Monday, 20 July 2009

The Cumbria Way - After

After spending the morning exploring Carlisle I returned, along the coast by train, to South Cumbria. Then, the following day I left for home. So there has been plenty of time in which to recover from and reflect upon my walk.

I didn't cover vast distances each day when compared to some - those who are walking or have walked the LEJOG or JOGLE (see Great Blogs that I follow) for instance. Since my five day walk I have raised my level of admiration and respect for such people.

My body coped well with the walk and I am very pleased, and relieved, about that. The soles of my feet were a problem; they were fairly sore most of the time and I got a couple of nasty blisters on the final day. This is to be expected but I will try to firm up my feet in some way before Bryn and I set out on The Cleveland Way. My main pre-walk concern had been whether or not my right knee would last the course. It did. I wasn't so organised when setting out, in the rain, on the final day's walk and forgot to take my daily dose of pain killers which were meant to numb my right knee. As it turned out there was no pain just the odd twinge so I'm off the pain killers now.

I'm very pleased with my kit too - especially the rucksack. Yes, especially the rucksack - it's lovely. The packed weight went up to 24lbs depending on food and water which was more than I had aimed for. It wasn't a problem but I will try to reduce it further. I didn't know it at the time but somewhere north of Keswick on Day 4 my rucksack rain cover flew off. I could have done with that on the following day especially. My sleeping bag was the main casualty - it got drenched. The replacement rain cover will be secured to the rucksack in future so that if the elasticated band does ease off then I'll still have the cover. I was in shorts for the whole journey. Leaving out the long trousers would save me some weight. However, I was glad to have them for my evening out in Carlisle on what was more like a Winter's night. (The Cumberland Show, an internationally recognised annual show was cancelled whilst I was in Carlisle - rained off!)

I wasn't sure about the blogging when I left either. I wondered if I would have enough to say or the time to say it. The problem though was keeping it short. One of the joys of walking solo is the time you have to think so I had plenty of material as it were. I said little about the route. I probably said too much about food. The strangest thing for me though was/is writing something yet not knowing who I am writing it to. Knowing who, or at least a sense of who you are writing to is much more normal. I'm not sure how to come to terms with that aspect. I will though because I have proved to myself that I can blog and that I enjoy doing so. I'm not sure what others make of it but it's a record for me and if it serves to encourage someone else - someone like me perhaps; getting on a bit, (Patrick, a cheerful, enthusiastic young gentleman from Worcester, who I camped next to at Calbeck reminded me that you're never too old), someone who would like to try something new or get back to something he or she once did, then I hope these ramblings can light or rekindle that fire.


Alan Sloman said...

Hi Brian

I am just back from a long weekend in the Yorkshire Dales, so I missed reading your blog.

Don't worry about mileage - it's only ever a series of day walks, just a lot more of them!

That Osprey is a fine sack - I can easily get everything I need in it (including four days food) and I take quite a few more clothes than you appear to.

I wouldn't dump those long trousers for the Cleveland Way though - when it gets very cold and rainy and windy you will need them!

Personally, I think rucksack covers are a complete waste of time. I just use 3 Exped waterproof bags inside my sack - One for the sleeping bag and pillow, One for spare clothes and One for food (including first Aid kit and chargers). The cooking equipment doesn't need it. Don't bother with a rucksac liner either - just extra un-needed weight.

I also have the smallest size Exped bag in the rucksack lid pocket for food I need durng the day so I never need to open the main body of the pack during the day.

I WOULD worry about getting blisters though! They are the most debilitating things and can ruin a longer walk.

Try wearing Bridgedale liner socks beneath your Merino walking socks - for two reasons - the liners push the sweat / water away from your feet into the Merino sock and they also extend the number of days you can wear your Merino's as all the skin sloughing from your feet stay inside the liner and don't foul up your Merinos. Wash the liners every night and then put them back on in the tent - they dry in minutes on your feet.

You really MUST find a footwear combination that avoids blisters - on my 1687 mile Lejog I picked up 1 tiny blister from a fold in my sock that only lasted a cuple of day. I would have dreaded blisters!

I throughly enjoy your blog - It's a 'must read' on my list!

Unknown said...

Hi Alan

It seems totally inadaquate that all I can say is thank you very much for your thoughful comments and most excellent advice - which I shall use.

What you say, as a comment above, as well routinely in your blog, is very interesting. I'm most grateful for your advice, especially that on socks. It would never have occured to me to dry my socks in the way you describe. It is how I shall do it in future though (when walking).

Thank you very much.