Monday, October 08, 2007

Why Peddars Way

In my last post I told why I made my first long distance walk in England.
In the present one I am going to explain how I chose the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path among the numerous trails of Britain.

Being at my first experience I focused on the National Trails because, as I explained in the previous post, I could get a great help from the official web site and the related guide books.

The National Trail offers a set of 14 trails, actually covering almost the whole of England and Wales. From Cornwall to the Border.

Although in the beginning I was a little puzzled by such a wide choice, my fascination for the Ocean and the Celtic world lured me toward the Penbrokeshire Coast Path and the (Cornwall section of the) South West Coast Path. So I bought the relevant (National Trail) guides and I started to plan the adventure.

I intended to set out in the late spring of 2006 but, unfortunately, I was obliged to defer because my full mobility was impaired by a sudden attack of periarthritis which lasted until the beginning of the present year.

In the mean time I had the opportunity to better evaluate the options. I realized that the Ocean trails were probably a too challenging choice for a beginner: length, climate, gradient, distance from London airports, etc.

So I got back to the other trails and, after many cogitations, in the end I made up my mind and chose the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path.

What features were determinant? Well, there were many of them:
  • Length: 150 km may be easily covered in 7 days at the rate of an average 22 km per stage. For my first experience I didn't want to stay more than one week nor exceed 25 km per stage.
  • Accommodation: available within 25 km from each stage.
  • Climate: East Anglia is relatively dry. I was a little scared by the frequent rains and strong winds of the western coasts.
  • Gradient: I wasn't quite sure to be capable to walk 25 km per day with a rucksack on steep paths. Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path are rather flat.
  • How to get there: the trail is easily reachable from Stansted Airport.
Furthermore, beside the previous practical issues, the image of the Peddars Way - as it had crystallized in my mind - radiated a mysterious atmosphere of timelessness and secludedness which enchanted me.

So, during the summer I planned the trip (for the second week of September) and - at last - I booked the flight and reserved the accommodations.

In the next post I am going to bore my gentle reader with the details about the gear I was equipped with when I set out for the hike.

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