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Posts Tagged ‘Country Walking’

Hot on the heels of Stage 1, I received the next postcard. Stage 2 completed and may I say wowww, the history is just amazing. I wish they’d taught us this in school. I would have gone walking rather than marrying….

Lake Kawaguchi is the second largest of the Five Lakes and has the longest shoreline of 12mi (19km). It is a popular holiday destination with well-developed resort facilities.

My hike along the southside of the lake began at Koumi Park, a sprawling green space with a narrow promenade, not particularly obvious but nicely maintained, near the shore that led to Shikkogo Park a mile away. Along the way I came across the literary monument of Junichiro Tanizaki, a popular novelist of the mid-20th century. The monument is in the form of an open book with a passage from one of his works carved in his handwriting.

I reached a cape-like place called “Sakuya Aino Kane” which translates as Sakuya Bell of Love. Near the tip of the cape is an arched structure about 13ft (4m) high with a bell hanging in the centre of it. Installed by the city of Katsuya in 2002, the arch was named after “Konohana Sakuyahime” the Shinto goddess of Mount Fuji. In Japanese mythology Sakuyahime is depicted as a blossom-princess in the image of the sakura (cherry blossom) and a symbol of delicate earthly life. It is said that if you ring the bell once love will come true and if you ring it twice your wish will come true. Of course I couldn’t pass it by without ringing it at least once or maybe twice.

Veering off the promenade, I visited Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine. The original shrine was built around the 9th century on Mount Fuji. Due to the mountain’s frequent eruptions, it burnt down and was rebuilt many times. The current shrine was built on Mount Fuji in 1612 by Torri Naritsugu but in 1974 was moved to its current location for future preservation.

Naritsugu was a member of the Torri Clan, a samurai family and loyal retainers of the Tokugawa Shogunate (dynasty) from the 15th – 19th century. In 1600AD, his father Mototada changed the course of Japanese history when he refused to surrender Fushimi Castle to an oncoming enemy. With a garrison of 2,000 men, he fought valiantly against an army of 40,000, until he was the last man standing. As was custom rather than being taken alive, Mototada performed seppuku (suicide). This final stand gave his Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (commander-in-chief) sufficient time to escape. Ieyasu went on to raise an army of 90,000 and successfully won the Battle of Sekigahara, resulting in the unification of Japan and a ruling dynasty for the next 268 years.

Set within a dense old forest at the base of Fuji is “Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen” shrine complex. Covering 24 acres, the complex is one the largest forest shrines in Japan. The first shrine was built more than 1900 years ago when Yamato Takeru on an expedition to the east came across Mount Fuji and began worshipping Konohanasakuya-hime, Goddess of Mount Fuji. When the Edo Period (17thC) began Fuji-ko (Mount Fuji religion) spread and worshippers would begin their pilgrimage up the mountain from here using the Yoshida Route, one of four trails to the summit. Around the main shrine, trees were selected in each corner to designate the border of the area. About 1000 years old, only three trees remain today. With girths measuring 75ft (23m) the trees are believed to protect the shrine and are classified natural monuments.

Yamato has an interesting story or perhaps more like a legend himself. Born around 72AD he was the second son of Emperor Keiko, the first being his twin brother. He began his military career by first murdering his brother, simply because the Emperor was dissatisfied with his brother for failing to have his meals with the imperial household. At 16 Yamato was sent to quell a rebellious tribe. He succeeded by infiltrating the tribe dressed as a housemaid with a hidden holy sword, one of three Imperial Regalia. Upon his return home, the Emperor sent him on another mission. With his wife in tow, Yamato needed to cross the sea but a storm was hindering the voyage. His wife sacrificed herself to the sea in the hope the storm would die down and according to legend it did. Seven days later her comb washed ashore and a tomb was built around it. Yamato proceeded with his campaign and when the rivals saw his approach they surrendered immediately. Yamato never arrived home. He died of exposure at the age of 30. His aggrieved father built a mausoleum where his son died and it is believed that his soul transformed into a white bird and soared to Heaven.

Truly, reading this makes me want to just go….to Japan and walk the route. And talking of cherry blossoms, that’s something I’ve so wanted to see….so, maybe!! β˜Ίβ˜ΊπŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸ‡―πŸ‡΅

Why not join me on one of the challenges https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474 they are excellent motivation to get out and and walk, especially now that our wings are clipped by Covid-19 and lockdown.

