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Dublin is one of my favourite places to visit. Its quirky, and colourful albeit dirty and home to one of my least favourite aspects of street life; the Dublin oyster 🤮

But I love the street art and the humour – the Irish are adept at poking fun at themselves, and that is a very attractive trait.

Dublin’s ability to poke fun at itself

Amongst others, you’ve got; Molly Malone – The Tart with the Cart. The Hats with the Bags. The Stilleto in the Ghetto, the Queer with the Leer, the Ace with the Base.

Promoting the Tart with the Cart
The Hags with the bags
The Stilleto in the Ghetto
The Ace with the Base

I captured these scenes while in Ireland for my sister’s 50th birthday 🎂 🥳 ; a fun and unexpected trip.

Street art

Whether you look up, sideways or down, you’ll be bound to find something somewhere…

Just a random bird 🐦
A snail 🐌
A bull 🐂
An elephant 🐘
A location to be avoided me thinks!!
Temple Bar – preparing for Christmas in October 🤪🤪
Famous figures- James Joyce
The King’s Inn – where James Joyce frequented
Accommodation and traditional Irish music are not a good combination for a peaceful night’s sleep 😴
How to stand out in a crowd!!! Can’t imagine what shade of yellow this is described as
Pink and Blue will never do…
Yup. We got it! It’s….Korky’s
Down a side alley, The Icon Walk in Bedford Lane, is this gorgeous confection of coloured glass (or plastic)

You may think that Dublin is dull and grey, but you would be mistaken.

And amongst the garish, a more sedate type of street art.

We actually stayed in Temple Bar, which as it turned out wasn’t too noisy, but then I’d never seen it so underpopulated…it’s usually heaving, day and night. I guess Covid-19 is still keeping patrons at bay.

In the thick of it…Temple Bar looking rather empty

I’ll share another post in a few days, featuring some of Dublin/Ireland’s people and history ..

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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 😋

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 “Monastic 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 🥰💙

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 Library was founded in the early 18th century by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh (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. The Grand Canal (Irish: An Chanáil Mhór) is the southernmost of a pair of canals that connect Dublin, in the east of Ireland, with the River Shannon in the west, via Tullamore and a number of other villages and towns, the two canals nearly encircling Dublin’s inner city. Its sister canal on the Northside of Dublin is the 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 🚶‍♀️ 😁

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 💖💖 – I used to change her nappies ☺☺
Happy Birthday 🎂 🥳 🎉

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I’m working near to Clapham Common for the next 12 days. I never knew it was so pretty.

Long Pond – formed after gravel pits were abandoned. Model yachts gave been sailed here since the mid-19th century
The autumn colours this year are quite splendid
Holy Trinity Church

This is going to be a relatively easy booking, but quite boring with nothing much to do. I may just get to start and finish (hopefully) my September blogs – it will all depend on whether or not my laptop is still operational.

From Wikipedia: At over 85 hectares in size, Clapham Common is one of London’s largest, and oldest, public open spaces, situated between Clapham, Battersea and Balham.

Clapham Common is mentioned as far back as 1086 in the famous ‘Domesday Book’, and it was originally ‘common land’ for the Manors of Battersea and Clapham. ‘Commoners’ – tenants of the Lords of the Manors, could graze their livestock, collect firewood or dig for clay and other minerals on the site“.

Whoop whoop, another Domesday Book place.

Lots of space for walking, and I’m planning on finishing the Ring Road Iceland by Wednesday next week 🤞🤞🤞 and starting the Romantic Road, Germany virtual challenge.

Tomorrow I shall go walkabout and look out for interesting architecture.

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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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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 🎂 🥳 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 😀 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. ☺ 🗓

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Hello 👋👋 I’m back. And it done. Yes, I reached Banks at Fort Maia (aka Bowness on Solway) at 15:14 yesterday 21.09.21 😀

Banks at Fort Maia

The first thing I did was phone my daughter and sob 😄😄 We had a lovely long chat and she did a photo of me at the hut via WhatsApp video. Technology eh!!

Crazy lady via WhatsApp video 😁😁 it looks like I’m holding the hut up!! 🤪🤪

So I guess this post is jumping the gun a wee bit since I haven’t really posted much about my journey since 1st September when I started my journey at the Scottish border near Berwick Upon Tweed…but I really wanted to share this with you now, and later I’ll jump back in time and update you on my adventures.

In summary it’s been an amazing experience. Hard at times with days when I hit a wall of exhaustion, but other days that were a sheer joy.

Oh the things I have seen and the places I have been….every day a new door to open on vistas and adventure. And have I had some amazing adventures….but all will be told in time.

Meanwhile, here I am at Banks at the end of the 84 miles National Trail of Hadrian’sWay, and finally I can legitimately wear my cap 😁😁 ‘I’ve Walked Hadrians Wall’.

😃😃

I have to give a shout out to Gemini, my walking poles.  Without them I would not have been able to complete the walk. They saved me from stumbling (many times), helped me haul myself up inclines, and steadied me going down vertiginous descents. They kept my balance on rough paths and helped me jump over muddy puddles. They are invaluable and I am so grateful for their constant presence…they are like an extension of my body now, and we’ve been walking together for 5 years. Unlike me, they’ve had 3 sets of new feet and still going strong.

I’ll get onto my laptop soon and catch up….from the Scottish Border near Berwick Upon Tweed on the east coast of Northumberland, to the west coast of Cumbria; Bowness on Solway – 421 kms (263 miles) North to South along the Northumberland Coast Path and East to West along Hadrian’s Way.

Done and dusted (except for 12kms between Craster Harbour and Alnwick…but more about that later 😄😄

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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 🤪🤪, 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 😄😄, 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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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 😂😂😂

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

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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 🤪🤪 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 😉

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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Andddd….breathe!!! 🤪🤪🤪 geez, I don’t remember being this tense when I set off for my Camino in 2017!! Probably coz I didn’t fully appreciate what was ahead.  But now I do. 🤔🤔

My heart is racing and I’m on the edge of crying..copiously 😂😂 But I’m as ready as I can be. I’ve trained, I’ve packed and repacked, taken stuff out, put other stuff in, researched just about every inch of both routes, noted all dates, times, accommodation, excursions, reference numbers, telephone numberset etc etc so nothing left to be done, but 🚶‍♀️🚶‍♀️🚶‍♀️🚶‍♀️ Whewwww. Cor blimey!!

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