Friday, 1 July 2011


My maps have arrived from Sustrans - showing the cycling network between South Wales and London. This is largely what I'll be following.

The wonderful news is that between Bath and Reading, there is a canal which has a clear footpath run along it. This is the route I will follow across England (and there's even a few shortcuts!). Over the next few days I can properly work out the route, including the stopover points. That means I can start booking hotels and B&Bs!

Monday, 27 June 2011

The route forms

I'm not normally very prepared for, well.... life in general! So I'm pretty pleased that I'm starting to form a route for the walk.

I know that a lot of people want to come with me on the first day, which is repeating my test walk from Saturday - Upper Boat to Newport. Plus a few people have said they'd like to meet me at the other end, which was due to finish on Friday afternoon, but I'm taking a small liberty in extending that to earlier on Saturday, so that more people are available.

Roughly, my route will be

DAY 1 Upper Boat to Newport
DAY 2 Newport to Aust (a very beautiful walk, including crossing the River Severn)
DAY 3 Aust to Bath (a very long day, but with the promise of a Roman Spa at the end!)
DAY 4 Bath to Devizes
DAY 5 Devizes to Hungerford
DAY 6 Hungerford to Reading
DAY 7 Reading to Hounslow
DAY 8 Hounslow to Television Centre

The latter part of the route is likely to change a fair bit and I will be posting updates as I refine it.


Whilst I don't imagine this blog has tons of readers all patiently waiting for an update, I do feel I should mention that I survived the twenty-mile walk on Saturday! In fact, looking back, it was really great fun.

I went with a friend and we started at Newport rail station, following NCN Route 4 to Caerphilly. Shortly after, we moved onto Route 8 (the Taff Trail) before hitting the 20 mile mark and hopping (quite literally) on a train from Radyr to Cardiff.

Yes, I have to admit that after 20 miles, I could hardly walk another step. My friend was fine, but he's 34 and I'm 41 and as anyone may age will tell you, fitness rapidly decreases once you hit the 40 mark.

But it was a really great walk, despite the rain and I feel really happy to know I can do that distance now. Though I did have a strain on my left calf muscle for a couple of days after (in fact, it's still there, but only just).

I feel I need to do more of these 20 mile walks, building up to doing two or three in a row in preparation for September.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

20 miles!

Can't quite believe it, but I'm going to walk about 20 miles on Saturday. Walking from the Transporter Bridge in Newport, along National Cycling Network 4 through to Caerphilly and then joining the Taff Trail south to Cardiff.

A friend is joining me for moral support, which should make it a lot easier, but I still think I'll be spending the evening with my feet in a bowl of hot water (whilst somehow managing to still be the World's Best Boyfriend).

Still, I found this lovely picture earlier and it really reminded me of what I'm doing this for. Update after Saturday's walk!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Bad news!!

Whilst Saturday's walk (about 14 miles) went pretty well, I did make a major discovery. I went out for drinks in the evening with friends. Certainly getting a bit tipsy, but not quite at the dancing-on-tables stage. So imagine my surprise when I was THE MOST HUNGOVER I'VE EVER BEEN on Sunday. It seems that long walks and drinking sessions do not mix. The bad news? I'm going to have to give up booze.

I suppose this isn't a bad thing, but it will be tough. It was tough saying no to a free glass of wine at the Torchwood screening in Swansea last night. But I never thought this training would be easy!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

What shoes?

Naturally, I had my feet checked out a while back and I have a tendency to supination (i.e. walk on the outside of my feet) on the left hand side.

Clever old people at the running shop I visited started me off with a pair of Asics shoes worth £110. They were like walking on air, but out of my price range so I tried some cheaper shoes. Well - no surprises - but the Asics ones were by far the best so I've opted for them. I still have a pain in my left foot from the training I've done but these help significantly.

I've also been warned that I will probably lose my toenails. Nice!

Training kicks in

I have less than three months to go, and with the exception of a few "long walks", I haven't massively prepared for the whole walk. Time for that to change!

My walk will require me to undertake between 25 and 30 miles a day, over 7 days. I therefore need to have been able to do at least 3 time 25 in a row before I undertake the walk. I also need to have thoroughly mapped out the route, chosen the places I am staying and worked out a support network for people to help replenish my supplies.

So, back to the walking. Tomorrow, I will walk from Pontypridd to Cardiff (approx 13 miles) which is half of what I will need to be able to do. The plan it to increase this distance to approximately 20 miles by Saturday 20 July. Will let you know how I get on!