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Posts Tagged ‘walk 1000 miles’

Now that the plans have been laid, and the bookings made, the excitement begins!! On waking up this morning my first thought was Oh My Gosh!!! it’s exactly 1 month to the day till I leave on my September ‘walking holiday’!! 31 days…

Although why it’s called a holiday is anyone’s guess since it’s hard work and not a relaxing pastime…well, it is relaxing some times, most times it’s just bloody hard work LOL and a holiday it is not! I usually come back from my long-distance walks exhausted and in need of a….you guessed it…. a ‘holiday’!!

But….whoaaaa 1 month! when I say it like that, it induces a sense of both terror and excitement. But I can barely wait for the time to pass so I can go already!!

Time to get excited

As you may well know from a previous post, I’ve done loads of research on the Northumberland Coast Path more recently and last year on Hadrian’s Wall (postponed to 2021 due to covid lockdown 2 days prior to my setting off) and I’ve scoured google maps to work out exactly how far it is from place to place so that I could plan my days accordingly.

Most days will be straightforward: get up, dress, eat, walk from here to there, eat, shower, hopefully blog, sleep and repeat the next day. But due to my accommodation issues, I’ve had to plan a couple of days where I will end at one point, take the bus to my overnight stop, then take the bus back to the previous days end point and walk to where I started…..sounds confusing eh! Yeah, it was and so I had to really focus on my day to day planning to ensure that a) I walked the whole route b) that I didn’t have days that were too long, c) that there were in fact buses from point a to b and back again.

And so it has all come together, along with a fair amount of stress, but I do believe I have done it.

Fortunately all the Hadrian’s Wall planning happened last year, so except for the 2 nights of AirBnb accommodation I cancelled outright due to the hosts not having the manners to reply to my messages, and that the route from all accounts is fairly straightforward, the plans for that walk needed very little adjustment.

So the gist of it is: 1st September 2021 I shall board the 10:07 bound for St Pancras, take a short walk to Kings Cross and board the train to Berwick Upon Tweed. I have planned 3 nights in BWK so that when I arrive I can explore the town, walk the town walls, visit the castle and walk to the border with Scotland at Marshall Meadows. I have also planned a day to visit Lindisfarne (Holy Island) but as a tourist, not a pilgrim (I’ll save that for when I walk St Cuthbert’s Way), then walk back to BWK from Beal thus covering the first part of the route, and a 2nd day for a visit to Bamburgh Castle and a part way walk to Seahouses, again to cover that part of the route.

Day 4 will be when I set off for real and cover those parts of the route I have not yet walked to reach my overnight accommodation.

By Day 7 I will have reached Cresswell, the end/start of the official Northumberland Coast Path, but I’m planning on walking right to the county border at Tynemouth on the River Tyne over the following 2 days which will add on another roughly 45 kms to my walk and cover the first half of Tyne & Wear which is a geographic and ceremonial county without administrative authority, and still part of the historic county of Northumberland, but neatly dissects that particular section of the English Coastal path from Northumberland to Durham.

From Tynemouth I will head inland along the River Tyne to reach Wallsend which is the official start of Hadrian’s Wall, and thence to Newcastle where I will be staying for 2 nights. I plan to visit the Newcastle castle, both the Roman forts; Segedunum in North Shields and Arbeia, a large Roman fort in South Shields, which belongs to the historic county of Durham, where I would pick up again when I continue walking the coastal path (sometime in the future).

Segedunum was a Roman fort at modern-day Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, England, UK. The fort lay at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall near the banks of the River Tyne, forming the easternmost portion of the wall. It was in use as a garrison for approximately 300 years, from around 122 AD, almost up to 400AD. Segedunum is the most thoroughly excavated fort along Hadrian’s Wall, and is operated as Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum. ref wikipedia

Arbeia was a large Roman fort in South Shields, Tyne & Wear, England, now ruined, and which has been partially reconstructed. Founded in about AD 160, the Roman Fort guarded the main sea route to Hadrian’s Wall. It later became the maritime supply fort for Hadrian’s Wall, and contains the only permanent stone-built granaries yet found in Britain. It was occupied until the Romans left Britain in the 5th century. “Arbeia” means the “fort of the Arab troops” referring to the fact that part of its garrison at one time was a squadron of Mesopotamian boatmen from the Tigris, following Emperor Septimius Severus after he secured the city of Singara in 197. ref wikipedia

There is much else to see and do in Newcastle, so if I don’t get to see everything, I shall plan for when I return at a future date to continue my walk south along the Durham coastline, which also happens to be the shortest English county coastline. (p.s. did you know that Devon is the only county with two coastlines? – it straddles the Cornish peninsula, which happens to be the county with the longest coastline at 1,086 kms which would take me 54 days at 20kms per day to walk ๐Ÿ™‚ ) love that kind of trivia!!

