Ste Lingard likes walking, history and promoting good mental health. He has set a goal of walking 1,000 miles during 2017. here is his latest update.
It is time for September’s walking update; for a dozen reasons (some good, some not) I didn’t do those for July and August, so I will throw them in whilst I am at it. Call it an omnibus.
I walked on 28 of the 31 days in July, covering just over 70 miles – almost 14 under par for the month (good in golf, but not so here) and my lowest monthly total of the year to date.
There were no set-piece challenges, but I did enjoy some very time outside, such as spending the best part of a week volunteering as a marshal at The Open at Royal Birkdale, a spot of windswept flaneuring in Whitehaven and a vigorous exploration of the many fine beer gardens in Abingdon.
The highlight was a lap of the Newton-le-Willows Heritage Trail one sunny Sunday, with a convivial and informative group: thanks especially to the members of the Newton and Earlestown Community Group for their support and good company.
In August I walked on 26 of the 31 days, managing 69 and-a-bit miles – 15 under par, and setting a new personal worst for the year. It wasn’t all bad, though, as some of it was on the island of Menorca, where I found that walking and public access routes are taken seriously.
The Camí de Cavalls is a remarkable 116-mile trail forming a circuit of the island. It was created to connect the many coastal watchtowers and fortifications, so that artillery and troops could be moved quickly to points of danger – ‘Cavalls’ is Catalan for ‘horses’, and two steps removed from ‘cavalry’.
There is no consensus as to how old it is, but it could go back as far as the 14th Century. It provides some very pleasing views of some of the island’s least accessible spots and is well worth exploring. It is maintained in good condition and is very clearly marked, with regular and easily identifiable signage. I hope to return to see more of it in future.
I walked on just 23 of the 30 days in September, covering almost 69 miles (pure coincidence), and setting yet another personal worst for the year (not a coincidence). Much of it was routine, such as walking to and from events for work, or squeezed in when away gigging.
I would like to say there were some highlights, but I would be exaggerating; maybe the mile round trip to find a pizza place still open after the gig in Northwich – that felt special at the time.
It may appear if this campaign to walk 1,000 miles in the year is slowing rather, in the manner of an oil tanker turning the engine off when still a fair poke from port. It is certainly true that as the demands of work and music have increased the opportunities to get out have been fewer.
Given the effort involved in preparing for and completing ‘Beating the Bounds 2017’ in May, I already have a lot of miles in the bank – I passed the 800-mile mark in late September, so am still about 65 miles over par; and one year ago today I set off on the ‘Walk the Walk 950’ jaunt, involving 300 miles in 12 days, so in the last twelve months I have covered something over 1,100 miles. I will hit the 1,000 in 2017 mark soon enough.
I am currently working on the plan for ‘Beating the Bounds 2018’ and expect to have some very positive news about it in the next couple of weeks.
Billinge Loop Walk
On Sunday 15th October I will be doing an 11-mile walk with some friends, taking in parts of Garswood, Billinge Hill, Carr Mill Dam and Sankey Valley Park. Anyone who fancies it is very welcome to join us.
We will be meeting on the car park behind The Ship pub at Blackbrook (next to the Sankey Valley Visitor Centre – WA11 0AB) at 10, to start walking at 10.15. There is a car park.
We will head out past Stanley Bank Farm, skirt Garswood and climb Billinge Hill from the North, through Billinge Plantation, taking in a short section of the St. Helens ‘Beating the Bounds’ route. After enjoying the views w will descend to the South West, work around to the village to cross Birchley Road onto Lime Vale Road, then to The Masons Arms in Chadwick Green for a pint. Once refreshed, we will head to Carr Mill Dam through the Goyt and return to our Blackbrook starting point via Sankey Valley Park, having a look at Stanley Bank Mill on the way.
You can find a route map below, and we will have printed copies with us on the day.
The route involves hard and soft paths, and some short lengths of road. Some sections are likely to be a but muddy. There is a total ascent of 255 yards (233 metres). It should take a little over four hours, including the stop at The Masons. Though all are welcome, the route isn’t suitable for pushchairs or younger children.
Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/151384805466710/
Main photo – On the Newton-Le-Willows Heritage Trail