Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

Last month a few of us converged on Dublin, Ireland for my sister’s 50th birthday. She and her hubby flew over from South Africa and my daughter, son-in-law, grandson and I flew over from the UK.

Ireland selfie 😊😊

I love Ireland and enjoy visiting as often as possible…this was my 9th visit.

We had supper the first night at Eddie Rockets; the same place where I made the momentous decision to NOT return to South Africa, but to stay in Ireland for another 2 months till my visa expired, then fly across to the UK to obtain the necessary information to apply for my ancestral visa. (And here I am, 20 years later – my 20 year anniversary coincided with my sister’s birthday, so a meal at Eddie Rockets was a must!)

The food as always, was delicious πŸ˜‹

We had a few days of exploring and reminiscing and visited a couple of lovely places; Glendalough being one

Lower Lake, Glendalough
In the distance you can see the Round Tower in the Monastic City complex.

The lakes, formed by glaciers, in the Glendalough Valley are located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Besides the lakes and wonderful walks, including The Wicklow Way, there’s the world famous Monastic Site with Round Tower and chapel where St Kevin reputedly spent some time.

Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century and from this developed the β€œMonastic City”. Most of the buildings that survive today date from the 10th through 12th centuries. Despite attacks by Vikings over the years, Glendalough thrived as one of Ireland’s great ecclesiastical foundations and schools of learning until the Normans destroyed the monastery in 1214 A.D. and the dioceses of Glendalough and Dublin were united. For more information here’s the link https://visitwicklow.ie/listing/glendalough-monastic-city/

A screen shot of the complex off Google maps
Round Tower
Glendalough Cathedral
St Kevin’s Church

Being back at Glendalogh has inspired me to walk around the lakes, and then head over to walk the Ring of Kerry. I’ve already walked the virtual route via the Conqueror challenges and now I’d love to walk it in real time.

On our way back to Dublin we drove over to the east Coast and stopped off at Bray for a stroll along the Promenade and beach, then dinner.

Love a long promenade
Family time on the beach at Bray

We visited St Stephen’s Green where my grandson did a fairly good imitation of a sculpture 😁😁 Just in the opposite direction!

We visited Christ Church Cathedral where my grandson wanted to try out all the chairs, and he and I stood on medieval tiles

Still tiny little feet πŸ₯°πŸ’™

Christ Church Cathedral, originally a Viking Church, is almost 1,000 years old. It was founded circa 1028, is Dublin’s oldest working structure, and is the spiritual heart of Dublin. It is also one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions and a place of pilgrimage through the centuries.

Then Marsh’s Library where they had a fantastic exhibition about elephants

Such an interesting history

Marsh’s LibraryΒ was founded in the early 18th century by Archbishop Narcissus MarshΒ (1638-1713). Designed by Sir William Robinson (d. 1712) the Surveyor General of Ireland, it is one of the very few 18th century buildings left in Dublin that is still being used for its original purpose.

On my sister’s birthday we enjoyed a walk along the Grand Canal near Phoenix Park while visiting with their friends.

As with UK canals, you can see some beautiful canalboats either moored or in transit.

It’s a lovely way to travel and I invariably have canalboat lifestyle envy…

The Grand Canal stretches for 131km, with 43 locks, five of which are double locks, from Dublin to the River Shannon in County Offaly…would definitely be worth a walk. TheΒ Grand CanalΒ (Irish:Β An ChanΓ‘il MhΓ³r) is the southernmost of a pair ofΒ canalsΒ that connectΒ Dublin, in the east of Ireland, with theΒ River ShannonΒ in the west, via Tullamore and a number of other villages and towns, the two canals nearly encircling Dublin’sΒ inner city. Its sister canal on theΒ NorthsideΒ of Dublin is theΒ Royal Canal. The last working cargo barge passed through the Grand Canal in 1960. Ref Wikipedia

Loved this sculpture
One of the many bridges along the canal

We also visited Howth, and a brief visit to the castle ruins, then a walk along the coast. A stunning day, the route took us through magical forests and up some precipitous paths, the sun added a welcome warmth.

Remnants of Howth Castle

Since 1180 the St Lawrence family were the feudal lords of Howth. The original family castle, a timber structure, was sited on the edge of Howth village, on Tower Hill, overlooking Balscadden Bay. In some form, Howth Castle has stood on its present site for over 750 years. The great English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1911 restyled a 14th-century castle built here, overlooking Ireland’s Eye and the north Dublin coastline.

