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My time in Salisbury is now over, but fear not I shall return – when I start travelling with my grandson, Salisbury, Old Sarum and Avebury are on my very extensive list of ‘places to go on Granny and Jamie’s Adventures’. But I couldn’t leave without sharing what is, next to the Cathedral, the best aspect of the city…..The River Avon, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, such a beautiful space.

Synonymous with Shakespeare and Stratford Upon Avon, the Avon rises east of the town of Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire, just north of the village of Acton Turville.

The river itself runs from a spring in Naseby in Northamptonshire, through Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Worcestshire and finally to the River Severn in Gloucestershire, passing through Bath and Bristol, the last big city on its route and beneath the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The River Avon is an exceptionally meandery river with lots of small tributaries and channels breaking away, leaving hundreds of little islands in its wake enroute to the sea…I tried to follow it on Google maps but gave up ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

Running a somewhat circular path, the river drains east and then south through Wiltshire. Its first main settlement is the village of Luckington, two miles (3 km) inside the Wiltshire border, and then on to Sherston.

At Malmesbury it joins up with its first major tributary, the Tetbury Avon, which rises just north of Tetbury in Gloucestershire.
This tributary is known locally as the Ingleburn, which in Old English means ‘English river’. Here, the two rivers almost meet but their path is blocked by a rocky outcrop of the Cotswolds, almost creating an island for the ancient hilltop town of Malmesbury to sit on. Upstream of this confluence the river is sometimes referred to as the ‘River Avon (Sherston Branch)’ to distinguish it from the Tetbury Branch.
Information ref wikipedia with thanks.

In Salisbury the river twists and winds within sight of the cathedral as it rushes past ancient inns, Norman churches, alongside meadows green and watery alive with wildflowers, butterflies, bees and swans, it splits into a multitude of channels and smaller tributaries around the city, with 2 distinct channels in the city rushing furiously through the millrace at the Maltings then flows fast beneath a 15th century bridge; Crane Bridge

The Maltings
Crane Bridge

Pretty much wherever you are, you are within a short walk of the river.

The chalk soils around the River Avon filter and purify the water, making the river a special place for wildlife. The Avon and its tributaries make up one of the largest chalk river systems in England, and is a source of clean drinking water.

Although I’ve been to Salisbury a few times, its always been a short visit and mostly spent in the cathedral or at Old Sarum (which is a fantastic place btw – a must visit), but I’ve never had the time to just meander and explore. Its been fantastic. I shall of course return someday in the future….

Meanwhile, here’s a short video showing scenes of the River Avon in Salisbury

I did a lot of walking during my breaks, through Churchill Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and along the many and varied riverside walks in the city…I went as far afield as the area called Broken Bridges and had a walk along the River Nadder, blissful tranquility, a space of enchantment

Crossing the bridge towards Broken Bridges
River Nadder, so clear you can see the bottom

And that’s it ….goodbye Salisbury, hope your cathedral is open next time I visit, I’d like to see the Magna Carta again ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

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Besides all the most amazing and ancient buildings and houses dotted around Salisbury, there are many beautiful younger places. I was hard put to not photograph just about everything. I’ve scanned through my photos and pulled up the more interesting structures. Some are remnants of an older building, especially in The Close, others are dotted around the city. I hope you enjoy these as much as the others.

Front of the Medieval Hall

You can just see the spire of the Cathedral behind the building and the magical moon. I was lucky enough to work just around the corner from this building.

Back of the Medieval Hall
Not sure who this belongs to, but next door is the Archbishop’s house
Also from the same era,slightly modernised
In The Close
In The Close
In The Close
In The Close
In The Close facing the Cathedral – what a view…
Arundells – in The Close
The gate at De Vaux place
A house I saw in Harnham across the river
Side view of above house. I totally love this house
Alms Houses
Alms Houses
A relic of the ancient city gates 1378
Old School House
A side door of the old school house

A few random houses. The variety of architecture is wonderful, makes for an interesting mix

The Guildhall and War Memorial

And to end off today; the clouds finally blew away and I saw my first sunset since arriving last week Thursday and just in time for my departure tomorrow. Typical

And I couldn’t possibly end this post without a view of the Cathedral…the moon is almost full and it looks stunning

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I’m not sure if I mentioned this before ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” but I’m walking the Thames Path for my birthdayโ€ฆits a milestone birthday in as much as according to the government I can officially retire!!!ย  ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช if only.

