Ruth at checkpoint at Nailsworth, Meningitis, Five Valley Walk

Stroud Five Valleys Walk: completed!

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.

with Therese at Nailsworth checkpoint
I make friends and this speeds me along.

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.

map
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.

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4 thoughts on “Stroud Five Valleys Walk: completed!”

  1. A huge congratulations for completing the walk! Do you intend to do anything similar next year?

    I’m aiming to do this one now, having read your overview. I’ve heard lots about the Slad Valley and it does look very beautiful. I walked through Painswick, Pitchcombe and Standish Wood back in May and so, I think I recognise that hill (although it was definitely cow-free on my visit).

    Glad to see you were able to pass so many ‘beasts’ without incident on this occasion (safety in numbers, I guess). Portaloos are rare for this kind of walk but very welcome! It’s also surprising how ‘underprepaed’ some people appear to be – some wear jeans while I saw others last Sunday carrying little more than a bum bag!

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    1. My companion, Therese, was terrified of cows and, in comparison, I felt very brave. (This was before my near-death experience on the river bank…) Like you, I was amazed to see people wearing jeans. It was a boiling hot day too.
      The scenery was very beautiful but I don’t know if I’ll do it again. I was wondering if I should try the Bath one next year – the one you did. 🙂

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      1. Oh, yes – you should definitely try the Bath walk some time and I’d advise anyone to go clockwise for their first attempt. I think there was another walk in Gloucestershire on the same weekend again but I can’t recall now… It was certainly running in 2013 but I think it was slightly further north. I get the impression from your photos that it’s slightly more ‘green’ under foot than the Circuit of Bath, which covers a fair few roads and pavements.

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