INSTRUCTIONS AND ADVICE

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On this page you will find useful information about your BMLD. This page is updated regularly according to your questions.

 Last updated on  15th December 2019.

Sleeping

You can find accommodation in a hotel, inn, gîte, campsite, holiday village, etc…
Please note, however, many of these accommodations are in the Puy du Fou area and therefore in high demand.
On the other hand, during this extended weekend, some rental companies prefer to allocate their rooms to those who book for 3 nights.
You can find shelter at many points along the route. These shelters can be varied, large or small, open or enclosed, comfortable or sparse.
Some will have electrical sockets. Take this into account when planning a possible recharge of your electrical devices.
The “bivouacs” are sites which are authorised to pitch a tent for 3 to 4 hours or to sleep “under the stars”.

Eating

Food shops are scarce until 57km at St Georges de Montaigu, then they are fairly well distributed until the last 30km.
If you want to have a meal or just a sandwich in a chosen food outlet, it is advisable to phone a few hours before your arrival to find out about the possibilities of what is available or even make a reservation.

Drinking

There are water points every 10-12km but you may have to walk up to 15km without a water point. You should therefore allow up to 4 hours without a refill. Do not hesitate to knock on the door of houses if necessary. Also bring a cup because sometimes you will not be able to fit your water bottle under the tap of a sink.

The main difficulty will obviously be that the distances of 200km and even the 120km is no small achievement. It will be necessary that the body and especially the feet in particular, will be able to take the endurance.
However there are also other things to consider, especially your mental strength, morale, motivation as well as good organisation.
NB: this section is written especially for the 200 BMLD, you will have to adapt it for the 120 BMLD.

Good time management

Even if you are going into the unknown, you must try to plan. How fast to walk? What rest periods to plan? In theory, it is sufficient to walk at 2.67 km/hr to finish within the time but you will have to factor into this your rest periods which at this pace will be none. It is advisable to walk slightly faster! To compare with no rest periods and walking at a continuous speed of 6km/hr, you can expect to return at 6.20pm on Friday 22nd May 2020.
It is recommended but not essential to adopt an intermediate speed of 4km/hr. At this pace you can expect to complete 50hrs of walking and also more importantly, 25hrs of rest which will include sleep, meals or just stopping.
At a speed of 5 km/hr, 40 hours of walking are enough to allow you to arrive on Saturday evening 23rd May 2020 to avoid a third night outside.
Try to choose your pace sensibly. Your goal is to complete the route without much suffering. For stops, try to stick to the estimated times without succumbing to fatigue.

Can we avoid walking at night?

In mid May, the days are long. Sunrise will be at 6.30am and sunset at 9.30pm. This means you will have 15 hours of daylight to walk and even possibly 16 hours in which to enjoy the twilight and dawn-light. We can count on 13hrs + 15hrs +15hr + 5hrs which gives a total of 48hrs of daylight. Is it sufficient ? At 4km/hr, it is certainly not because it is necessary to provide stops and rests including during the day. So equip yourself and be prepared mentally and technically to walk during the night.

Walking at night

This obviously requires suitable equipment. Lighting to see and be seen especially with a high visibility safety vest. Prepare yourself for this mentally. For example, imagine yourself very tired at 1.00am in the middle of the deserted countryside, trying to see in all directions to find those tiny yellow and red symbols indicated by the guidebook.

Markings:- can be of help to you but they can also be confusing

As you know, your route will not be signposted. However, many sections will be marked:
Great Country Hiking route (GRP, 2 yellow / red lines).
Short hiking trails or local circuits (1 yellow or green line or…).
“Vendée à Vélo” routes (specific signs or posts).
The marked sections are indicated in the guidebook by the corresponding colors.
The “Vendée à Vélo” signs are replaced by 2 shades of green.
(NB:- “Vert / Vert = VV = Vendée Vélo”).
However…
1-Do not blindly follow signs, you will have to know when to leave them.
Only the instructions from the guidebook are valid.
2-Some markings could be old, hardly visible or even sometimes missing!
3-The GRP layout on the map is sometimes wrong !!! Indeed these trails change and the updates of the IGN maps do not always follow. Just like a Sat Nav in a car!