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The problem I have with the Conqueror Challenges is that the routes are so amazing, it makes me want to do the walks in real time, and not just virtually. So to that end, I’ve added them to my list of ‘walks I want to do before I die’ and πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™ the Universe is listening and provides a sponsor so I can go walking instead of working 🀣🀣🀣

I actually completed the Mt. Fuji virtual challenge in 2020, but as usual I got distracted by other walks and places and forgot to share them….so here’s the 1st stage. I’ll post the next few stages over the coming days. I love the information that comes with the postcards and find them absolutely fascinating.

I started the Mt. Fuji challenge on 26 December, immediately after finishing the Great Ocean Road Australia challenge, and because I was not working, managed to complete the challenge in a few days…chop chop as they say.

When I decided to hike Japan’s tallest mountain, Mount Fuji, I pondered the best route that would capture its culture and spirit whilst travelling through its lush green landscape. The result was a 46mi (74km) journey starting at the base of the mountain, leading past lakes, caves, temples, shrines, dense forestry and ending with the final climb to the summit.

Mt. Fuji virtual challenge

Mount Fuji is one of three holy mountains in Japan. At 12,388ft (3,776m) tall, Fuji sits atop a triple junction trench where three tectonic plates meet. Although geologists classify it as active, Fuji is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1707. At the base it is surrounded by the Fuji Five Lakes which were formed by previous eruptions damming up the rivers with the lava flows.

Mount Fuji is a composite of four successive volcanoes meaning it’s made up of layers. The first two layers were the result of an eruption more than 700,000 years ago known as Sen-Komitake and Komitake Fuji. The next eruption, about 100,000 years ago, engulfed Komitake Fuji and added the second layer creating Old Fuji. The third eruption about 10,000 years ago formed New Fuji and the summit zone producing the near perfect conical shape we know today.

Recognised as a sacred place and considered a symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji is a pilgrimage destination for practisers of Shinto. Each year between July and August, up to 400,000 tourists and pilgrims make the long trek to the summit. In 2013, Mount Fuji was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Dotted throughout Japan are Shinto shrines and Torii gates. Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people and the shrines are places of worship and homes of the Kami (Gods). Practitioners come to pay their respects to the Kami or pray for good fortune. The entrance to a shrine is marked by a gate known as Torii and they symbolise the “transition from mundane to sacred”. To enter through a Torii, one enters the world of the Kami (Shinto Gods).

I began my hike at the Yama Shrine near Lake Motosu, one of the Five Lakes. The third largest and deepest of the five lakes, it is subteranneously connected to Lake Shoji and Lake Saiko. Originally one lake, these three lakes were divided by one of Mount Fuji’s enormous lava flows. The water temperature on Lake Motosu never drops below 39 Β°F (4Β°C) and as such it is the only lake of the five that never freezes over winter.

Northward bound, I passed by Lake Shoji, the second and smallest of the Five Lakes. On the left side of the lake you can still see large remnants of the lava flow jutting out of the water. With a greenish hue due to algae and rich in nutrients including plankton, locals can be seen standing on the lava rocks fishing.

My final stop for today was Lake Saiko, the third of the Five Lakes. With no natural outflow an artificial channel was made to connect it to Lake Kawaguchi. Lake Saiko’s banks borders the Aokigahara Forest which I will write about in my next letter.

Don’t you think that’s fascinating? There’s so much to learn about this fabulous world of ours.

Why not join me on one of the challenges https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474 they are excellent motivation to get out and and walk, especially now that our wings are clipped by Covid-19 and lockdown.

Stage 2…to follow shortly.

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When we first moved to the coast in 2016, travelling from London to Broadstairs on the train, past all the stations enroute, I remember being intrigued by the places behind the names, and excited about the possibility of exploring them all….and that was only those north of my destination. I subsequently discovered many more, south of Broadstairs.

sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs
sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs

I have since then been to all of the seaside towns, either by train or when out walking the coastline, as well as to many of the more inland places. They are all awash with centuries of history, and many of these villages, towns and the City of Canterbury, are mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. It is just phenomenal and I am constantly in thrall to the many layers uncovered during my research.

