A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘Walking’

Bogle 2011

Posted by Alan on March 7, 2011

This weekend saw me tackling Manchester RAG’s famous Bogle event.  There are many variations on the ‘creation myth’, but what is certain is that some people walked around 55 miles home from somewhere north west of Manchester.  This is my second attempt – the first ended after completing the ‘south loop’, a distance of 29 miles.  This time, I am very glad to say I made it all the way around!

Fresh faces!

Fresh faces - at the very beginning, a mug shot with our walker numbers!

Starting from the old UMIST campus close to Manchester Piccadilly station, we were fresh and ready to go (despite rather stupidly having walked to Whitworth Park and back!). From here, the route takes us down through studentsville (Fallowfield), Northenden and finally Heald Green where checkpoint 1 provides a very welcome brief stop, nearly 10 miles out.

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 1 - still smiling. Tea is awesome!

From checkpoint 1, the route heads further out taking in Bramhall, Hazel Grove, Stockport, Didsbury and finally back up Oxford Road to the hub at UMIST – checkpoint 5. Here we took a decent break, having covered the 29 miles in just over 9.5 hours – an average of almost 3.5mph – which is really quite a fast walking pace to maintain! Leaving checkpoint 5 before 6am, this stretch is an infamous challenge amongst Boglers. 4 of the 5 miles to checkpoint 6 are up hill, following the Oldham Road to Failsworth through areas of Manchester that are ‘awaiting regeneration’.

Checkpoint 6

By checkpoint 6 (34 miles) the gruelling nature had set in.

At least the checkpoint is indoors! The next stretch is possibly the most difficult distance en route.  Checkpoint 7 is 41 miles in – yes – that’s a 7 mile stretch without a scheduled break.  It was during this stretch I came closest to quitting.  A chance encounter if a friend who was following the walkers on his bike provided some conversation and a welcome boost in morale. It was really nice to talk about cycling for a bit and take my mind off the various pains! Having reached checkpoint 7, I was now in good spirits – with a sandwich in one hand it was off again, for checkpoint 8 is just 3 miles further round. If I get that far, at least I can have a hot pie, I thought…

Pie

By checkpoint 8 however, things started to look up. The shop had pies!

Indeed I could. The man in the shop at Ringley stores was very happy to chat about the walk and very proud of his own certificates for keeping a Kidscan charity box in his shop! From here, the route is very much on the top of the hills.

Top of the morning

Top of the morning - high above Bolton and Bury, it did get quite pretty.

But with an up, there’s obviously a down. And then an up again – the Irwell valley brings you the ‘Hill of Death’.

Looking up

Looking up - "the hill of death". It wasn't so hard.

It’s quite steep, but I got through it thanks to a little musical inspiration from The Guillemots, managing the climb in a little under 10 minutes. Turning left at the top, it then really started to feel like I was heading home. Through several checkpoints and eventually onto the final stretch – the last 3 miles through Salford back to base. At this stage it really feels like there’s no point giving in no matter how slow the progress.

Old Salford

Old Salford - happily this stereotype is now rather rare

Liverpool St (picture above) is unremittingly grim.  Long, straight, and a mix of late 20th century flats, earlier terraces and some industrial sites (such as a scrap yard).  Here I gave up on music. Perhaps Portishead’s Third was just a little too fitting. Close to the centre of Salford I joined up with 2 freshers – who had absolutely no idea about Salford, or quays.  For the last mile we took it steady, finally crossing the Irwell, then Deansgate, then St Peters Sq and finally turning down the slope onto the campus.

Finishing 21 hours and 44 minutes after I had set off, I had made it. So without further ado, here are the freshly crunched numbers:

Vital statistics

2011 figures 2009 figures
Checkpoint Arrive Depart time since last CP miles from last checkpoint Total Distance section average mph moving average mph Arrival Depart section average mph
0 00:00:00 19:33:05 00:00:00 0 0 0.00 0.00 00:00:00 20:10:00 0.00
1 22:28:17 22:51:33 02:55:12 9.8 9.8 3.36 3.36 23:15:00 23:40:00 3.24
2 23:55:26 0:09:44 01:03:53 3.6 13.4 3.38 3.36 00:41:00 00:55:00 2.95
3 1:57:30 2:08:07 01:47:46 6.2 19.6 3.45 3.39 03:08:00 03:22:00 2.93
4 3:43:00 3:55:00 01:34:53 5.2 24.8 3.29 3.37 05:33:00 05:50:00 2.52
5 5:15:07 5:51:49 01:20:07 4.2 29 3.15 3.33 07:15:00 2.35
6 7:31:57 7:57:10 01:40:08 5 34 3.00 3.28
7 10:21:58 10:27:38 02:24:48 7 41 2.90 3.21
8 11:51:41 12:10:17 01:24:03 3.1 44.1 2.21 3.11
9 13:38:33 13:57:23 01:28:16 4.1 48.2 2.79 3.08
10 15:33:54 15:39:00 01:36:31 3.9 52.1 2.42 3.02
11 17:26:55 01:47:55 2.9 55 1.61 2.89
Distances as per route notes, maybe rounding errors may exist

At the time of writing I had amassed £260 in sponsorship. You can still sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/AlanP-Bogle2011 with the funds going to Lymphoedema Support Network.

My feet are beginning to recover!

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Bogle Training Part III

Posted by Alan on March 2, 2011

With the event fast approaching, opportunities for training were getting thin on the ground.  So on Monday I walked home from work.  With the GPS tracker rolling I was extatic as I passed Dalston Junction station – apparently bob on 5 miles in 62 minutes. (Would have been 60 were it not for me having to wait for motorists at a few crossroads!!!)

