Rowbothan’s Round Rotherham

At some point, recently, I must have decided to move up a gear in my walking and tackle the annual LDWA 100 miler – to be held in South Wales in 2014.

As a pre-requisite, participants must demonstrate that that are likely to finish the hundred mile walk ( or run if you’re that way inclined ). There is a list of qualifying events all of which had passed except for the Rowbothan’s Round Rotherham ( RRR ), a fifty mile circular walk, to be held on Saturday 19th October. Obviously, I signed up.

I left work on Friday and headed up a busy M42 before joining an even busier M1. I arrived at my chosen hotel ( only a couple of miles from the start ) three and a half hours later ! I chose my hotel well with an Aldi opposite ( handy for breakfast instant porridge ) and a Harvester style pub around the corner ( handy for Friday’s evening meal ).

I awoke around half four on Saturday and after a breakfast of Aldi’s instant porridge ( just add boiling water ) I packed up, booked out and drove to the start.

Waiting for the off

I registered and waited with somewhat like one hundred and fifty fellow walkers for the start at 06:00. After the obligatory pep-talk there was a short countdown and we were away.

We set off as a bunch, vying for position before making the first mistake, that of following blindly ! Luckily it was only a hundred metres or so but I MUST not do it again !

A selection of paths, tracks and a bit across open ground to the first checkpoint at Grange Park some eleven miles in. After some squash and a few biscuits, I mistakenly followed the bunch and went wrong again ( will I ever learn ? ). Backtracking, I soon found the correct route and was on my way. A long walk along a river and canal brought me to Tinsley where I had to change the batteries in my GPS before making a solo navigation error adding about a mile to my total.

After the second checkpoint at Treeton, the route took a much more rural aspect ( mud ) as it snaked around Rotherham, passing through Rother Valley Country Park where I managed a brisk pace along the long road section.

The next checkpoint, at halfway, was in a hall in Harthill where more biscuits were consumed before battling more mud on the way to the Woodsets checkpoint.

Roche Abbey

More mud, including a newly ploughed field, and finally to the Firbeck checkpoint at thirty five miles.

The next stretch was fairly easy going across grassy fields, past Roche Abbey and through the trees to the checkpoint at Maltby and only ten miles or so to go.

The final checkpoint, at Old Denaby, was reached in the dark by heading towards the bright flashing light ( no mention of a light-house in the directions ! ). I was hoping to finish within thirteen hours but on reaching Denaby I realised that this was not to be so stopped long enough for a cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee ahead of the final leg of 5k ( a parkrun ! ).

The last bit was fairly easy with a slight misdirection in Swinton ( no big deal ). The directions mentioned following the illuminated cycleway ( replacing a notorious bog, apparently ) however the lights were out on the bike path. A bit of red and white tape directed me along the final stint around the sports centre bringing me to the finish in a time of 13:20.

My GPS registered fifty two miles but although there was some 800m of ascent I completed the walk comfortably and after a brief rest ( and change of clothes ) I drove back to Birmingham.

Quite an easy course with only a few mistakes and one I’ll probably be doing again on Oct 14th 2014.


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