This aside I’m getting increasingly excited about the possibility of this hike. In preparation, I thought I’d put my mind at rest by going online and looking at the respective routes. I did this only to be greeted on the first website I looked at with the warning ‘NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED’. At that point I began to ask myself maybe I’m not the right sort of person for this adventure. Maybe I should just sit at home and watch reruns of Friends on Sky rather than punish my soft, flabby body with this most difficult of challenges.
Fortunately I slapped myself and snapped out of this negative mindset (I was the only person in the room so couldn’t rely on anyone else to do it for me) and instead cast my mind back to the weekend before last the ramblers decided some extra hiking practice was needed to give ourselves a fighting chance.
The venue was Shotover Country Park within the boundaries of Oxford. Having never been there before, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a diverse, undulating conservation area with pleasant views of Oxford and the surrounding countryside. Thanks to a photo taken by Greig of the information board I can tell you that it covers 280 acres and we mixed and matched the available paths through the trees (little bit of the Sandpit walk, most of the Northwood trail with some other trails thrown in there for good measure).
|The map of Shotover park|
|The routes available - Green is the longest and follows the boundary, Yellow = Northwood Trails and the short options is in Red = Sandpit walk|
Due to the sunny weather I still haven’t tested my boots’ waterproofing but I’m confident that they will stand up easily to whatever weather conditions the peaks have to offer. I can definitely feel the momentum of this walk beginning to build now and I suspect that if I have chance to write another blog before it starts then I might find that those butterflies in my stomach might have grown to epic proportions. I only hope that my optimism and excitement grow in proportion to any nerves or doubts - Iain (Hiker)
|The winding path|