Saturday was an absolutely stunning Spring day (for the most part), so I took myself off on a planned walk along the trails close to home. I mentioned in my Goals and Challenges for 2015 post last week that I am going to attempt the Lyke Wake Walk later in the summer, and so this was me making a start on my training – I have found before that there is no better training for walking than actually going out walking.
I live within a mile of the Viking Way, which is a 147 mile (237 km) trail between the Humber Bridge in North Lincolnshire and Oakham in Rutland, and it is most definitely my “go to” trail when I want a nice countryside walk without getting in the car. I have mooted the idea a number of times about walking the whole thing, all 147 miles of it, in some kind of self-supported week-long mission to prove to myself I could do it. No confirmed plans yet, but you know, it’s worth thinking about! On Saturday I chose to walk six miles of the trail, heading south, followed by a faster and more direct five miles along the road back north again to make it a circular route (I dislike there-and-back walks) – 11 miles in total.
It is lovely to be able to walk in Lincolnshire, it is a lovely county. It might have a reputation for being flat but in actuality it’s not all fenland and so there is some undulating ground to test the leg muscles. In fairness the part of the Viking Way I walked was indeed pretty flat, with a few ups and downs here and there, but the views from the ridge across the county in the bright sunshine were lovely.
My gentle walk, with plenty of stops for photographs, took me through a number of villages, across two fields of horses (eek!), over many styles, around lots fields with various crops growing, along some very muddy tracks, and through a snowdrop-covered woodland. It might have looked like a nice warm Spring day and I definitely needed my sunglasses, but I can assure you it was really rather cold, so my new lime green Buff came in very handy… good hair, don’t you think?!
I’ve always liked wearing a neck tube, I find it adds warmth in a very comfortable way and when getting outdoors it’s preferable to a proper scarf as the ends don’t get caught up in everything. I always wear one when riding my motorcycle, when skiing, and when cycling in the cold weather – and will generally have one in amongst my kit for all other outdoor activities. This is my first “proper” Buff, though, from the current range – it’s definitely better than the cheap knock-offs I’m used to.
Oh and for comparison to the blue sky above, this is what it looks like when you get caught on the edge of a slightly unexpected hail storm in the last couple of miles (had to keep the sunnies on to help protect my face!) – I’ve always said hail makes you walk faster!!
Back to the walk. The trail was incredibly muddy in places, and with some of it being on the side of a steep hill I did slide about all over the place quite a bit. I guess this is what happens when marked hiking trail and farmer’s tracks are in the same place – lots of rain, tractors and walking boots make things rather slippery. Thankfully my walking boots are waterproof and I’ve never been that bothered about getting muddy trousers. It wasn’t like that the whole time, though, some of it was lovely soft meadow, other parts were on footpaths through villages. I’m told this is quite typical of the whole Viking Way route, a well marked walking trail through rural England. Once I reached the end of my planned six miles along the trail I headed for the footpath that follows the main road back home, which was much faster paced.
By the end of my gentle 11 miles my feet hurt and my legs ached, and I was ready to take my boots off and relax with a cup of tea. The question is – can I do four times that without a significant break? Well, no, I don’t think so, not today. With any luck getting out on lots more walks like this between now and June will increase my fitness and stamina enough so that come challenge day I can get from start to finish without too much pain. I know I’m not starting from scratch with the walking, I’ve done a number of marathon length hikes and hill-walks in recent years, but I’ve let my fitness slip a lot recently so gradually upping the mileage will give myself chance to get some of that back. As always, any hints and tips you have to help me be successful would be much appreciated!
Thanks to Kitshack for my new Buff in lime green – it’s perfect! You can find buff headwear in hundreds (really, hundreds!) of designs over on their website.