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Archive for the ‘walk 1000 miles 2021’ Category

In the real world, on 22nd of February I was traipsing through the meadows and fields of Salisbury, marginally warmer I’m sure, and a heck of a lot easier ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

With the Himalayas towering on either side of the trail, I trudged on and I say trudged because as you may well imagine fatigue, high altitude, low oxygen level and the constantly changing terrain was having an impact but as you may also imagine the desire to climb Everest was even greater and gave me the impetus to carry on.

The terrain morphed from tundra with low level shrubs to rocks and boulders. It was rugged, remote and massive. Rounding the bend at Dughla, a small hamlet and resting point, I was confronted by a pile of rising rubble where high up on the hill at 16,100ft (4,900m) is the terminus of the Khumbu Glacier, the highest glacier in the world. To the right I could see the glacial meltwater as it was making its way down the hill into the Lobujya River flowing southward as the Imja River and into the Dhudh Kosi.

The next hour’s climb was a steep 656ft (200m) trek to Chukpi Lhara. Set atop a large plateau, Chukpi Lhara is Everest’s memorial ground. Monuments made of stone or cement, some covered in prayer flags were built to honour climbers and Sherpas who lost their lives on Everest. It was a sobering and reflective moment.

Located at the foot of the Khumbu Glacier to the east and the soaring peak of Mount Lobuche East to the west sits the seasonally busy village of Lobuche. The village is the second-last stop for overnight lodging before base camp. Mount Lobuche has two peaks and is differentiated by calling it East and West. Permits are required to climb the mountain with East (20,075ft/6,119m) being classed as a trekking peak, whereas West (20,160ft/6,145m) being classed as an expedition peak. The two peaks are connected by a long and deeply notched ridge with sheer drops on either side making the West peak inaccessible from the East but it can be climbed via the southern shoulder.

I didn’t stop in Lobuche, I pressed on to Gorak Shep the absolutely last place to stay in a lodging. The village was buzzing with trekkers and climbers either coming or going. At an elevation of 16,942ft (5,164m), Gorak Shep was located at the base of Mount Pumo Ri on the edge of a frozen lakebed covered with sand with Khumbu Glacier to the east and Changri Shar Glacier to the west.

The village was completely barren and devoid of vegetation but the peaks were ever-present from every angle. The summit of Kala Patthar on the south ridge of Pumo Ri was a major landmark for any trekker who wanted a clear view of Everest and Nuptse’s peaks. Because of Everest’s structure view of its summit from base camp is blocked by Nuptse. Climbing Kala Patthar was another great way to acclimatise. With an elevation gain of 1,270ft (390m) it was a short-two hour return trip. After a hearty lunch of curry potato and paratha bread for dipping, I was ready for the last trek of the day.

And here I thought I did good climbing halfway up Mt. Snowdon!!! And no, I still can’t do a decent selfie ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

November 2017, Mt. Snowdon. My hair was still pink after my Camino in September ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคซ

It all sounds absolutely amazing, and the curry potato sounds yummy, but as for the rest of it, I get tired just reading about it and once again I’m ever so glad this is not something I ever have to do ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿ˜ฐ it just sounds exhausting.

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Reading through this information, I’m left thinking that some people need their heads read!! I know I push myself and I’ve done some crazy shit when on my long-distance walks, but I would not want to do any of this. Thank the lord it’s a virtual climb and I don’t ACTUALLY have to do this ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜„ instead I was whizzing around Salisbury

Exploring Salisbury – far more my style โ˜บ

Starting out with an easy hike, I nearly missed the iconic yellow and red sign against a huge boulder simply stating “Way to Everest B.C.” with a big red arrow beneath the words pointing towards base camp. At least I was certain I was on the right path.

After what felt like hours of trekking, the treacherous Khumbu Icefall loomed into view spilling its way down the valley between Everest and Nuptse. Khumbu Icefall sits at the head of Khumbu Glacier, a constantly moving sheet of compacted ice. As the glacier makes its way down the valley it fractures, creating deep crevasses that are always in motion and large towers of ice called seracs that are known to suddenly collapse.
Making the final ascent I arrived at the cairn adorned in prayer flags with its rudimentary sign signalling that I have arrived at Everest Base Camp (17,477ft/5,327m). It was located on a scree-covered section (loose broken stones) at the foot of Khumbu Icefall. I settled into one of the yellow tents and mentally prepared for the high altitude acclimatisation process I would begin to endure.