The estate previously included much of coastal northern Dublin, including the lands of Kilbarrack, Raheny and parts of Clontarf, but these were gradually sold off from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. Ref Wikipedia

A magical walk through a forest
We’re going this way…or is it that way?
Oh how I love steps πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ 😁

In all a wonderful visit and much swapping of stories. Its quite hard being so far away from the people you love and life invariably gets in the way of communication.

And then it was the final day and a last walk around Dublin

My little sister…50! Wow πŸ’–πŸ’– – I used to change her nappies ☺☺
Happy Birthday πŸŽ‚ πŸ₯³ πŸŽ‰

Read Full Post »

Midway through my walk along Hadrian’s Wall I got a message from my brother-in-law to say that he was treating my sister to a trip to Ireland for her 50th birthday πŸŽ‚ πŸ₯³ Hoorah! And would I be able to join them? Would I just!!! ☺☺

This is a significant birthday and definitely needs to be celebrated in outstanding fashion.

25 x 2!!

It’s kind of a circle too; it will be 20 years since I flew to Ireland from South Africa to celebrate her 30th birthday …. a journey that changed the course of my life and ultimately my daughter’s life too.

Now they’re flying over from South Africa and I’m flying from the UK.

Isn’t it interesting, the many twists and turns of life, and how an action you take one day/month/year can have unexpected consequences.

I’m delighted and really excited to see them again – it’s been 5 years since I was last in SA, and with Covid-19 I had no plans to travel there for the foreseeable future…mostly because SA is still on the UK’s ‘red list’ and I would have had to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return at an extortionate cost in a hotel room.

But it seems that Ireland has less draconian and inwardlooking rules than the UK and you can visit as long as you’re vaccinated.

So it was with much excitement that I booked my flight to Ireland and on 7th October we will be meeting in Dublin, along with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson to celebrate my sister’s 50th and tag on the 20th anniversary πŸ˜€ of my new life in the northern hemisphere. Although 50 beats 20 any day 😁😁

It’s with much excitement that I’m counting the days. ☺ πŸ—“

Read Full Post »

Yes, unbelievably it’s Day 17 of my walking adventure and Day 8 of my jaunt along Hadrian’s Wall, so I thought I’d pop in and give a quick update.

I had hoped to update you on a daily basis as mentioned before, but oh my gosh, the most I could manage was to eat (not even every night), shower, repack Pepe, and then bed. And repeat.

As per the title, I’m now starting Day 17 of my adventure, and Day 8 of my walk across country from North Shields; Segedunum Fort to Bowness-On-Solway, along Hadrian’s Wall. What an experience it has been. I’ve taken hundreds of photos and will share some of them in due course when I get the time, and energy to write ✍ 😁😁….so….here I am

Relaxing in bed in Brampton, watching a stunning sunrise and thinking back over the last 16 days.. it’s been a truly epic journey.

When I first planned on adding the Northumberland Coast Path to my Hadrian’s Wall adventure, I never for one minute doubted I’d be able to do it. But I also had no idea of what lay ahead. If I had, I might not have been quite so confident. But now that I’m near the end, and with the easy stretches ahead, I’m astounded I managed to get this far, and certainly amazed I’m still standing…well at the moment I’m lying down 😁😁😁

But, geez, I never imagined I would do quite as much walking as what I have. It’s been epic. Every day has brought its own joy, and pain, and laughter, and lots of “OMG that’s amazing” moments; reaching the border with Scotland, the dolphins off Farne Islands, seeing that bridge in Berwick Upon Tweed, traversing the bloody Blythe River estuary πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ, visiting St Mary’s Lighthouse, the wonderful beaches of Northumberland, the many castles – all different and unique in their own way, reaching Tynemouth, the bridges of Newcastle, visiting Arbeia Roman Fort, discovering the first section of the Wall at Heddon on the Wall, seeing the ascent and then descent as I climbed the first ridge on Hadrian’s Wall (I truly do not know how I did all those), seeing the tree at Sycamore Gap from the top of the ridge and suddenly realising what it was πŸ˜„πŸ˜„, exploring the forts and carrying my backpack for 32kms on what was the hottest day of my whole journey…unreal.

