Thunderboys are go!

Guidebook…. Check!

Flights…..Check!

Things are slowly progressing here at HikeHQ (my bedroom). Apart from revising like madmen for our upcoming exams (mine start in 9 days!) we haven’t been giving much thought to this adventure although we are all slowly collecting bits and pieces of gear.

The major thing to report is we now have our FLIGHTS BOOKED! Whilst originally the plan was to hitch-hike there and back, due to disapproval from parents (they still need listening to every now and then….) we have decided to fly instead. It takes the stress away of actually getting to the start of the walk and by the end of the walk the idea of a comfortable trip back will be very welcoming.

The one thing it does do is slightly restrict us time wise. The guide book says that its possible to do the whole walk in 31 days. We were thinking every 6/7 days have 1 day off to rest and relax and finally we’ll hopefully have a day or two in Menton and Nice at the end before flying home. This all fits fine but we’ll need to keep extra aware now of where we are and how we are doing progress wise.

More updates will follow as we can devote more time to this trip but for now, back to work!

Summer plans!

As is usual for me at this time of year (basically when its not summer) I start dreaming about what I want to do with my summer.

Two years ago it was my motorbike trip around Europe. Last summer I spent 6 weeks in India with two of my best friends from home. This summer….. Hiking in the Alps!

I’ve known about long distance European hiking routes ever since I learned about the long distance trails in the USA (namely the Appalachian trail, the Continental Divide, The Pacific Crest trail  -  watch the film “Into the Wild” to find my inspiration!). The one that struck a chord with me the most is the GR5 – “Europe’s most rewarding long-distance footpath”. It is part of the E2 which cuts south from Scotland all the way to the Mediterranean (E2 Route Map). The section that really caught my eye connects Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean via the Northern and Southern Alps. It ends (the GR52) in Menton on the French Riviera.

In total it is a 400 mile, 5-week trek over and under and round and through the French Alps.

I have dreamed for a long time of completing a long distance hike, carrying nothing but my backpack containing everything I need to survive. I am very lucky on this trip to have a very close friend of mine, Ben, to accompany me.

Our plan – to hitchhike to Geneva (#cheapstudents) before beginning our epic 5 week trek to the beach.

My friend has a twin brother, Mike, who is currently out in Visakhapatnam, India, teaching English at an Orphanage. This is the second time he has been out there and he is really making a difference to the lives of the children he lives with. The orphanage is funded by Children of Faith Missions, an American charity who are providing a great service and have been since 2003. A second charity has been set up, Children of Grace Home with the aim of building another orphanage to house the 15 youngest children from the original orphanage.

Our walk will help to raise money for this cause with 100% of everything donated going towards the charity. We are aiming for £2000 – a very large target but one we hope we can meet. If 100 people sponsor us 20p/mile we’ll have made it. We can fund our own food/accomodation/travel/etc but we feel by having a good cause behind us we will feel even better about what we are doing and will help support the lives of some very special children along the way.

For more information about the charity we are supporting please watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hqOBr3o7Qg

The route for our trek: Route map

I will endeavour to update this blog with further plans and ideas and start putting together a kit list of things we’ll take with us. Also as soon as it is set up (waiting for the Government to give us the green light) I will include a link to our JustGiving page so any one who is interested and passionate about what we are doing can donate.

Stay tuned!

Life update – 01/03

Right so today is the first of March and I should be reporting massive gains having spent the last few (5 and a half!) weeks failing to keep this blog up to date but still hopefully working out. Unfortunately I have something grave to admit, I have completely fallen off the bandwagon. 

The injury I sustained all those weeks ago was/is a spasming trapezoid muscle, mainly on the left. I went to see a physio for a free 20 minute consulting session, fortunately his earlier patient had failed to turn up so I got a good half an hour with him. He gave me a very painful but relieving massage of sorts, digging his fingers into bits of my muscle that were the most sore. Something about the layers of muscle fusing together and them not being able to relax seemed to be my problem. 

Since then I really haven’t done much. The swimming has been completely neglected; the Thames swim has been put of until the summer. I’ve made half of my squash lessons and a couple of the circuit training sessions. 

What I have got though is a JOB. Next year I will be living above a bar, infamous in Leamington Spa for its Eliminator drink –  a concoction of vodka, rum, blue curacao, taboo and martini topped up with a pint each of orange juice, energy drink and Lambrini. Guaranteed to be a night ender if not handled with respect. Also the bar is just ridiculously cheap on a Thursday, £1.50 pints and double house spirit and mixer say what?!

Any way as we went in to sign our contract on the flat above it I casually asked if there was any work going. He replied with a big positive yes, they love the tenants upstairs working behind the bar, I guess because there’s no “ooh sorry the bus was late”. There is no real excuse if you live upstairs!

