Early March and the UK has been blasted by the ‘Beast from the east’.. freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions. With this in mind I decided to stay home and research a new jacket for my Camino. If you have read my earlier post you will know that my cheap 3 in 1 jacket was not up to task due to lack of breathability. 4 or 5 miles into a dry day hike it turned out I was wearing my own personal steamroom..
After hours of internet searching I came across the Quechua MH500 sold by Decathlon. It has great reviews and is reasonably priced. I decided to give it a go.
It’s a great looking jacket but the thing that really swung it for me was the underarm ventilation zips… I will now be able to have a good armpit scratch without having to remove my jacket !! Whilst I was in the store I also picked up an MH500 40litre backpack.. some may say this is a touch on the large size but I plan on packing a sleeping bag along with the rest of my belongings so think it will be fine. (total pack weight appears to be around 7-8kg unless I can find anything else to throw in, maybe a steam iron to keep my clothes looking dapper)
Again the pack has great reviews and is well priced for what you get. It includes the stretchnet ventilation which sits the pack away from your back and stops those annoying sweaty back days.
Ok, that’s the boring kit part dealt with, On with the walk. Alderley Edge offers a very simple walk. A long uphill slog, some breathtaking views of Cheshire and Manchester and then a muddy descent back to the village. My main reason for doing the walk was the initial ascent although its only 2km long it feels like much more to someone as unfit as me. I set off with a spring in my step and hit the hill. 200m in and I was considering cancelling the Camino and having a fortnight on a beach somewhere instead. The beginning of the hill knocked my confidence almost immediately.. I decided to push on and see how i fared.. With 2 small breaks (one for a much-needed cigarette) I made it to the top.. once I had got over the initial shock at the bottom of the hill the going wasn’t too bad.. ease off on the pace, take an occasional minute or two break to let muscles regroup and plod on.. A celebratory cigarette at the top and the Camino was back on !! I rambled along country paths without a twinge, took in the sights of the fields spread out below me inwardly scoffing at the families that had driven up in their cars whilst I had powered up there like a seasoned pro (ish). I think the day can be summed up in two photos.. the first was taken walking up the hill (note the dashing new jacket)
the second is the well-earned view from the Edge
Apart from the sense of relief knowing that even in my chubby state I could (steadily) get up a decent sized hill I also found that my clothing under my new coat was as dry as a bone.. I honestly can’t heap enough praise on the MH500 jacket.. go get one.. get two !!
I skipped my way back down muddy tracks whilst considering the pros and cons of walking poles… should I buy some? most people swear by them but I will have to have a think about that one..
Back at the car I felt great.. ok it was only 5 or 6 miles in total but vastly different from walking along a flat coast. And more importantly I didn’t ache. I felt fine then and I felt fine the next day.. perhaps things were looking up.
well, that’s another walk under my belt.. soon be time to start walking with a loaded pack and see how that goes… and the weird thing is, I can’t wait.
thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this and want to follow me on my rambling journey please give me a follow.