Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mines Awareness Trust Heritage Beach Walk

I am writing the first part of this post before I head off on today’s charity walk so I can compare how I think it is going to go and how it actually goes. Today I am walking the Mines Awareness Trust’s Heritage Beach Walk. The walk starts at Pembroke Bay in the far north of Guernsey and ends at Portelet Bay,covering a distance of 12.5 miles or 20.1 kilometers. I will actually walk the west coast from top to bottom.

I googled what speed a person could walk in an hour and it seems to be an average of 3 miles which is about 4.8 kilometers. The walk starts at 9.00am so I hope to complete it before 1.00pm.

Our children are going to M’s house for the morning as my husband is going, with M’s husband, to school to help build some decking outside one of the classrooms. I had already planned to do the walk when the school asked for volunteers to help with the decking. M offered to have the kids so my husband could help as well. M already has two young children of her own so I think her morning is going to be an interesting one, fortunately she is trained in childcare so I think she will survive.

My emergency kit contains: headache tablets (in case a migraine strikes), suncream, mobile phone, lip balm, camera (of course!) and the solitary bandaid my husband managed to scrounge from the bottom of his work bag. I am wearing double socks, one rainbow stripes and one sports, so the theory is the socks will rub each other and leave my poor feet alone. I know I can complete the walk physically but whether my feet let me down is another matter entirely.

I am more than a little nervous about this morning; not because I don’t think I can finish it but because if I don’t I may not be able to complete the Itex walk in a few weeks time. My walking buddy for Itex, Clair, has already put in her entry form so I am commited to that walk either way – I just really want to be able to complete it.

I have never been what you would call fit, nor thin for that matter, but the three charity walks I am planning to do this summer are goals I have set myself. I never achieved anything ‘sporty’ so doing these walks is a challenge I plan to win.

I’ll write more after I arrive home this afternoon, wish me luck!


I set off at 8.30am with only two other walkers in front of me. We arrived early so the organisers said leaving before the 9.00am official start was fine. They gave me a map (thank goodness) and a list of emergency phone numbers to ring if I got into trouble along the way.

There is a walking path which covers the majority of the west coast but where you could we were supposed to walk on the beaches. We had instructions to avoid to specific beaches as the sea birds were breeding.

Early in the walk stopping to take a photo was enjoyable but as the walk went on each time I stopped I could feel the burning of my calves, the shooting pain in my tendons, the massive blisters on the soles of my feet!

I reached Portnifer and I didn't need to see the warning flags, or have the walk Marshall tell me, to know not to walk the coast path in this area. The gun club were in residence. The booming of each shoot could be heard for about a twenty minute stretch of the walk. They shoot 'clay pigeon' which are shot out over the ocean.

Sometimes there were stairs;

sometimes there was seaweed and wet shoes;

sometimes there were rocks;

sometimes there was sand (at least they didn't want us to get lost).

There was lovely scenery to look at as I walked along. I borrowed my husband's ipod and got to listen to:

1. Newton Falkner: Hand built by Robots
2. The Script: The Script
3. X-Gen compilation
4. Best of Salt N Pepper
5. Rhiannon: Good Girl Gone Bad

When you time the walk by albums listened to it doesn't sound that bad, does it?

The signs worked. All the drivers took notice of the sign and gave the walkers plenty of space.

I cam to Lihou Island and had been walking for three hours by this stage. I had stopped for a toilet break at Port Soif and as a result been overtaken by three other walkers - I never caught them up. I was passed by one other man who was about 6foot5inches and how I wished my stride was that big. He covered so much ground with each step that he disappeared into the distance in no time. I met a Marshall where this photo was taken and she gave me the 'good' news that the walk did not follow the road here but that we had to go up a hill and follow the coastline!!!! Who put a "£$%^&* hill there, I ask you!

I could see the Imperial Hotel in the distance and could imagine the finish line there waiting for me. I had set myself the goal of finishing the walk in under four hours. I had 50 minutes left. I put Rhiannon's upbeat music on the old ipod, increased my pace a best I could and went for it.

12.5 miles/20.1 kilometers in three hours and forty-five minutes - yeah!!!

I even received a medal. The kids were very impressed.

Has this made me nervous about the Itex walk. Hell, yes! The injury tally: two blisters the size of fifty cent pieces (Aussie sized) on the pad of each foot, one bleeding toe, a limp, nausea for the final 200 meters and for two hours after the completion of the walk, swollen toes, swollen fingers, pure exhaustion.

Am I going to still try to complete the Itex walk - Yes. I know it will be three and a half times longer than this walk but I have to give it a go. I think I need to do more training!


  1. Go you good thing - well done Gill :)

  2. Pretty photos and glad you finished. I use to do the Bay to the Breakers when I lived in San Francisco and it was the most fun but so exhausting. There are so many hill and you went from the Bay side of San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean walking/running in the city streets. I really miss doing this race/walk. Your post bought back memories for me. Hope you do another one next year.