Initially I really wanted to walk from source to sea, but have not been able to find a good relevant guide book. The Cicerone books are excellent but they only had a sea to source guide, which has been irritating me.
So I’ve been pondering how I can turn this around so I can enjoy the walk instead of feeling like I’m doing it the wrong way aroundโ€ฆ

And I just had an idea ๐Ÿ’ก ping the oldย  ๐Ÿง  woke upโ€ฆ.I shall pretend I’m an explorer ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ who has just stumbled upon this great river, and now I have to follow it to find the mysterious source hidden in the jungleโ€ฆ.in reality it’s in a barren field and the stream is mostly dry,๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ but who’s checking ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ this is my adventure and if I say it’s a jungle, then it’s a jungle ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ…๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฆ’๐ŸŠ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

Sometimes it helps to be on the verge of senility, you can make up all sorts of ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

Thames Path…I shall ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘‰ in April well that’s the plan anyway…the PM may scupper those plans once again, unless I go incognito.

Walking the Thames Path has been a dream of mine ever since we lived in London, and I’m actually quite excited that finally I can bring my dream to fruition ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Hoorah

Gravesend
The O2
Bermondsey
City of London – Commemorating the 1666 Great Fire of London in 2016
Westminster
Chelsea
Richmond lock
The Great River Race 2016 Richmond
The Gloriana processing along The Thames during the Tudor Pull near Teddington
Teddington Lock (during my 3 Days in London days)

Over the years I’ve walked sections of the Thames Path from Gravesend to Hampton Court and I initially toyed with the idea of skipping this section, which will take me 3 days of solid walking at approximately 20/5 kms per day, BUT I know myself too well…I won’t feel as if I’ve ‘actually’ walked the whole Thames Path unless I walk the whole route.

So, according to the guide, the path starts at the Thames Barrier, so that’s where I shall start my adventure…

The Thames Barrier

Did you know that the River Thames, a tidal river, is considered to be part of the English Coast right up until Teddington Lock ….

All I need now is for everyone to ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž that we don’t go into another lockdown before 20th April…thank you ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Good morning ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ So, here we go. Over the last few days I’ve done some extensive walking, all round Salisbury to find you the oldest and most interesting of the buildings. Some of them date back to medieval times, circa 13th century, and certainly the inns date to the 15th and 16th centuries, with lots of renovations, repairs and restoration I’m sure.

I’ve not listed them in order of age, that would take a fair amount of time and I’m short on that atm, so I’ll just post them as I saw them over the last 3 days.

But I will say, there’s something quite extraordinary to be able to touch a wooden post that dates back to 1500!!! I mean seriously…think about how much has happened in the last 500+ years, and how many people have passed by or visited these buildings.

Without doubt I have to start with the Cathedral. Possibly not the oldest building in the area, but certainly the most famous. I know from reading many of the information posts dotted around, especially at the churches, that there are Saxon and Norman remains in some buildings, but mostly that is limited to the churches.

Salisbury Cathedral circa 1220
What I really appreciate about Salisbury is that pretty much wherever you are in the city, you can see the spire of the cathedral…no tall buildings compete.

‘Salisbury Cathedral is the most beautiful structure in England, and the Close around it the most beautiful space’. (‘Notes from a Small Island’ Bill Bryson.)

Starting off with what I do know, this building was part of a larger set of buildings all linked to the Bishops of the Cathedral which if course dates back to the early 13th century; started in 1220. I can recommend reading this article about The Close and its history. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol6/pp72-79

The Wardrobe housing The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum. The original building on the site was constructed in 1254. It was rebuilt in the 15th century and was used to store the robes of the Bishop of Salisbury; hence it was known as the “Bishop’s Wardrobe” or “The Wardrobe“.

The Wardrobe
Back of the Salisbury Museum
The Salisbury Museum – The King’s House; the house was referred to as the Court of the Abbott of Sherborne in 13th-century documents. The Abbot of Sherborne Abbey used this house as his prebendal residence in Salisbury prior to 1539, when Sherborne Abbey was decommissioned during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. At that time the house was known as Sherborne Palace
This is the top floors of a house that stands alongside St Nicholas Street on the river
Rose and Crown – 13th century coaching inn
Rose and Crown
The carvings on the facade of this building are stunning
15th century inn; The New Inn
Pheasant Inn circa 1500
The Old Forge…I LOVE this house
A 17th century Grade II listed building
Reminds me of a similar building in Kingston Upon Thames
The Poultry Cross featured in yesterday’s post about the 13th century market
The Old Mill, Harnham – The Old Mill is a 15th century building with features dating back to 1250. After itโ€™s early ecclesiastical beginnings, it was transformed in the 16th century to a paper mill.
The Old Mill is just across the river and meadows from Salisbury proper
Quaint thatched cottages in Harnham

I have images of many other buildings in the city which I’ll share in another post…

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of these amazing buildings…have a fab day

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Just had to share this with you quickly…I’ve started planning my September walks (thanks to lockdown 2020, they had to be postponed) and of course the first guide under the spotlight is St Cuthbert’s Way.

