Wednesday, 26 March 2008

LEJOG training

I take the view that it's never too early to start training for a really long hike even though, in this case, I'm not planning to leave until April next year. Between now and then, I'll be getting out with a loaded pack. In the meantime, I've just started specific gym training. Now, I have to say that I'm not exactly a gym virgin. I've been going to one three to four times a week for over twenty years so it is something I genuinely enjoy doing. However, my trainer has started me on a regime which is aimed at me being able to do long days without being too exhausted. I mentioned to him the 35 miles a day done by Francis Tapon (site takes an age to load but it is worth it). Now, given that I think my longest ever has been 25 miles with a full pack, I don't think I'll get to 35 but I intend to train for more than I expect to actually do. I generally do a mixture of weights and cardiovascular. The new programme (most of which has me wearing a pack with, at the moment 6kg weights inside) includes using a contraption where I'm strapped either side of the waist by elasticated straps on pulleyed weights and do loads of runs and lunges forward and at the extreme jumping up and down on a step, rowing machine, a stepper and, on a treadmill (running machine) alternating 2-3 minutes (total about 16 minutes) uphill on a 15% gradient at 6kph and on a 1% gradient, jogging at 9kph. Now if all that's not fun, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Just a short trip but a good one. I was out for a day and a night. Using OS Landranger 180, I set out from Lee Abbey on the coast just west of Lynton. The Valley of Rocks was amazing as usual with mountain goats and wild ponies around. My walk took me along the coast path, around Woody Bay to Heddons Mouth. I came across an odd signpost which had to be worth a snap ...

The path went inland. I left the coast path and went in to have a pint at Hunters Inn, a bit out of season with scaffolding around but the beer was good. I went south to Parracombe, over Challacombe Common to the B3358 and followed a path east just south of the hamlet of Challacombe. It was raining a bit by now and quite muddy. However, it wasn't particularly cold. Clothing worn was basically waterproof overtrousers, a Golite windproof top and I used an umbrella for much of the time which was fine as it wasn't windy. At GR718408 I headed north towards Saddle Gate. The path was a bit indistinct and the mist came down, but by following a compass bearing it wasn't difficult to keep in the right direction. At Barbrook, just past Shallowford I filled up with water and a short distance off the farm road around GR714455 there were any number of good wild camping opportunities, one of which I took. I spent a very peaceful night although woke to rain at 6am. Still, this didn't last and I set off at seven to head back to Lee Abbey. On the way I came across a strange notice at a river crossing ...

An excellent outing.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

TGO April

I think this will be my last paper TGO as my sub for the next twelve months will be digital. In many ways, TGO surpassed itself this month in my view. I was particularly interested in the feature on Stephen Pern. I'd never heard of him or his writing. I immediately found a web site and bought, second hand, his book "The Great Divide" being an account of his walk along the CDT in the States. It arrived promptly. Having dipped into it, I can say that he writes well and I'm looking forward to reading it cover to cover.

The other person of interest was Francis Tapon; hadn't heard of him either. The article on him could have been longer but hey. He has a web site which has a lot on the APT, CDT, etc.

Am hoping to get away for a couple of days on Exmoor later this week; hope the weather's not too wet. The south west has been very wet and windy so far. A wild camp will go down very nicely thank you.