Behold my achievements! It’s not a diet achievement, as I have been eating chocolate. But it IS a fitness achievement.

As you may know, I am walking 660 miles to Mordor, in a Lord of the Rings themed challenge, hosted by Conqueror Challenges. The journey replicates the long walk taken by Frodo Baggins, as he transports a fearsome, magical gold ring from his cosy house in the countryside to Mordor, a place of doom. Unlike Frodo, the Conqueror walker is rewarded with FIVE luxurious medals for completing various stages of the journey. Look at these.

You need these medals.

As everyone knows, setting is a main character in Tolkien’s books. Middle Earth feels like a real place, not least because Tolkien drew elaborate maps of the territory, at different scales, before and during writing. So when he says “to the north lay the Misty Mountains”, he really means that they were to the north. The sense of place is tangible throughout this epic novel.

Here’s a map of Middle Earth. Frodo starts out in The Shire, which you see on the north-west of the map. He travels east, then through some mountains, then eventually south to get to Mordor. I can fully believe that it is 660 miles.

Map of Middle Earth

So Conqueror provides this app where you can track your progress. The journey is divided up into five stages (not of equal size, but rather carefully balanced in line with the story). Here’s the map of Stage 1, The Shire, which takes us on a journey of 145 miles, starting at Frodo’s home and ending at the Prancing Pony Inn at the village of Bree.

Map of Stage 1: The Shire

Now for the news. Look! I finished! I made it to Bree!

I completed the challenge.

I am on top of the world and have felt v proud of myself all day. Let’s have some more maps.

Here are two maps side by side (see how the badge at the top changes from brown to green). I completed The Shire, on the left, in half the estimated time, and arrived at Bree. In the second pic, I depart Bree and set out to conquer Stage 2, “The Fellowship”, which will dump me at the door of some frightening mountains, via Rivendell, the city of the elves.

Arriving and departing; the town of Bree.

Two more maps. To the left, a map showing the whole journey for Stage 2. This stage is a mere 98 miles, possibly I could do it in 3-4 weeks if work allows.

Maps: Bree to the Mines of Moria

I am so pleased with myself. And I’m beyond excited that eventually, in a few weeks, a glorious MEDAL will arrive at my house for me to display on my wall.

Conqueror LOTR medal 1: The Shire

I wanted to say “that’s all for now” but it isn’t quite. Firstly, I wanted to quickly crunch some numbers, for my own benefit. The LOTR walk is 660 miles. Because the stages aren’t equal lengths, I wanted to calculate 10% milestones. Here they are.

66 miles: 10% of the journey. Done.

132 miles: 20% of the journey. Done.

145 miles: complete Stage 1: The Shire. YAY! Medal on the way.

198 miles: 30% of the journey.

243 miles: complete Stage 2: The Fellowship. Claim medal.

264 miles: 40% of the journey.

283 miles: complete Stage 3: Mines of Moria. Claim medal.

330 miles: 50% of the journey.

378 miles: complete Stage 4: Eye of Sauron. Claim medal.

396 miles: 60% of the journey.

462 miles: 70% of the journey.

528 miles: 80% of the journey.

594 miles: 90% of the journey.

660 miles: 100% of the journey. Complete Stage 5: Mordor. CLAIM FINAL MEDAL.

I feel exhausted just looking at this list. If this does not get the last few vanity pounds off, I don’t know what will. I would have to start running.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I have a gaming blog over at

I do not have anywhere near as much time as I would like for gaming BUT I am a sucker for MMOs and this seemed like the right moment to run around being a Hobbit in Lord of the Rings Online. Apparently the game lets you follow Frodo’s whole journey. I’m off to Bree now and will blog about it over on the gaming blog soon.

And that’s all the news.

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