THE RIDGEWAY NATIONAL TRAIL
In August 2015, having accrued a fair experience of life, I set out as a lone woman to walk the Ridgeway National Trail in 6 days. My accommodation in bed and breakfasts and hostels was pre-booked and I carried my own luggage on my back. I set up this blog page to record details of my wonderful walk from Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon; to share a few things I learnt along the way and hopefully to inspire others to follow in the footsteps of myself and many more like me.
How much preparation did I do?
I am no fitness fanatic or marathon runner but I think of myself as about average fitness for my age. I am lucky that I have no outstanding injuries or medical conditions. I started training in the January by doing 5 – 10 mile walks once or twice a month. In the May I walked the St Albans Half Marathon without a problem at 3 – 3 1/2 miles an hour. Then all I really did was gradually increase my walking distances as the weather improved. I walked at all opportunities rather than using the car. By the time the summer came I was confident that I could walk the distances of 12 – 18 miles a day. Parts of the Ridgeway (days 2 of walking the Ridgeway National Trail and day 5 of The Ridgeway in particular) are quite hilly and I was glad that I added some modest hill walking into my preparation. Sharpenhoe Clappers, a hill on a local walk has 149 steps leading to it, and I climbed these fully laden on a regular basis. My main concern was carrying my luggage and again, for the last few months of my preparation, I constantly carried a heavy backpack around with me………… leading to some very strange looks from people when my husband walked alongside me unencumbered! I also made good use of the Ridgeway National Trail website, and a super blog Planning a Ridgeway Walk: Rambling Man.
2 What did I carry?
Water, my packed lunch, an extra layer and change of clothing and waterproof trousers, underwear and socks, soft shoes to change into, a first aid kit, my phone, a fold up brush, a fold up toothbrush, small tube toothpaste, small guidebook, lipstick (!), book of spiritual literature.
What I wished I had carried – soap ! (See Goring and Streatley , Ridgeway National Trail)
3 Where did I stay?
A pre-booked selection of various starred b and b s, youth and other hostels. All of which were so different from each other and superb in their own way. One in particular, The Court Hill Centre near Wantage, I felt deserving of its own post! Please see a more detailed post here about “where to stay along the Ridgeway” .
4 How long does it take to walk the Ridgeway?
I took six days; however I know of some really fit people who have walked it in four days and others who have taken it at a more leisurely pace and taken over a week. It really depends upon your level of fitness is and what your aims are in doing the walk. You will, however, be somewhat guided by the availability of accommodation, particularly in the early stages.
5 How did I cope ?
Physically, walking alone, finding my way, meeting new people, being outside? What did I learn? In what ways was it challenging? Hopefully my posts will tell.
6 Would I recommend walking the Ridgeway National Trail?
A B S O L U T E L Y !!!
Please add your e mail address in the box below to receive further details of my walks in Beds, Herts and Bucks; my on-going birthday pilgrimage along the Hertfordshire Way; walks in Dorset and my Gratitude Pilgrimage along the Pilgrims’ Way from Winchester to Canterbury.
My book “The Woman Who Walked Through Fear” has now been published by Sitting Duck Press. I am available to give talks about my experiences along and my knowledge of “The Way” (The Pilgrims’ Way)