Author Topic: [Trip Report] 19th Wilmot Wander, 32 mile Challenge Walk around Derby  (Read 5111 times)

joester

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It was quite an odd experience having to wake at 5:30am on a cold Sunday morning, particularly because I found I didn’t mind doing so at all. I was both excited and slightly nervous at the prospect of testing myself on the 19th Wilmot Wander, a 32 mile Challenge Walk that circumnavigates the countryside around the City of Derby.
 
Sgt.pepper picked me up from outside my house, and a short while later we found ourselves in the H.Q of the 27th Derby (Chaddesden) Scout Group, amidst a few dozen other early starters.
 

 
More walker and runners would arrive later but this walk has a staggered start system and Sgt.pepper and I, together with two full-fledged teams, were first out the door at 7am on the dot.
 
The Sgt. immediately headed off in the wrong direction to retrieve his phone, forgotten in the car. I explained to the other teams he had gone to fetch the car as it would ‘make things easier’, I think this confused them.
Still, the Sarge had caught me up before the end of the road, and we crossed Chaddesden Park together in the weak pre-dawn light.
 
We walked through the streets to the edge of ‘Chad’ and were soon out into open countryside, entering the grounds of Locko Park estate and skirting its semi-frozen lake. We very quickly attained our first checkpoint at the 5 mile point outside the pub in the village of Stanley, having a few moments munching the offered Jelly Babies and guzzling a couple of cups of squash.
Apart from the treats, I like checkpoints, they make you feel like a proper competitor (even if, in our case, you are only competing against the distance itself).
 
The route now followed the ’Centenary Way’ path, with easy walking heading gently downhill for a good distance all the way to the village of Coxbench.
Coxbench heralds the first of the only two decent hills on the walk, a steep 65m of ascent up through Eatonpark Wood. There was a little plateau of fields to cross, before an even steeper descent to Duffield and Checkpoint 2. There was an official photographer here, poised at the side of the path, I didn’t enjoy the way she sat and waited until I had passed before taking her shot…
We popped out onto the road near the Checkpoint at the Bridge Inn:
 

 
The route takes in very little of Duffield before it’s off up the next ‘decent’ ascent, Burley Hill. The Sgt. refused to come out from behind the branch for this shot, but you can see the hill well enough:
 

 
By this time, there were runners and speedy walkers passing us in abundance. Burley Hill is a sustained 90m of ascent from the River Derwent in the valley floor, up to the (posh) village of Quarndon. That’s not a bad hill for Derby!
Indeed Eaton Bank and Burley Hill, as well as many more little climbs, take the total ascent for the route up to a fairly respectable 2004 ft (611m), or so.
 
The hill warmed us up nicely, we were still feeling pretty good as we passed through the village and out the other side. A sort of cold, wintry haze obscured the views, but the University buildings were still an obvious landmark:
 

 
We could also see our next objective, a distant water tower in the Mackworth area. An easy section on gravel track led to a much less pleasant section through a dozen or so fields of mud, which managed to be both slippy - leading to a little loss of traction with each footfall, and adherent - building-up around the soles of the boots with each footfall to form a weighty mass that we had to keep wiping off on tussocks of grass or fenceposts.
There was to be plenty more of this!
Here’s one field of respite, but the next field before the water tower shows the nature of the game:
 

 
We splodged past the water tower, and then splodged some more over more fields to Radbourne and Checkpoint 3. This was about the half-way point.
The unpleasant terrain had taken some degree of toll, with the legs just beginning to feel slightly tired.
 

 
I had some extra jelly babies to compensate, and we were off again past the pleasant little church in Radbourne and also Radbourne Hall.
There then came a slightly weird section through suburban Mickleover and Burnaston (I always feel incongruous when a route takes you through such places, in all my walking gear and covered in mud. Suddenly not in the countryside anymore, saying a cheery ‘hello’ to a passerby is more likely to get you a funny look rather than a reciprocation).
Still, we needn’t have worried, because we were soon back out into the mud again, and it was nice to hit the tarmac round the back of the Toyota factory and Checkpoint 4.
 

 
The Sgt. wasn’t feeling good now (he had been ill earlier in the week), not a chap to make a fuss, he gobbled a couple of painkillers and we got on with the dubious task of trying to cross the A38 dual carriageway without the aid of a crossing of any kind, or a lollypop lady.
We had been talking about the old computer game ‘Frogger’ earlier in the walk - now it was our turn! It took a while, but our patience eventually paid off. We strode on through the village of Findern, and got onto the towpath of the Trent and Mersey Canal at a place called Stenson.
 
We had been dreaming about strolling down a nice gravely towpath for the last muddy 4 or 5 miles, but now we reached it, it turned out to be unsurfaced and almost as unpleasantly clarty as the fields!
At least there were the narrow boats, and the other pleasant and familiar canalside furnishings to take our mind off it (and even at this point we were still being passed by runners).
 

 

 
The canal section was long, but we eventually reached the 5th and final checkpoint at Swarkestone Lock.
Swarkestone is a bit famous as the point at which Bonnie Prince Charlie’s invading Jacobite army turned back to return to Scotland. Obviously they didn’t have the Jelly Babies and squash like we did, because we bloomin’ well kept going!
 
