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]

Wednesday 7 April 2010


Over the first two weeks of this walk we averaged 18.75 miles per day. Most things stood up well to what I initially considered to be ridiculous mileages (but after the fact have adjudged those distances to have been fine (Mick may beg to differ!)).

The one problem I did find was that on Day 3 my left achilles fell out with my shoe, particularly when going down hill. It became bruised, swollen and painful, but with a regime of Movelat gel, oral Ibuprofen and (most importantly) a week of flat terrain it was doing okay.

Arriving home on Saturday not only gave it a day off, but also gave me the chance to try some different footwear that wouldn't clash with the tendon.

So, on Sunday I set out in (perhaps the odd choice, considering the issue) a pair of mids. My thinking was that as the heel cup of the mids moulded straight over the aggravated area there would be no issue of the shoe prodding the tendon on every step.

That hope was dashed within 200 yards of leaving Tamworth rly station. Fortunately, I had gone armed with a second pair of shoes.

Quite how I still came to be in possession of a pair of Inov8 Terrocs, I really don't know.

I initially bought them some years ago when everyone was first raving about Inov8. I wore them on a few outings, but found that (a) I couldn't live with cold wet feet (it took me a while longer to discover waterproof socks); and (b) the durability was awful - with just over 100 miles on them I had worn a hole through the back of each heel. They got relagated to the 'short local walks' shoe collection.

When I wore them on a short local walk the holes in the heel cup lining ate holes in my feet. I swore they were going in the bin as soon as we got home. I'm sure I even remember taking them out to the bin.

The evidence would suggest that as I went to bin them I had in my mind the thought that they would come in handy for something someday, as on Saturday I found them still lurking in the shoe pile. They turned out to be the only one of my 14 pairs of outdoor shoes that were cut low enough not to press on the sore area.

Some Duck Tape solved the problem of the holes on the heel linings and they were called back into service for the last two days.

After a successful 18 miles in them on Monday, it looked like the only sensible thing to do to ensure a continued comfortable walk was to buy another pair, to meet me in Halifax (trusting the old pair would last another seven days to get me there), and to hope the new pair would prove durable enough to see me up to Kilsyth.

Part of that plan went awry as we were about to dash out for the bus this morning, when I noticed something hanging off the bottom of a sole. That something was part of the tread, and with the bus due any moment I didn't have time for any detailed consideration of what to do for the best.

Today, for better or worse, I am back in the XA Pros which caused the issue in the first place (although I have been wearing the same make and model daily for the last couple of years without a problem). Hopefully next Tuesday I will be in possession of a new pair of Terrocs. Hopefully they'll last a few weeks, and then hopefully my achilles will be sufficiently recovered to wear my boots for the really lumpy bit of the journey. That's a lot of hoping, isn't it?
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  1. If you carry the rucksacks, why not let Mick give you a piggy-back? Saves on shoe leather...

    Good luck with the Achilles - worrying times.

  2. Having recently had an achilles problem myself (precipitated by a dog running through me, from behind, at full pelt...) I can sympathise fully and finding footwear that doesn't aggravate is tricky. Flat, mule slippers are no use in The Great Outdoors!
    Good luck.