A real step up in training needed, even before the Week of Pain at the end of March. Always intending today to go further than last Saturday’s 17 miles but I really didn’t feel like I had a full tank this morning. I decided to have a spell off-road today, walking down to Mansbridge and up the Itchen Way. There were quite a few boggy bits just to break the rhythm, especially in that 400 metre or so stretch that runs parallel to the M27 before crossing under the motorway. Some of the path was closed so I turned off back onto the road just north of Eastleigh and took the long trawl all the way down to Southampton City Centre. I was hurting by that point but still a distance to get home through occasionally gritted teeth.

Thankfully, it had been perhaps the nicest walking day so far in 2015, sunny and dry without the temperature brushing much more than about 11 or 12 degrees. Plenty of aches now and clearly plenty of work left. My left knee has been achy on occasions recently (no more worrying than the incident when it locked when I was driving; fortunately on a nice straight road that gave me time to coerce it to flex sufficiently at least to place it on the clutch) and I’ve had a few twinges in my left hip. My feet showed the starting of blisters today but that would only be natural given the shortage of miles recently. Plenty of other issues related to chafing and the colour of urine but best I skip the detail. I have decided that the Wight Challenge will be my last serious walk for quite a while and it is sobering to think that on 2-3 May I will have to walk almost three times the 24 miles achieved today. That Week of Pain is really going to have to hurt. At least all the Isle of Wight accommodation is booked and I will have Pammy as my nurse after I’m done.

Continuing conversations and questions from friends and family on the ‘where were you at this time last year’ theme. Today there were only nice thoughts on a 15.5 mile Gloucestershire walk from Painswick to Cleeve Hill, one of my very most favourite days of the whole thing. The previous day was also memorable, one for a wander round a beautiful churchyard in Painswick, with 100 yew trees, and two for the famous wander into a private house thinking it was a café. It just so happened that the house was called ‘Tea House’ so I can’t have been the first and I won’t have been the last. Tomorrow would be the ‘surrounded by horses’ incident. Happy memories…….


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