As sea-level dwellers our bodies are not designed to live at high altitude but we are certainly capable of adapting to it through appropriate acclimatisation. The higher we go, our bodies go through physiological changes by producing more red blood cells in order to carry more oxygen to our muscles and organs whilst combating the thinner air.

The acclimatisation process on Everest is lengthy taking up to a month and done by exposing the body to higher and higher altitude then descending to sleep, recover and overcome any signs of acute mountain sickness due to sudden changes in altitude.

High altitude sickness can affect any person regardless of fitness or age. Ignored or left untreated altitude sickness can have serious consequences including fatality by developing either into cerebral oedema or pulmonary oedema which is fluid build-up in the brain or lungs. Some of the immediate ways to treat altitude sickness is by taking specific medication, supplemental oxygen and/or descending.

During that month I climbed and returned to base camp three times with each climb going higher. It looked something like this:
1. Base camp to icefall, return to base camp. Have a day of rest.
2. Base camp across icefall to Camp 1 and stay; then Camp 2 return to Camp 1 for sleep; then Lohtse Face return to Camp 2 for sleep; and descend back to base camp. Have four days of rest.
3. Climb to Camp 1 and stay; then Camp 2 and rest the next day; then Camp 3 return to sleep at Camp 2; and descend back to base camp. Have five days of rest and wait for the right weather to summit.

The anticipation was over and the much awaited good-weather window presented itself for the final part of the expedition: Summitting Everest.

Starting in the wee hours of the morning, geared up and harness on I negotiated my way through the camp under the light of my headlamp to Crampon Point and attached my crampons to my boots.

Staring out at Khumbu Icefall with a good dose of mixed emotions I began the perilous yet now more familiar climb across. Crevasses were crossed on horizontal ladders and towering ice blocks on vertical ones. Some crevasses were so wide that more than one ladder had to be tied together to bridge the gap. For safety I was clipped into fixed lines. If I was to lose my footing on the ladders and fall the fixed lines would help break my fall. Climbs in some areas fluctuated between 20 to 60 degree angles but there was no time to dwell as the ongoing shifting and settling of the glacier and icefall was a constant reminder how unsafe the area was and moving quickly was necessary.

Several hours passed crossing the icefall till I made it to a large flat expanse of snow with more ladders to climb all the way to Camp 1. Situated at 19,390ft (5,910m), Camp 1 was in the middle of the Western Cwm (Cwm is Welsh for valley), a broad and flat glacial valley. From here I could see the Pumo Ri Mountain to the west and Lhotse Face straight up the valley. I then climbed on to Camp 2 about 1.74mi (2.8km) further up from Camp 1. Located at the base of a gully on scree, Camp 2 was well provisioned and is often considered as Advanced Base Camp. I stopped for a day of rest.

Early next morning I began making my way across the Western Cwm to the base of Lhotse Face where I had to cross a short ladder over a bergschrund (a deep crevasse where the steep slope meets the glacier). Lhotse Face is a 3,690ft (1,125m) glacial wall of blue ice. Sections of Lhotse Face average 40 degrees incline thereby needing to kick my crampon points into the ice to secure my footing. Throughout this climb I was clipped into a fixed line which was attached to the face with ice screws and anchors. I could feel the altitude change, my breathing labouring as I slowly and steadily climbed my way into Camp 3. I was now at 24,015ft (7,320m) gaining an elevation of 6,538ft (1,993m) from base camp. There were several camping spots here, essentially wherever one could find a flat spot to pitch a tent. I remained fixed to my safety line. The sun was up bestowing me with glorious views of the valley below, the peak of Pumo Ri and the others beyond.

Quite honestly, that all just sounds like a lot of hard work – so for me, its a no thanks. I’ll stick with my virtual journey and leave this to someone else. Seriously?? Why would anyone want to do this??

