Walk the Wight 

Training Walks


IW Long Distance Walkers Association


If you haven’t started already, now is the time to begin warming up your muscles and breaking in your walking boots. David Yates of the Isle of Wight Long Distance Walkers Association is co-ordinating six warm up walks in preparation for WTW16. It is a great chance to get used to the Isle of Wight terrain and walk in a big group. Please visit the website  http://www.ldwa.org.uk/isleofwight for full details of the walks listed below.

Sunday 21st February (Walk no.3)


Starts - 0900

From - Carisbrooke Castle

Finish - Brading

Distance – 14 miles

Sunday 3rd April (Walk no.5)


Starts – 0900

From – Whitwell

Finish – Shorwell

Distance – 12 miles

Sunday 13th March (Walk no.4)


Starts – 0900

From Brading

Finish – Whitwell

Distance – 15 miles

 Sunday 17th April (Walk no.6)


Starts – 0900

From – Shorwell

Finish – Yarmouth

Distance – 12 miles


Dont set off on your walk without heading this advice from our long distance walking expert, David Yates

Over many years of long distance walking, most of the foot problems that I have witnessed have been due to un-trimmed toenails and/or inappropriate footwear – such as ordinary shoes or plimsolls; or walkers have worn boots that are far too heavy, tight or stiff. 


For most IOW LDWA walks, I now wear lightweight Merrell ‘goretex’ walking shoes, with thick, double-layered 1000-miler socks, and my feet are usually perfectly sound.  In wet conditions, a lot of experienced walkers recommend wearing ‘SealSkinz’ socks, which offer good comfort and are waterproof.   


Most walkers experience some degree of swelling feet - depending on the distance being walked.  If unprepared for, this can lead to blisters and other foot problems.  So ensure that your walking shoes are large enough to cope with some expansion.  I wear size 10 ½ for every day use, walking short distances or running, but my long distance walking shoes are size 12.


When buying any new walking shoes or boots, wear them as much as you possibly can.  Regular everyday use in addition to specific walks will help to soften and mould them to your feet.


Innersoles should also be in good condition, as after time they get over-compressed and lose the ability to cushion your feet.  Installing new innersoles and carrying a spare set is a very worthwhile idea.  These can be obtained from most good shoe, sports or camping shops.  Handwash the innersoles after along walk, and this will help to rejuvenate them.


There are various schools of thought on the ‘to pop’ or ‘not to pop’ blisters argument.  However, prevention is always better than cure.  If you feel a hot spot or actual blister developing, stop and attend to it as soon as possible.


Periodically changing your socks during a long distance walk can also be beneficial, so think of carrying spare pairs. 


If you are prone to blisters, make sure that you strap up affected areas in advance and carry spare plasters or tape.  I use sports-grade zinc oxide tape for any blisters I encounter, rolls of this invaluable stuff are available from sports shops.  Boots toe protectors and Compede plasters are also recommended, but be careful when removing them, as they can remove the skin as well!    


Taking anti-inflammatory Ibrufen-type drugs during a walk can help counter any foot pain and reduce swelling, as can locally applied Ibrufen gels.


If you are prone to blisters or suffer from any recurrent foot pain, you could also consider seeing a podiatrist.  I used to suffer from quite bad blisters and a painful left foot, but now wear orthotic innersoles.  Foot problems are also related to many other skeletal disorders, so they are worth getting sorted out. 


Obviously, some training walks are recommended to ensure that your chosen footwear is well worn in.  Do not buy new boots one week and expect to walk 73 miles round the Isle of Wight undamaged seven days later – like I once did!


After long distance walks, soaking your feet in cold salty water for a few minutes is highly recommended.  Then dress any blisters and leave clean socks on your feet overnight – to ensure that the plasters really stick.  Carry out this treatment (but with warm water) every night until the blisters have healed sufficiently.  Adding tea tree oil to the water is also beneficial.