This is the story of my completing the LDWA 100, something which I didn’t actually always think I’d be able to do. Unlike the previous training walks, I’m going to tell this story in a different way, which is just my feelings about each section of the walk. I usually take hundreds of photos during walks, but when walking 100 miles there are different priorities. My friend Nathan also walked with me for the first 60 miles, but these are my experiences rather than his. These posts are more introspective than usual and there will be an index to these ten ‘stories’ on this page.
This 31 to 40 mile section was all on the Wherryman’s Way, taking us from just past Berney Arms, onto the Reedham ferry and then into the town of Loddon.
I can’t recall what I said to the sheep that upset them……
We were pleased that the river bank was cut back and easy to walk on, this was a real problem for us last year on the first occasion that we walked along Wherryman’s Way. It was also positive to see a new stretch of the long distance trail had been opened up at Reedham, meaning that there’s no requirement to walk alongside a busy road down into Reedham ferry.
Back to my thoughts during this stretch though. The section to Berney Arms had dragged a little bit, but this meant that the walk into Reedham was slightly shorter than I had anticipated given I’d gotten muddled up about distances. Reedham was always a bit of a high point, as it meant we got to go on Reedham Ferry (the only way to continue on the long distance path) and also got to enjoy a little BBQ kindly laid on by Liam.
With this entire walk, we had split it into two distinct chunks, the first stretch which was 60 miles from Lowestoft to Norwich, and then the second stretch which was 40 miles from Norwich towards Aylsham. I had the treat of a one hour sleep between these two stretches to look forwards to, which was hardly ideal, but was still something of a treat to think about. This meant that reaching 40 miles was effectively two thirds of the way through the first day’s walking (we had decided we’d call the first 60 miles as day one, and the second 40 miles as day two), and that was a useful mini target. For anyone thinking of walking this distance, it’s essential to have these mini targets and to chalk them up as small victories.
A mistake we’d made was not putting more food into our bags for the stretch into Reedham. Having support cars meant that we didn’t have to carry 48 hours worth of food, but I felt that I only needed a chicken bake and a Scotch egg for that section, and ultimately I felt I could have done with more. I’d say looking back now though that I was pleased with how much water I was drinking, and I ensured I always had enough throughout the walk. I was always hydrated and this is another key element of making the walk achievable, which is drinking water even when the body might not think that it needs it. For that matter, it’s important also to eat enough, to deal with the calorie burn and to keep the body sustained.
We timed the Reedham ferry perfectly (although it’s hard to time it badly, the longest wait possible is probably about four minutes) and Liam had set up the BBQ in the car park opposite. This provided us with our first proper sit down and Richard had kindly ensured that he had brought some garden chairs for us to sit on, indeed, some of his best quality ones. I’m not sure that we were hugely hungry, but the sausages, burgers and chicken were all very welcome and I had one of my slightly decadent peppermint teas.
We were met by Chelle (who is a proper 100 walker, there’s little that she doesn’t know about long distance walking) and Paul (another experienced 100 walker) who walked with us into Loddon. That marked the 40 mile stage, which meant it was time for the ten-mile checking of feet and reapplication of Sudocrem. I had feared that I might have had a blister forming, but that was just in my imagination, and I was starting to get confident that my footcare strategy was working. This is something I really haven’t given enough thought about before, often not being fully prepared, and it’s absolutely essential to get this right for something like the 100.
I was quite hopeful at this stage, as we had been refreshed by the BBQ and Richard had kindly bought half of the Co-op to ensure that we had enough food and drink for the night-time sections. All we had to do was to get to 50 miles, and then walk the final stretch into Norwich. For the first time I started to worry though about the night-time section, this wasn’t something we’d done much of and there were some navigationally challenging moments ahead.
I’d say that I left the 40 mile mark confident, but slightly nervous of how the next 20 miles would unfold.