Wales Adventures, Reflections: Kat & Katie Hiking

Wales Adventures, Reflections: Kat & Katie Hiking

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[Music] Katie: "Oh Kat we're so colour coordinated" Kat: "Does it matter?" Katie: "It's lovely."  Kat: "Okay that's good." Katie: "It's like you've been living for a week in my environment and  you've turned into moss as well." Kat: "I've been indoctrinated" Kat: "Okay" Katie: " Welcome everyone to our  final day on which we are not walking."    Kat: "Yes. We did have a plan for the final day" Katie: "We did." Kat: "And we were kind of excited to do it. We checked the weather..." Katie: "Well, we were going to go up the mountain  and mountain walking requires favourable weather   and the weather forecast was rain all day poor  visibility at the top of the mountain and gale   force winds so..." Kat: "White out conditions in places." Katie: "Yeah, it was not good." Kat: "So yeah. And we we both also kind  

of secretly admitted that at the end of yesterday,  which was much longer than we expected, that we   were actually quite relieved at the prospect of  not climbing a mountain on the final day."   Katie: "Yeah, I would have been up for it but also I wasn't  completely gutted that we couldn't do it because  it leaves us something to do next time." Kat: "Yep, and it's given us more time to kind of relax today   and kind of process everything." Katie: "Yeah reflect on the  experience that we've had. We've had an amazing week   it feels like...what am I trying to say? We've  only walked for 6 days but it feels like we've   been walking forever and I don't mean that  in a bad way! I mean just our days have been so full   of incredible experiences." Kat: "Yes, it really has been sort of a case of each day we've been astonished   by new stuff um and we were very... Katie  has done one long walk like this before." Katie: "Yes." 

Kat: "I never had. Well, I did do a 5-day sort of jungle  walk over probably 20 years ago or something like   that so not for a very long time and we were  both intrigued to see how we would find it   in terms of our stamina." Katie: "Yeah it's quite out of the ordinary in terms of our normal exercise   routine, so it was an experiment to see see how we went." Kat: "Yeah, and I think we were both pleasantly   surprised that we were able to do it without any  terrible injuries or..." Katie: "Yes no injuries, no   overwhelming exhaustion. We were definitely tired  but there was no day when I got up and thought Oh   no I really don't want to do this today." Kat: "Yeah, and on days where we were slightly achy, just getting  

up and starting walking again usually sort  sorted us out so..." Katie: "Yeah, and the more   we did it actually, the more the week went on the  easier I found it. I wasn't becoming more achy and   sore but actually less." Kat: "Yeah. Before we started we'd  wondered whether we would find the second day the   most challenging. It was definitely the first day." Katie: "It was the first day, my goodness" Kat: "And after that   we kind of settled into it." Katie: "Yeah" Kat: "So what should we start with?" Katie: "Should we start with the lows to get  

them out of the way?" Kat: Yeah, I've already kind of  hinted what both of us, I think, have the same low"   Katie: "I think we do ,I think we do. Do you want to start with yours? Kat: "Okay yeah. The end of the first day   while the day itself had been amazing and we  ended at Llanthony abbey?" Katie: "Priory" Kat: "Yeah, which was   absolutely stunning. The day was... well every day  was longer than we expected, but that day ended   with a a slight hiccup. We had no kind of signal,  we were struggling to quite find our bearings we   resorted to... Katie resorted to the paper OS map to try  and get us through the final bit.  

We found ourselves on what wasn't a path." Katie: "It wasn't the path. Now looking back at what we did   being able to see it on the app, we were  a long way off the actual path which explains why   it was as impassable as it was." Kat: "It was probably a  cow path through some incredibly muddy churned up   ground, incredibly wet going up to our, you know,  shins sometimes in mud." Katie: "It was so boggy and covered in  

brambles as well, fighting our way through." Kat: "Yeah, it was lots of brambles, very narrow trying to   squeeze through bits. My feet were being held  by the mud and the brambles were hanging onto   my clothes. I was trying to fight through with my  poles and that went on for a while." Kat: "It was so slow   and we were so tired, and it was like... every other  day after that we knew that the app had lied to us   about the distance. This was the first day so we..."  Kat: "We were just finding that out" Katie: "We were past the point where we thought   the walk should be over. The walk was supposed to  be 14.5 miles which was already going to be  

