Dales and Lakeland Walk 2008

Author: George Tod

This walk is illustrated with photographs. Click on small photo to enlarge in situ, or click caption to enlarge into new window.
Part 9 - Coniston to Ulverston, then Home

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Day 14 - Monday 30th June - GPS 16.2 miles - 2,100 ft ascent

Coniston to Ulverston (B&B) via Cumbria Way

I arose at 07.30 with sunshine shining through the curtains, though there was still a lot of cloud about. However, with no part of the route being particularly high, the cloud would not be a problem, even if it came down quite low. The high mountains give way to gentle, rolling countryside with some low hills and fells, and undulating farmland. This didn't mean that there was no climbing to do, but what climbing there was would be gentler and for shorter stretches at a time.

The chap who was doing the Cumbria Way ate breakfast with me. He was somewhat recovered, but still feeling the effects of the walk. His next stop was at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, which was about 13 miles instead of the 15 miles he had walked yesterday. I had ordered a large breakfast, as the standard breakfast here was only a cold buffet, another way in which they effectively charge more than other hostels. However, for the extra pound, I got a good plateful of very nicely cooked breakfast, so it was worth paying that bit more.

It was 09.15 by the time I got started, making my way down the road to Coniston and then following the route of the Cumbria Way, which soon joined the lakeside path through a huge NT campsite. There was plenty of open land and not too many tents, so it was not obtrusive, though at busy times this may not be the case. Further along was a static caravan site, but this was surrounded well by trees, so, again, wasn't too intrusive on the landscape. The walking was quick and easy on good, smooth paths for most of the time, though there were a few slower bits over stony parts or tree roots in some places. The scenery, however, got rather monotonous, with a large expanse of grey water, low, tree-covered fells on the other side of the lake, and a lot of woodland by the path and the edge of the lake, which had quite a straight shoreline. There was only an occasional glint of sunshine, but not enough to brighten up the scenery. I find this sort of walking is fine for a stroll with the dog, but not very interesting as part of a longer walk, though I am sure that there are plenty who would disagree with me. As they say 'one man's meat is another man's poison', and it wouldn't be any good for everyone to have the same tastes.

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Monkey Puzzle Tree at Coniston Holly How Youth Hostel
Monkey Puzzle Tree
Hoathwaite Landing, Coniston Water
Hoathwaite Landing, Coniston Water

After about four miles, the path, at last, climbed up away from the lake to cross the road. I got confused with my map because bold bands of colour marking National Park Access Land boundaries confused much of the fine detail, I ended up walking up the road for a way, trying to find where the footpath on the other side of the road, when it was actually just opposite the path I came from. My maps were rather old, being printed in 1994, when the Ordnance Survey seemed to have an obsession with boundaries of various sorts: National Trust, National Parks etc. giving them much more prominence than other features that were far more important to the average map user. I am pleased to see now, that the latest revisions of these maps have now redressed this problem by using much fainter colours for the boundaries, and these no longer obscure other details to the same extent as used to be the case.

It was about time for a rest, and I found an ideal place on the grassy banks of a stream, with the sun starting to shine for longer periods. A group of ducklings, now already grown to nearly adult size, came out of the stream and settled themselves down just a few yards away, not bothered by my presence. Grey wagtails landed on stones in the stream, whilst the sunlight glinted on the water, and I had the unusual feeling of warmth that had been so lacking over the past two weeks. There have been very few occasions when I have felt warm, let alone hot: even when there has been sunshine, it has generally been struggling to fight off the chill of a bitingly cold wind.

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Ducklings by Torver Beck
Ducklings by Torver Beck
Coniston Water from Beacon on Blawith Fells
Coniston Water from Beacon
Beacon Tarn from Blawith Fells
Beacon Tarn

Continuing onwards, I started a steady climb up into an area of low fells, which make very good walking country despite the rather diminutive height, and route finding was generally easy because of good waymarking of the Cumbria Way. There were good views back to Coniston Old Man, which was now out of the cloud, but still overcast, as well as other Lakeland fells and one or two tarns. As I reached the highest point of the path, I could see that there was a promontory just to the east, the beacon on Blawith Fells, which looked as if it might offer a good viewpoint, so I dropped off my rucksack to make life easier and made my way up the faint path leading to the summit. After a short time walking over rough ground, I picked up the main path from Beacon Tarn, which made the going easier, and I followed a couple who were making their way up there as well.

