And I’m not even a walker.
The Prestatyn Walking Festival took place over this weekend just gone, with a total of 40 miles of the Offa’s Dyke path being walked over 2 days. I tagged along at the back on Saturday for the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to Moel Famau stretch.
I must just add, I wasn’t doing this entirely for my own enjoyment (I really don’t have the patience to be a long distance walker), but primarily as a helping hand to the NEWSAR sweep team attending.
NEWSAR (North East Wales Search And Rescue) are my ‘local’ Mountain Rescue Team, and a group I am hoping one day to become a proper member of. For anyone who doesn’t know me personally, I am currently an ‘aspirant’ team member and hoping to be promoted to being a full blown ‘trainee’ in the next couple of months. After that there is a deal of training and a number of assessments I will need to pass before I can [hopefully] join the call-out list and finally consider myself to be a part of a mountain rescue group. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years, but until a few months ago simply not had the chance to – so fingers crossed they don’t kick me out!!
Anyway, Saturday was the first time I’ve done anything with the team in a public setting, and also the first time I’ve been allowed to wear a team badge (sadly I have to give it back for the moment). I know it’s not a big deal, but being given the badge to display did make me feel a tiny bit proud, despite the fact that the jacket it was stitched onto seemed to breathe about as well as a plastic bin liner – I was constantly taking it off and putting it back on again as the sun and wind did some kind of masochistic waltz just to irritate us.
The walk itself was pretty uneventful, but actually very enjoyable – the banter was fantastic and the terrain pretty stunning in places, plus it didn’t actually rain which is always a bonus. Sadly my feet really aren’t used to traversing large distances and I’ve ended up with some rather painful bruised pads and heels – the rest of me, happily, is fine though. I was slightly worried that the colds I’ve had of late may have had an impact on my fitness levels, but honestly, even at the end of the 20miles I still had loads left in the tank, so that’s pleasing. My feet weren’t half grateful not to be going back out again today though!