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If seems there are still some mountains to be climbed. In a way its quite awesome to learn that not all mountains have been conquered, especially as it is a sacred mountain…some things should just be left alone…onwards and in reality when I reached stage 3 in was exploring Salisbury

Leaving Namche Bazaar, the trail was wide and level following the curves of the Khumbu Yui Lha mountain. The mountain is 18,900ft (5,761m) above sea level and considered sacred by the Sherpa people. With the exception of one unsuccessful attempt in the 1980s, the mountain has never been climbed.

As beautiful as it is, it just looks cold..

Winding my way up the trail, I could feel the climb in my legs as my muscles strained on sections of steep, stone steps then levelling out and just around the next bend it’d be another round of steep steps and on and on it went. Occasionally, I’d be rewarded with tiny peeks of Everest in the distance.

Suddenly, my trail began its descent to the valley floor and if I thought my muscles strained on the ascent, I now felt the strain on my knees during the descent. Reaching the village of Phungi Thenga, I traversed Dhudh Kosi river again and just as I made it into a gorge the trail took on another brutal ascent all the way to Tengboche. The highlight in the village is the Tengboche Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery for the Sherpa community. First built in 1916, the monastery has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times. Home to 60 monks, the prayer room is a kaleidoscope of colour with murals and paintings adorning the walls. A nunnery is a short trek away in Deboche.

Tengboche is beautifully located with its panoramic views of several peaks but the most outstanding was Ama Dablam and its imposing 22,349ft (6,812m) peak. Flanked by long ridges and a hanging glacier, it was first climbed in 1961 and it is the third most popular Himalayan peak for climbing.

The constant up and down trekking seemed a little self-defeating until I realised that since Lukla, I was an extra 3,280ft (1,000m) above sea level. I couldn’t ponder that for long as down into the valley I went again to cross Imja Khola river, a tributary of Dhudh Kosi.

Once I crossed the river, I left the woodland behind. The trail from here was in the open, no more trees in the way of my view presenting me with the enormity of this place. Up and down went the trail, yet progressively gaining elevation. The air had changed. A little thinner, a little colder, no trees to provide shelter from the wind.

Eventually I reached the tiny village of Phiroche. It is located above the Tsola River at an altitude of 14,340ft (4,371m). It is a major stopping point for acclimatisation and also an evacuation point. The village has a hospital that runs during the climbing seasons and is operated by the Himalayan Rescue Association with Nepalis staff and volunteer doctors from the US, Europe, Canada and Australia.

Rather than sitting in a lodge, I dug out my gloves and beanie and very slowly over a period of about two hours, I hiked up to Nangkartshang peak (also referred to as the Dingboche Viewpoint) with an altitude of 16,676ft (5,083m). I was wonderfully rewarded at the top with a glorious view of several peaks such as Ama Dablam, Imja Tse, Tobuche and Lobuche and further afield even higher peaks Cho Oyu, Makalu, Lhotse and of course Everest.

As dusk was closing in I retired to my lodge for dinner. Looking for a warm and comforting dish, I settled on a hot noodle soup with pieces of meat and vegetables called Thukpa, accompanied by hot momos, steam filled dumplings.

Amazing to learn about all if this. Certainly one of the highlights for me following these virtual challenges is the postcards, I really do find it ever so interesting.

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And so to stage 2…

I reached stage 2 while I was in Deal for my Covid-19 innoculation and the weather wasn’t much better by all accounts, although they had blue skies, whereas mine was grey

Walking in Deal

Leaving Hillary Bridge behind at 9,514ft (2,900m) it was time for the next gripping ascent. Travelling uphill on single-lane switchbacks demanded patience, slowly shuffling along putting one step in front of the other, often needing to pull aside to let the steady stream of traffic pass me by. Mules, trekkers, porters and yaks were a common sight, breaking my already slow momentum. As I was gaining elevation, I could feel the change in the air, a shortness of breath, clearly indicating the change in altitude. I’d say more garlic soup was on the horizon.

Two hours later I arrived in Namche Bazaar, the largest village in the region. Namche was located on a plateau, rising up the hillside at 11,285ft (3,440m). On either side of the village were the 19,800ft+ (6,000m+) peaks of Kongde Ri to the west and Thamserku to the east.

From single-storey to triple-storey buildings, a plethora of teahouses and lodges are readily available to service visitors and trekkers. Anyone who was up for a pint of Guinness or a shot of Jameson or Teeling Irish whiskey would find it in the centre of town at the remotest Irish Pub in the world.