We were in the home straight, the last 5 miles back to the finish at the Scout Hut. I was tired and looking forward to not having to move my feet anymore, I was in no great discomfort and the Sgt. was also in fair fettle (his painkillers had kicked-in whilst on the towpath), but what really made this last bit so punishing was the monotony.
It is tarmac cycle path, it is extremely flat, and there is nothing to see.
The path ploughs straight towards the city centre, but there are no landmarks to entertain the view, just housing estates of varying quality, and the backs of factories and schools.
I knew I was going to finish, but nevertheless I wanted to stop walking so badly! I think the Sgt’s photo captures all that nicely!
 

 
At last we reached the side of the River Derwent and Pride Park Stadium (you can’t even see that properly from the path!).
We were briefly tantalised by the warm smells coming from a Pizza Hut, before we crossed the footbridge over the A52 to pop-out, with smiles (nearly) returning to our faces once more, at the end of the road where the Scout Hut is.
 

 

 
We finished at 4:20pm, having completed the 32 miles in 9 hours and 20 minutes exactly. We were very pleased with that, and the hot soup, bread and cheese the lady served us tasted goooood and did restore the smiles:
 

 

 
The hardest part of the day was leaving the table and walking the 100 yards back to the Sgt’s car!  Ayyeeeee!
 
Many thanks to 27th Derby Scouts for all their hard work on this Event.  Good job.
I just wonder where all the scouts actually were?!
« Last Edit: 18:41:22, 01/02/11 by joester »
solvitur ambulando

wanderingchas

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I just wonder where all the scouts actually were?!
They had more sense  ;D

Seriously though, well done joester and Sgt.pepper.  O0 O0 O0
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Micky

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Well done both 32 miles is a long way, makes me kinda glad I was at work otherwise I would have been tempted to join you and probably failed.
 
Great report Joe in your usual style, love it mate.  O0
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gotmeheadshaved

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Excellent TR Joe. Very enlightening and funny in turns. 32 miles is some achievement but even more impressive in that time!
 
What can I say but BRILLIANT EFFORT from the both of you!  O0
 
Steve
« Last Edit: 23:38:34, 31/01/11 by gotmeheadshaved »
Steve (gotmeheadshaved)

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Cogstar

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Good effort chaps, not sure this type of things for me, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made it past the pizza smell. Enjoyed the report  O0
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angry climber

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Quality effort guys well done. Looks very spring like around there. 
 
My fav line was " I explained to the other teams he had gone to fetch the car as it would ‘make things easier’, I think this confused them." lol  ;D
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sgt_pepper46

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My fav line was " I explained to the other teams he had gone to fetch the car as it would ‘make things easier’, I think this confused them." lol  ;D

Believe me, the way my legs felt on Monday, i wished i HAD got the car! If i'd not had a couple of "happy-legs" sweets coutesy of nurofen, i wonder if i'd have completed, it really was hard going.

Top marks to Joester both on the challenge itself and on the write-up, eloquent and involving as always.  O0

Living and walking around Lincoln as i have, i'm quite used to "clarty" boots, but 25 miles with little real respite from it was really testing my resolve TBH, but complete we did, and i must say, like Joester, i'm very proud of myself to have done it.

I've been scouring t'internet to see how we did on the leaderboard TBH, but to no avail as yet. I feel we did quite hansomely (maybe not against the "jog-walk-jog" walkers, but against the walkers who were honest to the nature of the event).

Cant get the time out of my head, it was a complete surprise to come in at under 10 hours (especially as i thought we'd done it in 10 h 20 m!)

Anyway, i'd like to thank the guys who organised the event, they did a grand job.  O0


40/214
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26/253


Ciao Marco

carolina2k9

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very well done guys. excellant trip report. :)
Happiness is only a Hill away :-)

bootson

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Very well done  O0

joester

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Thanks everyone!
 
I've just measured the route on a .gpx plotter (Walkhighlands) and the total ascent for the route comes out as 2004ft - not the 4300 ft I originally stated in the Report.
 
I got the 4300ft figure from a runner's blog about the 18th Wilmot Wander.  I thought it sounded a bit high, and I don't think they've changed the route from last year so I don't know where that figure has come from.
 
At least it measures out as exactly 32 miles still!
 
I've edited the ascent figure in the report.
solvitur ambulando

sgt_pepper46

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I've just measured the route on a .gpx plotter (Walkhighlands) and the total ascent for the route comes out as 2004ft - not the 4300 ft I originally stated in the Report.
 
I got the 4300ft figure from a runner's blog about the 18th Wilmot Wander.  I thought it sounded a bit high, and I don't think they've changed the route from last year so I don't know where that figure has come from.

Best edit my ascent log figure then, hadn't i!
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26/253


Ciao Marco

mad max

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Mucho respecto (thats Welsh for much respect) to you both,thats some challenge,well done for completing it.
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susiej

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Well done guys! Impressive effort, I can only imagine how your legs must have felt. O0
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darren irwin

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well done mate 32 miles in just over nine hrs is pretty good indeed.
i net you where tired after it.