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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I’ve taken to getting up at 6am after my last booking where I was required to be on duty by 7am. I’m not an early morning person, but it’s been quite useful for getting my kms in.

I reset my 2021 goal to 3200kms from 2600kms at the end of September in a moment of sheer insanity.

Walking for 2021

I reached my original goal a few days ago, 7 weeks ahead of schedule.

So now I’m walking my feet off to reach my new goal by 31st December.

The benefit, besides keeping walking fit, is that occasionally I see a stunning sunrise

Ramsgate Harbour
Ramsgate beach

Not all mornings are as glorious, but when they are, it’s a real treat

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Post Hike Blues!!! Who knew?? I didn’t think this was a real thing, but after reading a facebook post on one of the long-distance walking pages, it appears that it is indeed a ‘real’ thing and not just me being nuts LOL

I had it bad this time. I have been so down and so ‘blue’ the last 2 weeks and it’s been a real struggle to keep my head above water so to speak. Not helped by the fact that a couple of days after getting back from my marathon excursion, I found that the booking I was due to start a week later, had been cancelled. The client’s family had decided to keep the current carer on for the immediate future. Major panic!! That was a Β£700 booking. The agency were and have been unable to find another. So my already blue mood dipped into the red…

But I was comforted to know that having the blues post hike was something other people also experienced. I guess if you’ve been walking for 21 days and experiencing the freedom that comes with that; reaching and discovering new and exciting places as well as just being free of any real time-constraints, or responsibility, coming back into the insanity of ‘civilisation’ can be a huge adjustment.

I spoke to my daughter about it, and although I had forgotten, she assured me that I did indeed have the blues after my other walks….only this time, I think it was exacerbated by the loss of income, the panic of not getting a replacement booking and having to draw down from my savings to pay my rent etc.

But on the bright side, I fly to Ireland today to meet up with my sister and her hubby for her 50th birthday celebrations. Although this seems contrary to the previous paragraph, the flight and accommodation were planned and paid for (in full) before I lost the work booking. Fortunately I had come in Β£189 below budget from my NCP and HWW walks, and so that has covered the costs. I also received my new TMC which I had forgotten about and found that I have 189 euro in the account left over from my 2017 Camino. Quite a serendipitous co-incidence in the numbers there! I also found 84 euros in cash in my travel purse from 2017!!! LOL So Ireland is covered…thankfully, coz I really do not need that added financial stress.

Once I realised that what I was feeling was a real thing, I did some research and found a couple of really interesting articles “You have to acknowledge what your body just went through and will go through post-trail. If you’re a thru hiker, you just spent all day, every day backpacking! Burning calories, releasing endorphins, building muscles, nurturing your brain by being out in nature and having new, challenging experiences every day… and then?” And then you get back to the humdrum of life….which is what you do when you’re not walking!! read more here https://www.youradventurecoach.com/post-trail-depression/

I remember reaching the outskirts of Carlisle on the 17th September and crossing the M6. The traffic was horrendous…literally bumper to bumper for as far as my eyes could see. It filled me with a sense of panic and stress….I could not bear to face that. Thankfully I don’t own a car!!!

Traffic on the M6

But just the thought of the noise levels which were already increasing, and my whole being just wanted to turn around and head back to the fields and lanes, the quiet and peace. I would even have been happy to climb those dastardly ridges of Hadrian’s Wall Way once again – just to find the quiet.

Follow the acorn

So what did I do, once I realised it was a real thing…..? I started planning the next trail. LOL Yes, I bought a couple of notebooks, pulled out my Cicerone Guide Book and started planning for the South Downs Way for April/May 2022.

Walking the South Downs Way

I also pushed up my Conqueror Challenges km target for 2021 from 2600 kms to 3200 kms.

2,000 miles boots on
87 days and counting

Nothing like a bit of pressure then!!! So I’m out most days walking, walking, walking….my daily target 10.8kms. Some days I get in a little more, others a little less. But it gets me out my room and into the fresh air. And I do love walking.

