Draycott Sleights

Saturday 24th December 2016

Christmas Eve and officially the start of my ten-day break from the ‘necessary’ routine of work.

Of course, I was going to spend the day outdoors and I settled upon the idea of starting in Priddy and heading west to revisit Draycott Sleights Nature Reserve.

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Mendip Challenge 2016: 30 Mile Route

This is the first post in a series of three that will document the route of the Mercury Mendip Challenge.

In this post, I’ll share only the first ten-miles of the full-distance challenge. It’s worth noting that this section is commonly regarded as being the most challenging and is exclusive to the thirty-mile walk.

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Wet Mendip Way

Sunday 31st May 2015

It’s now been two-weeks since I completed my second Mendip Challenge, the full thirty-miles of the West Mendip Way and it’s safe to say that my legs have fully recovered.

My aim for this year was simply to complete the same distance, albeit with a little more confidence and less loss of direction along the way. I’d have been happy to have shaved fifteen-minutes from last year’s time. As our two coaches left Uphill for the centre of Wells and a 7.45am start, the grey skies were there to suggest that this wouldn’t be the best day for rushing about.

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West Mendip Win!

Waking up earlier this morning, I felt as though I could relate to how Pinnochio must’ve felt before he became a real boy. After walking 30 miles across the Mendip Hills yesterday, I certainly feel as though I now need someone to bend my legs for me!

After 30 miles and 4 or 5 significant hills, I’m not going to stand up for anyone taking the photo, even my best friend! 😉

It was the one I’d been working up to with my other walks; the ultimate Mendip Challenge.

I’m very pleased to be able to say that, after a 7.55am start in Wells, I arrived at the finishing point in Uphill for 18.30. I was hoping to finish around 19.00; giving me an hour to spare before the checkpoint closed so, factoring in a single 20 minute lunch break (plus a handful of other brief stops), I’m very proud of and impressed with my time. I’ve suffered a bout of sunburn (it was cloudy when we set off…) and my shoulders ache from carrying probably 30kg of liquid (4lt – not necessary with so many checkpoints) but it feels good.

If you’ve ever considered tackling this one yourself, I can assure you that the first 10 miles (apparently equating to 13 miles by another walker’s GPS) are by far the worst. Then again, we had a coach driver who did anything but instil confidence with his abilities but that really is another story for a different day!! We all arrived and set off in one piece.

Looking at the bibs of other people (including the runners… Crazy people!!), I noticed numbers tallying close to 700. On average, Weston Hospicecar gains around £50,000 for this event each year. I’m quite certain they’ll be close to that average again this year.

My medal! 🙂

Leading up to this event, I’d felt concerned that I could spend too much time walking alone after one of my friend’s dropped down to the 20 mile stage and that, ultimately, I might ‘hit the wall’ at some point because of this. I’m quite accustomed now to walking reasonably long distances solo but this was always going to be a greater stretch. Instead, I feel fantastic for having conquered it (without taking any shortcuts) and I found a simple joy in walking along with both everyone and absolutely no-one at the same time…

I would catch up with different groups of people at various points. Some would overtake me as I stopped for lunch, only for me to leap-frog them again a bit further on (I was quite determined to get beyond Crook Peak ASAP). Each time, I could meet with different people and freely move on. It was enjoyable, yet somehow different to walking with the Ramblers, where there is always one leader; one head of authority and a constant need to attend to the tail-end of the queue. Plus, the checkpoints with free rehydration and sweets were very welcome!

I’d like to close by saying thank you to the Hospice charity for organising this event. I’ll almost certainly be doing it again next year. Also, a huge congratulations to every person who took part. Whether you did 5 miles or more than 5-times that. Very well done indeed!! 🙂

(Photos and hopefully some video will follow.)

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West Mendip Wander

I’m sat here, itching to tell you about my walk on the Quantocks last Friday but instead, I’ve decided to write about another adventure. Largely because it follows the chronological sequence of events; partly because I’m frustrated that Flickr (owned by Yahoo) have recently overhauled their website and so, getting the image URL from specific photos is currently more of a chore than ever!

The first hurdle, straight across the road from the car park!

Fewer photos is working better for me at the moment. But, having just completed two walks over the Easter weekend, you’ll be able to catch up soon, regardless of how long it takes. This walk across the Mendips took place about 10 days ago.

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High on Ny’

Last weekend, it seemed pretty clear that the summer of 2013 was behind us and with more grey clouds in the sky as I write this, it does seem as though the next summer is still very far away (even though we are still welcoming the mild temperatures). The fear of more rain and another soaking almost forced me to stay indoors on Saturday. I’d been wanting to get out in preparation for the big walk tomorrow… I needed to keep it going, if only for half-a-dozen miles. I also wanted to keep it local and to within the boundaries of my OS map collection and so, I decided to go on a walk up to Nyland Hill in Somerset.

Nyland Hill in Somerset, UK.

This route comes direct from Walk West 3, with thanks again to the author Geoff Mullett.

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