one of the longest days we were going to do, and  I think we'd well surpassed 15 miles already by this   point and still were 2 or 3 miles from our end point,  and we were exhausted. And for me I was feeling   really guilty and upset at that point, like  oh my goodness, I dragged Katriona on this walk   that, I don't know if she's having a nice time,  she's never going to want to walk with me again   after this. It wasn't fun, that bit." Kat: "I mean, those things  happen on most walks, you know. Something   will happen like that. You'll go slightly off  course and you'll be annoyed." Katie: "We do have   a saying in my house that it's not a walk with  Katie unless you find yourself in a bog at some point, so it's part of the experience." Kat: "And is that your low lowest point too?" Katie: "It is, of the walk. My   second lowest point was obviously seeing the car  be towed away halfway through through the week."  

Katie: "That was very unfortunate, but in a way I think  that takes me into our high points as well because one   of the high points of the week has been learning  that however hard you plan, something unexpected   is always going to come up. And I thought  it was going to be the weather this week and we   certainly had to contend with the weather but, unexpected car circumstances as well, so I    think it's a low point that we couldn't do things  quite as we planned to, but it's a high point that   we were able to make the best out of a difficult  situation and have an incredible week anyway." Kat: "Yes, definitely"   Kat: "And so what was your high point then?" Katie: "Oh I've got three. I wrote them down so    I didn't get overwhelmed because there were  so many." Kat: "Yeah, it's very hard to pick."  Katie: "So my first highlight was the ancient woodland that  we went through on the first day, just because   it was magical. There was this moment when we were  bending down staring at mushrooms, as we've done   every day I think, and we stood up to see that  this mist had just rolled in through the woods   and it was so beautiful. It felt really magical and  mysterious, especially because that part of the  

walk we'd been in quite a busy car park. It was a  Sunday morning and lots of people were turning up.   There were joggers and people with their dogs, and  they all disappeared and went off up the mountain   and we had chosen this side path instead, the  less popular route, and I didn't know what we   were going to find there, but the woods were  beautiful, so that was definitely a highlight."   Katie: "What's your first highlight?" Kat: "I think another woodland one, the mushroom woods that we found."   Katie: "The mushroom woods!" Kat: "Which, I had never seen any of  those fairy tale shiny red mushrooms before in my   life, I don't think, and I spotted some into the...  we were going through along the side of some pine   forest and I spotted one. I was very excited  because I thought it might be a fly agaric and  

Katie said it's not, but it's still amazing,  and I think they're called the sickener?"   Katie: "They are called the sickener. They're a highly poisonous  mushroom, but nonetheless beautiful." Kat: "Yes, they were   fairy tale looking, and we excitedly ran into the  trees to take pictures and then just had the   fun experience that the more we looked and turned  around, the more we saw. They were just covering   the forest floor, it was absolutely stunning." Katie: "That was amazing. We lost an hour of our day in those   woods and I don't regret any of it." Kat: "Yeah. It was really exciting." Katie: "It was really special." 

Katie: "My next high point was actually the steam train.  I really really loved the steam train. I'd kind of   chucked that into the plan as a last minute wild  card, thinking it might be a fun surprise and it   would be a convenient way to cover some of the  distance that we needed to cover, but we did   the walk at the end of September so I didn't know  if the trains would even be running at that time   because it's obviously a very tourist friendly  attraction, so it was just lucky. The trains are   not running every day so it was very fortunate  that our walk coincided with the   day that the train was running, and the weather  was nice, and we got the good seats that we did   right by the window. It was it was magical how that  day came together." Kat: "Yeah, I think there's   always an extra layer of excitement when you've  had this uncertainty of really wanting something   to come together but you're not sure until the  last minute if it's going to work out, and we had   that with the train. We got to the little station..." Katie: "It was so cute!" Kat: "...which was just some tracks   in the grass with sheep grazing, and we just  sat there and then we could hear the the steam   train and the distance we knew it was coming,  and the final bit of uncertainty was just whether   there would be any available seats, and it was  surprisingly full but there were seats for us to   go back on the train and that was lovely. That was  really exciting for me too because it was my first  

