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Jay Walking

Lejog: Doing the walk

There are many different approaches to doing the walk, mainly in the approach to sleeping and eating. Some people like Mark Moxon, spend every night in bed and breakfasts, though to be fair to him, he only does this once his tent breaks and he suffers major foot pain. While at the other extreme Wildwalkinguk wild camps every night without exception. Most people seem to camp, and maybe take a few days here or there in hostels or bed and breakfast when the mood takes them.

I will be following the later approach, ideally mostly wild camping, though I have completely failed to do any sort of wild camping in my preparation for this trip. I'm a little nervous of doing it but I am sure I will get use to it. Otherwise I will use campsites where needed or bed and breakfasts where I feel the need or there is a good reason to. Wild camping seems the best overall option as you are not tied down to specific spots and do not need to book anywhere. The downside is that you need to be able to find somewhere that you can camp.

Using bed and breakfasts the whole way is a luxury way of walking and is probably great if you can afford it and have a good amount of time to do the walk. My main problem with this approach is that I am a legendary miser and have already coerced myself into buying lots of new kit. Even if you manage to get a bed and breakfast for £40 a night over 10 weeks that adds up to a whooping £2800 and you still you need to buy food and drink on top of that. You can kit yourself out with a great tent, a light sleeping bag and backpack for a that much and still have a substantial amount of change left over. It does enable you to travel very light, you don't have to carry much if you are walking like this, but you have all the problems of booking accommodation and making sure you can get to it, so it limits you in many ways.

I am sure there will be days where a bed and a hot shower (or even better a bath) are too much to resist but we shall see. My approach to food is too cook as much as I can, and take in plenty of fruit and nuts as snacks, while eating out where convenient. I'm pretty sure that if I eat a lot in pubs my diet will become a bit of a festival of fried food, which I'd rather avoid.

The other thing that seems to feature on a lot of peoples walks is drinking, some walkers keep a daily and cumulative tally of the amount that they drink and others set themselves a target for how much they want to drink. For example bucolicaholic sets himself the challenge of drinking 288 pints the volume of a standard barrel. All good fun, it's a holiday, unfortunately I am not that good at drinking and a couple of pints in the afternoon would probably do me no good (or I'd keep drinking). I'll be drinking as I go but not be setting myself any target or expecting to drink everyday, though we shall see how this pans out. A friend has given my a hip flash to take with me, and I feel duty bound to bring it along with me, even though it is empty.

My other worry is fitness, currently I can walk around 24km/15miles a day, though I'm not sure if I can do this for days on end, having only managed to do 2 days back to back. I also have been having foot trouble over the last year or so, including Morton's neuroma,which seems to have cleared up but now I seem to be suffering from Plantar fasciitis. The latter could quickly put an end to my walk so with this in mind my aim is to only walk about 16 km (10 miles) for the first 3 or 4 days. Hopefully my foot will be fine and once I am use to it, I can gradually increase the mileage (or kilometre-age), taking plenty of breaks and not trying to set any records. I need to build up the strength in my body and make sure my feet stay healthy. Walking at the weekends has been fine but it often means that I am rushed to complete things, starting later in the day due to getting to the walk means less hours to do the actual walk. Once I have set off from Lands End, I will have no transport to think about and will have maybe 12 - 14 hours to walk, allowing plenty of time to do 24km and gradually build up to doing more (or so I hope). On previous trips to places like Nepal, I was quite amazed at how quickly my body got used to carrying a heavy pack and doing long days. I was younger and fitter then but I am hoping for the same during this walk, hopefully building up to around a steady 32km or 20 miles per day.