Sunday, 9 August 2009

We've crossed the M4!

We're still going - sorry for the rather late I'm covering more miles I like to start earlier, which means I can't leave my phone in campsite receptions charging up overnight - so I'm being a bit stingy with the battery use!

Lately I've been following the wise advise of "10 by 10" Mr Manning passed onto me from his PCT experience. The idea is to walk 10 miles by 10 O'clock then you have all day to do the rest. I must say, it really is good advise. I'm now packed up and walking by 7am, so 10 miles are covered by 10am. The pressure is off to cover the other 15 or so miles. I do actually stop now to eat lunch and air my feet when it's warm (yes - it's actually been sunny!) whereas normally I keep plodding all day without stopping as I hate arriving in camp late.

I've now walked to about 7 miles or so south of Chipping Sodbury - John then picked me up to whisk me off to the caravan site he had just set up at, for 2 days off. Lovely! Tomorrow John will drop me off to the same spot to continue walking. This will be my last stint.

I've spent the last couple of days changing the route on my maps to a slightly more direct route. This means leaving some good walking out, including time I was very much looking forward to in Exmoor which is a shame. It's very difficult as I know I should me making the most of this walk and enjoy the hiking, but since Patch went home all I want to do is get back to her. It's very difficult to explain, but I've always walked with my dogs - for the last 3 years it's been Patch, and before that I walked with my collie Ellie, for 11 years. Walking alone isn't really my thing, so the choice was to either go home with Patch (which I deperately wanted to do) or to just crack on and finish the walk. What I am planning to do though is to return to many of my favourite areas at a later date with John and the dogs for some walking we will really enjoy - it's time we ventured out more away from our old haunting ground of Snowdonia!

It's been a lovely couple of days off, and the end is in sight now. Apologies to those who hoped for more information on the actual the day goes by I make mental notes of the things that have happened during the day that I want to tell you through the blog, but by the time the evening comes I'm often tired, wet and fed up and end up whinging!

Tomorrow I set off with a different set of original boots (Asolo) are pretty worn from my wonky walking, and have started giving me blisters again. I'm setting off in my Brashers that were originally bought for the hike but ended up giving me alarming blisters and were not at all comfortable. I'm hoping that the combination of ENGO patches, Superfeet insoles, and volume reducers will do the job, but unfortunately these haven't been tried and tested yet as I ended up buying the Asolo's last minute before the hike and breaking them in. I'm very concerned about covering 25 miles plus a day in these boots, but I know the Asolo's are causing problems themselves now so it's worth the gamble....eeek!

In the last 10 days walking since Patch went back I've covered 226 miles, and I plan to finish the walk in another 10 days. If I can stick to my plan of 25 plus miles a day then I should get into Lands End a week wednesday. This is my own personal challenge now, and although strange things are happening to my feet and ankles I'm sure I can do it!!

I'll keep you updated.


Peter said...

Sophie, your doing great, I know how much you would like Patch to be with you, but you've done the right thing and put her welfare first and just think of the fuss you'll have off her when you finish!!!
Keep going won't be long now!
Best wishes, Peter.

Phreerunner said...

Well done Sophie. Thanks for your message, and best of luck for the next 10 days.
If your feet object to the Brashers, you could perhaps consider some trainers or sandals - they may be better suited to your high mileages!
Have fun.

sally in norfolk said...

I think you have done so well.... I am a great walker but never enjoy walking on my own so you should be real proud of yourself. well done :-)

Old Winter said...

I know Patch missing has left a big hole (not turning down a joke opportunity that good) in the walk experience for you. I feel the same regarding my dogs.

That said try to see past this and turn your thoughts outwards again to the walk and the achievement that it is.

Enjoy it, Patch is in good hands, and there are plenty more walks ahead for the both of you.

John Manning said...

Sophie - great progress and well done! I'm sure Patch is missing you too but you've done the right thing putting her paws first.

Gobsmacked that you've put the "ten by ten" theory into practice! I can't recall managing to achieve that goal other than on one occasion when I managed to knock off about 37 miles in a day, then collapsed into my sleeping bag without eating cos I was too tired to cook!

Watch out for ticks in the Exmoor area... I remember walking the coast there some years ago and pulling many off every evening. No fun.

Enjoy your last miles, and well done again!

Sophie Easterbrook said...

Many thanks everyone for your comments.

Martin - great minds think alike...I bought some trainers today and sent the brashers home - much better!

John - The "10 by 10" theory has been really good. I'm not naturally an early riser, but walking 1st thing is so pleasant. As long as I'm off by 7am I can squeeze them in - and it takes the pressure off the rest of the day. But 37 miles in a day???? That IS impressive!