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Walking never fails to throw up a few surprises and today was no exception.

It poured with rain this morning and I thought for sure my plan to walk during my break was scuppered. But by early afternoon the clouds blew away (mostly) and the sun shone bright and by 3pm it was lovely and sunny, albeit very windy.

I decided that today was the day to walk along that disused railway line, and I’m ever so glad I did….there was a delightful surprise in store.

Looking back towards the town from the entrance

It’s a beautiful walk, hundreds of trees create a green tunnel with crispy autumn leaves underfoot, and of course….lots of muddy puddles.

I did some ‘Paul Simon’ as I walked and as usual thanked my walking poles for keeping me upright 😁😁😁 Of course it had rained, ya dim woman. What a day to choose. But never no mind, on I plodded…slip sliding away…the nearer my destination….

About halfway along I noticed a beautiful towering Victorian bridge and just beneath that a group of 6 people standing about. Not at all sure what was waiting ahead, I tried to look confident and in control…as I neared the group I could hear singing

To my delight the group of people was a small choir practising for a concert and enjoying the acoustics provided by the bridge!! They were grouped around a brightly burning fire dancing merrily, it looked utterly cosy and I felt quite envious

Magic.

I stopped to listen to listen and they kindly agreed to my recording it ☺☺ the sound was amazing. After saying my thanks for the impromptu concert, I carried on along the path right to the end and passed a 2nd bridge along the way, but sadly, no further choirs….

As I neared the end of that wide green green tunnel narrowed suddenly and petered out into a narrow path amongst bushes. The whole length of that section of the railway line is 1.216kms 😁

Uninviting…

Walking back I was hoping to hear the group singing again but unfortunately as I neared the bridge I noticed them walking ahead….too bad. Their singing was amazing and I could still smell the fire.

I noticed a few left overs from the days of railways past

The detritus of humans

From there I took a quick walk upstream, on the west side, to the end of the pathway. The river, swollen with water after the downpour had burst its banks. It looked quite amazing; fat and lazy meandering its way downstream.

The path is fantastic to walk along, so I walked right to the end.

Followed right to the end…

I love this view the most

My favourite view, looking downstream

In all a most enjoyable walk and despite not pounding along like I normally do, I managed a decent 7.53kms / 12238 steps. I also noticed that the hill, at the top of which I’m currently working, has an elevation of only 65 meters….it feels more like 650 when I’m trudging back after a long walk πŸ˜‰

Mapmywalk

And now I only have 8.5 days left in Lewes. Time to conquer that blessed path downstream to Southease….

Oh and please cross fingers 🀞🀞🀞🀞 for a fine day on Saturday. I want to visit the castle, it’s my final opportunity.

WordPress reminded me its notjustagranny’s 11th anniversary today…..11 years!! Can hardly believe it.

Mind you I was blogging well before that under a different url but that was a long time ago.

My blogging is mostly a hit and miss affair, and contrary to the advice of the gurus I haven’t been consistent. Mostly because I felt I had to log on via my laptop and that’s not always desirable or practical.

I did not want to blog via my phone and resisted going down that path for years. I found it time-consuming and tedious.

But technology has changed and its sooo much easier now to just get on with it.

Besides that, I recently logged off Facebook after watching the documentary Social Dilemma….voila, suddenly I have more time.

So without further ado and adon’t I’m now blogging more regularly via my phone….sorry 🀣🀣🀣🀣

It’s much easier to upload photos and videos to wordpress media but sometimes I get too enthusiastic and upload too many and then I can’t remember which I have inserted and which I haven’t.

I’m sure there are hundreds of unattached photos in my media.

Anyway here’s my achievement award from wordpress…thanks folks

When Danny Boyle incorporated those famous words; our green and pleasant land into the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, he must have been talking about the hills of the South Downs….

“The aerial photograph reveals a pretty maypole, water mill, orchard and pasture inhabited by 70 grazing sheep. A village cricket green, orchard and farmers’ cottage complete the entrancing scene”. Extract from Daily Mail.

The only thing missing from my walk today was ‘a pretty maypole’ and I saw a windmill rather than a watermill.

