Tag: blisters

OFFA’S DYKE PATH – PART 3 Kington to Llanmynech

Offa’s Dyke Path

I’m walking, in stages, Offa’s Dyke Path on the England / Wales Border. A 177 mile National Trail named after the Offa’s Dyke which is a great frontier earthwork built by Offa, King of Mercia from 757 to 796 A.D  http://offasdyke.org.uk/

Offa's Dyke Path Stone
Offa’s stone dated 757 AD

Part 3 was over 50 miles hiking in 4 days, including The Switchback; 14 miles of undulating walking, one of the toughest days walking I’ve done. Part 1 and 2 of this walk can be found here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/offas-dyke-path-part-1/   and  http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/walkoffasdykepart2/

Thursday 13th July Kington – Knighton

I woke early on 13th July to be at the appointed meeting place at 8am. Rufus and I were all packed for our 4 days walk of the middle section of the Offa’s Dyke Path. The weather looked like great walking weather, temperatures down to under 20c in comparison to the recent hot weeks and little or no rain forecast.

We arrived in Kington and managed to start the days hike to Knighton at 11am. 13.5 miles with 2 or 3 good climbs reaching 400m at the highest point, beginning (the highest 18 hole course in England) and ending over golf courses. For the first time the Dyke was much in evidence!

We alighted in Knighton and spent a delightful night at The George & Dragon; very comfortable with great food and beer.

Offa's Dyke Path view to the Black mountains
The first time climb out of Knighton looking across to the Black Mountains

Friday 14th July – Knighton to Mellington Hall

Another good 14 miles but this day incorporated The Switchback, a series of steep undulations – WOW possibly the hardest days walking I’ve ever done – I hate downhill’s this was really tough on my toes. I believe they are now bruised and toenails will be lost, in the making of this blog post no other animals were harmed! In fact Rufus relish’s a good days walk, does 3 to 4 times the miles we do, despite being the oldest in the pack at over 70! (10 years old in doggy terms)

Montgomery from Offa's Dyke Path
Looking down on Montgomery

Again today afforded the best Dyke walking, much of it atop the Dyke itself through rolling woods and farmland with no breaks in the uphill’s and downhill’s.

Offa's Dyke Path half way point
Yay – we’re halfway! But today is a toughie Knighton to Mellington Hall; The Switchback

The best view came at the Cwm-Sinaham (406m) pop over to my Instagram to see a 360 degree video (https://www.instagram.com/jenafitlife/?hl=en). Although the highest point on the Dyke itself was Llanfair Hill (432m) just a little further along the path. We’ve already done the highest point on the trail in the Black Mountains, Hatterrall Ridge (703m) ((Part 2 of my Offa’s Dyke Path walk).

This day ended at the beautiful Mellington Hall where I had a bath, BLISS! (bath’s being a B & B rarity, but so welcome after a hard days walk).  Great beer and Fish & Chips were consumed followed by an early night…….well that was the plan but the boy’s got locked out of their room (broken lock) and were popping in and out of my room whilst the drama ensued and a Man with Ladder came to the rescue.

Mellington Hall on Offa's Dyke Path
Mellington Hall – upmarket B & B for a night

Saturday 15th July – Mellington Hall to Buttington Cross

Mellington Hall on Offa's Dyke Path
Rufus checking out of Mellington Hall

A shorter, much flatter day, 13 miles with just one serious climb to Beacon Ring. This meant a steep climb downhill to Buttington where on advice from Andy (Andy’s Twitter account), who recently walked the entire path raising funds for Midland Air Ambulance , we headed for The Green Dragon, a pint and a phone call for a taxi to our B&B; Severn Farm in Welshpool.

The best B&B yet, wonderful hosts Joyce and Alun were so welcoming and immediately booked a table for us at a restaurant in town and offered to take us back to the trail in the morning. Service 🙂

Sunday 16th July – Welshpool to Llanmynech

Our last day, it’s all over so quickly but my bruised feet (due to adding gel insoles to my boots and then not having enough room for my toes – BIG MISTAKE) were not unhappy about this. Our 10 miles to Llanmynech were flat, canal paths and riverside. My twitcher pals were convinced they’d spot a Kingfisher today (check out the list of birds which were spotted at the bottom of this post).

