Why? – walking practicalities


Strangely enough, I didn’t find the walking too difficult.   I actually found the effort involved in writing a blog, finding accommodation, getting food, and getting the tent up and down much more hassle-some.   Actually setting off and walking was quite a relief as I could escape into a bit of a reverie and just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.   With electronic maps and GPS, navigation wasn’t an issue, so sometimes I had the strange sensation of being a passenger, just going along for the ride.

Apart from blisters and other minor-ish ailments (see “health” page), the main source of physical pain as I walked was my rucksack.   Because it was so heavy, I knew from my West Highland Way experience that my shoulders would be rubber bare if i didn’t protect them.   So I cut the end off my Karrimat and made them into shoulder pads, which I wore under my T-shirt.   They were very effective but when soaked in sweat, started to get smelly.   So I sealed them in freezer bags to keep them clean, and that seemed to work.   So I didn’t get shoulder-blisters, but I did find it very hard to get the pack weight balanced just right.   It seemed to press on my left shoulder unduly hard, no matter how I adjusted it.   I even went into a sports shop in Ambleside to see if they could help – a really knowledgeable assistant spent ages readjusting all the straps – but it didn’t seem to make any difference.   In the end I just put up with the pain pretty much for the whole duration of my walk.   Occiasionally fortified with ibuprofen..

By the way, in terms of the practicalities of walking, I was always being asked if I was using trekking poles.

Trekking poles galore on the path from Milarrochy to Inverarnan
Trekking poles galore on the path from Milarrochy to Inverarnan

A lot of the other walkers I met were using them, but I didn’t.   I had used them once, when I did the Cotswolds Way, but I really found they just got in the way and I always felt I was in danger of tripping over them.  Plus, they were extra weight.   There were a couple of times when I wished I’d had them – the first was on the Cornish coast path, where I think they might have eased some of the pressure on my knees as I went up and down the cliffs.   And the second was when I was doing river crossings in Wales and Scotland, where an “extra pair of legs” would have been helpful.   But mostly I didn’t regret not having them.

Read other notes by clicking the link below the line
Solid line blue
<- Forward to next section
<- Return to overview page ->
Back to previous section ->