I decided to spread my wings today and cross the downs to the little hamlet of Kingston. It looked close on the map, and unusually for me I didn’t do a distance calculation…. decided to just go.

It was a LOT further than I expected, but it was fabulous. The downs really are just beautiful and the green fields literally spread from horizon to horizon….as far as the eye can see.

I whizzed on down the now familiar route of Rotten Row past the non-existent Winterbourne Stream, left into Bell Lane and hung a right at the Swan Inn, and right again onto Juggs Lane.

Juggs Lane

A real country lane, narrow and lined with grass verges and trees, and hedgerows. I passed the occasional house nestled amongst the trees, and driveways leading to hidden houses, and soon crossed the motorway farrr below. The views across the valley to the east were spectacular and in the distance I could see the white cliffs above Cliffe, the Lewes Golf Course and the chalk downs where I walked last week.

I walked across those white cliffs last week

Autumn is truly here now and showing her fabulous colours. The road crossing the bridge and up the hill was of course metalled, my least favourite surface for walking. A group of cyclists whirled by, a mix of old and young – the youngest probably about 5 years old….a brilliant road for learning to ride safely.

Autumn, my favourite season

But soon I left that behind as the road became a sandy track beneath a tunnel of trees….the wind was howling through the tunnel like a freight train, the branches creaking and cracking with the strain. Passing a couple of orchards and definitely a few cottages one of which had horses and free range chickens.

Absolutely fantastic. It felt just wild!!

The path went on for quite some way and then through a gate and onto the rolling green fields….a green and pleasant land…..

I was completely on my own and the sense of freedom and wildness as the wind tried to sweep me off my feet was exhilarating. I can quite see why Julie Andrews ran and ran singing “the hills are alive…” and all that. But this girl doesn’t run (unless her life is at stake 🀣🀣🀣) so I just thought about it. And I definitely wouldn’t give up the day job to sing….

Mind you, I pretty much flew across the field with the assistance of the wind and soon realized that I had possibly miscalculated the distance relative to my free time of 2 hours….that field went on and on and on. And the wind howled like a dervish

Howling like a dervish πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ‘

To my excitement I spied a windmill (not a watermill but good enough) in the distance, the arms stationary without sails, but I could just imagine how fast they’d be whirling with the force of the wind.

A windmill πŸ˜€

I finally reached a farm gate and checking my app saw that I was near the road that leads into Kingston. Within 5 minutes of walking I was there. A quick visit to the 13th century ‘St Pancras Church of Kingston near Lewes’. Beautiful little church but again closed. I wish himself Archbishop whatshisname would pass on some of the wealth hidden in the vaults of his church and send some money to these parishes so they can afford to open up these amazing little churches and have them cleaned according to Covid-19 standards after visitors.

St Pancras Church of Kingston

By now 1 hour and 10 minutes of my break had passed so a dash of speed was needed. Finding the ‘finger’ post (really? That’s what they’re called?!) opposite the pub as directed by a local, I was soon wending my way along a ‘twitten’!! Yes, that’s exactly what he called it, and yayyy me, I knew what he meant πŸ˜‰ Its so weird hearing locals talk about the twittens. I’ve travelled extensively in England and the UK as a whole, and I’ve literally never heard the word before, but I shall never forget it, and may just introduce it to some other areas of the country – twitten sounds so much more romantic than ‘lane’. Not to be rude about lanes or anything but….

A twitten in Kingston

Said local man suggested it should take me no more that 30 minutes to get back to Lewes and he was spot on.

After leaving the twitten behind me I crossed an enormous field and in the distance I could see the grazing sheep and cows…thankfully in the distance..

Then through a very smelly and muddy farmyard. I think it takes a certain type of person to cope with muddy yards. It would drive me crazy and I’d be constantly trying to clean it up πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

From there I crossed a narrow road and onto a cycle path. Hoorah for cycle paths. This one took me nearly all the way into Lewes but at the cricket field I turned off the cycle path and onto a far prettier and more pleasant bridle path.

