Sunday, 17 May 2009
Tip 11 - And the wet walk
Tip 11 - When planning to do a very long sponsored walk make sure it's going to be a sunny day - No, don't just do it anyway
This morning I was awoken by the alarm clock at 6.30am, which in itself is a ridiculous thing to do on a Sunday morning, but there was a reason. I had agreed to undertake sponsored walk with my sister to raise funds for the local hospice, a cause which is very close to our hearts.
Now this is not the first time I have done this walk. We both did it two years ago, an occasion which was marked more for the torrential rain than anything else. It hasn't put her off, she did it last year when I was sunning myself on a Cypriot beach and 'encouraged' me to do it again this year. I couldn't honestly believe that it would be as wet as the last time.....how stupid!!
This year we took good precautions. Decent comfortable trainers, sportswear, raincoat and backpack full of essentials such as plasters, water, cash (in case of tempting pub en route) and the greatest essential of all, Chocolate!
Unfortunately the biggest precaution was a little out of our control, that being arranging for sunshine and not rain.
Needless to say, I am now returned from walk, only one blister, one small collection of nettle stings on right shin, half a large bar of Galaxy down and COMPLETELY SOAKED TO THE SKIN!
We started well. The kindly hospice walk organising committee (who incidentally man the checkpoint posts in their warm fleeces supping hot tea in warm sheltered buildings) break the route down into 'manageable' chunks. The first 'leg' was 4.1 miles...OK we thought at the second checkpoint, that wasn't too bad let's crack on. Second leg, a little longer at 5.5 miles, again in the optimistic belief that we could walk all day without problem. I should say at this point that thus far the sun had been out most of the walk and we were in fact niggling about the number of layers we had worn. This is the point at which we finished the walk last time because we had been warned that the next leg, 7 miles in all, was long, over populated by stinging nettles and flying biting things and quite muddy.
This year however, we thought in our infinite wisdom that we would 'have a bash' at this third leg, to beat past performances because, of course, we are much fitter than last time and the weather was looking good. Oh how stupid can a pair of 30 something women can be.
Once we had left the third checkpoint and negotiated our way along the cryptically signposted route, reaching the point of no return in some random Somerset field somewhere, the heavens opened. Sorry did I say opened, I meant fell on top of us all at once. And bless..... continued to do so for the next 2 and half hours. This particular leg of the walk is extremely picturesque, rambling along the beautiful River Parrett on the Somerset levels. Of course, one forgets that the levels have absolutely no shelter from the horizontal rain and howling wind (literally! I had never heard actual howling before and thought this was just a myth, but no!)
Seven miles of this we had. Until our hands were so numb we couldn't operate mobile phones to text for moral support. Our shoes had gone beyond squelchy and were actual swimming pools of water slowly osmosing into our skin. Our legs, arms and torso's were so wet that we might as well not have bothered to wear clothes at all (that would have been a totally different kind of walk - might suggest this to the hospice for next year).
Finally coming within sight of the final town a mirage appeared coming towards us. Hobbits en masse had parked at final destination and were walking back towards us, arms outstretched with anticipated hugs. I cannot begin to describe what a sight for sore eyes they were because not only were they coming along to congratulate us on our effort and aid us in our last mile or so but they also indicated that the end was genuinely in sight.
Finally made it....last checkpoint.....17 miles in all....desperate need for hot bath and cup of tea all about to be fulfilled. What an amazing sense of satisfaction.
So that's it for another year. I think we have decided that next year we might do a Marathon instead. Or throw ourselves bodily out of an plane (preferably attached to a hunky airman) because at least that would be over and done with in minutes instead of the long hours we spent today in the teeming rain.
One last plea for donations, if you haven't already been pestered enough by me for cash for this walk, please feel free to visit our fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/vickieandhannah and give us some dosh.
If you don't I will be forced to visit you with my soggy wet washing from today and deposit it on your doorstep!!