2019 Seagrave Wolds Challenge

2019 Seagrave Wolds Challenge

The start of Seagrave Wolds Challenge 2018

Tomorrow, Saturday 9th November, is the 2019 Seagrave Wolds Challenge (SWC) 16 miles endurance event. I entered months ago but am I ready? Not really. Man flu has taken a hold over the last three weeks and has dented both my fitness levels and drained my mental capacity. Plus the weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t good and the underfoot conditions are likely to be worse than in previous years. Reason for the latter is that it seems to have rained every day at some period for the past six weeks. In my local area, which is pretty close to Seagrave, some footpaths have been impassable or to get through involved wading in water that came over my boots! One gear selection area has already been made based on the ambient underfoot conditions – boots! Last year I wore Brooks Ghost 10 training shoes and my feet remained virtually dry throughout the Challenge. This is an unusual occurrence and the terrain conditions in last year’s SWC where the best in the eight years I have entered. No chance of having dry feet this year wearing mesh training shoes. At this point I need to mention that I am a walker who prefers to wear training shoes. So it is going to be cold and the chances of rain gradually increase as the day goes on. Definitely thermals and be prepared to don waterproofs. The 2019 SWC will be my 9th so worth trying at least to finish tomorrow’s event.

The half way point for SWC 2018

Parking update for the 2019 SWC

The usual parking area is waterlogged and unusable. Alternatives parking areas are:

Park Hill: If you are coming from the A46, please exit at the Seagrave Junction (do not come via the Six Hills junction as Paudy lane to Seagrave is currently closed). Drive down Park Hill lane towards Seagrave for just under 0.5 miles and turn left into what was Park Hill Golf Course (or type PWWG+HP into Google maps).  You will be directed to the parking area.

British Gypsum: If you are coming from Barrow-on-Soar, Sileby, or Walton-on-the-Wolds, please go to the British Gypsum Works on Paudy Lane (The entrance is less than 0.25 miles from the Paudy Lane cross roads towards Barrow-on Soar) (or type QV6V+58 into google). You will be directed to the parking area.

We will arrange for transport to take you to and from Seagrave Village Hall. Please note that Park Hill and British Gypsum are both active work sites and, for your safety, you must not leave these parking areas on foot.

For SWC 2018 there were blue skies and dry tracks

2018 SWC Roll of Honour

1st to finish was John Orgill in 01:41:39

1st lady Challenger was Fiona Hollingsworth in 02:05:08

1st walker home was Colin Vesty in 03:14:56 (he was also first walker last year)

1st lady walker was Janet Long in 04:00:32

The last Challenger made it back in 05:58:40

Well done to everyone who finished this year’s Challenge.

Some statistics for the 2018 SWC

The event was fully subscribed with 700 registered Challengers

There were 573 runners and 127 walkers.

We had 465 runners and 94 walkers at the start line.

Happily, there were no significant first aid interventions

On a personal note in the 2018 SWC I recorded my fastest time of 4 hours 21 minutes. For the 2019 SWC it is about completing and not competing to try and get a faster time than 2018. Wish me luck.

#walk1000miles five months and 500 miles

In the previous four months although I was always in front of my schedule mileage wise and I knew I would surpass the planned total of 413.74 miles but at the end of May I wanted to exceed 500 miles. There were a number of activities that would greatly assist in this quest. The main one is that I had entered the Long Distance Walkers Association (LWDA) Hadrian’s Hundred 100 mile challenge walk although there would be no guarantee that I would complete the whole distance. The other was also LDWA related as I was leading my East Leake 3 Points History (3PHW) 16 miles joint walk for the Anytime Anywhere and Sherwood Groups plus I would need to do a recce. On the first Saturday I decided to complete my 6th 10 miles Logan Trail & East Leake walk as an evening circuit to get me used to the night sections for the 100 miles challenge event. The next day I allocated to the recce for the 3PHW and I was pleased with the time I completed this in was only five minutes over the 5 hours 30 minutes stated by the Ordnance Survey when I plotted this route into their digital mapping app. Sunday 12th May was to be a navigation training event for Rushcliffe Ramblers but no one turned up. Anyway it was back home for lunch then out on another Logan Trail & East Leake walk this time in full daylight hours. The following Sunday was me leading for the LDWA the 3PHW and thankfully this time people, 16 of them, did turn up. A really enjoyable day and a lunch stop at a pub kept them all happy. The next weekend was the Hadrian’s Hundred so I set off on the Friday by train to Hexham. The weather forecast for the event was not very promising but 500 or so set off on the Saturday at 10am. For me it was a chance to soak up the atmosphere of this challenge as a participant and I enjoyed seeing Hadrian’s Wall on the first section. When at the Knaresdale Check Point 29 miles into the event I consulted my phone for the weather forecast. The next part included the crux of this challenge walk an ascent of Cross Fell at night. However, I decided to call time as heavy rain, low cloud and cold temperatures were predicted and this was what I was going to be walking into. Personally I am glad I made this decision as I found out later a number of participants became hypothermic on this stretch of the route and were unable to continue past Gregg’s Hut before the final summit push onto Cross Fell.

