Monday, 25 June 2012

Nearly there...

Yep, it's nearly here everyone. Very, very soon I will start to talk about something other than The Three Peaks. Thanking for sticking with me on this, believe me, I'm even starting to get bored of it now!

Have a strange mix of excitement and panic at the moment. Part of me however is more laid back than I think I should be. Having been so disappointed to miss out, and at such short notice as well, last time I think part of me hasn't quite registered that this is happening in just 4 days - I'm hoping this is maybe a good thing, not to get too stressed out by it.

Wrote my 'to do' and 'to pack' lists today and have started getting everything ready (see photo below). Have just compared it to last year's list here and I'm pleased to say that they are pretty similar, hopefully this is a good sign that I haven't forgotten anything....

I will of course update this blog once I've recovered from the challenge. I'm hoping to do some updates while I'm going along (well, between mountains) via Twitter, you can follow me at @AmysThreePeaks

It would be foolish of me not to give my fundraising page just one final push. I am doing this challenge as a personal challenge to me, and also to raise money for two very important charities The Princes' Trust and JDRF. I have entirely funded all the costs of the challenge (and last year's missed attempt) myself so every penny raised really is going to a good cause. As I write this I'm just £30 off my target, and I can't begin to tell you how much of a boost it will be to know I've reached my target by the day of the challenge, if you can help please click on the link..... (and of course feel free to share it with friends and family!)

Thank you to everyone who has supported me both in sponsorship, coming for walks with me or just general moral support and encouragement, really couldn't have done it without you all. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Day trip to Derbyshire

With two weeks to go, this weekend's walk was my last 'proper walk' before the challenge, I think I may have saved the best (and most difficult) for last!

The day started early, leaving Norwich at 545am for the long drive to Derbyshire for a day trip in the PEak District. Leaving in Norfolk which has a distinct lack of hills it was obvious from the landscape as soon as we arrived that this was going to be quite a different walk. We started off in Edale and climbed eventually to the top of Kinder Scout, the highest point in the peak district, before returning to Edale (with an unexpected detour!) via Jacob's Ladder, a total walk of just over 11.5 miles. The walk involved a fair bit of scrambling, hard work but worth it for the spectacular views once we got there! The weather wasn't great so the views were a little hazy, but the rain held off for most of the day so we were pretty lucky really.

For those that are interested in these things, the route can be seen here.

There were certainly points where I found it hard going, but I'm not expecting the challenge to be easy so I suppose that's ok. The point is I managed it so I hope I can manage the challenge. Not aching too much today, hopefully that's testament to the training I've been doing, rather than I'm going to suffer tomorrow instead! All in all though, with less than two weeks to go I feel pretty well prepared for the challenge, with a good sprinkling of nerves in for good measure!

Thanks to Gary and Rebecca for the company, navigation and driving for yesterday's walk!

With so little time to go before the challenge it would be a little remiss of me not to give my fundraising page a bit of a plug, only £100 off my target so if you are able to help me get there please click here!

Some pictures:

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Nearly there....

With only three weeks to go until the challenge I took myself off for a training walk today from Reedham to Brundall, a total distance of 10.5 miles. A decent distance, and a walk that I've done several times before ( here and here for example). The walk takes me from Reedham Ferry alongside the river and through Cantley and Buckenham. There the route moves away from the river through to Strumpshaw and finally into Brundall.

This is a route that I usually enjoy, unfortunately however today I was disappointed. I've walked this path on several occasions and have noted, in this blog, how its appearance changes throughout the different seasons. Sadly today it was so overgrown that it was very difficult to walk. I was having to walk through weeds, grasses etc (I'm no expert on what they actually were!) up to my armpits - ok I'm short but still! If I hadn't been so familiar with the route I would have almost certainly turned back as there was no real way to determine where the oath actually was. Indeed, even I took a wrong turn and ended up doing a rather hairy ten minutes on a very narrow piece of ground between two reed beds. Although I can't name much of the vegetation I could identify the multitude of stinging nettles, and sadly my legs still show evidence of these.... I don't know whether the overgrowth on the path was due to the weather, the lack of recent walkers because of the weather, council cuts or a combination of the three but whatever it is I do hope it doesn't stay that way for long, it's such a lovely route it would be such a shame if it were lost.

I finished my walk in Brundall where I was given a fantastic home cooked Sunday roast dinner (thanks Mum!) the perfect end to a long walk!

(It has nothing to do with the rest of the walk but I also saw this rather funky (and large) caterpillar on my walk so wanted to share the photo!)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

One route, two very different walks...

