Sunday, 28 April 2013

Navigational Issues on Watership Down.

On the 17th April I set out early to do a walk over Watership Down and the surrounding area. It was supposed to be a 15 mile walk. It ended up a little more than that. I parked up and got walking at 0730 following the Wayfarers Walk. It was a mix of grass tracks and lanes that took me over beautiful countryside through Oakley and Overton. I also walked by the source of the River Test. I followed the Test to a crossing point, where I underestimated the 'Infant river' and got my feet soaked.My dismay compounded by the next crossing point being under a few feet of water, I ended up retracing my route, getting my feet wet again and finding a way around it. Things started to go very wrong when I ended up on the downs. I followed the 'wayfarers walk' sign but somehow went off track. I had to rely on the gps on my mobile phone to find a way back to my car along busy roads. By the time I got back to the car it was 1730. I had originally thought the walk would take me 6 hours or so, so clearly I did more than 15 miles, I think it was probably closer to 20. I was pretty tired by the time I eventually got home, but quite pleased that I had gutted it out for 10 hours with just a short lunch break. Some days on Kilimanjaro I could be walking for 10 hours or more, so this turned out to be good practice. Thankfully, and perhaps reassuringly for my family and friends I will have guides on the Mountain, so my sense of direction will not be put to the test.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A stroll in the Forest mixing History with training.

Following my long walk in the Malverns I went for a 6 mile walk in the New Forest. I didn't want to overdo things but it is important that I start stringing long walks together, as that is what I have to do on Kilimanjaro.
Besides it is now only about a month to go until I go to Mount Snowdon, so I have to keep working hard to be prepared for that. I picked a walk in the village of Godshill, which is close to Fordingbridge. The walk,known as Ashley Walk, goes by what was an RAF bombing range. During the second world war pilots from local New Forest airfields used the area for target practice. They even built a replica of a 'U-Boat pen', sadly that is now covered in earth, but It was a fascinating walk and I did see an old observation shelter.
I was under the impression it would be a fairly flat walk, but I was wrong. There were several climbs to negotiate. The terrain under foot was good, either gravel tracks or heathland. The walk took me 2 hours and took me past some New Forest horses and cattle. They all watched  as I marched by, but they must be so used to people they didn't really give me a second look.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Marching on the Malverns

Today I went up another gear in my training for Mount Kilimanjaro. I went to the Malvern Hills. I sent off from my house about 6am on the 110 mile drive reaching Swinyard car park at 8.45 am. (Just a brief coffee stop en route) So I made good time. I have never been to the Malverns before so I was excited, having done a little research I had an idea of what it would be like, but it was even more beautiful than I could have imagined. The plan was to walk from Swinyard Car park to the top of Worcestershire Beacon and back again sumiting the hills in between. It was a 12 mile route over 7 hills which took about 5 hours to complete. It was challenging but not overly difficult. Some of the hills were very steep, but my walking poles came into their own and I was powering up hills and carefully negotiating my way down the other side. I wanted to walk here so that I could practice going up high hills, the views along the way were absolutely awesome. There was a little snow on some of the hills, not fresh, I assume it was from a couple of weeks ago. It was a clear day today, a little cold, and a little windy at the top of Worcestershire Beacon. But ideal weather really.

I could see Worcestershire Beacon some way off in the distance while I was walking. The highest of the hills (1395feet), and it looked impressive. As I got closer to it I looked to the very top and pictured myself up there. Soon enough after a tough walk it seemed like I was on top of the world. The views were magnificent, and the feeling that I had accomplished what I wanted to for the day hit me. I found a bench to eat my lunch and rest for a little while before retracing my route to Swinyard Car park.

I left at just after 2pm arriving home at just after 4.30pm. Picking a Sunday was a good idea I think. There wasn't much traffic on the roads.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Useful links

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in August to raise money for Greyhound Rescue West of England. They do a truly wonderful job in rescuing and re-homing Greyhounds and Lurchers. They are a charity which relies solely on donations. To find out more about them You can visit their website here
If you would like to sponsor me Here is a link to my sponsorship page Thankyou.