And on the 11th September, exactly 4 years to the day from when I set off on my Portuguese Coastal Camino, I will be walking from Newcastle to Heddon-on-the-Wall and my first overnight stop along Hadrian’s Wall.

I will be walking a total of 22 days including 7 days of exploring …..the longest walking ‘holiday’ by far that I’ve ever done….the Pilgrim’s Way the longest, albeit split into 2 different sections and walked in different years, which puts the Camino in the running for the longest continuous excursion.

Still not anywhere near the kind of distances that other people have walked….but, I’m getting there.

In the meantime I’m compiling a list of ‘things to see and do’ on both these walks and hope to get to do them all.

I’m keen to calculate my various days of walking over September to see just exactly how many kms I cover over the period. I’m going to allocate all the kms walked in August and September to the Kruger National Park Conqueror Challenge which is 412kms and aim to complete by the end of September so I can get the original medal that I signed up for. They changed the distance and medal subsequent to my signing up because people were complaining that the ‘street’ view was boring LOL I mean hellloooo It’s the Kruger Park….the street view is in a national game reserve and the animals don’t come out to play just because google is there. But we have until 30 September to complete the original challenge, so I’m going to do my best.

Kruger National Park virtual challenge
Kruger National Park virtual challenge

Countdown has well and truly begun…

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Stage 7 โ€“ Windsor to Maidenhead 12.06.2021 โ€“ 17.41 kms โ€“ 6 hours 05 minutes โ€“ 34,510 steps โ€“ elevation 40 meters

This stage was actually split into 2 really because I stayed for Trooping the Colour to see the Queen’s troops march past and of course my favourite the King’s Troops Royal Artillery…and I wasn’t disappointed. The whole affair was muted in comparison to previous years due to Covid-19 and we didn’t get to see The Queen or any of the Royal Family ride by in their carriages because the whole affair was held behind closed walls.

And so after a goodnight’s sleep I meandered down to the Long Walk and stopped to watch the procession of Troops. First The Queen’s Household Cavalry who looked absolutely splendid as always, then the Blues and Royals Cavalry who also looked absolutely splendid. The Footguards had already passed by the time I got there, and the Royal Artillery likewise. But I got to see them afterwards which is always a treat.

Trooping the Colour 2021
The Queen’s Household Cavalry
Trooping the Colour 2021
Blues and Royals Cavalry
Trooping the Colour 2021
King’s Troop Royal Artillery

We were also treated to a Red Arrows flypast which was well exciting, and I’m so glad I stayed for that…even though it was probably going to make me late for my evening train home!

Red Arrows flypast
Red Arrows flypast

Once the Red Arrows had gone I set off to find somewhere to recharge my phone coz the battery had pretty much depleted itself with all the photos and videos.

I ended up at the Three Store and before I knew what had happened I had upgraded to a new contract and obtained a new phone, a tablet and a speaker with alexa installed – how did that happen? It also took well over 2 hours to transfer all my media and phone information, so by the time I left Windsor, it was already 15:13….wayyy behind schedule now! And my backpack was a lot heavier than when I started the day due to having to stuff in all the equipment! I felt it.

So my km’s in Windsor amounted to 2.95km with 10,314 steps, and the actual walk itself was 14.46kms over 3hours 53 minutes and 24,196 steps (just to be specific). An easily manageable distance between bridges.

Setting off I made my way to the river and yes, I bought an ice-cream LOL It was already quite hot and I figured I may as well start the day off on a good footing – food wise. Anyway the ice-cream I had bought the day before was delicious, so I figured a repeat wouldn’t be a bad idea…the chocolate at least would give me energy.

From there I meandered upstream a short way and relaxed on a bench while enjoying my treat….it’s not like I wasn’t already well behind schedule… The swans gathered for a sample, but we agreed it wouldn’t suit their digestive systems, so I declined to give them any LOL

Gimme, gimme, gimme….no!

Windsor Bridge is at least an 800-year old crossing point, although the present bridge was only built in 1822, and the first arched bridge over the river. In 1736 is was possible to walk over alive for 2d, while being being carried in a coffin cost 6s 8d. Weird!!

Windsor Bridge

I eventually got myself moving, although I can tell you for sure, that I was not in the mood for walking…but needs must, so off I went – crossing Windsor bridge to Eton

Eton

I soon found the path and crossed a lovely wide open green space. Dozens of sun-worshippers dotted the grass, all very sensibly socially-distanced (technically we were still in lockdown, although you would never have guessed).

Socially-distanced – Windsor Castle in the background

The path soon reached a lovely shady stretch which was a relief since it was extremely hot that day.

Ahhhh shade!!

