River Thames at Goring, Oxfordshire

Walk 1000 miles challenge: January 2018

I do like a challenge. Last year it was to walk the South Downs Way, the year before to run the London marathon. This year I’m taking part in the Country Walking walk 1000 miles challenge.

There are different ways to approach the 1000 mile target. Some participants count every step, others include only miles in walking boots. I’ve chosen to include all purposeful walks, including my lunchtime strolls along with more rugged mountain walks. I’m excluding the mundane miles; shopping, walking around the house or trips into town. No pleasure in those.

January miles

My challenge got off to a slow start as I only decided to take part halfway through the month. Whilst you can start anytime I decided to back date it to the beginning of January so that all my miles are completed in 2018. This gives me an average weekly mileage target of 19.25 miles.

River Thames, Goring, Oxfordshire
River Thames, Goring, Oxfordshire

I’m not a winter person so I always knew getting outside in January would be tough. Give me warmth and sun over drizzle, mud and grey skies. I also run several days per week so when I’ve got wet and cold once there’s less incentive to go outside again.

It’s therefore no surprise that most mileage in January came from my daily lunchtime and other regular walks. We walked longer routes at the weekends, although sometimes it was just a loop around a nearby nature reserve.

Thrupp Lake, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Thrupp Lake, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

Favourite January walks

A couple of walks stand out. My favourite was a nine mile circular walk from Goring-on-Thames to Pangbourne. The outward route took us up onto the hills where we stopped for a winter picnic. Battling muddy woods, muddy farm tracks and muddy fields (spot a theme?) we dropped down to Whitchurch and on to Pangbourne for a reviving cup of coffee. We walked back to Goring alongside the River Thames, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. It’s an area I often visit in summer to see the rare orchids at Hartslock Nature Reserve, but this time we kept to the Thames Path trail and didn’t deviate into the reserve.

In Goring we stopped briefly at George Michael’s house. The lane outside has become a shrine for his fans, with flags, photos and mementos left from all over the world. It’s an impressive display but I wonder what the neighbours think!

Great Coxwell Barn, near Faringdon, Oxfordshire
Great Coxwell Barn, near Faringdon, Oxfordshire

Another weekend took us from Badbury Hill to Great Coxwell Barn and back through the woods. It was a drab, cold and muddy day, made interesting with a visit to the 13th Century Great Coxwell barn. This huge stone barn still has its original timber framed roof and it’s amazing to think of all the historical events that have taken place in its 700 year life. More muddy farm tracks took us back to Badbury Woods. In May these are awash with bluebells and visitors. In January there are clusters of snowdrops. Not  enough to bring the serious photographers out but they still brightened up the day.

Snowdrops at Badbury Hill, Oxfordshire
Snowdrops at Badbury Hill, Oxfordshire

Despite my efforts, January ended with a mileage deficit. I’m not too worried as I’ll catch up in spring. I’m looking forward to some warmer mud free walks!

Mileage totals

Total mileage in January: 69.35 miles

Running total for 2018: 69.35 miles

Are you taking part in any challenges this year?

6 thoughts on “Walk 1000 miles challenge: January 2018”

  1. Best of luck, I have every confidence in you – especially when spring arrives.
    So far I’ve got the Isle of Wight coastal path lined up, hopefully some more to follow.

  2. I love the idea of this challenge. Almost seems do-able when we break it down by months. I can imagine it adds up quite quickly. I know I do 20 miles per week on the school run alone. Although that should probably be labelled as mundane! Good luck and looking forward to seeing where the miles take you.

  3. What a nice challenge! But I do agree, walking in the winter isn’t nearly that much fun as when the sun comes out to play and everything is just a little bit more greener 😉
    Good luck on your next month, I can’t wait to read more about this challenge 🙂

  4. Hi Christine, you certainly like a challenge! 1000 sounds like miles!… Well, I suppose it is really. Breaking it down into a weekly distance doesn’t sound so scary though… I have no doubt you will do it and some… Even though our January has been pretty miserable, most of our walks have not been muddy and miserable. Although we did have a really, really wet one. Just the one…. As for challenges? At the moment I’m crocheting a little green elephant and with the help of YouTube I am hoping to be able to learn to crochet something useful like a hat or even a jumper!


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