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A new challenge for Covid times

Feeling the need to take control amongst all the uncertainty, I’ve started a new challenge!

An awful lot could happen between now and April with Covid-19, which has made me worry that it could affect my expedition to Svalbard again. I know that with polar adventures you are often in the lap of the gods and that resilience and stoicism is key, but I’ve found it hard to focus on training knowing there is a chance it might not happen again.

The mountains are only an hour or so away from me and are a perfect place to train and a place I love to be. But, Wales is still on a stricter lockdown as I write this and there is always the possibility that we all go back to a higher lockdown if infection rates rise again. I am also very conscious of the huge pressures the lifting of lockdown will have on local communities and facilities: the mountains aren’t going anywhere so I’d rather wait before returning. I needed to set a challenge that I can start ticking off now, is close to home, is good endurance training, doesn’t require any new kit or skills and could be done solo or with friends: it needs to be something that stands alone from the Svalbard crossing at the same time as contributing to it. So this is a challenge for Covid times.

The Cheshire Challenge

Selfie of two walkers with a long view over fields
Setting off on the Eddisbury Way

There are 22 long distance paths that start, finish or are wholly within Cheshire where I live. 1394 km (866 miles) in total. I unofficially started on the 7th June 2020 when lockdown began to lift in England but now, with a spreadsheet ready, I’m making it official! I’ve set myself some rules for the challenge:

  1. The path must start or finish in Cheshire
  2. The path can be done in sections
  3. No double-counting distance if sections are repeated
  4. The path is listed on the Long Distance Walkers Association website https://www.ldwa.org.uk/

So without further ado, here is the complete list.  As it is going to take me a few years to complete the list may change if paths are added or changed: 

Path NameDistance, Km
Whitegate Way11
Longster Trail16
Shropshire Union Canal Middlewich Branch16
Baker Way21
Eddisbury Way27
Delamere Loop34
Delamere Way34
Mersey Way35
Bollin Valley Way40
Crewe and Nantwich Circular Walk45
Sandstone Trail51
Bishop Bennet Way55
South Cheshire Way55
Gritstone Trail56
Weaver Way64
Dane Valley Way77
Llangollen Canal Walk79
Shropshire Union Canal106
North Cheshire Way113
Two Saints Way148
Trent and Mersey Canal Walk153
Cheshire Ring Canal Walk158
The 22 Cheshire Challenge paths: shortest to longest

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