At the end of last year I was looking for a new challenge. Mighty Hikes, organised by Macmillan can be found all over the UK. After six months of a scheduled Mighty Hike training plan, in July 2017 I walked 23.5 miles across the Jurassic Coast raising money for Macmillan Cancer.
The Macmillan Jurassic Coast Mighty Hike route looked to be a challenging challenge across mixed terrain, steep inclines and descents. As we have often visited the Jurassic Coast, I knew the sights would be amazing across Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Ringstead Bay.
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Jurassic Coast Mighty Hike Route
We began our Macmillan Jurassic Coast Mighty Hike day at 7am arriving at Weymouth for our 8am start. I was excited but a little nervous at walking such a long distance with the weather forecast showing 23 degrees, but thankfully cloudy.
We set off on time after a warm up and started out walking between Weymouth and Ringstead which was approximately 5 miles and would take us to our first rest stop. The first section of the walk was enjoyable with a couple of inclines and descents but nothing too taxing which was nice.
The rest break was so well organised with plenty of snacks and drink stations available. We enjoyed a ten minute rest before starting the second leg of the journey that would take us to Lulworth Cove for our lunch stop.
We knew the next leg would be slightly more challenging as we had trained on some of the hills. There are some steep inclines and descents to the point of having to find natural steps to get your footing in the ground. We were still fresh at this point so all was well.
Until mile 8 or there about. My hip / leg had been niggling me for a day or so but I hadn’t thought anything of it, until it started to become a constant pain, worse when we were going downhill.
By the time we made it to the lunch stop, we had climbed three beasts of hills and had to go down the other side. I was in quite a bit of pain at this point however I knew a rest was coming up and my walking poles were really helping me to stay focused with taking steps.
Lunch was a welcome stop, with plenty of seats and buffet food on hand for us to enjoy. I made the decision to change my socks and let me feet breathe whilst I ate. I usually suffer with sore feet on long walks, and wasn’t sure if taking my shoes off at almost the halfway point would be a good idea or not.
As it turns out it was lovely to get a bit of fresh air on my feet and they didn’t suffer for the change in socks at all thankfully. I also took some time to stretch my hip as well as I could as the next 7 miles were going to be the toughest of the route.
Walking away from Lulworth, across the cove we made our way through Fossil Forest and along the cliff top towards Kimmeridge. I was starting to think the walk was being very pleasant until we turned a corner and saw a huge hill with dots of people walking up it.
I wont lie I was scared! As we got closer I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get up the hill or not. Mentally preparing ourselves we joined the pathway of people as we made our way very slowly up the hill. It felt like we were climbing a cliff, the steps were so steep.
My legs were fatigued by the halfway point and we were in a single file so couldn’t just stop for a rest without holding everyone else up.
Reaching the top felt like a huge achievement in itself, I wasn’t even sure if that had been safe to climb however I guess the organisers of the event had decided it was. Achieving that hill was one thing, but what goes up must come down and then it goes back up again just to come down again.
The hills were relentless over the next few miles, and at mile 14 I was in so much pain I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to carry on. I knew I had to get to the next rest stop at mile 17 which kept me going.
When we thought we had reached the rest stop we realised we had to reach the top of another hill before being able to rest. That last hill was torture and it was across rocky terrain meaning you couldn’t get your footing easily. It was also easy to slip and lose your footing.
I really had to dig deep and think at this point about why I was completing this challenge to make myself go on to the end. I didn’t want to give up as so many people had sponsored me, but it would have been so easy to retire from the challenge.
I knew the last 6 mile stretch was flatter towards the end, but whilst it was easier to gain some more ground, they were a hard 6 miles as I was in so much pain.
I had managed to get an ice pack from a lovely lady along the route, and then again at the final rest stop which I kept stuffed down the side of my trousers to try to numb my leg a little bit.
I’m not sure if it helped or not, but I had to give anything a go. The final 3 miles were torture as the route took us almost to the end before looping us through even more fields to gain the mileage.
Right on the last bit where we could see the finish line but still had to walk along side a railway track to be able to cross it, I got a sharp pain in my foot. It turns out it was a blister which I expected but it meant I was trying to hobble on both feet.
That glass of fizz and my medal I was given at the end was such a relief to know it was over. I’ve come out of the challenge with sunburn to my lower legs despite having lotion on through the day, and a very sore left leg which I’m hoping will ease with rest and stretching.
It may take a few days to get back to normal, but wow what a challenge the Macmillan Mighty hike was. I’m glad I can say I completed it! If you are looking for a challenge then I can highly recommend a Macmillan hike.