The bridal path

Suddenly I was on familiar territory having walked this way a couple of times now and soon passed the Priory and then left into Southover High Street, past Anne of Cleves House and the stunning Manor House

Manor House

Then right at the Swan Inn, right into Rotten Row, and left into the High Street.

Swan Inn, Lewes

8.94kms, and 1:59:16 – I arrived back at work with 44 seconds to spare πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ total number of steps 13365 : elevation 111 meters….enjoyment; immeasurable.

Another fantastic walk done and dusted. I love seeing different parts of the country and always try to visit somewhere other than where I’m working. I’ve explored Lewes thoroughly now and beyond an outstanding visit to the castle (Saturday hopefully) and my still unaccomplished walk downstream of the river and the walk along the disused railway track, I think I’ve seen pretty much all of Lewes and then some.

But I still have 9 days here so I forsee a few more interesting explorations in my future

Mapmywalk
A short compilation

I’m reblogging this because it’s an absolutely fascinating article. Castor oil!! Who knew!! Its funny how we take some things for granted without any thought as to where it came from. My Mother used to give us castor oil when we were kids. If we complained of feeling ‘sick’ and didn’t want to go to school, out came the castor oil. It was so vile that invariably we suddenly ‘recovered’ enough to go to school after all 🀣🀣🀣 But tobacco?? 5million deaths worldwide…..actively sold to people around the world, and we lockdown for Covid-19?? Bizarre.

1. Castor Bean, Ricinus communis With oversized, tropical-looking leaves and bizarre seed pods, castor bean is an exotic addition to the ornamental garden. The only member of the genus, Ricinus communis is in the Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae). The word ricinus is Latin for β€œtick”, used for this plant name because of the superficial resemblance of the seeds to a particular […]

5 poisonous plants found on planet

Exploring Lewes

There’s so much to see and do in Lewes that I’m quite kept on my feet.

Today I set out on my 2nd attempt to find the river pathway and although I wasn’t successful, I believe I’m getting closer 🀣🀣🀣 Saw this on my walkabout

Egrets Way….

I initially followed the instructions from a local but I’m afraid it led me to a great big green field and a gate and although I can see from mapmywalk that I was close to the river, it wasn’t quite where I should have been.

However, I did go off at a tangent on the way back and discovered more of Lewes.

I walked along streets and lanes as yet untrodden by myself, and passed a couple of old favourites

And an old water pump

9.64 kms all told and slowly I’m reducing my 2020 Conqueror challenge deficit. 731.8kms to go by 31.12.2020 πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

Fantastic discovery today. I set off during my break, determined to find the river path. Instead I found Lewes Priory….or should I say, the ruins.

Lewes Priory

Like 99% of all the abbeys, monasteries, and priories in the country, Lewes Priory also fell foul of Henry VIII’s foul temper!!

Seriously, if I could go back in time, I’d go back to the mid-16th century and give him another whack on the head, maybe knock some sense into the man.

Imagine if he hadn’t destroyed all these amazing buildings, what magnificence we would see today.

But sadly we have to be satisfied with exploring the ruins and trying to imagine what they must have been like. But at least there are some remains to be seen. So little respect was shown for the historical value of the priory that the modern railway was run right over the chapter house. Listed as a Grade 1 building, it seems we have a little more regard for important places these days (although HS2 puts the lie to that 🀨🀨)

In the 11th century, monks traveled from Cluny in France to establish the first Cluniac priory in England. The Priory survived for 450 years until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537.

A number of interpretive boards give you an idea of what the Priory would have looked like and show snippets of how the monks lived and worked. A herb garden has been recreated, replicating the gardens worked by the monks.

Its fascinating to see how thick the walls were built.

The Helmet Sculpture by Enzo Plazzotta, erected in 1964 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes in 1264, is absolutely stunning.

The Helmet Sculpture

The Battle of Lewes

For a more detailed history of the Priory here’s the link to the main page https://www.lewespriory.org.uk/history-overview

And in case you were wondering….. Cluny is a commune in the eastern French department of SaΓ΄ne-et-Loire, in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-ComtΓ©. It is 20 km northwest of MΓ’con. The town grew up around the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny, founded by Duke William I of Aquitaine in 910. Ref wikipedia

Lewes Priory is a must visit if you’re in the area or perhaps walking the South Downs Way ….take a small diversion and visit the town, there’s so much to see.

