Friday, 19 June 2009

The Great To Do Day 6

Judgement day!
Time to dig deep, five days and over 150 miles would all count for nothing if we failed the final leg. Confidence was high as we posed for photos under the signpost. Without further ceremony we set off. Muscles were sore, feet were even more painful but we were determined to succeed.
Which counted for a lot.
The first six mile we completed in under two hours, despite the hills we were making good time.

But there were many hills in the Clywdd range, some were baby mountains, and we began to slow down.

However we made the Jubilee Tower by midday and had a brief rest, nearly half the distance of the day covered, the sun was shining, the sea was in front of us, admittedly a long way in front of us but every step brought it closer. All we had to do was make the horizon in the picture above and we were on our way home. Success would be ours.
As we began our descent from the tower my right leg refused to move. Not totally, but refused absolutely to tolerate any thought of going downhill. The pain was severe and it took nearly forty minutes to get onto anything that equated to level ground where it was just about tolerable. Progress was literally painfully slow. Stu and Sara disappeared over the hills, not a problem usually, but Stu was carrying the toilet roll. Things could be desperate.
Eventually I caught them up, but only because they had stopped at the bottom of Moel Arther, a particularly steep section which I came down in a crab like shuffle. Thankfully they were tired and we spent over forty five minutes resting. I spent most of that time scouring the map or crouched in the bracken as I had been reunited with the precious bog roll.
I kept telling myself that Joe Simpon had managed to get off a glacier with a broken femur, I therefore would complete the next 14 miles with a sore leg. We got underway, uphill was fine, there was some relief that the downhills were short and eventually we were on the last of the Clywdd range, a huge hill fort.

As we descended I had just enough time to shout out to Stu and Sara that I needed to stop before my leg gave way and they turned in time to see me hit the deck at some speed. Sara, thinking it was a competition immediately followed suit, dropping onto the path and taking 40 winks, Stu rested in a more manly fashion and waited patiently. I tried a very undignified bum shuffle but as a method of completing the last 12 miles it was hopeless. In desperation I looked at the map, the hill ahead might as well have been Everest, there was no way I would get down it, surely we were close to the next village. The relief at finding that we were less than a mile from the road gave me the minerals to manage the pain for another gruelling session and we made our way to the road where a small shop supplied the necessary liquid calories to restore high spirits as we surfed the sugar rush. Only eleven miles to go. A doddle.
It took another four hours and ten minutes. This did include a stop at a pub where I let the side down by drinking a pint of lager and lime. I know, I must have thought I was on holiday or something.

Finally the end was in sight, my legs went a bit like one of those funny marathon runners for a few seconds but I held it together to the end and the photo shoot, the champagne, the cheering crowds. Ok no cheering crowds but the champagne was a nice touch provided by Karen, Stu's better half.
And then it was over. I threw the stone I was carrying from Sedbury Cliffs onto the beach. Any thought of paddling were dismissed as the tide was out, too far to walk. I sat on the granite blocks that mark the start finish and phoned Tracey.
The signpost said we had walked 182 miles. We had started 10.10 7-6-09 and finished 22.22 on 12-6-09. The distance was covered in 72 hours of walking making an average speed of just under 2.5 miles an hour.
We were happy, mission accomplished.
The impossible is nothing.

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