time on a steam train, and it was a very cute one." Katie: "Yeah it was lovely. Very very magical." Kat: "Yep." Katie: "Do you have another high?" Kat: "I think maybe the wild swim as well." Katie: "Yeah! I've got a wild swim as my high point as well."   Kat: "Yeah. Katie had one more than me, I just  did the one, but it's not something I've done very  

much of up to this point, I know it's a passion of Katie's." Katie: "I'm a little bit obsessed" Kat: " I wasn't entirely   sure. On one of the earlier walks we'd stood  in a stream that was icy, and so I was a little   uncertain about how I would feel once we got to  an actual swim spot, but we got to a really amazing   one, and there were some lovely people there who  encouraged us to get in in a very welcoming   way and we swam with them for a little bit.  It was very cold but it was worth it 100%, and   it was just a lovely experience  and it woke me right up to do the final push of that walk." Katie: "Yeah that one really came at the right moment in the day  didn't it. We were both feeling a little bit tired  

and exhausted and yeah, something about getting  in the cold water really makes you feel amazing.    I think I have to put the second waterfall swim in  as my high point because that was just so magical.   I had that huge waterfall all to myself, apart from  a dog who jumped in and swam with me at one point,   it was just me, and I couldn't believe the force of  the water coming down from that waterfall, it was  kind of blowing my hair and my glasses were  covered in spray, and I loved it. I absolutely loved it." 

Kat: "It a very very high waterfall, very powerful." Katie: "27 metres high." Kat: "Yeah, it was dramatic. That's the one   that I chickened out of, because I was already kind  of cold and muddy and didn't feel like it." Katie: "Well and also there was the promise of another swim for our  final day, which sadly didn't come together because   we're not walking today because it's not safe but I'm glad you got to swim once. I would have  

been gutted for you if you hadn't been able to swim at all." Kat: "Yeah it was great, and hopefully we'll   do some more in the future." Katie: "Definitely. Shall we move on to our things that we've learned...?"   Katie: "Because we are going to do this again right? Kat: "Yeah. I mean I think we've already touched on the fact   that we were pleased to learn that we were capable of walking multi-days..." Katie: "Yep definitely." Kat: "...not having done it for quite   some years." Katie: "Yeah my last one was 10 years ago,  and I've done... I would say I've done walks of   a similar length recently but actually I haven't.  The longest walks I've done recently have been up  

to 12 miles and we ended up doing 17 on some days  so it was a significant jump up." Kat: "Yep. We've both been doing practice walks. My first one of the  year was 10 miles and I was exhausted at the end   of that, so I feel very proud of what we've just  managed to do. I was quite pleased with how my   new bits and pieces that I'd bought in terms of  equipment worked out. My rain coat was brilliant."  

Kat: "My sandals were a revelation." Katie: "Your sandals were a lifesaver." Kat: "Yeah, I've always been a walking   boot person and we'd both agreed that we  needed at least one pair of backup shoes in case   of getting absolutely soaked, and my boots did  get absolutely soaked on day one. They leaked, well   the right one leaked very badly." Katie: "See aforementioned cow bog." Kat: "Yup. But I had a pair of hiking sandals   They are made for hiking, they're not just kind  of flip flops. If anyone's interested they're  

Teva Hurricane sandals, and they've been really  really good. I've been wearing them with waterproof   socks which are amazing. I'd never tried those before,  and they've managed to keep my under-socks dry.   I've worn them every day since the boot  soaking incident." Katie: "And have you found them okay...   I guess my worry about wearing sandals would be  there wouldn't be much ankle support, that's the   thing I like about wearing boots, I like having the  tightness around my ankles." Kat: "I do like that  

as well with boots. I haven't had any sort of  ankle wobbles or anything." Katie: "No and we've been doing   some pretty rough terrain." Kat: "Pretty rocky, so yeah I'm  just really surprised. I didn't expect that I would   love them so much. They were also really handy for  the swimming, and we also did a river crossing   well river... a stream crossing at one point and  I was able to just go walk in in my sandals which was really nice"   Katie: "Meanwhile I had to take my boots off and tiptoe  across barefoot which, I was jealous of the sandals   at that point for sure." Kat: "So that's good, that's very  good to know. And I'd always thought in the past  

