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.

Rubbish

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.

Advertisements
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:

http://www.seagravewoldschallenge.co.uk/

Navigation training events for Ramblers

Navigation training events for Ramblers

Introduction

Volunteering was part of my #teacher5aday pledge for 2018 and one way to fulfill this was to put a proposal to the Rushcliffe Ramblers to organise navigation training events for their members. This they accepted and I recently completed the first event in heat wave conditions using a 7.2 miles countryside walking route. Going back to 2015 I devised a land navigation model which I used when teaching students this topic. The model was developed using the following sequence that would be used in typical land navigation situations. From this sequence I devised a set of concepts that corresponded to each question within this framework:

  • Where are you starting from? Concept – detection
  • Where are you heading to? Concept – destination
  • Which way are you going? Concept – direction
  • How far are you going to travel? Concept – distance.

These concepts: detection; destination; direction and distance form part of a conceptual system and each concept was defined by a set of critical characteristics. This idea was developed into ‘The 4 D’s of Land Navigation Model’ and my findings were published in the Institute of Outdoor Learning’s ‘Horizons’ magazine issue 73 Spring 2016 under the title: “Land navigation, coaching concepts”. I used this model in the first navigation training event I organised with the Rushcliffe Ramblers.

4 D's Navigation jpeg

Outline of techniques and activity relating to The 4 D’s of Land Navigation Model

Each bullet point listed below was mentioned during the activity and where applicable demonstrated. I have placed each discussion point under the most appropriate concept in ‘The 4 D’s of Land Navigation Model.’ The points listed provide evidence that even a walk in rural low level countryside knowledge of a wide range of navigation techniques are required.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Essential items for navigation – Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 map and a compass

Detection

  • Locating position on map. This is aided by folding the map so that only the immediate area is being viewed and keeps focus avoiding distracting information. 
  • Setting a map by using the compass and setting a map by observation.
  • Observation – take account of features directly in one’s immediate surroundings to assist in confirming location. These can include contour details. Don’t be taken in by features in the middle and far distance.
  • Knowledge of map signs and symbols.
  • Using senses such as sound to assist in ascertaining location.
  • Explained that a grid reference covers an area not a specific point. A 4 figure GR covers an area of 1km2 and a 6 figure GR covers an area of 100m2.
  • Discussed moving slightly from current point for intelligence gathering to ascertain location.
  • Observation above the landscape e.g. power lines can be useful to ascertain location.
  • Completed a location exercise relating to a point not represented on a map.

Destination

  • Discussed types of Rights of Way and how these are represented on a map and in the field.
  • Explained using a compass when entering a large field and taking a bearing will aid finding the exit when it cannot be seen.
  • Anticipate what the next part of the route will look like.
  • Explored using prominent visual features to assist in attaining our destination.

Direction

  • Types of compass. Identified parts of a baseplate compass: index point; direction of travel arrow; orienting arrow and the magnetic needle.
  • Demonstrated how to take a map bearing to establish direction.
  • Used sign posts and signs to assist in direction finding. Also taking note of the line by usage.
  • Discussed points of reference – these are main features that can be utilised to aid direction finding and to assist in relocation if required.
  • Demonstrated using the ‘thumbing’ technique whereby the thumb is moved along the map as progress is being made. This ensures knowing where we are at any time.
  • How field boundaries, represented only on 1:25,000 scale maps, can be utilised relating to the angle of the path and assist in route finding.
  • Using field boundaries and water courses as hand rail features to aid direction.
  • Described how fenced tracks and unfenced tracks are depicted on a map and in the field using an example on the route.
  • Discussed using contour lines and features to aid direction finding.
  • Explained that a mirror compass is ideal for taking bearings off distant hills as you will be able to sight on the object without lifting the baseplate as the mirror reflects the compass housing and the bearing required.
  • Discussed how to connect with the compass and having it hanging around one’s neck with the supplied cord isn’t the best way. Demonstrated using the cord as a wrist loop and discussed having a much longer length of cord so the compass can be carried away from the neck and in a safer location under the arm so that in a wind it doesn’t fly up and hit them on the cheek. A greater length of cord will enable a more convenient way to use the compass on the map to gain a bearing.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes there is just a trace of a path