This was my initial planned walk with a couple of others, but now that I’m rereading the guide I’ve decided to include walking St Oswald’s Way as well, and while I’m there, I may as well walk the whole of the Northumberland Coast Path as well before heading into Newcastle.

I recently started reading Neil Oliver’s BBC A History of Scotland and to my delight, I recognise a lot of the place names he mentions in the book. The area is redolent with history. How will I tear myself away. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I will however be visiting quite a few of those places enroute along the two routes.

An absolutely amazing book

Of course I’m still planning on walking The Thames Path for my birthday, and the South Downs Way if I’m kicking my heels and need another long walk before the year is out…

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered that I will need a compass ๐Ÿงญ to find my way at some points ๐Ÿง๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ”Ž๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ This is going to be reallyyyyyy interesting. I have no idea how a compass works really. I know the principles, but I usually rely on mapmywalk and Google to get me out of a pickle, so I guess a compass tutorial and some map reading is in my future ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Meanwhile I’m finding it really difficult to put the guide book down and focus on something else…its so interesting and I love the snippets of information that the writer has included in the book. Its giving me itchy feet….

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Its extraordinary to realise that Salisbury has had a twice weekly market since 1227!

I popped over yesterday to try find some avocado but unfortunately I didn’t find any nice ones. Instead I did find some local farmers free range eggs and promptly bought a half dozen. I avoid eggs as much as possible because I don’t know their provenance and I do know that the supermarkets ‘free range eggs’ are not truly ‘free range’. I had 2 for my supper and the first one I cracked had a double yolk ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

The market was in full swing when I got there, but not nearly as busy as I would have thought, but with Covid…its to be expected.

The colours on a grey day were a welcome sight, and although my time was limited, I did manage to whizz around and look at all the stalls.

I saw these delicious olives, and was tempted…maybe Tuesday

Yummy

Later during my break, I walked through enroute from here to nowhere in particular, and it looked bereft…hardly anyone about. I guess the weather doesn’t help.

Intrigued by the date, I did a bit of research, and this is what I found. The market has been held in Salisbury since 1219 with the founding of the city, and the cathedral. At the time Salisbury was the largest city in the region and offered an opportunity for farmers and traders to sell their produce and wares.

In 1361, market days were formalised and decreed to be held every Tuesday and Saturday, a tradition that continues until today. In medieval times, the market was much larger than it is today, and even spread down side streets. The streets in the area reflect the types of goods sold during medieval times; Fish Row, Silver Street, Butcher Row and the Poultry Cross.

Poultry Cross
Butcher Row
Silver Street
Fish Row
Salt Lane
This intrigued me ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ Chipper Lane..

I wonder, did they have the equivalent of today’s chippy…?

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many a market in towns around the country over the years, but even so, the amazement of the history never wanes.

Salisbury was a settlement in Domesday Book, in the hundred of Alderbury, mentioned in the chapters for Wiltshire and Somerset.

It had a recorded population of 102 households in 1086, putting it in the largest 20% of settlements recorded in Domesday, and is listed under 2 owners in Domesday Book.

For more information about Salisbury and The Domesday Book, visit their site

And if that’s not enough history for you….Salisbury Cathedral is home to a copy of the Magna Carta too ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Last night I arrived in Salisbury for my next booking. Just 1 week but enough time to enjoy the area and explore. I’ve visited Salisbury and the Cathedral in pre-covid days, and love this area.

Because I only officially started work at 11am today, I was free to go walkabout last night and again this morning…. which I duly did.

I’m working very close to the cathedral and can virtually see it from the front door of the house. Its an incredibly historic area and there’s a medieval hall within walking distance…like about 100 yards. Its amazing.

Because it was quite dark I didn’t stray too far, and didn’t take too many photos…but nonetheless, my camera was busy once again.