I’ve also put dates into my diary to do another 4 stages of the Thames Path and the last stage of the north section of the Saxon Shore Way. I have however, postponed my next few stages of the England Coast Path till 2022, only because the days are shorter now and the path requires cliff walking and long distances. So I’ll save those for March 2022 when the days start getting longer. I thought as well that since the SDW is a 10 day hike at most; Winchester to Eastbourne, I will probably add on another few days and continue up the coast from Eastbourne to Rye – which is where I will have ended off my current stages, and easily done in 2 days of walking. This of course is finances dependent….but it’s part of the plan. And apparently if you state your intentions to the Universe, then it delivers….so, here’s to that then!

The Universe – delivering a rainbow 🌈

In this article the writer talks about feeling sad. About how we expect to feel exhilarated and excited to finish, but in fact we sometimes find that we are sad at the thought of the journey ending and returning to ‘real life’, and I can so identify with that. I remember reaching the 10km marker on the Camino in 2017 and sitting there for hours just crying…I didn’t want it to end. I know only too well the expectation of feeling exhilarated when I reached The Banks at Bowness-on-Solway at the end of Hadrian’s Wall….but I didn’t. I just felt flat πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘….so to fix that, I phoned my daughter! Seeing her on video and speaking to her cheered me up enormously and her humour soon restored mine. We laughed and joked and she took a photo of me via the phone…and yes, I was really looking forward to seeing her and my little family again. I had missed them all.

Crazy lady via WhatsApp video 😁😁

Oh, and I’ve also been binge watching Homeland from the very beginning. I missed a lot of episodes due to work, so I’m enjoying filling in the blanks.

Have you experienced post-hike blues? I’d love to hear more about how you deal with them! What tools do you use to overcome the flatness…? If you haven’t experienced post-hike blues, I’d also like to hear about that…what is different, do you think?

I love that I now understand that what I feel is not just me being silly, but that enough people feel that way for articles to be written about the subject.

Sorry I’ve been so tardy about writing up my walks, but I simply did not have the head space πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ but I’ll get onto it soon.

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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—“

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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.

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Day 1 done and dusted 😁😁 I had a completely uneventful journey, ever so quick from King’s Cross to Berwick…and boy are those trains fast!!

Arrived in Berwick to the most glorious weather and scooted quickly over to the castle ruins. I didn’t go right into the keep coz it closes at 4pm and I got there at just on 3.54…but I had a good look around and then headed back up the million steps I’d just walked down πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ Google maps doesn’t show how steep some places are!!

The River Tweed
Tweed Castle
The Royal Bridge

The Airbnb is lovely and the host is amazing…there’s a gorgeous ginger cat and a beautiful golden labrador, so I have had lots of kisses and cuddles.

My bed for the next 3 nights

As soon as I had dropped off my backpack, I grabbed my day pack and headed north yo the Scottish border. OMG what a path!! The views were spectacular but the path was hell!! For the most part it ran right along the very edge of the cliffs with just a tuft of grass between the walker and the vertiginous cliffs that fall 100s of feet down to the sea. The North Sea in case you wondered.

Spectacular. The weather turned soon after and the clouds came in
Part of #notthecoastpath 🀣🀣

A local suggested I walk along the above ‘path’ because the real path “is a bit rough, and this is a lovely wee walk” – well he wasn’t wrong about the path, but this was no better and I crossed the edge of a potato field to the path as soon as I could. I’m thinking he’s never walked to the border before…

Now this was more like it…leading away from the Scottish border, it was a joy to see this…if only the whole route had been the same

However, despite the awful path and the daunting propect of a twisted ankle on a very narrow and uneven path, and the fading light, I’m so glad I made the effort to walk up to the border and back

Welcome to Scotland 😁😁
English border
It was so cool to cross through the gate into Scotland

The views are absolutely spectacular.

