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Showing posts from September, 2014

Two Blogs for the Price of One

Two of the sides of my existence are coming into close alignment...

So, the walking and running...

After the madness of a half marathon followed by a long distance path, it's been a week of gentle recovery and then off to the Isle of Man for a week of fun, visiting historic and prehistoric sites and as there was a long distance path... well it'd be rude not to!


It's a walk of two halves - the first half was near perfect walking; rolling hills, short sharp ascents in places and finished at a pub with a cracking burger! It's the Crosby in Crosby.   Then its road and trail walking all the way to Castletown... where I met up with some of the extended dickey ticker family (who treated me to tea!).

Home from the Island it was a rapid tour of Liverpool with the Icelandic branch of the dickey ticker extended family, and a quick hug with one of the Norwegian branches... Yes, my life is as mad as it sounds.

Then to a 10k, my plan was to just try and get round with minimal wa…

That was the walk that was...

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I enjoyed that, I've a few blisters and the dull tiredness of someone whose done a lot. 

I said I'd need to gain a few extra miles to make it up to the hundred... I managed that walking to the starting pen of the GNR - we're now doing 15 miles... That's without the hike to the bus stop and back... The extras on the GPS come from route detours, of which there were two, and the walk to the hotel - which as its in Stanwick is on the site of one of the biggest Roman wall forts.

My poor little Fitbit ran out of juice for the last day - fortunately my lovely phone has a pedometer built into the chip so the numbers could be lifted...

On the GPS its 163.9 km - which comes out at 101.8 miles

On the Fitbit its 201.1 km - which comes out at 125 miles

Both mean I did what I aimed to - be in the run with a million finishers, and I was about 200 m away from the millionth person so saw the ensuing madness and also do a hundred miles in 4 days.
In pictures:



A warm GNR
One of very fe…

Day 5: Job done

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Well, according to my guidebook the citizens of Bowness on Solway worry that they're being forgotten as a terminus of Hadrian's Wall... And to be fair if you don't have walker's OCD there's not a great deal to recommend this section - for me its 17 miles of unremitting tarmac and farm tracks is important but not essential.

But the day starts with end of Carlisle, and follows the Eden out, and out...  There's little evidence of the wall, the odd section of the vallum and reused stonework in buildings. But it isn't unpleasant, just not the same as the soaring challenges as the days before.



The main challenge was keeping focused to make sure I made the bus back - inconveniently early afternoon or late afternoon... My feet, and their few blisters, felt tired and started cramping - the toes of the right foot being pulled back in sharp contractions isn't conducive for good walking.

The honesty shacks were again welcome oasis' - though I do despair that …

Day 4 - brutality & honesty

That was tough... The rollercoaster of ups & downs at the start wasn't a gentle easing into a long days walking, The day had already started oddly. The French backpacker in my room at the hostel seemed unaccustomed to communal living... Including sleeping on the floor & lying on my socks... And being most put out when I asked for them back! Personally, my socks should be banned under the Geneva Convention. Oh well, a little late and annoyed...The wall is a frequent companion, and you really begin to wonder what the Latin for "But Sarge... " is as there are many point where the rules were followed, and the line kept straight when an easier line could've been followed...As the hills flatten out, the walking becomes more of a leg stretch, steps become paces and something similar to a march begins. The tea shops are again lumpy in their distribution... But the cafĂ© at Birdswold was perfectly placed for lunch, on through Banks feeling slightly odd that for the fir…

Day 3 - thinking, t-shirts & singing...

Saving the best to last is normally a good strategy... And the last 5km of the walking was some of the best walking around. It also, at times, was more staircases than strolling.  Up a crag, down the other side. Pause, slurp from my water bottle. See if there's a photo opportunity, then stroll up again...But that's getting ahead of myself... The first 20 miles went well, long stretches of gentle walking. The tea shop distribution was very uneven, so morning tea & nibbles was rapidly followed by lunch... And then nothing until arriving at the hostel.I was asked by a fellow hosteler what I thought about when walking such a long way... Everything, and nothing... I think back on other walks, especially those with friends no longer around, I prepare discussion notes for essays & talks (the details never stock, but the gist does & that helps) and I revel in the sheer joy of having my existence reduced to putting one foot in front of the other...After explaining my backgr…

Day 2 - there will be wall...

Well, the legs still work... I started later than I like, I much prefer being up and out and walking by about 8, but getting to Wallsend & the queue in the post office to post my GNR stuff back to myself saw to that...Hey Ho...Day 1 is a stroll along the Tyne - the classic views of the bridges and then near silence... After Newcastle it gets quiet, miles go by with only the of cyclist or jogger passing by. When I left the Tyne, and climbed to Heddon on the wall I'm afraid my bladder dictated a direct route to the pub rather than a detour to the wall remains there... Then it's undulations for what seems like every, the flights going into Newcastle airport my slightly noisy companions... The archeology is mostly lumps & bumps, with the occasional shaped stone appearing. Good enough to look at, not enough to take a photo of...The pub can't be praised enough - I've never been confronted with two courses I couldn't finish... The nachos were larger than a sharing…

GNR done, so time to start walking

The GNR is not the nicest half marathon course, it's crowded & packed... And yet, it's still up there as one of my favourite runs, because of the people... There's the locals, who must clear the shelves of the local shops of oranges and sweets to hand out to us, the bairns who stick their hands out to be taped as you go passed. There's the runners, the parts of the back and heartfelt 'keep going' when you slow. The shared experience forming a fleeting but deep bond.And then there's my friends, the charity runners for CHF, MaxAppeal and related charities who know each other from meetings, events or Facebook. We run for a cause, and although we run for different aspects of it we are mostly family...A 2:50 half is slow, but that's the first long run in 10 weeks, my feet held up, it was hot, and I enjoyed it. So the warm up is done, time to stay walking:-)TTFNPaul