On the last day of May I finally made it past the 500 miles target but at the same period in 2017 I had reached 613 miles and in 2018 561 miles. Now onward with seven months left to do 497.56 miles. I am enjoying this personal challenge for a third year in a row after successful completions in 2017 and 2018. Thanks to Country Walking for devising it and providing the motivation.

Planned and actual miles January to May (the first five months):

January 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles

January completed 87.61 miles (141 km)

February 28 days X 2.74 miles / day = 76.72 miles cumulative 161.66 miles

February completed 83.13 miles (133.8 km) cumulative total = 170.75 miles

March 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles cumulative 246.6 miles

March completed 90.53miles (145.7 km) cumulative total = 260.97 miles

April 30 days X 2.74 miles / day = 82.2 miles cumulative 328.80 miles

April completed 97.36 miles (156.7 km) cumulative total = 358.59 miles

May 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles cumulative 413.74 miles

May completed 143.84 miles (231.5 km) cumulative total = 502.44 miles

The following is the planned schedule for the next seven months:

June 30 days X 2.74 miles / day = 82.2 miles cumulative 495.94 miles

Already surpassed the end of June’s target.

July 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles cumulative 580.88 miles

August 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles cumulative 665.82 miles

September 30 days X 2.74 miles / day = 82.2 miles cumulative 748.02miles

October 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles cumulative 832.96 miles

November 30 days X 2.74 miles / day = 82.2 miles cumulative 915.16 miles

December 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles cumulative 1000.1 miles

I used Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping for route planning as well as one of their Custom Design 1:25,000 paper maps and Suunto Movescount to record walks.

A Rapid Circuit but with Time to Observe

A Rapid Circuit but with Time to Observe

Consulting the weather forecast the previous evening I decided to complete the Logan Trail and East Leake 10 miles walk as I did the same time last year without the need of carrying a rucksack. This lightweight approach worked but I needed lunch beforehand to avoid carrying food and drink. So consuming two fish finger cobs and a glass of pure orange juice I was suitably nourished and hydrated to embark on this trek. As I stepped over the threshold and entered the great outdoors the sky was a blank canvas awaiting the artist’s brush. Today the palette would consist of various shades of grey with hints of blue-grey awaiting application. With a sky like this and the weather forecast predicting rain after midday it provided the incentive that the walk could be done at pace. On yesterday’s walk I arrived at the gate on Ash Lane in 39 minutes but on this hike I was at this location six minutes earlier so an excellent indication that this could be a rapid circuit. Crossing Gotham Lane and heading towards the Willow tree by Fairham Brook the sky clouded over and the precipitation arrived on time as a mizzle. Fortunately, this only lasted for a few minutes and the sky had finally received the application of shades of grey. Just in time as now I was approaching The Ash tree and wanted to add more photographs to my collection of this lone tree in the middle of a field. The grey sky added atmosphere to these images and contrasted to the ones I took four weeks ago with vivid blue skies.

The Tree

The Ash Tree

Moving on with still a rapid pace I passed under the railway bridge and through  what the locals call the sheep field and crossed the foot bridge which goes over a drainage ditch. Earlier this year after the snow lots of plastic bottles and waste congregated at this point. I noticed that water was flowing freely and it looked liked the ditch had seen the use of an excavator recently. However, the debris from the ditch had been deposited onto the field along with plastic bottles and other waste material. Not sure if these will ever be removed and possibly turned into the soil with various agricultural processes.


Debris scattered across a field

Luckily the next part of the journey was going along the picturesque Logan Trail. I paused briefly at the first seat along this trial as I don’t think I have sat there this year and for me it has a wonderful aspect looking across a stream and the landscape beyond. At the end of the trail it meets Gotham Road and the completion of this particular section.

