The walk started easily enough with a walk out of town and along a track before leaving the tarmac (for now) at one mile and heading cross-country.
The terrain was easy going – the ground was solid and the ups and downs not too up and down.
A little before the first check point I could hear someone talking loudly so though I was there. Instead it was a fellow competitor moaning about the route description.
I was on the road around half six for an uneventful drive down the M42 to the village of Hallow in Worcestershire.
My SatNav took me straight there and following the Car Park signs soon found the event car park.
After parking up, I faffed about getting everything ready before locking up and making my way to registration which was signposted and easy to find.
At reception, I donned by face-covering and went inside to collect my card. A bit different to the usual card to be stamped on the way around, perhaps to reduce handling.
The card came on the end of a blue lanyard which I slung around my neck.
After using the facilities I made my way outside where I helped myself to a drink.
One of the officials came towards me and asked if I was ready to go. Official kick-off was 08:00 but I said, “Yes, please”, and I was on my way by 07:41.
I didn’t visit all 12 parishes of Hallow – of the choice of distances available, only the 26 miler visits all of the parishes.
I asked if he was okay. “I can’t find the electricity substation!”
“It’s there”, I stated pointing to the said substation.
“No, I can’t find it in the description!”
There were ample orange arrows pointing the way and after a few more grumbles, decided to press on to the checkpoint where he could ‘reset’.
The first check point (CP1) was reached at five miles near the village of Wichenford. Instead of stamping my card, the QR code was scanned and the bottom section of the card snipped off – at least I was carrying less weight now.
The route backtracked slightly before going through the churchyard and back into the countryside.
After around eight miles or so, the going started to turn from horizontal to something more vertical, as we ascended to the highest point of the walk, Pudford Hill. As well as being the highest it was also the steepest requiring a few flights of steep steps.
The view from the top was worth it with a view towards Leominster and Wales.
The Worcestershire Way runs along this ridge and that was followed for a mile or so to CP2 at nearly ten miles.
With my tally another centimetre shorter I pressed on along the road for a while towards the village of Little Wyrley.
I had now entered cider country and had a pleasant stroll through orchards of little cider apples.
At least some of these trees belong to Bulmers as was evidenced by the Bulmers signs on some gates and fences.
A few untidy fields were crossed before they became tidier. One particularly nice field contained a crop of barley speckled with bright red poppies.
I was nearing the end now but was slightly concerned when my watch indicated that I’d gone eighteen miles and I still wasn’t back!
On arrival back at HQ, my watch read 19.49 miles – not bad for an 18 mile event – not that I’m complaining.
After having my card scanned for the last time, I collected my free meal of jacket potato and veggie chilli which was taken outside to be seated under a marquee.
I chap I passed earlier came and joined me. “You were going a fair lick out there”, he complimented. I thanked him and he thanked me for ‘dragging him around’ before he lost sight of me.
We talked about some walks that we had both done in the past before I wished him the best and departed.
In my haste, I forgot to pick up my certificate – no great loss if I’m being honest. The results will be posted on the event website in the next few days, I dare say.Summary
That was a pleasant easing back in the walking event scene after so many months of Covid restrictions.
I pushed myself a bit trying to complete in under 15:00 mins/mile and came close at 15:03. The legs were a little stiff after the drive back home but no ill effects.
The next event is not until the Peak District Challenge in September but I may be able to squeeze in a few parkrun which are due to restart on the 24th.
|TOTALS for 2021|
|TODAY’S MILEAGE||19 miles|
|ANNUAL MILEAGE||945 miles|
|#WALK 1000 REMAINING||55 miles|
|ROUTE 66 REMAINING||1333 miles|
I’ve just noticed that I’ve covered 945 miles this year so should complete my #walk1000miles challenge in a week or so – It’s an easy (38 miles) week next week.