Oh they're only really suitable for warm climate  hiking, but in fact with the waterproof socks they   were fine for Wales which is saying something." Katie: "It is. I mean, I guess you wouldn't want them in the   depths of winter when it's freezing." Kat: "Not in the highlands of Scotland on a mountaintop in the   snow, but they were very good for this." Katie: "For this  season they were great." Kat: "And the other advantage is that if you're getting blisters,  they kind of... your toes have much more room to move." 

Katie: "Your toes are free. Speaking of blisters that brings  me onto some of the things I've learned. I've   learned some blister management skills this week  because, I have to be honest, we have both had   blisters to deal with this week, and one of  the things I've learned is that you can walk a   long way with blisters so long as you're caring  ing for them properly." Kat: "Yes." Katie: "I'd always thought oh   no if I get a blister that's it, I'm not going to be  able to carry on, but Kat did lots of research   into foot care before we started and came  armed with equipment to manage them, and my feet   have mostly been fine - a little bit of discomfort,  but nothing that made walking unpleasant which   has been great." Kat: "No.I was sort of worried at the start  of how painful it was going to be, but as you said   if you just you're quite careful how you take care  of them, and the reason I did all that research was   just from previous hiking experience." Katie: "Yeah you've had  bad blister experience as well haven't you." Kat: "I've had bad ones, yeah."   Kat: "So yeah, we're glad we found out about that." Katie: "Yeah. What's on next on my list of things I've learned?"  

Katie: "The OS Maps app lies about distance really  badly. So I, as you know, I planned a completely   alternate route to The Beacons Way which is what  we were originally going to walk, and there were   definitely some days this week where we could have  walked parts of The Beacons Way. We had some really   nice weather that would have been suitable for  mountains, and there were moments where I thought   oh no, are we wasting the opportunity? We could be  going up mountains at this point, but I really   liked the fact that we did a straight line walk as  much as we could, and I created that route just   sitting with my iPad trying to find a way through  on my OS Maps app - which I love. It's a brilliant   app, but I was going by the distance estimates  that the app gave me, and my rough aim was   to make our days around 12 miles and never more  than 15, and what we ended up doing were days that   were never less than 13 and some up to 17 which is  more than I would have chosen for us to do." Kat: "Yeah."   Katie: "It turned out to be within our capacity but it  might not have done, and that might, you know that   day one might have finished us off, so that was a  frustration. But now that I know that, when I use  

the app in future I know what sort of percentage  extra time and distance to add on." Kay: "Yes, and we also   now know how much time to add on in terms of our  pace when we're filming." Katie: "Yes we've got a good idea   of what our average miles per hour is when you need  to stop, drop everything and run and photograph   mushrooms for an hour, which is going to be  really useful information for our next adventure." Kat: "Yeah. Also in terms of... there were a couple of  pieces of kit that I brought with me that I didn't   end up using: waterproof gloves and my baseball  hat I didn't use at all, but they would have been   in certain situations they would have been really  helpful, so I'm glad I had them." Katie: "Yeah it's tricky  

isn't it, because obviously we saw a lot of  different weathers this week, but we could have   had quite different weather and you have to have  you have to be prepared for all of those things   because, as you know, any number of seasons can  happen all in one day." Kat: "And we've both loved our   walking poles, hiking poles." Katie: "Oh my goodness, hiking poles have been a revelation." Kat: "We've been on some   treacherous paths this week." Katie: "Yeah, I mean obviously the  intended use for hiking poles is to support your   joints when you're hiking, so they take the load  off your hips and your knees, and people say   that they're best for use on continuous flat terrain or slight incline where you can   really get a stride going, and I love them for  that, but I also really love them for having two   extra balance points when you're wading across  a river with your bare feet, for example."    Kat: "Yeah, and climbing over fallen trees and   we've had incredibly slippery, muddy, rocky paths   with drops to one side, and having the poles is is  so reassuring that you can, you know, catch yourself.   I also found it, for the boggy areas I found  it great for just testing the ground a little   bit without just plunging my my feet, not really  knowing what I was getting into." Katie: "Yeah they've been  