Sadly plotting the map on google later… meant that I realised the gps is really quite inaccurate, especially when travelling through dense concrete spaces.

Nevermind. 4mph is still respectable for walking along in a suit!

Bogle is finally with us on Friday, which means you have just a few days to sponsor me before the event itself.  The bogle team themselves are setting up for a live news feed from the event – take a look at Bogle Live or follow them on twitter.

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Bogle Training Part II

Posted by Alan on February 16, 2011

I am still in training for Bogle, Manchester RAG’s infamous 55 mile walk around the Manchester cityscape. I’ve decided to raise money for Lymphoedema Support Network this year after the support mum has received over the last few years.  I hope you can find some spare change to donate though my JustGiving page.

Back to the training…

This weekend I headed out to the Midlands to take in a  30 mile (48 km) training walk. This is a rather more pleasant scenic adventure than Bogle will be, or indeed, the previous training walk of 17 miles through London. From Leamington, we took to the canal and headed vaguely north to Birmingham.  The first real point of note, is Hatton flight -where the canal rises steeply.

Hatton Flight

Hatton Flight

Towards the top lock, in a pond in front of what must have once been the lock keepers cottage sits a rather nice dragonfly sculpture.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Further north-westwards we took a left and ventured onto the Stratford North Canal.  One of the earlier canals to be built in the UK, it shows it. The infrastructure is much more heavy – huge bridges, cuttings, embankments particularly north of Hockley Heath. It’s little wonder – apparently they spanked £300K in 1796 on just 25 miles of canal! This bit of canal is allegedly cycle free, though that didn’t stop the people who passed us … on bikes. It might surprise you to know you actually need a cycle permit! Still, it didn’t bother us too much except for the sections where they had churned up the mud.

A boating

A boating on the North Stratford Canal

Given the basic nature of the towpath, I’d guess that’s actually why cycling is prohibited on the North Stratford. It’s essentially mud. Finally by about half 4 we reached Kings Norton Junction and turned right towards Birmingham. Here the scenery became much more industrial and we realised we had to pick up the pace a little.  Despite being on National Cycle Route 5, the regular floral tributes and fading light wasn’t encouraging – so a couple of miles further up at Selly Oak we came off the canal on to the Bristol Road.

Dead boat

Forlorn, sadly unloved boat

From the canal though you do get a sense of the vast machine that is the Cadbury Bournville factory. It’s much less purple than I remember.  Perhaps the Kraft influence has kicked in already.  Some parts of the factory are still very 1930s – such as this building on the Birmingham side.

Cadbury

Corporate pride 1930s style - Cadbury, Bourneville

The last few miles up the Bristol Road were a stark contrast.  As long as I can remember I’ve known Brum to be a car city, probably reinforced by watching Brum as a small child. The Bristol Road is a fairly angry dual carriageway with lots of traffic. Thinking back to University, Manchester’s Oxford Road is also very busy – but the majority of the traffic is made up of buses, it’s much slower and seems somewhat more friendly. The relaxed studenty feel only really seemed to stretch from Selly Oak to the campus gates unlike Manchester’s curry mile and student village.  Anyway, long digression!  Final destination was The Wellington on Bennetts Hill. We even got seats, which was nice after 29.5 miles and of course the beer was excellent. A short amble towards the train home took us over the 30 mile mark. A most excellent way to spend a Saturday.

To round off – just a quick reminder. I really do plan to get all the way around this time. If you’d like to sponsor me, please do so at http://www.justgiving.com/AlanP-Bogle2011

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Bogle Training Part I

Posted by Alan on January 23, 2011

This year sees the 50th anniversary of Manchester RAG’s Bogle. Since getting involved with Manchester RAG as a student and running their 2006 beer festival, Bogle has been one of those events on the calendar. I’ve helped a few times as a marshal, driver, co-ordinator and in 2009 I tried walking. Sadly that time I neglected to do any training so after 29 miles, at the 5th checkpoint I gave in.

This time I am training… alongside one of my team mates for this year, Richard.

St Stephen's Tower

Angry skies above St Stephen's Tower

So the basic premise was this – we walk from our flat to Cask, Pimlico. (You seriously thought beer wouldn’t be involved somewhere right?). This took us across Walthamstow marshes, through the back of Hackney, right through Smithfield Market onto the Embankment finally widing through the back streets behind the Catholic Cathedral to the pub.

Bus Abbey & Protest

The protesters were apparently not evicted on Friday as decreed by the media...

Cask is a fantastic little pub, serving a wide selection of food and ales.  Sadly for us we had essentially booked in for a (well-deserved and required!) pitstop for some food. And 2 half pints each. (It would be rude not to!)

Cask, Pimlico

Cask, Pimlico formerly Pimlico Tram

From here we headed south of the water to the places where Taxi’s infamously don’t go. Through Vauxhall, across to Elephant and Castle finally reaching the Draft House at Tower Bridge just as the sun had set. Cue more beer! Just the one pint though as after c. 17 miles we were both pretty tired. The calorific value of beer is probably helpful, but I am sure the alcohol isn’t!

Sadly recording all of the journey was a leap too far for my Nokia (it’s almost 2 years old now) – Sports tracker made it almost to E&C with us – it’s stats are below.

Statistics – recorded by Nokia Sports Tracker…
Distance recorded by GPS Average page Steps kCal burned
12.97 mi 16:01 min/mi 23995 1598
2.67 mi 15:00 min/mi 4707 328

Bogle is the first weekend in March so much more training required if I am to get around the full 55 miles.  Of course, sponsorship information will appear in due course… 🙂

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