That’s All Folks – March The Month 31

My Trusty Boots

So this is it. Finally, the last of 31 walks to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and the work they do to research into a disease that affects one in eight men, killing 11000 a year. I, among many others throughout the country, have been pacing 11000 steps a day, a total of 341,000 steps. And this is my last day.

The day dawned bright, sunny and bitterly cold. Indeed as I stepped out snow flurries were being whipped along the street on a bitter northerly wind. As if my resolve to finish my programme was not depleted enough by an arthritic toe; a sore hip and for the last couple of days, something of a stomach upset which means today’s walk has been designed so that I am never too far from “facilities”.

However I needed to walk a final 8000 steps to complete. If you look at the route map for today you will note it looks pretty confusing. This for the reason noted above and also I took the opportunity of my last walk to meet some of the folk who have helped and supported me over the last month. I will not attempt to describe the route but it included The Nature Park; Conway Fields and the town centre and finally the school run to collect my grandsons. Total walk distance 5.79 miles and 16000 steps.

So I guess its time for a quick review. 31 walks predominantly around Alcester but also taking in Coughton, Upton Upon Severn, Bourton on the Hill and Great Alne. And passing great houses at Madresfield, Waugh’s inspiration for Brideshead revisited. Coughton Court, epicentre of religious dissent and bolt hole for the Gunpowder plotters and Sezincote, the blueprint for The Brighton Pavilion. I have learned the difference between Red Kite and Buzzard and seen my first Bluebell of the year.

During the course of my walks I have enjoyed the hospitality of The Mother Huff Cap, Great Alne; The Turks Head, Alcester; The Upton Muggery, Upon Upon Severn; The Swan Hotel, Upton Upon Severn; The Horse and Groom, Bourton on the Hill; The Kings Court Hotel. Kings Coughton and last but certainly not least, Coffee @ 26, Alcester.

Many thanks, too, to my walking partners Bill, David and Jude who have walked, chatted and imbibed with me along the way.

So, it only remains to finally record 349,300 steps walked and £500 raised for Prostate Cancer UK.

March The Month – 21

This was a beautiful but familiar walk for me. The route took me across the Exercise Yard exiting through the Oversley portal, the footbridge over the river. Then along the lane and left onto Icknield Way. A few hundred yards then left uphill towards the crest of Oversley Hill. The sun shone. Truly the first day when I felt overdressed for the walk. A lark was ascending from a newly sewn field close by. Trilling exultantly it rose almost vertically into the sky.

A left turn close to the crest and a few hundred yards later, right beside a gate towards the edge of the wood. A straggling flock of Fieldfare rose from a couple of trees before me, relocating in a field to watch me pass by. I watched them for a time while taking a break. 

Then, keeping the wood to my left, I walked on. The Fieldfare swooped, chuckling across my path, disappearing into the wood. At the bridleway where The Arden Way turns south I entered the wood. I bit of a muddy wade here up to the well trodden circular wood walk. Then right passing piles of newly-hewn trees awaiting departure to the saw mills. 

Instead of my usual route home I turned left and followed the track to the exit point on The Arden Way and then the descent to Oversley Village, re-enterring The Exercise Yard via the exit portal over the footbridge.

The total route was a very pleasant 5.15 miles, 14,500 steps towards my target for the March The Month campaign for Prostate Cancer UK. If you would like to help me in my quest please do feel free to click the link to my Just Giving Page. If you would like to know more about Prostate Cancer UK and the work they are doing click here.

March The Month 21.  My latest walk for Prostate Cancer research

March The Month 18

On Friday I walked with SHWF. We walked from Bourton on the Hill following a circuitous route bringing us back past Sezincote House, apparently the model for The Brighton Pavilion.

Sezincote House

The route brought us back along The Heart of England way which was boggy in places. So much so I detoured through some brambles. Not the best choice.

Emerging from the brambles

Here I am emerging onto the path again. Also I have to confess forgetting my phone (age you know) but I’m estimating at 11,000 steps. Post walk lunch was at the excellent Horse and Groom. Two starters; shared chips and a couple of pints of Prescott Hill Climb a lovely, crisp, light beer.

All in all a great walk through glorious Cotswold countryside and an excellent walkers lunch.

March The Month – 11

This is probably one of my favourite walks, certainly locally. Depart from The Hermit’s Cave, across The Exercise Yard departing through the Cold Comfort portal. Then up through Coldcomfort Wood; across the fields and then following then fording The Spittal Brook and then return. Wild flowers can be seen and birds watched in almost total peace and calm.

