Sunday, 27 April 2008

Reigate / North Downs Circular - (Surrey) - 27/04/08 - 10 miles approx - IVC

As is now to be expected on a Sunday there was the usual engineering works taking place. In this instance however the replacement bus between Redhill and the Reigate start point went suprizingly smoothly.

The walk began with a steep and virtually straight climb on to the North Downs, by which point one had begun to appreciate what a muggy and humid day it was. So when the first of the expected showers came (which came and went all day) at least it removed that element from the weather. The rain also provided a test for my new full zip up leg waterproof trousers, which had cost me £40 a few weeks back. Unfortunately they proved a lot harder to put on quickly in actual combat conditions than they did in the shop, and I am yet to be convinced that they would keep the rain out any better than the £7 ones I bought from Tesco's.

However within sight of the Blue Ball pub, the rain miraculously ceased, as if it knew we were going indoors. I decided to have a ham baguette, my usual pint of Cider, and a side order of chips. Thus to my chagrin, my side order of chips arrived, along with with a whole load more chips that automatically came with with the baguette. I know these glasses aren't as good as they once were, but thanks for pointing that one out anyway Mr Barman. In the event however, it gave me something to fill up on, as the baguette (especialy the melted cheese part) left something to be desired.

More showers and on and off waterproofs for the second half, found us going through a pretty bluebell wood (pictured), before finally heading for the finishing point at the top of Reigate Hill. As we approached that we quickly passed Reigate Fort (National Trust property), unfortunately we didn't have time to explore that, if we were to finish off with a slice of cake and coffee, and make the hourly replacement bus service. Another day perhaps as Coffee and cake must always come first.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

CLICK 2008 for Complete ARCHIVE

So for those among you haven't already worked this out, the answer is NOOOO I didn't do some 35 walks all on Saturday, 19 April 2008. Instead this is the day I put this whole blog together.

Therefore if you are interested in reading where it all started (going as far back as 1999), go to Blog Archive to the right of you, click on 2008, scroll to the bottom and then work your way up.

Note also: every thing written here in the archive is from memory, or from snippets of emails I have sent out, so inevitably it will be sketchy and brief in many places. However now we (that's the Royal we) are up and running, expect higher quality stuff to follow.

Guildford Circular – (Surrey) – 06/04/08 – 8 miles approx – IVC

Although Snow was forecast it was still a shock and surprise to see such a deep covering on the ground when one got out of bed. Thus the train ride to the Guildford start point, extended/diverted to an hour due to engineering and through much of my old stomping grounds, was almost like something out of Doctor Zhivago. This meant the first half of the walk, briefly skirting the North Downs, and along the South Downs link, was spent crunching snow (as well as the obligatory mud). The mud itself, being a much sterner test for my new boots than they received on Thursday. They did let in a smidgen of water when a puddle I trod in ended up covering the laces, but that in itself was a contained leakage.

All good things must come to an end though and even before lunch, we were getting periodically showered by melting snow from the canopy above. Lunch itself consisting of a pint of Cider, Spag Bol, and a couple of slices of Garlic Bread.

Leader Paul had already announced that he was cutting the walk down to about 8 miles due to the train engineering works and potential mud ahead, thus by the second half along the River Wey the day had metamorphised into the brightest of Spring ones. Did I dream the snow ? That’s the last time I get caught without a camera.

Chesterfield, Bakewell, Chatsworth circular – (Derbyshire) – 03/04/08 – 6 miles approx – Helen, Luther and Molly

A beautiful Spring Day, grassy open fields and three of my favourite people to accompany me (well two are canine actually). Luther seemed quite happy for me to put his lead on and off for him, even if the occasional sniffing stops were sharp and sudden. Our first objective being Bakewell for a pub lunch of fish and chips, enjoyed by two of our party, whilst the other two watched and barked at the passing trade. Following which I took the opportunity to buy some real zip on waterproof overtrousers, at one of Bakewell’s outdoor clothing stores.
The second half saw us push on to the outskirts of Chatsworth House’s grounds, with the dogs enjoying a swim. Despite the brightness it was one of those days where you are down to a T-shirt whilst moving, but soon reaching for warmer coverings once you had come to a stop. Latterly we retraced most of our steps, to find the car. This being the first outing for the new boots, which proved remarkably blister free and comfortable, but with the waterproof reason for buying them still to be tested.

