The future of walking

Programme of events – since people keep asking:

Summer 2015: 4 days walking, 2 days there, 2 days back. Thursday – Monday, from Sarisbury to Ventnor. Will cheat and take the ferry, not actually walking the watery bit. Precise time will only be known when the cricket fixtures are announced.

Some time in 2015: Qualifying event for Long Distance Walk. Likely to be something like 40 or 50 miles in 24 hours or thereabouts. You have to do one of these in order to convince event organisers that it is worth letting you enter………

…………April / May 2016: LDWA walk, 100 miles in 48 hours. These events have been going on for a number of years. Tough one, this one.

Some time in 2017: Walk up Kilimanjaro with Lorraine and Andrew. Very much an organised event and a bit out of what little comfort zone I still have, since it will involve camping. Not my sort of thing, but at least it is only about a week or so (so I am told).

Having read a few accounts of walks between Land’s End and John O’Groats, I should really spend some time writing up my own long walk now. I certainly have plenty of things to write about,  but it is just an effort to start. I will have to Street View my route again in order just to remember odd things from the time. Yes, I have the blog, which served a fantastic purpose, but I could write a book that brings it all together and has reflections from a perspective some months later.

I spoke briefly with a friend from cricket about having some calendars made up. I had better get my arse into gear since it is late October. Profits to charity, of course.

Yep. That is just about enough to be getting on with.


Walking on empty

Some reaction to my walks over the last two days with slightly tender soles and, I am afraid to say, quite painful chafing around the groin area. Every walker, cyclist and runner, unless they are extremely lucky, has suffered chafing and the standard treatment is Vaseline or some other petroleum jelly product. Loose fitting boxers usually help rather than anything tighter or budgie smugglers.

Yesterday evening, I was puzzling why this was never really an issue during the long walk. I came to the conclusion that there were so many other body parts that were hurting that I just shrugged off that particular problem. Applying Vaseline became just part of the morning routine, like taking my medication and vitamin supplements.

So on to Sunday, after an extra hour to rest. Hoping for a smooth stroll and the minimum of aches and pains. No chafing problems, I am happy to say, but a real battle near the end as three walks in three days left me walking on empty near the end. It had been really enjoyable otherwise, wandering up to Whiteley and back down towards Segensworth, much of the route being wooded paths. I had forgotten how pleasant some of those paths are, and as I then crossed the main road and continued toward Warsash, I became a bit short of energy. It’s not unusual for me to walk on empty – I don’t think it is that much of a bad thing now and again – but I was happy to pick up a snack with a couple of miles left. Feet OK, just feeling a bit heavy legged after 12 miles. But no chafing!

One day I will regain a bit of my fitness and be up to the high teens and twenties in these boots. Pretty pleased though with progress and I can be happy with a 36 mile weekend.

More hearts of gold

A lazy morning followed by a few domestic tasks. Never going to be a very long walk today, and indeed it transpired. My feet feel as if they’ve walked just as far as they really wanted to, around 12 miles. That is the second of the trilogy of walks of around that distance this weekend, just trying to wear these boots in.

Slightly taken by surprise with a lady approaching me while I was having a coffee, reading the paper. She had recognised me, giving me a donation for the walk earlier in the year. I recognised her from work but hadn’t put a name to the face until she introduced herself. After me pretty much wrapping up the charity money total, that is suddenly a second donation within a few days. Amazing how generous and encouraging everyone has been. Great to know that so many people have hearts of gold and are willing to show their appreciation for my efforts.

That put me in a positive mood for the second half of today’s walk, after a somewhat heavy legged trudge pre-coffee. Weather was dry, mild without being hot, and with a pleasant low sunshine in the late afternoon.

Walk number 3 in 3 days tomorrow. Probably another dozen miles or thereabouts.

Bread today, jam tomorrow

With my flexitime balance a bit healthier than it has been in the past, I felt I could take a day off to go for a decent walk, just far enough to help get used to these boots. The thoughts of a 30 miler are probably for the spring, with the days getting shorter now. The fact that the clocks go back on Sunday morning doesn’t help with the hour earlier sunset, though you have to remember that the amount of daylight doesn’t shorten by an hour, it just gets earlier in the day.