I am absolutely loving work. The other staff are a great bunch of people, the music is varied (between SICK and well hmmmm….) but the atmosphere is always lively (if only because drunken local A smacked drunken local B before both were forcefully removed). It pays minimum wage but if I can do 2 or 3 till close shifts a week ill easily be able to double my weekly spending money – hopefully I might even put some of it away for useful things!

One final great thing about this new job is that it keeps me out of the house. No more worrying what the ex girlfriend is up to, who shes having round etc etc I can just go out for work, get back at 4ish in the morning and pass out. The worst bit about work is that its turning me nocturnal, one shift ended at 5.15AM and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get out of bed the next day till about 4PM! Ridiculous time spent laying around in bed! Something I need to sort out really…

Final end to this update –  I am currently in a pub in Weymouth on the South Coast, I could just be leaving on surf tour with the club at Uni for a SICK weekend away but seeing as my mums booked a cute little place we’re all getting together as a family to spend the weekend going for walks and (fingers crossed!) munching some of the best battered fish and chips in the world!

In two weeks time term 2 will have ended and I’ll be leaving with some friends for a week in Les Arcs, gonna tear up some jumps and shred some POW!! Therefore I have two weeks to (try and) get into shape for the Easter holiday and also pull my finger out (read: GET BACK ONTO THE BANDWAGON) with regards to Uni work, shits starting to get serious!

Till the next update, which hopefully wont be over a month again, PEACE OUT!

Fitness log – Week 6 (21/01)

Monday

Attempted L3D3 (16 pull ups, 33 push ups and 33 squats) but didn’t make the time, took me 6 minutes and it needs to be less than 5 to move up.

Tuesday

Squash lessons and messing around with a friend – 2 hours of fun!

Wednesday

Went for a swim for 45 minutes, still in training for the Thames swim in a few weeks time. I said I’d do 2k – approximately 80 lengths – but it won’t be at any great speed!

Seeing as I didnt make the cut on monday and progress to level 4 its back to level 3 again, L3D1 (2 pull ups, 3 push ups, 5 squats) as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes –  I managed 13! It was going really well until I felt a twinge in my shoulder and I am now sitting here in agony, it hurts to move my head ahh! Note to self: More thorough warm up needed!!

Friday

I didnt make circuit training on Thursday as I was still too sore but I did go for a 45 mintue swim on Friday before a lecture. I need to try and aim for 50 non-stop lengths in the next couple of weeks to ensure I’m on track for the Thames swimming challenge.

Map of India

Having a lazy reflective day today, I was just looking back over some of the incredible photos we took while away on our trip to India and I decided to make a map of all the places we visited:

I’ve got Eanna and Foxley to add as many places as they can remember too.

If I get clever enough ill even link up the locations with the route we took although Google Maps is not being very helpful with this!

Fitness log – Week 5 (14/01)

Tuesday

Squash lessons – I’ve started a series of 8 beginner lessons, its not much exercise but it is good skill training and does involve a fair bit of running around.

I attempted to go outside and do my body weight training but it had snowed and there was a nice 2 inch crust everywhere making press ups a bit cold. I spent 20mins hanging around on the pull up bar doing 2/3 reps with as little rest between as possible.

Wednesday

With the Surf society at University we’re swimming the thames in about mid February for Charity – I think we’ve got to swim something like 40k!! They rent a lane at the pool on campus every Wednesday for an hour and everyone gets together for a swim – I’m trying to increase my fitness and I think I’m slowly seeing improvements.

I’ve signed myself up for 1.5k which is 60 lengths of a pool although obviously we’ll be swimming in a river, colder and no sides to push off from! There is no time limit so ill just swap between breaststroke and front crawl.

On Wednesday I swam for about 40 minutes, I was a bit late to the session.

Thursday

Circuit training in a squash court – 1hour

Friday

MORE SNOW! Went to a local hill and spent an hour throwing ourselves down it on anything we could find! Ended up covered in mud and grass and freezing cold – totally worth it!

Fitness log – Week 4 (07/01)

Started week 4 with a vengeance, I am determined to be ripped (or at least in better shape than I currently am) come summer, lets do this!

Monday

L2D1 – 33 rounds. 20 minute jog/run (cross country – muddy!)

Wednesday

L2D2 – 5 rounds, 3 pull ups, 8 press ups, 13 squats – 2:42. 1 min run/2min walk x 5 + jogging

Thursday

Circuit training – 1 hour – felt exhausted, I think sprinting for 2 days in a row is too much. Left me sore for a few days afterwards.

Sunday

L2D3 – 13 pull ups, 26 press ups, 26 squats – 3:48. Should have gone for a swim!