I only got to day 3. The trip was cancelled at 2pm on day 3 in Builth Wells, about 65 miles in.
I'll start with the sob story, then share some highlights and finally show you some pictures.
I'm a little bummed I didn't complete the goal. In short I underestimated the difficulty of the landscape and the hours needed each day to walk the required mileage.
Duncan and I covered 65 miles (40% of the country) in the two and a half days of walking. Originally I assumed we could walked the 23-25 miles a day in 7 hours, leaving enough time to rest and recoup. However I never factored in how mountainous Wales is. It's all hills! Also, I didn't consider how much slower we would be walking with 11-12kg on our backs, and how much quicker this would fatigue us. On the second day walking through the Breacons I got sunstroke and later that night I was awoken with a splitting headache and then proceeded to projectile vomit alongside my sleeping bag - nice. The third day I was recovering from this, I was dehydrated and my feet were in agony (Blisters. Big blisters). At 2pm on Wednesday the 15th April, I ended the trip. I just couldn't possibly face or bare any more miles. Wales had succeeded in breaking me.
The 65 miles we did was definitely the hardest 3 days of my life. From the middle of day one, I was relying on motivation to push through the pain and 12 hour days. If you donated to Centre Point on my behalf and aren't happy with my incompletion I will happily cover your donation and give you your money back. Drop me a message.
On the brightside of the trip. Between long stints of agony, there were glimmers of sheer beauty. The Welsh countryside is unbelievable. Miles and miles of rolling hills, amazing rivers and sheep. It was lambing season so there were tons of little lambs galloping around their fields, which picked our spirits up. The two nights we slept wild were clear, so we fell asleep under the stars (a little cold). The Welsh people have to be the most accomadating, friendly and happy people I've ever met. Big thanks to all the people that helped us along our journey. Thanks to Duncan for walking with me, and picking my spirits up when I needed it. We had some good laughs, mostly at the pain.
My friend Tessa once told me walking long distances was really hard. I did not believe her. Now I do. Only wussies run.
Key learnings -
- Correct training is important - although I trained I didn't train in hilly areas and I didn't train with a weighted backpack. I deteriorated quicker than I hoped.
- Music - I was careful with my phone battery. I could have brought a spare this would have allowed me to listen to music to keep my spirits higher, allowing me to push for longer.
- Why - You need a powerful why. I had a good why, however after 3 days of constant pain and grinding I was miserable and this allowed me to break. For such a savage task you need to either love pain, have an incredible reason to do it that resonates so deeply with you or you need to have marine like will power.
- Pack lighter - if I ever do or try anything like this again I will be ruthless in my packing aiming to carry no more than 5kgs.
- Welsh people don't hate the English - I had always grown up thinking that Welsch people somehow resented the English. From my first hand experience I don't see how this is possible. They showed me more respect than any other country I've ever been too (even my own).
So there you have it. My humbling experience. My naivety failed to allow me to see the size of the task. But as my Dad told me "nothing ventured, nothing gained". Thanks to Centre Point for working with me, although I didn't complete the task hopefully I still did you proud, and raised some vital money and awareness for your great cause.
To your success,
P.S. Thanks to all who donated. Your money will be put to good use, helping young people who need a chance in life.
P.P.S. You may wonder if I will attempt it again. My answer to you "No fucking way". I joke. My ego won't let me not attempt it again. Next time I will remove the things that hindered me i.e. heavy back pack, certain routes and swap sleeping wild with hotels. "I'll try anything once, unless I fail. Then I'll try it twice".
P.P.P.S. Here are some pictures from the trip:
Reading the map outside Pontypridd.
Amazing view to wake up to after the first cold night under the stars.
In the Breacon Beacons. Behind me is Fan Y Byg (lol).
Duncan always looking emasculate. About to start the descent out of the Breacons.
This is what a broken man looks like.
Bivvy bagging post projectile vomiting.
Builth Wells Bridge. This is were the trip ended. What a view.