wilmot Wander-, a 32 mile cross-country circuit round Derby- Sue persuaded me that a rematch was in order so we set about plotting the route on OS maps and memorising it as much as we could. I decided to bring in the big guns and asked Helen if we could borrow Doris the GPS as the route maps and description provided are rather vague at best!

As I haven’t done that much long distance walking lately I felt horribly under prepared and seriously doubted my ability to complete this. After all 32 miles in one day is a big ask. Driving to the start I relived the sheer horror of last year‘s disaster- repeatedly getting lost, endless slippery slidey mud and hours of unrelenting rain…

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Nottinghamshire’s Three Peaks Challenge

I set myself a little challenge last August but for some reason it didn’t get written up on the blog, so I decided to rectify this little oversight. The challenge was… to climb the three highest points of Nottinghamshire.

The reason I decided on the three highest points was not just because it seemed like a neat objective, but because there has been some dispute about where the county’s highest point actually is. Originally considered to be the former coal mining site of Silverhill Wood at 670ft (204.3m), other contenders are Strawberry Bank in Huthwaite at 666ft (203m) and nearby Newtonwood Lane, which has been found to rise to the lofty heights of 673ft (205m). Clearly, to be able to claim to have stood on Nottinghamshire’s highest spot I would need to climb them all… just in case…

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The Midshires Way- Part One

Ever on the lookout for a new challenge to add a bit of spice to our walks, Helen and I set out in October to complete the first leg of the Midshires Way as it traverses Derbyshire.

The Midshires Way is a 230 mile long distance path, running from the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire to Stockport, passing through Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The Derbyshire section runs from Long Eaton to Buxton and then onto Stockport, and has been written up in three handy guides published by Derbyshire County Council. It was the first guide- the 17 ½ section from Long Eaton to Duffield- that we decided to tackle.

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Autumn’s Appeal at Bradgate Park

I am not usually a big fan of Autumn. For me, Autumn means the end of Summer, the end of those lovely long light evenings, the onset of winter with rain, cold, mud, mud and more mud…

I prefer Spring- when the countryside starts bursting into life, the days get longer and you start being able to go for a walk after tea. However, I must admit that Autumn has a certain appeal, especially those gorgeous colours.

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The Spires and Steeples- an Event Report

It was time for another Spires and Steeples rematch and to my delight Helen decided to join me again- makes it so much more fun when there‘s someone to walk with. The Spires and Steeples is a 26.6 mile walk from Lincoln to Sleaford, and as the bus leaves Sleaford for Lincoln at 7am this involved a very early start, driving half asleep through dark country lanes and trying to force down an instant porridge pot in the car park (Helen rather unwisely entrusted me with her not quite empty pot which inevitably ended up upside down under my seat on the coach)

We were expecting warm weather according to the forecast so had both donned shorts for the occasion along with many other people, but the sun didn’t make an appearance until about 3pm- it stayed rather cloudy with rain in the air a couple of times although it wasn‘t cold.

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Race Report- the X-Runner Wild Warrior

I was out of control, sliding fast towards the murky water with no way of stopping or slowing down. With a huge splash, I was under- opening my eyes a little I could see nothing but dark brown. I could feel the water enter my nose and choking on it I started to feel disorientated. For a brief second I felt panic, but told myself to just relax and let myself float up to the surface. Eventually my head broke free and I started swimming to the muddy water’s edge, fingers trailing slimy weed with each stroke.

I was undertaking the X-runner Wild Warrior obstacle race- doing one of these bad boys has been on my bucket list for some time so when a work colleague started recruiting a team to tackle it I let myself be roped in.

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Walking Home From Work

‘I can see a pair of eyes ahead’ I heard Helen say. Already rather spooked by the perfect darkness of the towpath apart from the little circle of light cast by my head torch, this rather casual statement filled me with cold fear. Who, or what else was walking near the canal at two o’clock in the morning?

Following our aborted attempt to walk home from work to Helen’s home in January we had decided to do it again; only this time we were going to literally walk home after work instead of walking at the weekend. We both showed up in the office as usual on Friday (after dropping my car off at Helen’s), put in a full work day then changed and walked out the door with everyone else at 5pm.

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A long walk in the Dark Peak

Eek! I start the Coast to Coast five weeks today!! How the heck did that happen? It felt like ages away and now it’s knocking on my doorstep…

I have been training. Back to back walks at the weekends, walking in the evenings, running up hills and hitting the gym- concentrating on inclines on the treadmill and using the summit trainer. I have had a bit of a niggle in my right Achilles though so have had to ease off a little this week- can’t risk injury now!!

Helen and I completed a long walk in the Dark Peak on Sunday. We haven’t done much walking in the Dark Peak area of Derbyshire- we both confessed it scares us a little- so when Helen found a route in a walking magazine we decided to go for it.

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Back into it!

I went to the nurse to have the dressing changed on my wound for the last time Friday- she pulled it off and announced that my back is now healed so I need no more dressings! This is great news- it is so lovely being able to shower properly- although she did advise me to leave it another week or so until I swim.

Of course, this means that sadly the Half Outlaw is definitely off- I should have been really building up my swimming and cycling over the past few weeks and doing some open water stuff and of course I haven‘t. This is really gutting, but the Coast to Coast in July is still very much on and I am now concentrating all of my efforts on this!

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