Distance

  • Map scales for walkers 1:25,000 1:40,000 1:50,000 and explained what these mean.
  • Explained that romer scales provide an accurate six figure grid reference and can be used to measure distances. Some compasses have these on their baseplate.
  • Demonstrated the use of a romer scale to establish distance and how to use the millimetre scale in the same way but this required calculation.
  • Mentioned Naismith’s Rule for estimating walking time but in the area where we were walking in there was no need to apply the ascent formula. However, if the walk is in a mountain area and peaks are to be gained then this is essential to take into account.
  • Also mentioned Tranter’s Variations which is a more complicated system as it takes account of fitness level; weight of load carried; underfoot and weather conditions.
  • Discussed using a Smart phones fitness app to provide a guide to distance covered / completed. This app is akin to an analogue pedometer as it uses a motion sensor and therefore doesn’t drain the battery like when using a GPS function.
  • Discussed using digital mapping such as supplied by the Ordnance Survey which traces the route taken and provides cumulative distances. However, need to be aware that this can drain the battery of the device used.

Compasses taken to show participants

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Silva Expedition compass with romer scales in 1:25,000; 1:40,000 & 1:50,000

The Silva Expedition, which I used throughout the walk and has romer scales on its base plate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Suunto MC-2 G 6400 mils mirror compass

A Suunto mirror compass and demonstrated its use in taking a field bearing without raising the base plate as the mirror reflects the bezel and bearing.

A basic Silva version which I didn’t show as attendees had similar versions.

Notes on Leading a Walk

Where relevant discussed leading a walk and in particular the ability to switch off from navigating to chat with the group and when to switch on again to concentrate on the route finding. The latter required points of reference in order to identify when to do this. A walk recce may be done a few months from when they are actually leading a walk and there may be seasonal differences to take account of which can include farming techniques. For example, a path that was easy to follow may have been ploughed out with no trace.

Feedback from participants directly after activity was positive. Also the walks organiser received positive feedback from participants which they passed on to me. I will certainly be using ‘The 4 D’s of Land Navigation Model’ in future navigation training events for the Rushcliffe Ramblers.

Land navigation, coaching concepts – link to my article published in the Institute of Outdoor Learning’s ‘Horizons’ magazine issue number 73 Spring 2016:

https://www.outdoor-learning-research.org/Portals/0/Research%20Documents/Horizons%20Archive/H73%20Land%20Navigation.pdf?ver=2017-06-26-160655-483

Link to my Scoop-It curation site which has a range of information on land navigation techniques and includes videos:

https://www.scoop.it/t/land-navigation

 

 

 

Essential Endurance Walking Skills: What to Carry? An update May 2018

Essential Endurance Walking Skills: What to Carry? An update May 2018

This is basically an update of an article I wrote back in May 2015 just before I started the 75 miles National Forest Way. In that year I completed 40.75 miles of the route ending at Ticknall with 34.25 miles still to complete before the finish. Three years have now passed by but I was reignited with the idea of completing this route whilst on recent local walk. A case of wanting to explore different footpaths. After an evening planning the next day found me back at Ticknall to walk the 13.25 miles to Sence Valley. An amazing walk and 13.25 miles towards my Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles in 2018 challenge. Now I have only 21 miles from Sence Valley to Beacon Hill in Leicestershire to complete the National Forest Way. Hopefully I can complete this route before this year is out and perhaps I will accomplish this distance in one go as an endurance walk. 

In endurance walking it is necessary to keep weight down to a minimum to aid enjoyment. Selecting equipment needs thought as when conditions dictate it maybe that you are carrying and not wearing items of clothing. Here you need to be aware that the clothing you use is not only light in weight but is compact and can be easily compressed to reduce volume when packed. Please note that the following observations are based on an endurance walk undertaken from late spring to early autumn in a low level environment close to human habitation over terrain that consists of public rights of way, paths and tracks.