Last weekend's walk was a 9 miler along part of the North Norfolk coast on a quite grey, wet and windy day. Given the beautiful weather we have today I felt I couldn't pass up the chance to visit the coast so decided to repeat the same route to test what impact the weather had on me, it turns out that it does have quite a significant effect!

I took the train down to Cromer where I headed onto the beach, walked along to Sheringham and continued to Weybourne mill where I turned round to catch the train back from Sheringham. A really nice, varied route. I walked along sand for part of it, gravel banks for other parts and the cliffs as well, so a really good training opportunity. The change in the weather made the route seem completely different from one week to the next.....

last week....

this week.....much better!

This week's walk, although visually much more fun, was a at much slower pace that the previous week, adding an extra 15 minutes to the 9 miles. I put this down chiefly to the heat, but also partially to the crowds of people that were taking advantage of the sun, meaning I often struggled to walk along at my usual pace. 

Last week I also added a little pit stop to my walk. Stopping off at West Runton Beach Cafe for a hot drink (wouldn't have been needed this week!) and to collect the collecting tin they have kindly been holding for me. Thank you to everyone there who have supported the challenge, I have just counted up the coins and it totals very nearly £30! I suppose it would be remiss of me at this point not to mention my fundraising page....  just click here!

Slight disappointment today was that my camelbak 'hydration pack' has sprung a leak! It was nice and refreshing in the heat to have water leaking onto my back but not really ideal. Looks like I will be venturing to the shops this week to find a replacement, any recommendations welcome....

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Here comes the sun....

do do do do.........

Another weekend, another training walk, now with only 7 weeks to go until the challenge.

I didn't want to go too far afield this weekend so decided to take myself off for a Norwich based walk. I headed off from my base in Tombland and headed down Kings Street to Whittlingham broad. I wasn't expecting a particularly exciting walk as this is a route I've done many times, seeing the sign below though suggested that maybe things would be different this time....

Sadly there were no sharks to be seen. However, the sunny weather really was a dramatic change to the weather I've been training in for the past month so this walk did seem a little different than usual. The novelty of the sun detracted from the familiarity of the route I guess. It being spring I was treated to the sight of various duckings, cygnets etc, a nice excuse to pause every so often!

Following the walk to Whittlingham, plus a lap of the broad I headed back into the city. Before I went home however I headed over to my old haunt, Gas Hill. I took myself up the hill and then round to walk down Ketts Hill and then...........repeated it! So, a total walking length of 9.5 miles including 2 goes of Gas Hill, not bad going I reckon. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Hello again.....

Wow, it really is quite some time since I last updated this....oops!

Pleased to say though that it's just the blog I'm neglecting, the training has been ongoing with at least one long walk every weekend. Given the weather of the past month or so I have had plenty of opportunity to test out my waterproofs!

Recent walks have included more of Wherryman's Way, North Norfolk coast and various parts of Boudicca Way. Too many to really catch up on now but I promise to make more of an effort update on my training walks over the next 7 and a bit weeks. (yep, that means less than 8 weeks until the challenge....)

This weekend my plan was to do two walks, taking advantage of the Bank Holiday weekend with one walk on Sunday and a shorter one on Monday. Well, I managed the Sunday one with a 12 mile walk on Marriotts Way. Good walk, and the rain mostly held off. Unfortunately it was overshadowed by the sigting of two (separate) mice during the last two miles of the walk. Those who know me will be aware that I am irrationally terrified of anything rodent-like so this was definitely not a highlight!  Today I was suffering a bit from yesterday's 12 miler so struggled to motivate myself enough to go for a proper walk. Instead, I took myself off to Gas Hill ( previous visits ) for some gradient training. Managed 5 trips up and down it, not a bad effort all things considered.

So, in summary, have been training, promise to work harder at blogging.

Finally, with less than 8 weeks to go it seem appropriate to start plugging my fundraising page again. I'm not just putting myself through all this training pain for fun, I'm also raising money for two charities that are important to me, The Prince's Trust and JDRF. I know a lot of people sponsored me last year when I sadly had to cancel the challenge (and thank you for sponsoring, you're amazing!) but if you want to sponsor me again (never know!) or didn't last time but would like to then that would be incredible, just click here.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Is it because I lied when I was 17?

Whatever happened to Travis?

Today's walk was another opportunity for me to test out my waterproofs. They did a very good job, but I think I may be getting a little too used to walking through puddles....

