Keeping motivated whilst hiking for 13 days

I have never walked more than two days in a row, and the biggest non-physical problem I can see is staying motivated.

Like it or not we will ache, we will have blisters, we will be tired, we will sometimes be miserable – but if we stay motivated then we can still keep going!

There are four key ways I think we can stay motivated (and you can help with at least three of them).

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Keeping the mind focused whilst trudging along

Parts of Offa’s Dyke are going to be amazing – breath taking scenery, stimulating conversion with Alex (@winkysmileyface), chats with locals and fellow hikers, or just watching nature go about its business around us.

However, I am under no illusion that other parts are going to be truly horrid – strong winds, driving rain, exhaustion, aching limbs and monotonous views. At this point a hike becomes a “trudge” – every ache and pain is magnified tenfold in your mind – you just want it to end.

So how can you focus your mind whilst “trudging”?
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Review of Priory Mill Farm Campsite, Brecon

It is not often that things live up to their marketing spiel, but actually the Priory Mill Farm campsite comes pretty damn close.

Situated just outside the town of Brecon, Powys, just North of the Brecon Beacons, Priory Mill Farm is on the banks of the river Honddu. We stayed mid-week in March 2010 (we were unsurprisingly the only ones there!) for two nights at a cost of £7 per person per night plus £1 per night for the dog.
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Final preparations for Offa’s Dyke

With just over a week to go, final preparations are well under way. My lounge now looks more like a branch of an outdoor store, with camping equipment and hiking gear strewn across the floor.

Fund raising and publicity has  gone up a gear, and I would like to thank everyone who has donated so far (big or small, every donation means a lot to us!). We have hit our original target of £1500, and so have decided to move the goal posts to aim for the more ambitious £2500.

It is probably worth noting that we our covering our own costs for this challenge, so every penny donated goes to the MS Society (well except Justgiving’s card payment fees!), and we are so grateful for our sponsors Viewranger, Powertraveller, Brasher and White and Bishop for helping us out with some of our equipment!

Publicity is going really well – we got a mention on Jim’s morning show on BBC Radio Shropshire (the mention is 1 hour 46 minutes in if you want to skip to it) – thanks Jude (@jabberingjude) for letting Jim know about us! I have been interviewed by our local paper, The Chronicle and Echo, for an article next week (the photographer comes on Monday!). Both White and Bishop and my local shop have posters up and are collecting donations on our behalf, and as usual our followers on Twitter have been brilliant at helping spread the word!

Equipment-wise: my new pair of Basher hiking boots (Supalite II GTX) should be arriving early next week (after I finally killed my old pair on Black Mountains), we have a new Vango Banshee 300 (big enough to share, so we can split the weight), Viewranger are kindly lending me a Nokia smartphone for mobile maps and to power my online route app, and my Orikaso folding plate/bowl/cup sets and MP3 player (for audiobooks and radio) arrived a few days ago. That just leaves a few bits and pieces to sort next Saturday (as well as having my haircut to avoid hat-hair/camping-hair issues!).

I am excited – very very excited. But also very nervous. There is no getting around the fact that this will be hard. Probably harder than part of me is expecting. I have been trying to not think about the fact that this is the same as taking my longest hardest walk, with a full pack, and walking it 13 days in a row. We have to do it – £1500 is a pretty big mandate – but it is going to take every ounce of strength, determination and motivation we possess.

Oh I did I mention that Alex and I have to share a tent…. with the dog…. for 13 days!

Training on the Brecon Beacons

The one thing that has been lacking in my training regime (well it isn’t really a regime, more a panicked collection of walks) is big hills. I love walking across the rolling farmland of Northamptonshire, but it is a far cry from the ups and downs of Offa’s Dyke.

So for the final training trip before our challenge begins, I am off on a camping and hiking trip to the Brecon Beacons. Unfortunately my fellow Offa’s Dyke team member Alex (@WinkySmileyFace on Twitter) is unable to join me due to work commitments, but instead I will be joined by Justin (@JustinFleming on Twitter).

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A few tips to avoid a miserable time on Offa’s Dyke

One of the things I have really enjoyed about the build up to Offa’s Dyke is the lovely people I have “met” on Twitter – to name but a few groups: fellow hikers and campers, locals near Offa’s Dyke, people who’s lives have been affected by Multiple Sclerosis and other foolish people who have walked Offa’s Dyke.

One of these foolish people is Pete (@Pete_Knight on Twitter) who walked Offa’s Dyke last May with some fellow Naturists for a diabetic charity – he has kindly put together the following tips on avoiding a miserable 13 days on Offa’s Dyke:

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Camping and walking Offa’s Dyke

Now we are under a month away, it is time to work through how we are breaking up the route, and where we will be staying.

This post details our plan, which keeps most days around fifteen miles and ensures that every night we have somewhere confirmed to sleep (hopefully with warm showers!).  We are walking Offa’s Dyke North to South and in most cases we will be staying on campsites, with a few exceptions, that are dog friendly and easy to access from Offa’s Dyke. Continue reading “Camping and walking Offa’s Dyke”

The after effects of a 19 mile hike with an almost full pack

When we head to the Brecon Beacons in a few weeks time for our last training trip before Offa’s Dyke, we will hopefully be joined by Justin (@JustinFleming on Twitter). Yesterday I joined Justin on his own practice walk – what was supposed to be a 15 mile loop from Bugbrooke in Northamptonshire.

At the last minute we decided to modify our route slightly to take in a lovely area to the South of Long Buckby – but the resulting walk was 19 miles long, and ended with a rather tiring last few miles slogging down the Grand Union Canal in the dark!

View the full route and social commentary

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