Stanstead Mountfitchet to Newport Essex – (Essex) – 16/03/08 – 9 miles approx – IVC

My first walk with IVC for nearly four months, and a rather muddy affair it was too. Enjoyable all the same though and the threatened severe rain never materialised, with the forces of nature content to stay with a windy mizzle. Unfortunately the whole pub lunch thing went wrong for me, as I correctly guessed beforehand that getting both the wet boots off, along with the caked mud pretend waterproof overtrousers would be a non starter. So planning ahead for once I bought a sandwich and bits, back at the station. However it was too cold to eat outside, and I didn’t want to be traipsing mud around the pub ordering food, so was left to furtively eat my sarnie, whilst all around were getting meals served up. Definitely last chance saloon for both the workboots and pretend waterproof overtrousers.

The Ridgeway, Swindon section – (Wiltshire) – 08/03/08 – 3 miles approx – Helen, Brian, Michael and Murphy

Far less a walk of substance and more like a preview of the Wiltshire Downs. Unfortunately this was one of those real bitter days where the wind slices straight through you. Thus up on the exposed Ridgeway, and without a jumper or normal fleece lining under my jacket, I was looking forward to the finish from the start. The highlight though was when we retraced our steps to walk along the grassy edge of what was Barbury Castle. According to the Contours holiday brochure, The Ridgeway is an 85 mile ancient track established by prehistoric man with a large number of Iron Age forts along the route. Still I suppose they were used to the cold in those days.

Derby Dales ? – (Derbyshire) – 08/02/08 – 8 miles approx – Helen, Luther and Molly

Another fine day in Derbyshire and another route, which Helen can give full details on. Today was my first chance to meet Molly along with her regular walking partner Luther. My plans to impress both by giving them toffees to chew on were defeated in a single gulp. Meanwhile Helen appeared non-plussed with my hi-tec walkie talkie innovation, especially as mysterious other voices periodically came through loud but not clear. After a small drama when Molly couldn’t climb over a wall, much to the concern of Luther, the walk ended alongside a beautiful sunset.

Hampton Court to Osterley, Thames Towpath, via Syon Park – (Surrey) – 30/01/08 – 11 miles approx – myself

This being the first walk of its kind that I have actually done on my own. A combination of still being miffed about my towpath cock up on the previous walk, and an incredibly bright January day found me making an unplanned leap out of bed to do this one. So as before the start point was the 111 bus, only this time coming off at Hampton Court Bridge to pick up the towpath there. Three quarters of an hour later I had made it to Kingston Bridge, and earned my first coffee stop, the next one coming in the shadow of the Star and Garter.

Following the written instructions on the Walk London website I crossed the river at Twickenham Bridge, and through a variety of on/off road twists and turns, entered Syon Park. This however was a real disappointment as the interesting parts of the park are fenced off to the public, with all access designed to lead straight to their pay to enter house and pay to enter visitors centre. Once through there however I was back on the road in Brentford, reaching Osterley exactly 3 hours after starting at Hampton Court Bridge.

Two obsevations about doing a walk like this on your own are: you have more time to observe and reflect on the scenery around, and you walk so much faster.

Kingston Bridge to Kew Bridge, Thames Towpath, via Richmond Park – (Surrey) – 12/01/08 – 10 miles approx – Helen

The plan here was to catch the 111 to Kingston Bridge, and walk along the Thames towpath to Kew Bridge, whilst taking a diversion into Richmond Park to do the inner circuit we had missed out on the previous month.

