Walking 1,250 miles in 2017

Walking 1,250 miles in 2017

Scanning Twitter at the start of 2017 I came across Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles challenge. With nothing to loose and all to gain, judging from 2016 completer’s feedback, I decided to accept the challenge. All I had to do to complete 1,000 miles in one calendar year was to walk 2.74 miles per day every day for 365 days. This certainly made it easier to assimilate the task ahead and with this in the back of my mind it was a case of chipping away at the target distance at regular intervals hopefully on a daily basis.

Meindl Cambridge GTX muddy

At the start of the year Meindl Cambridge GTX Shoes proved to be essential footwear

There were a few hiccups on the way but I stuck with it and was delighted when I reached the 1,000 mile target two-thirds of the way through the year on 22nd August. On the last day in December my total distance achieved for 2017 was 1,253.3 miles. Amazingly converting this into kilometres equates to 2,017 km!

Lego MiniFig Navigator with snowdrops

In 2017 I finally saw the wonderful spectacle of the Snowdrops in Dimminsdale Woods with a Lego Mini Figure I called Chris Navigator assisting with scale

Early in the year due to dark nights and muddy field paths I concentrated on short walks and with one of these I devised I was able to do during my lunch hour. When both the weather and terrain conditions improved from Spring I completed longer walks during weekends and continued whenever possible with the lunchtime walks. Having achieved the target distance before the end of August there was a loss of focus in September. However, with two challenge walks organised in November, on the 11th the Seagrave Wolds 16 miles Challenge and on the 26th an 18 miles walk I was leading for the Long Distance Walkers’ Association’s Anytime Anywhere Group, there was a renewed energy from the start of October. This refocusing enabled more miles to be added and ensured I completed both events.

Blue and Yellow

A typical late Spring landscape in the South Nottinghamshire Wolds countryside

Fitness wise the first few months was a steady progress as the majority of walks were short distances to accommodate either the limited timeframe of my lunch hour or available day light. However, this gradual fitness progression was beneficial as it laid the foundations for the successful completion of longer walks undertaken from the Spring. In particular April was an amazing month as I achieved 210 miles and successfully completed the 29 miles Erewash Valley Trail in ten hours.

Tree in a field

This lone Ash tree was a distinctive feature and I was able to photograph it through the seasons and here it is in the height of Summer

Whilst I enjoyed writing about each walk after completion I found manually adding distances and time after each activity a bit of a bind. In late January I suddenly realised I had a Suunto Movescount account and decided to use this to record distances and times as it updated these automatically after I provided the details. Movescount even works out the overall km/h for each walk and gives information on the distance completed for each month as well as providing a neat way of displaying information. The latter was beneficial for providing updates of my progress on social media. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Late Autumn and a second generation Red Admiral taking advantage of the sunshine

Just under 190 miles, 188.77 to be precise, were from urban walks on wholly surfaced paths which mainly came from my lunchtime work walk. I did this walk over 50 times but I never got bored with this route and it was only a change of work venue from September that prevented me doing more. Incidentally this walk went through two green ‘lungs’ of a city which included a wonderful Arboretum.

Winter treescape

That lone Ash tree again this time photographed in December when the landscape was transformed by snowfall – unusual in South Nottinghamshire

The remaining 1,000 plus miles were from walks located in the countryside and mainly ones that I was able to start and finish from my front door. For these I had planned a variety of routes that I repeated on regular intervals but this enabled me to become intimately engaged with each walk. Having a series of routes fixed in one’s mind frees one to think, discover and explore. This empowered me to notice subtle changes occurring within nature throughout the year and with farming through the seasons. From mid April I decided to undertake night hikes and I was surprised how walking through twilight and darkness enhanced my awareness and brought me closer to the landscape.

2017km 1253.3m 462.35hrs 111217 Movescount

A screenshot from Suunto’s Movescount displaying an overview of 2017

In summary taking up Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles challenge in 2017 has been an extremely positive experience in many ways. Improvements in fitness is the first area that comes to mind but I also feel healthier. In addition it has enabled me to be more resilient to changes at work and the challenge has resulted in vast improvements in my mental well-being. In 2018 I am taking up the #walk1000miles challenge again to continue trying to walk every day but hoping to include mountain walks and perhaps thru-hike the Pennine Way.

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#walk1000miles challenge completed

#walk1000miles challenge completed

Harvested field

Through Twitter I became aware of Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles in 2017 challenge. This seemed to be the ideal New Year’s resolution with an activity that not only improved personal physical fitness but also mental wellbeing. Country Walking stated that all you needed to achieve this target was to walk 2.74 miles every day for 365 days.  However, with many commitments, especially from work, would I be able to keep to this schedule every single day? Self doubts began to creep in. But after reading some inspiring stories from people on Country Walking’s website who completed the #walk1000miles in 2016 I decided it would be worth giving it a go. I devised a plan to keep me on target for each month based on the number of days in each month times 2.74 miles. Then I simply just needed to start and my first walk for this journey commenced on the 3rd January. I realised it was steady progress as I hadn’t achieved my January target at the end of that month. The main reason being that the first two weeks of this month involved a heavy workload finishing off UCAS student references and approving their applications. During February I exceeded my monthly target but was over 30 miles under the cumulative total for that month. However, by the end of March I had exceeded the cumulative target by just over 2 miles. Now I needed to keep ahead each month even if it was just by a few miles. April was a brilliant month as I walked almost 211 miles during this period. On 7th May was the break through as this was the date where I hit over 500 miles and therefore reached the half way point with almost two months to spare. I was delighted to be so far ahead of the target I had set myself. Late Spring and early Summer was a drive to keep well ahead of the set targets and then the realisation that I could hit 1000 miles before the end of August if I maintained this pace. In mid August there was a lapse in my recording and as I feed the latest data into Movescount I suddenly found that I had achieved the 1000 miles target a few days after actually completing it. So my journey to a 1000 miles ended on 22nd August which just happened to be pay day! This could be seen as the reward as there was no red carpet or fanfare as I crossed the 1000 miles finish line. This personal challenge was really enjoyable and I was pleasantly surprised to be able to finish it with over four 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.

