18 November 2007


Another year, another British Heart Foundation High Peak Trail Winter Challenge Walk completed! The only difference this year was the weather - horrible just about covers it!

The weather forecast had changed so much over the past few days that I’d given up worrying about it, I was doing the walk regardless of the conditions so why dwell on it. When the rain started to beat against the bedroom window so hard that it woke me up at 3:00AM this morning I did wonder at my sanity though.

By the time I was ready to leave the house, at 7:15AM, the rain had eased to a steady downpour. Once all my waterproof clothing, boots and food were loaded into the car I set off for Cromford, the start of the walk. By 8:15AM I had met up with Paul, who was doing the walk with me, I was dressed up like I was going on a walk to the North Pole, I had signed in with the BHF organises and was I ready for the off.

For the past two years Paul and I have posed for photos at the start line, this year the rain was coming down too heavily for me to risk getting the camera out so off we set. The first two check points were reached in exactly the same times as last year - Black Rocks in 45mins; Middleton Top in 1hr 5mins - so the constant rain wasn’t having too much of an effect on us. Middleton Top also gave us the chance to grab a quick drink from the BHF staff without having to delve into our rucksacks for our own supplies.

On the lower ground we ONLY had to worry about flood water on the trail!

The next time check on my list was Minninglow, 6½ miles on from Middleton. We covered this section in 1hr 47mins, enough to put us 8mins ahead of last year. It was on this section that the rain finally stopped; problem was it turned to sleet and then a short while later snow! The weather was turning into a bit of an issue now. Paul and I weren’t too bothered by it - we both had full waterproofs, good boots and the benefit of doing this walk before - the “baggy jeans and trainers brigade” (inexperienced walkers in totally the wrong clothing for the conditions) were having a rough time of it. The trail was now a cross between a mud bath, a melting glacier and a shallow stream!

At Minninglow, we took a 10min break. Paul took advantage of the free soup on offer; I started on a cereal bar and an energy drink. Life was good! We had food, we had drink and we had sunshine. Well, okay I made the last bit up, it was actually snowing harder now.

The longer we walked, the more it snowed!

After our little rest break it was a 2½ mile section to Friden. For the past two years this picnic area has been our lunch stop, a time to sit down, eat and have a drink. Today, we both tried our best to unpack what food we could eat on the go whilst trying our best not to get too much sleet and snow inside our bags. Just 5mins later, we were on the go again. I learnt something at this point… unwrapping and then eating a meat pie with waterlogged gloves on is NOT an easy thing to do! Another walker’s dog even tried to pinch my pie at this point!

Stage 5 was another 2½ mile section, this time we were aiming for the cycle hire centre, and cafĂ©, at Parsley Hay. We arrived here at 12:50PM, which meant that we were now 10mins ahead of last year’s time. I wasn’t really aiming to finish the walk in any set time but it was nice to know that even though the weather had been against us from the start we were on target for setting a new best time, for me at least.

The view at Parsley Hay.

Two ice cream signs at Parsley Hay caught my eye. The red and white “heart” logo fitted in well with the BHF sponsorship and the “summer inside” sign, covered in snow, was somewhat ironic I thought! After a short break of 5mins it was onto the final leg of the journey, a 2 mile sprint to the finish.

I don't think I'll bother with an ice cream, thank you!

This final part of the walk was covered in 30mins, the same as last year, but it was the hardest part for me. With just under ¾ of a mile to go I suddenly felt a sharp stabbing pain in my left heal. The next step was even worse - straight away I knew what I’d done, I’d blistered the back of my heal and it had burst. With under a mile to go there was no way I was going to stop and try and do anything with it - not that I had any plasters or anything with me - so it was grin and bear it for just a short while longer.

With just a hundred yards or so to go to the finish, I issued a challenge to Paul, “Let’s run and cross the finish line!”. Whether he will thank me for it or not I don’t know, but we did it! We may not have been running at much of a pace but we did pass about four or five people on our charge to the line, much to the amusement of the BHF official who was welcoming people home! A quick check of my watched showed we finished at 1:25PM, a full 10mins quicker than last year. The total walk time being 5hrs 10mins.

A VERY welcome sight!

So, the walk is over and my own personal damage count is two big blisters, two rather tired legs and a little toenail that has gone black. No doubt the nail will be falling off at some point in the next few weeks, just like it did two years ago!

That just leaves the important bit - the sponsorship! As of this moment, I have raised a total of £302.08 when the gift aid is added to the money I have in sponsorship. As there are still one or two more sponsors to be added to this figure I’m more or less certain that I will beat my target of £350.

All that remains for me to do is to say a HUGE thank you to everyone that has been generous enough to help me raise the money.



  1. You did an excellent job raising the money. You deserve a BIG HUG and KISS for toughing out the weather like that and finnishing early. I hope Lynda gave it to you when she got home;-)and I certainly hope you're not in TOO much pain today. A little advice on the toenail...if you want it to grow back faster use hoof lotion on it. Nails and hooves are made of the same basic components. I use the stuff on my nails every time one breaks. TRUST me :o)

    Big KUDOS to you and Paul for running across the finnish line.


  2. I'm proud of you. Hope all your feet injuries heal quickly. I would love to do a walk like that,, I think. ^_^

    That snow shot was awesome. Ok, so at least you got to enjoy the snow I sent ya. Now, if you could just send that back this way.