On a cold but sunny day we were already tucking into our sandwiches by the time we had reached the Teddington section of the towpath, just as well I suppose as an opportunistic dog, nearly took to grabbing and eating them for us. Not long afterwards we diverted off the towpath by Ham House and made our way into Richmond Park by Ham Gate. A cup of Coffee at another café, all the while observed by a young deer, gave Helen a lesson in how London folks aren’t as friendly, or as willing to share tables, as Northern sorts are. Undeterred however we carried on, making new friends with some Parakeets singing in the trees above us.

Somewhere at this point however, I experienced something of a brain freeze as instead of coming out at Richmond Gate and rejoining the towpath there, I decided we really needed to come out by East Sheen Gate instead. Despite the clue to my mistake being in the housing on all sides, I persisted in my error until such times as we found ourselves on Sheen High Street. There was no bluffing my way out of this one, especially when Helen wanted to start looking in shops, so I had to endure the humiliating failure of us having to get a bus back to Richmond Bridge, in order to pick up the towpath again.

Once back on the towpath, my lack of planning/direction was conveniently forgotten as we then became more interested in observatorys, meridian lines and the like, beside The Old Deer Park at Twickenham Bridge. If that wasn’t enough to distract us, the Parakeets appeared above us again. Surely they could not have followed us from Richmond Park, flying alongside the bus ? By this time however the light was closing in fast, and following a last reference point where the Grand Union Canal meets the Thames at Brentford, we came off the towpath at Kew Bridge as planned.

Richmond Park outer perimeter – (Surrey) – 16/12/07 – 7 miles approx – Helen

Caught the 65 to the Dysart Arms, where I used to train for a brief period with Ranelagh Harriers, before climbing the hill and entering the park at Richmond Gate, by the Star and Garter home. The outer perimeter of Richmond Park is approximately 7 miles, with much of the footpath shared between walkers and cyclists.

It was a crisp and sunny December day, and lunch consisted of an assortment of crisps, sausage rolls and scotch eggs (none of which impressed/enticed Helen as much as I had hoped). To enhance the Christmas theme of the weekend, I pointed out the Reindeer to Helen, but I am not convinced she really bought into that. Later on we stopped and had a coffee, at what we assumed was a public café, but what in fact turned out to be the golf course member’s club house. Refreshed but slightly bemused we set off again finding the real public café about 50 yards on. The walk was intended to include an inner circuit of the park, but Helen was having blisters from her new boots, so we quit while we were ahead, returning to the 65 bus stop by the same Richmond Gate way we had come in.

Balcombe to Haywards Heath – (West Sussex) – 25/11/07 – 9 miles approx – IVC

Having returned from Craflwyn late on the Friday, it was nice to get out in the country again on the Sunday. Thus it was surprisingly warm with both my jumper and overcoat coming off early during the first half. Much of that first half was along the Ardingly reservoir, with much of the second half devoted to discussing where Steve McLaren went wrong as England manager. Lunch was a pint of Cider and a ham baguette.

Craflwyn walks 1 & 2 – (Snowdonia) – 22/11/07 – 5 & 2 miles approx – N/Trust w/hol + Helen

This morning walk was led by working holiday leader Doug, who took us around various paths in the Snowdonia region (sorry I can’t be more specific, but I promise to pay attention next time). Throughout the morning the rain was teeming down, the upside of that being it really brought out the colour of the scenery (hopefully the photos show that). Helping out Doug was his trusty assistant (whose name I have forgotten) and his mental dog Flynn (how come I can remember the name of the dog ?)

The afternoon saw a much smaller party consisting of: Moi, Teletubbies Emma and Thomas, Doug, Helen, Aussie Raymond, and Dougs assistant (whose name I still forget) setting off from the Craflwyn basecamp. Doug’s big thing is ancient legends and the like, and he showed us the very spot where Welsh dragons used to hang out, and where Wales itself was invented, apparently.

