Will Carver

Cateran Yomp 2021

My Achievements

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My Updates

Mistakes Were Made

As I have mentioned in previous updates, we are firmly into the “Oh Shit” phase of Yomp preparation where I realise I haven’t trained enough and attempt to compensate in a too-short period of time, resulting in horror and pain every weekend with a smattering of extreme discomfort most week days. 37 days to be precise. Which explains Monday, wherein I decided to take a day off work and do a 35km walk with fellow Beast member, Jimmy. Now I should explain, I am a sedentary IT worker who’s spent most of my adult life sat either at a desk or behind the wheel of a rep-mobile. Jimmy, by contrast, is a farmer who’s spent most of his days on his feet, often in hot pursuit of livestock* who are not where they are supposed to be. So basically, he’s irritatingly fit and walks very, very fast. This became quite apparent when we managed to do 38km in 9hrs moving at an average speed of 4.5km/hr whereas I had assumed that we’d do it at about 4kph. This was also the culmination of about 10 days of continuous exercise and I really felt it – got round OK but was in more pain than I had hoped and had longer after-effects than I’d hoped. As I say, we’re in the Oh Shit phase and I’ll be heading out next weekend for a shorter, sharper, walk and then the following weekend for a 45km jaunt that’ll probably be as far as I go, distance wise, before the event itself. Meanwhile my running app is telling me that I need to do an 11km run today and I am *dying* of laughter


On a more positive note I have absolutely smashed my fundraising targets and am now close to the £2k mark which is incredible, and highly motivational – so thank you to everyone who’s supported me, and thus the ABF.


*A note on sheep – according to another farmer friend of mine they have two aims in life. Firstly, to escape from wherever you’ve put them and the second is to die suddenly and without warning.

I Had A Cunning Plan

So a few months ago my beloved wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, She Who's Word Is Law, Leader of the Pack and Wrangler of Cats to use her official titles, had a bit of a cunning wheeze. Her father is a very nice bloke with a deep and extensive understanding 0of wine, and quite a few of my friends enjoy wine. Why not, she said, bring these thing together and hold a wine tasting. "Brilliant" said I, "let's do it in August when the weather is nice"

Of course what I had singularly failed to recognise in that moment was that we would be deeply into the "Oh Shit" phase of Yomp preparation where every available hour of exercise is critical, and weekends are sacrosanct. Furthermore I had failed to think about actually how much work has to go into setting up wine and food for 15 people, plus shelter (it is a British summer after all), and then taking the whole thing down. I had also forgotten about the old running schedule which, at this point, requires me to complete a certain mileage each week between now and the Yomp. Lastly I had forgotten just how good my father-in-law is as finding interesting wine in large quantities. Net net, I found myself doing a speed walk of 20km in just shy of 4hrs on Saturday morning, coming back and setting everything up, having a lovely evening where we raised about £700, and waking up monumentally hungover this morning to realise I had a full hour's worth of running to "enjoy"

Now there are some sick and twisted individuals who enjoy hearing about my suffering, and some of them have been good enough to sponsor me in exchange for being regailed with tails of woe. As a picture pains a thousand words then, I have attached here a picture from my running app....that's 5mins gentle warm up, a series of 30 sec sprint drills and then the maion course of 6x800m runs at, quote, 'a challenging pace'. Whoever wrote this programme has not met me and therefore fails to understand that 800m is quite challenging enough, thank you very much. Nonetheless I did do the running. For those perverts of pain - yes I was very hung over still, yes my legs felt dead from the 20km on Saturday, yes the sun did decide to shine for the whole of the exercise and yes I did have to have a little sit down in front of the Grand Prix afterwards......serious Type 3 fun.....

Running again

So I understand that a small and sick-minded group of my supporters are taking great pleasure in the Type 3 Fun I've been generating recently. To those sickos I simply say, yes I was quite hungover, yes I did indeed walk 20km yesterday and yes the sun did decide to appear for the hour this running practice took making the whole thing extra unpleasant.

A Gentleman Should Not Run

It has been said, quite correctly in my opinion, that a gentleman should only run if a) the building is on fire or b) someone's life is on the line, and in either case he should run toward, not away from, the danger. Personally I have detested running about as long as I have been able to draw breath. At school I doctored the school computer (note, computer, not computers) to remove myself from all the cross country lists and substituted my sworn enemy onto multiple games classes thereby ensuring he was in detention for most of the autumn term.....any way, I digress....

So I have decided to start running again. The brutal truth is it is a very effective way of building stamina and cardio capacity and putting muscle into my legs for the yomp. I did my last 10k about a year ago and prior to that hadn't run longer distances regularly for about 2 years. I still hate it with every fibre of my being, but I have one of these far-too-clever Garmin running watches which shouts at me and tells me when to run, how fast, when to rest etc etc and, should that fail to motivate me, I have a simply delightful little counter thing which tells me it is, in fact, just 44 days until the Yomp. Ho-lee-shit.....

