This blog entry is about my first serious day walk of around 22km back in May 2012. The walk was very near Bristol to the South-West. I think a lot of people would be very surprised to discover how many trails there are so close to our city! All within easy reach!
I have to admit that when I planned it I was a little anxious. I hadn’t done any real kind of physical exercise for a while and had certainly not walked such distances since my thirties. I wondered whether I would be able to complete it.
Route planning was done using Ordinance Survey’s GetAMap online route planning software (see GetAMap). The subscription is very cheap and for that you get full map coverage of the Uk. If you don’t subscribe, the site still lets you browse the maps. A screen-shot of the planning tool can be seen below:
The software is simple to use, but after a lot of use I do have reservations. It seems that it doesn’t properly take elevation into account. On my last walk in the Black Mountains the actual walk was some 20km more than the planned distance(!)
As this was my first walk I decided to keep elevation changes at a minimum and plan the route so that the latter part would be all down-hill. Below is the elevation profile for the walk:
I learnt a lot on this walk. Got my first practice at using a map & compass and soon learnt that what’s on the map isn’t necessarily what you are going to see on the ground. On this particular walk there were a number of places where the indicated trail simply didn’t exist and in some cases some farmers had even used copious amounts of barbed wire on what should have been public trails!
The biggest lesson I learnt was about my own water consumption. I started the walk with just around 1.2 litres of water and even lost a 500 ml bottle whilst scrabbling through deep undergrowth in the woods. The end result was that I ended up quite dehydrated and found that I got to the point where I had hit a virtual wall. Every attempt to move seemed to require great exertion.
In the future I would be taking water supplies much more seriously.
The walk was very enjoyable – if a little muddy. It certainly whet my appetite for more adventures!
Below are some photos from the walk – enjoy! 🙂