The Journal

3rd March 2015


The third instalment of the Quest in the North West series:

I think I must be living my life backwards.

Peer pressure was never an issue for me growing up.
I never wanted  the Sergio Tacchini sweatshirts, the Kappa Bubble coat and the Ellesse trainers, they never held any interest for me, despite not being allowed in with the “in gang” at school because I didn’t wear this uniform.

Now however is a different story…

A group of friends are walking Hadrian’s wall in the summer. Having cycled it about 6 years ago I was happy to have it crossed off the list, but the constant chip, chip, followed by the, “But it’s for charity” weakened me to the point where I agreed to do their second training walk. Penrith to Carlisle.

To any Carlisian, that doesn’t sound too bad as its only 20 minutes down the motorway but try walking it!

I jumped out of bed Sunday morning 5am ( I must be barmy!). Not being predisposed to mornings breakfast was a no no, this was mistake number 1. Having done the rounds collecting the walking party, it was around 7 am when we reached Penrith by car. With s slight drizzle the fun began.

The arrangements were originally straight down the A6 a busy long monotonous road without an end in sight, so I helped persuade the group to take the scenic route and discovered villages I never knew of.

I knew I was probably the most unfit of the group, but having used that as an excuse not to join in had fallen on deaf ears, but when you are climbing a hill at a snail’s pace and Zebedee comes bounding down the hill to encourage you in your efforts when he’s 11 years your senior is just infuriating! Chatting ten to the dozen, never noticing for one moment I am unable to breathe and talk at the same time; had I something heavier in my new Chapman’s Rucksack I may have used it as a weapon!!

Now, I could give you the nitty gritty, about the agony, the shin splints, the blisters and suchlike, but instead I’ll tell you what I learnt.

  1. Always have breakfast before embarking on a challenge like this, you will need it.
  2. Hill Walking Boots are not suitable for road walking.
  3. When exerting yourself vigorously uphill, your circulatory system decides that your fingers don’t require blood at all!
  4. Eating whilst walking makes you breathless.
  5. Choose your walking companions carefully – One of the group seemed matched to my fitness level so we joined forces towards the end, kindly pointing out to me the reason we were dragging behind was due to the fact for every two steps they took, we took three.
    Thwarted by being vertically challenged yet again, watching the Gazelle like figures bounding ahead, we poddled behind.
  6. Chocolate and Hip Flask are essentials –  The lack of both is the whole reason I completed only 13 of the 22 miles.
  7. Despite the pain…just laugh, it’s going to hurt anyway so distract yourself anyway you know how.
  8. Have a rescue party on standby – Even if its costs you an arm and a leg to buy them dinner at The Dukes Head In, Armathwaite. ( Amazing Sunday roast by the way)
  9. Chapman Bags really are waterproof – The lid cross threaded on my bottle of water, I had an inch of water in the bottom of my delightfully new bespoke, colour co-ordinated Chapman Bag ( love the addition of the zipper to the front pocket, keeps my purse really safe) and not so much as a spot of water on the outside to alert me to the leakage. Check out our Bespoke section on the website where you can create your very own Bespoke Bag, or for something entirely different send me your drawings and we can make it for you.

So Hadrian’s Wall in  the summer? I’m still wavering…have I enough stamina to take part in the real thing? Will I expire from training alone? Have I enough holidays left  to complete the adventure? The jury’s out, but watch this space you never know!


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