Dove Step – Day 11

Duration: 8 hours
Daily Distance: 20 miles / 32 km
Total cumulative Distance: 257.5 miles / 412.5 km
Distance left to go: 45.5 miles / 73.5 km
Temperature: 12 Oc
Wind: 20 mph north westerlies
Cumulative number of bird species encountered: 123 with Siskin and Marsh Tit new for the trip today.

Sir Rob highlights – The Cinder Track and coastal scenery

Jonny highlights – Scarborough Youth Hostel and pleasant mileage!

We slept in!

For the first time of the whole trip we slept in! Spectacularly.

We usually get up at 6 re-dress our feet, get packed and in the case of Sir Robert 2 showers; shower. Breakfast it up at 7 and then get matching by 8am.

Today we awoke at 7:55! Basically 2 more hours slumber! We must have needed it after yesterday’s gruelling effort and fortunately Elise and Collin at the Youth Hostel were understanding about our late arrival to breakfast.

Collin also gifted us an awesome route – The Cinder Track – which basically straight lines Scarborough to Whitby. Infinitely better than yesterday’s roadathon and cliff top steps and valleys.

We also bumped into fellow hikers Ms Vickers and co. who keenly listened to why we were marching and looked so dishevelled!

Yesterday can definitely be described as nightmarish but today was much more dreamlike; we lay in, the sun was out, the Cinder Track was kind to our feet and we made it into Whitby in good time. Happy days.

Just two further big pushes now…

… can we make it?

… will my heel stay intact?

… will Rob’s swollen ankle last the distance?

Check back tomorrow to find out!

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Dove Step – Day 10

Duration: 11.5 hours
Daily Distance: 26 miles / 42 km
Total cumulative Distance: 237.5 miles / 380.5 km
Distance left to go: 65.5 miles / 105.5 km
Temperature: 14 Oc
Wind: 20 mph south westerlies with hell blows on the cliff top!
Cumulative number of bird species encountered: 121 with Fulmar, Kittiwake and Gannet new for the trip today.

Sir Rob highlights – mud, finishing strong, the sheer brutality of it all!

Jonny highlights – seeing another days marathon mileage off and watching the fundraising total rise. A good reminder of why we are suffering!

The blog updates have been a bit pleasant the last couple of days. We were buoyed up on Saturday having crossed the Humber Bridge and seeing Gooders again. Yesterday we had an active rest day with mild mileage. So I can see for the reader it must have been a little dull.

Well, fear not: day 10 was horrific.

We started early knowing it was a big one and were marching by 07:45. We had a lot of road work to do with only a few connecting footpaths and were also totally out of food. We factored in a village which was marked as having a shop. It didn’t. Nor did the next one. Luckily the third one did. After 4 hours and 15 minutes of shifting we got some supplies!

It was also raining hard for the first few hours and I found out my waterproof trousers are less than waterproof. The result was wet pants, which wasn’t too pleasant on an already degraded crotch.

We were then gifted a sunny spell to partly dry us out as we covered good mileage, although sadly on roads. Roads are really harsh on the feet. There is no ‘give’ in the surface so they aggravate our already bruised and blistered feet. This is ok singularly but if you then go along cliff top paths and through rough fields the pitching of the feet over this uneven ground is unbearable. Once tender due to the road miles soles are then having to move laterally as opposed to simply up and down. Harsh!

We also have a new issue to contend with; terrain! There are hills now and lots of them! We traversed the Yorkshire Wolds and the coastal path is also really up and down. In the rain, with wet mud, slippery rocks and endless stairs it was really challenging!

After piling on through the hunger, bashing our feet on the tarmac and then crossing fields, slopes and steps; we were due another soaking. This arrived horizontally and with 10 pence piece sized hail / rain drops driven into us via the gusting wind. It was good to finish as the day started – soaked through to our pants.

On one of the afternoon breaks we also made a grim discovery – our youth hostel accommodation for the evening was on the north side of Scarborough. This added really unwelcome mileage to an already long day, with the added upset of requiring more tarmac bashing miles.