Breidden Hills - Offa's Dyke Path
Breidden Hills, quarrying underway. The boys are down by the river looking for an elusive Kingfisher!

After some towpath walking the path goes along the top of the Tir-y-mynach Embankment following the course of the River Severn, from here you view the Breidden Hills which are in part industrialised with quarrying. The route continues along the abandoned Montgomery Canal it was a very pleasant walk and along this stretch were swans nesting.

Montgomery Canal / Offa's Dyke Path swans
Swans and cygnets on the Montgomery Canal stretch of Offa’s Dyke Path approaching Llanmynech

Apart from water and an apple we had no refreshments and were very disappointed to find The Golden Lion at Four Crosses was shut. So onward to Llanmynech where everywhere had stopped serving food 🙁 a pint and a packet of peanuts were lunch and dinner! Here we awaited our taxi to return us to Kington and the car for the trip back home – happy, dry, tired but accomplished.

Have you walked this route?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Read my post on avoiding blisters! Which I managed to mess up on this walk 🙁

How I deal with my blisters from long walks

Birds spotted on the Kington to Llanmynech stretch July 13th – 16th 2017
Different birds from the previous stretch are marked *

Wheatear
Yellow Hammer
Chiff Chaff
Black Bird
Song thrush *
Goldfinch
Sky Lark
Swallow
Housemartin *
Swift *
Wren
House Sparrow *
Dunnock
Long tailed tit
Coal tit
Great tit
Blue tit
Pied Wagtail
Grey Wagtail *
Nuthatch
Stonechat
Starling *
Robin
Green Woodpecker *
Spotted Woodpecker

Buzzard
Kestrel
Peregrine
Red Kite

Wood Pigeon
Magpie

Carrion Crow *
Jackdaw *
Rook *
Raven

Pheasant
Red legged Partridge *

Mute Swan and cygnets *

Offa's Dyke Path
Swans & Cygnets on the Montgomery Canal.
Photo. courtesy of Mark Godfrey

Heron
Moorhen *
Mallard *

Cormorant *

My walking break in the Peak District

I have just returned from a 4 day walking break in the Peak District.; A fabulous area of the UK and less than an hour and a half “up the road”.

I have always been a keen walker. My former husband and I holidayed a lot in the Lake District in our twenties pre children – wow over 30 years ago! There was a middle time in my life; when the girls were growing up, that long and difficult walks took a backseat, with only the occasional foray perhaps but nothing serious. More recently with my last partner and my dog, Rufus, I have completed Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk and The Cotswold Way. I am currently walking Offa’s Dyke Path in 4-day break sections.

Day 1

Back to the Peak District, I set off on Thursday morning with the Cocker Spaniel, Rufus and my mate Kate heading for Ilam and the B&B ran by the sister of Kate’s work colleague. What a stroke of luck a beautiful location, very comfortable accommodation and brilliant service Garden Farm, Ilam (https://www.gardenfarmpeakdistrict.co.uk/ ). Thanks Debbie!  Rufus was made very welcome and is currently starring on the Garden Farm Facebook page! Rufus made friends in the customary way (bottom sniffing) with the resident black Labradors – Diesel and Marley.

walking in the peak district
The biggest honeysuckle I’ve ever seen at the Garden Farm B&B – beautiful perfume

On arriving, after I’d prepared my feet for walking (see this post) we headed off with a picnic to explore the locality. The first walk of our walking break in the Peak District was a 6 mile walk down into Ilam (via the National Trust loo’s!) and onward to follow the Manifold River towards Thorpe and back again, with a picnic stop half way.

walking in the peak district
Stock Grazing
Please close and fasten the gate
The sign on this gate!

 

We rounded this off with a pot of tea and a Biscuiteer courtesy of Kate. A birthday gift from her work colleagues (thank you).

Biscuiteers

After a rest and a read we headed for the local hostelry The Izaak Newton Hotel for a welcome pint and a good dinner – burger for me and a tomato hash concoction for Kate, all very tasty. Rufus was made very welcome and was given a bowl of iced water.

