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Posts Tagged ‘solo walking’

Now that I’m at my next booking my time has been limited. But I try to get out every day and explore the area.

After a week of daily walking, I reached the 4th stage on 10th January…

The roads here are very long and it takes me a good 10 minutes to reach an intersection, which means I can’t go too far afield as it will take too long to get back. But I’ve made a point of trying out different routes, in as much as my options are minimal, but I’ve discovered some lovely country lanes.

Meanwhile, on my virtual journey…

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.

Stage 4

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 60°F (15°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.

Like the Mt. Fuji virtual challenge which I finished in December, I’m really enjoying learning more about New Zealand and its history. The powers that be could/should consider teaching history and geography in this way, the subjects would be so much more interesting.

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Except for a very early morning walk, I didn’t do any serious walking on New Year’s day, or the 2nd January, and rather spent those days with my lovely family and some Granny time with my beloved grandson. But I got going again on the 3rd January and once again managed to get in a really decent amount of kms. Its brilliant walking early in the morning along the coast, I hardly ever see anyone about, and as a bonus, if the weather is fine, I get to watch the sunrise. 😊😊

Sunrise – 3rd January 2021 Isle of Thanet

So here we go…stage 3 of the Alps to Ocean route…

I enjoyed some exploring in Twizel. It’s the largest town in the region which unsurprisingly triples in population during the summer period.

Alps to Ocean – Twizel 😃 what a name

The town is relatively young having been founded in 1968 to house construction workers on the hydro scheme. Clever town planning placed all the services and schools in the centre with housing surrounding the central hub. Pedestrian paths straight into the centre made it more direct for residents to walk instead of driving the looped roads to get to the same destination. When the scheme wound up 15 years later the local residents successfully fought to save their town.

To the south of town is Lake Ruataniwha, an artificial lake formed in the late 1970s as part of the Hydro scheme. The lake is fed by Ohau River to the west and the overflow discharged from Lake Ohau further west. At 3mi (4.5km) long the lake is open to water enthusiasts with activities such as sailing, water skiing and rowing. I chose to stand-up paddle board but those mountainous views and blue lake were spellbinding. I should’ve just sat on a boat and soaked up the landscape.

Since I was already dressed for water activities I ducked across the State Highway to a waterhole I wanted to swim in. As blue as Lake Pukaki was, this ‘no name’ waterhole was emerald green greatly emphasised by the reflection of the willow trees on the waterhole’s edge. There was a time when the swimming hole was part of the Ohau River before the nearby dam and artificial lake disrupted the river’s flow and greatly reduced its size in the east separating the swimming hole from what is left of the river. If you have a satellite view of the waterhole it looks like a big emerald green bath.

Back in the late 1800s when Ohau River had its natural flow, crossing it was done by wire rope and a cage. In 1890 they built, what is now referred to as, the Old Iron Bridge. It served travellers for the next 80 years until the Hydro scheme came into the area, built Lake Ruataniwha, realigned the State Highway and bypassed the iron bridge. The bridge is now listed on NZ Historic Places Trust. A small monument can be found near the lake in memory of a mother and child who drowned in 1879 whilst fording, illustrating the difficulties and dangers of crossing the Ohau River at the time.

There’s another swimming hole called, Loch Cameron, northwest of Twizel, worthy of a visit but if I hoped to get to my next destination sometime today, I had to get cracking with my journey.

Making my way out of Twizel via the southern edge of Lake Ruataniwha, I followed the trail along the west side of Ohau River to Ohau weir. The weir is a low head dam that was constructed with a siphon to maintain a minimum flow into the Ohau River but conversely may overflow restricting access to travellers. Not needing to concern myself with flooding, I enjoyed my travel along the shore of Lake Ohau reaching the village for some lakeside dining and background view of Ben Ohau range.

Just for fun, and because I’m totally interested in finding out more, I did a Google maps search of Twizel and Lake Pukaki, then looked for images. OMG…its is breathtakingly beautiful!!! That water and the landscape… wowww. I’d probably end up wanting to stay ðŸĪ­ðŸĪ­ðŸĪ­

After this my wings were clipped, so to speak, and I started a new booking on the 4th January so my real time walking has been limited to 2 hours a day, weather permitting, which of course impacts my distances. Too sad.