But today a cold and blustery wind whips in from the east carrying spatters of driven rain. Not a single flower can be seen. Not a primrose; not a bluebell. The newly cut hedges and verges seem to add to the bleak prospect for this walk. At the far end of the field beyond the wood I turn into the wind and almost immediately pull up my coats zip and bend into the wind, rain spatters bounce off me. A single other walker, a Lowry-like figure, half a mile away, hunches into the wind and trudges after her dog.

Spittal Brook Interchange – My Nemesis

However, there is one bright spot. I have to cross the ford over a Spittal Brook at a point I call The Spittal Brook Interchange. A point where several paths meet and cross. Usually I manage some disaster here. From a simple wet foot to last years disaster when I managed to slip and land face down in the icy waters. But today I managed to cross, equipped with walking pole and new boots, safe and dry.

And so an hour later, with hands clamped around a steaming cup of coffee I reflected on a good walk but perhaps a couple of weeks too early in the year. Walk distance 5.1 miles.

March the Month 7

And Bill said those beautiful words. “I have some coffee”. So now we are gathered around a bench next to a track in Oversley Wood. There has been logging and I can smell the resin from the newly logged trees. Warming my hands on my coffee, I look up. “Are those Buzzards?” I can never tell the difference between Buzzards and Red Kites. They are Buzzards and there are seven or eight of them circling high above us in the pale blue sky, like airliners stacking above Heathrow.

Coffee Beneath The Buzzards

We have had quite productive walk. I have learned a lot. 1. The current price of fertiliser 2. The difference between a Red Kite and a Buzzard 3. That London Irish thrashed Worcester last night 3. A crop of peas can be grown for animal feed. My head is spinning. And we are only half way through our walk.

This is the first time I have shared a March the Month walk and I love it. The steps have slipped beneath our feet, lubricated by easy conversation and laughter. Still chilly, the sun has come out but we are protected from the breeze as we walk along the southern side of the wood. Now, fortified by Bill’s coffee, we continue. Surprisingly, we only meet one or two fellow walkers. One, oblivious to our greeting, glued to her earbuds. Another, an elderly man, struggling with his Nordic poles.

We find out why we have passed so few. The car park is locked. But we leave the wood now and amble gently downhill, whereupon I learn more. The use of chicken pooh in a farming context and is that mushroom compost? Maybe. Sadly our walk comes to a comradely end back in Alcester and we part company. Great fun, we’ll do that again!

March The Month – 3

Aches and pains are beginning to make themselves known. Although now testing negative, Covid has been replaced by a sore hip. So that had a gloop of Voltarol spread over it to get me moving. I also had to pay a quick visit to my slightly-under-the-weather grand daughter. Stuck at home on World Book Day is no fun so I dropped around with my emergency handicraft kit.

The walk today was pretty much the same as yesterday. I will venture out on some of my favourite local walks when the ground dries a little. Today’s highlight was breakfast at the half way point.

Delicious and restoring, it set me up perfectly for the second half of my walk. Today’s exercise was 4.95 miles and 12100 steps towards the Prostate Cancer target.

If you can help me on my quest to raise funds for research into Prostate Cancer please help. I am taking part in their March The Month campaign and all contributions would be very gratefully received. Thank you.

March of The Month – 2

A wet start

Not the most delightful of days for a walk. The ground was sodden, puddles spread across roads and paths, the rain fell steadily. But on the basis that there is no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing I roused myself. The forecast inferred that the weather was likely to get worse later so off I went.

As I a, quite adept at falling in mud and water I decided on a simple circular route around Alcester, keeping as much as possible to the pavements. The route took me through Oversley Green, crossing the river then back into Alcester, re-crossing the river and up Malt Mill Lane. Thence re-crossing the river towards Captains Hill. Left into Kinwarton Rd then circular route around the industrial estate before walking to the Coughton Round about. After which it was a simple route home.

As the rain soaked through my hat and dripped from coat to my trousers it was hard to remember what this was all about. This is the second of my Spring Strolls. Last year I walked for The Shakespeare Hospice and aside from my impromptu dip in The Spittal Brook, all went well. This year I have joined an organised event, March The Month for Prostate Cancer research. As I have a few friends and acquaintances who are sufferers I thought this might be an excellent charity yo work with. So I have to walk 11000 steps a day which equates to around 4.5 miles.

