Week five of my walking challenge saw me head to the Ochil Hills.
Hill walking is a great passion of mine and something I will always find the time to enjoy.
The combination of exercise, beautiful scenery and bracing fresh air is a great way to de-stress especially when undertaking a walking challenge such as mine.
This week I decided to revisit some of my favourite trails across the Ochil Hills in a bid to inject some more interesting walking into my walking schedule and prevent boredom from setting in. Boredom is the big enemy when taking on a long duration challenge so it is important to make sure that you keep things interesting.
The Ochil Hills
The Ochil Hills look down over Fife and stretch along the northern edge of the Forth valley. This small but mighty hill range offers some spectacular views and excellent walking.
I have spent many enjoyable days exploring these hills over the past 30 years, beginning as a young army cadet through to being a Dad of two very active daughters and as these hills are pretty much near to where I live, they are an ideal location for me to include in my week five schedule.
The weather was again mixed and I prepared myself and my kit to suit the conditions and, especially as I was walking solo, I left a route card along with a print of my route (courtesy of OS Maps) with my wife as an additional safety measure. This is something that we at Walk Fife advise everyone do do the same before venturing out for a walk just in case something does go wrong with your day and you need assistance.
The Ochil Hills have their own mountain rescue team. The Ochil Mountain Rescue Team have a permanent post down in the valley near the village of Fishcross which is funded by donations. You can find out more about them by visiting their website – http://www.omrt.org.uk/
The Glen Sherup Loop
One of my favourite walks and one that I tackled twice this week is the Glen Sherup Loop. This 9.75 mile walking route takes you up from the valley floor of Glen Devon up on to the natural ridge that surrounds Glen Sherup.
The walking initially involves some very steep slopes before braking into some gentle rolling hills as you reach the ridge. This route really gives your heart, lungs and legs a good workout and the views down over the Forth valley and Glen Sherup itself are stunning no matter the weather.
You can view this route by visiting – https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/1155709/Seans-Glen-Sherrup-Loop-Walk-Fife .
Week five lessons
This week I began to get some little indicators that my feet were being lined up for some blisters unless I addressed some issues with my footwear.
So how did I know that I was heading for trouble?
Spotting issues that lead to blisters is quite straight forward. When you finish walking for the day, remove your boots and socks and carefully examine you feet. Look for any areas that appear to be reddish or slightly inflamed. These are spots where your boots are rubbing against your skin excessively and are areas when blisters are likely to form.
After spotting the problem areas how do you avoid blisters?
Check that your walking socks are not worn through and if they are replace them with a new pair. This makes a big difference. Next examine the inside of your boots to make sure that the insole hasn’t become too worn. If there are signs of wear replace the insole with something suitable for walkers.
To further improve my efforts to avoid blisters I treat my feet with specialist foot oil. This prevents rubbing and keeps my feet in good condition. I wrote an article about this approach on the Walk Fife website over at – http://www.walkfife.com/preventing-blisters-sores-foot-care-walkers/
Week five has been fantastic fun and I really burned through the miles. In week six I will be accompanied for three days along the way which will be nice as walking with good friends is often good fun. 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.