With plenty of time to enjoy life and whilst still fit enough to do so (just!) I've decided to embark upon a long-distance walk. Many years ago I walked England's Coast-To-Coast long-distance path of 190 miles, backpacking across carrying tent, sleeping bag, stove etc etc. I did this in 10 days. Enjoyable, but now the bones are somewhat older they're less forgiving of relentless pounding of the ground encumbered with a 35lb rucksack!
So... I feel the time is right for another long walk but travelling fewer miles each day and with a much lighter pack this time!
So - where to go and how to do it?
It didn't take much thought before I found the 'where'; I live in a beautiful part of England in the county of Shropshire and England's longest river - The Severn - passes within a handful of miles from home and I'm continually drawn to it for various walks and nature forays. So I was more than a little pleased to discover that a long-distance path - The Severn Way - follows as closely as possible the course of the river from its source on a lonely and remote hilltop called Plymlimon in Mid Wales right down to the Bristol Channel - a total of 210 miles.
So this was to be my route. But how to do it? Logistics. Transport. For maximum comfort it has to be in stages this time with home returns in between. I still do the occasional back-packing trips in the mountains but just for a couple of days or so. Doing the whole walk with all the kit at say 10 miles each day sounds more of a mission than a pleasure. I'm not keen on overnight stays at B & B's or hotels either. Maybe I could do mostly day-legs with the odd camping leg? (By that I don't mean that one of my walking limbs is actually a tent-pole!).
To walk with a companion or not?
I'm mainly a solo walker, prefer it that way really - less distractions, walk at my own pace, stop when I want etc etc but that means a linear walk is more difficult to organise - with 2 cars you can have one at each end of the leg. How do I do linear stretches on my own?
Well... I could do each stretch as a circular walk but that would more than double the length of the venture. Also, there might be times when circular walks were just not possible and that would entail walking from A to B and back the same route - something I have always avoided, and again it doubles the whole walk.
So... you see dear reader, you're actually here - right here - at the planning stage of my walk, you could also offer help, advice and yes - a little encouragement maybe? Just drop in a comment below whenever you can.
I've decided to plan each leg more or less as I go, using a mix of car, buses, trains, boats, taxis to get me to the start of each leg and also for my return home at the end of each leg. Does that sound logical? Then that's what I'll do.
I'll be setting aside one day each week starting from Monday, May 18, 2009 (chances are that by the time you read this I'll have completed stage 1). Allowing for holidays and an average of 10 mile legs this will take till the first week in November to complete. Now that's a leisurely stroll if there ever was one! And it will give me plenty of time to take photos and write up each leg for the blog in between.
By that I don't mean don your boots and follow in my footsteps but follow my venture on this blog where I'll be posting each stage of the journey with accompanying pics of the fabulous scenery, the wildlife, doubtless a little fun, along with all the trials and tribulations. I invite you to follow my trip(!) by entering your email address top right to get automatic email-alerts every time I make a post which will be for each stage - one per week if all goes according to my undetailed and rather loose plan! Or instead of email alerts you could, of course, subscribe by RSS feed. Either way I would be more than pleased to have you with me! It'll be great fun! And don't forget to join in with some welcome banter as I bimble and amble along the fabulous Severn Way.
Catch you in a few days with an account of Stage One...