Here are a few images to whet your appetite

The main entrance

The original Salisbury Cathedral was completed at Old Sarum in 1092 under Osmund, the first Bishop of Salisbury. In 1220 the foundations were laid for the Cathedral at the site it is today.

Stunning carving of Madonna and child above the entrance

There are an amazing array of sculptures dotted around the cathedral grounds….

String Quartet
St Anne’s Gate
A bricked in door next to Malmesbury House
History on the wall at Malmesbury House
The Chapter House – outside the cathedral walls
Outside the cathedral walls
I’d love to know how old that house is
Love love this
Salisbury Cathedral looking ethereal in the dark

Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, England. The cathedral is regarded as one of the leading examples of early English Gothic architecture. The main body was completed in 38 years, from 1220 to 1258.

At 80 acres, the cathedral has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain. It contains a clock which is among the oldest working examples in the world. Salisbury Cathedral has the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta. I was lucky enough to see the Magna Carta on my last visit.

In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration.

I’ll post some more photos taken this morning of the sculptures in the grounds, of which there is an amazing array, well as of the river Avon and some of the buildings in the city.

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And tah dah!!!! I’m done! I reached Stage 9 and the end of my Alps to Ocean challenge on 2nd February. Hoorah.

Finally here I am 180miles (290km) later, having travelled from the alps of Mount Cook, along multiple lakes, countless connecting rivers, past seven Waitaki Hydro power stations, various mountain ranges, through tussock grasslands, beside electric fences (do not touch) to arrive in the urban town of Oamaru on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

Oamaru is the largest town in the region and renowned for its Victorian precinct. A commercial streetscape, the Neoclassical architecture is a result of Scottish architect and engineer, Thomas Forrester, who emigrated with his family to NZ in 1861. Arriving in Oamaru to supervise the construction of the Bank of Otago, Forrester stayed on and shortly afterwards was integral to the construction of the Oamaru Harbour. Taking samples from the harbour floor, he deduced that the seabed could be dredged permitting the development of a deep water anchorage. This in turn allowed large ocean-going vessels to safely steer in and out of the harbour. Forrester then changed direction and together with his business partner, over a period of three decades, designed and built the various commercial buildings that still stand today. The precinct bustles with cafes, antiquity shops, bookshops and galleries. Each year it conducts the Victoria Fete, a one day fundraising event with stalls, music, food and period costumes. The funds raised go towards the ongoing care and restoration of the Victorian buildings.

For steampunk enthusiasts, inside one of the Victorian buildings is Steampunk HQ showcasing a collection of quirky items in retro-futuristic sci-fi style whilst outside is a full size train engine spitting fire and billowing smoke. Promoting sustainability and recycling Steampunk HQ collaborates with like-minded artists on projects to continue expanding the collection. Wish you could join me for a steampunk-Victorian era inspired dress-up and for a time feel like we have been transported into an alternative 19th century England.

At the north end of the Victorian precinct is the oldest public garden in NZ. When the town was surveyed in 1858 an area of 34 acres was set aside as a public reserve. Eighteen years later in 1876, the Oamaru Botanical Gardens was opened. Besides the flower beddings, bushes and trees the garden is dotted with various attractions such as the Japanese red bridge, Oriental garden, croquet lawn, sundial, aviary, peacock house, an Italian marble fountain and the Wonderland Statue made by the famous Scottish sculptor Thomas J Clapperton which he donated to the children of Oamaru in 1926. Thomas also made the bronze soldier sculpture on the World War 1 Memorial in Oamaru and is famous for his Robert the Bruce sculpture adorning the entrance of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.

As I stand on the end of the pier and look across the expanse and vastness of the Pacific Ocean, I wonder at its hidden stories, sunken ships and deep trenches. I wonder what Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan was thinking when in 1521 he sailed across the Strait of Magellan into the Pacific Ocean and was inspired to name it Mar Pacifico which translates as Peaceful Sea. It’s certainly questionable when you consider the heavy swells, the earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis that have battered many Pacific islands and sometimes obliterated complete towns. When I consider the depth and perpetual darkness of the Mariana Trench or the Pacific Rim with the highly active Ring of Fire, peaceful is not something that comes to mind but it is intriguing and fascinating.

This has been such a fascinating journey, it is indeed intriguing. I mean snippets like this are just awesome: Mar Pacifico which translates as Peaceful Sea, although I’m not too sure about the earthquakes et al.

