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Posts Tagged ‘101 walks’

I’ve started reading the book my daughter gave me for Christmas; ‘Walking Home – Clare Balding.’

In the very early pages Clare talks about how she was taught to ‘walk mindfully’; to feel her feet hitting the ground, to hear the birds or background sounds, to feel the wind on her face. So today on my daily perambulation, instead of rehashing the same self-talk that goes over and over around my head (mostly coz its unresolved), today I practised mindful walking….

I felt how my feet scrunched on the beach, I observed how my poles felt as they supported me over the rocks or sank in the sand, I really listened to the seagulls, felt how the wind ruffled my hair and sneaked down my collar (I forgot my scarf at the b&b🀨🀨), and in particular I listened to the songs of the sea…it changed my whole mindset. I felt uplifted,  invigorated and tingled from the cold icy air, and barely noticed that I was soaked from the softly falling rain. What a difference.

My issues are still unresolved, but I can breathe…and I got in 10.26 kms by the time of the real downpour, which spoilt my plan to sit on the bench in Broadstairs to eat my croissants… instead I ran for the bus (the driver kindly waited for me πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ) and took the quick way back.

It was dark when I left the b&b, the streets were quite deserted and I only saw 4 people enroute. I got to the harbour just before 7am.

Town centre at 06:55
Still and quiet at 7am

It had started raining but I barely noticed it until looking at the lights shining on the rain.

Oh…its raining πŸ˜„

By then I was quite wet, so I sat under the shelter at the Royal Victoria Pavilion and watched the sky lighten…

A blue sky
My view from under the pavilion

Debating a return to the b&b to dry out, instead, as soon as the rain eased off, I meandered down to the waters edge and collected some more sea glass – found some lovely pieces.

Sea glass and pottery pieces

Then turning my head north for Broadstairs watching the sunrise while I listened to the seagulls and the incoming tide I walked…..as I walked the colours of the sky changed and depending on which way I was facing, was either that early morning cold blue or the golden colours of the sun cracking through the clouds…

Passing through Broadstairs I phoned ahead to order my almond croissants from The Old Bakehouse and stopped to photograph the boats in the little harbour – I never tire of seeing them

Pretty wee boats in the harbour

A few dog walkers and early morning strollers passed me by and suddenly, or so it seemed, I reached my turning point at Stone Bay.

A good place as any to turn around

How far I’ve come….

Looking back across Stone Bay

One last photo of Viking Bay

Viking Bay, Broadstairs

Having phoned ahead earlier, The Old Bakehouse kept 2 almond croissants aside for me 😊😊πŸ₯πŸ₯. As I left, the rain I’d seen crossing the channel reached our shores and the heavens opened…🌧🌧🌧

There comes the rain…

I drank my coffee, then made my way quickly up the High Street towards the bus stop. Suddenly down the road…the bus approached. I ran – fast!! The driver (bless his heart) waited for me. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Then it was back to the b&b for tea.

Brilliant walk: 10.26kms. And thus ends my holiday/Christmas/New Year break. Back to work tomorrow and limited time to walk for the next 2 weeks. πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€” I’m hoping the area I’ll be working in has some interesting walks. Meanwhile, I’ve reached 20% of the Alps to Ocean NZ virtual challenge and got my 3rd postcard of the route.

I’ve started uploading the Mt. Fuji postcards and information and will post those asap and then I’ll get the Alps to Ocean postcards uploaded and share those too. The organisers have done an outstanding job of creating the postcards and the relevant information. It’s totally impressive

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Well, would you just look at that!! Just over 24 hours to go (UK time) and we say goodbye to 2020. I can hardly believe it.

Not that the new year, 2021 is going to start off very well at all with now 8 in 10 people in the UK going into tier 4 and virtual lockdown. Although 2020 didn’t do too well at all, 2021 is not going to get off to a very good start.

To say I’m peeved at our useless government would be an understatement because tomorrow brings the double whammy of the final twist of the Brexit knife and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to really give this year a bad name. And do I believe our feckless PM when he spouts out his nonsense about having got a good deal?? No. I do not.

Meanwhile I, like millions of others, am trying desperately to keep my head and not fall into the pit of despair at the way life seems to be spiralling out of control. To that end I’m not watching the news nor reading the papers and still off Facebook. I am however spending quality time with my family and walking….walking and walking. I’m also grateful to still have work.

Although I only started in April, having the Conqueror virtual challenges has been a bit of a life saver really because keeping up with my targets gets me out, and the walking, which I love, keeps me sane.

I’m nearly at the end of the 2020 challenge and yesterday I completed the Mt. Fuji challenge after a fantastic walk from Margate to Herne Bay 22.18 kms. Although it was bloody freezing, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and was not only surprised at how quickly I walked the distance, but also at how easy it was.

I’ve long wanted to walk from Broadstairs to Reculver after visiting the Roman site a few years ago, so it was absolutely thrilling to finally make the journey, albeit only from Margate. Except for one very short section, there is a promenade/footpath and the sea the whole way. The final section to Herne Bay was a breeze…literally and figuratively. I nearly froze πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ it was so darn cold – at one stage I was sucking my thumb just to get some warmth back into it.

Fortunately the cafeteria at Reculver was open so I stopped for 15 minutes to rest my feet and warm up with a hot chocolate and a yummy caramel fudge brownie…delicious.

