These past 3 weeks have been tough walking.
A change in home and work life combined with poor weather have really made my challenge challenging!
It has been tricky to get into a regular walking routine and even trickier planning walking adventures. Despite this I have managed to keep to my schedule and I have reached 3841 miles!
A good friend of mine when he heard of the total so far commented; “Well Sean you don’t have far to walk now, you should be at the 4000 mile mark in a blink of an eye”. If only that were true…
When I undertook my 3000 mile challenge in 2016, I thought that adding another 1000 miles was going to be a breeze but I didn’t factor in the weather when planning my latest challenge. The weather this year has gone from one extreme to another making walking a true struggle at several times throughout the year.
The bitter cold and wild storms at the beginning of 2018 were both amazing and a inconvenient. I love the winter and a snowy winter in particular but the ferocity of the “Beast from the East” surprised even I when heading out to the trails and pathways of Fife and beyond. It made walking exhausting and sometimes quite dangerous.
The extreme heat of the summer months added its own problems with packs getting heavier as more and more water was required to be carried and the intensity of the sun was sapping to say the least. The risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion were a real risk and one I wrote about back in week 26 of my challenge – http://www.walkfife.com/week-26-of-seans-4000-mile-walking-challenge/
Despite the hurdles that mother nature threw in my way I have still enjoyed this challenge and I am really looking forward to reaching my goal before the year ends.
Right enough of my chatting and on to the walking!
Through work, I was fortunate enough to find myself on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park in the charming town of Pitlochry and I thought I would take advantage of the wonderful hills that sit nearby.
Ben Vrackie stands a magnificent 841m North above the town. This rugged hill offers a truly breathtaking view over the surrounding scenery. The climb to the top follows some well trodden paths through woodland and moorland among it a easy ascent. The route is really a day’s outing but the views make you feel that you have wandered much further.
The walking is surprisingly easy going for a hill within the Cairngorms National Park and when I walked the trail I met many fellow walkers out for a day on the hill and I stopped and chatted with many of them. I imagine in the depths of winter this hill is entirely different and I can see that it could present the inexperienced walker with possible problems so please be well prepared if you decide to follow my footsteps.
I found this particular route through OS Maps but I am sad to say I can not credit it’s creator. Whomever you are I thank you for sharing such an enjoyable walk through Ordnance Surveys’ website. You can download this route from – https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/2430306/Ben-Varkie-Part-2
The next few weeks look to be equally busy in terms of work and life as the Christmas holidays rapidly approach but I am hoping to head out to the trials everyday to bag my remaining miles. Fingers crossed I will be able to manage to get the miles in!
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.