Author Topic: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?  (Read 1427 times)

Jaded

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Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« on: September 01, 2019, 08:17:32 pm »
We are considering walking the Cotswold Way, which is c110 miles. We’d do it in one go, and use B&Bs and pubs rather than camp. Maybe c17 miles a day.

Any thoughts, advice, experiences welcome!
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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2019, 08:31:20 pm »
Use easy-dry clothes to wash along the way.  Make sure your boots/socks combination works.  Practice loaded walking beforehand.

Basil

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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2019, 09:38:15 pm »
Not much I need to tell a long distance cyclist about hydration and feeding en route.  :)
I like to wear a pair of thin socks (bamboo) under my proper boot socks.  This doesn't suit everyone.  Give it a try and see how you feel.
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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2019, 09:44:34 pm »
Pack loads of toilet rolls. You won’t need them but it will stop you packing your rucksack with other heavier items that you also won’t need.


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bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2019, 09:56:16 pm »
Train for it. 17 miles a day is more than you think. Walking is a lot harder on you physically than cycling IMO; a ton more strain is going through the joints as you're bearing the full weight of your body. I would seriously consider using poles, they take as much as 30% the strain off of your knees and ankles etc. No special training really necessary, you'll use them in a natural way.

Some of our guys did a big charity walk a couple of years ago - not Usain Bolt clones but fairly active chaps. Granted they were doing about 30 miles a day (on flat terrain, not undulating trail) but by the end of it they all had horrendous aches and pains, one of them had to go to A and E, told if he didn't stop and get a taxi home he'd need skin grafts on his feet.
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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2019, 10:02:59 pm »
For something in the Cotswolds I'd (in no particular order)

Not wear boots but either approach shoes or trainers
One set of clothing for evening, one for the day
Plimsoles or other lightweight footwear for the evening

You can get the OS maps on loan from the library if you don't already have the relevant ones or digital mapping.

Consider posting stuff to your halfway pub / B&B if you want fresh kit / maps halfway through. Use the packaging to post the smellies home.

Bin bags for wet / smelly gear.

Do any washing / chores as soon as you get to your destination each day, see if the pub / B&B has washing / drying facilities when booking.  Alternately if a sunny / dry day and you come across a stream then wash dirty stuff and attach to outside of rucksack to dry. Avoid polluting the river with washing detergents. Pegs and cord useful for this.

If it crosses any decent streams / rivers consider taking swimming kit.

Collect the small bottles of soap / body wash as you go.

Zips break, rucksacks with clips are much more reliable.

Rucksacks aren't waterproof.  Have a waterproof cover or dry bags / stuff sacks which can also divide up your gear.

Will any of your stops be quiet farms or villages?  Will there be street lighting on the lane to the pub etc. Consider carrying torch / head torch to get back after eating / drinking out.

I won't cover navigation as I assume you are already practised in that.

Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2019, 07:58:03 am »
Train for it.

^^^ This.

OK, I'm in my late-50s, but I'm glad I trained for my Rochdale Canal jaunt earlier in the summer. It was almost flat and we only did 10-11 miles a day, but with a load on our backs, we knew we'd done it by the end of the day. I'd also go against earlier advice and advocate wearing walking boots with good ankle support and, of course, make sure the boots are well broken in. 1000-mile socks also help with the feet.
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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2019, 08:20:16 am »
Yes. Train for it.

I sometimes do long multi day miles in the summer. Last year I did three long days with the last day being 35 miles. I was surprised at just how fucked my body was. Swollen achey feet and every joint in pain. Took a while to get over it.

When I did a JoGle, I met a young couple at LE who had walked it. Took them a month. It put my efforts into the perspective.

Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2019, 08:57:49 am »
If its not really rough ground you can get walking/hiking shoes. I have a pair that I use for walking the dog on green lanes and bridal ways round here. Waterproof and shock absorbing but better than trainers with good grip. I use these:

https://www.grisport.co.uk/walking-shoes-c79/dartmoor-brown-walking-shoe-p1291

I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2019, 09:06:03 am »
There will probably be sections of clay-ey mud, which is a factor to bear in mind when deciding between boots and shoes.
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ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2019, 10:04:31 am »
We did over a week a while back, but got the inlaws (who live by the Cotswold Way) to come collect us every evening so we could abuse their hospitality. As said, walking isn't cycling, different muscles and all that – 17 miles is a fair distance, probably six solid hours afoot plus time for breaks, food, etc.

We hike a lot and have been doing so for years (seventeen or so miles is a lunchtime start and finish at beer o'clock). Decent footwear is a given. I always wear boots for the ankle support but make sure you're used to them. As with cycling, that minor niggle at the start will be painful by the end of any walk. Multiply that by several days and you'll be confessing secrets to anyone that asks. Make sure you have a good combo and boots and socks, blisters are a curse. Moisturizer or similar applied to the foot before pulling the sock on is a good idea and helps reduce friction.

Take a torch, it's easy to get caught out by sundown, and it's quickly too dark to find your footing. Also, country lanes, as any cyclist knows, are the place for idiot driving, more so after dark and they've no more respect for walkers, so you need illumination.

Paper OS maps, they are a lot easier than squinting at a phone. Some supplies, but the Cotswold Way is rarely far from a gastropub so you'll probably not die and bear sightings are rare. You can probably get an Uber.

But yes, don't assume 17 miles/day is easy. It's what we did on Saturday across the South Downs and we were pretty knackered by the end (admittedly it was hilly and windy).
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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2019, 10:15:36 am »
As above, +1 walking poles and training.

