SHP to Woodcote Walk

The Race To Beat Shelli Home

“Time for a walk” I posted…and so another adventure began!

I‘ve noticed that when Shelli’s at work – especially on a weekend – I’ve developed an impressive ability to sit on my backside doing almost nothing.

I say almost because along with the ability to sit on my backside all day, I’ve nurtured my TV watching skills, binge-watching Netflix series from dawn ’til dusk. Not a great thing to be proud of.

So with the end of the year looming and Shelli being at work for the day on Sunday, I decided I needed to get out and give myself a final challenge for the year. But what to do?

A flash of inspiration and a little time spent in front of the iMac Saturday afternoon, I had a route sorted out for a “little” stroll…from South Hill Park in Bracknell to home.

The challenge? To get from South Hill Park to home before Shelli finished her shift and got home, no small task seeing as it was over 22 miles to cover in that time! No small ask considering I’d not covered that sort of distance for a very long time.

Sunday morning came round far too quickly, and even quicker we were at South Hill Park and I was saying goodbye to Shelli and heading off to get home.

The weather wasn’t too bad. It was a bit chilly but the rain that was hinted at on the TV hadn’t made an appearance yet. Good stuff.

The walk out of Bracknell wasn’t exactly inspiring but it wasn’t too long before I was heading under the A329 and into Binfield, walking some of the roads I used to train for my LEJOG walk back in 2010.

Walking up the B3034 (Forest Road) I was reminded of something I “figured” out while walking up the country: how much you miss as you shoot by in your car. Walking past some houses on a road I’d driven up literally hundreds and hundreds of times, I came across a small memorial for the men who died from the road in the Great War. It was inset in (what is now) a garage of the old School building. How much else do we miss as we go about our ways in our cars?

1 hour and 50 minutes in I crossed the M4, the first major milestone for the day. I was impressed with how things were going and I was feeling pretty strong.

The lanes out to Woodley were nice enough but the threat of being hit by a speeding car took some of the enjoyment away, especially having to pretty much dive for the side of the road a couple of times!

Woodley was, well, boring, but it didn’t take too long for me to hit the outskirts of Sonning and the then the River Thames – the next major milestone – a mere 3 hours and 45 minutes into the day’s route. Not surprising really when you consider I’d only taken a 10 minute break shortly after passing the Museum of Berkshire Aviation at 11:13am.

The other side of the Thames things got a little bit more interesting, and by that I mean hilly, and muddy! The long slog out of Playhatch was pretty tiring not helped by huge “puddles” and churned up mud where horses had been using the bridleways. It was nice to be out in the proper countryside though after all of the road walking I’d had to cover over the course of the morning.

I took another short 10 minute break at 1:40pm. My feet and knees were beginning to feel the strain and a little break for some food (my trusty Mars bars and ready salted crisps) and some pain killers helped no end.

The clouds had been threatening for some time but as I made my way into Kidmore End the rain started. It wasn’t too hard so I was reluctant to take my pack off to get my coat out, knowing that it’d probably stop shortly after I’d gone to the effort of putting my coat on. The rain only lasted 20 minutes, and it wasn’t exactly heavy, so deciding not to put my coat on was definitely the right thing to do!

I won’t deny it, but 4 miles out from home I was really feeling the day’s walking. The mud hadn’t helped and had begun to do a serious number on my left knee. Not being able to get stable footing for a good few miles meant my knee was getting more and more painful with every step. There was nothing to do though other than suck it up and carry on up through the woods to home, especially with the sun beginning to go down too and the clock counting down far too quickly for my liking.

With a massive final effort I made it home at 3:55pm, not only covering the 22.5 miles in just over 7 hours (taking off the two short breaks), but also getting making it back before Shelli got in from her shift – whoop!

This had been a big ask of myself and I was so pleased to have made it without completely falling apart.

One really big plus point for the day was that I was testing out some new socks to see how my feet did over the course of the day. Okay, that might not have been the best idea known to man as they could have failed miserably and I could have been in agony, like the very early days of my LEJOG walk. That didn’t happen though and other than one blister on the back of my left heel, and a couple of sore spots on the soles of my feet, I didn’t suffer any other blisters at all. And, if you know how my feet normally are then that’s a small miracle as I hadn’t put any plasters or anything on before putting my socks on that morning.

Although a painful day at the end, it was most definitely worth it. The socks worked great and more importantly, I beat my challenge even though it looked as though it might be a bit touch or go as the afternoon went on. Hopefully that mental stubbornness will get us through the Tough Mudder we’ve signed up to next year!

Photos

Route Details

If you’re interested you can download the KML file and/or GPX file of the plotted route. Please be aware though that the route was hand-plotted and so may not be 100% accurate.

Walk Statistics

MilesStart (HH:MM)Finish (HH:MM)Breaks (HH:MM)Walking (HH:MM)Pace (MPH)Steps Taken
22.5708:3015:5500:2007:053.1947,050

Route Map

Elevation Details

Start Elavation (m)End Elavation (m)Max Elevation (m)Min Elevation (m)Total Climb (m)Total Descent (m)Climbs on Route
7817318434397-3031

Climb Details

RatingStart Point (miles)End Point (miles)Length (miles)Start Elevation (m)End Elevation (m)Average Grade
513.1515.212.0634961.9%

More information about climb ratings can be found at Map My Walk.