LDWA – 2021 LDWA 100 (Interview with Tim Ryan)

On the 29 to 31 May 2021, the LDWA’s 100 mile event will be taking place. Unfortunately, national restrictions mean that the Y 100 Sir Fynwy won’t be taking place as hoped, when in more normal times the South Wales group would have welcomed hundreds of walkers. Instead, there is the chance for entrants to walk a 100-mile route of their choice anywhere in the country, so the event has more of a national feel this year. And it’s fine to enter to do a shorter distance, with anyone walking 50 miles in 24 hours qualifying for the 2022 Trans-Pennine 100.

I’m taking part in the 100 and I’ve been compiling some resources relating to that. When the new LDWA web-site is launched, this and lots more other material relating to the event will be copied there. Over the next few weeks, I’m speaking (well, writing) to entrants on the 100 and following their efforts up to, and after, the big day. We’ll be using the text from these interviews and updates on social media and also perhaps in Strider, the LDWA’s rather excellent magazine which is sent to our 10,000 members. Hopefully it’ll help inform, educate and inspire others to take part or become involved with the LDWA in other ways.

For anyone who wants to take part in the event, have a look at the SI Entries page, or further information at the LDWA’s web-site.

This interview is with Tim Ryan, from the Cornwall & Devon group and his proposed route is on Komoot.

Is this your first 100?

No, although I was a late starter (and sometimes a late finisher) to the LDWA Challenges. My first LDWA challenge walk was the wonderful “Six Dales Circuit” organised by Staffordshire Group – which I completed on my 60th birthday. I have since completed 4 100’s – 5 if you count last years “virtual”, which I really enjoyed. The above picture is a “virtual” of me at the “virtual” start – wondering why it was so quiet! In reality of course I completed the event from my home in Mid-Devon.

What route are you planning to take?

I have a few options open, and a lot depends on local restrictions. However most likely I will be walking the “Exe 100” from home, a route which I have put together from bits of local walks, social walks which I managed to squeeze in to lead groups of 6 last year as well as parts of a couple of long-distance paths – The Two Moors Way and Exe Valley Way. Having started to put this together in case I needed a local option should restrictions demand, I began to see that this is not such a bad route, so why not do it anyhow? It is a circular route which includes the upper Exe valley in Mid Devon, visiting Exmoor’s highest point at Dunkery Beacon and the source of both the Exe and the Barle on Exmoor.

Are you following a GPX route, a map, or do you already know your route well?

All of the above. I have put the route together as described and have saved it as a gpx as well as posting it on the Virtual Hundred Komoot site. I am carrying out reccies using a map, on the few bits I don’t know – but will of course take a map on the event. But by and large am familiar with the route. I am in the process of writing a route description should anyone else wish to walk the route.

What training are you undertaking at the moment?

Nothing specific just now. I have been on reasonably high mileage since coming out of quarantine, averaging over 300 miles a month the past 3 months. Originally In December because I was leading social walks every weekend and reccie-ing the rest of the week. Since lockdown I have been taking on the various virtual challenges being put on by LDWA and local groups. Something I am very grateful for.

Do you think this will be easier or harder than the actual 100 that is traditionally held?

Too soon to say. It would be a mistake if I was to think it was going to be easy, they never are. Nor would I want them to be, I guess we do them because they are difficult not because they are easy. Route finding should be easier, but no village halls without a sit down, a warm welcome and excellent food. That is a different challenge.

What food treats are you taking with you?

Jelly babies will be involved. There are also a couple of potential pub stops (if open). Wouldn’t be the first pubs I had visited on Hundreds. I will have some support at “checkpoints” so should be ok for food.

What tactics do you think you’ll use if you feel like giving up on the walk?

Best not to think about it. But at the end of the day – we do this for fun and enjoyment. If that’s not happening anymore, leave it. Come back another day, do not make any injuries worse. I think this is a good opportunity for anyone thinking about a Hundred to give it a go – without the same pressures that walking with many potentially more experienced walkers may bring.

Are there any wildlife that you’re concerned about meeting on the walk? Sheep, cows, snakes, pigs, or anything else?!

No none, well not much. I was leading a Ramblers walk a couple of years back when I was attacked by a cow and knocked down twice. So I am more wary of cattle than I ever used to be. But that’s about all. Not keen on packs of dogs, but you don’t get those so much in this Country.

Do you have any foot care tips?

Good fitting boots and talc. Don’t skimp on the cost of boots any more than you have to. Get what feels most comfortable (if you can afford them).

Will you have anyone cheering you on and giving encouragement during the walk?

Yes I think there may be 2 or 3 of us on the walk (restrictions permitting) and with promise of some support and back-up. As well as witness testimonies!

Would you say you’re looking forward to it?

Yes, definitely.

Do you have a time in mind of how long it’ll take you to finish?

No not really. I have always tried to get back in daylight on day 2, so about 36 hours – but never quite managed it. Its not that big a deal though, just keep going – you have paid for 48 hours after all. Last year of the event was my first over 40 hours for reasons those taking part will fully understand! And those that didn’t will have heard about. I didn’t feel any less satisfied at that achievement than faster years. I would say the Hadrian’s Hundred was an excellent route and as usual with these events very well organised.

Do you have any advice for others, one top tip about long distance walking?

For the Hundred it is “don’t think about it as a hundred miles” – but a dozen or so medium length walks from one food stop to the next. 100 miles is just too daunting a prospect – until you’ve finished!

What would you say to anyone thinking about entering the 100, or thinking about doing a 50 mile challenge event, who might be a bit nervous?

Do it, but have as your primary objective to enjoy it. It’s 2 days of your holiday so have a great time, and good luck.