Just before I entered beneath the trees I stopped for one last glimpse of Windsor Castle. Windsor is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Wyndesore’ meaning ‘winding shore’, which probably refers to the Thames’ twisting course. The castle began as a fortress by William the Conqueror, is The Queen’s main home and the resting place of many monarchs, including Henry VI.

I wound my way along the path, walking beneath shady trees, crossing small bridges over little inlets and creeks, passing under bridges and stopping to photograph the graffiti

Bridges
Graffiti on the underpass

and meandering alongside fields ripe with crops. The sky was a gorgeous blue with white fluffy clouds lazily puffing by and a gentle breeze worked hard to keep me cool.

Through fields of green
This little river was ever so tempting, how much I would have loved a swim

I was on the lookout for a specific spot, a riverside seat known as ‘Athens’. Athens was an Eton College bathing spot where rules required that ‘boys who are undressed must either get at once into the water or get behind screens when boats containing ladies come in sight’. Mentioned in the guide book I was keen to see this notorious spot, but if it hadn’t been for the fact that I saw a gentleman leaning over looking at it, I would have marched right past! I stopped for a wee chat and hoorah! I finally met someone who was also walking the Thames Path, albeit from a different direction. I am sure though that there were likely others, but I just hadn’t met them. After a brief swapping of notes he went on his way, I captured an image of the rather obscure looking bench and went on mine…onwards, upstream.

Athens

Before long I reached Boveney Lock, ever so pretty and stopped to read the information board. Boveney Lock is set within the ancient landscape of Dorney Common. A dispute ove an unpaid toll in 1375 is thought to be the first mention of a lock at this location. In 1780 there are suggestions of a pound lock, and in 1820 various plans for a replacement lock proposed cuts to the mouth of Clewer Mill Stream because of difficult navigation of the tight bends downstream. The present location was chosen with a timber lock built in 1838. There is an avenue of chestnut trees, planted in the 1800’s that lead to the lock known as ‘Conker Alley’. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the Manor of Boveney was given to the nuns of Burnham Abbey in 1266.

Boveney Lock
Information boards enroute are so enjoyable to read

A short walk later and I reached the beautiful little 13th century church of St Mary Magdalene set back from the river in a field of green grasses. Built from chalk rubble, with a wood clad bell tower housing three bells, its only lighting; a candle (and sunlight). Its origins and history are something of a mystery, and in 1859 the churchyard was thick with gravestones, of which there is now no sign.

St Mary Magdalene

I stepped into the cool shady interior and stepped into another world. A calm air of simplicity enveloped me as I stepped through the door and honestly, I could have just sat there for hours…it was so beautiful and so peaceful.

I spotted the remnants of a medieval wall painting, the colours still quite rich.

Medieval Wall painting

It’s such a shame the purists managed to get their whitewash out, and literally destroyed thousands of these stunning wall paintings in hundreds of churches around the country. Fortunately modern technology has allowed for the recovery of some, but it’s costly and painstaking and not really affordable on the whole. I’ve visited quite a number of churches over the years where they have managed to recover/restore some of these works of art…a legacy we should be proud of.

Looking back

From Boveney Lock, the church is a very short walk upstream. The river was so calm and blue I was tempted to jump in for a swim LOL ….the cool green shady trees would have to suffice

Tranquility

A bit further upstream I spied a lovely building across the river but couldn’t discover what it was. Intriguing and annoying LOL A closer look at google maps tells me it might be Summer River House, but I can’t be sure.

I also spotted Oakley Court through the trees; (a riverside retreat with a golf course – tells you it’s most likely very expensive!!)…wow, it’s stunning. I shall have to go there some time by car. It’s very gothic looking with towers and gingerbread icing trimming and all. Uh yeah…I just had a look…ยฃ275 per night hahaha. In my dreams. The description on the website reads: Oakley Court is a Victorian Gothic Mansion House recently renovated and set in 35 acres overlooking the River Thames at Water Oakley in the county of Berkshire which features 118 bedrooms, 118 bedrooms just downstream from Windsor & Eton. Hah! Apparently Oakley Court was built in 1859 as a residence for an Englishman who hoped the Gothic Style would make his homesick French wife happy. General de Gaulle visited, and the building was used in the films: St Trinian’s, Half a Sixpence and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (my 2nd favourite film after Mary Poppins).

Oakley Court

The river wound it’s way lazily downstream and I wound my way sort of speedily upstream, although the river was likely a little bit faster I’m sure, passing through shady glades, alongside fields and islands, passing stunning houses and wondering just who can afford those mansions!!

I’m on the right path

The gravel paths are so much kinder on the feet than the metalled roads.

Without realising it I had walked right by Dorney Lake which featured in the 2012 Olympics and more recently the 2021 Oxford Cambridge Boat Race.