I just wish I hadn’t been so tired at the end of each day, I’d have liked to write down the daily experiences…but it was all I could do just to upload some photos before crashing. I’m looking forward to calculating my distances. But one of the best aspects of this journey has been the many, many lovely people I have met along the way, especially on Hadrian’s Way…truly epic.

Read Full Post »

Hi everyone, I’m still alive. Just such long days and soooo tired I just couldn’t face anything except bed.

But I wanted to pop in and say that all is well, I’m having a thoroughly good time. This country is amazing and I will have to share it all when I am not totally exhausted.

However I have to share today’s adventure which was totally unexpected…after I had visited Bamburgh Castle and Seahouses, I went back to Belford…

And then I set off along the next stage of the Northumberland Coast Path, from Belford to Fenwick… and enroute I ended up on a completely different adventure… All went well up until that pic with the gate…a sign that was meant to be there wasn’t and after a good 90 minutes of walking, and walking and wondering when I was going to see the next signpost, I ended up at a farm. I spotted a gentleman working on some machinery, so meandered over and said “excuse me, I’m so sorry to bother you  but am I on the Northumberland Coast Path?”….the answer was short and to the point “no”. Oh geez. Anyway after much discussion, he offered to drive me back to the gate where I was meant to turn off….and a teeny tiny plea from me “I don’t suppose you’d consider taking me all the way to Fenwick..only the last bus is at 6.45 ,and if I walk back, I’m going to miss it”. So blow me down if he didn’t actually drive me all the way!! It was quite thrilling actually, racing along the tracks at 60 kms per hour in a farm cart of sorts, scattering deer, and rabbits and pheasants as we went in my defence, he said that a signboard wasn’t where it was meant to be. So he took me all the way to the bus stop and we got there 5 minutes before my bus was due. The map shows where I ended up. In Holborn, and I should have been in Fenwick…which was miles away. When he dropped me off, I said “you Sir, are a true gentleman” to which he replied “I’ve been called many things, but never a gentleman “.

He also said I wasn’t the first, and probably wouldn’t be the last!! Clearly he’s had people ending up at his farm before!

Where I ended up…Holburn. where I was meant to be…Fenwick

Other than that, I’ve been to Lindisfarne (yesterday) absolutely fantastic. Didn’t get lost walking back πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And today I visited Bamburgh Castle – stunning place!! And the seaside town of Seahouses…so cute!!

Read Full Post »

Well, without further ado, the time to set off is just hours away….it’s incredible how quickly the months have flown by.

I’ve spent a lot of time working on this plan and sincerely hope it all works out. I think I have everything covered and haven’t missed out on any sections of either the Northumberland Coast Path or Hadrian’s Wall.

I was looking at the guidebook map last night and I noticed that the route out of Newcastle on Hadrian’s Wall is somewhat different to what I’ve planned. So that might need some adjustment. But I’ve got a week to decide and while travelling between home and Berwick Upon Tweed, I’ll read through the guidebook and try to determine why it’s different.

But, that aside…here’s a brief summary of The Plan πŸ˜‰

Day 1 – travel to Berwick Upon Tweed, visit the castle, walk to the Scottish border and back, then walk the castle ramparts, cross the bridges, have supper and back to the B&B

Day 2 – visit Lindisfarne Island; the castle, priory, the parish church, and a few other places. Then back to the mainland and walk back to Berwick from Beal along the coast; basically the first stage of the official trail…

Day 3 – visit Bamburgh Castle, bus to Seahouses to explore, have supper and then walk to Fenwick where I’ll get the bus back to Berwick since I’ll have walked that section the day before.

Day 4 – bus back to Belford to drop off my backpack at the Guesthouse. Then bus to Seahouses and a visit to the Farne Islands then a meal in Seahouses before walking back to Belford.

Day 5 – bus to Seahouses, then walk south to Craster visiting Dunstanburgh Castle on the way. Bus to Alnmouth for overnight.

Day 6 – bus back to Craster, then walk south to Warkworth and visit Warkworth Castle, then bus to Newbiggin. Overnight

Day 7 – Bus back to Warkworth and walk south via Cresswell to Newbiggin and overnight. The official Northumberland Coast Path ends at Cresswell and the border between Northumberland and Tyne & Wear is near Hartley. From here I’ll be adding kms, but finished with the NCP

Day 8 – walk south from Newbiggin to Whitley Bay visiting St Mary’s Island and Nature Reserve. This is quite a long day in terms of kms, but I have the whole day, so just going to relax and take a slow walk

Day 9 – walk south to Tynemouth on the River Tyne and start Hadrian’s Wall walk with a visit to Segedunum Fort, official start of this national trail. Overnight Newcastle

Day 10 – metro to South Shields, visit Arbeia Roman Fort and visit South Shields lighthouse, then ferry to North Shields and walk back to Wallsend and walk to Newcastle. Overnight.

