It's been another great month in #walk1000miles with over 25,000 of us pounding the pavements and trails and this month will be even better as we welcome #walk500miles into the family! In March we collectively smashed through the half-million mile barrier a whole 10 months earlier than last year (and that's just people in the Facebook group who have declared their miles in the post voluntary #walk1000miles record-keeper Susan Miller made in the middle of the month.)
The wind blew and the rain fell, but the blossom burst and the sun flashed its face and we all started to feel very, very spring-like. And doesn't it feel great to be locked in step with the season, as racking up miles here and there and everywhere requires? And is it my imagination or is that mud FAILING TO STICK TO MY BOOTS?
And talking of warm weather and cool, brows wet with rain and sweat, is there a more versatile companion than the #walk1000miles Ruff? I've worn mine so much I actually feel a bit funny without it (and once my wife commanded 'Stop playing with that bl****y thing!'). Other people seem pleased with them too, so if you've recently crossed a milestone (lots of 200ers celebrating in the group!) think about treating yourself. They're under a tenner (and delivery's free), come with a special note from me, feel great to wear and are a great conversation-starter.
How do you wear yours?
A huge warm welcome to #walk500miles!
The new issue of Country Walking sees the launch of our new challenge, which offers participants starting this April 5.43-mile, 2.86-mile and 1.82 mile-a-day options to hit the magic Proclaimer figure in 2017. Click the image to visit the homepage, and we'd love it of you'd share the link! (PS – order the new issue now and get your progress tracker chart on the day of release.)
Keep scrolling for the video!
Don't miss your brilliant month in video at the bottom of the newsletter. But I don't think I'm spoiling anything it if I say LAMBS and WIND.
'Confessions of a trig bagger!'
Faced with a day off and no plans 18 months ago, 29-year-old Vickie Maris from Chesterfield got into walking by accident. Next came trig-bagging – visiting the sites of the pillars on high ground the Ordnance Survey used to use for surveying – and now she’s tackling #walk1000miles in a whirlwind of walking activity. Catch us up Vickie!
How did you get into all this?
I had a day off work about 18 months ago and couldn't decide what to do with myself, so I set off in the car 4am, and when I got as far as the Welsh border I thought, mmmm, wonder how far away the famous Snowdon is. I did a little googling, programmed the sat nav and headed out. Loved it! I’d never been up a mountain before, and I loved the scenery, the sense of adventure, the crazy 'trig thing' at the top. I set out to Scafell on my next day off a month or so later, then Ben Nevis a month after that, did the Yorkshire Three Peaks a few months after that… and I just got hooked on and very curious about the peculiar 'trigs' everyone seemed to be posing for a photo with.
Then in March 2016 I came across #walk1000miles browsing Facebook and thought oo, another challenge, great, we'll have some of that.
How are you finding it?
Great! I did my 1000 miles March-October last year. I don’t expect to get to the target so quickly this year but I am getting out more regularly with my new mate Sadie the rescue dog who’s enjoying it too.
What does walking do for you?
I set out most of the time now knowing either with a trig in my sights and the reward of bagging it, or with absolutely no idea or where I’m headed, rambling across the moors with the reward of an adventure.
I love the fresh air, the lack of noise, knowing Sadie’s enjoying herself, and the sense of achievement when you’re stood by the trig after climbing High Wheeldon on all fours!
We all love getting to the top and touching the trig point – but collecting them is crazy. Discuss!
Everyone thinks I am raving mad! I sit with a few new OS maps, highlighting the trig points, then off out I go, on a 10-20 mile hike or we'll be driving along to maybe the airport or to see family and I’ll say ‘Stop the car! I’ll be back in 15 minutes' with the trigpointinguk app telling me there’s one just a mile away. It has become a crazy obsession.
I was even talking about starting to collect moulds of the flush brackets with a new trigpointing friend I met online that’s just as bonkers as me. You reach the top and they're sat there, cold & lonely, but with so much history, you buzz from the excitement because you can imagine men lugging the stuff up the hill, using it to map our entire country, setting their little tripods up on the top.
Like #walk1000miles it gives a little purpose to walking too, I can’t say I’ve walked the same path twice yet this year. It is going to get a little more tricky very soon though as I’ve nearly ticked off them all on the neighbouring OS maps...