Derby Dales - (Derbyshire) – 12/09/07 – 6 miles approx – Helen

Oh dear oh dear oh dear, this being one of those days when you’re body is under the weather but your brain and senses haven’t quite caught up with the news. Two clues however were: that I seemed to be talking gibberish most of the day, and having climbed a hill after lunch I was pouring so much sweat I became mister bare chest (pictured) for an hour or so. This being something I never ever ever do, no matter how hot it gets (and it was humid but not excessively warm).
Anyway after a short walk to start off with, we had fish and chips at the pub, and then took on a fairly steep, but not unmanageable hill. The walk however then continued in a very irritating fashion, with me always trailing behind Helen, constantly plagued by flies, and having to have a frank exchange of views with an over aggressive cow. That said I did finish okay, and it wasn’t until we were driving down the road again when suddenly I felt faint and experienced what seemed like a massive drop in blood sugar, as well as a bit of a stomach eruption. There followed a rather tense hour or more, before I recovered sufficiently for Helen to get me on the train. Helen is convinced I was dehydrated (because there is no water in a pint of lager you see), whereas I am convinced I was just under the weather.

Dover to Deal coastal path – (Kent) – 02/09/07 – 9 miles approx – IVC

Another excellent coastal walk and an enjoyable egg and bacon roll times two at a beach side fast food shack. The first half was along the tops of the cliffs with most of the second half at beach level. It must be said however that the pace on the latter three miles of the walk did become ridiculously slow.

Tring Circular – (Hertfordshire) – 26/08/07 – 9 miles approx – IVC + Helen

Helen was along again for this IVC walk. As I was actually on my holidays at the time, I had become fat and bored and therefore decided it was high time I took up running again, almost immediately pulling a calf muscle in the process. It had recovered sufficiently for me to start this walk, but pulled again after a late stop in the pub, after which I nearly got mowed down trying to limp across the road. Fortunately we were near the end and it was just a short riverbank hobble to the finish. Needless to say that was a short lived running comeback.

Gravesend to Higham Thames path – (Kent) – 04/08/07 – 11 miles approx – R.Radford group

An excellent and virtually straight flat walk along the Thames Estuary. The scenery was made up of grasslands to one side and container ships floating by on the other, until near the very end, when we made our way inland. Lunch was sandwiches sitting in what looked like some ancient defence fortifications.

South Downs Circular – (Sussex) – 29/07/07 – 11 miles approx – IVC + Helen

Another jaunt on the South Downs, and another beautiful day. This time it was a straight out and back route descending/ascending to/from the pub. Also along for the first time with IVC was Helen. She later confessed reservations about whether she thought she could do the distance, but of course managed it with ease.

Folkestone to Dover coastal path (Kent) – 22/07/07 – 10 miles approx – IVC

Excellent coastal path walk on a pleasant but slightly windy day. Lunch was in a small café on the cliff. Upon our travels we came across a replica Spitfire and Hurricane, a Battle of Britain memorial, and the pre radar early warning concrete bowls (as featured in the TV series Coast). There was also a fine view of Dover Castle in the distance as we neared the end.

Nutfield Loop – (Surrey) – 08/07/07 – 11 miles approx – IVC

An 11 mile loop around Nutfield (near Redhill) saw me bothered both by hayfever and stinging nettles due to wearing shorts. Also there was a slight tense moment when a load of cows/bullocks faced us off in a straight line. The pub lunch however was an excellent Chicken wrapped in strips of Bacon, with Chocolate Fudge cake for desert.

Derby somewhere – (Derbyshire) – 28/06/07 – 3 miles approx – Helen & Luther

This walk, and Helen is the person to say where exactly it was, was my first introduction to Luther (he seemed quite a decent chap).

Guildford Circular – (Surrey) – 10/06/07 – 11 miles approx – IVC

Beautiful Summer day found us briefly skirting the North Downs and then the South Downs link before lunch. The afternoon found us following the River Wey back to the Guildford station start point. We had become somewhat spread out along the River Wey, and unbeknownst to us finishing at the front, Sheila had become a minor medical casualty further back after falling and bashing her nose.