Faversham, along with Broadstairs, Canterbury, Sandwich and Dover are my favourite places to go….castles, Saints, Normans, Vikings, abbeys, a cathedral, ancient churches, historic houses, medieval houses, famous people and royal visits and tales of smugglers – who could resist!!

chalk cliffs kent, the tartar frigate pub broadstairs, walks of england, coastal walks of england
a network of smugglers tunnels wind their way below ground in Broadstairs

I first met Faversham on my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk in 2017 (as mentioned in a previous blog), and although the memories are of blistered feet and muddy shoes, I still have fond feelings for the place 🀣🀣

So since I mentioned it briefly yesterday, I thought I should expand on that and tell you more about this ever so fabulous and famous town, a town that missed out on being a city thanks to a small detail….it doesn’t have a cathedral (or a castle for that matter). Oh the semantics…

Faversham; Old English origin, meaning “the metal-worker’s village” lies next to the Swale, a strip of sea separating mainland Kent from the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Estuary. There has been a settlement at Faversham since pre-Roman times, next to the ancient sea port on Faversham Creek, and was inhabited by the Saxons.

One of Henry VIII’s boats perchance??

Fefresham was held in royal demesne in 811, and is further cited in a charter granted by Coenwulf, the King of Mercia. Coenwulf described the town as ‘the King’s little town of Fefresham’, while it was recorded in the Domesday Book as Favreshant.

Mentioned as Favreshant in the 1086 Domesday Book, Faversham was noted as : King’s land, with 2 salthouses, a mill and a market; a market town and small port.

Faversham was used as a summer residence by the Kings and Queens of Kent, and has many other royal connections; Stephen (1092 or 1096 – 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois, was King of England from 22 December 1135 to his death in 1154 and was buried in Faversham Abbey. However, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538, most of the abbey was demolished, and the remains of Stephen were rumoured to have been thrown into Faversham Creek along with his consort and son who were buried with him. Subsequent excavations revealed empty tombs when they were opened.

Abbey Street was constructed around 1201 in order to provide an appropriate approach to the abbey from the town, and still houses timber framed buildings; described as “the finest medieval street in southeast England”.

Medieval buildings in Abbey Street

A royal visit by Queen Elizabeth I in 1573

Location of the Guildhall during Elizabeth I’s reign
Current Guildhall – built as a market hall in 1574 by the people of the town and nearby parishes, converted into the Guildhall in 1605

Faversham was established as a link arm to the Confederation of Cinque Ports as the (Limb of Dover).

The Shippe Inn

Other famous people linked to Faversham (besides me, that is πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‰)

Richard Arden, a 16th century mayor, was murdered by his wife and her lover. Nice πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

There are some fantastic buildings surrounding the market place

Faversham also lies on the old Saxon Shore Way route between Gravesend on the river Thames near City of London and Hastings on England’s south east coast and known for the ‘Battle of Hastings’ which is when William the Conqueror defeated King Harald in 1066. William the Conqueror is responsible for the ‘Great Survey’ of England; the Domesday Book completed in 1086.

The Saxon Shore Way, a long-distance footpath of 163 miles in England, starts at Gravesend and traces the coast of SE-England as it was in Roman times, as far as Hastings in East Sussex. There are a couple of places where the route runs inland; around what was the Isle of Thanet – once separate from mainland England by the River Wantsum, and again on the south coast past Folkestone.

That’s us, the island on the right πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Some 5,000 years ago Thanet was separated from mainland Britain by 600 metres of sea – The Wantsum Channel, it is now connected again since the river/channel silted up some time ago.

When the English Channel was formed by the sea breaking through, an island of chalk was left on the east side of the county – now known as the Isle of Thanet.