Gear for edurance walks 2018 1

Equipment for an endurance walk – some are old, some are new, none are borrowed and most are blue

Rucksack

The rucksack is the container for your ‘life support system’ during the trek and this is the starting point to keep weight down. Therefore, the pack does not need to be made from rock proof material or require extras like ice-ax fittings, attachment points for crampons and automatic cup holders! All these add unnecessary weight. One item of equipment I haven’t changed since May 2015 is the Black Diamond RPM rucksack. This is my go to pack for endurance walks, and indeed short rambles, in low level terrain due to being an uncomplicated design, comfortable to carry, light in weight and with a capacity of 26 litres. The latter feature is important as it limits the volume and weight I carry. Access to the main body of this pack is via a zipped lid and inside is a bladder pouch holder and a front compartment. The lid has a zipped outside pocket and a zipped inside one which includes a clip to hold your keys etc… On the exterior are two mesh pockets each capable of holding a 600ml drinks bottle plus a lunch bar. The volume of the pack can be adjusted by an external draw cord on its front face which ensures everything loaded is held tight and close to your back. 

Inside the pack – clothing

Waterproof Jacket & Trousers

My latest waterproof jacket is a Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic waterproof jacket. I bought this to replace my leaking Marmot Nano AS jacket. This is again a lightweight waterproof jacket that has a chest pocket to hold my glasses when it rains hard and provides storage for my iPhone SE. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a volume adjuster for the hood which can easily accommodate a full face F1 drivers helmet if the need arises! When reading the information on the hang tag before buying I found out this jacket was made from a fabulous sounding material called Dry.Q. This, they state, is a four-way all over stretch fabric that boasts excellent performance in wet conditions. Since using this jacket I have found it provides a comfortable and effective barrier to the wind and rain with the under sleeve zips allowing ventilation when needed. In contrast the oldest item of clothing I am still using is a pair of Rohan overtrousers. I bought these maybe 25 plus years ago and Rohan’s Waterlight H2P fabric still does the business. Although they are lined they are lightweight and fold up compactly.

Warm jacket/windproof jacket

The Marmot Ether Driclime Hoody was a jacket that I felt was an ideal replacement for my Marmot Driclime Jacket until I found out that it wasn’t available in the UK. Then suddenly I found it in a local mega camping store with a high price tag! Returning a few months later it was in a sale with a third knocked off the original price and after purchase another garment found its way into my rucksack. Just like my original Driclime Jacket the Ether Driclime Hoody is a most effective and efficient garment providing warmth and an element of wind resistance in a lightweight and compact package. The latter two points being equally important when carrying the item. I have found the hood extremely useful and the full length zip provides ease in getting the garment on and off as the need and conditions require. It also has three very useful pockets all with zips which comprise of two base and one chest pocket all accessed from the outside.  The outer is wind resistant nylon and the inner is a lightweight polyester fleece. Unlike my original Driclime jacket the Driclime hoody doesn’t look out of place walking through civilisation which can happen frequently on the National Forest Way. At times conditions can just be windy without the need for a jacket with thermal properties and my Patagonia lightweight jacket fits the need perfectly. It doesn’t have a hood but I have never seen the need for one on a jacket of this type and it only has a chest pocket. With any ultra lightweight design there will be compromises but I have found this jacket to be a very useful layer. 

Hat & Gloves

In weather that is forecast to be changeable, which is most of the time in England, I take a warm hat and gloves. These don’t need to be full on mountaineering styles but lightweight and effective ones. My warm hat dates from the last century and is made by Patagonia from their stretch Syncilla fabric whilst my gloves are a similar vintage with thermal properties and are extremely lightweight. A recently bought Patagonia Roger That Hat baseball cap provides useful protection when the sun decides to come out.

Inside the pack – other necessities

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A close-up of the contents of the first aid kit together with the torch and compass laid out on the Sitz mat

First Aid Kit

The usual stuff: assorted plasters, antiseptic wipes, pain killers and Compeed blister plasters (I needed these on my first National Forest Way walk) are contained in a fold out pouch. Included in this pouch is a SwissCard due to having a pair of tweezers and a neat pair of scissors along with a tooth pick and nail file!  An additional item from my original article is a Lifesystems Safecard Tick remover card. I decided to include one after ticks and Lyme disease were discussed on a ramble I went on last April. From late spring to early autumn the sun may be out and it is essential to take sun cream. On recommendation from my daughter, who is a snowboarder, I am taking Piz Buin Mountain Suncream with a 50+ SPF! This provides protection not only from the sun but also cold, wind and high altitudes! The latter not being a problem along the National Forest Way.