Grand Union Canal to Osterley Park (Middlesex) – 03/06/07 – 5 miles approx

A small walk along the Grand Union Canal, which I then linked into Osterley Park. On the canal I was able to point out to Helen, the coal delivery entrance to St. Bernards hospital, and Brunel’s Windmill bridge, which was designed to accommodate both road and rail, as well as canal traffic (having of course nicked all this information off someone elses website a few days earlier). Having promised Helen a 10 mile walk, I felt somewhat crushed when she pointed out to me that it was nearer 5. However I soon got over that after a scrumptious lunch at the National Trust restaurant.

Snowdon – (Snowdonia) – 04/05/07 – 3,560 ft – Helen

My second attempt at the Snowdon summit, in little over eight months, and still no mention in any New Year’s Honours. This expedition being me and Helen’s official reason for being (whatever it is we are). So on a beautiful 70 degree day, we caught the bus outside our Llanberis B&B, which took us all the way to the car park at Pen Y Pass. The ascent up the Pyg Track (again) was memorable as much for the things that we revealed to each other (surprised we didn’t then push each other off the edge), than it was for the stunning scenery. There was also a small selection of hang gliders hovering away in the distance to give all those mountains a better sense of scale. Upon reaching the summit we passed the other way the young couple and baby, who we had been sharing our breakfasts with at the B&B.

Unlike my last time up, it was a beautiful and clear day, which revealed the summit had far more width, than the zero visibility needle point I felt I was clinging to back in September. We were able to sit down (along with everyone else), have some refreshments, promise little titbits to the passing seagulls, all the while admiring the view.

The descent was down the Llanberis Path, which although is the easiest/flattest way, was very slippy in sections underfoot. This was eventually too much for Helen who decided to give up the ghost, and have one of her outdoor sleeps (pictured). The train itself seemed to be of a similar mind as it was only going half the distance. The beauty of the Llanberis path however was that it led us all the way back to our B&B in town.

Derby Dales – (Derbyshire) – 15/04/07 – 4 miles approx – Helen

My first visit to see Helen, and after a pint and a underwhelming round of sandwiches from the pub, Helen took me out to explore the Dales. The whole area was completely deserted, until the moment we took time out for a little snog, at which point a 20 strong party of walkers immediately descended on us.

Hassocks to Lewes – (Sussex) – 08/04/07 – 11 miles approx – IVC

This was an unbelievably warm and sunny April day, perfect for this ramble along the rolling South Downs. The initial climb onto the Downs at Hassocks was by a windmill. The sunny weather seemed to put everyone in a really happy and chatty mood. For it to be that warm that early in the year promised a summer to remember (in the event only for a series of Biblical floods).

The Great Orme – (Llandudno) – 21/03/07 – 679 ft – Nat. Trust w/hol + Helen

Another working holiday in Wales, this one at Errdig, found me, Martin, Sue and Helen on this mid afternoon minor climb. Despite the disappointment of not being able to get a tram ride to do most of the climb for us, we bravely pushed on anyway. Sue decided to set a cracking pace (something to do with sore boots ?), and not wishing to play Gooseberry with Martin and Helen, I decided to catch her. I did attempt to slow her down with my idea of a photo opportunity, but was given short shrift, and had to fall back to the others. Not long afterwards however Sue disappeared over the horizon completely, and despite a search by us three survivors, she was not to be seen again, until afterwards on the descent, when we had located a pub. Unfortunately eating a dried up dog turd in a bun, costing nearly three quid at a chip shop prior to the start, turned out to put a bit of a dampener on the rest of the evening.

Ifield Loop – (West Sussex) – 11/02/07 – 10 miles approx – IVC

My second walk with IVC, and a bit of a mud fest, with my pretend waterproof overtrousers getting completely plastered.

Watton at Stone to Bayford - (Hertfordshire) – 21/01/07 – 11 miles approx – IVC

My first walk with the IVC group who all seemed friendly enough.