Day 11 – visit Newcastle Castle and Newcastle Cathedral; most northerly catheral in England. Then off to Heddon on the Wall visiting Benwell Roman Temple and various turrets along the way. Overnight Heddon.

Day 12 – walk Heddon on the Wall to Corbridge, visiting Vindobala Fort enroute. Supper in Corbridge, an authentic Roman Town, then taxi to Acomb for overnight. Not my favourite place for overnight but accommodation was scarce or very expensive.

Day 13 – Acomb bus to Chesters Roman Fort, visit and then following the Wall visiting Black Carts Turret, Temple of Mithras, a few milecastles, Sewing Shields Crags, a visit to Housesteads Fort depending on the time, then Sycamore Gap and finish at Steel Rigg Car Park where my host will collect me for overnight on a farm quite a way off the route. Again accommodation was a factor.

Day 14 – visit Vindolanda and possibly Housesteads if not visited day before and overnight again at Haltwhistle. Hoping the skies are clear because this is a designated ‘Dark Skies’ area and I’d LOVE to see the Milky Way and a few shooting stars.

Day 15 – back to Steel Rigg Car Park, then follow Hadrian’s Wall again passing Cawfield Quarry and visiting Great Chesters Fort and the Vindolanda Roman Army Museum, Thirlwall Castle and onto Gilsland for overnight

Day 16 – walking Gilsland to Brampton and visiting Birdoswald Fort and Pike Hill Signal Tower and Banks East Turret before heading off the trail again to Brampton for overnight.

Day 17 – visit Lanercost Priory and then picking up the path again from Hare Hill and passing Newtown enroute for Carlisle where I’ll be staying for the next 5 nights.

Day 18 – walk Carlisle to Burgh by Sands and bus back to Carlisle, visit Carlisle Castle and cathedral.

Day 19 – being a Sunday the transport is sketchy, so I’m going to rest and relax for the day. Maybe explore Carlisle City.

Day 20 – bus back to Burgh by Sands, then walk to Bowness on Solway and the end of the Hadrian’s Wall national trail, where I get my final passport stamp at the Promenade πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ then bus back to Carlisle.

Day 21 – train to Gretna Green and Lockerbie. Two separate journeys, but both a must do. Final night in Carlisle.

Day 22 – relaxing morning in Carlisle and then train home.

So there it is. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination going to be a walk in the park, and some days are longer than I desire, but accommodation was very tricky and I had to completely change my schedule for a few days due to lack of, or expensive accommodation. One thing is for sure, this is not Spain where you can get reasonable accommodation for reasonable prices. Some of the places I looked at are extravagant with the relative exorbitant prices.

Will I complete both trails? Who knows. I’ve tried to plan reasonable days with fairly reasonable distances, but until you actually walk the trail, you simply have no idea.

I’m going to make sensible decisions if necessary and I’m not hung up on the semantics…if there’s any section/stage I can’t do for any reason, then like I did with the Pilgrim’s Way, I’ll go back at some stage and complete it. Of course the logistics will be somewhat different due to distance, but I have 6 other trails I am planning on walking over the next few years, so one way or another…I’ll complete the walks.

So from me, it’s goodnight. I’ll do my best to blog as I go, but if you don’t hear from me, it’ll be because I had a tough day and I’m sleeping 😴πŸ€ͺ🀣🀣

Meanwhile, wish me luck πŸ€ and 🀞 it all goes well. Frankly, I think I must be absolutely bloody insane to even contemplate this, never mind actually do it…😁 but it’s there, it needs to be walked.

Read Full Post »

Walking is the best…

The official Northumberland Coast Path starts in Cresswell and heads north to Berwick Upon Tweed, whilst the Hadrian’s Wall route from Wallsend, Newcastle Upon Tyne in the east heads west to Bowness-On-Solway in Cumbria, although a lot of people recommend starting in the west and heading east because then the prevailing wind is at your back and you don’t have the late afternoon sun in your eyes.

