Walking The Walk: First Steps

I’ll admit that I didn’t take notes nor take as many photos as I would’ve liked. Sadly Sam’s camera has gone AWOL during our house move, so camera phones and using other peoples images will have to suffice. Acknowledgments included of course.

Sam on a Style
Sam on one of our jaunts

Where should I begin here? The training started soon after I signed up which would have been about February last year. Facebook suggests it was in fact on my 29th birthday! Soon after, having never done hillwalking, hiking or anything like it since Air Cadets, we started the training with a 5 mile jaunt around Eynsford one Sunday afternoon.

After that, we (Sam and myself) did about one walk a month, gradually building in miles. I’ve always been a gym goer anyway, so my fitness levels were great but I really did need the practice to see what the deal really would be.

Donations were asked for from about the end of August onwards. I always worry about forgetting, so put posters up at my work and started tweeting/blogging at an noninvasive rate.

Some equipment was borrowed (thanks for the backpack Dad!), boots had already been purchased and a quick trip to Decathlon saw me pick up a water bag and some clothing.

Day 1: Getting There

Jane, Dave and Gary on a practise walk
Practice walk.

The longest drive I’ve ever done was from Kent up to Ripon, Yorkshire but we were passing that by quite a stretch. Sam did all of the driving, though, and we set off from Hemel Hempstead at about 09:00, stopping initially for a greasy brekkie takeaway and then for a quick beverage. We arrived at the hotel, just outside of Newcastle Upon Tyne, at about 14:00, the motorways being fairly clear that afternoon!

Being fairly ignorant of the local geography, we headed to the well posted Metro Centre to have some lunch and mooch a little before the others arrived. We spent a fair few hours watching TV back at the hotel but damn would we ever need that rest!

Some of the walkers met at the bar from about 19:00 drank, chatted and skim read over routes. A few others were staying closer to town so had arranged to meet us the following morning at the start point.

Dinner was had, though service was a little below par that evening, and whilst I’d done little that day I was pleased to see my bed at 23:00!