So here we are trudging through the rain. Actually I met one or two friends as I went and stopped for a chat. Also I did take the opportunity of a cup of coffee too. So it was something of a social occasion. In the ned I walked 5.24 miles and booked 12,800 paces.

Great fun despite the weather and for a great charity too. But I’m not doing this totally for my health and you can help. Click the link and please make a small contribution to Prostate Cancer. It is an excellent charity doing excellent and meaningful work extending the lives of many men who, like me, are of a certain age.

March of The Month – 1

Today began my latest Spring Challenge. Last year The Marathon raised funds for The Shakespeare Hospice, this year I have joined The March of The Month campaign for Prostate Cancer. Today, despite continuing positive COVID tests I began a challenge that requires me to walk 11,000 steps each day throughout March. I have a couple of ideas to vary how I shall, hopefully achieve that but today I began by taking standard walk. One of my objectives here is to understand how far I need to walk to achieve 11,000 steps. So I decided on a route that I could adapt as I go along to ensure I hit the target.

The basic route plan was to walk from The Hermits Cave through Oversley Green, crossing The River Alne at Hoo Mill. Then into Kinwarton and back into town from there. At this point I can shorten or extend my route as necessary.

The weather was fine as I set out. Blue sky but likely to cloud as I walked along. The wind was chilly as I walked though Oversley Green joining Stratford Road and on up to Hoo Mill. Overnight rainwater was cascading down the narrow footpath towards the footbridge over the river. I’m well known for getting well soaked in such circumstances but not today. The river was in full spate after all the recent rain and the field beyond soggy in places but I had to wander beside the river which was brimming and cascading spectacularly over the weir. Geese took advantage of all the extra water and honked as I passed.

River Alne

Then up the soggy track into Kinwarton Hamlet. Time for a break. So I sat in the Church porch, drinking my water and peering into the graveyard beyond.

View from Church porch

At this point I had covered just over 2.25 miles. I walked up to the main road and headed towards town. Gently downhill along a pavement. At the corner of Kinwarton Rd I had a decision to make. Straight on towards home or turn right to extend my walk. I turned right and walked through the industrial estate until I could join the old railway line. Then through the playing fields and thus into town.

Believe it or not Pancake Racing was under way along the High St. I lingered awhile watching the fun. But then thought of my positive test and headed for home anxious keep clear of the crowd watching. Home again I checked my stats for the walk. Walk distance 5.15 miles. The all important steps 12,400. So for future reference my optimum walking distance is 4.6 miles.

March the Month

Last Spring I used the pleasure I get from walking to raise funds for The Shakespeare Hospice in Stratford on Avon who looked after my wife and myself through her final illness. Friends walked with me and we had fun walking through the local countryside despite my inadvertent plunge into a local stream.

This year, instead of creating an event, I have thrown in my lot to help raise funs for Prostate Cancer in their March the Month. As a man of advancing years Prostate Cancer has become an important issue to me. Although not a sufferer myself a number of my friends are sufferers and I understand 1 in 8 men will catch it as some point.

the plan is to walk 11,0000 steps every day throughout March. It works out at about 4 miles a day. I then record my achievement in my March the Month Just Giving Page. Your job, dear reader, is to click the link and make a donation towards my £250.00 target. In the meantime I will update everyone both here and on my Facebook Page. Please try to give a little. Every penny will go to research into the perfidious disease.

The (RE)Order of the Boot

The very day Covid restrictions are eased in England what happens? Exactly, I test positive. I woke this morning headachy; coughing and bunged up. So I took a test just to be on the safe side. Hey presto and while isolation is no longer mandatory I will certainly remain aloof in my Hermit’s Cave over the weekend before re-testing.

Anyway, it does give me the opportunity to pass on a little tip to some of my, perhaps more senior readers whose joints are not what they once were. The tip actually comes from my Podiatrist, the brilliant Katy who has the dubious pleasure of keeping my feet in good order. Which she does admirably while we have a lovely chat.

On my most recent visit I did mention that, while walking, I do get a rather sore Big Toe which usually takes a mile or two to shake off especially after rest breaks. Katy believes the cause to be Arthritis and suggested re-lacing my boot to relieve the pressure on my throbbing toe.

The Re-tied boot on the right

The photo shows how I have re-laced my boot. Since then I have walked a number of times and although the offending digit is not perfect, it is certainly a great improvement than hitherto.

So, if you suffer similarly, give the idea a try – and please let me know how you get on. It will be a useful piece of research that I will pass back to Katy.