Snowdon – (Snowdonia) – Sep 06 – 3,560 ft – N/Trust w/hol

The Craflwyn working holiday party, had planned this the night before, and all seemed set for a good day. The mood slightly dropped in the morning however, when at the last minute ‘Vegetarian fascist working holiday leader’ (herein to be referred to as Vfwhl) decided he was coming along as well. Even more annoying, was the fact that despite being far older than our relatively youngish party (I was the one raising the mean age I am afraid), he was far fitter than any of us.

So starting at the car park at Pen-Y-Pass, on a beautiful September day, we made our way up via the Pyg Track. Our youngish nurse tried to persuade us to continue on via Crib Goch, however my instincts (despite knowing nothing about it) told me this wasn’t a good idea, so I managed to persuade everyone else (including her) to stick with The Pyg Track instead. Some time later on our young ex Navy chap, who was a sworn enemy of Vfwhl, was becoming slightly overcome by the weight of his own rucksack, which basically resembled both in size and colour, a small inflatable dinghy. He then had to suffer the humiliation of Vfwhl carrying it up the rest of the mountain for him. Having scaled yet another mini level, our ex-Navy chap decided here was a good moment for a photo opportunity, at which point Vfwhl (somewhat forgetting this was our day off) barked at him “Just as long as this isn’t another excuse for a (tea) break”.

By the time we joined the Llanberis path however, the cloud had completely dropped over the summit, and the temperature dropped with it by about 20 degrees. So much so in fact that even ‘hard as nails Yorkshire lass’ put a covering on over her T-shirt. The summit itself was a little bit of an anti-climax, as you can see from the photos, it was a complete zero visibility white out. The real highlight though, was at this point Vfwhl announced he was going down on a different route to the rest of us, which lifted everyones spirits there and then.

The descent was via the Miners Track, which seemed very steep and tricky underfoot initially, but then soon levelled and straightened out to an undemanding and almost level gradient. Also once out of the cloud, we were again back in the warmth, and after reaching Pen Y Pass, the afternoon was rounded off with a pint.

Cribyn (unconfirmed) – (Brecon Beacons) – Nov 05 – 2,608 ft - N/Trust w/hol

I am guessing that this was Cribyn, or at least some of it, based on the clues in Wikipedia, which said that it starts on the opposite side of the car park that takes you up to Pen Y Fan. As such our three man working holiday walking party that consisited of Moi, elderly Morris Dancer and the gorgeous Louise, set off walking from the basecamp, reaching the car park early on.

On the ascent I decided to push on ahead firstly due to Morris Dancer stopping every 30 seconds to share/impart some new and interesting fact, and also because the footing was a little chancy, and I could see myself tumbling off the edge whilst trying to impart competing facts to impress Louise.
An early highlight in the day was when Louise had brought me a cup of Tea whilst I was still in my bunk at the basecamp (no doubt to encourage me to get up). I didn’t have the heart to say at the time that I didn’t drink Tea. Anyway later on during the walk I decided to thank her again, at which point she sweetly said “that’s alright darling, but that’s as good as it is ever going to get I am afraid”.

Pen Y Fan (unconfirmed) – (Brecon Beacons) – Nov 05 – 2,907 ft - N/Trust w/hol

Well I assume it was Pen Y Fan (those familiar with this one look at the photos, and see if you can confirm). Anyway this was on the Brecon Beacons working holiday, and the warden said we could have the afternoon off to do this. Whether starting this climb at 1330 on a November afternoon is the wisest tactic, I am not sure. However one of our party, the slowest lady whom I had hung back with to talk to on the ascent, pulled a leg muscle on the way down, so I was stuck trying to help her in the ever encroaching darkness. Our young female leader (forgot her name sorry) came back to help, as did the gorgeous Louise. Meanwhile the rest of the gallant and macho male members of the group, were long since safely ensconced back in the van. By the time we got to the car park at the bottom and crossed the road, it was about two notches down from total darkness. Incidentally if you find yourself in a similar situation anywhere on the Brecon Beacons, bring a flare gun, as you can’t get a signal on your mobile.

