West Highland Way Part 1

I haven’t written in quite some time! I did mean to update everyone and post pictures etc but I have been busy. I cringe every time I write that as its like my catch phrase and will be put on my grave stone I think!

So, did I do the WHW? Yes… I started on a rainy Monday morning with apprehension and a bit of fear, I won’t lie. I couldn’t sleep the night before and had been at work until 22:00, where people had been wishing me well but also planting seeds of doubt in my head. No, they weren’t being nasty but they were concerned about my safety as I was doing the walk on my own. I am a feminist.. usually stuff like that doesn’t phase me but it was starting to this time.

I waved the kids, husband and dog off, got my stuff together, had my breakfast and bid farewell to a friend who was good enough to drop me off in Milngavie which is the start of the walk.  I have to say that I started to have doubts.. how was I going to deal with the alone time that I so craved since planning to do this, the time to think and just be on my own for the first time in a long time? Was I ready for such a big and momentous task with minimal training? Would I sleep at night in my tent and not be scared of the noises throughout the night? Only one way to find out…

Off I walked and walked, and walked… you get it… As I walked, my spirits and the weather lifted. I ran into two guys who were over from Israel and I think they took me under their wing. They wanted to give me their number in case I found myself in any trouble and needed someone in an emergency. I started to feel the camaraderie of the “Way” that I had often read about.  I was part of this amazing experience and it really  felt quiet empowering.

As I walked, I noticed that I would pass the two guys and catch up, they offered me food, chat and friendship and it felt like they were making sure that I was ok whilst doing this on my own.  I took pics on their phone for them and I really regret not taking their details. I wonder how they got on and if they completed it as the last place that I saw them was in Rowardennan Youth Hostel.

My first day got me from Milngavie to Drymen where I had the best steak pie in the universe at one of the most friendliest places in Scotland, called “The Clachan Inn“. I go here regularly an I always order the same ting because it is amazing and despite looking like a drowned rat with no reservation, they took me in, gave me warmth and provided fantastic hospitality.  At the end of the first day, I was tired and emotional and my bones were killing me. I had wanted to walk further but I just couldn’t manage it. One of the owners spoke to me as she could see I was full of self doubt and I called her when I came home, to tell her just how much her words meant. Her words made a difference as did two other women I met when finishing up and who were also doing the walk, (more about them later).

That night I decided to stay in one of the hotels, The Drymen Inn and I tried to get to bed early but I got restless legs and was tossing and turning all night. I didn’t mind as the bed was comfy, hotel clean, shower much appreciated and weather turned out nice again. I also decided to get baggage transfer which a lot of folk had told me to do but I wanted to do everything on my own. That’s just  who I am.. I am stubborn and I am strong but I knew that the walk would be much more manageable had I just done all of that in the first place.

I called up Greg from Baggage Freedom and he couldn’t have been more accommodating. He was resourceful, hilarious and his dog Spike, who was in the van with him, really cheered me up. I wish I had known about him before but thankfully I do now and I will be using his baggage transfer services this summer. He also transfers pets too so I can bring Allie , my border collie and she can explore the great outdoors with me.

Ongoing Training

I haven’t updated for a while because I’ve been super busy training and preparing for my walk and reading about other people’s journeys. I’m also incorporating HIIT By using the BodyCoach DVD that I purchased in November.

All of this will prepare my body to tackle my biggest and most adventurous goal to date and as I read more and more, I get incredibly excited! The only thing is that I’m noticing the shin splints an awful lot but @gymguymark has advised me to use a really simple kitchen mechanism, the rolling pin! What a fantastic idea and one I’ll report back on over the next few days! If I get them whilst on the hike, I can use a branch to help ease them out and cold water soak will also do the world of good too.

I’m still having an internal conflict in relation to shoes. The more I read, I see how many people have stated that their normal trail shoes did them well and were more than adequate for completion of the WHW. However, if it rains which I am banking on it happening , it won’t be a good idea to only have 1 pair of shoes.

So far, my waterproof ruck sack coverings have come, my gaiters and my map/guide. I’m deciding on which jacket to pack and also what kind of tent because everything needs to be as light as possible since I’m carrying my own stuff and not using any kind of baggage transfer system despite a lot of people telling me to do so.  I have had one person tell me that I won’t enjoy it if I carry my own stuff and I’m not thinking its going to be an easy feat but its something that I want to do to try and push myself.

That’s where I am just now and I have o say that as I approach the date  i’m getting more and more excited!

Day 1 Training for the WHW

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve decided to do the West Highland Way, and I’m going to do it for charity…. namely mental health.

Mental Health is something that I have struggled with in the past after I had my kids and still issues to this day with anxiety, but I always try hard to stay on top of it. However, not everyone can be proactive or do that because mental health can be extremely crippling at times.

As most readers of my blog know, I have applied to University to do Mental Health Nursing and I’m waiting to hear the decision on whether or not I’ll get in. I feel that there needs to be more people who have had lived experience, going into the field for many reasons. But I digress!

So, I was supposed to start training on Monday but I had volunteering and didn’t leave myself enough time to do the walk and instead, decided to do it today. I will be honest in saying that I was tired, I had zero motivation, and I’d been feeling quite down… but I did it. My watch failed me just at the end but I know I did a bit over the 5 miles that I had planned on doing.

I’ve chosen to do a bit around where I live as I think that some of the terrain will be similar in parts to the WHW. I had many thoughts when walking and at parts, running…. that actually 15 miles a day is achievable. I think I have given myself enough time but I really need to try and get a good pair of boots.