Namche is a trading centre, altitude acclimatization stop, gateway to the upper Himalayan region and the final stop to purchase any gear needed for the upcoming trek to Everest.

Resting here overnight and taking the time to acclimatize, I stopped at a teahouse to enjoy the national dish of Dal Bhat Tarkari, a lentil soup with steamed rice, accompanied by seasonal vegetables and curried meat. It is a staple meal of the Sherpa people eaten once or twice a day as a perfect combination of protein and carbs for their physical workouts at high altitude.

Just slightly out of town up a hill is the Sagarmatha National Park Museum with a statue of Tenzing Norgay on the grounds. A worthy visit not just for the museum but also the amazing views of the surrounding peaks.

I spent a full day acclimatising with a nearby hike to Khumjung at an ascent of about 2,000ft (600m). Khumjung is a village known for the Edmund Hillary School which when built in 1961 only had one classroom but today teaches children up to grade 10. Then onto Khumjung Monastery to check-out the mysterious yeti scalp. The yeti is steeped in Himalayan folklore as a large monster which in western culture is known as the Abominable Snowman.

Before descending back to Namche, I grabbed a pastry and hot drink from the closest bakery and whilst standing outside absorbing the mountainous vista I watched the Sherpa women harvest the potato fields, a staple crop and one of the few that can be grown at such high altitude.

One more night of rest in Namche. The long, slow, steady climb awaits.

Crikey, reading all that makes me glad I’m not really there ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช even though it would be quite cool to visit the remotest Irish Pub in the world ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

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I finally found a bit of space to start reading up on the Mt. Everest virtual challenge which I completed last month, and although I had decided to not post any further posts about the various challenges I’m following, this was so very interesting that I changed my mind and so here we go….I hope you enjoy reading more about Everest and what the climbers who actually go there experience. So often we read or hear about climbers and teams of people who climb Mt Everest but we seldom read about the finer details. So this has been really interesting.

I actually started the challenge in Ramsgate on the 10th February on the tail-end of the ‘beast from the east’ snow storm. So this is a bit behind the actual times ๐Ÿ˜‰ But since it’s not real anyway, it doesn’t really matter…anyway, I hope you enjoy reading these posts…

Where I actually was….pretty realistic really

Flying into Kathmandu is a walk in the park when compared to Lukla. Dubbed as the most dangerous airport in the world, Lukla’s runway is a mere 1,729ft (527m) long, with mountainous terrain to the north and a steeply angled drop to the south. It is built on a 12% uphill gradient to help planes slow down. There are no go-around procedures if the planes miss their approach, as such only highly experienced pilots with short-takeoff-and-landing missions under their belt, experience in Nepal and ten flights in Lukla with a certified instructor, are permitted to land at the airport. In a nutshell if climbing Everest doesn’t cause prickles on the back of your neck, then a high intensity landing in Lukla certainly should.

Where I wasn’t really ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Stage 1

In 2008, Lukla airport was renamed Tenzing-Hillary Airport in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the first climbers to reach the summit of Everest. Hillary was instrumental in the construction of the airfield in Lukla, building an unsurfaced airstrip on a mountain shelf in 1964. It took 37 years to finally asphalt the runway.

Home to 1200 people, the village sits at 9,383ft (2,860m) above sea level, nestled on a small plateau amongst the awe inspiring mountain peaks of the Himalayan Ranges. The nearly 40mi (64km) trek to Mount Everest, skirts steep mountainsides, through deep valleys and over alpine glaciers. The hike travels through small villages and teahouses, past prayer wheels and fluttering prayer flags to the memorial site honouring mountaineers and Sherpas who lost their lives climbing the mountain, continuing to Base Camp and then the final summit climb.
Leaving the viewing platform of the Lukla airport, I made my way through the centre of town on a narrow street that was sometimes cobbled and sometimes just compacted soil. Double-storey buildings lined the street filled with shops, teahouses and lodging services.

Shortly after leaving the village I passed through the National Luminary Pasan Lhamu Memorial Gate which was built to honour Pasan Lhamu, the first Sherpa woman to summit Everest in 1993. It is the gateway to the Khumbu Region that encompasses the Sagarmatha National Park and the Nepalese side of Mount Everest.