Albeit a virtual journey, it’s made more exciting with the postcards and the information you receive as you reach each stage, and how much I’d love to see that train!! I’ve learned more about New Zealand than I ever knew, as well as from my previous challenges: Mt. Fuji in Japan, The Great Ocean Road in Australia, Ring of Kerry in Ireland etc They’ve all been so interesting.

So far I’ve completed 9 challenges which includes the Conquer 2020 challenge which was a sum total of all my challenges and more in 2020. My favourite so far has been Hadrian’s Wall and I never did get to blog about it…I only thought about sharing these challenges on my blog while I was doing Mt. Fuji because it was so fascinating. I’ll try to blog about the others, but I’ll stick with the shorter ones otherwise it gets too tedious for everyone….anyway, The Ring Road in Iceland is 1,332kms long and I imagine has lots of postcards LOL and the St Francis Way is 503 kms…so likewise.

But I’m starting the Mt. Everest challenge next, and then the Giza Pyramids challenge after I’ve done The Cabot Trail in Canada, so I’ll share that at the time. Of course I may just change my mind and blog about The Cabot Trail too ๐Ÿ˜‰ And here is my certificate. Seriously, within seconds of updating the app, the final postcard and certificate land in my mailbox. I’m going to make books from all of them for each walk….will be fun to look back on one day when I’m older, and infirm and unable to walk far….if I live that long LOL

Not too bad eh!! 5 weeks and not every day walked

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You have received a new postcard! ๐Ÿ™Œ its ridiculous how excited I get when I post a day’s mileage to my app and within seconds I hear the ping of a new email ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I reached Stage 8 on 28th January, and

It’s with mounting excitement that I realise I’m nearing the end of my virtual journey on the Alps to Ocean route in New Zealand. I started off the challenge on 30th December 2020, and except for a few days along the Kent coast, the majority of my walking has been in the countryside of Throwley, near Faversham – still in Kent.

I’ve been hard put to get my kms in because I only get a 2 hour break each day and some days due to weather I’ve not been able to walk at all. I set my initial goal at 5 weeks but was hoping to complete the challenge in 4 weeks. However, that plan was scuppered when the booking was extended for 3 weeks. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” Nonetheless, I’m not complaining, I’ve enjoyed my stay in Throwley and with another 10 days to go till I leave (as of the 28th), I’m hoping to finish the Alps to Ocean challenge and start on the Giza Pyramids…meanwhile

Stage 8
Stage 8

The small farming-town of Duntroon is home to around 120 residents. It’s main economy is largely sheep farming and crop growing such as wheat and barley.

The town was bestowed its name by one of a handful of Robert Campbells that emigrated from the United Kingdom to Australia and New Zealand. It took quite a bit of unravelling and genealogical construction to discover which of the four generations of Robert Campbells was the relevant one associated with Duntroon. It seems that the name Robert was greatly favoured in the family.

The first Robert (#1) was a grand-uncle from Scotland who was the first merchant in the 1788 British colony New South Wales (Australia) and later a politician. Having built a private wharf at the time he is now referred to as “Campbell of the Wharf”. He had a son named Robert but his brother, John, also had a son named Robert (#2).

This nephew, Robert (#2), arrived in Sydney in 1806 and by 1818 he was the Director and afterwards the President of the first formal bank in Sydney, the Bank of NSW, today known as Westpac. Having also built himself a mercantile business on Bligh Street, Sydney, he became known as “Campbell of Bligh Street”. This Robert, unsurprisingly had a son also called Robert (#3), who was born in Sydney but chose to return to England and became a Member of Parliament from which he was unfortunately unseated threes month later. To distinguish him from previous Roberts’ he was given the appellation “Robert Campbell Tertius” meaning the third.

Finally the relevant Robert (#4), son of Robert Campbell Tertius, who was born in England in 1843, travelled to New Zealand early 1860s to either buy or lease land on behalf of the family. Robert became a successful sheep farmer, property owner and later politician. Together with his father, he owned a sheep station in the Waitaki District upon which they built a small town they named, Duntroon, a Scottish name possibly as homage to their ancestry and their ties to Clan Campbell of Argyll, Scotland.

Robert’s (#4) wife, Emma, bequeathed ยฃ6,000 to the parochial district with instructions to build a church for the benefits of Church of England members. The result was St Martin’s Anglican Church in a 14th century Gothic style, built out of limestone quarried in a nearby region. The side church door bears the Clan Campbell coat of arms. Sadly both Robert and Emma died childless and within a few months of each other.