The view from the beacon was well worth the effort, as the whole length of Coniston Water was visible, with views right down to Morecambe Bay to the south, and the Southern Lakeland Fells to the west and north, though these had already been visible along the route of the Cumbria Way. On the way back down, there was also a fine view of Beacon Tarn. The faint path I had taken on the way up took a bit of finding again, but it wasn't long before I was reunited with my rucksack, though, in hindsight, I might have been better taking it with me and then just following the main path down to the tarn.

Since my previous stop, the weather had turned overcast again, but the sun now started shining, making this a good time to stop for a lunch break by the foot of the tarn. I even took my boots off to give my feet an airing, the first time I had done so on the whole walk, whereas it is something I generally like to do in the middle of the day if the weather is fine. It even tempted me to take off my shirt for a spot of sunbathing, but this soon proved a bit too ambitious, as a cloud soon came over and it then felt quite cold. As I sat there, I heard voices, and then a couple came into view. They were doing the Cumbria Way, and were obviously enjoying the walking they had done so far. They set off again around the opposite side of the tarn from the route shown on the map, and when I queried this, they said that their guidebook suggested this way as less boggy and more interesting.

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Beacon Tarn with Blawith Fells to rights
Beacon Tarn & Blawith Fells
Wool Knott from Cumbria Way near Cockenskell
Wool Knott
Wool Knott and Bowder Knott from near Cockenskell
Wool Knott and Bowder Knott

I set off again at 13.30, having still over halfway left to go. The way continued over more undulating fells, with good views looking backwards, in particular, though I could also see an inlet of the sea ahead: a good sign that I was getting nearer to the finish. A group of four, looking like Cumbria Way walkers, were flaked out on the grass in the sunshine as I went past, and a little further on, I met a foreign couple, probably Dutch, asking how long it had taken me from Coniston. It was about 14.00, so I had been walking for 4ĺ hours with two long rests and a detour off-route to the beacon, so I told them that they were about half way. The scenery changed a little now, from that of low fells, to more agricultural land, though still good walking country, albeit now with more of it on minor roads, which had been quite well avoided for most of the way, once out of Coniston.

The weather remained quite good, with a fair amount of sunshine and a fresh breeze. The route crossed the A5092 road at Gawthwaite, and soon afterwards, I stopped for a rest with about five miles left to go. The way was getting less interesting now, going through countless farm fields, though the route was generally well waymarked, making it fairly easy to follow, but I did occasionally have to check with my map. I did see some rounded fells to the west with a wind farm on top, and wondered if these could have offered an alternative higher-level route, though this would have added somewhat to the mileage. When I was planning my walk, I had decided that the Cumbria Way was probably the most practical route for this section, so didn't look at much in the way of alternatives, and, in general, it had proved to be good for most of the way so far.

After walking through more farmland, I got caught up in a roundup of sheep. A flock were being moved to a different field, and I had been watching them as the farmers and their dogs skilfully drove them into the top corner of the field close to where I was walking along a minor road. They were then driven out onto the road just behind me, with one farm hand running ahead of me asking me to keep to one side whilst they came past. Of course, being sheep, they were very wary of me and hesitant about coming by. It would have been far easier just to have let me walk a little further on, past the field they were going to, but, as it was, there was a hold-up whilst the sheep hesitated about coming past until pressured from behind. One or two would then cautiously pass by, followed by a few more in their wake, but then there was another hold-up whilst this process was repeated. Eventually, they all got by and were driven into the other field, leaving me at liberty to continue on my way. I noticed that the older sheep had just been sheared, and many of them were stained with blood around their heads and necks, so I wasn't impressed by the skill of the sheep shearers, though it is possible that the blood could have come from the bodies of ticks, bloated with the blood that they had been sucking, rather than from cuts to the sheep themselves.

Further along, farmers were taking advantage of the recent improvement in the weather to gather in their hay, and it was interesting to watch a machine that was picking up bales of hay and wrapping them in black plastic sheeting. The bale was lifted onto some rollers, which were rotated at the same time as being spun around, whilst the plastic was fed out from a large roll at the side. Compared with all the manual labour that was required in bygone days, the whole process of baling and wrapping was so quick and easy.

