Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Hemingford Meadow

After returning from the crinklier parts of Derbyshire at the weekend, to be told by Lord Elpus that we had not conquered Everest and had only managed a piffling 508m of ascent, it is time to reflect.

This "up hill and down dale" thing; what's it all about then?

For walkers intent on crossing Scotland burdened by rucksacks, then I suppose exercising the old leg muscles by training up and down hills is a jolly good idea. They also get a pretty good cardio-vascular work-out at the same time; so, no bad thing. So how does a Flatlander like myself prepare for the even wrinklier bits of our Empire, like Scotland?

Well - in truth, you can't. I know in theory I could go climbing up and down stairs or spend hour after hour on the torture machine (we have a Concept II rower) to improve stamina and muscle. But we don't want to do that, do we? NO! Certainly Not!

So, it's a quick bash around the circuit (increased to 6.1 miles this morning to take in Waitrose for forgotten chillies) to beef up the pulse rate and energise the soul. And that's the thing: Energise the soul.

With views like the above, you just have to stop dead in your tracks and wallow about - taking in your sense of place. This morning the larks were going berserk and the sunshine warm on my shoulders at eight in the  morning.

The muscles and stuff will get fit by the end of the Challenge. The soul is being prepared right now.


  1. Beef up.... a bit of a slip there.... But you're right. I mean, why bother? It'll be hard work anyway. You should just do easy walks in an Easterly direction. Heading East on the TGO Chally thing is the main key to success.. Heading West, or any other direction is a sure way to failure.

  2. And by practising those Taoist principles of Wu Wei, you can achieve 'effortless doing', or 'action without action'. As you wrote, it's about realising your invisible potential by preparing the soul.

  3. That's a proper view, that is. Not blocked by inconveniently placed hills. 6.1 miles, eh? I'll have to strap on my seven league boots this morning and do something similar.

    Oh dear.

    Waitrose ... did you buy any vinegar?

  4. Roger Boston headed West. Look at what happened to him! His knees wore out.
    I suppose the vinegar will prevent that, though.
    Timperley is Flat BTW, as you'll discover when? you visit. Canal, railway lines. No locks or inclines.

  5. Mike: It's rare that I can do a walk that heads east - they are generally all over the place as I have to get back to where I started...
    Perhaps that explains why it takes us so long on the Chally - we are just going round in circles...

    Des: "effortless doing", eh? I fancy some of that...

    Phil: Vinegar: That's the ticket! Vinegar and Vim!

    Martin: "Timperley" Sounds more like a musical instruction than a place. Must try some soon!

  6. Have decided some rigorous training is required. Therefore on return from "knees up" at Grantham, home of Mad Maggy, Granny of Grantham I am resolved to ascend the dizzie height of Bishop Wilton Wold, 807 feet above sea level. This will involve motor transport before i can step over the fence and be photograghed in heroic pose by the trig point.

  7. That's the spirit, Jack! Break yourself in gently. No point doing a metatarsal or ligament or such. It's not long to the World Cup, y'know!

  8. The best bit about being unhillfit is having to take your time and enjoy the view! Scotland was made for it.

  9. Quite right. Nothing like a bit of sole or plaice..


Because of spammers, I moderate all comments, so don't worry if your comment seems to have disappeared; It has been sent to me for approval. As soon as I see it, I'll deal with it straight away.
Thank you!