As mentioned in a previous post, on Monday I took myself on a walk to complete the ‘twittens’ of Lewes, after which I followed the High Street across the River Ouse to explore the other side of town.

To my absolute delight I found a wee church dedicated to St Thomas a’ Becket. Having just completed The Pilgrim’s Way a few weeks ago, this was wonderful little surprise.

St Thomas a Becket Church, Lewes

Of course I had to do some research and this is what I found ❀❀ Thomas a Becket actually visited Lewes at some stage!!! Oh my gosh just WOW!

St Thomas a Becket at Cliffe is a parish church in Lewes, encompassing the parish of All Saints. Becket was apparently a benefactor and frequent visitor to the nearby Collegiate Church of St Michael the Archangel, just a short walk away, which I visited just a few days ago. Totally weird to think that Thomas a Becket actually walked through the streets of Lewes. I never really associate him with more than Canterbury Cathedral, but of course he must have travelled to any number of cities and towns in England.

Collegiate Church of St Michael the Archangel, Lewes

Cliffe church, originally a chapel of ease of the college of Malling, was built, either…. so it is said, by the direct order of Archbishop Thomas Becket, to whose martyrdom it is dedicated. But it is also suggested that its building was financed by one of Becket’s murderers as a penance for committing an act of sacrilege, or by someone who witnessed the dastardly act but did nothing to prevent it.

St Michael the Archangel

So 3 options exist…I wonder which it is. If you’re interested in learning a wee bit more about the church, here’s a link https://st-thomas-lewes.org.uk/history/

Super awesome to discover Thomas Becket’s connection with Lewes, and completely unexpected.

Now, I really must get on with updating my pilgrimage, completing the 2nd half of the Pilgrim’s Way from Oxted to Canterbury.

It has however been so exciting to explore Lewes and discover her secrets, and I still have a castle and a priory to visit, as well as the north side of town. Oh and let’s not forget the walks I’d still like to do.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested, here’s a link to Day One : Oxted to Otford of The Pilgrim’s Way to Canterbury

Hoorah!! I did it! I finished walking the Inca Trail; virtually πŸ˜ƒπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Hoorah!

My walk today; 10.38kms took me over the finish line by .08km and challenge #4 is complete. As always the postcard that popped into my mailbox is gorgeous and really makes me want to walk the trail for real. But its quite a long way away, so I shall settle for having walked it virtually.

Machu Picchu

Voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca citadel steeped in mystery and myth. Thought to have been built on the request of the incumbent Emperor Pachacuti as a royal estate, Machu Picchu is an engineering marvel. Built without mortar, the stones are cut so precisely, they fit perfectly together. Sitting atop two fault lines, during earthquakes the stones knock against each other and then fall back into place.

The rise and fall of the Inca Empire lasted a mere 130 years. Following the Spanish invasion of the Inca Empire in early 16th century, Machu Picchu was abandoned with the Spanish unlikely to have ever seen it. Left to the elements the citadel was grown over by vegetation and forgotten over the centuries until 1911 when Hiram Bingham III of Yale University, visited the site as part of an expedition in search of another city. Returning the following year, Bingham spent 4 months with local labour to clear the vegetation and the next 3 years excavating and studying discovered artifacts.

From here the final descent into Aguas Calientes is on a hair-raising 9km zig-zag mountain road called Hiram Bingham Hwy. Barely wide enough to fit two cars and lacking guardrails, it is an unsealed road and a rough ride that is not for the faint of heart nor for those who are prone to vertigo.

Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, book yourself into a thermal bath to rest and recover your weary body. Take a walk through the local craft market before settling in for dinner. Try the Peruvian national drink, the Pisco Sour, whilst indulging in the spicy and bold flavours of Peruvian cuisine.