Wheat field with heavy cloud

This year was a good yield for cereal crops

What next? Well if I completed 1000 miles in two-thirds of the year then it should be possible to complete another 500 miles for the remainder of this year. Perhaps I will start the #walk500more and aim to complete 1500 miles before the end of 2017. On the last day of August and as Summer comes to an end I have walked a fraction over 1030 miles and tomorrow sees the start of a new journey in another season.

Canal reflection

Walks along canal towpaths also contributed to the distance completed

January to August monthly totals for #walk1000miles in 2017

January 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles

January total 36.6 miles (58.91 km)

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

February total 91.22 miles (146.8 km) cumulative total = 127.82 miles

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

March total 120.98 miles (194.7 km) cumulative total = 248.8 miles

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

April total 210.7 miles (339.1 km) cumulative total = 459.5 miles

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

May total 153.6 miles (247.2 km) cumulative total = 613.16 miles

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

June total 114.6 miles (184.5 km) cumulative total = 727.62 miles

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

July total 130.98 miles (210.8 km) cumulative total = 858.7 miles

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

#walk1000miles target achieved on 22nd August = 1003.5 miles

August total 172.07 miles (276.9 km) cumulative total = 1030.85 miles

Used Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping for route planning and Suunto Movescount to record walks.

Tree in a field

Footnote: I have taken photographs of this tree throughout my #walk1000miles venture and here it is after the harvest with a fabulous blue sky as a backdrop

#walk1000miles the first 600 miles

#walk1000miles the first 600 miles

After seeing the Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles in 2017 challenge on Twitter I decided it would be worth giving it a go. However, it took  until the 3rd of January to make the start. Knowing that one needed to do 2.74 miles every day for 365 days to hit the target why didn’t I start on the 1st January? I devised a plan to keep me on target for each month based on the number of days in each month times 2.74 miles (see below).

So to commence the challenge on the 2nd January I planned what was to become my #WorkWalk. This was a 1.93 mile route that started and finished where I worked and went through two green spaces in Nottingham, namely the Forest Recreation Ground, famous for the site of the Goose Fair in October, and the Arboretum. I completed fourteen #WorkWalk ‘s in January to which I added a walk I have done many times in the past few years (7.25 miles) and one I devised especially for #walk1000miles in 2017 (10 miles). The latter were countryside walks over footpaths, bridleways, tracks and trails close to where I live.

Meindl Cambridge GTX muddy

Typical conditions with the countryside walks early in the year so my Meindl Cambridge GTX shoes came into their own and they kept my feet perfectly dry

In February I only missed three days where I didn’t walk and was pleasantly surprised just how many miles one can achieve with a #WorkWalk every weekday. Weekend walks were in the local countryside but as a respite from the mud I did three laps of the National Water Sports Centre’s (NWSC) Regatta Lake. March saw four days missed walks but more countryside walks enabled more miles walked this month compared to February. April was a great month and a turning point despite missing four days of walking. This was due to gaining blisters after a Long Distance Walkers Association 29 miles Erewash Valley Trail walk with the Anytime Anywhere group. Also I devised a new walk which took in three historical sites around East Leake and measured 16 miles, and I completed this every weekend in April.

Blue and Yellow

Fields of Oil-seed rape near Rempstone Nottinghamshire May 2017

May saw me go through the 500 miles target with a total of 501 miles recorded on the 7th of that month. Then there was a lull with four days in a row missed and a total of ten days when a walk wasn’t recorded. However, with determination I set a target of completing 600 miles before the end of the month and this was achieved on 30th when five laps of the NWSC Regatta Lake were completed which meant 0.7 miles were needed to get to that target. Getting back home I didn’t want to leave it until the next day so literately it took a 2.5 mile walk in the park to go through the 600 mile target. Finally, on the last day of May I added another 11.34 miles with a countryside walk in beautiful weather.

Now onward with seven months left to do 386.84 miles. I am enjoying this personal challenge and thanks to Country Walking for devising it and providing the motivation.

#walk1000miles plan for 2017

January 31 days X 2.74 miles / day = 84.94 miles

January total 36.6 miles (58.91 km)

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

February total 91.22 miles (146.8 km) cumulative total = 127.82 miles

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

March total 120.98 miles (194.7 km) cumulative total = 248.8 miles

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

April total 210.7 miles (339.1 km) cumulative total = 459.5 miles

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

May total 153.6 miles (247.2 km) cumulative total = 613.16 miles

June 30 days X 2.74 miles / day = 82.2 miles 495.94 miles achieved 501 7th May

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

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

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

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

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

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

Used Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping for route planning and Suunto Movescount to record walks.