Since November I’ve been taking regular training walks, initially breaking in my shoes, slowly increasing the distance, then adding a backpack. Up till now I’ve mainly walked along the beach, on level streets and gentle slopes. Footpaths have been particularly muddy due to an exceptionally wet winter but finally the sun is out and it is getting drier underfoot.
The first section from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port will take me straight up into the Pyrenees so it is good to tackle some slopes during the last few weeks of preparation. Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day and I set off from West Stoke car park and headed up the hill in Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful area, so I’ve taken some photos during my walk; a nice excuse to stop for a breather!
The first section is a very well maintained gravel path, great for a gentle warmup. From here the hill doesn’t look particularly steep.
At the bottom of the hill is a little clump of ancient yew trees. Their twisted branches bunch close together, creating several spooky chambers.