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Backpacks and blisters - the walking thread

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    Currently on a walking holiday in the High Weald area. Did a 12 mile walk today and came across this amazing tree...

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      Yesterday I completed the Keswick to Barrow charity walk for the 5th time, 40 miles in 10 hours 48 minutes. You have to do it in teams, minimum of four, and this time I put my own team together with the rest being first timers. One of our number hit the pain barrier hard at 30 miles and hobbled in about 90 minutes after the rest of us.

      This was the walk which was originally due in May 2020, and was one of the first casualties of the first lockdown - and we had 7 or 8 in the team originally, but by the time it went ahead it was touch and go whether we'd make the minimum four. This was obviously repeated across the field, because the participant numbers were way down compared to normal, which made for a slightly eery experience compared to the big communal feel it usually provides. On the plus side it meant there were lots of spare supplies at others teams' support points which they were keen to give away.

      My target now is two more completions, because you get a commemorative tankard for reaching seven, and then I'll "retire". Probably ...

      Not many photos taken en route, but this is Thirlmere at the start, the low cloud and drizzle adding to the eery atmosphere...



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        “40 miles in 10 hours 48 minutes”

        That’s a fair lick, Walt, especially over that distance. I don’t think of myself as a slow plodder but I’m usually paced at about 2.5mph these days - maybe just breaking 3mph if there’s nothing I want to slow down and look at.

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          So, on Friday I went on the first leg of the Kerry Camino hike, between Tralee and Camp, with a group of around 70, as the route has become increasingly popular in recent years in line with its Spanish inspiration. The morning didn't look too promising at 7, but by the time we set off at 9, the weather cleared up and we swiftly reached our first stop at Blennerville, about 1.5 miles from where we started. At this point, I began to internally wonder why the estimated time for the trek was 6-7 hours, but that was before we entered the Dingle Way mountain trail, that forms the majority of the trek, and about 4 miles in, we spotted this horse belonging to a local equestrian centre:



          Though going over fairly elevated terrain, the weather was at least remarkably dry and humid for mid-September, meaning my clothing was largely unscathed, ironically until we ended up traversing a literal cowpath for the final mile! Some beautiful scenery en route, including the nearby coastline, but to give you a sense of the trail, the organisers placed a metal cross roughly around the halfway point:



          Eventually, about 3 in the afternoon, we arrived at the endpoint, where tea and light refreshments were provided free of charge by the local pub owner - I'd certainly consider the 2 or 3 day routes next year, but my sister might need that long to recover from this time!

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            Originally posted by Shades & Shadows View Post
            Currently on a walking holiday in the High Weald area. Did a 12 mile walk today and came across this amazing tree...
            That is definitely an amazing tree and you captured it superbly.

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              Originally posted by slackster View Post
              “40 miles in 10 hours 48 minutes”

              That’s a fair lick, Walt, especially over that distance. I don’t think of myself as a slow plodder but I’m usually paced at about 2.5mph these days - maybe just breaking 3mph if there’s nothing I want to slow down and look at.
              I've done it faster in the past, it is almost all on road or decent paths, so you can grind out the miles. Yesterday we were maintaining steady 15 minute miles for most of the first half but that started to unravel with food and toilet stops and then the miles taking their toll. I usually do it solo and found walking as a group had pros and cons, on the downside there was some hanging about for people for the aforementioned pit stops, but on the plus side we helped to pace each other.

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                I have new American colleagues, so thought I'd show them some of the countryside with a hike up Mincol in the Mala Fatra. The weather forecast had promised a nice sunny day, but in fact clouds sat stubbornly on the peak and wouldn't go away, despite a chilly wind blowing. Still, the vegetation had turned a lovely colour (or colours) and the old cannon (used by Slovak partisans in 1943-44 as they fought the Nazis in these hills) looked a touch sinister in the gloom.

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                      A friend and I were planning to walk up Pilsko today, a peak right on the Polish border (and whose name may have been influenced by an old dialect word for Poland). But a close contact of my friend's tested positive on Friday. We're both fully vaccinated, but we'd have been over an hour in the car together just to get to the start point, so we abandoned the plan.

                      Instead, I returned to Mincol, this time from the Zilina side, and got the views the cloud and mist had deprived us of the week before. It was a lovely October day and there were plenty of people about. At one point, I put my cup of tea down, only for a white husky-type dog to come along and start drinking it.

                      The other thing is that, however sunny it is on this peak, the swirling wind never ever stops.

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                        A welcome first glimpse of Mincol's double-cross from just below the summit.

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                          The view to the south, towards Martinske Hole and (in the very far distance) Klak, the Mala Fatra's southernmost peak.

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                            Looking north-east towards the Krivan part of the range.

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                              Not a hike just a chance to get out and walk round the hills (though we did do 10km so it wasn't totally without effort)

                              Found a copse of juniper bushes fairly heavy with fruit, so now I'm thinking of experimenting with making some gin. I have to go back next week with some gloves to pick them





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                                I guess the berries need to be a deep blue colour(?) Once those green ones have turned, there should be a good crop. The shot with the tree with red leaves, the greener trees higher up and the mountain range in the background is fantastic.

                                My friend and I made it to Pilsko, on the Polish border today. In fact, we went to a Polish ski-chalet for soup - not that there's any skiing yet. First time I've set foot on non-Slovak soil since the first Covid lockdown. Good views east to the Tatras, which Slovakia and Poland also share, and to the much closer Babia Hora, or Witches' Mountain (likewise).

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                                  Babia Hora from the top of Pilsko.

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                                    View to the High Tatras.

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                                      In Poland!

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                                        Cottage back on the Slovak side.

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                                          I'm getting the train down to Axminster this evening to start on my last section of the SWCP from Lyme Regis to Poole. I've got some great stuff ahead including Chesil Beach, Bill of Portland, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and of course Poole harbour which claims to be the second largest natural harbour in the World. I'm hoping for some good weather and some decent views. I'll try and post some photos as well.

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