Blogmas 6: Walking 30 MILES

06 December 2015

Hello!

I don't think I've ever told you all this story, but back in November 2014, my friend Nicola and I set off on a journey that lasted for 14(ish) hours, on a 30 mile walk from Falkirk to Edinburgh.  But why?

The Land & Sea Foundation is associated with the Land & Sea Fish & Chip Shop in Polmont, Falkirk. Every year, the staff nominate who they would like the 'charity of the year' to be and then raise money throughout the year for that charity.

In 2014, this charity was Yorkhill Children's hospital, a charity close to the heart of Nicola.
(This year, it is local charity 'Braveheart' who aim to help adults to become more active, particularly those over the age of 55 who have/may develop a heart problem or disease. click here to check them out, they're small but a great cause.)

Anyway, Nicola came up with the idea of a 30 mile walk, from Falkirk High train station, to Edinburgh (Unsure where about!) and I was like "yeah, that's a great idea!" so I signed up. One one other person, Lewis, agreed. So the 3 of us had a couple of months to get ourselves prepared for this trek!


 

We were so optimistic at the start of this walk!

Nicola and I started going on small walk, growing slightly larger each time but nothing quite to the same degree as this. Lewis didn't do anything to prepare. He called himself 'Anakin Sky Walker' because he said he would beast it without training. To be fair, Nicola and I's attempts at training weren't much better but it was the thought that counted!

The big day finally arrived!

At just before 9am on 22 November 2014, we set off.  There was no sign of Lewis, and he wasn't answering his phone. I dubbed him 'Anakin No-Walker' and kept going.

We kept ourselves busy until our first stopping point by chatting away about work and how exciting this whole thing was going to be. We also tried to think about way that we'd be able to rub it in everyone's faces when we'd finally completed this.

"Oh, sorry, what was that? We'd never manage to walk 30 miles?  BOOM."

And all that.

It seemed like no time at all until we reached Linlithgow at 1.30pm for Lunch.

 

 


We stayed here for around an hour, singing songs, wandering around the area what we'd settled into and chattering on and on.

It was fun.

Then we set off again. Not too long afterwards, we had to stop because Nicola's leg was starting to play up. So we sat down for a bit to give her a rest.

The sun was starting to set.


How long our shadows were getting

She plucked up the energy and so we decided to continue. We were halfway there, now!

Our parents kept phoning, texting and commenting on Facebook asking about where we were, and how we were getting on. My mum started asking if we could just turn back and walk to Falkirk High station because that would still be 30 miles.

We didn't want to. We couldn't do this. We were more determined than ever to see this through.

So we soldiered on. Singing 'Livin' on a prayer' by Bon Jovi, 'Reach' by Steps, "Faith of the Heart" by Rod Stewart and screeching 'I CAN DO ZAT' (you know, like Chekov in Star Trek) at the top of our lungs.


Excuse the cracked screen of my old phone.

It got dark.

We were alone, and it was quiet. We only had ourselves, our supplies and our phones.
Funnily enough, we'd both forgotten our torches (because we're idiots. I now take one everywhere with me).

I think Nicola had lost a pair of her gloves on this walk? I know for sure I lost my inhaler (but it's okay, because I didn't really need it anyway, I'm still not totally convinced I have asthma, I just struggle walking uphill and exercising but I'm fine otherwise!  Hahaha...)

We had to stop numerous times because Nicola's legs were just getting worse and worse. We eventually pushed ourselves to get to Ratho, our (supposed to be) second stop.

 

 

Nicola had to call her dad because her pain was getting so bad.

We were both starting to feel really awful about the whole thing. How could we have been so optimistic at the start of the journey but now be sitting in the dark, with nobody around us, feeling like we were never going to make it.

We had to have been sitting for about half an hour. I was trying to encourage her to pluck up as much strength as she could summon so we could complete the journey (which I now understand to be one of the absolute worst things I could have done, knowing now that me being able bodied does not mean that everyone has the same physical strength to just keep going as I do.)

Luckily, Nicola was also feeling determined. We had to complete the walk. We couldn't let our sponsors down, we couldn't give our colleagues the satisfaction of telling us "I told you so!", we couldn't get the charity down and most of all we couldn't let ourselves down.

We were sure that if we didn't complete this walk, we wouldn't be able to live with ourselves.

So, we kept going. Our walking pace was a lot slower than how we started, and we did take a lot more stops for Nicola. She told me whenever she needed to stop, but she also told me whenever she was in a swing of things. She told me her pain was subsiding a little, which helped so much.

Then we got to one of the best sites.

 


okay, this is extremely blurry, but that is Edinburgh Airport!

This was the only site that mattered to us. THIS meant that we we were getting closer to the city, and that's the only motivation we needed at this point.

Throughout this journey, we were using mile stones to document where we were, because we had to try and preserve as much phone battery as we could. (This was before I needed to invest in a portable charger. My Acer was pretty good with its battery life after I got it sorted, my iPhone is not very good with battery life.)


At this moment, our motivation level was high. The adrenaline was pumping. We were actually going to manage this.

We got to our second aqueduct.

We'd walked over a motorway, and we were with civilisation again.  We'd started to walk past a business park. We'd officially entered into Edinburgh! We'd made it!

The mile stones were all into single digits. Now we just had to find our stopping point, which I left up to Nicola. She was the organiser and she was the one with the map.




The area we had started to walk through seemed to be near a housing estate.  The path had been lit up with small red and white lights (which we had dubbed our 'red carpet' after our ordeal.)

We also walked past a tree which seemed to have a set of keys in it? I have no idea why. It seemed a bit too random to not have a reason for being there. I did, however, find it very funny.

Not long after this, Nicola told me that that was us. We had made it. We were officially in Edinburgh, we'd walked the 30 miles.




All of our hard work paid off, at midnight we had reached our destination and we made over £200 in sponsor money. (THANK YOU ALL FOR SPONSORING US!)

I can honestly say that I don't think I'll ever make this journey again. If I ever do, I will make sure to do the correct training for it!

Weirdly, I didn't feel much fall out from it. My legs were fine the next day, my muscles didn't ache either. These days all it takes is too much course work to feel completely run down, so maybe it's good that we did this when we did.

I asked Nicola how she felt as well, and she also said that she was feeling fine, with only a minor pain in her legs but nothing immobilising.

Perhaps it was the number of rests we took, the baths we both had when we got to our homes, or the McDonald's her mum and dad treated us to as a 'congratulations' when they picked us up in Edinburgh that had this effect.  Either way, we had done it, and that was all that mattered.

I got Anakin No-Walker as my secret Santa that year, so I bought him an Anakin Sky Walker toy and put masking tape over the 'Sky' on the box, hehehe!

Thanks for reading this! I'm sorry it's taken over a year to actually post! I really hope you've enjoyed it, and feel inspired to know that you can achieve anything with the right amount of determination.

Until next time, be excellent to each other


_______

Remember, I have a giveaway running until 15 December.
Here's the link to the post if you are interested >> ( here ) <<
Two prizes up for grabs; from Lush, Metal Panda and Bomb Cosmetics.