One thing I have forgotten to do is to do a blog post about my route. If you are planning a Land’s End – John O’Groats walk, and come across my blog, then hopefully this post is of some use. Continue reading
Nearly two years have past since I embarked on my ‘Isles of Wonder’ 1,200 mile walk, that took me from the Isles of Scilly over to Land’s End, up to John O’Groats and then on to a short finale at the very top of Shetland.
Once I finished the walk I jotted down a few thoughts, which you can read here. Now more time has passed, and since I recently read ‘Like a Tramp, Like a Pilgrim – On Foot Across Europe to Rome’ by Harry Bucknell, it’s made me reflect on my walk and my life since. Towards the end of his walk, Harry says to a fellow walker:
We’ve had the best of times, but now you have to take what you’ve learnt and apply it to life with renewed oomph.
I like that. And I hope that I have attacked life with renewed oomph.
Apart from the joy of the walk itself, it’s left me with the knowledge that a solo journey is not a lonely undertaking. There were so many little encounters that I had with strangers along the way, and my friends and family both cheered me on from afar, and joined me on many occasions. I’d recommend a solo journey to anyone – whether a 2 day bicycle trip, or 2 weeks hiking – the scale of the undertaking is immaterial. Harry Bucknell puts it much more eloquently than I can:
And as I took the final steps of the 1,411 miles I had walked since London, so I too concluded that in this modern age, when all too often life just rushes us by, there is nothing on this Earth, neither wealth nor material gain, rank nor privilege that matters more than man’s kindness to man and the love of family and friends.
Roll on 2015, and many more shared adventures and escapades.
Disclaimer: in this blog post I blow my own trumpet. I can’t help it. I’m really chuffed to bits. Don’t read on if you don’t want to participate in my self indulgence.
The other day I read a blog by a guy who did a long walk. Much longer than mine. He wrote:
My epic trip was the E4, 5,000km from Tarifa in Spain to Budapest. A 6 month tramp across Europe changed everything, including my body shape, and I now spend my time either walking somewhere in the world or planning my next trip.
The words “[the walk] changed everything, including my body shape“, really struck home with me. I don’t want to bang on about it but my long walk has changed everything for me too. I am physically fit; something I’ve always wanted to me. And work comes in healthy doses, rather than a toxic overload. It may not last but right now I feel lucky. Life of course has all kinds of peaks, troughs, twists and turns. But today is a peak. A good day. A very good day.
Last year I took up running. I had run a bit, not seriously at all, about 10 or 12 years ago. I was distinctly average. Since I restarted last year, after my walk, I’ve fallen more and more in love with running. Its an awful lot easier when not carrying extra layers of body insulation. My dear friend Alison Chisnell got me roped into a marathon, which was last April, and since then I’ve decided I like the feeling of [relative] speed, so my focus has been on the 10k distance.
Today, I finally went and ran my first 10k race since last November. Actually it ended up as a 7.5m race. A HardMoors series 10k. HardMoors is a wonderful series of trail races held in the hills of the North York Moors. Mud, steps, rocky river bank paths, hills, bog, steep inclines. You get the picture.
Anyhow. I WAS THE VERY FIRST LADY TO FINISH. 1st lady! Can I say that again? First lady. Not first veteran 40. But the first of all the ladies of all ages. And the 6th person overall.
I am amazed. Thrilled. Very happy. All that hard work training. It was worth it. It might not have been hundreds of runners taking part. But I won a race. I never saw myself as a person who could win running races. I may never win another. But always I’ll remember today.
I was aware from about 3 miles onwards that there were no women in front of me. And I couldn’t quite believe it, but it was a huge motivation to push on and reach that finish before any other female could overtake me. In the end I think I was a couple of minutes clear.
Ok, since I am giving myself a self indulgence free pass for the evening, I’m going to do a few thank yous.
Alison Chisnell - thank you so much for persuading me to join you in your mad plan to run a marathon. And for all the support and shared learning and nerdiness as we have bled Amazon dry of all the running and nutrition books in print.
Anthony Allinson – thank you for cheering me on.
Suzanne Szenher and June Heron – amazing ladies on bicycles and on two feet. Thank you for inspiring me and showing me how good us 40++ers can be. And for the laughs.
Graham Janes – thank you for keeping my muscles in some kind of working order, and for the motivation. My wings helped me take off today.
Emma Barraclough – for teaching me about nutrition, and how to train.
Ann Holmes and Yvonne Wyke for encouraging me to think I am ok at running.
Ian Christie – my husband and no.1 supporter. The best thing about today was the smile on your face when I got home.
Yesterday I walked a mile down the lane where I live. I peered across the fields. A figure loomed into view, striding purposefully along a hedgerow. So this was Pete.
I jogged further down the lane to catch up with Pete as he popped out of the bridleway and onto the road. “Pete?!”
And so we walked together south along the clifftop for a few miles, chatting away.
You see, it was a rather special thing to meet Pete. Because he is on a walk. A really really long walk. Long, even by my standards. He set off from Southampton in February. He’s walking clockwise round the entire coastline of mainland Britain. He’s walked up the entire west coast, round all of Scotland, and is now heading south towards Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, and on back to Southampton in December. So far Pete has racked up over 4,000 miles (!!!) and ‘only’ has another 1,000 odd to go. Pretty amazing.
A close friend of mine, Jill, had heard of Pete’s walk, by chance, a week or so ago, and had emailed me with a link to his blog, in case I was interested to read about it. When I took a look, I saw that Pete was about to pass pretty much right past my doorstep within the next week. So I got in touch…. and thus met up.
It was fantastic to swap stories of our walks. I am full of admiration for Pete for having the courage to embark on such a mammoth undertaking.
And here he’s written about his few days in Holderness, including meeting with me and my husband Ian
He is raising money for MS and also the spinal injuries association. Whenever anyone sponsored me on my walk, no matter how small the donation, it always gave me a lift – a smile, a spring in my step. Pete has had that same experience. So if you are reading this, please know that if you sponsor Pete, whether it be £1 or £5 or 5 times that, it’ll motivate him in his ginormous effort. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never met him. He will still feel cheered on.
Here’s to chance encounters.
I’ve written a fair few blog posts recently about running. I’m afraid to say though, that as well as loving running, I have also lost my heart to a two wheeled machine, and all that comes with it.
Here are some of my symptoms. If you enjoy cycling, you may have experienced some of them. Feel free to add to my list.
2. Finding spinach smoothies absolutely delicious.
3. Clearing out clothes from the wardrobe, so that cycling jerseys can be hung up there instead.
4. Persuading the husband there is an urgent need to swap to a car with a bigger boot so that the bike can go inside, and travel in comfort out of the rain. (This has involved lifting the bike in and out of boots in car showrooms, to check it fits. Much to the horror of the dealers).
5. Hoping to get a torque wrench as a birthday present.
6. Being delighted and very proud at mastering changing a tyre with bare hands. (No tyre levers involved).
7. Glamorous night attire? No thank you! There’s nothing nicer than sleeping in compression tights or socks after hard workouts.
The plot is well and truly lost.
We did it. On the 6th of April, Alison and I completed our first marathon, and raised over £3,700 between us for MS and Mind. Yay!!! But we’ve taken ages to write a blog post about it, mainly because there is a lot to say and neither of us knew where to start. So, we’ve decided to ask each other some questions, and write a Q and A blog post. We emailed each other our questions, which to our surprise were almost identical. No wonder we are such a good team! And also we have been set some questions by super lovely Meg Peppin, who was wonderfully encouraging of us during our training. Anyway, here goes!