I think I’ve also decided to do things via B&B’s because I don’t know that I can carry all of the gear as I really don’t want to spend my money paying a company to do it for me. However, I’m going to start taking a backpack out with me and increase the weight just to see what I can cope with.

Tomorrow, day two, I’ll be training with my amazing personal trainer, Mark. He will help me with building up muscle and stamina etc. He will also help me with nutrition and making sure everything is balanced properly. I’m usually pretty good with creating dinners that are nutritional meals and I’m going to try hard to eliminate white rice and pasta, use quinoa and brown rice. But I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t! I’ll be burning a lot of calories and I need to make sure the balance is right. Here’s what I’ve made for us all tonight, a vegetable curry and homemade leek and potato soup:)

Skin Care Review

As part of my self improvement, turning 40 and just really wanting to look after myself a bit more, I thought I would try out a new regime and in turn, teach the eldest about having a bit of a routine for when she starts (should she choose to), wearing make up.

I was lucky enough to be given two products to try out and I have to say that I really liked them a lot and will be using them in the future,especially after seeing the results and costing isn’t high at all compared to a lot of other high street brands.

I’ve been pretty lucky with my skin and apart from the occasional breakout once a month when due my period, water has been my saving grace. That’s it. I don’t buy into the heavy and expensive brands because to be honest, its a load of rubbish and a waste of money. In reality,  we are paying for the advertising costs and a life style that they want us to think we want. I got wise to that a long time ago and as a feminist it isn’t within my belief system.

One thing I do participate in though is a good face mask because I like to soak in the bath with the candles, have some relaxing music on, a book and have some time to myself. It’s one of the few things that I will indulge in because I like how it makes me feel. The coolness of the mask followed by the  softness on my skin thereafter, is a really nice feeling and my face does feel more firm as well. I think it might be something that I’ll be introducing to my clients when doing facial treatments because of how indulgent it is and the one that was sent to me was the Skin Republic Collagen Infusion, Mask which if you purchase in Superdrug, is £4.99

The other product that I was sent, was the really lovely Nouveau Lashes Enhance Mascara. It was so much better than getting fake lashes applied and as its completely natural you don’t look like you have spiders glued to your eyes! Although these come in at a cost of £18.99, it usually costs more than that to have lashes done in your local salon by someone who is very inexperienced and you end up removing them anyway! The great thing about the wand is that there are two sides where one separates for a much more dramatic look and the other side is used to apply the mascara.

These products are perfect for someone like me who doesn’t wear a lot of make up but does like to treat herself now and again, with minimal effort and likes the affordability, and the reliability of the products that I buy.

*disclaimer, these are my own opinions based on personal experience and I was not influenced, nor paid for my review. The only compensation received, were the products.

New Challenge #18for2018

After thinking further about what I wanted to achieve this year, I decided to incorporate two goals into 1 .. or is is maybe 3 goals +? I’m not entirely sure! Either way, this one has got to be one of my biggest in terms of exercise, mind and body, as well as craziest of all. I think. I mean, there has been so many that its hard to keep track of the things that I have done over the years!

What is it, I hear you ask? Well I’ve just decided to finally pursue a dream of walking a whole 96 effing miles,of the West Highland Way! I have set a date for the 9th of April as its pre midgie season, not too hot (does it ever get hot in Scotland?), it won’t be incredibly busy and I have a chance of maybe staying in a B&B should I choose to go down that route, the kids are still in school and nursery and I have 6 whole days to do it which will mean an average of 15 miles or so a day. Easy, right?

I’m actually super excited, yet scared as well. I haven’t started training but tomorrow will be the 1st day of a long schedule of walking and meeting nutritional goals. I will probably re start the BodyCoach in this time as well but being careful that I don’t overload this mind of mine which already has a lot going on in it! I have been reading a lot of blogs from people who have done it, getting ideas, inspiration and tips. From taping areas where I usually get blisters as a preventative, to making sure that I walk my boots in, to best places to stay or camp.

I want to make sure that I am meticulous in all detail and plan for all eventualities because as weather goes here, we have 4 seasons in one day. I need to make sure that I have good walking boots, trainers, plastic bags to keep clothes dry, sun cream, first aid kit, compass and map, emergency battery for phone, a schedule left with friends so that they know what I plan on achieving if anything happens, and lots of other things too.

I have decided to train by walkig 5 miles a day and then doing a long walk 1 a week of 15 miles. I heard that this is a really good way to prepare and I hope that I can achieve this. The 5 miles a day won’t be difficult and for the long walks, I hope t do that on the actual trail itself, in order to get a feel for what I am up against. I have heard about bogs, and the likes so best to experience it now, right?

Another decision that I need to think about is, will i stay in B&B’s along the way or will i sleep outside under the stars, cook on an open fire, swim in the Loch… it all sounds so romantic yet the reality will be me in tears 10 mins into my long walk, cursing myself for what I decided would be my year of fitness! hahah

I guess having 6 days to myself will give me the space that I need to think about life, the past 10 years, goals and the likes. Its been a tough 10 years at times and I hope to channel that into doing something positive which will be raising money for the Mother and Baby Unit and Perinatal Mental Health Services in Glasgow who helped me through PND. I wont hassle people for money, but if anyone wants to sponsor me please feel free to, or even make a donation to a mental health charity of your choice. Mental Health to those that know me, is a huge passion of mine and I have submitted my application form to do Mental Health Nursing this year (fingers crossed, still waiting).

So, what do you guys think of this new goal? Do you think I’ll achieve? Have any of you done the WHW? Does anyone have any tips?

 

 

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