The Helpful Hiker does the Northamptonshire Round: 50 Miles in 2 Days (Day 2)

The Helpful Hiker does the Northamptonshire Round: 50 Miles in 2 Days (Day 2)

So I left the story at the end of day 1. I’d walked 30 miles, demolished a curry, had a few broken hours sleep and I was in bad shape. I still had another 20 miles to go, yet I could hardly get out of bed. It was going to be a loooong day.

The thought of all the people who had sponsored me kept me going and was a great source of inspiration over the weekend

I had purposefully planned a much easier day two. The route was shorter at a mere 20 miles, plus it was mostly through an area that is very familiar to me, so I was confident in my navigating.

As I gingerly stepped out of the car, I was still struggling to walk. I had stupidly not worn my Armaskin socks on day one and I had a few blisters. However, better late than never, I remembered them for the second day and they made a massive difference. My feet went from agony to slightly sore in an instant and meant that I could at least walk on them. My hip was a different matter. I’ve never had any issues, but then I’ve never walked 30 miles in one go before. I was desperately praying that my aches and pains would ease off, but in all honesty, I had no idea if I’d make it to the end.

The first part of the walk was along the Grand Union Canal

I picked up where I left off, at Stoke Bruerne beside the canal. I had planned a slight detour from the official Northamptonshire Round, and so my route was to take me from Stoke Bruerne to Bugbrooke along the towpath. This was mainly because I was expecting a slow and painful start, plus it makes navigating super simple.

As I started my hip was still very sore and, as Luke pulled away in the car after dropping me off, I felt a sudden wave of panic wash over me. I decided that all I could do was give it a go. If I couldn’t do it, I could always come back another day. Once I’d come to that conclusion, I felt a little more relaxed. I took a deep breath and just started walking. Surprisingly, after just a few minutes my legs started to feel ok.

This was actually an enjoyable start to my 20 mile walk. I knew where I was going and I had a couple of miles on my own to think and have a good old look around at my surroundings. I love canals and this gentle start helped to ease me into the task ahead.  At Blisworth, the next village on my travels, I met up with my walking companion for the next few hours. Kevin, who I know via our mutual hobbies of running and twitter, ran to meet me and was then kind enough to keep me company for quite a few miles.

As we reached the village of Bugbrooke, we left the canal and walked through the village and picked up a footpath out towards Harpole. This was a lovely trip down memory lane for me as I went to secondary school in Bugbrooke, although it’s been many years since I’ve been back.

Walking through Bugbrooke and out into the countryside brought back memories of my teenage years

We carried on, crossing under the M1, over the A45 and on to another village that I know well from my childhood, Harpole.

We made a few animal friends along the route, including this cute little fella

Here we met up with Kirsty, a friend who was to cover the final 10 miles with me. After a quick water and flapjack break, we pressed on. Up until this point, the whole walk had been pretty much flat. However, from previous experience I knew that there was a hill coming up. Now, I’m not talking about anything too serious here, but any slight incline at mile 40 is quite an obstacle. There was also a steep flight of very overgrown steps to navigate, normally it wouldn’t be a problem, but with my jelly legs everything was difficult! In the end it was alright, by now it was very much a case of just putting one foot in front of the other.

We reached the small village of Nobottle and headed straight onto our next target of Harlestone, again another village that I know well. It made such a difference walking paths that I knew already. It saved quite a bit of time and meant that I could relax and enjoy the walk.

Once again we were treated to some gorgeous countryside views

Like day one, there were very few people around and , as much as I love having vast swathes of the countryside to myself, I wish more people would realise what is on their doorstep and get out and enjoy it a bit more.

By now we were at that awful point where the end is in sight, but still a good few miles away. Luckily, Kirsty found some long forgotten Kendal mint cake in her rucksack and that gave us a little boost! We headed on, towards Church Brampton and then the finish back at Brixworth Country Park.

The final stretch! This is the last photo I took as my phone died after this.

The last section was on paths and road so it was easy to navigate, which I was very glad of as my energy reserves were running low. We headed over the fields as seen in the photo above, and then crossed over the Brampton Valley Way. The last mile or so was uphill, which was quite cruel after walking 49 miles. The thought of finishing spurred me on, but my god, it felt never ending at the time! I put my head down and plodded on (and it really was a plod).

As we finally reached the top and crossed over the road to the Country Park, I thought that I would feel euphoric. In fact, I was so tired I just wanted to sit down. It felt like a bit of an anti climax at the time, it was only when I was telling people later, that my achievement started to sink in.

The finish line!

Luke and Finn came to meet me, and I have to say, that when Luke produced a cold beer I don’t think I’ve ever been happier or enjoyed a drink more!

Once I’d had time to reflect, I realised just what I’d done. I had walked further than I ever had before, and to be honest I did better than I thought. I was just about in one piece, although it was a good few days before I could walk properly. It was hard, but I’m so glad I pushed myself, I never knew what I was capable of until now.

Have you ever challenged yourself? Was it worth the pain?

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  • GMo GMo June 28, at 19:07

    So proud of you sister!! Humongous effort!!!! xxxx

    • The Helpful Hiker The Helpful Hiker June 29, at 06:07

      Thanks for all your help and support-and don’t worry-I don’t plan on doing anything like this again!

  • MrsJonesWalks MrsJonesWalks June 29, at 08:21

    Wow, that is such an achievement. I think you did the right thing in having various friends to accompany you. Well done.

  • Lauren Lauren June 29, at 10:52

    What a brilliant achievement!

  • Ashley Crombet-Beolens Ashley Crombet-Beolens July 06, at 03:40

    Excellent stuff, not sure I could walk 20 miles the day after doing 30, the aches that set in overnight can be horrible 🙂

  • Sally-Jane Sally-Jane December 10, at 14:41

    I couldn’t do that in three days. let alone two day! Its a great achievement and i hope you raised lots of money.
    I failed at the Spires and Squires Walk when I was around 18 or so.


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