by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2012
Footware is vital, even Treacle had boots. The terrain is mixed and there can be lots of mud. Despite the training blisters were a problem for both dogs and humans at various stages.
Quality footwear is the single most important item of gear, even the dogs had boots! Despite some fairly intense pre-training, blisters did crop up (on humans and dogs). The dogs had their paws buttered each evening (marked butter tubs essential!) which makes them lick their pads spotlessly clean. Treacle was walked on a lead quite a lot to curb her youthful enthusiasm (Labrador retrievers have a reputation for running right up to the moment they collapse!). Doggie boots were used for rough ground then taken off for soft going. Sue had to grin and bear a couple of nasty blisters after two days but walked through it with very careful foot hygiene, dressings and the use of shoes for some of the days.
The infamous Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge, which hosted one of the longest pub lock-ins of all time when snow drifted to the eaves. It was many days before the staff and guests were rescued. As the only building for many miles it makes an easy-to-locate rendezvous!
With the middle of the day being available and up to fours hours of driving around each day, provisioning was never a problem - Cockermouth and Northallerton even had their own Sainsbury's. The walkers were treated to fresh, camper-van-baked bread each day (McGillicuddy eat your heart out!) At the drop of a coin, in an honesty box, it was also possible to pick up free-range eggs at the roadside farms; these produced scrambled eggs of a quite remarkable colour, totally outof-gamut, indeed! Fresh meat and local-made sausages were also available from the main centres we passed every now and then. High energy, caffeinated drinks were carried to provide a boost to flagging spirits towards the end of each day.
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