Yesterday I complete the 21 mile Five Valleys’ Walk, organised by the charity Meningitis Now.
I had never walked such a distance before, and chose to do this particular walk because the charity provides plenty of check points, food and drink, and buses back to base if you are too tired to continue.
It’s a circular walk, and you can choose where to start. There is no compulsion to complete 21 miles. Some people joined for sections. There were children, babes in rucksacks, and plenty of dogs.
My main worry was whether I could complete the walk within the time the checkpoints remained open – 8:30am to 5:30pm. Nine hours for 21 miles. Easy for some. But I am a slow walker.
After the first couple of miles, I met a lady called Therese (although I am not sure if this is how you spell her name!) and we walked together until lunchtime. She was much fitter and faster than me. I was very grateful for her company and patience – because she pushed my speed, was fun to be with, and made the time pass quickly.
The downside was I was too enthusiastic and didn’t take a break at Minchinhampton Common, as I planned. This was a mistake, because when I reached the wonderful sculpture park at Lypiatt Park, I was too tired to really enjoy the experience of walking among Lynn Chadwick’s amazing figures.
The afternoon progressed at a more leisurely pace. I took loads of photographs and have posted a selection below.
My verdict on the walk? Well worth doing. Beautiful scenery. Well organised, even if the signposting was a bit dodgy in places (I got lost near the start of Standish Wood), and great to have a useful map. We were supplied with water, fruit and Portaloos at each checkpoint.
As a nice touch, we were given stickers at each checkpoint to add to our map! Psychologically this was a real boost as the map began to fill with the orange blobs.
I’m pleased to report I completed the whole walk with 20 minutes to spare, and NO blisters.
Below is a selection of photographs taken during the walk, arranged in chronological order.