Friday, 25 May 2012

Chaffage...who needs it!

What are you doing this hot late May weekend? How does a 100km trek over 30 hours (yes – that is non-stop, day and night) across the Yorkshire Dales National Park appeal? 

Well, that’s exactly what over 1,000 intrepid walkers are up to as part of Oxfam’s Trailtrekker to raise money to help people in poverty.
Walkers on the Settle Loop get in their stride

While we ponder the epic size of that task over an ice cream, it's got us thinking about some of the challenges endurance events like this throw up and how best to prepare for this, and any hill walking - from what to pack to how to deal with blisters.  

As you would imagine, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority staff are keen, outdoorsy types, so who better to ask for some top tips on that ultimate horror: chafing.

Lubricant seems to be the key – and an awful lot of it. 

For Ranger Matt – who, in 2010, ran an incredible 190 miles from coast to coast in just over 61 hours for charity – the solution is fundamental: “Vaseline all over your feet and E45 cream for your nether regions - nowt worse than undercarriage chaffage...”.

The thing about blisters is to stop them before they form, says Mark, our Access and Recreation Manager and a keen cyclist.

“You normally get a ‘hot spot’ often on the heel when going uphill – that is the time to put on tape to stop the rubbing from getting worse. Stopping and sticking your feet in a cold stream works wonders.”

He has a few words to say about saddle sores, too: “Cycle shorts are the answer and, if you don’t like the look, wear another pair of shorts or skirt over the top. 

“Nappy rash cream after the event sorts you out for the next day.”

Media Officer and walker Nick has a cheekier solution: “Sneak your kit into your companion’s bag, that’ll take the weight off your own feet!”

Whether you’re after a gentle stroll or a real leg stretcher, the National Park offers some truly spectacular hiking and has its fair share of famous long-distance routes. Did you know the UK’s first National Trail was our own Pennine Way which opened in the Dales in 1965? 

This summer the newest and the first designed specifically for horse riders, mountain bikers AND walkers - the Pennine Bridleway - will be launched, 52 miles of which cross the Yorkshire Dales National Park so there’s no better time to hit the trail.

And if you are one of the noble number taking part in Trailtrekker this weekend, we salute you and wish you a chafe-free adventure!

Even the most experienced walkers can end up in trouble if they don’t pay attention to a few simple rules – thinking about your clothing, equipment and, of course, the weather before you set out can ensure that your day is great not grim. For some handy advice, see

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