On balance we are still in pretty good nick, although incredibly I achieved a further blister – on my left heel. The skin is so thick and the blister so deep-seated I am unable to lance it, even my trusty penknife wasn’t up to the job!

Despite this endurance we still have cause to be cheered – or at least to keep going!

We sometimes log into the JustGiving page on our breaks to check on progress and there was immense progress on day 10!

Our talk at Frampton Marsh RSPB the other evening raised a great slug of cash and was added with the following message:

Incredible effort gents. Love watching the pennies rise as the miles fall, you should be immensely proud. Inspirational journey and message which the Frampton team are honored to be part of.

Reading that yesterday certainly spurred us on and was even a bit emotional!

Onwards – for Turtle Doves!

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Dove Step – Day 9

Duration: 6.5 hours
Daily Distance: 16 miles / 25km
Total cumulative Distance: 211.5 miles / 338.5 km
Distance left to go: 91.5 miles / 147.5 km
Temperature: 14 Oc
Wind: 18 mph south westerlies with unhelpful gusts!
Cumulative number of bird species encountered: 118 with Sand Martin and Willow Warbler new for today. It’s Spring!

Sir Rob highlights – Sand Martin and Willow Warbler. Delightful Yorkshire Countryside. Nice short day!

Goodrick highlights – the team rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Jonny highlights – Mrs Goodrick’s chocolate marching cake and breaking the 200 mile barrier!

Today was an active rest day with the walking total a baby 16 miles! We feel awesome for the early finish and massively recovered. We are currently enjoying an awesome Sunday evening in the Spencer household – a huge thanks to James and the Spencer ladies for their hospitality.

We enter the new week the correct side of 200 miles are ready to make 4 big pushes to the finish! Wahoo!

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Dove Step – Day 8

Duration: 8.5 hours
Daily Distance: 24 miles / 39km
Total cumulative Distance: 195.5 miles / 313.5 km
Distance left to go: 107.5 miles / 172.5 km
Temperature: 14 Oc
Wind: 15 mph south westerlies
Cumulative number of bird species encountered: 116 with Willow Tit and Woodcock new for today.

Sir Rob highlights – Willow Tit, crossing the Humber Bridge, Woodcock, sprinting 100m because I’m mad and the sheer, sheer pain of blistered feet. Reaching Yorkshire.

Goodrick highlights – getting back to Dove Step’ing, the Humber Bridge.

Jonny highlights – seeing Gooders again and marching on Beverley as a trio. Posting yet another strong day at the 24 mile mark without too much degradation of the feet. Seeing off a third county – having walked the whole of it!

A superb day in the Dove Step camp. We are all jubilant – although a hard last hour or two marching we made it into Beverley after just 8.5 hours of walking. We are now convalescing in the Friary Youth Hostel and with complimentary YHA membership owing to our charitable status. With many thanks to the YHA for supporting our efforts.

We had our first more substantial rain today but it didn’t pose any real problems. Which is good as it’s looks like tomorrow will be a wet one.

Although mentioned yesterday, I have to mentioned again how hugely appreciative we are for the fundraising support. We have raised an amount we feel will be of significant benefit to Operation Turtle Dove now. This makes suffering the day-to-day a lot easier.

Thanks also to the online support. We have recieved some very, very cool tweets and photos.

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Dove Step – Day 7

Duration: 8.5 hours
Daily Distance: 24 miles / 38.5km
Total cumulative Distance: 171.5 miles / 274.5 km
Distance left to go: 131.5 miles / 211.5 km
Temperature: 11 Oc
Wind: 13 mph westerlies
Cumulative number of bird species encountered: 114 including Turnstone, Shag, Peregrine and Coal Tit

Sir Rob highlights – seeing Thornton Abbey and tipping the half way mark! Having a pair or Peregrine squabbling overhead just north of Grimsby. Relaxing Radox bath this evening!

