IT WAS as an off the cuff response to the question, ‘anything planned for your week off?’ that I answered, ‘oh, I dunno, I might just walk 100 miles.

Getting on a plane was out of the question, and why drive to another holiday destination hundreds of miles away when we already live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country?

Before the coronavirus lockdown at the end of March stopped us all in our tracks, I’d signed up to do Country Walking magazine’s ‘walk 1,000 miles challenge’, so I had been doing more walking than usual.

But then the lockdown and home working happened and I ended up walking in the morning, before setting up the old laptop, and in the evening, together about five miles, and more than I usually did at the gym, on my way home from work.

Like so many others have discovered during lockdown, walking in the countryside is a great distraction, there is nothing quite as soothing as looking at fields, trees and distant horizons after a day working from home on the kitchen table.

Shame about the weather, but it has to stop raining at some point, doesn’t it?

So, back to my 100 miles in my week off challenge. Starting on the Friday evening, soon after packing my laptop away and clearing the table of debris, I walked out of the door and headed along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towards East Marton, then back across the fields home, a quick six miles to start me off.

Saturday was spent in Clapham, on a geology tour, courtesy of Ingleborough Cave, just more than eight miles, and on Sunday I headed to the top of Pinhaw Pinnacle, along the Pennine Way and back home, the first of my long walks, of just more than 17 miles.

The heather along the way was so beautiful, I repeated the walk the next day, but took a different route back home from the pinnacle, this time returning via Lothersdale and Earby instead of Carleton and Elslack. It was a slightly shorter walk, some 14 miles, and took in a bit of the Pendle Witches Way, a 46 mile long distance path from Sabden to Lancaster. I was well on my way to my 100 mile goal.

Walking along the Pennine Way is always interesting in terms of the people you meet, but I usually head north towards Malham., rather than south. I saw several walking on their own, both men and women, and some carrying very large rucksacks.

One man, in his late 70s with an enormous pack on his back, who I got talking to at Pinhaw Pinnacle, was keen to get a picture despite it being a very misty day with the usual splendid far reaching views obscured.

I suggested instead of the camera he was using a smart phone might be easier, his response was that he didn’t have a television licence, so was unable to get one. I left him chatting to another man eating his sandwiches.

For anyone who hasn’t seen them, the goats along the long distance path near Thornton are well worth a look. The owners have provided the animals with a great selection of toys to keep them from getting bored and so they lounge on deck chairs and shelter inside a miniature stone henge waiting to be fed by passers by. There is even a feeding bell to summon the obliging animals to a nice little picnic area,but do be prepared to carry the smell of goat about with you for the rest of the day.

On the Wednesday, I needed to do some shopping in Skipton, so I set off from West Marton along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath, there and back, about 18 miles. Once you get to Gargrave, the towpath has been resurfaced and while it looks very good, it is quite hard on the feet after about 10 miles.

Thursday was a bad day, weather wise, and I got repeatedly soaked on my walk to Coniston Cold and Bell Busk up to the Pennine Way. It was back down to Gargrave and onto the canal towpath back home, almost ten miles.

Friday was wet again, but I managed an eight miler, over the drumlins towards Bank Newton, and taking me two miles short of my 100 miles target.

Saturday, and it was off to Thruscross Reservoir, which was as busy as I have ever seen it with families. It poured with rain again,

The circuit of the reservoir is just seven miles or so; so I went out to do some blackberrying later, making my day’s total to just under ten miles, and making the overall tally to about 106 miles, and with a day to spare.

On the last day of my holiday, before heading back to work, I got dropped off near Rathmell, with the plan of walking along the Ribble Way, to Gisburn. I found the Ribble Way okay, but went the wrong way for an hour or so and it was only when I hit Settle that I realised; I re-traced my steps, picked up the path again and all went well until I headed off across the fields to Cow Bridge. A couple of hours later, and I was horribly lost, ending up on the outskirts of Long Preston, on the wrong side of the Ribble.

And my total, 116 miles walked, and miraculously, no aches or pains. I plan to do 150 miles in my next week off.