And so here I am, sitting in my office after a weekend of relaxation, reflecting on the Wall Walk.
As expected, it was pretty hard. You really do need to be a hardened hill walker for 84 miles in six days, across some violently undulating terrain, to be anything other than ferociously hard work. The physical side was made harder by the weight we were carrying – weapons, shields, helmets and, in Russ’s case, a great big heavy iron mail shirt weighing another ten kilos, work over a heavy padded arming jacket that makes the wearer sweat buckets even without the armour’s weight.
But here’s the odd thing: I did the same walk three years ago wearing exactly the same kit that Russ was wearing this time round, and managed to do the proper line of the wall (unlike this time, where I followed the military way which runs behind it for a good few miles, in order to avoid the worst ups and downs). I do recall being shattered at the end of every day last time round, but I did achieve it. OK, so I’ve dipped into my sixth decade since then, but I weigh about the same, which leaves me wondering what the difference is.
Perhaps it was the training. In 2010 I trained around a state park in South Carolina, in dripping humidity and wearing twenty pounds in weights, whereas this time round it was pretty much all on the flat and in nicer conditions.
Perhaps it was being led every step of the way in 2010 by my redoubtable agent Robin, whose catchphrase was a very simple ‘onwards!’. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ll be doing it again sometime, and this time I want to have a go in lorica segmentata to see if that’s more tolerable than mail. Russ tells me it’s much nicer to wear, and I’m planning to try some out pretty soon to see what I think. Some more training beckons…
And the good news – with your help we’ve raised over £12,500, which is much, much more than we ever expected, and we’re strongly encouraged to do it again, perhaps somewhere else in Europe. Appian Way, anyone?
Photos will follow once I have them all in one place and collated.