Though he is an on-off smoker and a man not averse to a bottle or three of wine at lunchtime, my friend the bear raider Lucian Miers, the Bard of the Boleyn, is becoming a bit of a health freak these days. “I can’t file Friday as I am on a three day walk across the downs”. That is his catchphrase these days. And to think that it used to be “get another bottle in, I’m just nipping outside for a fag.”
I now feel more confident about my own fitness, brushing off seven and a half miles yesterday as if it was a stroll to the corner store, the thought of keeping pace with a serious born again health Nazi is a bit daunting. But Lucian said he fancied joining me this weekend for my planned 20 mile stroll.
I tried to put him off with an estimated start time of 8 AM in Central Bristol which meant being at my house for 7.30 AM. Given he lives in Winchester surely that would put him off. Not a bit of it so this weekend we walk together. Rather comfortingly, Lucian says he aims to do ten miles in four hours allowing for brief rests. I would look to do ten miles in just over three hours. That is the pace if I am to make my 32 miles for Woodlarks on July 28 before it gets too dark.
But I assured Lucian that our route is fairly flat and it is, I think. I plan to do the Bristol Bath railway walk, much of it close to the Avon along which I walked on Sunday, which is 13 miles. Then heading to the Kennet & Avon towpath until we get to Limpley Stoke and the Hop Pole Inn which I reckon is another five or six miles. I plan to own a fitbit by then so I can report back on the exact damage but I hope that we will arrive for a late lunch with the Mrs and Lucian’s godson Joshua at around 2.30 PM. We shall see.
Already I am starting to plan my next walk for the weekend after. Seventy four year old Coach Basham when not reminding me about post walk stretching exercises says that before I do the real walk I should have built up to 26 miles with comfort the week before. In that vein and aware that travel plans will slightly disrupt July distance training I am starting to think about a 23 mile walk for a week Sunday.
If you are in the vicinity of the Hop Pole Inn on Saturday feel free to pop along and buy Lucian and myself a celebratory drink mid afternoon. Meanwhile the fund raising continues. With gift aid we are now up to £9308.96. We want to raise £20,000 before gift aid. So we are now 39% of the way to target.
Put that in context. Last year Woodlarks survived on an income of £126,650. That is less than the CEO of Oxfam earned. And Woodlarks changed so many lives with that cash. So if we raise £20,000 then with gift aid we will boost what Woodlarks can do by 20% with this one walk.