As the year of 2011 dawns on me i have made a decision about what i want to achieve this year, i want to walk a lot more than i have done. My new Years resolution to to climb one of the following mountains, either Ben Nevis or Scar Fell Pike, this is a fairly easy challenge, they may be the highest mountains in England and Scotland, but I’ve completed similar walks like Snowdon and so although they will be difficult i I’m confident of being able to complete these, even in my current rather unfit state. however i have set my self a much bigger challenge, to complete a multi day hike through the Scottish highlands, relying on only my self and carrying everything i need with me, by doing this i not only hope to improve my fitness but get out in the wilderness of Scotland, to places that most people would never get to see.
This, like most of my ideas is not the most thought out plan i could have, but as always all i need is a silly idea and I’m off (much like my canoeing aspirations) and the first step toward this goal is to improve my fitness and stamina for both long distance walking and carrying heavy weights. currently my exercise is fairly limited, 1hour of badminton a week, a 1-2 hour walk on a Sunday, and the exercise i pick up walking round work all day long.
The first step was to start longer walks on Sundays, so together with my girlfriend Lou and our walking buddy Peter, we set about looking for more serious walks to undertake, Peter, a welth of local knowledge immediately suggesting we undertake ‘the Cotswold’s way’ and before id even had chance to ask what this was it seemed we had decided to to do this and we where to meat in chipping Camden at 10am the next day.
The Cotswold’s Way is a 100mile walk from a small pretty Gloucestershire village called Chipping Camden to the roman city of Bath. and today we where attempting the first leg of this journey, to Stanton, this is only around 10 miles but as its the first day we didn’t want to push our selves to much.
The weather for the day was a crisp 1 degrees C and overcast but the weatherman had promised a dry day so after doing a little car shuttling we started off from chipping Camden at around 10.30am. the first 15 minutes of the walk involved a steep uphill climb which quickly had me gasping for air and over heating in my winter walking gear, a sharp awakening of how unfit i have really become, but we where quickly rewarded with fantastic views over the Warwickshire plains, and from this point the gradient leveled out for for the next few miles.
the first few miles where fairly uneventful although very enjoyable non the less until we arrived the Broadway tower, 18th century folly that stand out on the hills above the village of Broadway. Its a fantastic view point as well and somewhere we have been before, this arrival brings a spring in our step as we know its only a mile stumble down hill to Broadway and our stop for lunch.
Broadway is a lovely Cotswold village with plenty of quirky shops to visit, but we are on a tight schedule with it short days and cold nights we stop briefly for our packed lunch and move on in hope that next 4 miles of our walk move swiftly and we can get home be for the cold sets in. Just as with the morning start we immediately hit another hill climb, another stark reminder of our fitness levels and after we reach the peak of the hills i start for feel my energy take a turn for thr worse, there is still 2 miles to go and i start to question the wisdom on my silly challenges, but i plod along, draining my shiny new sigg of all its water and finally the path descends into a Valley, over a stream or two and we emerge into the village of Stanton and the car we had left for ourselves many hours before.
i must say the walk was very enjoyable and I’m really looking forward to the next leg of the journey, but i think I’m gonna need more than a few long walks to improve my outdoor stamina before i go off to Scotland