Alderley Edge training walk

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.mh500

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)

mh500bp

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)

meae

the second is the well-earned view from the Edge

ae

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.

Buen Camino!

Andy

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12 thoughts on “Alderley Edge training walk

  1. I like your blog, Andy and you’re doing a good job. My husband and I are going to start in Porto in early October with the camino Portuguese.

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    1. thank you for your great comment !! obviously I’m starting mid April but you never know, I could still be going by October at this rate ! 🙂
      Buen Camino.

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  2. Hi Andy, great blog. Regarding walking poles though, I have done Camino five times over the last five years, The first two years I purchased walking poles in Spain, and each time promptly either broke them or lost them somewhere.My opinion is they are a waste of time in Spain, in the UK they may be useful for mud of ice but that is all. Also you cannot take them on the plane as hand luggage, so you would have to pay extra, because as I am always saying, if you pack is too big as hand luggage then you are carrying too much. The biggest mistake of first timers is carrying to much. Every year I go my pack gets lighter, I live and learn.But fortunately I can shop at Rohan stores who have all the lightest gear. Good luck with this walk I will be following you.

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    1. Hi Mike thanks for the advice. I’m pretty certain that I will end up overpacking regardless of how hard I try not to.. I went shopping for a 30 litre pack and bought a 40… So there’s a 33% increase before I’ve even started!!

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  3. Andy, I am sure you will have quite a bit of pain on your camino but I am also sure that you will have a lot of laughs as will others who share your days on the path.

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  4. Loving your blog! Came here via twitter when I commented about Pilgrimage on Beeb 2. I’m not religious but my family crest has the shell from Santiago on it, so some fit mediaeval sod must have done it! 😀 This fat lass will just eat her choccy eggs and watch you struggle!

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    1. It’s a sign!! Get your boots on and I’ll meet you in Saint Jean in a couple of weeks 🙂

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      1. So much chocolate to wade through first….I’d just be a chunk o’lard 😀

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      2. That makes two of us.. I think my family crest has a pie and two bags of crisps on it 😀

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  5. Ian (on a stick is my forum surname) Sep 7, 2018 — 8:22 am

    I’m reading this in order so I’m not sure which way the poles issue will go. I’ve been an active walker all my life and couldn’t see the point of poles for much of that. I thought they were a laughable affectation. Once I hit late 40s and the weight went on and the knees started to wobble on downhills, I finally saw the point. I only use one but to quote American Express, I don’t leave home without it. Although obviously I don’t take it to Iceland for the weekly shop.

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  6. What do you think of the MH500 jacket after a couple months of being in it? Its ridiculously cheap, but I haven’t seen any decent in-depth reviews of it.

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    1. I can’t fault it. I’ve not had it in two hours of torrential rain but for medium rainfall it’s been great. Also very breathable and light.

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