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Time Challenge
18th October 2012

Walking the MILLENNIUM WAY in 33 hours - a serious achievement.

Here Craig Hall and Marc Richardson share some of the challenges they faced. There is talk of them doing the walk again in the summer 2013. What  time might they achieve then? Here’s their story..

"I can only give comments on the day light hours of the walk to be honest, as you can guess the night time was just about going as fast as possible though some tough terrain. Considering that we were using a well used foot path / trail, at times, more at night, it was considered very a high risk with the possibility of an ankle going or slipping over, and with us having about 19kg of kit, slipping over could break a rib. We did bypass a bit of the trail and had to find our way back on it to find a more stable trail, using the maps and compass this was very easy as we had a head light on the left side of the assault vests for map reading and walking hands free (we used our brains and laminated the maps in case of rain).

As for the speed of the walk. We were using GPS and found that at one point we were moving at 5.3 mph, and at others times 4mph. The worst part would easily be walking over the fields of mud that were full of rotting potatoes!

Here’s us having lunch by one of the fields, and yes we had no sleep! This was not the plan, we had planned to stop and wild camp in a wood on the trail but everywhere was almost flooded to the point of sinking in mud so we had an hour sit down, food, change of socks and said we may as well carry on till we get somewhere dry to sleep, as you can guess this place never came.

I would advise not walking at night unless you have a good sense of direction and able see in the dark, we were blessed with a full moon (and for the first hour an orange one) we also found that a quick 5~8 minute stop every 10 miles will do wonders, BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO SPEED UP WALKING PACE TO COMPENSATE, also knowing you are going to stop in say 3 miles helps to keep the pace up near the end of that section.

As for weather we should have had light rain from 8am till 10am, but actually we got rain from 8am till 6.30pm and then dry, and almost cloud free, till the end and let me tell you seeing Middleton Cheney coming up on that bright mid morning was very pleasing, for, not least, my feet

"Yes we carried all food and water, and any thing we needed to live for 36 hours.

Here are some photos from along the way, we just could not think too much about taking pictures only about the amount of weight on our backs, and dreaming of hot coffee."

Craig Hall & Marc Richardson completed the MILLENNIUM WAY walking from Pershore to Middleton Cheney on 18th October 2012

President Terry and 41 Club Board walk MILLENNIUM WAY

February 2016 and Terry Cooper, President of The Association of Ex-Round Tablers, originally known as 41 club in company with Vice President Barry Durman and members of the 41 Club Board take time out to come together and walk a section of the MILLENNIUM WAY.

The MILLENNIUM WAY, the 41 Club Long distance footpath is designed for the benefit of the community. Incorporating 44 Short Circular Walks, together with the recently introduced Circular Pathway for use of those less able.

The Board selected the 4½ mile Circular Walk from Flyford Flavell for their perambulations and were joined by management and organisers together with Super Wardens and short walk Monitors all of whom make a significant contribution to the maintenance of this project managed by 41 Clubs for the benefit of the community at large.


President David -  Enjoys a Millennium Way Circular Walk

Solihull 41 club were delighted to meet up with National President David Smith and his wife, in company with National Counsellor Barry Durman when he took time out to walk a section of the Millennium Way on 28 July 2012. A leisurely 5.5 mile Circular Walk from Packwood accompanied by a welcome lunch at the Black Boy Pub, Heronfield provided an opportunity to meet up chat. The day was completed with a first class BBQ courtesy of Barry Durman. Thanks David.



President Vaughan -  Walks Millennium Way

January 2012 - 41 Club National President Vaughan Harris in company with Regional Councillor Barry Durman takes time out to walk with Solihull 41 Club on a short section of the Millennium Way.



President Malcom - 100 miles in 12 days

July 2010 - 41 Club National President MALCOLM LOCKEY together with National Councillor Hugh Milward both successfully completed the walking of the MILLENNIUM WAY in 12 days.