brilliant. I've become quite emotionally attached to  them I think, and we went for a short walk with   Jack this morning and obviously didn't have them  and I felt kind of naked and lost, so I definitely    really have liked my hiking poles a lot, they've  been brilliant. We also got some rubber tips   for them because they make quite a harsh sound if the  ground is hard, and we did a few stretches on road   so we added some rubber tips at that point to just  make the sound a bit softer, that was really nice.   That was Kat's idea." Kat: "Yeah I happened to read about  that yeah, and even if you're on a really rocky   path it can be quite annoying, so being able to  put those on is great." Katie: "Yeah, and the other bit of  

gear that I really appreciated was the zinc oxide  tape, which was part of our blister foot care kit.   I used it to cover some of my blisters at some  point but I also used it when I jarred my   knee. I looked up a little YouTube video on how  to do a knee strap and I was able to make a little   wrapper for my knee and it really, really helped  support my knee, just on that final day with all   the up and down I needed a bit of extra support  and it was great to just have something in my rucksack that I could use like that, it was brilliant.  I think the final thing I've learned in terms  

of what our capacity is, is that it's really nice  to build in rest days, and obviously we had our   unexpected rest day when the car broke down but  that came after 3 days of walking, and again today   we're having an unexpected rest day after 3 days  of walking and I think that might actually be the   right rhythm for us. We obviously have been  out for a walk today because my... Jack, where is Jack?  Jack should be here! Jack is exhausted  because he got taken out for a walk in the rain   today which is not his favourite, but we did  get to go on quite an exciting outing that we   alluded to earlier in the week, but didn't have  time for so do you want to chat a bit about that?"   Kat: "Yeah. Even though it was quite rainy today, we  did want to go out somewhere and Katie took me to... "  Kat: "I forget what it's called..." Katie: "It's called Dan Yr Ogof,  which is the national showcaves of Wales, so  

if you skip back to days four and five where Kat  and Jack and I were walking up the mountain, today   we went inside that mountain, so we were walking  underneath where we were walking up above a few days ago."  Kat: "Yeah it was pretty incredible. It's been a  long time since I've gone into a cave and I do   love it. I love the sensory thing of the smell and  the cold and the dampness, loads of stalactites   and interesting formations. You got you get to  go quite far inside the cave network." Katie: "Yeah those caves are massive, and the bit that's   open to the public is just a tiny percentage of  what there is there. It's... I wouldn't want to   go any deeper, I'm not really interested in going  into any holes that you have to squeeze through or   anything like that, but being inside the mountain  and feeling the sense of space that's in there and   thinking about all the water that's moved through...  it's an incredible place and I loved it. But it's  

also dressed up a bit as a tourist attraction.  For some reason there's a whole dinosaur   park there as well, and I love dinosaurs so it was a very exciting outing." Kat: "It's very well done."  Kat: "There's loads of them. I'm from London and I'm near  quite near Crystal Palace where they have those   hilarious dinosaurs from the Great Exhibition.." Katie: " Which I've never seen so I don't know what you're..."   Kat: "They're from the Great Exhibition, something like that. I'm  not good at history so I don't know the year   but they were from before people fully were able  to actually create accurate models of dinosaurs."  

Katie: "Oh I see." Kat: "So they're somewhat fudged versions of imaginary  dinosaurs, but they are beautifully presented in   the middle of a sort of little lake with trees  around. It's quite beautiful, but these ones   there's way more dinosaurs. Some of them move..."  Katie: "Yes that was a little bit unnerving for Jack   at one point. I think he was fine with them up to  the point where he came across one that was just  

poking its head out the undergrowth and it started  doing this and Jack was really quite frightened by that." Kat: "Yeah, it's beautifully planted with foliage  around the dinosaurs and tree ferns and things, so   it feels very sort of Jurassic in there." Katie: "Yeah that's the thing I love about it is they're just   kind of... the dinosaurs are all set amongst the  landscape. It's quite different from looking at   dinosaurs in a museum or something." Kat: "Yeah." Katie: "It was a real treat to get to go there." Kat: "Yes. We weren't able to the other day, so it was great  that we could today." Katie: "Yeah, icing on the birthday   cake for me. Shall we move on to your firsts?" Kat: "Yes. So I mentioned earlier that this was my first  