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Coniston Old Man and Helvellyn from High Stenningley
Coniston Old Man and Helvellyn
Hoad Hill, Ulverston from Windy Ash - the monument can be seen just left of centre
Hoad Hill from Windy Ash
Ulverston from Windy Ash
Ulverston from Windy Ash

Quite near the end of my walk, the route turned up a steep road for quite a way. I wasn't quite expecting this, thinking that the rest of the way was just an easy stroll into Ulverston. At the end of a day's walk, it is always a bit of a shock to be faced with a steep hill, but I didn't mind too much, as I thought it might provide a good viewpoint, which indeed it did. The hill overlooked Ulverston, and also partially solved the mystery of what I had been able to see for many miles. It looked like a strange shaped beacon on a hill from afar, but from this vantage point it could be seen to be something more like a lighthouse on top of a hill, overlooking Ulverston. It was actually behind the hill that it appeared to have been on top of before, with most of the building hidden from view, and only the very top part visible. The mystery wasn't completely solved though, as it was in an unusual place for a lighthouse, so was more likely to be a monument of some kind.

The path then headed downhill towards the outskirts of Ulverston. Much of the latter part of the route was not as quick and easy as expected because of all the stiles and gates, as well as uneven ground in some places. At the point where the path met the road, was one of the most awkward squeeze stiles I have ever encountered, and I have come across quite a few. Normally squeeze stiles are tight below waist level, but wider above, whereas this was tight all the way to shoulder level, so I had to half-climb the wall in order for both me and my rucksack to get through. The way then doubled back on itself, whilst dropping down to the bottom of a steep valley, where it made its way into the centre of town.

It was obviously rush hour in Ulverston. I hadn't seen this volume of traffic for the last couple of weeks, so it took a bit of getting used to, as I crossed a number of roads whilst making my way to my B&B. I walked right past it at first, not noticing it on the corner, so ended up going right round the block before asking directions and ending up where I had been before. I was recommended a couple of good pubs in town for an evening meal, and told to go early as they could get booked up quickly. After a shower and phone call home, I went to one of the pubs, the Farmers Arms, where I had a very good halibut steak and some Yates's bitter at only £2.25 a pint, 70 pence less than the beer at Coniston Youth Hostel.

When I first arrived at the pub, the bar was fairly busy, but with one or two tables free, whereas the dining area had very few people in. However, by the time I had finished my meal, it was already starting to fill up. Where I live in North Wales, most pubs are struggling to survive because of the economic downturn, so it was surprising to find a pub doing so much trade, especially on a Monday evening. I returned to my B&B and then, as it was a pleasant evening for a change, I decided to explore the 'lighthouse' on Hoad Hill. The walk up was very good, with wider views opening up as I neared the top. There were a few people on their way down, but none at the top when I got there, so I had the place to myself for a while.

I discovered that this was a monument 'In honor [sic] of Sir John Barrow Bart. Erected AD 1850.' I had not heard of the man, but later found that he was a Baronet, who was a geographer and supporter of exploration, instigating many arctic expeditions. He was also a principal founder of the Royal Geographic Society. A notice on the monument said that lottery funding was being sought for its restoration, though there was no mention of anything to do with Sir John Barrow himself.

There was a fine view of the sea and estuary as well of the town, and I sat on a seat there for a while until it got a little bit too chilly, prompting me to return to my B&B. The sheep were munching away happily as I left, but far from being the last one up there, I saw two chaps arriving just as I left, and a lady walking her dog up there when I was halfway down.

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Day 15 - Tuesday 1st July

Ulverston to Home

I awoke to find a clear blue sky outside, which was just typical now that I had finished my walk and was heading home. Breakfast started at 08.00, and there was one chap who appeared to be a regular, with cotton wool in his ears, already there when I went down. A couple, who were about to start the Cumbria Way, came down and joined me at the large table. They were doing the walk in six days, splitting the Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick section into two days, as was the chap I met yesterday in Coniston Youth Hostel. It certainly looked as if they had picked some good weather, at least for the start. When it is miserable weather at the end of a walk, I never feel bad about finishing and going home, but with the best weather I had seen for a fortnight, it made me wish that I were just starting off instead of finishing.

Another chap came in, speaking very loudly to the first chap before asking us all what we wanted for breakfast, as he was obviously the breakfast chef. Some time later the landlord came along, also talking in a very loud voice, as he had done the night before, which made me wonder whether this was the reason for the cotton wool in the first chap's ears and not an ear infection as I had at first assumed.

