Notes to self:
- Remember to enjoy it! (Walking).
- Don’t mess about with it! (Blisters).
- Always book flexibly! (Everything!)
I deliberately bounced from the Cleveland Way onto The Ridgeway to string more consecutive walking days together. What a cracking idea Chris. What could possibly go wrong?
All of these walks so far (now about 1200km since leaving work) are special in themselves but they’re prep in my mind for the c1014km of of the South West Coast Path – the main reason I took the big decision to leave work with a 2020 vision to walk the walking walk, not just talk the walking talk.
On the SWCP I plan to average about 20-odd km per day and have a day off (or very short day) every 12-14 days. So joining these other walks up to sample that approach seemed like a good idea at the time. As did shaving a few £ off the accommodation costs by booking non flexibly. Nothing *ever* goes wrong with inflexible bookings, until it does.
And yet today, on what should be Day 2 of The Ridgeway I find myself on a train to Newbury to get a bus to East Ilsley, skipping a 35km section and feeling cranky / guilty about it. I could have walked today, I definitely would have made it, after a fashion, to East Ilsley. If today had been say, 20km I’d have gone for it, but didn’t want to be 20km in, with 3 hours still to go, and find myself thinking only about the merits of an impromptu toe removal as a cure all to the reason I chose not to walk…
Blisters. Or rather blisters on the blister I “treated” and the healing time still required from the peeling (if not quite degloving!) process I was advised against by esteemed advisors such as The Internet and other more learned practitioners.
Unfortunately eventually, I just couldn’t resist taking matters into my own unskilled hands. I still think I made a good decision for the long haul. I hope I’m right! Right now though my littlest pinky piggie is a raw, slightly sticky mess.
A flap of little toe skin (sorry Ellis, no pics I promise…) that I had already left for days and was sure had healed underneath had to go, and so it went with an easy peel, and then a painful whole toe, spiral pull.
This happened in the 48 hours between a 40km final day on the Cleveland Way and a 28km day 1 of The Ridgeway, so I thought it would be fine. In the short term, I was indisputably wrong!
Net result, and probably not helped by unavoidably christening new boots as well, was that every one of the 39688 steps I took yesterday was uncomfortable (nurofens popped) or downright painful (nurofens stopped).
I could and did walk on it but, combined with new boot rubs, cross wind (but it was windier on The Hadrians Wall Path), rain (but it was wetter at times on the Pennine Bridleway) meant I was not enjoying it at all. Highly unusual for me not to relish a walk.
Perhaps it was because I couldn’t see much due to low cloud, and a big hood keeping out the rain but yesterday’s day 1 of The Ridgeway was a proper trudge. I couldn’t even be bothered Twittering out my daily update to my 3 or so followers! 🙂
The only highlights were a few new tunes to enjoy. Splid, the new album by Kvelertak, and UUBBUURRUU by UUBBUURRUU, which I’ve included here as I like typing UUBBUURRUU. Try it, it’s fun!
No part of the plan for 2020 figured I wouldn’t enjoy the walking so I wasn’t expecting this, and am a bit frustrated. I wasn’t remotely tired yesterday – just out of sorts, with a reminder of the reason why every time I put my right foot down, rolled onto the little toe, winced, adjusted and carried on having silently but deeply acknowledged that you should never (ever) de-skin a blister. Even if you really want to.
I’m probably being a wuss about blisters but I almost never get them, so am inexperienced in their treatment at best. 2 pairs of good socks, decent well worn comfy boots, and hard feet from lots of miles earning a certain immunity from the little bubble wrap blighters. That said I think this was a bad one, which wasn’t going to sort itself out. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
With a little toe that currently looks like a squashed, elongated, over ripe and peeled cherry tomato I’ve decided to give it a day to improve. And have invested in some Savlon which I’m wearing ice cream ‘99 style on the sore spot. I’ll admit that it hurt less before I got involved with it!
So an unplanned, unwelcome day off – and I’ll give it tomorrow as well, if needed, because I want to be thinking about the way I’m going, not the toe thats glowing.
The Ridgeway – Fox Hill Turn to East Ilsley will be returned to, maybe even later this week with a re plan. The rules of the walks allow any order, any time limit, any direction, so no harm done.
I even considered just heading home and cracking on with planning the next walk – but would lose out on pre-booked accommodation and train travel. Plus, I reckon I can still get 80% of this trail done. Worst case I’ve a couple of days sitting in the rather nice country pubs around here enjoying their ale and bar snacks – so it’ll hardly be wasted time!
I think there is also a lesson here to make sure I don’t let the vision become a chore, because so far I’ve loved every one of the c12000 minutes walked on England’s National Trails this year.
I’ve already a few KM’s to mop up elsewhere due to flooding / wind during the winter storms we had. One or two skipped days won’t be a problem to catch up. And I’m certain it’s a blip morale wise and I’ll be loving it again by the weekend. Walking, after all is mans best medicine.
Any road in the time it’s taken to spell check this I’ve arrived in a East Ilsley, have a pint of Moretti in front of me, a Panini on its way and it’s not yet 2pm. So – the revised plan for today is working out pretty well at least.
PS – Sorry if you were having any Cherry Toms with your tea!
🍅 🦶 🩹