The Wantsum Channel today

The SSW follows the creek inland from The Swale and into Faversham and then back out again from the opposite bank and once again follows The Swale and into the Thames river at Gravesend. Since I’ve already walked so many sections of the SSW on my various walks, it makes sense for me to actually do the whole route…one day LOL I mean it’s not like I don’t have about 100 other walks to do and I have LOADS of time on my hands ….as if 🀣🀣🀣

Faversham is located on the main road between the City of London and Dover and therefore became an important stop over for travellers between the Port of London and the Port of Dover. As a result of this inns were of paramount importance and today you can see and stay at one at least one such…The Sun Inn. Seriously one of my favourite ‘places I stayed’ on my many walks. It had everything I needed after arriving drenched and in pain. A massive double bed, a huge bath and fluffy white towels. Perfect.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – best room and bath ever
The Sun Inn, Faversham - Day 3 Rochester to Faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – Day 3 Rochester to Faversham

Faversham truly is awash with history and I could write up so much more, but this is already quite a long post, so for now I’ll just add one more photo

history of faversham
historic buildings of Faversham

Okay, make it two photos LOL – the architecture is so varied that if you’re a fan of architecture you could spend the whole day walking around and still find more to see

architecture in faversham
architecture in Faversham

I’m sure to visit Faversham again when I start the next section of my insane intention of walking the entire English Coast and of course the Saxon Shore Way….now that my interest has been well and truly piqued. I’ll tell you more about it then…meanwhile…

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read about my adventures, I really do appreciate your time and support. Have a fab day/afternoon/evening wherever you may be in the world. 🌍🌎🌏

In case you’re interested: more about my Canterbury Tales Walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral (p.s. please don’t feel obliged to read any of them, it’s just in case you’re interested).

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/02/20/the-start-of-my-pilgrims-journey-in-the-footsteps-of-chaucer/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/06/the-prelude-southwark-to-canterbury/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/07/prelude-day-1-southwark/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/09/prelude-day-2-southwark-and-the-city-of-london/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/03/10/my-canterbury-tales-12th-february-day-1/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/03/26/my-canterbury-tales-february-13th-day-two/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/03/arriving-in-rochester/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/08/day-3-rochester-to-faversham-part-1/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/09/day-3-rochester-to-faversham-part-2/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/14/faverham-to-canterbury-the-finale/

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For a swing!! πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ on my walk today I passed a beautiful area thick with trees. And in amongst those trees I spied a swing.

Nothing fancy, just an old tyre wrapped around with twine and hanging from a sturdy branch of a tall tree.

I simply couldn’t walk by and not have a go….

So I did. 5 minutes of bliss. All I could hear was the whisper of the breeze in the tree tops and the twitter of birds as I swung back and forth, round and round. I’d like to say with my hair flowing in the breeze, like in the advertisements you see on TV, but since I chopped it all off a few days ago, there’s not much left to flow…😁😁

Sadly my legs were a bit too long for the height of the swing so I had to sit at a very odd, uncomfortable angle to keep them off the ground.

But oh the joy. I’m going to walk the same route again tomorrow. Can’t imagine why πŸ€­πŸ€­πŸ˜‰

Before I left I thanked the tree for providing a few minutes of joy, and gave it a pat on the trunk. I’m glad it’s branch didn’t break 🌳

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Its been a funny old week with grey overcast days, a rainy day not fit for ducks, and of course snow!! πŸ˜πŸ˜β„ and today’s gorgeous sunshine.

Despite the weird weather I have managed to get out on a few walks and extended my horizons by going off in different directions….the problem of course is that the roads are so long, I have to walk for ages to reach an intersection, and there’s no such thing as “gosh I’m tired, let me head back” because the distances are so great there is no quick way to get back – you just have to keep traipsing along.

As for the scenery, beyond the few scattered hamlets, it’s mostly wet, muddy, grey/brown farm fields with a few copses of trees dotting the landscape. But I have enjoyed stretching my legs and hearing nothing but birdsong and the baaing of sheep, encountering minimal traffic as I go…..on Friday I walked for 70 minutes before encountering a car, and that was well timed (not really) – I was 2 thirds of the way around a huge puddle of the water that covered the road from one side to the other, making my way gingerly along the verges, hanging onto barbed wire fencing and precariously positioned wooden posts, when I heard the sound of an approaching car. 😱😱😱 wtf, you’re kidding me!!!

two-thirds of the way around on the r/h side just before the tree…I heard a car

With utter dismay I turned towards the sound and prayed that is wasn’t some young buck who thought it would be fun to drive through at speed and drench the old lady πŸ‘΅πŸ» hanging on to the fence for dear life. Thankfully it was another little old lady πŸ‘΅πŸ» and she drove sedately through the puddle leaving small waves in her wake, and me dry!! I thanked her as she drove by! 😁😁😁

Another place that looked enticing was Belmont House and it played host to my visit on Tuesday. A good 2.2 miles from my current location, it took me 35 minutes to get there, which shaved 7 minutes off google’s eta. If I don’t dilly dally too much, its amazing the places I can go.