I’m standing on the path!!! A twisted ankle or a trip and you’d be in for a swim
Literally right on the edge

Once I got back to town I had a quick whizz around and walked a small section of the town ramparts, which are just amazing with awesome views of the river and estuary.

Town walls
Walking the ramparts
Fantastic views
Guarding the town

I got back to the b&b at just on 9pm and having missed the fish and chip shop, I had 2 cup a soup and a cup of tea.

In all a terrific start to my Northumberland Coast adventure. Just on 17kms covered.

My walk

I’ve added some of the history of Berwick in case you’re interested πŸ˜‰

Berwick is just four miles south of the Scottish Border, but during the last 300 years, control of the town swapped 13 times between England and Scotland. Berwick’s Elizabethan town walls are the most intact in England, and were Elizabeth I’s biggest and most expensive project during her reign to keep firm control of this key town.

https://www.visitnorthumberland.com/explore/destinations/towns-villages/berwick-upon-tweed

Situated at the mouth of the River Tweed near the border of two kingdoms, the town of Berwick suffered centuries of conflict, as control of the town passed back and forward between England and Scotland until the late 17th century. Each crisis brought repairs and improvements to the fortifications, culminating in the great artillery ramparts begun in 1558. These survive largely intact and make Berwick one of the most important fortified towns of Europe.

Berwick’s town walls are its most famous piece of architecture and still stand strong today, hundreds of years after they were built. Berwick actually has two sets of walls, the first set (of which only fragments now remain), commenced by Edward I, was two miles long. The later Elizabethan Walls (which are still complete) are a mile and a-quarter in length. The ramparts completely surround the town, with four gates through which entry to the town is enabled.

Berwick’s Elizabethan Walls are the only example of bastioned town walls in Britain and one of the best preserved examples in Europe. When built in 1558 – designed to keep out the marauding Scots who regularly laid claim to the town – it was the most expensive undertaking of England’s Golden Age.

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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!!!

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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 😁😁

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Not my copyright, but very good advice to follow as you journey through life

This was posted by a friend on Facebook, and it really spoke to me, especially #2 – so often in life decisions are made on “what will…….think” fill in the gap. It took me decades to get past worrying about what other people may or may not think. But now I’m in a good place and it’s freeing.

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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…

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So my lovelies, the time is almost nigh!! At 10:07 on 1st September; 3 weeks from today (whoop whoop), I’ll be on the train heading North. Destination Berwick Upon Tweed.

I start walking the Northumberland coast path that same night, albeit staying in Berwick for 3 nights…I’ll explain later.

Then in exactly 1 month from today, I start my official walk along Hadrian’s Wall. 4 years to the day from when I started my Portuguese Camino 😊😊

So bloody excited. I can’t tell you πŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ = my happy dance.

So wow, suddenly it’s only 3 weeks to go and I’m on my way.

The dates have been identified, there and back travel tickets booked, all accommodation is booked, Airbnb hosts contacted and confirmed, the routes identified, daily kilometres from here to there measured (repeatedly πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ), what to see noted, where to go planned, what to do listed, ferry trip booked, where to get my passports stamped noted.

Pepe is packed, Gemini and I have been practicing like mad – getting fit, which shoes to wear decided on, budgets calculated and as much planning as I can possibly do, done!!!

And just because, after weeks of planning and noting the route each day on the Northumberland Coast Path with the relevant distances, yesterday I only decided to rejig days 4-7 and fiddled about with the distances. But now it is a lot smoother, with one day shorter and another longer.

I confirmed yesterday that I can use my senior bus pass on all the bus routes that I need to use between end of day’s destination and return the next day. I’m going to be doing quite a bit of bouncing back and forth due to accommodation on the NCP.

I’m copying everything into an old-fashioned method of keeping records – a notebook 😁😁

Northumberland Coast Path here’s looking at you, and finally 🀞🀞 after a whole year of waiting Hadrian’s Wall…I see you!!

Now it’s a waiting game; 21 days and counting.

As for you Covid-19 with all your variants…..you know what you can do…πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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