Herne Bay is a fascinating place with so much history, not all of it good. But they do have some fantastic fish and chips shops….😁😁 I have to give a shout out to Gary of EKS Office Equipment in Herne Bay for not only agreeing to charge my phone (for free) but also allowed me to sit in a corner of the showroom to eat my chips while I waited. It was very much appreciated.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, despite the cold, the saddest sight was the vast amount of plastic pollution that quite literally lined the whole 22kms….I could have filled 50 black bags and still not cleared it all. Its terribly painful to see all that pollution.

So as the year comes to an end, I have one final day of walking to do to finish my 2020 km challenge. Its been a most satisfying pastime and I must thank my daughter for introducing me to the Conqueror Virtual Challenges….thanks to that I have improved my fitness levels, walked extensively in areas I would likely have not except for wanting to meet the challenge of the challenges πŸ˜‰ and I’ve inadvertently accumulated way more medals than I had planned. Its been a fairly expensive hobby, but so much fun.

I’ve started on the Alps to Ocean, NZ challenge and hopefully tomorrow I’ll complete another decent distance as my final walk for 2020.

Other than that, I have finally found a suitable place to rent. Went to look at a room last night….and as Goldilocks said “it’s just right ” and I’m saying “It’ll do Pooh” πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ It’s not a huge room, but it’s on the top floor, its spacious, it has cupboards, and a bed, and a skylight for summer nights, and a desk for my books and computer and MOST importantly, the landlord said Jamie can visit. So HOORAH!!! after 18months I’ll have a place to go ‘home’ to. I’m feeling quite emotional. It means I can get my clothes out of storage, and my books and Jamie’s toys and my amazing South African mattress. I can brighten it up with my own bed linen and pictures and bits and bobs.

Today we had a photoshoot done. The fab photographer of @createdwithlightphotography on Instagram did the shoot for me with my gorgeous grandson. We had lots of fun and then had hot chocolate to warm up, because of course it was freezing on the beach. β˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈ

Me and my boobee πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

Tomorrow, weather depending I’ll walk from Ramsgate to Margate one last time before I tackle the next section of my own challenge….to walk the whole of the English coast within next 5 years.

Cheers folks, thanks for reading along with me. In case I don’t get to write a post tomorrow, although I probably will, I wish you all a VERY safe, healthy and wonderful New Year.

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The highways and the byways of England. Personally I’m not a fan of stiles, some of them are murder to get over, especially when carrying a heavy backpack, and most particularly towards the end of the day… and I’ve often just sat down on the sticking out part and refused to budge πŸ˜–πŸ˜–πŸ˜–

Country walking… a place to sit??

But eventually I have to just get on with it and drag myself over.

Country walking – albeit different it’s not a favourite πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

Now, give me a kissing gate and I’ll be happy…even though some of these are so narrow I have to take my backpack off and sling it over separately – at least I don’t have to climb over it.

Country walking – a kissing gate πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜˜

Unfortunately, if you’re going to be daft enough to go traipsing across the country, there is no doubt that you are indeed going to encounter more than your fair share of stiles…

Now this is more my ‘style’ – sorry couldn’t resist the pun 😁😁😁

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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…

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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.

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I was reading through some Instagram posts this morning and a post by one of my favourite ‘grammers’ caught my eye.

She commented about having encountered some ‘yompers’ on a trail she was recently walking, and how their speeding ahead made her feel a bit inadequate. I’d not heard the expression ‘yompers’ before, but I do remember seeing them whizzing by when I walked the Camino in 2017.

Their faces set, backs straight, poles thumping the ground, they stride steadfastly ahead, looking neither left nor right, they whizz ahead at speed…. I often wondered why!!

They miss the scenery, they miss the little treasures along the wayside, they never (from what I saw) engaged with the locals, or visited a church to sit down and absorb the tranquillity- mostly they entered a church to get their passport stamped, and out again…once more to yomp ahead. I really would love to know why…..??

Is it a matter of finishing the route as quickly as possible, do they have a limited time to walk, is it about clocking up miles the fastest, getting to the albergues first to secure a bed, or perhaps they just add each route completed to a check list? Done this, done that, no t-shirt.

I’m classified as a ‘slow stroller’ – although my family would disagree πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€ͺ

Walking for me is about the freedom of being outdoors, about the scenery,  the little discoveries I make along the tide line or on top of cliffs, about visiting the important landmarks enroute, and often going completely ‘off-piste’ to visit some place I’d seen on Google while planning my trip. I don’t always reach my destination (unless I have a confirmed booking) but oh my, how much I enjoy just looking, enjoying and absorbing while walking.

The yompers can yomp, I prefer to absorb my environment and actually remember what I’ve experienced…. and of course to take as many photos as possible πŸ˜‰

Which is also why I mostly walk alone; going solo I can stop whenever, wherever I like, take photos every 5 seconds, have a snooze under a tree in a graveyard, or a shady stand of trees….sit in a pub and enjoy a beer, or cup of tea….I’m not holding anyone up, and I’m not annoying anyone because I keep stopping…

And having said that, I really must get myself a good mobile charger. The battery on my latest Samsung (2018) is crap and despite closing all background apps, the battery fizzles out after 6-8 hours. I stress about taking photos because the camera uses a lot of power, so invariably I spend money in pubs along the way while I boost my phone. Its tiresome.

I’ve tested one or two models, but they don’t do the job and I end up returning them to the store…. something small and powerful would be useful please Universe 🌌🌠☺

Meanwhile, I’ll keep strolling….and the yompers can yomp!!

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