So quite a wander today, a wondering wander. Thinking about work, thinking about the past, thinking about the future, thinking about family, thinking about football, thinking about cricket, thinking about walking and future exploits. Above all, thinking how lucky I am to have so many things to think about and being able to make decisions that I am not being forced into. That is a blessing indeed.

The waterproof jacket was very much flavour of the day with skies very grey as I set out. Being very careful not to walk too far and risk foot damage, it was a pleasant wander, partly roads, partly wooded areas and it became sufficiently warm to carry rather than wear the jacket. Of course, within another 15 minutes the first spots of rain appeared and I estimate it took around 12 seconds to have the jacket back on, hood up, straps secured. Feeling pathetically smug at that, and then the rain stopped pretty much as soon as it started.

The walk was enough to build up a mild sweat, at a total distance of a touch over 11 miles. Would have liked to have done more, but it is a hard lesson learned more than once in the past that breaking in boots needs to be a gradual process. These ones especially so, with the pressure points at different places to which I am accustomed. Hard skin needed. Once that has built up, then longer distances. So take it easy until that time. Bread today, jam tomorrow, perhaps not literally tomorrow. Pop tarts need not apply.

Feel good. Things are looking up.


Sore soles leave a Sunday hole

Nothing to worry about. Didn’t go for a walk today because the soles of my feet were a bit sore and I do remember now that the chap selling me the boots was at pains to explain the support to the front half of the sole, since that was where you push off when taking a step, rather than (or as well as) the more usual greater support to the heel. They actually felt really comfortable, but I need to wear them in a bit, while taking care of my feet. After all, you only ever get two feet.

So today, after the weekly shop this morning, was spent mooching around, dipping in and out of Facebook in a bit of an irritable mood, and listening to football. Not the most active nor the most exciting Sunday I have ever had, it has to be said. Jump starting Matt’s car after it just whined a little whinny as a response to the key was about the most useful thing I’ve done today. Four weeks sleep was too much for it to bear.

So, walking is not on the agenda until at least Friday. Perhaps the most I can expect is three shortish walks for next weekend and, by shortish, I mean in the region of 10-12 miles each. Certainly I need to break in these boots and get up to higher mileage before I turn into a complete slob.

Ice cream wars and I put the boot in

On a grey and drizzly late morning, I set out from home, not really set on any particular route. New boots were on my feet, of course meaning that there are no refunds, unless they were to fall apart at the seams. By that, I mean the boots and not the feet.

Heading down towards Hamble and then Netley, and then Weston shore. Now those of you au fait with the latter named may be aware of ice cream wars. There is only one ice cream man / van authorised to sell from the car park on the front, while his main competitor sells from the side of the road. I have seen these two there even on the coldest day (sometimes selling tea and hot beverages) but the grim weather made this one of the more optimistic ventures I could imagine. Judge for yourself.


Yes it was grey. Note the delightful powder blue painted blocks of flats that are the only colour in this scene. It did brighten up a little later, so maybe the ice cream warriors knew something I didn’t.

How many miles? Well, in the end a little over 12 miles at a pretty gentle pace. No, not anywhere near as far as I would normally do, but I was in new boots, and indeed in new socks. Perhaps having both new was ill-advised. For the first time for a long long time, the soles of my feet needed an ice pack when I reached home. The big pack of frozen peas was placed on a newspaper and gradually my feet felt a smidgen less sensitive.

Depending on how I recover and on the assumption I can get some domestic duties out of my hair, I may try a similar distance tomorrow. Weather might be improved, though it won’t persuade me to take sides in the ice cream war in Weston. Ice cream will actually make you thirsty and not really refresh beyond a few minutes cooling down. And I will no doubt go somewhere else in any case. Same boots, different socks.

Indoor walking

Just a quickie.

I bought these boots. Apparently I have a 14 day refund guarantee, but I cannot wear them outside. Wait a minute – these are walking boots. I want to know if they are going to cause me problems after I have walked a decent distance, but I cannot wear them outside. So I have to walk around indoors, i.e. on carpet.

Presumably the reason for this restriction is so that I don’t scuff them and then want my money back. But the only way I can really test them is to wear them outdoors. It is a bit like buying a car and then only getting your money back if you haven’t driven it. I know what we can do – we can tear up some carpet, lay some concrete in the front room and then I’ll walk up and down. Indoors? Yes. Decent test? Yes. Likely to be allowed to do that by my wife? No. OK, back to the drawing board.