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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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K2B Countdown 14

EVENING Mail editor and publisher JONATHAN LEE writes about his fitness plan and goal for 2012 – to take part in the Keswick to Barrow walk.

SO that’s it. Training over. Basil the fox terrier has done all he can. I’m on my own now. The Keswick to Barrow walk is less than 72 hours away. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. I’m scared I might not make it. I’ve only done a maximum 22-mile walk in the build-up. My body has never walked 40 miles in all its 45-year life. It might simply not go that far.

I’m excited because if I do manage to make it to Hawcoat Park, it will be the realisation of an ambition. And while I haven’t done anywhere near as much training as I’d have liked, I have been building up to this since January.

My final training walk was on Sunday. I set off from the Red Lion at Lowick and conquered the 90-minute Kirkby Moor climb before dropping down to Marton and the Black Dog (so sad to see the pub closed, this was a regular early Saturday evening haunt for us a couple of years ago, with award winning real ales under the excellent stewardship of James Howarth, now manager at the Mill in Ulverston).

Family commitments on Sunday meant I couldn’t carry on through Dalton and to the finish line at Hawcoat Park. Instead, I completed the 12-mile walk by going over to Green Haume (just by the Dalton roundabout) and then back to Kirkby via Askam, Dunnerholme and a coastal path (not advisable at high tide, which it was, thanks to the moon being a supermoon at the weekend – as close as it ever gets to earth – it’s amazing what can influence K2B training!). Which got me thinking, about all the ups and downs along the way, a bit like a football team coming to the end of a season, not knowing if it will claim silverware, and looking back on what has been a great journey regardless. Whatever Saturday brings in the K2B, the training has taken me to places, and on walks, I wouldn’t have otherwise been on.

I’ve reached the top of Black Combe in snow, trudged through even more of the white stuff to the Red Lion, made it to the Blacksmith’s Arms at Broughton Mills on foot, done the “three pubs walk” from Elterwater to Little Langdale and Coniston, walked the length of Thirlmere and over Dunmail Raise on the Grasmere to Coniston leg, and learned more about the Lake District bus service along the way.

I’ve also met some interesting people en route. From German fellwalker Hans on the top of Black Combe to Trevor and his wife who quit Cornwall to live in Windermere and are set to complete their own 34-mile epic Welsh walk at the Llangollen Round later in the year. Even on Sunday, those walking into Lowick Church wished me all the best and hoped all the walkers would enjoy good weather on Saturday. I half hoped they might put in a good word for us between the pews.

So whatever the big day brings, the Keswick to Barrow has already lived up to all my expectations and more. It’s inspired me to get fitter and to see more of Cumbria and the Lake District from the best vantage point possible, on foot. All that’s left is to actually do it, and fundraise. Our team is raising money for the Barrow and District Disability Association. Donations would be appreciated. Roll on the big day.

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