I’m no stranger to the Four Peaks that epitomise the Brecon Beacons for many visitors. Having climbed three of them twice within the previous sixteen-months, I hadn’t expected to be revisiting this mountain range so soon.
Brunel Walking Group arranged an event where we would be led on a walk by two volunteers of Brecon Mountain Rescue Team. Assuming we might stray from the well worn and ‘motorway’ tracks, I decided to go along.
This was not my first walk-leading experience in Wiltshire but it was certainly more central and recognisable than the one I lead around Box near Corsham back in November.
It’s identical to a route I follow in April 2014 on my own. I could remember dark clouds and hailstones from my first visit. Normally, I’d squeeze a pre-walk in between as well but, on this occasion, I took a bit of a gamble, having not walked these paths for over a year, with half-a-dozen followers putting faith in my direction.
I’m going to take you back almost two weeks to a walk I did on one of my rare-but-recent days off work. Bristol‘s Blaise Castle Estate is significant to me for childhood memories of school trips and nostalgia; but also because, one year ago, it was the first place I visited when I decided to start walking on my own.
Last Sunday, as you may have already seen; I led the walking group for the third time. Now, I’m a bit stuck for ideas on where I could take them next but I have entertained thoughts about involving Blaise Castle. As fortune would have it, there’s a six-mile walk you can follow in Geoff Mullett’s Walk West Again. So, on this day, I decided to take a look at how the route pans out for myself.
Today, I feel absolutely shattered. My legs ache as they haven’t done for many weeks. My throat is making a sound that suggests I’m still half-asleep and even my head’s still about twelve-hours behind. I was intending to get out in to the workshop and to finish two boxes I’ve been making but they’ll have to wait. I need this day (thank goodness, it’s a Bank Holiday) to rest and recover. So, I’ll use my time this afternoon to write about my third walk-leading experience from yesterday.
I’ve only been walking for twelve-months but it didn’t take long for me to learn that it is quite essential to kit yourself out properly, if you’re going to do this seriously. I’m not talking about spending hundreds of pounds on lots of expensive clothing items with breathable membranes. After all, I’m only climbing the local hills. I’m not looking to scale Mount Everest (just yet)!
Along with a decent pair of walking boots (much sturdier and more comfortable than trainers – my current ones were about £35), there are a few other items I would recommend to anyone who’s thinking about walking or hiking as a recurrent hobby. After a recent shopping trip to a local outdoor clothing store, I felt that I would share some of this here with you this evening.
This is my walk from last Sunday; seven-days on from the experience of leading the walking group for the very first time (I still intend to write about that but I don’t have many photos with which to spread it out). It was a walk alone, as the group walk, as the group walk on that day didn’t particular interest me (ironically, there are now three to choose from for tomorrow). It’s one that I discovered a few weeks back in one of two eBooks I purchased from Geoff Mullett’s Walk West series (these are recommend by the organisers behind the walking group).
I would’ve preferred a hardback copy (you can occasionally spot older editions on eBay although, the eBooks are MUCH cheaper) but the printed sheets worked fine (provided I kept them in order) and even with a simple sketch of a map, I was able to navigate my way around the route without getting too lost.