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I recently (December 2020) walked from Ramsgate to Margate, and Herne Bay to Whitstable. Yes, I know, crazy. 😁😁 but it was a fantastic walk.

So passing through Margate, I saw these amazing paintings on the walls near the Tate.

I love how topical street art can be whereas some of it is just plain weird.

Very topical

And further up the coast

Herne Bay
Swalecliffe

One of the best things about walking, are the discoveries you make.

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Following on from my recent walk from Margate to Whitstable via Reculver, researching the Roman fort uncovered the information that Reculver too had been mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. 😃😃👏👏 Roculf: Archbishop of Canterbury. Church, mill, 5 salthouses, fishery.

To say I was delighted would be an understatement. Updating my Project 101 page brought the tally to the grand total of 150!! Hoorah. https://notjustagranny.co.uk/project-101/project-101-domesday-book-towns-villages/

By no means a huge number, and considering that 13,418 (settlements) : cities, towns, villages and hamlets are mentioned….150 is not that many, but it’s way more than most have visited.

It’s still astounding to discover that many English people who have grown up in the country, have no idea of its existence.

1086 is only one of the most significant dates in English history following on from the 1066 Battle of Hastings, and yet…..

My original intention was to visit 101, but it seems that my travels and my job will take me to many more than I anticipated.

I’ve wanted to walk to Reculver from Broadstairs ever since we first visited the place some years ago, but never seemed to find the time, it also did not seem doable. But now with my crazy decision to walk the entire English coast over the next 5 years, it became doable ….😁😁 and in comparison to the distances I’ve since covered on my various walks, it was easy peasy

When I set off from Margate last week I could see the ruins of the church farrrrr away in the mists of time and remember thinking ” oh gosh, it’s so far, will I be able to do it ?” But it was easier than expected, and voila

St. Mary’s Church, Reculver

St Mary’s Church, Reculver, was founded in the 7th century as either a minster or a monastery on the site of a Roman fort at Reculver, which was then at the north-eastern extremity of Kent in south-eastern England. In 669, the site of the fort was given for this purpose by King Ecgberht of Kent to a priest named Bassa, beginning a connection with Kentish kings that led to King Eadberht II of Kent being buried there in the 760s, and the church becoming very wealthy by the beginning of the 9th century. Ref wikipedia

Will this too be eaten by the ever encroaching sea
A Roman fort, now long gone
The remains of the Roman wall, and where the fort once stood

It’s a fascinating place and I’m certainly going to follow up on more of the history and I feel another visit is warranted. I noticed on my way to Reculver that there is a walk along the River Wantsum; which once cut off the Isle of Thanet from the mainland.

The River Wantsum

I ðŸ”Ū another walk in the future 😉😄😄 except it will not be in winter!! And I’m not walking across any mudflats….more of that later ðŸĪŠðŸĪŠ

Can you see my folly?

More about Project 101 https://notjustagranny.co.uk/project-101/

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When I first heard about the North Downs Way from a client who in his younger days was also a long distance walker, I thought “oh yes, I think I’d like to walk that!”

– since then I’ve walked the Pilgrim’s Way and found that much of the #NDW is blended with the #PW I often saw signs with the wee oak symbol

and the usual upright decorative directional posts, which sometimes gave the distance in miles to the next town on the route. Since much of the NDW is along the Pilgrim’s Way I’ve walked pretty much most of it, so I’ve shelved that plan, except possibly for the last section…which I may still walk. There were times when the routes diverged and the NDW went uphill, and at those times I was ever so glad I WASN’T on the NDW.

But I always appreciated finding those signs; I was on the right track…

the PW is not well marked and signs are scant, but I guess since most of the route is along roads, these are named Pilgrims Way, so we have to depend on those, except when the author of the guide book decides to take you on a diversion (which I hated). But to be fair, the diversion usually coincided with a busy roadway.

One of the most exciting finds was at Detling…..the village sign was quite extravagant and I delighted in seeing the pilgrim’s shell

Walking the Pilgrim’s Way has been an extra ordinary journey and giving me the confidence to plan many more long distance walks….

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