Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Double Challenge - #walk2westminster - Day 11

When we planned our walk today was a day we were looking forward to. The plan was to pick up the Basingstoke Canal and walk along the towpath toward Woking. We expected this to be an easy walk along a level path at the water’s edge with wonderful scenery.  It didn’t quiet turn out that way.

Basingstoke Canal

To start with Anne started today in pain. Most mornings we have found our feet have sufficiently recovered overnight to allow us to start the day relatively pain free, only for the pain to kick back in much later in the day. Whilst I started the day feeling the best I had for several days, it was clear Anne was suffering from the start. Not only were her blisters very painful to start with, but she was also suffering from shin splints that had started the evening before. I suffered from this during our training so know how painful it can be.

Pit stop!

Additionally, what we imagined to be a smooth pathway beside the water turned out to be a very stony and uneven surface. As a result we both were very soon feeling every stone and pebble we stepped on. Our feet by now are very sensitive and every step was painful. Although I am sure there were some lovely sights to behold along our route sadly we were too busy looking at the ground to see what our feet were treading on to notice.

The stony path

We had to keep stopping for Anne to rest her legs and feet. This slowed our progress but we plodded on determined to keep going. As we were on the towpath and at times not near any roads we did not have the support van with us today. We were carrying as much water and food as we could but hoping to find shops and pubs along the way to replenish our supplies. Unfortunately every time we found a pub it was the other side of the canal with no way of crossing over! Therefore we ended up missing lunch and just snacking from what we were carrying.

So near and yet so far...

To add further to our adventures we then found part of the towpath was closed due to a landslide. This meant a bit of a detour along the roads, although at least this gave our feet rest from the stones.

What to do?

Our route was interesting. We skirted around Farnborough Airport, a number of military bases (at one point we could hear large amounts of gunfire) as well as encountering many forms of wildlife including ducks, swans and geese which all had young with them, a heron, various other birds and rabbits.

Cute eh?

In the end today turned out to be much harder than we expected but we pressed on and made it to Woking.  Once we got back to base and inspected our feet Anne found she now has blisters on her blisters. Thankfully only one of mine has grown and there are no new ones.

The main milestone we passed today was that we took our 500,000th step of the walk. It does seem incredible to have taken that many steps in 11 days. 

Our 500,000th step!

We are now only about 25 miles from Westminster. Thankfully tomorrow should be an easier day as we head to Richmond – a distance of only 16 miles or so. Then we are in position for the final push to Westminster on Thursday. A number of people have asked about our ETA on Thursday. At the moment, provisionally, we are planning to be in Parliament Square for 12.15pm.

Before signing off I must again say a huge thank you to all those who have donated, especially today. We are now over £4500. It would be wonderful to get to £5000 by Thursday so if you haven’t yet sponsored us here is the link    http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/doublesteve