Walking the Sandstone Trail – Day 1

A while back I came across the Sandstone Trail – a 34 mile trail that starts in Frodsham and finishes in Whitchurch. http://sandstonetrail.co.uk/ has the full info. I’ve always liked the idea of long walks and having done various stages of it Hugo and I decided to take the whole thing in two days.

26-Oct-2011 09:18, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
26-Oct-2011 09:18, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80
26-Oct-2011 09:19, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80

Our training and prep was pretty basic. Over the course of two or three months we slowly progressed from 90 minute walks to over four hours. We did our final walk before the full thing on Sunday October the 23rd – walking 18km in just over four and a half hours.

So on Wednesday, October the 26th we started from Frodsham High Street at 08:45 and set off. The full map of Wednesday’s progress can be seen at http://runkeeper.com/user/icottee/activity/57644814. I had absolutely no idea how Hugo would get on. The first time we went from 90 minutes to 3 hours he suffered a lot from the increased walking (he ended up on my shoulders for a third of the way, which was good training for me). So going from 4.5 hours of walking to what turned out to be just shy of 8 hours (plus stops) was a slight worry. He did magnificently – two hours before the end he even started running, just to prove to me that he was definitely ahead of me in the fitness stakes.

This first day was cold but bright and sunny. The views from the top of Frodsham Hill were spectacular. From there we continued on our way at a brisk pace, taking a brief break on a bench in Delamere forest for some early lunch and a pot of tea at Summertrees Tea Room. Hugo hadn’t been well the day before but was still keen to try the walk but we ditched the idea of his carry a rucksack with him and we travelled light with the bare necessities packed into mine.

Sandstone on the Sandstone Trail
Sandstone on the Sandstone Trail26-Oct-2011 09:27, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400
26-Oct-2011 14:16, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.5, 9.84mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 125
26-Oct-2011 15:42, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100

26-Oct-2011 15:12, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 125
26-Oct-2011 12:44, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 125
26-Oct-2011 11:13, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 5.8, 21.6mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 125

We were definitely flagging towards the end. You can see Beeston Castle from quite a way off and you tend to focus on it as it slowly draws closer and closer. Knowing that even when we reached there we still had another hour to go (and knowing a lot of that last hour would be uphill) definitely focussed the mind somewhat. But (for me) the prospect of a refreshing pint and (for Hugo) the anticipation of some new games I’d bribed him with kept us going. Just having passed Beeston we got bright sunshine and rain at the same time – leading to a wonderful double rainbow.
26-Oct-2011 16:05, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80
26-Oct-2011 16:46, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 5.8, 21.6mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 125
26-Oct-2011 16:50, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 5.0, 17.55mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125

We finally reached http://www.thepheasantinn.co.uk/ just before 18:00. It’s a beautiful place to relax with a pint and get recharged for the next day. The photo below on the left is the view from the Inn.
26-Oct-2011 17:21, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 5.8, 21.6mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 250
26-Oct-2011 17:38, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 250
26-Oct-2011 20:06, Canon Canon PowerShot A480, 3.0, 6.6mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 250

So all in all, a great days walking and we’d purposely done more the first day to give us a psychological boost for the next.

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