Pictures at Photo Gallery (click for Gallery, then click slideshow button just above first photograph - top left)

Malcolm's decision to walk the 41 Club Long Distance Path was founded on his enjoyment of walking and the opportunity to promote 41 Club by meeting, walking and talking with Club members as he made his way along the route, at the same time raising funds for his nominated charity - Ocean Youth Trust


"The Wantage Three" - 100 miles in 7 days

14th - 20th September 2009

Each year since 2004 our group has taken on a walk of around 100 miles carrying our tents and equipment for a week in the wilds. Previous routes travelled are The Cotswold Way, Offa's Dyke North and South, The Icknield Way and The Macmillan Way West.

For 2009 we chose the 41 Club Millennium Way and although our group numbered only three this year (Steve Willoughby, Alan and Steve Trinder) I know it was enjoyed by all.  

We arrived at Pershore by train on Monday 14 September, and in bright sunshine that was to bless us all week we trudged off to the start. We found the old bridge used by Oliver Cromwell, and headed west along the banks of the Avon. I thought it may be a week of ridiculous questions as an angler asked us the time, and then a worried looking lady queried if we had seen a brown greyhound?  Fortunately all subsequent conversations were more, as you would expect. Freshly ploughed fields hampered our navigation to start with, but adhering closely to the directions, and following the way marks we found our way (plus a little help from Mr GPS).  

First port of call was the Masons Arms at Wadborough. Not quite half two, but it was locked up - disaster! The good news is that the landlord Barry had just driven off, saw us in his rear view mirror and returned. We ordered 2 pints each and sat in the garden to enjoy. Sadly not the best beer we've ever encountered but we didn't have the heart to complain as he had opened up especially. (We are not fussy, but it would have made better vinegar). Undeterred we ate our sandwiches and marched on. We were offered plums from an orchard we passed through, and took a pleasant break at the Church in White Ladies Aston (unusual spire). As we approached North Piddle I spied some caravans, and feared we may have to brave a traveller encampment. Just the opposite. White Hall Farm is an excellent caravan site, and the owner let us pitch overnight. We set about erecting tents, and I snapped an aluminium pole. A quick bit of DIY fixed that for the week, and we marched off to Flyford Flavel to find sustenance. Wow! Several pubs, but we chose the Boot and were served with fine ale and food. Much later, head torches on, we meandered the 2 miles back to camp and settled in for the night.  

Tuesday morning we broke camp, brewed a coffee on our stove and headed back to the store in Flyford Flavel. We had hoped to find sandwiches or pies but by 9.15 am the delivery had not arrived.  (Store open 7.30 to 6pm). The pleasant (Rotarian) shop keeper assured us the Pie Man was usually there by half past, and sure enough he arrived on cue. Superb pasties! From here we walked on through fields and several styles and mid way to Coughton stopped at the Neville Arms. Once again great food and beer. That afternoon took us through more open countryside, and then into Banham's Wood. The shade here from an intense sun was welcome. Eventually we came to Henley in Arden where the owners of the Swan Hotel near the Station invited us to camp in their garden. Once again great food and drink (you may detect a bit of a theme developing here?)  

Wednesday morning we had access to the facilities in one of the hotel rooms, so set off up the nearby Motte and Bailey with renewed vigour. The views are indeed panoramic as described in the guide and in no time at all we had crossed the M40 footbridge and were eating our pasties near St Mary's Church, Lapworth. This day was all the more exciting, as we had arranged to meet Solihull 41 Club, the creators of the walk, at the Black Boy Pub. We walked past the magnificent Packwood House, and along a tree lined avenue. Then after a stretch of canal we arrived at 12.30, to a wonderful welcome from our hosts. Chris Tayler and the group were just ordering so we joined them for a well-earned meal, and discussed the route and our progress to date. Pictures were taken outside, and then we all walked together toward Heronfield. We said our goodbyes, walked on another half mile, and then collapsed in a heap to relax in the glorious sunshine. Batteries recharged we walked the short distance to Ye Olde Saracens Head at Balsall Common.  Great beer (Snecklifter, Hobgoblin, Ringwood 49er) great food, and a flat garden - perfect!  