Day 2

walking in the peak district
Kate and Rufus at Ilam Cross – ready for Dovedale

A good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast set us up for our planned 12 mile walk. We’d decided to walk up Dove Dale past the stepping stones before the weekend hoards arrived!  We were there before 10am and very few walkers were around. Hence I was able to film Kate and Rufus crossing the River Dove (see Instagram @jenafitlife)

walking in the peak district
Crossing Dovedale stepping stones

From here we carried on up the River Dove to Milldale where we partook of a coffee from Polly’s Cottage and watched the ducks on the river before continuing on up river to just beyond Iron Tors where we crossed the river and climbed the steady route up Gipsy Banks to reach the limestone plateau of fields across to Alstonefield.

walking in the peak district
Ilam Rock -Dove Dale
walking in the peak district
Rufus exploring the Dove dale caves

Here at The George we had a pint but we were not tempted by the menu – designed for diners not walkers!  We then headed south via Stanshope and Castern to eventually come into Ilam Park. The weather had deteriorated and we got rather damp, but it was dry enough to sit in the NT Ilam tea garden ( www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ilam-park-dovedale-and-the-white-peak)  and have a good pot of tea and a slice of Derbyshire tea loaf.

walking in the peak district
View from the Ilam Park tea garden

More tea, a bath and some reading prior to heading out for food, having not booked anywhere we ended up back at The Izaak Walton! Red wine, Caulliflower, chick pea and spinach curry for me and Fish & Chips for Kate. Delicious!

Day 3

The weather looked more promising on Saturday, our planned route had no hostelry’s for refreshment. Debbie our host kindly provided a flask of coffee and we had apples and snacks too.  We had another 12 mile circular route from Parwich planned, taking in some of the Tissington Trail and the High Peak Trail. These are both old industrial railway lines now given over to walkers and cyclists. The route culminated in skirting the working Ballidon Quarry and back to Parwich. We hadn’t realised how bright and warm the day had been until we saw the white lines at my ankle/sock/leg boundary!

Saturday night we’d booked in to eat at The Okeover Arms, Mappleton.  A varied menu and good ales, free wifi connected me to the outer world briefly. Did I say we’d had little or no phone or internet reception throughout the trip?  I had a great pint of Okeover Ale to wash down my Steak pie, proper walker’s food! I followed this up with a Strawberry pavlova.  This day led to a sound nights sleep.

walking in the peak district
Okeover Ale

Day 4

Sunday dawned, packing ensued and our last hearty B& B breakfast. Today our plan was to drive to Hartington and walk 6 miles along Beresford Dale into Wolfscote Dale following the River Dove almost to where we’d left it to climb Gipsy Banks earlier in the weekend. We then left the river bed to come back along Biggin Dale to the country lanes that led back to Hartington, a sandwich and a coffee.

walking in the peak district
A mixed Chicken run en route back to Hartington

This brought our break to an end, just the hour and a half drive back to Leicestershire, internet and phone reception!

I would really recommend a walking break in the Peak District. We barely scratched the surface and will definitely be back.

Have you read my blog post on Fitness Challenges? Walking features in it!

Where are you favourite walking routes?

Thanks for reading.

Jen

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

 

 

Fitness Challenges – What are your’s?

People are seeking ever increasing fitness challenges, what are your’s? 5k, Marathon? Triathlon? Heavier weights? Mud runs/ OCR?

It may be to lose weight, walk around the park, build a booty, improve your health outcomes, Whatever your fitness challenges are they are your personal challenges or goals.

Running

I’ve done a couple of half marathons…..with about 25 years between them! The first when the girls were under 5 and time was tight. The second whilst supporting my eldest daughter in her C25k, followed by her half marathon training and later she did the London Marathon…….the latter definitely not my bag, so time consuming….not to mention the pain. I supported her with this one by taking her drinks when she was doing a long run, running out to meet her and running the last couple of miles back with her and giving her massages!

The second half marathon was not really a planned goal, it was however a challenge!  As I said I was running with Alice as she trained for her first half marathon. After running 12 miles with her I questioned why I didn’t do my second half marathon. Unfortunately I couldn’t get into the one she was doing so we both booked onto one for about 3 weeks after. It was a glorious day and a lovely run which I managed in a very respectable 2 hours 4 mins, not bad for a 53 year old with dodgy knees. Shame I didn’t break the 2 hour mark tho’ cos I don’t plan to run another one!

