We’re pretty sure you wouldn’t choose that day to walk 22.8 miles! If you’re tuned into our social platforms, you’ll know that a month ago, almost to the day, five of the Spring team embarked on a marathon of walking in aid of the Youth Adventure Trust. You know when we signed up it didn’t seem that big a deal. Twenty-one miles, 10 peaks, Brecon Beacons, a weekend in June, that’s doable, right? We’re outdoor people after all.
All we can say is never underestimate the draining effect of a 21-mile walk. Twenty-one miles! You know none of us had ever walked that far. Ever! Obviously we are in ever-changing times and, well, things kept changing! And so, it was that the Brecon Beacons – for us at least – melted into a Wiltshire marathon. Twenty-one miles morphed into 22.8 and the June sunny weather became October the 3rd which was “officially the wettest day ever”, according to The Mirror, with lashings of gusty winds thanks to Storm Alex. Think perpetual, bone drenching wet. Still, would we do it again? Now there’s a question ….
It wasn’t so bad, was it? Everyone said comradery and chatter would get you through and well, you’re not a shy and retiring lot, are you?
“You’re right, there was a lot to talk about,” says Stephanie. “As women, we have 20,000 words to get through every day – at least that’s what I’ve read – so that’s almost 1000 per mile. A perfect way to spend your words!”
Now there’s a novel way of looking at it! And I know, it wasn’t what you signed up for. Probably a bit wetter than you expected but you’re outdoor people and, well, are kitted out for this sort of thing …
“You would think. Well, yes, we are. Kind of. Let’s just say we could have done a better job of it. Wet feet was a big thing – only one of us finished the walk with dry feet. One of the problems was not wearing waterproof trousers!” says Stephanie.
Did you find the prospect daunting?
“I’d trained! Quite a bit actually” says Jo. “I could easily walk 15 miles and once I got to that milestone I knew I would be able to cover 21 miles. Before the challenge, I had only ever walked five miles at one time, so this was a real accomplishment for me.”
“I actually went into it feeling very confident,” says Abbie “I had a positive mental attitude because Naomi had increased my confidence having written about what amazing things your body can achieve when you put your mind to it after she’d run the London Marathon. I thought I’d take a page out of Naomi’s book!”
So Abbie, did that positive mental attitude pay off?
“You’ve got to give yourself credit for every step and mile and new road and path that you do. One path down 20 miles to go! For the first 12 miles, I was feeling good despite my wet feet. I didn’t feel uncomfortable. I used my brother’s walking boots from eight years ago and they were so old and hadn’t been proofed recently either. As I did more miles it nagged at me and in the end, I just couldn’t cope with the wet feet”.
Ahhh, wet feet. It really is miserable when that happens. I think we’ve all been there. So new boots for Abbie then. Anyone had a piece of kit that they would recommend?
“The Paramo Alta III jacket without a doubt,” says Jo. “It kept me warm and dry throughout the whole walk. I would totally recommend it 100%!”
“For me,” says Helen “it’s my Aquapac phone case. Jo had navigated at the start of the walk but as her phone battery went I took over. It was great to be able to leave my phone out, on a lanyard around my neck so it was easy to access and not have to worry at all about it getting wet”.
“I love my Polartec Power Stretch leggings,” says Stephanie “I bought them from Sprayway and must have had them for over15 years? They’re amazing! I wore waterproof trousers over the top of them but even if they had have got wet – which they have done in the past – they still keep me warm. And they are so comfy!” If you want to buy some too – highly recommended – Rab sell something similar here.
Is there anything that you would change?
“The weather! Haha no. I know that’s not possible but if I did it again in very wet weather I wouldn’t wear my dad’s 20-year-old waterproof trousers without waterproofing them first with Nikwax that’s for sure!” reminisces Naomi.
“I would head to the Brecon Beacons!” says Helen who is Welsh by the way. “Even though the Wiltshire countryside is stunning, well it would have been if we could see it through the driving rain, there’s something about the Welsh landscape around the Beacons that is incredibly inviting”.
And the big question, would you do it again?
“Probably not,” says Jo “I love walking but not in that weather. We did do it for the charity and the children and that’s a positive but I wouldn’t attempt to walk 21 miles every weekend in the rain!”
“I said no on the day,” says Abbie “but I probably would now I’ve had time to think. I would have to take steps: be prepared with different clothing and top of my list would be getting properly fitted with walking boots.”
Naomi is full of it “I absolutely would! I get such a sense of achievement after completing a challenge that it makes all the aches and pains the next day worth it!”
And Helen is similarly enthusiastic “Absolutely! Although I think I would stretch a lot more beforehand and wait for a summer’s day!”
As for Stephanie “I would love to go to the Brecon Beacons and do it for real. I know though that I need to put the miles in beforehand. Those Beacons are pesky! And I’ll definitely pack my LEKI poles!”
In total Team Spring raised £2,420.95, 145% above their target, for the Youth Adventure Trust.