Nutrition

A good diet is obviously essential. There will be no refreshment stations available. You will not be able to receive any personal assistance and you will not be able to pack everything into the backpack. It will therefore be necessary to purchase certain provisions during the route. However grocery stores are becoming increasingly scarce.
You have to plan your points of purchase.
From 15th March 2020, a list of available food stores will be published on this site.
For now, plan your diet for the first 80kms and then stock up on the spot. Maybe also carry a knife and a spoon in your backpack.
Don’t forget that you can also put food in your luggage, which can then be collected at 67km and 133km.

Liquids

In addition to bars, restaurants and even mini-markets, the guide book will inform you of where you can find water points, normally every 10 km if possible.
To prepare yourself carry one or two containers of water for 10-12 km of independent walking. A cup will also be useful because some washbasins at public toilets are too shallow.

Sleeping

It is also necessary to prepare and plan. The guidebook has suggestions for all the possibilities of lodgings (hotels, lodgings, camp-sites etc…) and shelters (rooms, playgrounds, barns, sheds, bus shelter, etc…).
For paid accommodation, find out in advance about possible availabilities and even if you are sure of your speed, book them in advance. Check the availabilty of mobile homes on each campsite.
For those who will be bringing their own tents or even for those who admire the “beautiful night sky”, the guidebook indicates some places for you to “bivouac”.

GPS and mobile phones

There are a few shelters (approximately 3 to 5) officially available to you which will be equipped with electrical sockets for the recharging of batteries.
The smartphone (such as GPS) is not compulsory but recommended, if only for example, to order a sandwich in the next bakery.
In case of many wanting to share the ‘electricity points’, it might be advisable to carry a multi socket charger or even a portable charger.

Control points

The procedure for arriving at control points is described in the regulations. Periodically (every 10km or so), you will have to leave a “pass card” in a letterbox (BAL) as exactly described in the guidebook. This pass card contains your identity and the recipients address. Before depositing it, you will have noted your time of arrival and time of departure before recording it in your log book.
Periodically, the owner of the letterbox will send us the names of the walkers that have passed in front of their house. At the end of the event, we will collect all the pass cards.
This will allow us to follow the progress of the various walkers and, ultimately, validate (or not) your BMLD.
Using the guidebook will allow you to know in advance the position of official control points. However, the organisers will also set up “hidden control points” in non-predefined locations.
Logbooks and pass cards will be provided initially with waterproof cases and neck lanyard to you which will allow you to protect and carry them.
These documents will be personalised with your personal data.

Supporters or followers

There is nothing planned for your followers or supporters. If you want your loved ones to be informed, it is entirely up to you.
Only contact with the owners of the letterbox will allow us to follow your progress and how dispersed all the walkers are.

Travel luggage

To lighten your load, we can take care of small luggage (30 litres maximum) that we will make available to you at “control points” on the route.
For the 200 BMLD there will be two control points made available where you can leave luggage. The first will be at Bois Noir de St. Hilaire de Loulay (67km) and the second one at Mallièvre (133km).
For the 120 BMLD there will only be one control point at Mallièvre (53km).
Be aware of the luggage size. A maximum of 30 litres with no sleeping bag. Include clothes, shoes, supplies, batteries etc… In addition a plastic bag for dirty clothes.
Please make sure that your bag is secure with a lock. We do not provide insurance for the luggage and contents.
Finally do no forget to label the luggage for easy identification (surname, first name and address) in a clear and identifiable way.
NOTE 1:-excessively large luggage will be refused. It must be able to fit into a 30 litre closed rubbish bag.
NOTE 2:-the luggage can only be returned to Chantonnay after the last walkers have passed through the control points.

Security and safety

Please respect the rules of the road for your own safety. At night you will need to be seen and so it is essential to wear a high visibility safety vest. The regulations state that the organisers have the right to stop a poorly equipped walker and can disqualify them in the case of a refusal to stop.
As there is no assistance whatsoever and no first aid at your disposal, it is therefore necessary to equip yourself with a basic first aid kit.

Running

Although BMLD is a walking event, we do not prohibit those who wish to run nonstop or intermittently.
This is the reason why the estimated times indicated on the guidebook to the control points are only suggestions. You can arrive at an earlier time.
However, if you are well ahead of the minimum time schedule, you will be temporarily held at the 2 luggage control points until the minimum time. This might be a good opportunity to catch up on some sleep.
Likewise, the shortest time of 33hrs and 20 mins cannot be shortened. No arrival will be accepted before 6.20pm on Friday 22nd May 2020.

ATTENTION

To register, do not use the procedure suggested below (for the daily walks) but select, in the B.M.L.D. tab, under the  heading BMLD registration.