LDWA 100 – Caroline Tennant (the Story of the 100)

I’m really pleased to have been receiving so many stories of how LDWA members took part in the 100 mile walk last weekend, and I’m still very impressed at the bravery shown by so many entrants!

Below is the adventure that Caroline Tennant got herself into and I think that terminology is appropriate, as I often wonder how people get themselves into these situations. In my case it seemed a good idea in the pub last year, but as Caroline mentions, I think many entrants did take to moments of introspection during the walk to discover why they were taking part. My initial plan was just to walk as far as I can, as Caroline aims to do in future walks, and reaching 60 miles is still a huge achievement. And I really like how members from East Lancs LDWA group came together to walk the 100, our wonderful LDWA community in action   🙂

This is Caroline’s story (I like #sausagerollgate, I’ve had overstocking incidents too…..).


 

Well, what happened was…my feet got me at 59 miles. All the planning in the world and it was my feet that defeated me. No blisters or injuries that I could do anything about, just plain old pain. I thought I would be gutted not to finish and at the time I really wasn’t. I was more than happy (putting aside the foot pain, swollen knees, aching, minor chaffing and general tiredness) I had walked further than I had ever walked before and qualified for 2022.

As the pain eased, I got a little introspective and pondered whether 100s are even for me…could I have gone further? Could I have walked through the pain? Then I looked at my blotchy feet, in sandals because I can’t get my feet in shoes, and realise it was the right decision. It’s annoying, yes, but I am safe and have done no permanent damage. I will take great pleasure in entering future 50s, which I love doing and yes, I will have a bash at another 100, but aiming to walk further than I have and seeing how I get on rather than aiming straight at the 100. It will be far easier on a ‘real’ 100. Having the checkpoints, support and company will remove a huge chunk of the preparations, lists and charts involved in a virtual event. Whilst I loved doing all of that (possibly more than the event itself!) concentrating on the walking will be a bonus.

As for the walk itself, the first 56 miles were brilliant and I loved every minute, until the cobbles on the renamed ‘Rocky Road’ got me…

The 8 of us East Lancs members met up for a 07.30 start from Pauline’s in Standish. Chomping at the bit, we set off at 07.22, all hoping to complete our first 100. Up the canal to Chorley, via Yarrow Valley (bacon butties!) and Astley Park, where I ended up in the stocks. Back to the canal and River Darwen to Cherry tree where we met the lovely Jane, who accompanied us through the night to Horden Stoops. Through Hoghton to the main evening meal stop, 19.30 and 32.4 miles in, at my house.

Mr Tennant did a marvellous job feeding and watering us in the back garden. Pasta and brews all round. Nearly all round, he forgot about my brew! Anyhow, refuelled, repacked, bottles topped up, homemade Lancashire parkin in hand, we set off leaving a chaos of washing up and dirty socks behind us. And sausage rolls. When I had asked for some sausage rolls, I had not specified they were only for me. 28 were purchased. There are still a load in the freezer.

Cuerden Park saw us cheered on by Karen & Ian Wardle from West Lancs. Proper dark was upon us by the first break at Withnell. We were in near silence as the seating was by houses. Disappointed by the lack of village stocks here, but they were off being repainted. Across to Tockholes to use the benches and toilets for another break before the main climbs of our 100.

 

A pitstop for pictures by the East Lancs PNFS sponsored sign and then a boggy ascent of Great Hill. Down to Horden Stoops at 04.00 and 49.7 miles in. Jane left us here for home. Walking with someone fresher than the rest of us, I think, was a huge help, especially with it being overnight. Many thanks to Jane for the good company and the orange loaf.

Then began my downfall on ‘Rocky Road’ with its evil cobbles. Issues were made worse as my water spout decided it was going to leak, wherever I positioned it. So, either a wet tshirt, or wet trousers, as it slowly dripped on me. Normally no big deal, but hugely frustrating when you have miles to go. Also, when we reached Pike Cottage, it being not even 5am, it was closed, so we could not consume pies. Pies are necessary for all significant walks. I should have planned them in earlier, not into the second day. We ascended Winter Hill with the sunrise and I began to slow on the descent, but made it to Hilary’s house for the breakfast stop. At 08.00 and 59 miles in, Nick and myself decided to call it a day, tired but happy.

Pauline, Suzanne & Paul opted to not snooze and so set off once reorganised and full of lovely breakfast, sausage butties in hand. Dave, Alma and Hilary setting off slightly later, after a brief rest. Huge thanks to Hilary’s son, Craig, for feeding and cleaning up after us and Mr Scott for the good cheer, despite recovering from knee surgery, and not calling us crazy to our faces.

Off into the beautiful, and unfortunately, scorching day for the remaining 6. Back to Pike Cottage for refreshments, Rivington and then White Coppice. At 14.30 and 71 miles the heat took its toll and Hilary, Dave & Alma decided to stop having also walked further than they ever had before.

Pauline, Suzanne and Paul altered the planned route. Partly on purpose, partly tired accident. They missed White Coppice, but returned to the canal where they, eventually, found themselves at Frederick’s for very well deserved ice cream. The second evening meal stop at Pauline’s saw Suzanne retire at 81 miles. Pauline and Paul battled on, taking local circuits, steadily clocking up the miles. Determination saw them through as the miles slowly increased and finally reached 100. They did our group proud and we are all over the moon for them both!

Between the 8 of us, we clocked in 612 miles. I don’t know if this would have been the case had we walked individually. I, for one, think having the group and the support that bought, was a huge factor. From encouragement and distraction on the event itself, to having people to bounce ideas off in the run up to it, I couldn’t have done it alone. And now after 5 months planning, what do I do with myself now? Thank you to Suzanne Corlett, Nick Halford, Paul Kielty, Pauline Melia, Hilary Scott and Dave & Alma Walsh, for putting up with my over organising and sharing this adventure…When do entries open for the TP100?!

Well done to all those that took part, supported, organised and made the event possible and the wonderful thing that the 100 is. See you all next year where we will all either be walking or back helping out at the East Lancs breakfast stop.