It wasn’t Fernando

Not a great day at the office today, even if my weekend ‘office’ is the open air rather than the enclosed space I inhabit during the working week. Very cold today but I have walked in colder and much more unpleasant weather than this without feeling the effects. There was just something in the air tonight, but the stars not so bright, and it certainly wasn’t Fernando, and I never felt like the Super Trouper that I sometimes feel I can be.

I had sufficient clothing for this sort of weather, but the cold was energy sapping and I wasn’t sorry to finish late in the afternoon, still with a respectable distance of just over 14 miles. Hard as I tried to keep up a reasonable speed, and my body was kept warm, all the extremities and my face really felt it today and I was well off my usual pace. I had the woolly hat and gloves on from the start, and I know how these alone can give a fairly menacing impression to a stranger. On side roads particularly, I notice women cross the road away from me occasionally when I am within about 20 yards. I often cross the road myself if I can sense a tension. Some time ago, I crossed just as a young lady crossed, and then that was repeated in the opposite direction as we both realised what had happened. She may well have been freaked out by this but thankfully we went in opposite ways at the next junction (I don’t know if that was her original intended direction or not). I am therefore nervous at using a scarf across my face to keep my nose and mouth warm, in case that raises the bar in scariness. Perhaps I am too sensitive for my own good. I did struggle today to speak when I reached home with lips numb from the cold.

I didn’t really have the sense of adventure, not something I could say about Levison Wood, who is currently running his four-part series Walking The Americas, serialising his trek from Mexico to Columbia. As you might imagine, his temperature challenge is at the opposite end of the scale, as well as encountering drug cartels, jungle and forest conditions necessitating basic survival skills, and language barriers. He had an old friend as a local guide to walk with him, which obviously helped. Very interesting and entertaining viewing. This follows his previous series, all on Channel 4 by the way, Walking The Himalayas and Walking The Nile, and during the latter one of his guides died of heatstroke, which puts his achievements very much in perspective. Not sure what my long walk would have contained, if it had been serialised, but it certainly would not have been a great viewing experience like Levison’s walks. Despite all the difficulties facing him, he still kept up a pace of around 100 miles a week (not dissimilar to me) but he also appeared capable of spending considerable time during the walking day to take in local culture. I just wanted to sleep at the end of the day!

Not going to dwell too much on today’s walk, I think. I am looking forward to longer daylight and warmer conditions as the weeks pass. Pretty certain that this year’s main challenge will be the South Coast Challenge: Eastbourne to Arundel on 26/27 August.  I know it is a tough challenge, tougher than London2Brighton, but it cannot possibly be as bad as the Wight Challenge. The dates pose two further challenges: persuading myself that it is fine to miss the last home match of the cricket season (when promotion could hopefully/possibly be celebrated without me) and the weekend also coincides with, er, the birthday of a very close family member. However that pans out, I need to get fitter, eat less chocolate and make all the necessary arrangements.


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