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

19 miles is the longest I have walked with an almost full pack, and I thought it would be interesting to review how I am feeling the morning after. On Offa’s Dyke we will be doing about 15 miles per day – albeit much hillier, with only the last day being 20 miles long!

So here is a break down of how parts of me feel. A score out of 10 – 10 is “feels like it will drop off any minute”, 0 is “feels absolutely fine”.

Shoulders – 1/10: Slightly stiff, but no bruising from the pack

Back – 0/10: Felt stiff first thing this morning, but has eased. This is usual, as I already have an existing back condition (which is surprising not aggravated that much by carrying a full pack!)

Hips – 2/10: Although there is no bruising from the pack (a first!), both sides have slight wounds caused by the my trousers rubbing under the pack waist straps. Nothing major, but it would need a fix to stop it getting any worse.

Legs – 3/10: My legs do feel like I have walked 19 miles carrying a full pack – my muscles don’t hurt too much, just some stiffness, but could easily be aggravated by further walking. On Offa’s Dyke, I will need to warm up and down better and probably apply some Deep Heat at night to help ease the muscles.

Feet – 2/10: My feet are a little sore, but they only starting hurting well beyond the 15 miles, and I could certainly walk on them again today. The bigger problem is blisters – I failed to treat my boots after the walk last weekend, so they were very tough. This was lead to a blister on my ankle, and a deep blister under some think skin on my heel. This thick skin will need to be removed before Offa’s Dyke, and hopefully my properly treated boots will stop the blisters forming.

Overall: 2/10: I would be able to do another hike today, but it would hurt a little. Considering the distance yesterday, this leaves me quite optimistic for Offa’s Dyke, although we will see what happens when you add height gain into the equation in Brecon!

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