Fitness challenges running
Half Marathon 2hrs 4mins

Wolf Run

A couple of years ago I did the Wolf Run, now that was great fun, very, very muddy and one to do with friends as you need to push and pull each other up and over obstacles. Woods…..Obstacles…..Lakes….Fields: a 10k run with tough natural and man-made obstacles, actually not a lot of running, lots of trying to stay on two feet in the mud, climbing, swimming and crawling! Definitely a fabulous fitness challenge!

fitness challenges wolf run
Wolf Run – just washed off crossing the river!

Walking

Walking is now my thing: Coast to Coast, ( in 3 sections), Cotswold Way and now Offa’s Dyke Path piecemeal. These walks are fitness challenges, completing good mileage to reach your overnight stop, on Offa’s Dyke we are carrying our luggage including 3 days worth of dog food! and climbing over 100 floors – the health app on my phone recorded 105 floors, over 30,000 steps and 19km covered on one day 🙂

 

Fitness Challenges walks
Offs’s Dyke Path – the end of Hatterrall Ridge

Online Gym

Generally my fitness challenges are almost daily, personal and in the front room …..my workout space! 

Julia Buckleys online gym programmes have a mix of HIIT, weights, weighted HIIT, flexibility work and cardio. Great for doing in your own time and space, no one watching, fabulous workouts and excellent programmes done for you!! Fantastic camaraderie and support on the website too.

fitness challenges online gym
Post workout – online gym
Training in my front room!

Your Fitness Challenge

Don’t be intimidated by the guys that want to do ultra runs/massive cycling mileage/ strong people events ( delete/ insert as appropriate) if you struggle to jog to the end of your road.   It is your fitness journey, your life, have fitness challenges that will change you. You’ll be rewarded by health benefits, oh and great satisfaction.

Let me know what your current fitness challenges are in the comments below.

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Read about the further challenge from long walks here ….Blisters!    https://www.jenafitlife.com/2017/05/30/blisters-when-walking/

Further blogs on running:

Running – Most of us have done it

Running – How To Get Going

This post contains an affiliate link

How I deal with my blisters from long walks

Do you suffer from blisters when on a long walk or any walk for that matter? I have had my walking boots for about 5 years and wear them regularly. However when I go on a walking holiday and put in up to 20 miles I usually can expect to get sore feet and blisters 🙁

Walking boots
My trusted walking boots

Over the years I have developed a system of plasters and “padding” to try to prevent this, to no avail. I have lost toenails in the process too. I’ve had blisters on the balls of my feet, where the nail meets the toe, on the heels and on the toes. My boots are not ill fitting, they are comfortable (until a blister forms) and I wear two pairs of socks.

Historically I applied blister plasters, other plasters after the event. Now I have a blister strategy!

My Blister Strategy

When walking the Cotswold Way last Spring I applied this fantastic fleecy padding along my toes and this did a great job at protecting this bit of my feet. Sadly it was then that I got blisters under the ball of my foot, sort at the big toe joint. Some of these issues are due to my feet changing shape as a result of bunions, which in themselves are not painful and do not cause me any other issue……………….oh apart from choice of shoes, mainly from an aesthetic viewpoint.

I further enhanced my foot preparations with the purchase of these life-changing or at least foot/blister changing “Gel Ball of Foot Cushions [which] absorb shock, reduce friction and redistribute pressure with each step while taking up little space in the shoe”] http://www.superdrug.com/Superdrug/Superdrug-Toe-Loop-Ball-Of-Ft-Cushion-X2/p/536303 wearing these alongside the fleecy padding (which you can cut to size) on the toes revolutionised my feet experience on the most recent leg of the Offa’s Dyke Path (http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/walkoffasdykepart2/) . When we walked over 50 miles in 4 days,including 17 miles on the first day and I was blister free. RESULT 🙂

blister prevention
Gel shock absorbers!

My Blister/First Aid Walking Kit

This picture shows the stuff I carry with me when walking;

  • plasters, blisters and normal
  • fleecy padding (cut to size)
  • anti-histamine
  • tick tweezers
  • antiseptic wipes
blister kit
My Blister/First Aid kit

and generally for the end of the day

  • paracetomol
  • ibuprofen
  • ibuprofen gel
Blister/ ache aid
Post walk medication!

Not a Walker?

Take a read of my blog post Do you walk regularly? to find out why walking is good for your health and how I get my walking in!

Thanks for reading

Jen x

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenallenmassagetherapy/

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!