ever time on a steam train, but there were quite  a lot of other firsts. As well as the most   obvious big one, it's the first time I've walked  nearly 100 miles, just over 90 which is pretty good." Katie: "Yeah, if we count the walk we did today we did I think 92 miles, which is pretty good in seven days." Kat: " So that was a big  

first. I've been wanting to do it for ages and  I'm really happy that it happened. I had my   first Welsh cakes." Katie: "Oh yes, yep." Kat: "First steam train... It was actually my first time being rescued from   a broken down car. I don't drive so I've never had  that particular experience." Katie: "I'll be honest and say  

I've never had that experience either. I've always  had car breakdowns that have been fixable at the   side of the road, not ones where your poor car has  to be taken away in a pickup truck. That was very   unfortunate, so that was the first for me too." Kat: "Yeah, we were lucky that we broke down in a place   that was not too bad, and we were picked up by  a lovely chap and driven... Katie: "It was very convenient wasn't it.   It happened in the station car park so there was a  cafe, there was a gift shop, it was all very   convenient." Kat: "Apart from the slight anxiety  of it, it wasn't too bad at all. That was a first   an interesting first...and I think the red mushrooms  are my only other, but that's a big one.  

Yeah, that magical red mushroom forest was quite  something. So yeah, I can't wait to see what   what my next firsts might be." Katie: "Yeah, so you're  willing to indulge in other hiking adventures then?"   Kat: "Yes. We've left a lot on the table for next time." Katie: "We definitely have, including the entire Beacons Way, which was   our original plan." Kat: "Yeah, but I think we were both  really happy with how it turned out in terms of...   We felt like if we had gone straight into The Beacons  Way, two mountains on the first day..." Katie: "It might have finished us off."   Kat: "We might have been a bit freaked  out and worried about how we were going to manage   and instead we had this beautiful sort of valleys  and woodlands walk, which was a great practice run." Katie: "it really was"  

Kat: "...for when we hopefully we'll do the mountains at some point." Katie: "And it also made me realise that   there's so much more to this National Park than  the mountains, you know. I think a lot of people   come here because it has the biggest mountain in  Wales... no, it doesn't have the biggest mountain in   Wales. It's the biggest mountain in South Wales and the south of the UK, but I think people come   here to go up the mountains and think that that's  all there is to do, but to see all the incredible   waterfalls and the beautiful woodlands and you  know, we haven't been to the top of a single   mountain and we've still had an incredibly full  week of amazing experiences so...and plenty   more in store for another time hopefully." Kat: "Yes, and thank you for all your route planning."

Katie: "Oh it's a pleasure. I'm such a map nerd. So yeah, that  was the fun bit for me. I love the planning aspect   and I could stare at Ordnance Survey maps for  hours and hours, so that was no problem. Thank you to all of you lovely people for watching us,  sticking with us through this wild adventure   that we've been on. I hope you've enjoyed watching it. Kat: "Yes. I hope we've managed to capture kind of the  

reality of what it was like and the ups and  downs of it." Katie: "Yeah I think we certainly tried   to not sugarcoat our experience in any way but  show you the reality, fun bits and less fun   bits of what we've been up to." Kat: "Yes." Katie: "But I've really enjoyed the experience of walking with you my   lovely friend and of filming it and sharing  it with people." Kat: "Yes thank you for watching." Katie: "Yeah thanks" [Music] Kat: "Do we want to mention what we  did today with Jack...?" Katie: "Oh yeah we do"   Kat: "In case we're going to show a little few  little clips.." Katie: "How are we going to lead into  

that without...because obviously we're going  to have an awkward cut here" [Giggles] Kat: "Yes, ummmmm"    Kat: "Shall I just ask you what we did?" Katie: "We could say...... uhhhhhhhhh ......" Katie: "Can I sip some of your water? My mouth's really dry." Kat: "Yes" Katie: "Thanks" [Music]

2023-11-18 17:33

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