The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 25 February 2007

The Unexpected Muddy Speed Walk

At the beginning of last week the plan for this weekend had been to pop up to the Lake District for a small spot of walking and a large spot of retail therapy (mainly in the form of a new backpack for Hubby to replace his current monstrously heavy model). That plan went to pot when Husband revealed that he had to work this weekend.

The new plan was that I would move next weekend to this weekend and vice versa, so I would go to do some maintenance chores for my mother on Friday and Saturday leaving Sunday free to get in a local walk.

That plan then got turned upside down when I caught the lurgy. Sharing my germs with my Mother’s lowered immune system wasn’t looking to be quite such a clever plan. So, I moved Friday to Saturday which in turn moved Saturday to Sunday. That meant that I wasn’t going to get my walk on Sunday.

Arriving to work on Friday morning (still feeling a little under the weather but figuring that I would feel better once I got moving) I hatched a new plan that I would leave work somewhere between 11.30 and noon and fit Sunday’s walk in on Friday afternoon. I would be walking by 1pm, which would give me 4.5 hours to do a 15 mile circuit over local (very muddy and rutted) fields.

Being in training for this year’s Keswick to Barrow walk (more of that some other time), I was reluctant to miss out this weekend’s training altogether, so even when I didn’t manage to get away from work until a quarter past one, I still thought that I would fit my walk in.

What I failed to consider was the fact that being delayed by an hour meant that I now only had just over 3.5 hours of daylight to fit in the same 15 mile yomp over muddy fields that took us 5 hours last weekend (albeit this week I wouldn’t need a lucnhbreak, nor the time spent map reading).

It was 3.45pm, at which point I was still approximately 8 miles from home, when I realised that I had omitted to re-calculate the daylight remaining based on my actual departure time.

Well, that was one heck of a speed walk for the next 6.5 miles! I did have a couple of bail out plans up my sleeve, but as it went, I just managed to get myself off the canal towpath onto the road a full dusk fell, and made my way round a local lake, across some recreation ground and into the village proper with darkness around me (big kick to myself for having considered and dismissed taking a headtorch with me when I set out; I was only walking over local fields and it seemed to be a bit of overkill. I won’t make that mistake again).

The stats were 12.5 miles walked in three hours and fifty five minutes. Not too bad considering the muddy and slippery conditions underfoot. Admittedly the calf muscles hurt for a while afterwards, but a hot bath soon sorted that out.

Saturday saw me fitting a couple of new locks for mother and standing up a ladder doing a bit of pointing, so all in all, all of the required activities got accomplished. I can now start the new week with a clear conscience and counting down to next weekend’s trip up to Keswick.

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