Thursday morning was sunny again, and we headed for Meriden, the centre of England. We paid our respects to the monument, but were disappointed to find the conveniences shut (by now a wash would have been good). Lunch today was a sandwich in a dry hay field, and we had hoped to camp in Kenilworth. The Castle was a welcoming sight, but there was no room at the Inn for three weary travellers. A couple of pints, and off we went again. With no pubs or campsites nearby we identified a suitable spot to pitch for the night, and headed into Leek Wooton. We received a very warm reception at the Anchor Inn and it transpired that one local was the brother of past Table President Peter Bell, and an ex 41 Chairman was also present. They also knew Chris Horsfall allright. We stumbled back to find our camp, but got lost on the 17th of the Golf Course. We skirted round the Police Headquarters and eventually found our campsite.  

On Friday a Tesco Superstore on the canal near Warwick enabled us to replenish our supplies and we walked on through Royal Leamington Spa. The directions took us up Cardiac Hill and then we were lost. Luckily a nice young lady showed us the footpath across another municipal Golf Course (signs removed by grumpy golfers) and we were back on course.  In Cubbington we passed the Warwick Brewery (well nearly). I noticed that their beer kegs had the same markings as some we had seen concealed in a roadside ditch earlier on the walk. We popped in, had a chat, told them where their barrels were, and were rewarded with two bottles each, most considerate. Shortly after we arrived at the Queens Head, but alas too early. We had a sandwich, and pressed on to the Red Lion at Hunningham. Once again Wow! A beautiful day, and lovely pork pies to help take away the nasty taste of that beer.  We were really in our stride now, and good fortune couldn't help but come our way. We headed for a campsite marked on the map at Long Itchington. It turned out to be the Green Man Pub.   Basic facilities, but one of six pubs in the town serving only 2000 residents, and they are all thriving.  This pub doesn't do food, but a Fish and Chip van delivers on Friday nights. Best ever.

Saturday morning we were joined by Richard Lucas from Maidenhead Round Table. At the start of the day we were planning on making Chipping Warden, but as the walk progressed we had Banbury in our sights. The mornings route took us through glorious countryside but by lunchtime a Pub would have been nice...and there it was, the Carpenters Arms in Lower Boddington. Then we pressed on to Chipping Warden, and our first port of call was the Rose and Crown. It was okay but at that time the mood of the group was to press on. But we just called in at the Griffin round the corner, and everything changed. A very hospitable landlord offered us his garden, and the final night party commenced. Richard was desperate to stay, but family duties weighed too heavy so he eventually left. And so to bed. 

Last day - Sunday. The stove packed up, so no coffee to kick start the walking. However, this tale is of three of the luckiest walkers known, and around 10 am they stumbled across a Vintage Tractor Ploughing Competition, where they found the biggest crispiest bacon baps ever, and coffee to boot  (and one hot chocolate). We had really interesting conversations with many persons present, several of whom had been born on farms whose land we were walking over. They were very interested in our route and showed a keen interest in the expedition overall. And then the last few miles, and the finish at All Saints Church in Middleton Cheney. Not a very exciting building, and a bit of an anti climax really. But never fear, of we stepped again for that last 3 miles to Banbury Railway Station, and en route we found the Bowling Green Pub. Slightly odd looking from the outside, but like a Tardis inside.  Well-kept beer, and an amazing array of meals on offer, including Black Pudding Thermidor and Faggots. We all opted for the Sunday roast and were pleased with the choice. A couple of beers, and finally to the station.  

All in all a very enjoyable walk, well signed and with good instructions in the guide. The views along the way are spectacular, and the terrain is fairly flat making it accessible to persons of all levels of fitness. My account does focus more on pubs and facilities, but hopefully the notes will be of use to those who choose to follow in our footsteps.

Congratulations to Solihull 41 Club for creating an excellent walk to mark the Millennium.

All the paths, bridleways and roads we have used in these instructions are public rights of way as designated on Ordnance Survey maps. Following the instructions and walking tips on this web site in no way constitutes any liability on 41 Club that such routes or tips are safe or suitable.  

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