Edge of the Peak District – (Derbyshire) – Feb 05 – 8 miles approx – N/Trust w/hol

A two man and one woman party for this skirt along the edge of the Peak District on the rest day of the Kedleston Hall working holiday. The overall out point wasn’t actually reached, after I pointed out during sandwiches that the light would be going early afternoon. I also remember throwing a minor hissy fit, when it came to crossing a stream.

Golden Cap coastal path (Dorset) – Nov 04 – 10 miles approx – N/Trust w/hol

Another working holiday, and another rest day walk, this time the party consisting of me and Al Pacino (well a lookalike volunteer also called Mike). Prior to this the wardens had insisted that Golden Cap was the highest gradient/peak/incline/hill/mountain in all of Dorset/The Coast/United Kingdom/The World yadda yadda yadda. Well maybe I was just having a good day as I didn’t notice anything particular demanding or impressive. That said an excellent coastal walk, well led by (the other) Mike. Which means I left him to make sense of the map, when we came back via the inland route. Also lunch was a very impressive seafront fish and chips, in an environment consisting of one outlet after another serving up the fresh catch.

Nidderdale Way (Yorkshire) – Mar 04 – 13 miles approx – N/Trust w/hol

Our three man party set off on the rest day of the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal working holiday,and was made up of Moi, Peter, and holiday leader Keith. Now given that the Nidderdale Way is actually 53 miles long (or according to the Contours walking brochure it is) this was of course only a sample. Also worth noting that most of the ground we covered seemed to be owned by Yorkshire Water.

Highlights included seeing a school party of potholers (resplendent in red), nearly being caught in a complete white out (the photo doesn’t do that justice), and the most amazing little café cum walkers B&B, where we had bacon butties and scones.

Seaton to Sidmouth coastal path (Devon) – May 03 - 10 miles approx – N/Trust w/hol

The photos.

Seaton to Sidmouth coastal path (Devon) – May 03 - 10 miles approx – N/Trust w/hol

Same working holiday as the previous walk, this one was put together for our day off by two crazy old gits who were both: hard core walkers, and the life and soul of this particular holiday. Basically we drove to Sidmouth, parked in the supermarket car park, and then got the pre-booked taxi to take us on to Seaton. The plan being of course to follow the coastal path all the way back to the car park. Also in the party was Belgium Diane, who by the most cosmic of unexplained coincidences, had also booked this particular working holiday.

So what can I say other than this walk was pure pleasure, and hopefully the photos give some idea of that. Of course I had been to the seaside many times as a kid, but on this particular day I seemed very awed by the sheer power and constant motor of the Sea. Strangely however the photos don’t reflect how sunny it all was, and I was a little bit under the weather the following day due to being slightly burnt.
The other thing was at the time of this holiday, I was at the fag end of my 20 year running career (down to plodding round the odd four miler). So I was more than a little surprised to find that walking could be an aerobic activity itself, especially when we were constantly going up and down cliffs.

Exmouth coastal walk (Devon) – May 03 – 5 miles approx – N/Trust w/hol

Four years after my first ramble, this coastal trek took place during my first National Trust (conservation) working holiday, on the East Devon Coast. Thus following a series of grumbles from various volunteers (not moi of course) about the work being nowhere near the coast, wardens Sue and Stuart decided to nip the mutiny in the bud early on. So during an afternoon, we were taken for a long walk along the Exmouth coast, looping back to the basecamp on a more inland trajectory.

Three Chimneys Ramble (East London) – May 99 – 6 miles approx – London Village – 0 photos.

Led by London Village’s (and now IVC’s) Abigail, this Sunday afternoon jaunt was a distinct oddity for me, giving that I was then still very much a committed runner. Translated that means walking would be merely viewed as something you did when you grumpily ran out of breath, and not a recreation in itself. Anyway this was along the industrial wastelands of East London, passing the Three Chimneys (can’t be more locational specific I am afraid), and the former Big Breakfast House, all before finishing at Stratford station. Arts group Nigel was also along for the ramble.