But because I usually like to do things in order (whatever order I decide on on the spur of the moment), it seemed like a good idea to buck the trend and walk from north to south on the Northumberland Coast Path; Berwick Upon Tweed to Cresswell and then continuing south to Tynemouth and west to Newcastle for the start of my jaunt along Hadrian’s Wall from east to west.

Thus, I shall be walking north to south and east to west….seems good to me πŸ™‚

However, if you look at my daily plan for the NCP, I am doing a bit of north/south, then south/west, then west/east, and back again east/west, then south/north, and for a few days I’ll be going south, after which for a day I’ll be heading north, after which I go south again and then east to west. Confused yet? Imagine how I felt trying to organise all that!!!!

A little bit of zag and a lot of zig…it’s going to be really interesting looking at my daily route at the end of it all…

It’s been quite a lot of fun, and a certain amount of stress making sure I cover every mile of the NCP, but when all is said and done, I do believe I will 😁😁

When I started researching and organising my walk along the Northumberland Coast Path, I looked for accommodation that wasn’t too far apart. Ultimately I managed to find suitable Airbnb locations, at prices that won’t break the bank, but it meant I had to do a fair amount of back and forth that involved buses.

And just to be sure I didn’t miss anything out, I listed every single place from Berwick Upon Tweed in the north to Tynemouth in the south, including rivers and burns, car parks and caravan parks, a couple of cottages and a convenience store πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

After that I worked out my distance per day, and ticked off each place once I had decided on point a and z or b…

After that I got onto the bus services to schedule my trips from end to start, and start to end.

After weeks of working the plan again and again it is complete and I am satisfied I will have reasonable days with transportation to and from my accommodation locations and walking inbetween.

I’ll write up another post with my daily schedule in the next day or so…

Meanwhile…it’s now just 3 days before I leave….I treated myself to 2 new pairs of my favourite double thick socks. Time to go for a πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈalong the NCP!!!

Read Full Post »

Am I going walking next week? βœ…
Am I prepared?βœ…
Is everything organised?βœ…
Am I fit enough?βœ…
Did I have a full-blown panic attack at 3am?βœ…βœ…βœ…πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

No matter how well prepared I am, just before I set off on a long walk, I have a mini crisis
Am I excited? Yes I am!!! πŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ
Will it be exhausting? βœ…πŸ₯΅
Will it hurt? βœ…πŸ˜ͺ

But oh my gosh, the places I will go, and the things I will see makes it all worthwhile. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

This is by far away the longest distance I have ever walked on a continuous day to day journey.
But I’m going to fulfil a long-held dream of not only seeing Hadrian’s Wall, but actually walking the route; a journey through history.πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

As well as which, I’ll be adding to a newer dream (2020 to be precise) of walking another section of the English Coast πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ

Prepare for frequent posts to say how excited I am as I countdown till 01.09.2021 😁😁

Read Full Post »

With just over 2 weeks till I set off on my epic (😁😁) walk along the Northumbrian coast path and Hadrian’s Wall, I decided it was time for another test of my mettle.

I had already scheduled a walk into my diary for Monday 16th; the penultimate stage of the north-east section of the Saxon Shore Way, from Rainham to Rochester, so it was an easy decision to take Pepe along, fully loaded except for water supply, and check out how we got along.

We had a brilliant day, it was overcast and cool (I even wore a cardigan), perfect for walking but not so fantastic for photos.

I headed back to where I left off a few weeks ago, and not finding any signs to direct me, and considering it’s a residential area, I decided to just follow my nose and my intuition. After all, it’s a ‘shore’ walk, and the general direction (useful) is along the shore heading north/east…πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

I found the first sign 5 kms in, pleased to note I was on the right path.

Saxon Shore Way
Useful 😁

I discovered what a teasel is…I’ve seen this fascinating little flowers/plants all over the place but hadn’t idea what they were…now I know πŸ˜‰

I came across a funfair and was reminded of one of the most terrifying fairground rides of my life…I took my daughter (8 years old) and sister on one of these many years ago in South Africa. It went wayyyy higher than I knew and she nearly slipped off the seat and under the rail. O was holding onto her and my handbag that contained my whole month’s salary in cash. 😳😳

Pirate swing
The funfair

In all it was a very successful walk, I frequently forgot Pepe was on my back..ergo, its comfortable and not too heavy, which was my main goal – how comfortable will it be? Fortunately I’m now aware of those little straps that work loose, so checked them every time I stopped for a break (every 5 kms) and pleased to say the corner of the bag didn’t dig a hole in my hip like it did on the final stages of the Pilgrim’s Way.