Types of Fun

So there's a term used by my ever-imaginative, ever-sadistic Crossfit coach David; Type 1 or Type A Fun is the kind of fun you have in the moment, something enjoyed then and there. Type 2 or B Fun is the fun you have in retrospect, when it's all over and you look back on it. Pretty much my whole educational experience would, according to David, fit into this box. I have decided, having just done a fairly insane Hyrox workout that took over an hour, that there is a third Type of Fun - Type 3 or C Fun which can be summarised by the wonderful German term 'schadenfreude' or the fun you have whilst observing the suffering of someone else. And so I hope to provide, over the next 9.5 weeks as the run into the Yomp begins, as much Type 3 fun as one could wish for. Marvel as I, a fat man, try to lose weight. Giggle as I sweat up hills. And sip a nice glass of your preferred beverage as you remember I have had to give up drinking in order to get my weight down for this walk. Do all of these things, but don't be totally heartless, drop a few quid into my collection plate too?

Well That Was Worth It...

My legs are pretty shot today - I managed to get out and have a wander around the hills above Cheltenham and Winchcombe yesterday - it's one of the hilliest places around here, making it ideal for Yomp practice. Unfortunately it was also doing a reasonable impression of Passchendaele - mud, mud, more mud *and* plenty of fog to really help with the navigation. I did manage to get up into the SSSI on Cleeve Hill which should've been very picturesque but was, in fact, so foggy that I couldn't actually see more than about 10 meters in any direction. All told it was 23.5k, nearly 800m of climb, about 5hrs 50 and done with a 9kg pack. I really must work out what's in there at some point and get the load down a bit.... 

It's a Trap

So having decided to get myself moving and motivated for the Cateran Yomp, and with the support of the wonderful folks at Crossfit Cirencester, I have a training schedule from now to Y-Day on the 5th June. Not that I'm counting but it's 123 days away...assuming it happens at all. So obviously this weekend I made a spreadsheet, with pretty colours and a set of workouts and walks builtr in, with Rest days nicley shaded in grey, and everything. I was so proud. Unfortunatley that meant this morning I actually had to start doing it, following my 25k yesterday.

Now Crossfit Cirencester has been a Crossfit "box", to use the parlance, since forever but Head Coach David is a man who loves a new idea when he comes across one and has managed to make us the 2nd gym in the UK to become a HYDROX affiliate. Now, for those who don't know, HYDROX is some messed up love child of Crossfit and endurance running. Good job I'm not doing an endurance event so I can ignore all...oh...bugger.

Needless to say this morning saw me dusting of my extremely ancient rowing machine (it has a computer display, but a 1980s Casio watch would make it look obsolete, and probably did back in the day) to complete 35 minutes of "fun". In this case rowing 1km then resting 3 minutes, then 800 and resting 2 mins, then 600-1, 400-1, 600-1, 800-2 then 1k to polish things off. All done in 31mins 58 seconds. After having done the normal online class. So all in all I'm feeling a tad sore this evening. Only 122 days more until the real thing.

Apparently most HYRDOX workouts use lighter weights, or so David breezily informed me this morning. Now I know that sounds good but the astute among you will realise that means you have to do more reps in the time caps...of which there are few indeed. Apparently their competition workouts are like 90 minutes long....oh goody! 

Dead Legs and Snow

Last weekend was beautiful, crisp snow whereas today it was sleet, mostly going 90 degrees to the ground or, for an exciting variation, straight up. Naturally, because The Gods have a sense of humour, I had decided to do my first Yomp-leg simulation - a total of 26km with a pause at 12.6 and 21km, roughly the same as the first water stop and first checkpoint of the Cateran Yomp. As General Melchett once observed in Blackadder Goes Forth "If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through" and so I set off at about 7.30am for what turned out to be almost exactly 6 hours of walking. This included finding one of my map-marked footpaths took me through an irate landholder's back garden (fortunately no dogs were released), some of the flatest and least exciting countryside north Wiltshire has to offer, and the icing on tbe cake - a totally flooded footpath deeper than my boots. Que me having to cross the Cheltenham to London railway line using one of those crossings that get in the headlines with banners like 'Idiot Walker Killed Whilst Lost'

Anyway, all done, home and bathed. Now to do that about 20 more times and I'll be in fine form for the Yomp. Or dead. Whichever

Well here we go again

So it's been a weird old year, with all of us having to adjust to Covid, lock down, and a lot of time away from friends, family, and often work too

The Soldier's Charity think that they may be able to hold the Yomp on the 6th June, and having spoken to the rest of the team, we're getting ourselves back into training. And so it was, in the middle of the snow last weekend that I put boot to path once more and began to walk. The plan is to slowly up duration and distance over the next few months, after a much more sedentary year than normal. Thanks to the fantastic support of Crossfit Cirencester, who after 7 years of training my fat ass still haven't given up, I've also got a training programme for my wee set of weights and limited space at home. No excuses. 

