Europe Archives

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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DNSWhat’s the only thing worse than a DNF? Yep- that’s right… the good old DNS. At least if you DNF you have battled, you have struggled, you have pitted your body against some of the toughest, muddiest and wettest terrain out there, and, although it beat you this time it still leaves you head and shoulders above those who chose to stay in their warm, comfortable beds…

But, alas, I DNS the Millennium Way Ultra… I succumbed to a particularly nasty cold a couple of days before and was barely capable of running a bath let alone 41 miles.

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Follow The Tram to Clifton

Clifton Tram WalkSince my first walk to Hucknall following the route of the Nottingham Tram, a further two tram routes have been opened leading to the suburbs of Clifton and Beeston, so I decided that for the sake of continuity I had better go follow them…

I picked a reasonably sunny Autumn day for the second challenge, following the line from Nottingham Station to the terminus at Clifton. Feeling a bit of a fool I walked up the stairs to the tram stop before turning round and leaving the station to join the pavement next to the tram line.

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Event Report- The Spires & Steeples Challenge

spires and steeplesAlthough I have walked the 26 mile Spires and Steeples Challenge many times before, this time it was different. I had brought a friend with me. Helen had decided to join me for a little jaunt through the Lincolnshire countryside.

The Spires and Steeples Challenge is a different kind of challenge walk as it is a linear route- we were taken by bus to Lincoln and let loose to walk the 26 miles back to the car at Sleaford through fields and villages. It is not the most spectacular of routes, but thanks to the Autumn colours it can look quite charming when the sun’s out. Unfortunately it stayed dull and overcast all day.

Arriving in Lincoln, Helen and I set off to locate the public loos, where we were treated to an unfortunate and ill-timed conversation between two lady walkers already in situ, discussing that they had brought the Vaseline and how it reduces friction… at least I hope they were walkers!

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A Walk Along the Monsal Trail

Monsal TrailAs we piled in the car and set off for Bakewell it promised to be a perfect Autumn day- sunny with clear blue skies, showing the colours of the dying leaves to their best effect. My friend Helen and I had decided to undertake an 18 mile John Merrill walk, which takes in the Monsal Trail then returns over fields and through villages, in preparation for the 26 mile Spires and Steeples Challenge.

We took Helen’s dog Spud with us, and climbed out of the town to reach the trail. The Monsal trail runs for around 8 miles from Bakewell to Blackwell Mill, and as it follows the line of a former railway (and what a scenic one it must have been!) it is easy walking. The worst hazards along the path are large families out for a day on their bikes who like to take up the whole path and decide it’s a good opportunity to teach the kids how to ride- after several near misses one little girl managed to run into me. By the end of the trail I was ready to push people off!

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A few days in the Cotswolds…

CotswoldsThis isn’t about an endurance adventure as such… more of a nice gentle few days of being a tourist in the Cotswolds, a lovely area of Britain characterised by rolling hills and ancient cream stone villages- I hate the overused phrase ‘quintessentially English’, but it was obviously invented for the Cotswolds.

My Dad and Step mum stay with me every August as they live in Spain, and as it was their 30th wedding anniversary this August we had a few days away.

Unfortunately the weather could have been better- we had rain more or less all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and showers the rest of the time, but we made the best of it and ambled round quite a few places.

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Hadrian's Wall ChallengeA friend suggested that we sign up for this challenge in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society as we see the effects of this horrid disease first hand, and we had been embarking on a few training walks over the past few months in preparation as she hadn‘t done any long distance walking for years. As you know, I am always up for a long walk in a different area and as seeing Hadrian’s Wall was on my bucket list (yes I have a pretty strange bucket list!) I was eagerly submitted my entry.

As this challenge was a ‘mere’ 23 miles, I felt confident in my abilities to complete it, especially as I had completed the Dovedale Dipper the week before… nothing is guaranteed however! A few days before the event, we found out it was actually 26 miles…ok a full marathon then…

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Event Report- The Dovedale Dipper

dovedale dipperIt was a cool, cloudy morning as around three hundred walkers and runners set off from Hartington Village Hall for the 13th annual 26 mile Dovedale Dipper challenge walk. This is a justly popular event right in the heart of the White Peak, and it passes through some spectacular classic Peak scenery.

Of course, being the Peak District there is also plenty of climbing, the first ascent faced as we left Hartington and climbed the slopes of Carder Low, heading for the High Peak cycle trail and the first checkpoint at Sparklow.

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The Leaden Boot Revisited

leaden bootSo it was getting closer to our Hadrian’s Wall Trek and that meant we were due for another little training walk! This time my friend and I decided to go a little further and tougher and so the route description for the Leaden Boot was dug out and we made our way to Alstonefield, which handily has three free car parks and public loos.

I had initially suggested that we cut out the steep climb out of Milldale and the even steeper descent into Narrowdale by simply walking straight down the Dovedale path, but we decided that we needed the practice and so headed up into the cloud to pick up the ridge path.

We managed the steep descent okay, but walking through Narrowdale I suddenly realised why the Leaden Boot takes place in May and not July.

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