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SUSANK16 's Adventure On The Highland Way

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Saturday, October 08, 2016

Susan has asked me to do the blog for her. Please when the blog is posted, read, like and comment. Susan deserves a popular blog post award. If that happens I will see that she gets it.

I told Ceri that I would write up something on the West Highland Way and this is that piece.

First, I would like to thank all those who wanted to wish me well on the journey, but could not as I do not have a Sparkpage. Truthfully, I am an introvert, a private person, and have never been involved in social media. It is not that I am unfriendly and I recently have been giving thought to starting at least a Sparkpage, but old habits are hard to break.

I do want to give Spark it’s due though as I would not have walked the West Highland Way without it. I joined Spark some time ago and lost quite a bit of weight. I, however, did gain some back when I moved countries, retired and married all within the space of six months. I define myself as a stress eater and did exactly that. When things settled down, I came back to Spark to lose. I have used the site for the nutritional tracker, the fitness tracker and the articles. I know that for me it is important to stay focused and Spark helps me do that. I also keep my own spreadsheet, which tracks my progress in multiple ways and updates automatically – it helps me to stay motivated, but much of the spreadsheet utilizes calculations that I found on Spark. Finally, I journal regularly (offline) about diet books I read and my emotions. My final statement is that weight loss is a personal experience and as such individuals need to adjust what they read and how they approach it to best suit themselves.

I started the 5% fall challenge a year ago and at that time received an invitation from Ceri through the mail. This invitation made a lot of difference to me. I was struggling and had begun to increase my posting on Spark as a way to stay focused, but probably would not have joined a team without that invitation. I gave it a lot of thought and decided I would join the challenge, but that I would treat the team seriously. That meant that I had to participate as fully as I could and contribute where possible. My goal was simply “To do the best that I could for the team every day.” I took that approach and responded to motivational postings and signed in regularly, etc. The first thing I learned was that I could do more--although I committed to 70 minutes of exercise – I actually did 120 minutes daily.

At some point Ceri posted ‘Walking 4 Fun Friends’ website and I joined the West Highland Way. I showed the site to my husband and somewhere along the way we began discuss doing it for real. Pretty soon the reservations were made and I went into ‘training’. I trained by walking daily and doing strength training videos. From the way we booked the trip, I was looking at 35,000 Fitbit steps to be the longest day and worked to increase weekly by 1,000 steps a day. This worked quite well up until about 20,000 steps because there was simply not enough time to get more steps in. Once a week, we would have what I refer to as challenge walks where we walked a full day and tried to do these through the Peak district where you have a lot of climbing. Our biggest fear was doing eight days of hiking long distances in a row.

My opinion of the walk is that it is very well marked – you are not likely to get lost. There are hotels and stopping points along the route so no camping is needed – we took the bed and breakfast route. We ate a large breakfast in the morning, a light snack for lunch and a big meal at the end of the day. There are companies that will carry your bags from one location to the next for a small fee. I would suggest carrying a hiker’s backpack and keeping the essentials in – we had rainproof covers, snacks, first-aid, etc. The hiking was pretty good although lots of rocks and I developed two blisters even with all my training. The most difficult day was Day 3 where my FITBIT recorded 45,000 steps which I attribute to the exceedingly rough terrain—such as climbing over boulders. It was also the day that it rained and even with waterproofs we were soaked by the end. My husband and I often punctuated our conversations with ‘Are you sorry you married me, yet?’

We did meet some lovely and interesting people on the walk – surprisingly most were from my home state, Illinois. You do see the same people quite regularly in the hotels or taking breaks. On day 7, we faced the Devil’s Staircase and as we worked our way up it, feeling quite proud of ourselves, we turned to see a large group of people running behind us. Just when you think you are doing something well, along comes the Glencoe Marathon – yes indeed a marathon running up and down this climb! When a group passed us, we moved to the side and simply applauded and said encouraging things. I loved some of the comments as they passed us.

‘They told me this would be fun – it’s not!’

‘Hey you don’t have some whiskey, do you?’

My guess was there was over 500 runners and it was impressive seeing them make the climb and going down (remember very gravelly rocky trail) and leaping over small streams. When we arrived at our destination, there was only one runner still out.

I highly recommend the walk, but be sure to train for it, if you are not up to walking that much, I suggest doing a one-day portion and taking the train. You can see much of the beautiful scenery from the train. Would we do the walk again? We do want to keep walking and are exploring other hikes to take. We are basically homebodies and want to be back at home by about day 4 (no matter where we are) so we are looking at some shorter hikes or hikes that can be split into parts

Thank you Susan for sharing!