Belmont House and Gardens located in the Throwley area of Faversham on the rolling North Downs of Kent. The 18th century house was designed by Samuel Wyatt in the neo-classical style, built in 1769 by Edward Wilks – storekeeper at the nearby Faversham Powder Mill, and enjoys a stunning view over the estate and the downs. The estate is made up of house, gardens, cricket pitch, orchards, farm and woodlands…over 3,000 acres. Belmont has an extensive history and the Lords Harris served as soldiers and colonial governors. The house is distinguished for the collection of clocks created by the 5th Lord Harris. Needless to say I didn’t get to see any of these, except for the clock tower, and the house is covid-19 closed. blergh. Maybe I will return at some stage to this booking and perhaps the house will be open then.

3 o’clock and all is well…πŸ˜‰

Meanwhile, my walks have taken me as far as I can go and some days I’ve gotten back just within my allotted break time of 2 hours. Of course if I had more time…..who knows where I could go!!

I’d love to walk to Ospringe, but that’s just a tad too far for 2 hours – I still have to get back

It wouldn’t however be across the fields along the footpaths…since not only do the farmers rudely put up electrified fencing as close to the path as possible, making it difficult to access, but atm the paths are just gloopy sticky muddy horrors. I know, because I foolishly walked along not one, but 3 paths last week – on the sameday😝😝. My shoes were sluggish with sticky mud.

We experienced some icy cold weather that caused the ponds and puddles to freeze over…

Ice at least half inch thick

But oh the views!!!!

And this always makes me smile

πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Today I woke to a fabulous sunrise and blue skies, that developed into a beautiful morning.

So beautiful in fact that I asked my client if I could beg an extra hour and go for a walk before the weather turned.

Country roads…
All the way to the sea…
Fields of green

And a good thing I did too, by 2pm the clouds had blown in and once again it was grey….but we had a lovely sunset

And blow me down if once again I didn’t get caught out, no, make that twice!! No cars at all for well over an hour in all directions, yet just before I reached the flooded corner a car came whizzing down the road from behind me and sent waves of water flying through the air. Well, that’s done I thought, I should be safe now….hah! Once again, as I was about halfway round along comes another car, from the opposite direction. I scurried into the field through a gap in the fence and waved them on…waited for the water to settle and hurried the rest of the way round before car number 3 came by. None did πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

This puddle and I have history 🀨🀨🀨

And so endeth week 2 in Throwley. I think I have pretty much exhausted the area and shared plenty images of just about everything you could hope to see, so for the next week I shall concentrate on bringing my Pilgrim’s Way posts up to date, as well as the walks along the English coast. I will of course still do as many walks as I can.

I’ve accumulated 38kms this week and had 2 non walking days. Not too bad.

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After a brief walk this morning, to stretch my legs and get some fresh air after being indoors yesterday due to icy roads after the snow, I updated my kms to the Conqueror Challenge app and voila, another postcard arrived into my mailbox πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ I get really excited when these cards arrive…its fun to see where I’ve been travelling virtually while walking in reality.

So stage two:

Having left the alps and peaks behind, the town of Omarama marked the halfway point of my journey. Although a small rural town, mainly a service centre for locals and nearby residents, Omarama had a few surprises up its sleeve.

Disney’s 2020 movie release of Mulan was entirely shot in New Zealand with scenes filmed at the Clay Cliffs just outside of Omarama.

In 2009, NZ pilot Terry Delore set a new world record in his 87ft (26.5m) wingspan glider. Taking off from Omarama, Terry travelled 1,491mi (2,400km) up and down NZ for 15 hours reaching speeds of up to 93mph (160kph) before landing back in town. Omarama has strong gliding conditions making it a popular destination for gliding pilots. Omarama hosted the 1995 and 2007 World Gliding Championships of which Kiwis took first place in the 1995 open category and third place in 2007.