Fantastic!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

My ‘real’ walk was a little more mundane, but no less satisfying. I had a plan, hmmm??πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ to follow the river from Lewes to Newhaven. It looks easy enough on Google maps and I spent a few hours last night researching possible routes. But none of them were really clear so today I decided to scout the route as far as possible, and see how far I could get.

Not very far as it turned out πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

At 2.74kms I faced a wee challenge, a very locked gate and the possibility of unwanted company.

I debated climbing over the gate, but after consideration thought it would be rude and didn’t fancy getting halfway across the field only to find said πŸ‚ behind me!!

So instead, I retraced my steps and returned to town.

I then decided to follow the river upstream, since downstream wasn’t quite working out. Much better route.

Very pretty, lots of green and a fab path. I crossed over the river via a pedestrian bridge and found myself on the Sussex Ouse Valley Way, and a very walkable path.

The views of the river and valley are just perfect and its well away from any traffic, except for the occasional cyclist.

I walked for quite a distance – I could see the Offam church spire peeping up between the trees, the same forests where the Battle of Lewes was fought in 1264

and here I encountered a whole herd of cattle. I walked on some way but in the distance I could see a cow bellowing loudly and having a hissy fit, so before she got the whole bunch worked up, I retreated…as Henry III should really have considered…

This fellow wasn’t one bit interested

Once back over the river, I did a bit of a dogleg and discovered a disused railway line….heading enticingly off into the distance. Not very far according to a local lady, just 1km. So I shall head back that way next week and walk it.

Then with just 3kms to go I headed back to work and after going around the block twice LOL I finally reached 10.38kms and my break was over. But I reached my goal and completed the Inca Trail.

I do so love walking and could really just keep going….

Scenes from the walk
Looks a bit like a bow and arrow…

I received my latest Inca Trail postcard last night.

Walking the Inca Trail – virtually πŸ˜ƒ

This is one of the features of virtually walking  @the_conqueror_challenges

I love the history and the stories that accompany the postcards.

Surfacing from the cloud forest of the Runkuraqay Pass, the trail commences its descent towards the ruins of Sayacmarca with sweeping views of the Pumahuanca Mountain.

Continue on to Phuyupatamarca, one of the most intact Inca ruins, and stop to enjoy the snow-capped view of Mt Salcantay. At 6,200m, Mt Salcantay is the tallest mountain in the region. It’s Quecha name translates as wild, uncivilized, savage and as such is often referred to as Savage Mountain. The summit of Mt Salcantay was first conquered in 1952 by a French-American expedition. No easy feat since the “climb involves 1,800m of vertical gain, on glacier, snow, ice, and some rock.”

Trek onwards to Intipata and Winay Wayna, both known for their agricultural terraces and their convex shape of the terrain, to finally reach the Sun Gate for a breathtaking aerial view of Machu Picchu. Once a fortress, the Sun Gate was the main entrance to Machu Picchu and most likely guarded by imperial guards. Given the strict controls over entries, it is believed that only royalty and select guests were permitted to visit.

The first postcard arrived 5 days ago, shortly after I started the challenge; its beautiful and the history is fascinating.

The Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is part of a much larger road network. At the height of its power, the Inca Empire stretched 4,023km from modern day Ecuador to Argentina. The Inca road system was one of the most advanced transportation structures of its time, linking together 40,000km of roadway. The road system provided for quick and reliable logistical support, civilian and military communication, personnel movement on official duty and control over the Empire by dispatching troops when necessary. Following the Spanish conquest in the 1500s much of the network was abandoned and destroyed. In order to preserve the history and restore parts of the network the Inca Road System, officially known as Andean Road System, entered the UNESCO register in 2014.

Much of the Inca Trail is the original construction. Imagine that with every step you take someone laid the roadway beneath your feet some 500 years ago.

The ascent to Dead Woman’s Pass is both dreaded and revered. It is the most rigorous climb reaching heights of 4,215m in a such a high altitude environment where the oxygen level is low making breathing shallower and the effort needed to move forwards greater. In the same breath overcoming the difficulty and strenuousness of the climb is also the most rewarding moment.