By 1875 much of the acquired Campbell lands became plagued by rabbits that were imported in the 1830s and released for sport. Unable to curtail their rapid reproduction rate, by the early 1880s the pastures were depleted and hillsides eroded. This in turn produced lower quality wool thereby affecting the prices of wool. In the end, the devastation wrought in the region forced many sheep station owners into bankruptcy and the Campbell’s businesses in NZ were eventually wound up and ceased operating by 1920.

Just off the main highway is the Vanished World Heritage Centre, a fossil and geology museum that includes the fossils of two species of extinct genus of large penguins from around 27-28MYA. Known as Archaeospheniscus, the species is about the size of an Emperor Penguin. There was a third species, albeit a smaller one, in this genus that was discovered in Antarctica. These three species are the only ones currently existent in this genus.

Having left Duntroon, I’ve parted ways from Waitaki River which has been my companion since the Waitaki Dam and moved in a south-east zig-zag direction until I stopped at the Rakis Railway Tunnel, an old disused railway line. During the 1880s depression era the construction of the railway provided much needed unemployment relief. The 11mi (19km) line was in use from 1887 to 1930. Today the tunnel is only 330ft (100m) long and although it can be explored, a torch is needed because halfway in the tunnel curves cutting out all source of natural light.

Today will be by far my longest route of this entire journey, hence writing this letter on one of my rest stops. I look forward to rolling into my final destination, Oamaru.

Interesting information provided…..and therein lies the foolishness of history. You can’t just import alien species into a country for whatever reason and expect it to have a happy outcome. If you read history, you’ll discover that there were dozens of similarly stupid and foolish mistakes made by the invaders (of the people kind, not the animal or plant kind) of these islands as well as in Australia and various other countries around the world; the British Empire!! Geez. Well I have to admit that I have no sympathy for the unfortunate Campbells, shooting rabbits for sport – how cruel…and talk about a lack of imagination. With the huge variety of names on offer, could they not come up with something a little different…I mean I like the name Robert on the whole, but surely a little variety wouldn’t have gone amiss?

I do like the Elephant Rocks though and the Vanished World Heritage Centre, sounds like an awesome place to visit.

Anyway…. I’m rapidly reaching the end of my Alps to Ocean NZ challenge!! I always feel a little sad really when they reach the last few miles…..they become friends eventually LOL Okay, okay, don’t say it…I know, it’s daft.

Didn’t take any photos of the area this day because, seriously I have so many already, but I did spot that gorgeous iris hiding under a hedge and the snowdrops are in bloom. So pretty..I love this time of year when the first snowdrops appear…

And because I didn’t faff around too much taking photos, I managed to clock up 11.44kms in 2.5 hours ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜

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I got back yesterday after working away for 5 weeks and opened my vast pile of post….

It’s like Christmas really ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

And in the pile were my last 4 Conqueror medals ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ…๐Ÿ…๐Ÿ…๐Ÿ…

In order of completion, from left to right

Great Ocean Road, Mt. Fuji, Conquer 2020 and Alps to Ocean which I completed this month. Awesome ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

My target for 2020 was 2,020kms and I reached that on 31 December 2020

I probably walked wayyyyy more than that, but I mostly count ‘boots on’ mileage and if I’m stuck indoors at work and unable to get out for my break on any particular day, I count my indoor walking, which extraordinarily sometimes amounts to 12kms between going on duty at 8am to 2pm when I take my 2 hour break. Mostly I try to get out to walk, but sometimes like these last few days, I get snowed in, or its pouring with rain….ergo, no good for walking if you don’t have the right gear.

I first started these virtual challenges on 26th March 2020, and the Alps to Ocean is my 9th challenge completed. I have 5 to do this year, as well as the Conquer 2021 challenge which is a compilation of all challenges walked during the year. Of course they may well introduce more…in which case ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ and ‘boots on’ and getttt walking!!!

Also in the mail were my next two Cicerone books: The Thames Path, which I’m planning on walking in April for my birthday. Its something I’ve wanted to do for years, and years, and of course I’ve walked many miles along the River Thames between Hampton Court Palace and as far as Greenwich – not all in one go, but different sections over the years, and right along the whole length between Rotherhithe and Lambeth, also at different times.

And of course the South Downs Way is a desirable walk for this year too.๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž because so many factors affect that possibility.

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