Just to build a picture I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a fitness nut, far from it, or an avid rambler, But yes I do like being outside, what ever the weather. I was in my younger days always quite fit, I played rugby for a number of years and train 3 out of 7 days, ate like a horse and did like a few beers on the other 4 out of 7 days, but hey I trained so it didn’t show, that was until I gave up playing rugby and the training due to injury but the eating and nights down the pub remained, then after a short time it did matter, a lot…….. I got quite large and very lazy over the years. Two years ago I saw a photo of myself at the beach and the sudden shock kicked me in the pants like a mule, I was horrified at how big and overweight I’d become. I’m not exactly a small frame person at the best of times 15 stone was a good weight for me, now I’d tipping the scales at 21.5. I went on a fitness drive and lost a fair few stone, by the time the Ben Nevis challenge was put forward and I guess that’s a good reason for jumping at the chance. since then the weight has kept coming off and the hiking has been a major part of that.
I had chosen to do the Yorkshire 3 peaks as a challenge when I sent in my application, so as I said before I did get a not successful letter at first, but I still intended to do the challenge even just to prove a point to myself.
Now the furthest I had walked since leaving the army is 15 miles across fairly flat ground, or approx 10 miles over the Breacons, both of which I had been belowing out my ears………I reflect back to that moment on Ben Nevis when I sat on a large rock and thought about what little training i had done and how I’d underestimate that challenge, and again on Snowden 7 weeks after Ben, ok I’ve come a long way in the past year since Ben and had a sharp learning curve….or do I mean painful….. think my legs would say the later.
As always when planning a walk I consult the many many experts out there on the forum pages, I have actually found this one to be the best, ok there are a few daft comments but the helpful ones outweigh that, http://www.outdoorsmagic.com that and the 3 peaks site again this one is quite good, http://www.thethreepeakschallenge.co.uk, so with all the advice and armed with my newly downloaded Viewranger App, http://www.viewranger.com/ it time to get serious.
Training for this challenge started back in The Spring with a few long walks across the Kent countryside and Midlands, A few sections of the North Downs way, regular spin class, lots of mountain biking and I joined the Gym ( But remember I’m not a fitness nut). I was then asked by one of the people who climbed Ben Nevis with if I’d like to go to Breacons one weekend and climb Pen-Y-Fan, now my last memory of this was being beasted up and down it in the pouring rain by a big nasty NCO, so I was a bit hesitant to say the very least, but in the sprite of adventure I agreed, ‘Where we staying Dave’ was my question, ‘No worries Russ we’re gona camp out the night’ again my mind drifted off back to the rain and NCO. ‘Great Mate can’t wait’ we have now done that a few times, what a great time, hill treks and wild camping.
Below Left: Me on top of Pen-y-Fan on a fresh March day Below Right Camp site
Above : Not at my best at 0200
So whats next? Scafel pike to complete the set, and a few very long walks before September comes, and to find someone that wants to come along for the walk…..I will blog the challenge and any other training days.