WALK GREAT BRITAIN
After completing my Cam Triathlon I gained an appreciation for the different challenges that walking throws up. I knew it would be harder, mentally and physically. The slow monotonous pace, the lack of payback from down hills that I would otherwise get with cycling, the huge weight on my back, the blisters and did I mention how slow it is?
While attempting to cycle LEJOG back in 2016 lots of people I'd met had told me that west is best when it comes to Scotland so I figured I had to check it out for myself. I decided to walk north to south, so I could end in sunny Cornwall with lots of people around me. My route initially took me straight across the north cost of Scotland to Durness before turning south along what is arguably the windiest, wettest and hilliest part of Britain. I then joined up with the Great Glen Way and the West Highland Way to take me south towards the boarder into England.
Having never been to the Lake District I decided this was another essential stop on my route. However, just as I was walking into the area I developed tendonitis in my left ankle and was in absolutely agony, unable to move my left foot at all without being brought to tears. Luckily just 5 minutes after slumping onto the side of the road a local family scooped me up and took me to the local Minor Injuries Unit. A friend of a friend took me in for the next week to recover on crutches on their farm overlooking the beautiful Lakes. Not a bad place to get injured!
On my way through the Lakes after recovering I stopped off the see my friend Sean who sorted me out with lighter kit and a new rest strategy to help prevent any further injury. After a couple of days back on the road I knew I had the flattest part of the country coming up and decided to see if I could make up for the week I'd had off, by upping my daily mileage from 20 to 30 miles a day for 6 days straight. Turns out walking for 11+ hours a day turns me into a zombie but I made up most of the time to finish just 1 day later than planned - covering 993 miles in 57 days.
Equipment provided by:
If you’re daft enough (as I was!) to think that walking the country is a good idea (ok it was an AWESOME adventure, I just hated the whole walking bit), then you’re probably wondering what bits of kit you can’t live without for the next 2–3 months.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt through my adventures about getting outside, exploring new areas and most importantly, having fun!
All those who know me will know that one of the main reasons I adventure is so I can eat more cake, but when you’re walking through the Scottish highlands I’ve found this precious resource is in short supply.
I’ve learnt from previous adventures that while you don’t need to buy expensive bits of kit (particularly if you have awesome friends who can lend you bits), it is a good idea to have the lightest you can afford and to not over pack.
When I was walking 70 miles along the Cam last year, it never occurred to me that I might walk the length of the country. I wonder where this adventure will propel me to next?
Photo credit: Fiona Quinn