For the weary soul like myself, a Hot Tub soak the night before to rejuvenate my muscles and unwind was just what I needed. The Hot Tub was located outside in a private setting within a tussock and rock landscape. The tub was filled with fresh mountain water without any chemicals added. The business reuses the water for irrigation. A submersible firebox allowed me to adjust the water’s temperature. As I settled in, I watched the Milky Way appear and spill across the night sky with its millions of stars.

Eastward bound, I left Omarama refreshed and ready to tackle the next half of the journey. The trip was relatively easy and short when compared to previous days. The first half of the trail was off-road running parallel to the State Highway on the right. Crossing at Chain Hills to the left of the highway I began my descent alongside Lake Benmore, the largest artificial lake in NZ.
Lake Benmore was created in the 1960s as part of the Benmore Dam construction. The lake is split into two arms. The largest is fed by three rivers, Tekapo, Pukaki and Twizel plus the Ohau canal with Waitaki River flowing right through the lake, whereas the smaller arm is fed by Ahuriri River.

It is this smaller arm that I travelled along to Pumpkin Point, a grassy beach area, for a break and a splash in the lake, then onto Sailors Cutting where the off-road trail terminates and I join the highway for the rest of today’s trip. Not the most relaxing part of the journey as I braved the high-speed highway with an upward climb to Otematata Saddle. The views of Lake Aviemore and the valley beyond was a lovely compensation until I continued on the busy highway downhill all the way into Otematata.

Hmmm. The more I’m reading about this, the more I’m thinking I should add this route to the itinerary for my pending trip to Australia in a few years time. I’ve included a trip to NZ but only to visit the main attractions as well as a friend and her daughter (if she’s still living there at the time and not somewhere else in the world, as she is wont to do πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ). The route is approx 290kms and would take about 12-14 days to complete. πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

Where I actually walked this morning
Where I ‘virtually’ walked

If you’d like to join these challenges, here is my link https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474 – I don’t get any money from anyone joining, but you get a discount and I get a discount on any future challenges. However, I’ve already signed up for 15 challenges (8 completed in 2020), so I think I need to put the brakes on for this year πŸ™ƒπŸ™ƒπŸ˜†

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Really excited to receive my first postcard from my Alps to Ocean virtual challenge today.

1st postcard

I started the challenge on 30 December 2020, walked 115.6 kms so far, and am 1.8 kms ahead of target.Β  I so enjoy reading the information that comes with the postcards; learning about places I never knew existed until I started these challenges.

Oooo…..just keeping ahead.

I was 20kms ahead when I arrived at my current assignment on Monday but if course with limited time and 2 days a write off, I’m going to be hard put to keep up to speed πŸ˜‰πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Alps to Ocean, New Zealand

Here I am at Lake Ohau, the third and smallest parallel glacial lake in the Mackenzie Basin that serves as a water storage for the Hydro scheme. It is connected to Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo (the other two parallel lakes) via an artificial canal. Lake Ohau is stunningly located between The Barrier mountain range to the west, Ben Ohau range to the east and Naumann range to the north which lies between Hopkins and Dobson rivers that feed into the lake.

This turquoise blue lake is a perfect environment for both powered and non-powered activities. Although at the height of summer the temperature reaches a mere 60Β°F (15Β°C) any swimming enthusiast wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity for a crisp splash in the lake. Luckily for me the weather was in my favour and I went for a brisk swim before starting my onward journey. However, I did hear that any sailor or windsurfer on the lake must be mindful of the northerly winds as the water gets choppy very quickly.

It might be debatable what’s considered a national dish in NZ, perhaps fish and chips or perhaps a gourmet meat pie. No matter, my choice was the traditional piping hot meat pie encased in a crispy pastry. This humble meat pie has been part of NZ’s cuisine since 1863 when the early British settlers brought it to NZ’s shores. It’s the perfect size to be eaten with one hand whilst chugging their popular Lemon & Paeroa soft drink with the other. The soft drink’s history goes way back to 1907 when it was originally manufactured in the town of Paeroa by combining lemon juice and carbonated mineral water.

