Thursday, 11 February 2016

A plan starts to form...

A plan

During my 2015 Year of Microadventure challenge*, as suggested by the wonderfully inspirational Alastair Humphreys, I came up with a simple plan: Walk to the office.

Easy, you say? I do that every day, you say? Well, for me it's slightly different. I'm currently an IT consultant, based at my home in South London. My office, however, is in Tewkesbury, in Gloucestersestershire. Have you seen how far that is? I mean, it's nearly in Wales!

A quick look at the map shows it to be around 120 miles. That's 190 km. That's quite a lot. Regardless, my plan is to walk there from home unsupported** this summer. I'll be on my own, which adds to the challenge as, although I've bivvied and camped a fair bit, I've never been camped beyond the garden on my own.

Proposed route

Having had a brief look at the map, I've decided to take the following general route, subject to more detailed planning once I've actually had a closer inspection, of course. I'd favour pleasant scenery and countryside over quicker straight line routes any day. Having said that, my first day will be as direct as possible, to try and clear the urban areas quickly:
  • depart South London
  • head across Richmond Park and cross M4
  • head vaguely across Colne Valley Regional Park
  • cross M25 towards Chilterns, staying north of High Wycombe
  • head west, keeping north of Oxford in direction of Woodstock
  • cross the Cotswolds and over M5
  • arrive Tewkesbury
(I'll figure out how to stick a map in at some point!)

Yes, there are slightly more direct routes. However, they take in areas I'm more familiar with and I want to get out of my comfort zone and give myself a bit of a navigational challenge. I'm also keen to avoid the Thames Path, as I've been walking that in sections with a friend (really need to finish that one day!) so don't want to spoil the fun.

Time

Travel light, travel fast. That's the plan. As I'll be travelling alone, I'm not assuming there'll be much to do in the evenings in a bivvy bag. I'll also be tired from walking so hopefully I'll be able to bed down around 10pm, shortly after the light has fully gone, and get up with the sun. Allowing a bit of slack for distractions I'm hoping I'll be able to manage around 14-15 hours active time (including breaks).
On a recent microadventure jaunt, we covered approximately 22km in around 5 and a half hours along part of the North Downs way with a similar size pack to the one I'm planning to take in favourable conditions. Therefore I'm hoping to achieve it in 4 full days, although I'll probably book the next day as contingency. This is around 48km per day with an average pace of about 3.5 km/h. I'm not looking to crack along at 5km an hour, but fully expecting to put in the hours.

It'll be tough!

Gear, etc.

I'll write some more posts in the coming weeks on my plans for:

  • gear
  • clothing
  • food

So, that's it. Just need to find a date to do it now!

* I've not been terribly organised about documenting my adventures to date. My fellow camper has done better than me with this post (seems to be down at time of writing - sort it out Jayne!)

** I say unsupported. I'm not ruling out the odd pub stop. Purely to refill my water bottle, of course...


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