Following a steep descent into the valley of the pass comes a second ascent to Runkuraqay Pass. On the way are the ruins of a tampu, which was an administrative and military structure used for supplies, lodgings and depositories of quipu-based accounting records.

Quipu was a record keeping system of different knots tied in ropes attached to a longer cord. It was used in lieu of writing since the Incas did not have an alphabet based writing system.

The tampu was served by conscripted individuals from nearby communities, as part of the mit’a labor system. Mit’a was mandatory public service used as the labor force to build roads, bridges, terraces and fortifications.

Isn’t that fantastic. So much thought has gone into creating these postcards and the information provided is something I would not have known unless I actually did some research.

Getting the postcards is a massive encouragement to increase my kms ASAP 🀣🀣🀣🀣

If you’d like to join me on these virtual challenges, you can sign up here via my link. You don’t have to join a team, I didn’t, but there are loads of teams if you fancied walking with other folks.

This is not an affiliate link and I don’t make any money from people signing up, but you get a 10% discount on any walks you sign up for and I think I get a 10% discount as well….which is a moot point really since I’ve already signed up for all the walks I want to do πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ for now anyway. Of course they may well introduce other walks, in which case, I guess I’ll sign up for them. I am just a tad addicted.

I recently arrived in Lewes for my next assignment (the benefit of working as a Carer is that although I’m away from home a lot, I get to visit some amazing places.

The day after I arrived I set out to explore and noticed that some of the lanes were named ‘twitten’ like Church Twitten for example. So i visited wikipedia and did some research – A distinctive feature of the centre of Lewes is the network of alleyways or ‘twittens’ which run north–south on either side of the High Street and date back to Anglo-Saxon times. According to the Dictionary of the Sussex dialect and collection of provincialisms in use in the county of Sussex published in Lewes in 1875 “Twitten is a narrow path between two walls or hedges, especially on hills. For example, small passageways leading between two buildings to courtyards, streets, or open areas behind”. Some twittens (e.g. Broomans Lane, Church Twitten, Green Lane, Paine’s Twitten) remain flint-wall-lined pedestrian thoroughfares, others (e.g. Watergate Lane, St Andrew’s Lane and renamed Station Street (formerly St Mary’s Lane) are now narrow usually one-way roads. The most notable of all Lewes’ twittens is Keere Street. A weekly Sunday morning run up and down all the twittens on the south side of the High Street – the so-called Twitten Run – has operated in the town since November 2015.

Hmmmm….tell me more. I love a good challenge and of course I’m currently following the Inca Trail virtual challenge so I did some planning and on Sunday during my break I decided to walk all the ‘twittens’ – I managed to walk along most of them and on Monday I walked the rest.

Along the way I discovered amazing places and hidden gardens. The twittens all run downhill, so there was a lot of downhill and up hill walking to be done LOL

First I walked along Rotten Row past the old Toll House from when the town was gated and near to where the Westgate was originally located – it’s no longer in existence unfortunately. I walked right to the end past the Lewes cemetery and left into Bell Lane and then left into Southover High Street where I passed the Anne of Cleves house, sadly closed atm due to Covid-19. There a number of wonderful old houses/buildings dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Still following Southover High Street I walked passed Southover Gardens and up to Bull Lane (off Southover Road).

From there I walked up Paines Twitten to the High Street then right and down St Swithun’s Terrace. Left again into Bull Lane and left into Green Lane up to Stewards Inn Lane where I turned right and then right again into St Martin’s Lane. Downhill all the way to Southover Road and then left into Watergate Lane uphill to the High Street. A lengthy walk later I turned downhill into Walwer’s Land and left into Friars Walk and after a quick visit to the church; All Saints,

I turned left into Church Twitten and uphill once again to the High Street. Last turn right into Broomans Lane back to Friars Walk and then back to the High Street and home…5.55 kms.

The following day I walked a total of 4kms to finish walking all the lanes and twittens.

Lewes is seriously cool and I wish I had planned to stay overnight for recreational purposes πŸ˜ƒ Maybe next time.

Meanwhile I have plenty more exploring to do, there are some fantastic dedicated walks and circular walks in the area. And so much history to discover….

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