After my finger-licking good pie and L&P hydration, I set off for what was to be the hardest part of the journey. The first 3.5mi (6km) was an easy section as I traversed the lower slopes of the Ohau range across several creeks before I found myself on a narrow track and a sustained climb of about 2.5mi (4km) to the highest point of the trail at 2,952ft (900m). Not that I particularly trusted that I was at the highest point for a while since all along there were several “false summits” where the trail appeared to reach the highest point to then discover that there was more upwards winding to go. During the winter months part of this upward climb proves to be even more hazardous as it becomes part of an avalanche path.

Reaching the top was quite the accomplishment but given its exposure and strong winds I spent little time admiring the view and started my descent. If I thought the climb was a challenge the steep descent with its tight steep bends was even more ghastly for the next half-mile or so.

The rest was a rolling descent crossing several streams. Clean drinking water could be collected at these streams enabling me to top up my bottles. The track joined with Quailburn Road and for the remainder of my journey I travelled beside Quail Burn River first to the west of me and once I crossed it to the east of me, almost like a constant companion, until we parted way with the river flowing into Ahuriri River and me rolling into Omarama for the night”.

Well, it sounds like I had a good time 😁😁😁 However, I’m not sure about the meat pie I ate πŸ₯§ πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ since I’m vegetarian, but 🀫🀫 we won’t tell anyone. As for the “false summits” and descent of the Oahu range…that reminds me somewhat of the many false summits and descents I made in Spain along the Camino. πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄

So far along this challenge I’ve walked from Ramsgate to Faversham over a few days and 3.5 days in Throwley. I wonder where else my journey will take me!!

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Last night, after standing outside looking up at the starry starry sky….I thought for sure we would have frost this morning…🌠🌠🌠🌌🌌

I went to sleep in Kent and woke up in Narnia ☺☺☺ its beautiful and magical and β˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈ

I went for a short walk up and down the road……

The Nothing….

I’m hoping to get out for a proper walk during my break coz my kms are lagging behind now. Although the visibility at road level is good, I fear the surfaces are a tad slippery, so I’ll have to walk with more caution and less zeal πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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My latest assignment has not taken me too far afield this time and I find myself in the depths of Kent. Not too far from where I’m located are villages familiar to me; Charing for instance….I stayed there on my pilgrimage to Canterbury in September. πŸ™‚ so that’s been a fun discovery. I am of course familiar with Faversham having stayed there in 2017 during my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral, as well as which I finished my latest stretch of the English coast there last Saturday – from Whitstable to Faversham. The Sun Inn; 14th century inn, was the perfect place to stay and I’d love to stay there again sometime.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – 14th century inn with the best room and bath ever

However, the house where I’m working is toooo far from Faversham for me to do any proper exploring, but I have a few country roads I can follow and so far I’ve had 2 good days to get out and about. Of the 5.5 days I’ve been here so far, 1,5 produced rain and 2 produced fog…so I’ve only managed 2 proper walks since arriving on Monday 4th. The sun looks like its burning through the fog so hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for walking.

foggy day in kent
a foggy day in Kent

In the meantime the two walks have unveiled some gems as far as churches are concerned and some amazing houses…..some of which date back to the 15th century. In fact the house I’m working in was built in 1435!!! It’s pretty awesome with some fabulous beams and a huge fireplace. The floors are really wonky and sink in the middle and without heating, its VERY cold!!! I’ll let the photos do the talking

country walking
the long and winding road…..
first world war throwley airfield
Throwley Airfield 1917-1919
the old school house
The Old School 1873-1935
houses at Throwley Forstal

Although I haven’t been able to get out that much, I have walked far and wide, clocking up 16.3 kms over 2 days. Its something of a challenge to find different routes when you’re limited to long stretches of road and a 2 hour break. If I had longer, I’d walk to Faversham for sure. It’s only 5 miles away but would take 1hour 35 minutes to walk there and no time to return before my 2 hours is up!!

I have though seen 2 beautiful sunsets and enjoyed the lengthening shadows of the graveyard. Hopefully tomorrow will bring fine weather so I can get out again…

p.s. there may be a problem with the photo galleries…..if there is I will fix them later…..they look fine via my computer, but on my phone there seems to be an issue….sorry for that.

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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.

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