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.

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

Inside the pack – other necessities

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 carry 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/

 

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#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.

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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. 

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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.

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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/

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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

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

Slower Journeys

Slower Journeys

Logan Trail start Gotham

On our AIM Awards Access to HE Diploma in Health Professions course one of the key themes in the Health Promotion unit was to engage in physical activity. To this end several teams elected to plan, organise and deliver a health walk as a health promotion event. Here the method of delivery was a demonstration and an actual walk which took in The Forest Recreation Ground, venue for Nottingham’s famous Goose Fair, and the Arboretum was planned as the activity. The course measured 1.93 miles and not only did students state that it was a great physical activity they said that going through green spaces also gave them a sense of wellbeing.

The Tree in late Spring

The Ash tree in the centre of a field on Bunny Moor

Moving on from this walk I decided to organise a 10 mile countryside walk which provided a stretch and challenge activity to take place towards the end of the course. This walk would be over varied terrain using footpaths, bridleways, tracks and trails. To maximise student participation I decided to organise two opportunities for the walk. Also the walks would be used to help raise funds for the Nottingham Universities Hospitals ‘The Big Appeal.’

The walk starts and finishes in East Leake and the first section gradually ascends to Bunny New Wood then descends to Gotham Lane. The next leg follows Fairham Brook over Bunny Moor then heads west going through a former Great Central Railway bridge. After crossing a few fields the route goes along The Logan Trail which was originally a railway line built by the Great Central Railway serving the gypsum industry in the Nottinghamshire village of Gotham.  This leg ends on Leake Road and the next section crosses this road and continues along the western section of The Logan Trail.

Cuckoo Bush

Circling the Neolithic burial mound and site of the Cuckoo Bush near Gotham

A short distance the trail ends and crossing the road the path follows a bridleway which gradually steepens to gain the top of the hill and our lunch stop. After lunch we take the opportunity to visit the tumulus which is a Neolithic burial mound over three thousand years old. This is also rumoured to be the site of the famous Cuckoo Bush where 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. After crossing a field the route goes through the West Leake Hills wood and then 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 for the next section the route follows the Midshires Way ascending Fox Hill. Just before the top of the hill the final leg descends following the footpath to the footbridge and turning to follow Kingston Brook to eventually go through a railway tunnel. Exiting the tunnel  the route goes through Meadow Park to the car park and the end of the walk.

Selfie end of walk 200617

The Tuesday team selfie at the end of the walk – I am second from the right

The main aim for the walk was for a slower journey to enable connections within the group and enable them to connect with nature and history during the activity. I planned the walk to take around five hours and the first walk was completed in 4 hours 19 minutes and the second one in 4 hours 57 minutes. The ambient weather for the duration of both walks was just perfect. Feedback from students was extremely positive and they all would like to continue with walking in countryside environments to promote physical activity and wellbeing. Both areas being beneficial to a life work balance especially in the careers they are pursuing in nursing and other health professions.

The day after the final walk I received the Summer 2017 issue of the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s ‘Horizons’ magazine. I was pleasantly surprised to read an article by Geoff Cooper under the title: #walking as a humble & subversive #activity which ended with the need to encourage ‘slower journeys’ that allowed for spontaneity, contact with people, enjoyment of nature and give them the chance to express their feelings and discuss issues of the day. I certainly feel that the two walks provided opportunities for all of these themes and this is further supported by the students positive accounts of these ventures.

Find out more about the Nottingham Universities Hospitals Trust’s: The Big Appeal

http://nottinghamhospitalscharity.org.uk/appeals/the-big-appeal/

Here is a link to my Just Giving page if you would like to make a donation:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Chris-Sweetman3

For information about the Institute of Outdoor Learning:

https://www.outdoor-learning.org/

My Scoop It site for health walks and the health benefits of walking:

http://www.scoop.it/t/health-walks

#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.

Poppy’s Birthday

Poppy’s Birthday

poppy-in-autumn

Poppy waiting for her ball to be thrown (ball is at the bottom left hand corner) We were heading west and the tree in the foreground can be used as a direction indicator as most of the growth is on the left (southern) side.

Yesterday Poppy celebrated her eighth birthday. The sun was out and out we went for a walk. Poppy is a chocolate brown labrador cross and has a wonderful personality. Poppy is a neighbour’s dog and my wife takes her out almost every day but today I came along too. No, me being there wasn’t a birthday treat for Poppy but on this day she would go out on two different walks. When my wife takes Poppy out each walk they go on the route can vary subject to the weather conditions and state of the terrain. Which direction and route selection is very much in my wife’s hands and can change at a moments notice taking into account my wife‘s observations based mainly on the condition of the ground ahead. I wanted to see if Poppy has these routes imprinted. So out we went and every time Poppy reached a point where the route could go a different way she stopped. Poppy only moving on when instructed which way we were going and keeping on track until the next cross point. So does this mean that Poppy uses observation with points of recognition? With the evidence provided today it is highly likely that she does.

grey-poplar-tree

This Grey Poplar is located in an arboreum area and is a specimen tree grown in a nursery and was installed here a few years ago. This specific tree provides evidence that knowledge is as important as observation in direction finding.

Earlier in the week I received a copy of Harold Gatty’s book: “Nature is Your Guide – How to Find Your Way on Land and Sea by Observing Nature” which was published in 1958. This book has been on my really would like list for a few years and after unwrapping the packet I eagerly scanned though each section. Now having read a few chapters the underpinning elements to successful natural navigation are observation along with knowledge. Gatty was fascinated in how the early Polynesians navigated across the Pacific Ocean. He put his research based on their observations and knowledge into practice with two major events. One, in 1931, when he was the navigator on a record breaking eight-day flight around the world in an aircraft piloted by Wiley Post. The second was in 1943 when his first published work on navigation  “The Raft Book” became standard equipment on life rafts with the United States Army Air Force Pacific operation in WWII. “Nature is Your Guide” covers elements from both events together with general navigation observations on gaining direction which includes the effects of wind and sun on tree growth.

In summary then observation is a much needed element for navigation whether you are going on a local walk with the dog or crossing the Pacific Ocean. Also it is an important element in how a dog navigates and one cannot get more natural than that.

the-first-frost

Poppy’s birthday was the first time I saw ground frost this autumn

Harold Gatty; 1958; “Nature is Your Guide – How to Find Your Way on Land and Sea by Observing Nature”; New York; E.P. Dutton & Company, Inc.