For 8 weeks I have been wearing a pedometer clipped to my belt and have been in a “Step Challenge” with 2 work colleagues. After our first 6-week mini competition I only finished 2nd. Despite racking up 44,000 steps in one day during a mammoth 20-odd mile bimble around Exmoor, there are many days when I only just meet our 10,000 daily target and I know I need to make more of an effort to be more active. I go to the gym nearly every day but the scenery is rubbish and I must try harder to get out and about to rack up some steps. I’m NOT finishing second again!
So after lunch on Sunday I dashed off to Loggerheads Country Park for a quick tramp around the Clywdians. The Loggerheads carpark was full, on this sunny Sunday, but there were spaces a few miles up the road and – with the carpark barrier broken –
I didn’t have to pay. (I do feel a slight pang of guilt at this, but I’ll get over it).
After a chat with two beautiful Cocker Spaniels who were so excited at the prospect of going for a walk (and I bet they go out every day and get just as excited every time) I headed off uphill.
I hadn’t intended to go up to the Jubilee Tower but, now I was here, it seemed the obvious place to go and I followed a couple of groups with dogs and babies – a typical clientele for this popular weekend destination.
Despite – or maybe BECAUSE of – pounding out the miles on the treadmill, my calf muscles were feeling very tight and were still achy the following day.
I caught sight of the Jubilee Tower off in the distance to the right but then came across a sign advising that the Blue Route was slightly longer but much more pleasant. It didn’t actually say where it went but I wasn’t that bothered where I ended up so I took that path. The sign was correct. I now had the path to myself, rather than being amongst the crowds of the Moel Famau main drag motorway, and the gradient was more gentle. The last few metres of ascent were quite steep and on badly eroded land but the walk in had felt like a walk with a hill rather than a hill with a walk.
As usual, there were crowds at the Jubilee Tower. Most people were in jeans and trainers and other “normal” clothes but there were a few overdressed “hikers” like myself. The wind was quite fierce at the top, so I put my hood up whilst matching the distant points of interest against the toposcopes. I get so used to not being able to see more than 5 metres from the top of a Welsh hill that I was quite surprised that I could actually see Snowdon (I think).
The walk was my first opportunity to try out my new Karrimor boots which I bought from TK Maxx a few weeks ago. Available in half sizes – which makes a huge difference when I’m choosing footwear – they felt comfy in the shop and still felt good at the end of the walk. I thought they may be too hot but, on a sunny and windy Autumn day, they were fine. They didn’t get wet, though, so I shall wait to see how waterproof they are and how quickly they dry out.When I’m out on my walks, I always enjoy watching sheep being herded. There’s a real skill to it and I love watching the dogs working at the job they do so well. Unfortunately, on this walk I witnessed the most hapless, witless demonstration of herding I have ever seen. Five people, one of whom was driving a (Toyota?) pick-up, and one Border Collie who was just being left to try and undo the bedlam being caused by the humans. The pick-up driver seemed to think that if he/she kept beeping the horn then the sheep would understand that they were meant to go through the gate at the bottom of the field. The other four humans seemed to be employed to run after rogue sheep. The Border Collie was trying his best, but his natural herding instinct just wasn’t strong enough in the midst of this comedy shepherding routine. I felt embarrassed for the dog!
Arriving back at the carpark just before 5pm there were very few cars still there and the tea-van was closed. I drank my flask of coffee before the short drive home.
Total distance: about 10km. Daily step count: 18,267 – not a bad total for a quick dash to the hills.