It was a gradual downhill hike, passing through a forest on narrow paths with the colossal mountainside ever present to my right. I continued on this downward hike, on a trail that wound itself up and down, passing through villages with teahouses until I reached Phakding, a small village that lies in the Dudh Kosi river valley. Here was the first of many suspension bridge crossings. The bridge, about 100ft (30m) above the river, stretched across what seemed to be an old landslide with large boulders and debris settling beside the river. As the bridge swayed and moved beneath my feet, I pondered about those whose fear of heights may find the crossing challenging. This isn’t the tallest suspension bridge on this trek, that is yet to come.

Finally reaching the small village of Benkar with its tin-roofed, brightly painted window frames, four-storey residences/storefronts, I settled into one of the teahouses for a meal. Known to aid with altitude adaptation I had garlic soup with Tibetan flat bread. Between the warmth of the soup and the crusty on the outside, fluffy on the inside bread, I filled my belly and finished with a Tibetan tea.
Rested and fed, I resumed my hike crossing another suspension bridge. Soon I reached the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. A UNESCO listed site since 1976, the 1,148kmยฒ park is home to the Sherpa people, rare species like the snow leopard and several mountains including Mount Everest.

After obtaining the necessary permits to enter the park, I walked through the Jorsalle Entrance Gate, a concrete structure with Buddhist artwork on its interior walls to a set of steps that began a steep descent into a gorge, onto Jorsalle village, alongside the thundering Dhudh Kosi river and over two more suspension bridges.

However, what goes down, must come up and it wasn’t long before I engaged my hiking poles to start the steep ascent onto a woodland path until I reached a wide open low lying land beside the river filled with stones and boulders making trekking through it unstable and difficult.

But nothing prepared me for the next suspension bridge. Like all the others, Hillary Bridge was made of galvanized steel cables that’s connected to the grated deck by interlinked wire fence. An old version of the bridge was right beneath this one just hanging, blowing in the wind, no longer in use. At 410ft (125m) above the Dhudh Kosi river, this 459ft (140m) long bridge was exposed to the elements swaying laterally and vertically as the strong wind blew through the valley. It was a heart thumping, adrenaline spiking exercise that on this trek one could do without. I was grateful to reach solid ground.

If I ever entertained even the slightest idea of ACTUALLY doing this ‘walk’, reading about that bridge has pretty much scuppered any possibility ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ I don’t have a fear of heights and I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, but I have my limits ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

So, no go for me thanks, virtual suits me just fine.

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I arrived home last night, after a 4.5 hour journey, from a week’s booking in Salisbury. As much as what I really enjoyed exploring the city, and learning more of the history and her green spaces, it was wonderful to be back home.

You cannot underestimate the sheer joy of coming ‘home’ to your own place. It may not be much, but it’s got my stuff in it, and I’m home.

My own duvet…magic

After I’d dropped my bags off, I grabbed my walking poles and immediately set off for a sunset walk to the harbour

Absolutely stunning
A Royal harbour
Can you see the moon?
The sun setting in front of me

and then along the lower promenade

The snow moon rising behind me

before climbing up to the clifftop and a walk to Pegwell Bay.

View of Pegwell Bay from the bottom of the cliffs
From halfway up the path to the top of the cliffs

It was quite dark already by the time I reached the hotel, so I stopped there for a few photos and then walked back along the clifftop.

View from Pegwell Bay hotel
A bit of fun with the moon and the hands and molecules sculpture
One lone boat still has its Christmas lights on

A magical walk with no pressure to get back within 2 hours, and 9.9 kms added to my 2021 Conqueror virtual challenge.

I’m going to start the Ring Road Iceland virtual challenge on Monday 1st March. I’m so looking forward to the postcards, should be amazing. My daughter and I had a fantastic 4 day trip to Iceland in 2014, so I’m really keen to see the information that comes with the postcards.

The Sun Voyager (Icelandic: Sรณlfar); a sculpture by Jรณn Gunnar รrnason

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When I got back from my Throwley booking earlier this month, I decided to take a walk along the beach to get some kms in since I’d completed the Alps to Ocean challenge and started climbing Mt. Everest ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿ—ป๐Ÿ—ป (also completed while in Salisbury).