Plan in advance and book your accommodation. Adding a few miles on at the end of a day during a bike tour to find an alternative isn't usually a big deal. Adding a mile on after 17 in hilly terrain is significantly bad for morale. Book direct, not through booking.com etc. The cancellation terms are usually less strict if you have booked direct and made personal contact in advance. Consider you will have to be flexible.

Have a rest day, somewhere near shops or a bus route to shops/pubs etc. It's nice to refresh your spirits and do it earlier than you would think. We recently started the Cambrian way over 110 miles and took an unscheduled rest day on day 4 which helped enormously.
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road-runner

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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2019, 10:51:55 am »
I haven't walked the Cotswolds Way but I have walked the Ridgeway and many other hilly walks. I would say the three most important things are, in order of importance:

1. Training. Just like getting your mileage up on a bike before attempting a multi-day ride.

2. Boots. Comfortable boots will support feet and ankles. If you don't have boots that have been worn-in then select the most comfortable off-road footwear you have. Do your training in these.

3. Map. Have your route to hand so that you can check where you are and confirm the route ahead. A compass can be helpful if you have one and are used to using it. Perhaps a modern digital navigational device could replace both map and compass.

These have been mentioned above but bear repeating. Everything else can be useful or helpful if it suits you. Being Britain, have a wet weather plan, whether that be clothing or pubs and cafés to hang out in.

Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2019, 10:58:02 am »
Mostly what they said. Especially building up to it.

Maybe you know this already, but rather like with running, feet swell / spread over a day of walking. If you're getting new shoes / boots bear this in mind if your toes are anywhere near bumping the inside in the shop. DAHIKT

I've not walked much in the Cotswolds, so dont have specific thoughts about the route (is that what you were really after?). Maybe read some Laurie Lee before you go?

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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2019, 11:13:25 am »
Sunblock.
Hats (broad-brimmed hats are good in the rain as well as keeping sun off your face).
Easily-cleaned and filled waterbottles.

Walking poles are brill. Make sure you have a rucksack with straps that can take the poles, for the times you want to not have the things in your hands.

Walking on soft ground or gravel/broken rocks; walking boots.
Walking on roads; trainers or similar.
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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2019, 01:35:38 pm »
Perhaps a modern digital navigational device could replace both map and compass.

Only until the batteries die. If you're going to rely on electronic devices, bring some kind of backup power. Standalone GPS devices are  great way to record your journey, but there are apps for your phone that will let your phone do an excellent job of navigating, whether or not you have cell coverage where you are.

One more vote for walking poles, they help a lot going up and down hill, and on rough ground.

Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2019, 02:03:22 pm »
If camping backup power is a problem. As the OP is using hotels then kit can be charged every night. A Garmin Etrex or similar with quality batteries should work for two days without too much difficulty. The Cotswolds aren't remote and batteries can be bought, the Etrex will also work off an external power battery as an emergency which is then charged in the hotel.

Having said that I do always carry a map as habit, the bigger advantage of the map is you can see the big picture you can't on a handheld.
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ian

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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2019, 06:10:46 pm »
Navigating by paper map and occasionally getting lost is part of the fun. If I recall, the Cotswold Way is mostly reasonably waymarked and can be followed without too much navigational perspiration. A proper compass is a cheap and useful aid as is a bit of familiarity with the distance and how much map you can cover in a set amount of time, so you don't end up five miles from anywhere significant at sundown.

I remember once getting lost and ending up at a pub at 10pm. They laughed at our suggestion of getting a taxi. They go to bed at nine round here. Lovely landlady instead drove us to the station, ten miles away. Another time we passed a chap walking his dog at twilight. We assured him we were OK, we had torches etc. and it was only another 45 minutes or so to the station. Ten minutes later as we walked down a land, a landrover pulled up. He'd gone home to get his car to come give us a lift.
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fuaran

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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2019, 06:26:47 pm »
Look at Harvey maps, they have one for the whole route. Handier than a stack of OS maps. And usually clearer to see the relevant stuff for walking.

Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2019, 06:37:03 pm »
I've assumed Jaded is an experienced walker, just not long distance. Others in their replies have assumed Jaded is not an experienced walker. Perhaps Jaded can indicate their experience so the replies can be pitched at appropriate level.

Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2019, 06:44:02 pm »
We've done some sections of the Cleveland Way; ten miles felt like a lot - I'd imagine 17 miles would be a big ask, especially day after day.

Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2019, 09:45:25 pm »
We've done some sections of the Cleveland Way; ten miles felt like a lot - I'd imagine 17 miles would be a big ask, especially day after day.

Last year a few of us walked 3 days along the Offa's Dyke path.  Just checked and it was around 28km or 17miles each day, with some fairly hefty climbing.  I've done the distance before, though I'm not a regular walker, but it wasn't too hard. 

I think Jaded and I are not that dissimilar in age.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2019, 12:13:03 am »
Indeed, Ian, although you are a lot older than me  ;D

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions, so helpful. We are very grateful, so keep them coming!
 
To answer phil w, we walk a fair bit, will do 6-10 miles, but in fair weather, and not repetitively. As basil suggests, I am used to long endurance rides, so have a knowledge of watering and feeding and keeping going. Also of navigating. I was a scout and orienteer, so can read a map and use a compass. I do prefer a phone and battery pack though!
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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2019, 11:43:02 am »
Look at Harvey maps, they have one for the whole route. Handier than a stack of OS maps. And usually clearer to see the relevant stuff for walking.

+1 - The cicerone books are good too.

https://www.cicerone.co.uk/the-cotswold-way-fourth
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ian

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Re: Walking a long route such as Cotswold Way - hints tips advice?
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2019, 11:47:13 am »
New OS Explorer maps come with the download version (so says the one I bought the other week, not tried it). The Cotswold Way mostly isn't that navigationally challenging.
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