Week 14 of my walking challenge has been incredibly good fun.
This week I accompanied some Walk Fife friends as they continued their preparation for walking the West Highland Way.
The chosen area for walking this week was once again the wonderful Ochil Hills and, thanks to yet another unexpected change in the weather, the hill range was covered with snow.
The Ochils are an ideal place for practising your outdoors skills while getting yourself walking fit in preparation for taking on a trail like the iconic West Highland Way.
These hills offers a wide range of different walking experiences allowing those who are training for a long distance adventure to gently build up to trek ready fitness all in one easy to access area.
Training is essential
When taking on the West Highland Way it is important to make sure that your mind and body are ready for the challenge.
I know several people who have walked the trail and they each had a thoroughly miserable time due to being unfit and unprepared. As they struggled to keep getting each day of walking, the enjoyment of the whole experience was being drained from them with each mile they covered and that is something you want to avoid when heading out on such an adventure.
Being fit and prepared is key to getting the maximum from the West Highland Way and that is what my friends Ian and Mark are working towards. I joined them 4 months into their training programme and we walked a 15km route over the hills together.
A gradual approach
While Ian and Mark both enjoy walking the many routes shared through Walk Fife, they haven’t any experience of prolonged walking over a long distance. To make sure that they both could tackle the path they decided at the beginning of the year to start training.
They began in January by walking gentle routes of around 5 km each day and since then they have gradually built up this distance to around 12 km each day taking in multiple terrains and weather conditions. This gradual approach has built up their confidence and fitness and they are on track to being ready for walking the West Highland Way this coming July.
Learning new skills
As well as improving their physical fitness, the guys have been learning new skills and growing their knowledge of the outdoors. Developing your outdoors skills as far as you can helps make walking long distance routes much easier both mentally and physically.
Obviously both Ian and Mark have been learning to use their map and compass correctly but they are also looking at things such as camp craft, first aid (with special focus on foot care) alongside essential safety and emergency drills.
This increase in knowledge will not only help remove any doubts that may be having about walking the trail but it will also increase confidence in their own abilities which will help them to enjoy the West Highland Way to the fullest.
Week 14 lessons
Walking this week with Ian and Mark has reminded me that preparation is really key to taking on any form of adventure. Being adequately equipped both in the mind and the body will help you to rise above any unexpected challenges that may appear along the way allowing you to make the most of your experience or journey. It is good to see the guys taking this approach to their upcoming adventure.
Next week I will be staying closer to home as family and work commitments mean that I will taking advantage of the many paths and trails nearby.
If you have any questions about this challenge or anything Walk Fife related, then please drop me a email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me through my twitter account @SDMakin.
Catch up with you again next week.