Richard Vickers

Entered the Hall of Fame:29th January 2015
Trail Completed:8th May 1983

Offa's Dyke Path was the first long distance trail I'd walked.  Actually, it was the only trail of any length I'd walked at the time.  Having built up a good level of fitness through several years of daily jogging, I hadn't expected to be overly tested by the seemingly sedate form of exercise known as walking.  What I hadn't taken into account was the fact that when I went jogging I didn't do so while carrying a rucksack loaded with everything just short of the kitchen sink.  As a consequence, by the time I reached Monmouth ( having started out from Chepstow ), my feet and shoulders were masses of blisters, and my quads felt like they'd been well worked over with a meat tenderiser. 

With some trepidation I decided to continue on to Pandy, not with any great optimism I might add, and fully expecting the sight of the looming Black Mountains to be a more than sufficient deterrent to extending the folly into a fourth day.  However, as I stumbled out of Monmouth I met a fellow walker also heading for Prestatyn, a bloke called Martin who was a veteran of the Pennine Way. He encouraged me to persevere - and persevere I did, all the way to the North Wales coast. Having found that the pain from my myriad blisters tended to fade after the first mile or so, I was then able to enjoy the wonderful Welsh border country and what turned out to be particularly sunny Spring weather.  

So enjoyable did that first walk turn out to be, I attempted to retrace my steps exactly thirty years later.  Alas, on this occasion the blisters and other foot ailments reached a level beyond which even the most stubborn determination could not triumph.  I had to call it a day in Knighton - half way at least and leaving me with the goal of one day returning to complete the "top half" for a second time.




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