Finally, she comes online to write an update about her ‘A Walk in the Parks‘ 1000 mile hiking adventure.
I had big ambitions when it came to sharing our hiking adventure on the blog, but alas, I had HUGELY underestimated the time and energy it would take to plan the logistics of 10 weeks of hiking… let alone actually doing the hike!
I am looking forward to sitting on my bum for a while and sharing all about our adventures. The places we have stayed. The people we have met. The scrapes we got ourselves into. The things we learnt.
It all feels quite surreal as I sit back at home at my desk writing this. Did the last 9 weeks really happen?
But it isn’t over yet, after 9 weeks of hiking across 9 different national parks, we are down to the final 9 days before we finish on October 30th near Ashbourne.
A recap of ‘A Walk in the Parks’
But first, a little recap of what this crazy adventure is all about.
Earlier this year I decided I wanted to do something big to raise money and awareness of the Peak District Foundation. Walking across the Peak District National Park would be enough. The problems our national parks face go far beyond my home park of the Peak District and I knew I could learn a thing or two by visiting a few more.
So I decided to visit all of them… or at least all of them in England. I am sure I will back to walk across the Welsh and Scottish national parks another day.
To walk across all 10 national parks in England from one border to the opposite with my rescue dog Cookie… in 10 weeks! Clocking up around 1000 miles of hiking.
Alongside the hiking we wanted to meet with rangers, projects and community groups who were doing great things in national parks. Whether that’s projects around accessibility or inclusiveness, climate change mitigation or biodiversity. We wanted to learn more about what makes our national parks special and how we can support them.
Just to add another twist we also decided to hike up the highest peak in each national park too.
All while aiming to raise £10,000 for the Peak District National Park Foundation!
I have also been match funded by Alpkit, who have put together a £10,000 match fund with two £500 donations to be made to projects around access to the outdoors, conservation or climate change mitigation in each national park in England. Wowee. Thanks Alpkit.
How have things been so far?
So, how have we been getting on? Well you know what, things haven’t gone too badly. Says the girl looking back with rose tinted glasses at what has been an incredible 9 weeks exploring more of our beautiful country, our national parks and the nature within them.
I have sooo much to share with you about each national park we have visited. The routes we took, the places we stayed, the people we met and what was in my pack! However, this is all going to wait until I am back. But for now here are a few updates and stats on how things have gone so far…
How are the feet and paws?
The feet and paws have faired OK. I’ve certainly had my fair share of blisters… and blisters on blisters on blisters. They seem to have hardened a bit now and boy am I looking forward to a pedicure.
What about Cookie?
Cookie has been an amazing little bean. She did have to go home for a week when she hurt her paw and the weather was too hot. My week without her was probably my hardest. I missed my sidekick, my best friend, my hiking buddy so much. We were reunited after a week and she hasn’t left my side since. There’s definitely going to some separation issues when we return.
She has been such a trooper throughout. I never hear her complain and she keeps going no matter how many miles we are doing in a day, sometimes its over 20! We have certainly both been sleeping well.
How many times have you got lost?
Now this depends how you define lost!? I have certainly missed a few turns when I have been focused on the road ahead, or leaving a long rambly voicenote to a friend.
However, thanks to Komoot app, I can always find my way back. Connecting Komoot to my watch meant it vibrated everytime a turn was coming up and I only needed to follow the little blue line to know I was going in the right direction. It has honestly saved my bacon on many occasions, especially on the vast open moorlands across so many of our national parks.
Has it changed you?
I’m getting this question a lot and I think I am still working out the answer. I know I have loved it. Yes there’s been some incredibly hard parts and lots of tears, however it only takes a look up at the view or the glint of sunshine in the trees to put a smile back on my face. Nature is honestly incredible. I know I want to learn more about how it works and how we can protect it.
I want to do more for our national parks, especially around access. I am so privileged to have grown up within the Peak District and it’s taken all this walking to make me realise how much it has made me the person I am today. I want more people, especially young people to experience the joys of connecting to nature, so we can grow the pioneers and custodians of the future.
I also know I want to slow down. Life was hectic before I stopped to walk. With two businesses, a blog, a Chair role and many other things in my life, I didn’t stop, and had been precariously close to burnout for a while. When I return home next week I am stepping it back a notch and making sure I don’t get that close to burnout again. I want time to cook, to walk, to enjoy the changing seasons and time with family and friends.
I’m also going to be spending a fair amount of the last couple of months of the year on my bottom too… resting!
Give us the stats!
So what have we managed so far? Here are the stats I know you all want to know…
- 800 miles walked (1287km) – including about 20 miles of canoeing.
- Over 1.5 MILLION steps walked!
- Countless blisters
- approximately 12 falls on my ass
- 9 national parks walked across (one more to go!)
- 546292000 Cadbury’s eclairs eaten (an estimate)
- Many days of sunshine (until this week!)
- Endless memories, smiles, snuggles with Cookie and ideas for the future.
The Final Leg! – Fancy joining us?
But we’re not finished yet. All those stats are going to increase as we embark on our final 9 days of hiking across our favourite national park… the Peak District.
We are walking from Marsden in the north to the bottom of Dovedale in the South with a few zigzags in between.
If you would like to join us, the best day is probably Tuesday 24th as the start and end point are at a train station and there are a couple of points you can drop out early if 15+ miles is too far.
The route goes from Edale to Hathersage and takes in Win Hill, Lose Hill, Ladybower Reservoir and part of Stanage Edge. Some of my favourite parts of the Peak District.
If you are interested in joining please make sure you email me to confirm so we know to look out for you and can confirm details. Things do sometimes change last minute.
- Tuesday 24th October – 9.30am start
- Start Point: Meet by the toilets in the Edale carpark
- End Point: Alpkit store in Hathersage
- Miles = 16 (but you can drop out early for a train at Hope or Bamford
- Bring your own snacks, lunch, waterproofs, kit etc…
- The Route on Komoot
Please note anyone joining the route is doing so at their own risk and is responsible for their own kit, transport and logistics. I am not a mountain leader and don’t have any hiking qualifications.
Email [email protected] if you would like to join.
Thanks for reading this far. I am off to soak in the bath before I start the Peak District in the morning. 19+ miles tomorrow. Wish us luck.