Even though Susan doesn't have a Spark Page, please drop her a note via Spark Mail to let her know you enjoyed her post. Also please like and comment below.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ORODEO73
    Beautiful and wonderful adventure!!
    1650 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11945874
    What A story you told ...beautiful pictures to go with!..... emoticon on the Popular blog!
    1666 days ago
    I enjoyed reading your blog - congratulations on taking on that hike.
    1723 days ago
  • MOGAL1946
    So glad you got to experience this in person. I am a slow walkers and love the virtual walks. You did an emoticon job. Thank you so much for sharing this adventure with us.
    1740 days ago
    Enjoyed reading your story! I would love to someday walk part of the Highland Way!
    1747 days ago
  • 911BRAD
    1753 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15569762
    This is such an inspiration to me! I would love doing something similar, probably shorter! My sweetie thinks nature is for the birds and wouldn't touch it, haha.
    1753 days ago
    Very inspiring. I love hiking(when I'm in shape) and have set Scotland or England long trail hikes as a goal now! Thanks!
    1754 days ago
    emoticon Thank you for sharing your story!
    1755 days ago
    What an amazing adventure! Thank you for sharing your story!
    1756 days ago
  • ANYVAR54
    Susan, thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us. I hope to do some hiking in Arkansas near Thanksgiving but it will be less than a mile. Nothing like your hikes. You give inspiration! And please tell him, you have an awesome husband to do this with you! Fellow emoticon
    1757 days ago
    So glad you found a way to share your story. What a fun journey!
    1757 days ago
    I enjoyed the realness of this adventure. She and her husband trained and even with that had difficulties. The 500 runners flying by could have been a downer... but they gave encouragement. I also love that her husband went with her. What a great thing to do together.
    1757 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1757 days ago
    Thank you for sharing - that is awesome!
    1757 days ago
    This was awesome,thank you Susan I enjoyed it immensely!
    1758 days ago
    sounds like a lot of walking, but a great fun thing to do, Thanks for the blog,
    1758 days ago
    This sounds like so much FUN !!! So glad when you both talked it over, you followed through instead of just saying "It'd be nice" than sitting on the couch and watching movies instead. emoticon !!!

    TY for the pics ! LOL the runners comments ! That had to of been so funny !!! Glad they had a sense of humor as they went than down the run, YO ! I can't even begin to think of running like that !
    1758 days ago
  • CGPS1795
    There was a time I could only walk. But even with my new found activity, I don't think I could do that type of climb. I'm so glad you did it and are sharing it!!!

    The 5% Challenges have given me my life back. 214# down and 26" in the waist gone. Check out my blogs! emoticon

    Best of luck on this journey!

    Carl emoticon

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1758 days ago
    I do the Pacific Crest Trail virtually and learned about it here on SP, I think from KURTZIE. My son recently completed the PCT from the Mexican border to Canada. This has inspired me to begin hiking small sections here in California. I recently traveled to Oregon where DH and I hiked part of the bottom trail leading up to MT. Hood and some in the Cascade Mtns. also.

    I love the idea of bed and breakfasts being available which you do not find in California on the trail. Someday I'd love to do some of the West Highland Way Trail. Sounds emoticon emoticon for sharing. It is very inspiring!
    1758 days ago
    Thank you for your post I will live through you emoticon
    1758 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Congratulations on your hike. What an awesome adventure that must have been! Way to go!
    God bless you and keep you on your journey! Have a fabulous day!
    1758 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1884311
    1758 days ago
    I've been on SP a year and a half and haven't posted a blog yet. I'm pretty private too. I think the 5% challenges are allowing me to open up more. Who knows, I may blog sooner or later.

    Congrats on the hike. I've been thinking about walking the Appalachian Trail. I know its crazy, but I can't get it out of my mind.
    1758 days ago
    Your journey has been a totally emoticon one!!! emoticon for your achievement.
    1758 days ago
  • KURTZIE1998
    What an adventure. I do the walks virtually. I learned about walking 4 fun on sparks, and it happened our Bishop did the Pacific Crest Trail walk from Oregon border to the Washington border. The complete trip starts at Border of Ca and Mexico and ends at Canadian border. I started the walk May 31 2015 and am stage 25. But to actually due the walk is great. You and hubby should be so proud. Congratulations.

    emoticon emoticon
    1758 days ago
    Wow, that's great! Thank you so much for sharing with us.
    1758 days ago
    Susan, thank you for sharing your experiences with us!
    1758 days ago
    Susan, This was so much fun to read - THANK YOU!
    1758 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15536563
    Good job. I don't think DH could do a hike. He use to have a evening walk with me but no more. I think I would enjoy a day walk but not sure I'd care for longer. Love the outdoors. Its great you and your DH do this together.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1758 days ago
    Thank you for the informative article!! You and your husband seemed to do wonderfully out on the trail. You kept your sense of fun and humor about the entire experience and that was great. It does make me want to go climb a mountain. Maybe I can substitute some of our local trails on the Oregon Trail one of these days. While I am not in shape right now, I will be in shape in 6 months from now and I would love to do something like that as a reward for getting better after my car accident. Thank you so much for the in emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1758 days ago
    What a fabulous adventure! As another introvert, I "feel" you Susan! Seriously!!! This is the only social media site to which I belong. My family finds me incredibly difficult to communicate with because they communicate via social media and electronics and I do not. Prefer to converse with folks in the 3D world. Thank you. Talk to me.

    That being said, Spark People has opened up an unimagined world of opportunity. emoticon Little by little as I felt safe, I engaged more here. Evenutally joined some teams, set up a Spark Page, etc. Know that it's possible to do what I call "lock down" your Spark Page.

    Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure. emoticon on the West Highland Way!
    1758 days ago
    emoticon post! Wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing.
    1758 days ago
    Wow! I will have to look into that as a "do someday". Thanks for sharing this, Susan!!
    1758 days ago
    My days of hiking are over, but I enjoyed yours!
    1758 days ago
    Great post!
    I want to go there and hike with DH and DS, but first I have to lose weight.
    Good for you!
    1758 days ago
  • TAMIP62
    What a testament to how the 5% Challenge can truly be an inspiration to bigger and better things! Loved this post soooo much. Had to laugh at the turning occasionally to each other and asking "are you sorry you married me yet" line. I laughed out loud.
    1758 days ago
    I love this story! Susan you lived my dream hike. Although I know I will never get there. I am so glad you shared with us. Thank You!
    1758 days ago
    Awesome post! You did great! I would love to hike (1 day length). Great memories to have and share.
    1758 days ago
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