Torch

An LED Lenser P5E one AA cell torch is included in my pack. No need for a spare bulb  with this torch and I will check the battery before going out. It also has a handy lanyard to secure to the outside of the pack just in case navigation becomes a night activity and I need quick access to a light source.

These essentials, the first aid kit and torch, are kept together in a Lowe Alpine U-shaped mesh bag and then placed in a waterproof bag.

Sit (Sitz) mat

A small piece of closed-cell foam is carried to ensure that when I need to sit down to eat or enjoy the view I can in relative comfort.

Nutrition

I will carry two 600ml plastic bottles of diluted orange drink for liquid whilst food will consist of a variety of flap jacks, fruit, snack bars and dried fruit. There is a possibility that these can be supplemented along the National Forest Way as the route passes through many villages that have shops and some have a pub but don’t count on them being open at the same time you pass through.

Spares

On a low level walk like this carrying spares is not really necessary. Also it is light until late and the essence is to keep moving at a reasonable pace hence not taking the kitchen sink! However, space will be found for a length of paracord which has a multitude of uses including make-do laces.

Keeping it all Dry

Plastic bags will ensure everything is kept dry.

Navigation Aids

Route Plans

I have downloaded the route guides from: http://www.nationalforestway.co.uk/downloads/ and have laminated them to protect them from the elements.

Maps

The relevant Ordnance Survey Explorer 1:25,000 scale maps will be carried and used depending on the stage I am walking: 233, 245 & 246. 

Compass

A Silva Expedition compass will be taken along as a ‘just in case’. On my recent National Forest Way walk I did need this to check the direction I was going in as in some cases the  route had changed since the brochures I was using were printed. Plus I needed it on a path just before I entered Ashby as a new housing estate diverted the route.

GPS Receiver

I have one but as yet still debating whether it is worth carrying in this kind of environment. OK it doesn’t weigh much but every kg counts in this game.

iPhone SE

Ordnance Survey digital maps can be accessed through OS Online and a SMART phone is a multi-use device. My main use is as a camera to record my ventures but I can send images and updates of my walk to my wife.

I hope you have found this helpful and I welcome comments.

Link to my original article published May 2015:

https://chrisnavigator.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/essential-endurance-walking-skills-what-to-carry/

 

#FourMonths440miles

#FourMonths440miles

After completing Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles in 2017 I asked the question: “Shall I continue this challenge in 2018?” Yeah, why not and four months into 2018 I have completed over 440 miles. Unfortunately, this early part of 2018 will be remembered as a very muddy one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Beast from the East gave the East Midlands unusual weather conditions for March.

The #BeastfromtheEast and the #MiniBeastfromtheEast dumped snow in volumes and most of this soaked into the ground. Any rainfall has added to this and kept the terrain far more muddy than this time last year. The majority of my country walks this year have been in boots whereas last year I wore them on two occasions!

The Tree with February blue sky

The same tree as in the snowscape but this time photographed two weeks earlier! 

My plan this year was to walk every day and this I did manage for January and February reaching over 240 miles. This compared to the 127 miles completed the at the end of February in 2017. March I missed eight days and April I missed six days where I didn’t complete a walk. This has resulted in completing 447.76 miles for this April compared to the end of April 2017 where my total was 459.5 miles. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There was an impressive display of Snowdrops in early February.

This year I have plans to do a National Trail. Two high on my list are the Pennine Way which I originally planned to do this when I was 16 (45 years ago) but never made it to the start and the West Highland Way mainly due to positive reviews from walkers completing this route. Depending on the information gained from research regarding the distances adding both these trails together will net around 350 miles towards #walk1000miles in 2018. This leaves only 210 miles left and I know I can do this in one month as I achieved this distance during last April.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On some paths the mud was replaced by water! Yes, the first four months were very wet.

Let us hope that the next four months sees the sun shinning and the mud drying.