I'll be aiming to do 3 days on 1 day off during Feb, then 4 on 1 off in March, then 5 on 1 off in April, 6 on 1 off in May....by which time I really need to be at peak fitness to tackle the rigours of the Yomp for the 2nd time. Last time out I was breaking down but not broken by the time I stopped at the 30 miles mark around 11pm. This time I want to get round, and I really do need your help to stay motivated both in training and on the day itself. 

There are huge numbers of ex-Army, and their dependants, who need help now more than ever, so if you can help please, please do!

Plan B

So the Yomp may have been cancelled for this year, due to what is rather wonderfully being referred to as "one thing and another"

Rest assured that we'll be there next year, however next weekend would have been the event itself and so we've decided to accept a bit of a challenge...do as many steps as possible from 7am on the 6th to 2pm on the 7th with the aim of collectively to get to 540,000 steps

So I'll be aiming for 40k steps, that's probably 12hrs of walking. Wish us luck. Or donate a few quid. Or both!

Well this is awkward

So having basically got ready for three months of pretty hard work to actually hit the Yomp with some chance of getting around, the event has been cancelled due to Covid-19. Totally understandable. Bit awkward. Having asked everyone for money, I'll be doing exactly the same thing between now and next year. I suspect that, with the national lock down in place, and many folks about to lose their jobs, their homes and possibly their lives, the work the ABF does is more important than ever. I need to look after me too, as I simply don't know what the next 14 months holds but assuming I can, I want to help, and will push to raise money for them

Training Days

No Pain, No Gain

Having trainined intensively from about February last year till the Yomp in June, I've only done a few short and flatish walks since, but things need to step up whilst the light is still good, so today I hit the Malverns

With England vs Australia on the radio and 24km of hills I set off. The problem with the Malverns is you take a peak, and having slogged up it as you crest the hill the next, inevitably larger, hill then presents itself.

I walked up the whole length of the chain working South to North and hit every peak in between. Not going to lie, 1,000m ascent in less than 12km tickles having not been out and about for a while.

All in, got it done in 7hrs 39mins which really isn't too bad.

Lot of work still to do



Thank you to my Sponsors


Will Carver


Craig Mustoe



Overdue. As you were Cpl.


Flo Horswell

I know you can do it.


David & Charlotte

Good luck Will and the team. T



Good luck sir. You've got this and I look forward to a lot of Type 3 fun thanks to you.


Crossfit Cirencester


Tim Widdowson

Good luck Will for Tim & Marie


Alex Rose


Sarah Watters-carver



Ali Dando


Sarah Wreath And Sale Day

Fundraising from Sarah's Wreath Making Day and also from the Christmas sale


Matt Ohanlon

Hats off to you Mr.C for doing this, very worthwhile cause. Good Luck!


James Rigby

Good Luck Will !


James Taylor

Good luck chap, very worthy cause!


David Chilvers


Oliver Brearley

It looks like a fantastic event, enjoy every minute!


Christopher Leng

Good luck!! Great cause


Mickey Sharpe


Dean Ainsworth

Fine Paid


Tracy Brown

Good luck, that’s a long walk!


Tim Widdowson


Alan Synnott

Good luck Will, a great and very worthwhile challenge. When going for Gold try and harness the Olympic spirit 👍


Clare Chippindale


Nathan Beynon

good luck on the yomp, hope Sarah makes you something nice and frilly that doesn't chafe


Joe Rooney

Smash it!


Andrew Page

Best of Luck Will - great cause and I know you are putting your all into completing it!


Chris Wortt

Great cause Will, congratulations on the team's efforts so far. Chris


Caz Widdowson


Adam Booker

Good job Soldier


Alex Abley


John Macfadzean





Julie Wilson

Good luck Will. Great cause.


Tracy Nugent

Fantastic cause Will. Best of luck ...take plenty of sugary flapjacks :) Tracy


Pascal M Simmonds

Good luck Will, what a great cause and loving read through your journey so far


James Dixon

Good luck Will, that's a tough challenge you've taken on, but it's for a worthy cause!


Luke Backhouse


Paul Maidens


Charlotte Marshall-reynolds


Craig Mustoe


Kirsty Wallis


Simon David Hill


Andy P

Great effort matey.


Samantha Dias