This time next week I’ll, hopefully, be closing in on the finishing line of my Yorkshire 6 Peaks Challenge – a mad charity walk on behalf of the British Heart Foundation
So last year, in May, I did a walking challenge with my kids – it was ‘Walk a Day in May… with the kids. This year it’s a slightly easier challenge, I’ve just got to walk a marathon with the kids instead – just over 26 miles. Well, when I say it’s easier I’ve still got the extra challenge of only been home Friday to Sunday, so it’s really going to be a weekend challenge.
Hopefully some of you will join me in this?
Entirely unexpectedly day 3 of 4, turned into day 3 of 3 and a nice cheeky little 15/16 miler turned into a marathon-esque 26 miles of hell and a kip in the car at the end of it, not another night out in the wilds.
I’d love to say that first night was uneventful. It wasn’t…. something happened, something that’s scarred me since and may do for the rest of my life. And ‘no’, I didn’t get a midnight visit from an amorous Mr Harris!
It’s been a funny old year. Lots of change. Lots of challenge.
I’ve started a blog. Not many people read it, but ‘hey!’, that’s ok.
I’ve lost a job and found a job.
I’ve moved to another city to live a surreal ‘other’ life for part of the week.
I’ve made a tonne of new friends, in my new job, in my consultancy work and through Freshwalks.com.
I walked a ‘Mile A Day in May’ with my awesome kids.
I’ve spent a lot of time on my own. A lot of time thinking. Being on your own for part of the week does that. And so does walking. Even if you’re walking with someone else, you spend a lot of time in your own head.
I’ve had some upward battles, physically on walks and mentally too. I’ve won the former (most of the time) and am winning the latter (most of the time!).
I’ve got friends facing similar challenges and hope they can pull through too.
I’ve fought grief – overpowering, suffocating grief and watched my family battle it too. I think we’re finally getting to the other side of it. I hope so.
I’ve found the discipline to shoe-horn more balance into my life and I’m feeling better, more energised as a result.
I’ve camped under the stars, walked (well tried to) in storm after storm, climbed the UK’s biggest mountain in white-out conditions, feeling like you are the only person on the planet. I’ve swam in a mountain lake, watched a herd of deer in one of the most remote parts of the UK, seen some magical WILFs and waged war against evil midge-mother-f*ckers!
… And I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants – big rocky, snowy, pointy giants – in sun, in rain, in wind, and in snow. And it’s let me see further, uncover truth and find possibility.
Wishing you all an Awesome Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I’ll see you all on the other side, for more of the same, in 2017.
The Walking Dad. December 2016.
So when, as a reasonable and conscientious parent, I got wind of Pokemon Go it was on the back of one of the usual sensationalised stories from the middle-class media that I sometimes end up reading and listening to. ‘No chance, my lads are getting that game’, I said to myself.
Thankfully I changed my mind and opened myself to a whole lot more engagement and time spent with my two boys.
Scottish mountains are big, really fucking BIG. Scottish midges are small, really fucking SMALL. And after my first day of climbing the former and dodging the later, I’m not sure which has been the most challenging.
The long Easter Weekend saw me take my boys, Chris and Alex, up to Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales. It was our first ever visit together, although I’d been there just the month before on a bit of a recce with Andy K.
An interview with Jack Strange by The Walking Dad
WD: Jack, you’re famous for being an author, but not many people know you’re very keen on walking.
Just a few days now before I head off up to Scotland and the start of my National 3 Peaks (N3P) walking challenge.
As some of you know, I’ve done the N3P Challenge before and just about survived, minus a never to be regained part of my sanity and thankfully some regained toe-nails (albeit toe-nails that a witch would be proud of). But I did get the T-Shirt…
There will be a few blogs, no doubt, to follow as our adventures progress. Accompanying me on the trip will be:
Tony ‘The Machine’ Harris: Tasked with getting us around the three hills alive. He’s done the N3P Challenge a few times now, including one time just a fortnight ago (nutter!)
Simon Christopherson: Another ex-colleague who I’ve done the Yorkshire 3 Peaks with a few times and tasked with some of the driving. N3P Virgin!
Adam Thwaites: Simon’s pal and again someone I’ve done the Yorkshire 3 Peaks with before. N3P Virgin.
Matt Lad!: The One and Only. Legend! He’s done the Yorky 3 Peaks three times now, but is a N3P Virgin.
Adam’s Car: Some big corporate Merc. Hopefully the size of a small warehouse.
The Weather: Without getting too technical the forecast is… TOTAL DOGSH!T
I hope I’m ready I’ve done some big 15-20m walks over the last month or so, plus the Yorkshire 3 Peaks a fortnight ago… and a tonne of gym work.
So I’m fitter than four years ago, but still four years older – and now closer to the BIG ‘FiveO..MG!’
I’ve got much better (and lighter) kit and will remember, definitely remember, to EAT and DRINK loads. I’ve started to ‘carb up’ this week and am drinking like a fish – water that is (for once). No caffeine or alcohol this week – despite the England Football Team’s attempt to send me spiraling into the nearest bottle!
Fri 11am: Leave home for Adam’s.
Fri Noon: Leave Adam’s (with Adam, Sie and Matt)
Fri 1-2pm: Pick up Tony
Fri 7pm: Stop in Glencoe for some scran and watch Wales get battered by the Belgians.
Fri 10-11pm: Ben Nevis Hostel for a teeny-weeny bit of shut-eye.
Sat 3am: Up and at him… Ben Nevis that is. The Mountain Trail. In the Dark!
Sat 9am: Travel to The Lakes
Sat 1pm: Up and down Scafell Pike. From Wastwater.
Sat 5pm: Travel to Snowdonia
Sat 10pm: 5 hours to get up and down Snowdon. The Miner’s Track. In the Dark – F*ck!!!
Sun 3am: Hopefully back at the car. In one piece!
Wish Me Luck. And watch this space.