BUT!!! To my horror I found that most of the beach has been stripped away by the storm. As far as the eye can see, used to be beach…its now mostly stones and rocks and the sand has been stripped right down to the chalk bedrock. I genuinely could not believe my eyes. I can see just beneath the waves there’s still some beach, but not sure how far it extends.

The beach where I used to take my grandson to play is now just a rocky morass.

To give you an idea of the power of the sea, this great big chunk of very degraded concrete was washed up and dumped onto the beach almost halfway up towards the Royal Pavilion
Quite awesome to see the pure chalk bottom though…just think….this is billions of sea creatures solidified into chalk from millions of years ago.

Unreal, the power of nature. I’m saddened too because it’s one of my favourite places to walk. But a local said the wind and sea will likely blow it all back when the winds blow from another direction. Meanwhile…๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜” no beach walking๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ for me atm, I’ll have to try catch it when the tide is out.

Meanwhile, I shall have to head southward and visit Pegwell Bay again.

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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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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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I had to concede defeat today and had my first Covid vaccine jab. I’m not happy about it, but when you start hearing things like “have you had a test recently, or when will you be having your innoculation?” from prospective clients et al, along with talk of vaccine passports, you know the writing is on the wall. We are but a commodity.

So I just said, to hell with it  and booked an appointment. So many people are still totally ignorant of Covid and its transmission. Having the vaccine is not going to stop me from inadvertently passing it on to someone else in the event I come into contact with it. Its seems that some folk think it’s a magic wand, and once you have the jab you’re safe. You’re not. You’re just less likely to get really ill, and even then it’s no guarantee. Even the scientists are not wholly in agreement about the efficacy and what it means. Ugh. Anyway, it’s done. I can’t afford to not work.

The process itself was painless in all respects, and the system was smooth and flowed easily. Because of previous negative responses to a flu vaccine, I stayed institu for 25 minutes after the jab, just to make sure I didn’t just keel over and die ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช and then I was away…the staff were friendly and well organised and I was impressed with the efficiency of it all. I still, 9 hours later have had no ill-effects. In case you’re wondering, I had the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

The good thing that came out of it is that I had an unexpected trip to Deal. After the jab, I set off for a walk to Walmer Castle. Its amazing how close the 2 castles are to each other…25 minutes brisk walk. But first I had a most delicious curried vegetable pie from Al’s Bakery on the High Street…totally recommended. If I’d known it would be so yummy, I’d have bought 2.

A quick walk along the pier as well, then back on the train…which remarkably, considering the delays caused by the land slip near Folkestone, arrived at Deal and stopped at exactly 14:32 (I was watching the clock) – even a Swiss train would be hard put to match that!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s a very long pier

Oh, and see that arrow pointing to the land in the distance in the next image… that’s the White Cliffs of Dover and last year I walked from Walmer to Dover via the cliffs…awesome walk and really beautiful

Deal Castle
Walmer Castle

Deal is an incredibly historic town with some amazing old houses

Carter House

Although it was wet, cold and blustery, I really enjoyed my walk and as usual could have just kept going….as soon as lockdown lifts, that’s exactly what I’m going to do…

I love these cycle path signs….tempted to follow them one day ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ

I love this little square

And of course, you can’t visit a seaside town and not stop to look at the boats

A pretty fishing boat

And finally, one of my favourite signs

The Acorn – symbol of the National Trails – England Coastal Path

And today’s walk added another 8kms to my Mt. Everest virtual challenge and takes me to nearly half way through the challenge ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Both Deal and Walmer are mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book :

Deal was a settlement in Domesday Book, listed as Addelam, in the hundred ofย Corniloย and the county ofย Kent. It had a recorded population of 31 households in 1086, putting it in the largest 40% of settlements recorded in Domesday, and is listed under 5 owners in Domesday Book.

Julius Caesarย reputedly landedย on the beach at Walmer in 55 BC and 54 BC. It is only one possible landing place, proposed judging from the distances given in his account of the landings in hisย Gallic Wars.ย However, recent archaeological research and digs have found that he landed at Pegwell Bay. Walmer is probably the settlement Wealemere listed in the Domesday Book.

As I mentioned….loads of history, and both castles are well worth a visit

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