Logan Trail West

The Logan Trail – western section tunnel of trees

Crossing the road The Logan Trail continues through a tunnel of trees that borders a field before it moves onto the verge by the road. Normally the path here is narrow as the vegetation takes up space but today there was a clear wide path as this had been cut away. To counter this loss of habitat a positive on this section was the range of bird contact calls. At its end I crossed the road to start the ascent to the Cuckoo Bush. Here I removed the Marmot Hoody to avoid overheating and continued the steep climb. The end of this leg is the top by a path junction and I was surprised that I had made it to this point in under two hours as it usually takes this long to get to the start of The Logan Trail. As the wind was picking up at this point I put the Marmot Hoody back on. Making progress through West Leake Woods I am sure I heard calls from ravens and rustling sounds from deer although I never saw either. As I peered into the woods I was hoping that a deer would suddenly appear in a clearing but it never happened. Pushing onward I did stop briefly to view the power station and then carried on to West Leake Church. Here I sent a Whatsapp to Jane to give her an indication of what time I should arrive back home. This leg follows the Midshires Way through the village to ascend Fox Hill.

Fungi and trainer

Close by The Corner Tree was this fungi

On arriving at the footpath junction at the top of the hill I descend to the corner tree. I always stop at The Corner Tree as there is usually a large Bracket fungus attached to its trunk which is worth taking a photograph of but on this occasion the fungus had been kicked off. However, I did take an image of a section laying on the ground and used the tip of my trainer to show scale. Carrying on I noted the time at the Stone Bridge and knew I could finish in my fastest time for this walk. Now it was head down under the railway bridge into Meadow Park and on arriving home confirmed this was my quickest circuit of this much loved route.

Seagrave Wolds Challenge

Seagrave Wolds Challenge

A week on Saturday sees me on the start line of the 2018 Seagrave Wolds Challenge (SWC). The 2018 event held on 10th November will be the 14th consecutive SWC. The organiser’s inform us that as last year’s route was so popular, this year’s route is likely to be quite similar. It will be just short of 16 miles and should take in the villages of Wymeswold, Rempston, Prestwold, Burton on-the-Wolds, and Walton-on-the-Wolds. If the weather is clear expect nice views of the lovely Wolds countryside and, with support from local landowners, get some rare access across private land. 

SWC Village Cryer

The Bell Ringer always starts the Seagrave Wolds Challenge

Hopefully, if I complete the 2018 event this will be my eighth SWC completion. Being held on the second Saturday in November it is always a challenge due to the presence of mud and the distinct likelihood of rain. In 2017 it started off dull with the prospects of rain but it turned out to be sunny with bright blue skies so well worth the effort and not requiring the usual resilience and grit to complete.

SWC Prestwold Church 2017

A rarity on the Seagrave Wolds Challenge – sunshine and blue skies nevertheless makes for a memorable image of Prestwold Church

As well as being a challenge for runners and walkers the SWC also raises funds for local charities. The 2017 SWC raised over £10,000 which went to Seagrave Memorial Hall Redecoration Fund; The Richardson Foundation; The Seagrave Christmas Lights Fund; Seagrave Village Primary School; and the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

All proceeds from the 2018 SWC will go to support the following charities: Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal; Seagrave Village Primary School; Seagrave Village Primary School; Seagrave Church Clock; The Seagrave Christmas Lights Fund (Phase 21); Richards Educational Charity; Burton On Community Woodland and Prostate Cancer Charity.

2017’s Roll of Honour

1st to make the finish was Tim Hartley in 01:46:13

1st lady Challenger was Beth Eburne in 01:59:43

1st walker home was Colin Vesty in 03:17:17

1st lady walker was Claire Martin in 04:22:51

The last Challenger made it back in 06:12:08

SWC 16 miles and the finish 2017

Just a matter of a few yards to the finish of the 2017 Seagrave Wolds Challenge

Some statistics for 2017

A record total of 699 registered Challengers when entries closed.

There were 593 runners and 106 walkers.

There were 490 runners and 97 walkers at the start line.

All finished bar one who had a first aid incident and pulled a ligament

Whatever the weather for the 2018 event there will always be smiles from SWC supporters and crumble and custard at the finish!

SWC Crumble 'n Custard 2017

What awaits every Seagrave Wolds Challenge completer at the finish – crumble and custard!

For further information about this year’s and future Seagrave Wolds Challenges:


#walk1000miles 2018 challenge completed

#walk1000miles 2018 challenge completed

Walk 1000 miles 2018 badge
The Country Walking magazine’s Walk 1000 miles badge displayed on my Black Diamond RPM rucksack.

