JOGLE practice weekend 1 – walking through fields of tufty bits la la la….

So I’ve just back from my first John o Groats to lands end practice weekend. 105km over 3 days and all in all it went really well. I definitely learnt a lot though about what works and what doesn’t work, which will prove really useful.

Day 1: Home to Chelford: On Thursday I set off just after lunch and ran 30km to my first campsite. It was insanely hot 🥵 and despite suncream I did get a bit sunburned.

At the beginning I didn’t really know what pace to go at. My bag plus waist bag weighted 9kg so it was always going to be slow but what should my jog/walk ratio be? For the first 2 hours I managed about 80% jogging and felt really comfortable with that.

Along the canal

On the way by the canal, I stopped for some lucozade at a pop up shop. There I got speaking to this couple. She asked me where I was going etc and I told her about JOGLE. She said ooh thats amazing and asked for the facebook page details. I’ve just checked today and she’s made a donation to Mind. It says ‘from Janet – the lady at the cafe on the canal’. How nice is that?! Awesome.

Happy in the sun

After that excitement, my run slowed considerably. I started to cross fields that were overgrown and where the footpath signs were a bit hit and miss……this became a walk.

Just diverting into the fields

After an hour or so of field meandering I rerouted and found a nice easy road to follow to a pub for tea. This added a few km but it was worth it. Full of a delicious salad and haloumi I walk/jogged onto my campsite for the night.

The campsite and facilities were fantastic. I had a field to myself with my own shower/toilet block that no one else appeared to be using – awesome! The people that ran the place were weird though. When I arrived the man in the reception area told me that he didn’t deal with campers and bookings. I would need to speak to his wife. Where is your wife? Oh she is driving that tractor over there. You’ll have to go over and speak to her. She was two fields away so I trotted off to chase down the tractor………

Once caught up we had this really bizarre conversation where I really felt I was inconveniencing her for wanting to check my booking, find a pitch and know where the facilities were. Tres tres odd!

Immaculate shower block and toilets just for moi

None the less I slept well in my lonely field and got up ready to run my longest day of 41km.

Day 2: Chelford to Wincle via Astbury

Delightfully, annoyingly my first 20km of the day were field, field, field, field….you get the picture. I’ve learnt that when you carry 9kg jogging on tufty, bumpy fields and navigating Styals and gates is very tricky. In fact I had to walk a lot of this as jogging was just proving a waste of energy versus the speed you could attain. This is a shame as this is normally the terrain I prefer but I guess its horses for courses and it’s really useful to know this now.

Another set of fields – pretty though huh

After this I found some lovely quiet runnable paths into Astbury (fun times). I ran through/past this huge house where the owner was out tending his garden. It was a public footpath I swear. We started a conversation and it turned out his stepson had run the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland doing 2 marathons a day. Yikes says I. I couldn’t imagine doing two a day. One was enough! Hats off to him. We had a lovely chat for a while and I continued on my way.

I stopped for a really nice lunch in Astbury and got to charge up my devices and cool down with an ice Coca Cola.

Nom nom nom

After lunch I went onto a canal for a while and got really excited as this was great running ground. Unfortunately I’ve learnt the hard way now that jogging immediately after a large focaccia cheese melt with chips is not a good idea. Ask no questions but lets just say the trowel on the back of my rucksack is handy.

The last 15km of the day started to go uphill and through woods. It was beautiful and shady. I really enjoyed this bit although jogging was impossible due to the elevation and tree roots everywhere. Still worth it for the views though.

Up in the forest

Finally I made it to the pub where I was camping in the field behind. I was so excited to have made it and thought I’d done about 44km but couldn’t be sure as there was no internet or Wi-Fi. I enjoyed another dehydrated meal. Yummy daal with spinach and went into the pub for a pint of Bosley Cloud (at least I think thats what it was called). Very very nice. Beer does taste even better after a run.

Yes! I’ve arrived – a pint please 🍺

Day 3: The Wild Boar Inn Wincle to Home

I got up excited knowing I was going to be running home today. I was also going to meet my husband for brunch so had an incentive to get a shift on. After the first 1km of field trudgery I discovered I had 4G and decided to replot my route to avoid fields.

More fields…. Beautiful day

Hurrah!! I felt elated after that – running well for 2 hours to meet my husband at Waterside Cafe in Bollington. I think I had pancakes but its hard to say for sure since I inhaled them 😋.

Back on the canal
Hubby arrivee! Time for brunch 😋

The last 16km was an easy flat run along a canal and local trail. My energy felt good, the bag felt fine too. My blisters were starting to become an issue so I need to look into how to avoid these/manage these better for next time.

I’m now looking forward to a well earned chippy tea with a beer. What else could a girl want? 😀

Other pictures from the weekend below:

Gorgeous views at Wincle
The start of the climb into the woods
Breakfast. Vanilla shake and coffee. The ‘shake’ was revolting 😂. I ended up having a few nuts for breaky.
Nearly at the Wild Boar Inn – just another 10% to go…
Ok so I’ve been really mean to fields. Here is a perfect one with a lovely runnable path and everything – bliss 😁☀️

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