Practice Walk 3

On 18th February 2018 the Warners/Handelsbanken walkers undertook their second training walk of 2018, with the clear hope of upping the distance and battling less mud! The walkers were also joined by Sean’s younger brother, Tim Dowling, who is also a keen walker.

We set out on a circular 15.5 mile route beginning in Otford and incorporating Cotman’s Ash, Romney Street, Shoreham, Lullingstone Roman Villa, Shoreham Hill before returning to Otford. The majority of the route involved walking along the North Downs Way and, whilst some of the climbs were tricky, the glorious weather certainly made the views more spectacular.

Liz kindly provided us with pre-walk fuel/energy in the form of bacon and sausage sandwiches and we set off on our walk at 8:45am. The first 3.5 miles were completed at a good pace and we stopped for a water break outside the “Rising Sun” at Cotman’s Ash. Unfortunately, the cottage, still serving as an inn, was closed on a Sunday but it truly is worth a visit for the ‘olde-worlde’ pub experience; the friendly greeting from the resident cat, dog and parrot tops off the whole experience!

We continued onto Romney Street/Shoreham and encountered our second (and steepest) descent and ascent towards Dunstall Farm. This was a perfect opportunity to practice the many climbs of the Three Peaks and everyone managed the hill at a solid pace. We carried onto Shoreham and joined the Darent Valley Path, providing us with some much welcomed level ground before undertaking our next ascent. Incidentally, “Shoreham” means “settlement by a steep slope” and the surrounding hills certainly enshrine the village’s meaning!

Continuing on, we stopped for a refreshment break at Lullingstone County Park at approximately 12:30pm. Lullingstone was roughly the half way point of the walk (just under 8 miles) and we were making good time – 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Feeling refreshed with caffeine and snacks, we continued on to Lullingstone Castle and Lullingstone Roman Villa. (Fact alert: there has been a Manor here since the Norman Conquest. The present house and gatehouse were built in 1497 and the Hart Dyke family have lived here ever since. Building of the villa itself began in about AD 100 and reached its peak of luxury in the mid-4th century). Just before Lullingstone Roman Villa, we undertook our last ascent of the walk and were suitably rewarded with breath-taking views of Eynsford, Shoreham and the Darent Valley.

Rambling on, we made our way to towards Meenfield Wood – picturesque woodland that everyone enjoyed walking through before being suitably pleased to descend, rather than ascend Shoreham Hill! We gently followed the lane back to Otford and arrived at 2:15pm – 2:30pm. Overall, with the short walk back to Liz’s, we completed 16 miles in 5 hours and 30 minutes – 5 hours and 45 minutes (depending on where people were parked).

On a positive note, there were fewer sore legs and blisters the following day; clearly demonstrating that the training is beginning to pay off!

Our next training walk will be in March, with more updates to follow.


Three Peaks Blog – Practice Walk – North Downs Way

On 7th January 2018 the Warners Walkers set off for their first training walk of 2018! Safe to say, we all had lots of Mince Pies to burn off that day after a lovely Christmas break.

We set out on a route along the Surrey Hills, North Downs Way which totalled 14 miles starting at Dorking Train Station to Gomshall Train Station and back again. It was a station to station walk.

We were joined by Jessica’s dad, who completed the Three Peaks Challenge last year and his dog Hamish.

The weather was kind to us and we began our walk at 8.34am and set off at a good pace, but little did we know that we would be battling with lots of mud throughout the walk which made our feet very heavy!.

The first 7 miles of the journey were completed at a very good pace and Clive managed the first seven miles clutching his coffee cup the whole time!! We also saw many WW2 Pillboxes along our route

We stopped for a quick drink and food stop at the halfway point, Gomshall train station, at around 11.15am before making the steep ascent back up the North Downs to finish the walk.

We are trying to focus on our pacing as it is quite difficult to find training walks that will replicate the steep mountains we will have to climb when we take part in the challenge in July. The total distance of all three peaks is 26 miles.

We had a few steep hills along the way and Hamish certainly helped pull people up the hill and Hamish set a very good pace, his tail did not stop wagging the whole 14 miles!

We are also focussing on walking as a team and supporting one another as we go along, as it is going to require lots of mental strength and team encouragement to get up those Three Peaks, in the dark and the cold especially when the “Jelly Legs” set in!

The training walk took us 5 hours and 45 minutes to complete and we clocked 1800 calories burned and 36,500 steps on our fitness trackers. A hot bath and big dinner was well deserved and there were many sore legs and blisters the following day.

Our next training walk will be in February, with more updates to follow.

First practice walk – Ashdown Forest – 24th September 2017

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Our first practice walk was in the Ashdown Forest on what turned out to be a gloriously sunny and warm September day. The walk was a combination of three mapped walks, the details of which can be found here:

Walk 2. Southern Slopes and the Airman’s Grave

Walk 8. Walk Amongst Friends

Walk 13. The Military on the Forest – Archaeology Walk

It was a total of 7.5 miles and so was a very gentle introduction to our training, but perfect for some team bonding. Tougher walks are scheduled, and the best part is that all who took part on Sunday have said how much they are looking forward to the practice walk in November. This may, in part, be down to the fact that Clive has promised bacon sandwiches before we start.

3 Peak Challenge

Local firm Warners Solicitors and Handlesbanken will be taking on the Three Peaks Challenge in July 2018. The challenge involves climbing the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) within 24 hours.

The team of 10 hikers and 3 support drivers will travel to Fort William and start their challenge with Ben Nevis, before taking on Scafell Pike in the Lake District. The team will finish the challenge by scaling Snowden, competing against the clock as the final few hours tick down.

This is a mentally and physically demanding challenge, involving both determination and stamina. Sleep deprivation will play a part and training walks have been organised in readiness for each walker to tackle the ascent and descent of each mountain.

Team member Richard Theobald said: “Taking on this challenge is both exciting and daunting. We are a real mixed bag of ability – some members of the team are very experienced hikers and some are complete novices. It’s going to take a lot of self-motivation and discipline to make sure we all attend the training walks especially as the weather starts to get colder.”

Team member Ellie Norman added: “We are using this challenge to raise money and awareness for West Kent Mind. We all firmly believe that mental health is just as important as physical health and with our busy modern lives it can often get ignored or overlooked. WKM provide hugely important support services for adults who have encountered mental health issues and aim to encourage children and young people to nurture their own mental well-being by educating them on how to recognise and deal with their emotions.”

The team have set themselves an ambitious target of £10,000 and will be holding various fund raising events throughout the year.