Enroute is an island near Chatham; St Mary’s island that I simply had to visit; its there, how could I not? And for good measure, and totally unnecessarily, I walked virtually the whole perimeter thereby adding over 2.5 hours and 4.42kms to my journey πŸ™„πŸ™„ But now I can add that to Project 101…another island done and dusted. Saw a gorgeous sculpture

St Mary’s island
St Mary’s island
The Mariners
And saw Upnor Castle…didn’t realise it was so close

I did however find the history of how the island came to being rather disturbing. Built on the backs of 19th century convict labour from desolate Marsh wasteland, the convicts lived on rotting hulks on the shore and were marched daily, 1000 strong chained together, to work on building the island. Ghoulish history.

So, I had a very comfortable 22.46km walk on Monday with very little discomfort except for the usual spots, which I’ll resolve with fleece.
But the weight is good and as with the Camino and Pilgrim’s Way, I mostly forgot it was there. Although I was tired without doubt from 16km onwards, and ready for bed.

So pretty…seen in Rochester

I slowed down quite a lot in the last 6kms.

Seen in Chatham
Seen in Chatham
Seen in Chatham

Feet no worse than usual,  in fact, better than usual in recovery, hardly any pain in my heel, just a couple of twinges and no blisters. My 2 toes on my left foot as usual were red and sore, which is totally bizarre since there’s loads of space in the front of the shoe and no obstruction. My right foot toes never have the same issue… weird πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄

So all good. Ready to go 1st September. I even got to test my poncho. Conclusion: it kept the rain out = waterproof. But…my arms got wet coz the sleeves are so short, and I’ll need to finesse the hood so it stays snug around my face instead of either covering my eyes, or blowing off the back of my head πŸ™„πŸ™„

In all a pleasing day.

I will of course give this stage of the Saxon Shore Way a proper write up when I do those articles, but I’m well pleased with my progress so far.

Read Full Post »

I took my precious BooBee on an action packed adventure today. He’s so much fun and an absolute joy to be with.

He had ice-cream on the beach, jumped and did head rolls on a trampoline, rode on a merry-go-round, went on a pirate swing boat, jumped on a bouncy castle and played a game of table tennis πŸ“

We stopped for lunch and rested a bit. Afterwards we walked through the harbour and to the beach where we built a stone pile and paddled in the sea before covering him up with sand.

We then climbed the cliff path and stopped on the way to look for dinosaurs in the chalk and draw his and my name with chalk

From there we went to the funfair where he enjoyed a pirate stage show and a couple of rides on a bouncy slide.

A fantastic day all round and we (read me πŸ‘΅πŸ») covered 9 kms…most of which he was sitting on my shoulders. Entered my kms to the Conqueror Kruger Park challenge and boom πŸ’₯ another post card!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Kruger National Park

Having left Hluhluwe my first stop was the Manyoni Private Game Reserve.  Privately owned and one of the largest reserves in Kwazulu-Natal, Manyoni was established in 2004 when 17 landowners dropped their fences and opened up their lands to create a protected area for wildlife.  One of the main drivers was to create a release site for a founding group of black rhinos as part of the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP).  

The project is a collaboration between Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZNW) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).  Their aim is to transfer black rhinos from provincial and national parks where they are at capacity to privately and community owned sites where they can continue repopulating under protection.  Black rhinos once roamed much of Africa and had a population of 100,000 as late as the 1960s.  Over the next 25 years the population diminished by 97% leaving a mere 2450 rhinos that were under protection in small reserves putting them on the critically endangered list.  

However, with the aid of BRREP and sites like Manyoni the population is slowly growing.  Manyoni has also reintroduced endangered cheetahs and African wild dogs whilst also focusing on conserving the landscape and ecosystem. 

The next location is the Zimanga Private Game Reserve.  Originally known as Hlambanyathi Game Reserve, the game on site were nearly all wiped out due to neglect and poaching.  All that was left was 7 zebras, 1 wildebeest and some impalas and warthogs.  In 1998 Charl Senekal, a sugar cane farmer, purchased the estate the reserve was a part of.  He rebuilt the game reserve, fenced it and expanded the land.  Over a period of time he reintroduced animals that were historically present in the area. Today it has 80 species of mammals including giraffe, buffalo, rhino, elephant, waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra, kudu, nyala, hippo, cheetah and lions.    

