My series of ‘Frodo goes to Wales’, now in its second installment is like an idiots guide to running around. I say that because I would certainly not call myself an expert on it; I just do it a lot and make loads of mistakes. So much so, my new mantra these days is that if an adventure goes completely according to plan, it is not a successful adventure.
Just to explain that, I think it’s always a good idea to have a plan, however loose. It’s just that when things go wrong it’s also nice to just be able to roll with the punches.
Here is a nutshell of how my plan looked for Part I:
- STEP 1: Go to Wales.
- STEP 2: Run.
- STEP 3: 3 days later, stop running.
When planning for Part I for example, I prepared for doing a lot of running and camping in strange places. I did not know at the time that I would be tackling mountains, but that was the beauty of the plan; I had planned to NOT plan a route. I asked locals advice on great routes in the area, which happened to take me to the top of a mountain on day 3.
I hadn’t prepared for mountains, but it was only the one, and I deemed it reasonable given the weather and the time of day.
Part II was late November and never going to be good conditions; therefore a little more preparation was in order. As much as I like to be fairly casual about these things, I didn’t really want to be making unnecessary work for the emergency services and mountain rescue people.
Most of this was fairly simple itinerary: a whistle for the off chance you get stuck and need to be found. A map and compass just in case modern technology fails; and an emergency blanket (those silver foil things you see the marathon runners being given at the end of a race to look like a KitKat) for keeping a little more insulated.
So what else was in my kit? I hear literally nobody asking, well I’ll tell you:
I only had a 28 litre lightweight backpack I was trying to fit everything in, so keeping things light and low baulk was high on my priority list. I opted for a thick sleeping bag; it’s November; it’s cold; I’ll take the hit on that one. Instead of a tent I was recommended to try a bivvi bag to save on weight. I opted for a second hand, military issue Gore Tex one along with a piece of ground sheet if the ground was a little bit swampy, or I needed a little extra shelter from the rain.
Sticking with safety; there’s less than 8 hours of daylight in November, so lights and reflective clothing and accessories were an absolute essential!
Also, I am a member on the runners social media group, THE RUNNING BUG, who were running a November challenge to all members called “Run to the Moon”. This encouraged runners to get outside and run, even in the dark, miserable weather. Now I don’t really know how far away the moon is, but I’ve seen in many times, and it looks well far away. I only hope that my miles help.
As motivation towards this, The Running Bug issued out some free hi-vis snapbands for everyone who ran their first 50 miles. I was very grateful for this gift. Here is mine in the packaging it arrived in:
As you can see, my rebelliousness and whimsy know no bounds. Other items I carried that I didn’t see myself having much use for, but definitely felt better for carrying: First aid kit, pocket knife, insulation tape, Savlon, safety pins etc…
It was also my intention to GPS my entire trip. This meant lots of battery power! For my 30th birthday my parents got me this solar charger. I discovered in Part I that the solar panels on this are more or less completely decorational, but the battery and charger is brilliant providing I keep it charged up via a plug socket once every couple of days.
Finally, I’m doing this for Macclesfield’s local, East Cheshire Hospice. A very important charity who provide quality aftercare for those unfortunate enough to be suffering from cancer. I think we can all agree that cancer research is an important thing to finance, but when that ship has sadly sailed, it’s also important that organisations such as this go on, and every little bit of money raised helps.
Now, as this is becoming in serious danger of becoming one of my normal essays. I will continue this in a part 2 of part 2, where I will talk about the fun time I spent running up another country…