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]

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Plans: April

There’s no really big walk this year. The furthest we’re going to walk in one trip this year is 500 miles. Building up to that one, we pencilled in a couple of shorter walks: the length of Wales (finally completing our ‘lengths and breadths’ series) and the TGO Challenge.

A few weeks ago, I started plotting the length of Wales walk, based on Tony Drake’s Cambrian Way guide, with it in mind that we would take 3 weeks over the outing. However, when I plotted it, I couldn’t quite get on with the route from Cardiff to Llandovery – particularly the big loop in the Black Mountains which involves spending three days to make 3 miles progress northwards:


The Cambrian Way Route

I’m not adverse to taking meandering routes on a linear walk so as to take in the best scenery or to link good features, but I also like to make meaningful progress in the direction of travel, so couldn’t quite bring myself to plot a route that involved a day and a half of walking south on a northbound walk. I’m sure there’s merit in that loop, and at some point we will go and walk it as a stand-alone trip. For our Length of Wales Walk, however, we will start at Swansea and take a direct line.


The result is that the three week walk has become a 15-day walk, which meant that we found ourselves with a spare week at our disposal.

I didn’t have trouble with finding something to fill that week. In 2010 I walked from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Edale along the Pennine Way. In 2011 we walked from Dufton to Horton. This April we will walk from Kirk Yetholm to Dufton, thus completing my second walk of the Pennine Way (although I’m still not going to do it properly; we will once again modify part of the route, and I’m not ruling out catching a bus to miss out the dull day between Haltwhistle and Alston).

Train tickets have been bought for both trips, and with the sudden realisation (not to mention a touch of panic) that April isn’t dreadfully far away, today the cooking and dehydrating has started (5 meat pasta sauces and 5 meat chilli are drying as I type).