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Hoad Hill Monument from Ulverston
Hoad Hill Monument

The railway station is on the southern outskirts of town so, after packing all my things, I set off down through the town. There was now no need to pack things carefully or worry about things getting wet, as all my clothes would end up in the wash as soon as I got back home. I had about 25 minutes to spare when I reached the station, but there was nothing else to see or do around that part of town, so I just waited on the platform. The station had been nicely renovated to its original Victorian splendour, and had tubs of plants and flowers to add to the colour. A modern building at the end of one platform used to be a nightclub, so a chap who was waiting for the train told me, but problems with rowdy behaviour had caused it to close.

The train arrived on time and, once it departed from the station, gave me a fine view of the Hoad Hill Monument, with the sea on the opposite side. This is on the edge of Morecambe Bay, where the tide goes out for miles, though it was high tide just now. Even so, there were large areas of salt marsh, home to thousands of birds and also to a number of sheep who found grazing there. Ulverston is an old market town, but has a few industrial developments on its fringes, but not enough to spoil its character too much. There were a couple of estuaries that the train had to cross on viaducts, whilst road traffic has to take the long way round. The second of these was from Grange-over-Sands to Arnside, which I fondly remembered from my Walks of the Westmorland Heritage Walk in 1993 and 2004. On these occasions, I had to take the train on the very short journey from one side of the estuary to the other, the only alternative being to risk the quicksand by walking across at low tide.

There were views of the low fells around this part of Lakeland, as well as the larger fells further north, all free of cloud. The nuclear power station at Heysham then came into view. This is a landmark that can be seen on a clear day from many of the Southern Lakeland Fells. If it is very clear, Blackpool Tower and even the mountains of Snowdonia can be seen, though there are generally only a few days in the year when the latter is possible.

From then on, the scenery was far less interesting, with not a great deal to see other than a few canals with colourful barges, as the track was either in cuttings or screened by trees, or else the surrounding landscape was relatively flat. We passed the rather industrialised areas of Lancaster, then the less industrialised town of Preston before reaching Greater Manchester. It is interesting to see the ways in which towns that grew up around the Industrial Revolution are now changing. Many of the old buildings have been restored to their former glories, where they have been considered architecturally or historically worthwhile, whilst others have been demolished to make way for new developments. I am not a great fan of this 'brave new world' of modern developments, though I do find a few of merit. I doubt very many will be considered of sufficient worth to still be standing a couple of hundred years from now, if indeed, they have been designed to last for that long.

The train ran on time all the way, the only criticism being that the general lack of rolling stock throughout the whole of the rail network meant that there was some overcrowding for part of the journey, with many passengers having to stand, particularly when nearing Manchester. I had a long wait for my connection to Rhyl, so I walked from Piccadilly Station to Piccadilly Gardens, one of the few green areas in the city centre, and even that is not very large. There is a fountain there with dozens of water spouts that shoot up in random patterns at intervals, and this was providing great fun for several young, and some not so young, children, who were running across dodging in and out between them, sometimes getting soaked in the process. It was a warm, sunny day, so some were wearing swimwear or other light clothing, which would soon dry out.

After a while watching the antics in the fountain, I went in search of a pint and a snack for lunch. There were several fast food outlets, modern cafť bars and Chinese restaurants, but I found a tiny traditional pub, Duffy's Bar, in the midst of it all. They didn't serve food there, but had some good Hyde's bitter at £2.20 a pint. There were surprisingly few people in there, though alcohol is now largely frowned upon amongst the business community at lunchtime, unlike the days when it was quite usual for people to go out for a pie and a pint, or two, or three. I picked up a sandwich from Somerfield on my way back, stopping again by the fountain to eat it. I suddenly realised that there was about ten minutes before my train departed, and the station was some distance away, with several busy road junctions to cross on the way.

Hurrying along as quickly as I could, I reached the station and made my way to my train, which just happened to run from the most distant platform, getting there with just a minute or two to spare. This is one of the things I am forever doing when I think I have plenty of time to spare: I kill a little bit too much time and then find myself rushing to get where I am going. This often happens when I have a short day's walk in my schedule: I set off later than usual, spend a lot more time having rests or sunbathing and then have a rush to get to the finish.