Jonny highlights – smashing the half way mark and finishing the day in Northern Lincolnshire poised for a monumental day tomorrow. Having the first Shag of Dove Step along the beach at Cleethorpes! Sir Rob and my seemingly endless appetite for pain! Banging out 24 miles largely on roads on the seventh day. Whilst we take a little time to get moving in the morning and after our lunch break we are still capable of shifting serious mileage!

The last couple of days have seen us push really hard during the walking hours which has only been possible due to concerted recovery and care in the evenings. Two nights ago the superb White Heather Guest House, Mablethorpe took care of us amazingly, that was after a particularly dark, blistered, fatigued effort from me. The B&B and food turned us around and allowed for a serious days effort yesterday too.

Last night we were in the very best of care and hosted by a massive gent; Dr Keith Collett. Without the killer feed, bath, beds and breakfast there is no way we would have endured over 8 hours of road walking today. Above and beyond is the fact that Dr Collett even checked my feet! The ‘field surgery’ was given the green light and we even got an accolade; we have blisters everywhere it is possible to get blisters!

So a huge thankyou to both Debbie and Kevin at the White Heather Guest House and also Dr Collett. You are Dove Step’ing with us!

Finally a massive and emotional thankyou to everyone who has donated and pushed the JustGiving page to new heights! It makes enduring each day worth it.

The Turtle Doves will appreciate it too. Even if they don’t know it!

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Dove Step – Day 6

Duration: 9 hours
Daily Distance: 25.5 miles / 41 km
Total cumulative Distance: 147.5 miles / 236 km
Distance left to go: 155.5 miles / 250 km
Temperature: 8 Oc
Wind: 14 mph easterlies
Cumulative number of bird species encountered: 110 including Red-breasted Merganser and Ringed Plover. We also had ring-tailed Hen Harrier and female Wheatear to complement yesterday mornings males of each.

Sir Rob highlights – ring-tailed Hen Harrier and Merlin at Saltfleetby. Seeing Donna’s Nook. Seeing a ginger Father Jack – I mean Jonny – get his rucksack caught in a gate.

Jonny highlights – posting a strong 25 mile day without any of yesterday’s pain-athon or fatigue. Last nights power sleep and formalising our walking routine have worked wonders. We stop every 2 hours and have corresponding drink/ food/ foot dressing/ sock change routines for each break now. Hopefully we can replicate this on all the remaining days as today was almost a pleasure!

We are also on a precipice; tomorrow we will be over half way through our trek and also have less days to walk than we have already walked! Tomorrow will be a good day!

Otherwise we remain super greatful to our sponsors BlackBar Brewery for refreshments at Frampton on Day 3 and for creating the taste sensation that is Dove Step ale. Another good reason to get to Saltholme!

Our Bridgedale socks are similarly performing excellently. Especially now we are in the habit of changing them twice daily and airing our feet on breaks.

Finally, all roads lead to Saltholme and we are more confident than ever that we will make it there fighting fit and ready for the supper and talk. Please see details below…

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Dove Step – Day 5

Duration: 9 hours
Daily Distance: 21 miles / 34 km
Total cumulative Distance: 122 miles / 195 km
Distance left to go: 181 miles / 291 km
Temperature: 7 Oc
Wind: 15 mph easterlies
Cumulative number of bird species encountered: 108 including a raw awesome male Hen Harrier, Wheatear and Swallow.

Sir Rob is powering on like an ever-ready mountain goat. Clicking his heels and dancing about on the beach.

Sadly, I have rather let the side down today – I felt initially tired and then decimated as the day drew out. We still made our daily mileage and are fully on schedule. Just a little slower than expected and a lot more painfully!

Still, we are already in bed and endeavouring to do a Goodrick style power sleep where you concentrate 12 hours into 8!

A huge thank you to everyone on the twittersphere, Facebook, phone and blog offering encouragement. It really is appreciated. My fave quotes from the last few days are:

I never said it was going to be easy.
I said it was going to be worth it.

Goodrick c/o his kick boxing gym.

Hiking is just walking where it’s OK to pee.

My mum.

I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial.

Winston Churchill

Going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life.

Rocky c/o Tris

Now for that power sleep…

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