After successfully completing Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles in 2017 challenge I decided to take it on again in 2018. This time I knew the score and the fact that just walking 2.74 miles every day of 2018 would get me to the 1000 miles destination point. But knowing and thinking are not enough one has to actually do it! This takes a certain amount of discipline not to mention resilience and grit to keep going through snow, mud, rain and sun. Yes, 2018 has had a real mix of weather conditions and there are still three months to go! Early in 2018 the Beast from the East which joined Storm Emma produced the worst weather in the UK for years. Last year I had to wait until 10th December to walk in snow but in 2018 my first walk in the snow was on 28th February but this was nothing to the depth of snow which fell on the 18th March. That day had an Arctic feel and the snow covered my boots!

The Beast from the East transformed the landscape on 18th March 2018.

Then with all this moisture the countryside paths became very muddy. To balance this severe cold weather the Summer of 2018 was confirmed as the hottest in England of all time even beating the Summer of 1976. No wonder I spent most of that seasons walks in shorts. Normality returned in Autumn but even then on the 2nd September the temperature was high enough for me to have one last walk in shorts.

The Tree 25th August 2018
The same tree photographed on 25th August 2018.

It may be hard to believe but I completed 130 2.5 miles Meadow Park walks and these netted 325 miles to the 1000 miles total. This local walk also proved extremely useful to keep the mileage flow going when the Football World Cup was on in July as it allowed me to take a hike between matches held at the weekends. Back in 2016 I entered two challenge walks one being 27 miles, The Dovedale Dipper, and the other 54 miles, The Three Forests Way. The former I completed but the latter I managed to get to the 49 miles check point before I had to retire. In 2018 with almost 2000 miles walked since The Three Forests Way event I decided to have another go at a 50 plus miles overnight endurance walk. Again I entered The Dovedale Dipper and succeeded in completing the event in under nine hours an improvement over the 2016 time. With slight trepidation I arrived on the start line of the 54 miles Herts Stroller knowing that a successful completion would enable me to enter next year’s Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) 100 miles event. I made steady progress and left the 30 miles check point in under ten hours which was what I had planned. Just as darkness was coming on and the first rain showers appeared I met fellow LDWA member Ian Fairweather and we completed the rest of the route together finishing in under 18.5 hours. I was delighted not just with finishing the walk but in the time achieved. Moving on from endurance events three walks I organised for the Rushcliffe Ramblers offered a different dimension in that they were navigation training walks for members. The first two were in July and the final one in September. All were conducted in a heat wave and there was positive feedback with no doubt that I will organise more of these events in the near future.

So my journey to a 1000 miles ended on 30th September which coincided with Ordnance Survey’s #GetOutsideDay. This personal challenge was really enjoyable and I was pleasantly surprised to be able to finish it with three months to spare. Special thanks to Country Walking for devising this challenge and providing the ongoing motivation through Twitter and regular e-mails. I certainly feel physically fitter and the activity provided a vehicle to promote my personal well being.

Me proudly holding my Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000mile 2018 medal

What next? I still plan to continue walking and see if I can get at least one walk in the mountains or moorlands before the year ends.

January to September monthly totals for #walk1000miles in 2018 both planned and actual

January 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles

January total 183.9 km 114.27 miles

February 28 days X 2.74 miles / day = 76.72 miles 161.66 miles

February total 203.4 km 126.38 miles cumulative total = 240.65 miles

March 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles 246.6 miles

March total 140.2 km 87.12miles cumulative total = 327.77 miles

April 30 days X 2.74 miles / day = 82.2 miles 328.80 miles

April total 193 km 119.925 miles cumulative total = 447.76 miles

May 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles 413.74 miles

May total 182.5 km 113.4 miles cumulative total = 561.16 miles

June 30 days X 2.74 miles / day = 82.2 miles 495.94 miles

June total 166.4km 103.396 miles cumulative total = 664.24 miles

July 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles 580.88 miles

July total 107.8 km 66.98 miles cumulative total = 731.35 miles

August 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles 665.82 miles

August total 300.5 km 186.72 miles cumulative total = 918.38 miles

September 30 days X 2.74 miles / day = 82.2 miles 748.02 miles

September total 135.3 km 84.07 miles cumulative total = 1002.27 miles

1613km 1002.27miles 30 September 2018 Movescount
Screenshot of the Suunto Movescount page for 30th September 2018

I used Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping for route planning and Suunto Movescount to record walks. The latter also provided excellent visuals for social media and for personal records. 

