Peak training…

I am writing this the right side of 100km worth of training so far this month. The lions share of which was done in the Peak District, with a further 40km yesterday and the remaining distance made up of training runs with the dog.

Despite the lull in updates on here we continue to make good progress with preparations. As can be seen from both Sir Rob and Tris updates last month, as well as getting some miles in our legs, we are testing equipment to maximise success in both training and of course during Dove Step itself.

As an extension of this expect some equipment reviews over the coming days and weeks. We have no brand allegiance and as such will review items openly. We would be equally willing to test kit if you or your company are confident enough to offer it up…

So as mentioned two super fulfilling weekends of training already this month with lots of important lessons learnt ahead of next April.

Here are the notes made in the tent after the first days efforts in the Peak District, back on Saturday 2nd:

A full eight hours of effort today with c20kg packs & 20+ mile covered in, at times, prohibitive weather.

With Gooders outdoors skills/ equipment & my manhauling of sufficent beer & whiskey we have established a cool but dry & comfortable camp.

I type this tent-clad & wrapped in me sleeping bag. Although the wind is raging & rain lashing Gooders tarp allowed us to cook & shelter for a few hours & following the exertion of the day I will sleep well!

I don’t know how far exactly we’ve covered but it’s in excess of 20m & with heavy packs. When we take them off for a break it feels like your body re-grows the compounded inches & you gain a foot in height!

Crazed sensations!

With the booze & feed rations now depleted tomorrow should be easier going.

Our first days effort saw us meander between Baslow, Hathersage and Ladybower before camping above Ladybower reservoir itself. The next day we broke camp and headed back towards Sheffield parallel with Snakes Pass but via open country. It was a magic and truly epic weekend.

I learnt a lot from Gooders (correct way to peg out a tent, how to put up a tarp shelter, not to leave your bag cover off overnight!) and we established a good idea of the times required to break camp, cook and boil water. All tasks we will want to be second nature by the end of March.

Here are some pics showing why it was all worth it (aside from our unrelenting Turtle Dove drive):

IMG_7835
Heading out from Baslow…
IMG_7839
… looking down on Baslow…
IMG_7880
… not the best weather for camping…
... happy camper...
… happy camper…
... looking back over our route before heading back into Sheff toon.
… looking back over our route before heading back into Sheff toon.

So, the Peaks proved we could cover ground with all we needed to camp and still get up the next morning to carry on! Success.

Yesterday Sir Rob joined me to do a practice day – covering the full daily total of 40km / 25mile through Suffolk Breckland. Again we weighted to mimic a typical day on Dove Step. Here is the route we covered and the all important stats:

Walking Activity 40.08 km | RunKeeper
40km / 25m of success!
... mid walk coffee stop...
… mid walk coffee stop…
IMG_8028
… Sir Rob enjoying much needed tea and cake at Suffolk Wildlife Trusts Lackford Lakes visitor centre ahead of the last 10km to home.

So, plenty of momentum. I am sure Sir Rob will post his side of events from yesterday in due course and I know Tris and Gooders are equally high-achieving with their own training . We have also settled on a start date; 29th March 2014 – which if we are successful, will see us arrive into Saltholme RSPB on Thursday 10th April.

Finally, thank you!

Thanks for reading this, thanks to those who have donated to the JustGiving page which we are proud has already crept up to £120! Also, with many thanks to those who have got in touch to offer help and accommodation. We very much look forward to starting at Lakenheath RSPB and arriving into Saltholme RSPB.

As ever be sure to keep an eye on the Operation Turtle Dove website and more updates on here soon…

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