The rest of the journey was uneventful, un-crowded and on time, with my daughter waiting at Rhyl station to pick me up. Back home, my wife let out our dog Oscar to greet me first, as he had spent a whole fortnight without his main walking companion, so he never lets anyone else get a look in for a while. Only when he had been appeased, was it possible to get in to greet my wife. After a cup of tea and a chat about the events of the past two weeks, it was time for the long-awaited 'walkies' and Oscar was out of the door like a shot: back to the old familiar routine.

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One of the things I have always realised is that the weather is one of the most important factors in determining whether a long distance walk, or any walk, for that matter, is enjoyable. Thinking back to many of my walks in the past, I have been more fortunate with the weather than would reasonably be expected. Even when the general weather pattern has been poor, I have often managed to find a window of fair to good weather in the midst of it all. It became something of a joke, with people saying that they wanted to know when I was going on a walk so that they could book a holiday at the same time. However, my luck was bound to run out sometime, and this has been the case for the last two years.

Nevertheless, I have to reflect on the good times I have had, as well as the bad, on this year's walk. There have been several days when the weather has been clement enough, at least for part of the day, to make the walking enjoyable. There have been a few days when the weather conditions have been quite good, particularly in respect of clear visibility, giving wide-ranging views for many miles. There have also been several days when my walk has been more of a survival exercise, battling in the mist against wind and rain, with the sole objective being to get to my night's accommodation safely.

Many of my plans for high level routes and optional detours over the mountains were kicked into touch because of the bad weather, though one advantage of having devised my own walk was that I was not committed to a particular route, and could vary it according to the prevailing conditions. I tried to make the most of whatever opportunities there were for high level routes, even if the weather sometimes turned against me when I got there, but then 'nothing ventured, nothing gained!' The route I actually walked was about 213 miles (15 miles a day) as registered on my GPS, which is generally about 10% greater than map measurements over this sort of terrain, and the total ascent was about 40,100 ft (2,864 ft a day) measured from map contours. This is really about as much as I find reasonable to undertake without being too exhausted, and, had the weather permitted me to do more high level walking, this may have proved a little too much on occasion, though on some days I could have managed more.

I was glad that I spent two nights at Black Sail Hut, especially as the weather was bad, as this meant that I didn't spend an excessive amount of time walking in bad conditions, and was able to shelter from the elements whilst enjoying the convivial company of everyone there. My intention had been to use this as a base for mountain walking, but, in the circumstances, it served a good purpose by giving me an easier schedule and some rest after battling with the elements.

It is all well and good to climb mountains in fine weather, with marvellous views all around, but a very different thing to go up in mist with gale force winds and driving rain, which is a powerful reminder of the forces of nature and how vulnerable we all are in these conditions. It is something that stays in the memory when more pleasant times have often been forgotten. The funny thing is that, although I had more bad weather on this walk than I did on the Pennine Way last year, it didn't take as much out of me. Last year's experiences put me off long distance walking for a few months, whereas this year's didn't have the same effect, possibly because the Lakeland scenery has more to offer in bad weather than does that of much of the Northern Pennines. This year, I managed to finish with a couple of good days, whereas last year the bad weather stayed to the end, with the final, very long day over the Cheviots nearly finishing me off.

As far my route was concerned, I found that the Yorkshire Dales part of it worked, in general, very well, suiting me far more than that of the Dales Way. The Lake District section was not exactly planned, but decided by the availability of youth hostel beds. As such, it worked quite well, but would have been better, given a wider choice of places to stay. If a day's walk involves high mountains or lengths of craggy ridges, then it is best limited to about ten or twelve miles, whereas fifteen miles is fine in easier walking conditions. Parts of my route involved longer distances, limiting high-level options because of pressure on time. This was partly negated by the bad weather, which ruled out the high-level options in many places anyway, but had the weather been better, as I said earlier, some of these may have been a little too much for comfort.

There is still something not quite the same about doing a walk that is self-inspired rather than one for which there is an official, published route. Discussing it with other people is not quite the same as comparing notes on an established route, and everyone tends to assume that, by including one small part of an official walk, that the walk is being undertaken in its entirety. Because the walk has not been defined by someone else, there is no real sense of a challenge, as everything about the walk can be tailored to the circumstances at will, so there is not really a sense of success or failure. I have often obtained sponsorship for my walks to aid local charities, but this time it didnít quite seem right to do so when there was no defined route that I would be taking, and hence no real measure of success. Notwithstanding all of this, though, it was the only way that I could break away from just repeating the same walks again and again, though it is true to say that I had already walked many different parts of the route on different occasions in the past, so not too much of it was entirely new to me.

