The arrival of our new walking shoes gave us a burst of excitement when it came to planning our first training walk. Our plan was to complete a local ten-mile circuit we had discovered, so it was with a heavy heart that I opened the curtains on Saturday morning to see a very grey sky and more rain than we have seen in the last few months put together!
The one thing I had forgotten in all my planning for this first walk was to be prepared for rain. After a long summer full of gorgeous sunshine (too much sunshine, in fact, when we completed the Jurassic Coast walk), it had become easy to forget that it does rain in England.
Still, when Polly arrived at my house for an 11am start, we were both excited to see how well we could do – and how dry we could stay.
For the first ten minutes, we were busy avoiding the spray from lorries and cars as we trudged alongside of A36 before turning into the New Forest. Once we had left the road, we found a sudden burst of energy. Somehow the grey, wet day made the forest seem even more exciting – and the fact that the animals were still out in force meant we could have a fun game of 'mind the cow/pig/horse'.
About three miles into the walk, we decided to assess our physical state. It went as follows:
- hands = cold/wet (despite trying to hide them up our sleeves);
- arms = damp but warmer than hands;
- heads = dry (but we realised we were shouting at each other to hear through our hoods!);
- legs = no other choice but to conclude very wet (we definitely need to invest in waterproof trousers);
- feet = dry, warm and comfortable (A+ for the new shoes so far).
At this stage, we thought it would be prudent to speed up our walking pace. This lasted about ten minutes before our cold legs refused to go any faster. Still, we kept ourselves going up the main hill, taking care to jump into the brambles at the side of the road when cars went by until we reached the top. It was all made worthwhile by the stunning scene that greeted us. The rain was hanging like a mist over the trees and a herd of ponies was galloping by. There were a few scary moments as we watch them dash over the New Forest road between the oncoming cars.
It was also good to know we were just over half way around the circuit at this stage. We continued through the last bit of the forest, back to Plaitford and along the A36.
Finally, we got back to my house. We dried off and warmed up with a celebratory cup of tea and crumpets. We had survived our first walk!
If you would feel you would like to support us – Steph and Polly – on our walk, we have set up a donation page, which can be found at:
Read Stephanies last blog here.
Written by Stephanie Carter RDT, RDH, CTLLS, TAQA.