The walk was a, not unimpressive, 10 miles, I am starting to get back to the fitness I had before my enforced break from training. I'm pretty pleased with myself that I did this walk, although I wouldn't particularly reccommend it to anyone. I walked from Norwich to Brundall, a route that I've been meaning to do for a while but never achieved before, all other routes I'd considered ended up with me being on the wrong side of the A47, river or train line.

The route took me through the cathedral grounds and up Ketts Hill, (the hill reminded me that I now really need to get hill walking back into my training schedule) before taking me out of the city through Thorpe St Andrew. I then walked through to Great Plumstead and into Blofield and then Brundall. The whole route was along roads, with about half the walk having pavements, the rest leaving me to jump out the way of oncoming cars. All very boring and non-descript I'm afraid. Still, it was nice to do a walk that led to somewhere, rather than having to return the way I'd come.

So, no nice pictures, no beautiful views, but it was a good distance for training, and one more thing off my to do list.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Follow the yellow brick road.....

Well, not quite bricks but it looked enough like a yellow path for me to (maybe) have a little sing along to myself whilst I was walking it......

I've been absent from the blog for the last couple of weeks, but not to worry I have been training. Unfortunately my ongoing internet problems have meant that I've not been recording my training but I did manage a 7 mile walk last weekend and 9 miles the previous one.

This weekend despite the wet weather (still drying off) I managed a ten mile walk which I'm pretty pleased with. I walked into the village of Trowse and from there decided to explore. First I went through the village and followed a signed cycle path. This led me alongside the A47, not exactly the peaceful countryside walk I was hoping for. Eventually I got to a junction where I could head either to Poringland or Kirby Beton but both these routes followed roads so I turned round and headed back to Trowse.

Once back in Trowse I took a different route and quickly came across the start of Boudicca Way, the path that leads from Norwich to Diss. This was more along the lines of what I was looking for, almost all off road, lovely and peaceful. I was pretty disappointed that I'd take the earlier detor as it meant I couldn't do much of this walk but fully intend to go back. Just over 4 miles in is Venta Icenorum, the site of a Roman Village so I think a trip there and back is next on my list.

I do feel now that I'm starting to get back into the walking. Recent training has let me really test out the waterproofness of my kit, although I may be getting a little too keen on walking through puddles.....

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A flatulent horse made me jump...

Had a very peaceful walk today, except for the incident described in the title, I don't think any more detail is needed.....

I took myself off for a walk round Brundall today, the original plan had been to explore some country lanes and footpaths but as I set out the mist had really started to set in so I decide that pavements were the safer option, initially at least.

The freezing temperatures of the past week meant that much of last weekend's snow was still laying, although not nearly as crisp and satisfying as it was during last week's walk. It did make for some lovely winter scenes however, it also added a degree of jeopardy to the walk as I worked hard to avoid slipping on the ice. This gave me a chance to test out the grip provided by my boots at least!


I set off from Brundall to Blofield and through the village until I crossed the A47 by footbridge. I've not been beyond this point before so I just followed a random selection of small country roads to walk along, walking effectively in a large circle to bring me back to Blofield. Other than the afore mentioned horse I didn't see anyone else along the route.

Once back in Blofield I was planning to walk along the route I came from, I however spotted a footpath sign and decided to explore. I was glad I did! The footpath took me along some little paths, over stiles, through very muddy fields etc, a 'proper' country walk. I did end up with mud up to my knees, but it was worth it!

surprise footpath

I still don't feel I've regained the level of fitness I need for the challenge, today's walk was only 7 miles so I still have some way to go. I am however starting to enjoy walking again and probably could have gone on for a few more miles today. I did however have a roast dinner and a hug from my amazing nearly 4 month old niece to get back to so I think I can be forgiven for calling it a day when I did! 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Best Training Walk Ever!

I could have been forgiven for not going on a training walk this weekend. It’s my ‘pre-birthday’ weekend so I had a party last night, a late night on Saturday doesn’t usually lead to the most productive of Sundays walking-wise. Anyone who knows me, even the tiniest bit, however will know I love snow. Given that overnight we had at least 10cms fall in Norwich the real challenge was waiting until it was time to leave the house to get walking in it.

the cathedral

Today’s walk took me to the UEA, via Eaton Park, but I did start off with a slight detour through the Cathedral Close to take a few pictures. Once at UEA we walked although park of the new nature trail (opened this week) before doing a lap of the UEA lake. The total walk was just under 9 miles. The weather meant my pace was slow though, total walk time was just shy of 3hrs 40mins. Still, an impressive time to be out in such weather! Although I may encounter some snow at the top of the Three Peaks it’s highly unlikely I will be walking in anything like this. I do feel like I’ve had a good work out though and imagine the muscles used in keeping my balance on slippery ground may hav some similarities to the balance needs of walking up and down hill.