With advancing age, one thing I have tended to find over the past few years is that I am not as eager to undertake extra walking during the evenings, though there is also the fact that I didnít have much good weather to tempt me out either. Ten years or so ago, I was always keen to explore the local area after my evening meal, and would often walk a few miles in doing so, whereas now I find that the dayís walk is generally enough. I can still manage the same distances as I used to, but prefer to limit each dayís walk to a distance that I can do without having to push myself too hard. In the past I often undertook excessive daily distances on some occasions against my better judgement, whereas now I am more inclined to stick to what I can do more comfortably, though circumstances such as the availability of accommodation still do dictate otherwise sometimes. Just how much of this is due to declining ability with age, and how much is due to learning from unpleasant experiences in the past, is hard to say though.

One thing that has forced itself to my attention in the last couple of walks, is the performance of various items of equipment and clothing in wet weather, particularly when rain is combined with high winds. Waterproof jackets are a prime cause for concern, as this is where most of the wet gets through. Even when a jacket has welded or taped seams, there are still problems with front zips, as these always seem to let in water, even when they have flaps across. This arrangement may work reasonably well for a while during a shower, especially if there is not much wind, but in prolonged rain and wind, water always seems to get through and steadily soaks into clothing underneath until, after a while, everything is saturated. I am never quite sure how much wet gets through over-trousers, as I have the impression that a lot of the wet lower down has run down after entering through my jacket. My over-trousers have slits at the side for access to trouser pockets, so these provide an entry point for water, though the bottom of my jacket covers them partially, at least. The other problem is from water entering rucksacks and getting into their contents.

Looking at how other people have tried to overcome these problems, the most successful solution seems to be a large cape that covers the whole upper part of the body as well as the rucksack. The only drawback with these, apart from the way they look, is that they present a much larger area to the wind, which could create problems of stability. Otherwise, they provide very good protection for everything, whilst still allowing a good circulation of air to help cope with the other problem of sweat. The next best option seems to be to have a jacket with no zip at the front, such as a cagoule, which may be a little more difficult to put on, but has far fewer places for the wet to enter. The rucksack problems can be solved by carefully packing things in good, undamaged plastic liners and by ensuring that nothing of importance is at the bottom, possibly even making some holes in there to allow water to drain away. A waterproof rucksack cover may also help. These are the sorts of things that I will be looking at more closely before I embark upon another long distance walk in case I am confronted with a lot of bad weather again.

The problem I had with the lining of my boots disintegrating and wearing away the heels of by socks continued to be a problem. My Thousand Mile socks wore away just as badly as other socks had done in the past, the only difference being that the inner layer stayed intact, as that is made from a tough nylon material, whereas the outer layer is wool. Because of the problem, I wore the same pair of socks for the whole walk so that I only ruined one pair of expensive socks rather than two or three. By the end of the walk there were huge holes in the outer layer of both heels. My attempt at protecting them by sticking gaffer tape over the roughness inside my boots was thwarted the first time they got wet, much as I anticipated, with the tape starting to come adrift. The boots themselves wore out even more, especially around the heel, with some of the stitching of the leather also wearing away leaving a gap between the leather of the heel and the ankle cushioning of one boot. By this time, the boots had done over a thousand miles, so they had already given me as much use as I expected of them. When buying my next pair of boots, however, I will look at this aspect of their design very carefully, trying to ensure that I only buy boots either without any heel padding, or only with padding that is covered by a very durable material.

On a number of occasions, when I have completed a long distance walk, I have found that I have succumbed to some sort of health problem: either I have picked up a virus because exhaustion from the walk has weakened my immune system, or I have started to suffer back ache. This time, I was pleased to find that I suffered neither of these, and was back to normal within a fairly short time without feeling excessively tired. It is always a nuisance to return home only to be ill, so this made a welcomed change.

The next real test will be where I walk next year, and whether I go back to recognised walks or attempt something else of my own making. At the moment, I still have an open mind.

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