Cragside Challenge Walk 2013 - Guided group
Mon 1st July 2013
Thank you to all the folk who selected the guided option for your company and for making my day easy. It was a great day - the weather was perfect not too much sun, the wind was light and the rain of the day before stayed away.
The route was the opposite way round when compared to previous years and this raised a good deal of comment from those who had done it before. The consensus seemed to be that this 2013 way round was better. It is for sure that the views were spectacular and even from the first few minutes wandering through the grounds at Cragside the whole route could be seen in glimpses through the trees. Personally I liked the finish because as soon as we got back into Cragside we were straight to the finishing post.
The guided group this year was a great mix of friends from last year and those who had been on the training walk and a number of new enthusiasts. The group gelled really well and apart from Lesley wandering off intent on completing the whole of the Simonside ridge by herself there were no incidents. I think that the training walk, which we introduced for the first time this year, proved to be beneficial. Familiarisation with the route and the amount of up and down is always useful to know and it helps the actual day to be more enjoyable because it reduces anxiety. For me as the guide it is always helpful to get to know the reasons why folk want to do a challenge walk and if I meet them on the training walks and learn what they want to do I can adjust my approach and help to achieve the target that folk set themselves.
My favourite moment on the day was when the whole group were on the carriageway above Cragside with a couple of miles to go. Everyone was together walking a a good pace and chatting in groups of 2 or 3. The sense of camaraderie and relaxation in the group was great to see. Well done to you all and I look forward to seeing you at the next training walk (for the St Cuthbert's Way on 13th July) or the next walk I'm involved in. A special mention must be made for Muriel who walked the whole way without her insoles in her boots (she'd forgotten to replace them after drying her boots) - what an excellent effort and she only told me at the end. Finally good luck to Andy who is off to climb Kilimanjaro shortly - don't forget your hand sanitizer - good talking about that too.
We did 13.4 miles at moving average of 2.7 miles an hour. The whole walk with breaks took just over 6 hours.