The Logan Trail and East Leake

The Logan Trail and East Leake

Earlier in the week I had every intention of completing this walk on Sunday 30th September to coincide with the Ordnance Survey’s #GetOutsideDay and using this route to complete my #walk1000miles challenge for 2018. However, the weather forecast for the weekend informed my wife that Saturday was going to be a grand sunny day and a better one for a walk. She duly passed on this knowledge but before heading out I needed to check my Suunto Movescount that in doing this walk I wouldn’t be over the 1000 miles distance. Having completed the check I found that even after doing The Logan Trail and East Leake 10 miles walk I would be 0.22 miles short of the 1000 miles. So changing plans and sorting out my gear I managed to get through the door to start the walk at just before 1pm.

Taking place in the undulating terrain of  the South Nottinghamshire Wolds countryside the walk goes through farmland, woods, along brooks and features historical sites ranging from a three thousand years old tumulus to disused and restored railways with a local tale thrown in on the way. The walk starts and finishes in East Leake and the first section gradually ascends to Bunny New Wood then descends to Gotham Lane.


The public footpath sign that makes everyone smile.

The next leg follows Fairham Brook and as the brook turns NW the route continues west passing a lone Ash tree in the middle of the field. Since 22nd January 2017 I have taken many photographs of this tree through the seasons. As the sky was a clear blue I paused to add few more images of this tree to my collection.  Still heading west the route goes through a former Great Central Railway bridge. After crossing a few fields we gain the start of The Logan Trail. This was originally a railway line built by the Great Central Railway serving the gypsum industry in the Nottinghamshire village of Gotham. Now it serves as a recreational path and is a useful link to the Rights of Way network. This leg ends on Leake Road and the next section crosses this road and continues along the western section of The Logan Trail.


In a short distance the trail ends and crossing the road the route continues and gradually steepens to reach a bridleway junction at the top of a hill and the end of this section. At the top is a small plantation where a Neolithic burial mound is located. This tumulus is over three thousand years old. The site is also rumoured to be the location of the famous Cuckoo Bush. Here the Wise Men of Gotham built a fence around a tree to prevent the Cuckoo from flying off so that spring will last forever. Unfortunately, this didn’t work as the fence wasn’t built high enough and the Cuckoo simply flew away. Today I used this location for a lunch break and I wondered what this place would have been like in the Middle Ages and in the Stone Age. After lunch I went back to the bridleway junction to start the next leg which heads south through the West Leake Hills wood.


All along the route there was evidence of Autumn but the leaf litter wasn’t very deep.

After exiting the wood the route follows tracks and rights of way to the village of West Leake where this leg ends at the church. A quick break for a drink and the next section goes through the village following the Midshires Way to ascend Fox Hill. Just before the top of the hill the final leg descends following the footpath to an old stone bridge. Here the route heads east following Kingston Brook through a wood and eventually goes under a railway bridge. This bridge is another built by the Great Central Railway. Exiting the tunnel the route goes through Meadow Park to arrive back at the village of East Leake. I planned the walk to take around five hours as with the sunny conditions there would be plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Arriving at the finish line I pressed the stop button on my Suunto watch and recorded a time of 5 hours 01 minute 48 seconds. OK this shows a great sense of timing but I could have easily stayed out for another twenty odd minutes or more such was the beauty of this day in the sun.

Now on #GetOutsideDay to complete the Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles challenge for 2018 I won’t have to climb a mountain, cross a moor or follow a shore. I just need to go out the door and take a walk in the park to do 0.22 miles (354m).


Lights shone on the left, and on the right

The middle a dark blackness that was home for a night

In the early hours, the calm that I viewed within the nylon walls

Rain lashed, and wind hurled against the little green tent

I knew I was not wanted upon that dark blackness

But within the shelter of the little green tent

In the sleeping bag I snuggled down, and we were all defiant

For we outlasted the night

The morning was to bring no respite

As door zips were opened

Rain laden mist blew across

The dark blackness was replaced by a damp greyness

As breakfast was cooked

And quickly devoured

I watched the damp greyness change briefly to green

But o’ to briefly

Packing was done quickly

And when pack lid closed tightly

I looked at the spot

The little green tent had clung onto

As I moved, I reflected on the night

The memory was mine

And shared within the fabric

Of that little green tent

A reflection of a high level camp on the Swine’s Back Kinder Plateau whilst thru-hiking The Peakland Way in April 1983.

The Little Green Tent is a Fjällräven Hunter single skin tent that I bought from Roger Turner Mountain Sports Nottingham in 1977. This was a cross ridge design with a total weight of 1.4kg.