The final reserve in Kwazulu-Natal was the Pongola Game Reserve.  This 31,000 hectares reserve is over a century old and the first proclaimed reserve in Africa.  Within its reserve is the 15,000 hectare Lake Jozini (aka Pongolapoort Dam).  Besides typical game species, the reserve also has four of the Big Five: elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard.  

The lake primarily used for irrigation is fed by the Phongolo River which runs right through the Pongolo Reserve.  Dammed in 1973, the lake is home to the pink-backed and great white pelicans, the Nile crocodiles and hippos.  The dam also supports more than 350 bird species such as Pel’s fishing owl, the green and red Narina Trogon and the red-beaked, black and white Saddle-billed Stork.

The Space for Elephant Foundation are also working at the Pongola Reserve aiming to create a habitat for more than 1000 elephants and re-establish an old migration route.   Baby twin elephants,  Dingane and Shaka were born at Pongola in 2014.  Twins are extremely rare, as little as 0.5% of elephant births worldwide, making these twins extremely special at Pongola.

I’ve now completed 94 kms of the Kruger Park challenge

Read Full Post »

I finished my latest booking today, so from 3.30pm my time is once again my own – for 6 days πŸ€ͺ

When I got home, after unpacking my suitcase I had a quick sleep and then I popped Pepe onto my back and took us for a practice walk.

We need to start becoming seriously reacquainted now coz it’s less than 3 weeks till we do some serious walking. It’s good from a few aspects; I test all the pressure points from the weight, I test the pressure points of my feet…where does it hurt? What needs strapping up – like my little dislocated toe on my right foot…I’ll have to strap that. Where on my heels? Etc. And testing my distance vs time.

I walked via the harbour, then up the hill…immensely pleased to not even break stride, or huff and puff.

Ramsgate Royal Harbour

Pushing myself the last 16 days has paid off big time πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ From there I walked along the clifftop past the fairy woods where I saw an orange egg with feathers and a funny face, to my favourite sunset spot overlooking Pegwell Bay.

Fairy woods
English Coast Path above Pegwell Bay

I was too early for the fireworks, but it was still beautiful.

Pegwell Bay
Looking back towards Pegwell Bay

Then back down via the harbour again and past ASDA where I bought myself a packet of my favourite crisps…which I haven’t had for 16 days and I think after all my hard work I deserve it 😁😁

I just got home and my stats are 7.83kms 2 hours 4 minutes at just over 13 minutes per km. I’m on track πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Pressure points: right hip – on checking Pepe I found one of the smaller shoulder straps had worked loose, so the backpack was unbalanced (note to self…check the straps every morning before walking).

Left foot – I have very high arches, and the top of my foot on the bony area is painful from rubbing against the tongue and laces of my shoe, so that needs looking at, albeit not a new problem, walking for 26 kms is going to make it a real problem, so I must sort that before I go.

The little dislocated toe is not happy. So that will definitely need looking at.

Other than that, just my right knee was complaining, but I think that’s from the pressure of the unbalanced backpack pressing on my hip.

I’ll go out for another test run tomorrow night and see if the tightened strap makes any difference.

The bonus is that I’m still very comfortable with my gorgeous ‘Osprey Mystic Magenta Tempest 40’, and it’s like we’ve never been parted…it’s so comfortable on my back that I forget it’s there.

I’m walking another section of the Saxon Shore Way on Monday from Rainham to Rochester; approximately 16-20 kms, so that will be another good test.

Tomorrow I’m taking my grandson out for the day, and on Sunday it’s my daughter’s birthday so we’ll be going out for an early supper.

Onwards…the seagull says I did good 😁😁

And now I’m off to bed. Already missing the peace and quiet of the countryside…

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Closer to the edge

Walking the coastline of Britain

Short Walks & Long Paths

Wandering and exploring The Pembrokeshire & Wales Coast Paths

Port Side Travel By Jill

My travels, photos, tips/tricks and anything else I think of!

Wonderwall

My 360: wonderwalls,theatre, travel, Sheffield, books...

Robyn's Ramblings

My Thoughts. Expressed.

Graham's Long Walk

Graham King's long walks around Britain

The Lawsons on the Loose

Philip & Heather are making memories through travelling. How lucky are we?

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East & Balkans

Roadtirement

"Traveling and Retired"