Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Grand Union Canal - Out and Back - (middlesex) - 02/09/08 - 10 Miles - 9kg - Helen

An exact repeat of my walk 7 days ago, only this time with Helen in tow. The idea being to get a quick door to door ten miler in, as we both had time constraints to contend with. As such the BBC tried to put us off the whole idea before we even started with a severe weather warning. In the event however we had to contend with about 10 minutes drizzle at the start and that was it. In fact by the time we were on the last couple of miles the Sun had even started to put in an appearance.

So with brollies down and waterproofs off it was like last week, out to the '88 mile marker to Braunston' and then back. Having made it to the 88 mile marker (just before Bulls Bridge and the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union canal), we decided to stop off for a cup of coffee at a local pub. Basically because one or both of us were in desperate need for either: the loo, or to sit down and rest for a few minutes. The pub itself being slightly seedy, but at £1.20 for two cups of coffee, who's complaining.

Helen had commented on one or two unsavoury types or hoodies we passed (or tried to avoid) on the way, and you will note from my write up last week that I myself had to pass through what to all accounts seemed like a drug deal in the offing. So suffice to say, that as you pass along the canal in the general Southall to Hayes region, it does pay to keep your eyes open and wits about you. Yet don't let that put you off as it is a pleasant and undemanding walk, and along the way we were able to admire (or look at anyway) the many barges and houseboats (in differing states of repair) that are moored along the canal, as well as the various locks that the more seaworthy ones have to navigate. Also during our travels we encountered a variety of: Dogs, Ducks, Swans and three Herons (or the same Heron viewed in three different locations).

Now regular readers to this column will remember that last week I set off with 9kg of additional ballast in my rucksack (aka 9 litres of water), for exercise purposes doncha know. Well the immediate result of that was severe blisters on both feet, two holes ground into the heels of my walking boots, and the neccessity of having to go to work on my bike all week. The jury is most definately out on the future of the walking boots (this was done in trainers). However the exercise value of carrying this additional weight is beyond doubt, as a rucksack that seems to start off as easy, becomes more of a challenge as each mile passes. The next challenge for me with this system therefore, is to tackle a route with a lot more gradients. However although last week I stated that I want to be carrying 15kg in total, that realistically is a longer term objective that can be staged up, as hopefully (isn't it always) my own body weight comes down.
The picture by the way is courtesy of Helen and her superior (to mine anyway) Fuji Finepix camera.

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