Eaton Park

The walk also gave me the opportunity to really try out some of my walking gear. My feet stayed toasty warm and dry despite me taking every opportunity to walk through the deepest parts of the snow, testament to the waterproofness of my boots. I also used my waterproof trousers, and those combined with some pretty impressive layering meant I stayed warm and dry the whole time, in fact I even considered de-layering at one point as it got too warm.

the lake

Unfortunately I did miss the funniest moment of the day, a (what I imagine to be) rather spectacular fall on the ice by Hetal – I was least on the other end of the phone when it happened so feel somewhat part of it! The second funniest moment however was on the way back watching a smart car trying to get up a very snowy hill! He managed it in the end, but not before attracting quite a large crowd!


I will be back out on the walks next weekend, having a feeling though that next week’s isn’t going to seem quite as exciting as this with no snowy scenes to photograph. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Trying to get back into the swing of things

I'm sorry to say that my restarted training stalled last weekend and I failed to do a single walk. A busy Saturday followed by a very late night meant I was left with very little inclination to get out walking on the Sunday. To avoid the same trap this weekend I made myself get my weekly training walk in today instead.

As I'm still getting back into training I'm still not quite up to the longer walks I was doing late autumn. As a result I'm still quite reluctant to go to far from home, giving me the option to return home early if I want to. So for today I headed off to Whittlingham for a walk round the Great Broad. A lap of the broad is 2.5 miles, plus an approximately 2.5 mile walk each way meant I walked just over 7 miles, no where near what I was doing but certainly heading in the right direction.

Whittlingham Great Broad

I am finding it quite frustrating that I am effectively starting from scratch when it comes to my training, knowing how much work I put in before which, it feels like at least, was all for nothing. The one positive I am trying to take from it though is that I am now able to appreciate just how far I came before, and at the point I really didn't know what I was doing, so hopefully with that experience on board I can get back to that fitness again, and hopefully improve event more. 

I did take a few minutes halfway through the walk for a short break, during which I sat watching a group of swans. They were standing in pairs and kept standing in positions making a heart shape with their necks. I lost count of the number of times when I just missed pressing the button on my camera in time and missed what would have been a great shot. The below is unfortunately the closest I got.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Bridging the gap

So, today's walk was the first 'proper' one in my restarted training. Trying to ease myself in gently I set out to do a 3 or 4 mile walk just around my part of Norwich.

Started off in Tombland and walked through the Cathedral Close to the rive where I picked up the Riverside Walk along to Bishop Bridge. From there I found myself at Gas Hill ( Gas Hill blog). Although I'm taking it easy training wise at the moment I decided to give it a go, to see how much my hill fitness has dipped. Pleased to say I managed the hill, although did find it very hard work!

River Wensum

I then walked along the other side of the river to Foundry Bridge and followed the Riverside path back to the Cathedral Close. Then I walked along King Street up to the Lady Julian Bridge and followed the river along to Carrow Bridge. At this point it finally dawned on me that I seemed to be crossing a lot of bridges, so decided to see just how many times I could cross the river in one short walk. With this in mind I followed the river back to the Novi Sad bridge, then crossed the Lady Julian Bridge again before heading back to the Cathedral. I then walked down to the Fye Bridge on Wensum Street, down Quayside to Whitefriars Bridge before going back to Wensum Street and down Colgate. I followed this to again cross the river on Duke Street, then over to The Playhouse to cross the river via St Georges Bridge. By this point my 3 mile walk had turned into 5 miles so I headed home. I was hopeful that I had covered all the bridges in the City Centre (geeky yes but there you go...) but then stumbled on the poster below...

Turns out I missed a couple, that's a future challenge I guess......

Take 2...

New Year, and I'm back!

As you will know from my last posts back in September/October I was very disappointed that, despite months of training, I was unable to complete the Three Peaks Challenge last September due to coming down with glandular fever only a few days before. This was a huge disappointment but I am pleased to say that I have rebooked to complete the challenge in June and now that Christmas and the New Year are out the way I'm going to start picking up my training.

I still have some way to go to get my fitness back to where it was and I don't want to risk pushing myself too much and relapsing so I'm going with the slow and steady approach. The current plan is to just do small walks, without my backpack, during January and then in February start on a 4 month plan to get me to the level I need to be at by June. Over Christmas I started doing a bit of walking and today did my first 'training walk' (blog post to follow). It's not going to be a quick process but at least I've started and I hope you'll all continue to follow my progress on here......