How many have you ticked and what's the world of trig-bagging like?
I’m at 90. Hoping to double that figure this year. I’ve invited myself on a trigpoint bagging camping weekend with a bunch of trig baggers next month, I thought hey ho there’s obviously some folks just as nutty as me in the world and if you can’t beat em join em!
What's the oddest / most interesting / furthest places its taken you too so far?
Every walk is an adventure, I have a walking buddy, a friend and I always say to him I’m sure no one has as much fun as we do when we’re out. Scaling down a waterfall when we were a little 'lost' and trekking through seven-foot ferns taking a 'short cut'. Six foot fencing, angry farmers, gorgeous views, getting stuck in peat bogs, still laughing drenched to the bone.
Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye tick the oddest, interesting and furthest box. Beautiful crystal clear waters you can dive into, looks like a scene from the Little Mermaid, running down off the blackest angriest darkest mountains you’ve ever seen. Surreal place, short walk.
Do you have any other interests we should know about?
I make a point of trying everything once regardless of what it is or how much it scares me, I tell our kids the same thing – jump out of a plane, take a hike, wild camp, eat the worm, fly a plane, just go, try everything, take opportunities. I’m a vegan, I love gardening, I have a mini allotment, if I’m not working or walking I’m digging and singing to cabbages!
The new issue is out and it's WONDERFUL!
Have you used your Cotswold outdoor discount yet?
This is Sarah who travelled overnight on the ferry from Shetland and made the Cotswold Outdoor store in Aberdeen her first stop. Why the pilgrimage? She needed new boots and wanted to use the 15% every #walk1000miles badge-holder is entitled to this year.
"Badge in hand I got fabulous service from this young man – perfectly fitting boots, very knowledgeable and ensured I was 100% happy! Oh and my discount" said Sarah.
You can use your badge in any of Cotswold Outdoors' 80 stores or online using the code in the email registered participants will have received with the link to this newsletter (please don't share it with anyone).
If you haven't yet got a badge, you can get them for £2 (P&P free) from the #walk1000miles shop any time.
But wait! For one month only anyone with a copy of the May issue of Country Walking can get 15% of in-store at Cotswold too!
Payday treat: get 10% off all #walk1000miles t-shirts, mugs & hoodIes before 7 April. you've earned it!
Click the pic to visit the shop, and enter the code WALK1000 at checkout. (Shop opens in new window).
You've made more than 6000 posts since the last newsletter (phew!)
On the off-chance you missed some of them, here's your monthly digest of the top updates
10 John Cooper was up early: "Dartmouth – catching the sunrise ... couldn't not share these..."
9 The amazing Dougie Dingwall just happened to have a sign to hand....: "Think I'll just park this here for a bit!"
8 Laura Whitaker defied her diagnosis: "When I got diagnosed with MS last year if anyone would have told me that I would walk 300 miles from 1st Jan - 11th March I would of said there was no chance but I've done it!!..."
7 Michelle Wright wanted to say a massive thank you to the group: "Don't ever think you're a message on a post or a notification on my phone..."
6 Sadie Griffiths won't forget this find in a hurry!: "The elephant rock near Evesham today. Made me smile!"
5 Francis Lawler had an extraordinary story of resilience to share: "On new years eve 1998 walking home from the pub I was attacked by four guys who beat me to a inch of my life..."
4 Cherie Henderson passed a major life milestone!: "3 stone down, 332 miles into my 1000 miles and I've just receieved my first EVER pair of walking trousers (I'm not even sure who I am anymore! 😂) and they fit! So pleased and obviously now I want to go for a walk..."
3 Marie Bishop had this defiant message: "still walking, still losing.. now at 242 miles and 81lbs down :) Loving the warmer weather.. Also Please DO NOT add me to sell your pills and potions, herbalife, shakes, pills or what not. I am not interested. I have done this without an (alleged) magic fix. Eat less, do more. Simples."
2 Derek Coppen introduced himself: "Hi folks I am 80 today and since 2nd January I have managed 217 miles so i'm well on course to complete the 1000 mile journey. and I am feeling a lot fitter because of it. can't wait for the better weather."
1 Sarah Aitchison wanted just to share: "From not being able to walk without crutches to being less than a month away from a 5 mile 40 obstacle mud run!!!"