January to April monthly totals for #walk1000miles in 2018

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

Now 552.24 left to do.

#teacher5aday #pledge #2017 #reflection

#teacher5aday #pledge #2017 #reflection

For the #teacher5aday pledge for 2017 which I posted on 2nd January 2017 in summary I decided that I would:

#connect

Keep Tweeting and hopefully meet #teacher5aday tweeters during 2017. Walking wise I wanted to do more walks with rambling and walking groups to engage with like-minded people.

#notice

Focus on noticing elements in the natural world whilst out on walks and record these in blogs.

#learn

In 2016 I presented at three conferences all in England including one located in London and suggested, tongue in cheek, I could add New York and Paris as venues in 2017.

#volunteer

Lead a ramble for a local Ramblers’ Group or organise a walk for the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA). For the latter this could be part of my celebration of 40 years continuous membership of the LDWA. Also I could plan and lead a walk for #teacher5aday as I did for #UKFEchat community in 2015.

#exercise

Try to do basic flexibility exercises everyday and complete a long walk every weekend.

Link to original #teacher5aday pledge Blog posted on 2nd January 2017:

https://chrisnavigator.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/teacher5aday-pledge-2017/

So on reflection how did I do in 2017?

Canal reflection

Reflection – Nottingham Canal

#connect

Still Tweeting but during 2017 have not meet anyone face to face in the #teacher5aday community but regularly made connections through Twitter. It’s great to connect with positive, like-minded people. I did some walks with groups. These included a 29 miles walk on the Erewash Valley Trail with the LDWA’s Anytime Anywhere Local Group back in April, two walks with the Ramblers’ Nottingham Group Wednesday Walkers which I was able to access whilst on holiday and the pre AGM walk organised by the Ramblers’ Rushcliffe Group.

#notice

I did many more walks in 2017 compared with 2016 and this provided me with further opportunities to observe and notice nature. One of my Blogs: ‘Puddles and Biodiversity’ posted on 22nd October was published on-line by the Canadian based imaginED education site led by Gillian Judson on 24th October 2017 – link:

http://www.educationthatinspires.ca/2017/10/24/puddles-and-biodiversity/

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of the images for the ‘Puddles and Biodiversity’ Blog

From Spring I noticed lots of butterflies whilst walking and was able to identify most of them. However, those I could not I used Richard Lewington’s ‘Pocket Guide to Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland’ and was able to confirm my first positive identification of Green-veined White and Brown Argus butterflies. This gave me confidence to take part in the Butterfly Conservation’s ‘Big Butterfly Count 2017’ held from 14th July to 6th August.

 

Ringlet 140717

Ringlet – one of nineteen butterfly species I observed and identified during 2017

After receiving ‘Hidden Histories – a Spotter’s Guide to the British Landscape’ written by Mary-Ann Ochota as a Christmas present in 2016 this also opened another area for me noticing features of the British landscape that I may have overlooked whilst walking.

#learn

I presented at one education conference in Nottingham and had an invite to present at one in Canada at Jasper in the Canadian Rockies. This was organised by the Health and Physical Education Council during mid May. Unfortunately, I couldn’t accept due to work commitments. One of the problems of being a teacher is taking holiday in term time.

#volunteer

At the Ramblers’ Rushcliffe Group’s AGM held in November I volunteered to be a committee member and take on this duty from January 2018. To celebrate 40 years as a member of the LDWA on 26th November I led a 17.8 miles walk for the Anytime Anywhere Group on my local patch in the Wolds countryside bordering Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

#exercise

Although I didn’t do basic flexibility exercises everyday I did manage to complete the Country Walking magazine’s #walk1000miles in 2017. I achieved the 1000 miles target on 22nd August and finished 2017 with a total of 1253.3 miles which just happens to convert coincidently to 2017 km.

Tree in a field

Exercise – I was delighted to walk over 1,200 miles in 2017

During 2017 I completed my 27th year in teaching and I attained Fellowship of the Royal Institute of Navigation and was presented with my certificate by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at an event held at the Royal Geographical Society’s headquarters in Kensington. 

I wish everyone a Happy New Year, don’t be to obsessed with work, and ensure you build time for you every day.

#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 both planned and actual

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