I passed a cycle route marker that told me I had 3 miles to Maidenhead – this was at 17:30 and I knew for sure that I was not going to make my ‘planned’ train at 18:30…oh well

Maidenhead 3kms

Looking across to Monkey Island I spotted a little gazebo through the trees and felt quite envious really…it looked so idyllic, and is apparently on the grounds of a rather grand B&B; Monkey Island Estate Luxury Hotel, and at ยฃ203p.n. not that much cheaper than the Gothic pile further downstream….but hey, it’s on an island. Monkey Island possibly means ‘monk’s island’ as it once belonged to Merton Priory on the River Wandle. In 1738 the Duke of Marlborough decorated the fishing lodge ceiling with monkeys!! A hotel since 1840, Edward VII and Queen Alexandra had tea on the lawn with 3 future sovereigns – George V, Edward VIII and George VI.

Looking across to Monkey Island

Passing through a private estate, once again I was overawed by the sumptious houses and the size of their gardens, mostly an array of resplendent colours; rose arbours, and creepers and flowers galore. Nice if you can afford it.

I could hear the hum and then roar of traffic ahead and looking at my map I realised I was soon to pass beneath the M4. Lockdown is essentially over really….we’re back to the business of polluting the air.

The next lock on the route, Bray Lock, soon hove into view and whizzed on by. I think they’re all so pretty and interesting.

Bray Lock – although it looks quiet and restful, the lock-keeper’s job is not – they are busy throughout the day.

Looking back I could see how the river split around the lock island and tumbled over the weir on the far side.

Looking back to Bray Lock

I was nearing Maidenhead now and I am definitely going to have to return to explore the opposite banks of the river…

The Thames Path

The Waterside Inn at Bray-on-Thames looked intriguing and their website tells me it’s: A unique riverside haven in a dreamy village setting, a revered restaurant with elegant quarters, just screams ยฃยฃยฃ – also very posh!! and a tad more expensive than the other two at ยฃ420 per night. Holy moley

The Waterside Inn

I could hear the traffic in the distance and all too soon I was walking beneath this beautiful red-brick railway bridge. Maidenhead Railway Bridge, completed by Brunel in 1839 carries the Paddington-Bristol railway line and appears in Turner’s 1844 painting Rain, Steam and Speed on the GWR

The Sounding Arch – Maidenhead Railway Bridge

A short walk later, passing some stunning houses

stunning houses and amazing gardens
how gorgeous is this house!!

and finally, quite exhausted from the heat and feeling the 2 days distance, I was crossing the river via Maidenhead Bridge.

Looking back across the river from whence I came
Looking downstream from Maidenhead Bridge towards the railway bridge

Hoorah! I had reached my destination for Stage 7…it was now 18:38, and with another 2 km to reach the station, I had definitely missed my 18:35 train, as well as the next 2 trains as it transpired… I was so exhausted by the time I reached Maidenhead that I simply could not walk any faster, and so I had to wait for the 19:35 train and got home at 22:45….

Enroute to the station I passed one of the 2012 Olympic Gold Post Boxes; painted to celebrate the Paralympic success of equestrian Sophie Christiansen….awesome that they still paint them gold.

Gold painted post box

This section of the river; Staines to Maidenhead is seriously gorgeous and I so enjoyed my two days of walking. Both days were super hot and I must admit I found it hard going at times, but the serenity of the shady copses, the extraordinary history and the sheer joy of just walking more than made up for it. Rural mixed with urban, land lubbers and canal boat dwellers, bridges and locks, historical sites and a castle made for a most interesting jaunt along the Thames. I am so looking forward to walking Stage 8 Maidenhead to Marlow & Stage 9 Marlow to Henley. Both easy distances, so I may jig them a wee bit and see if I can squeeze more kms out of the day and squeeze 3 into two and get as far as Reading.

Although Stage 7 wasn’t as laden with history as with the previous stages, particularly through London and Stage 6 to Windsor, it was still so interesting, and from what I have gleaned from the guide book, most of the history lies on the opposite bank from where the official path runs. It’s a bit like a switchback, the River Thames; an optical illusion where you think something is one side, but as you get closer you find it’s not.

Talking of the guidebook, all writing in italics is either from the guide book or google.

And that brings to a close the 7th stage of my Thames Path walk. I’m hoping to do another 2 stages before year end, but it’s looking tricky time wise…I’m still following the Saxon Shore Way and walking the English Coast Path from Dover to Rye in October, with my jaunt along the Northumbrian Coast and Hadrian’s Wall in September… so we shall see.

If you missed Stage 6; Staines to Windsor, click on the link to read more about it.

And if you really have the time and want to start at the beginning (a very fine place to start ) Stage 1a: Erith to the Thames Barrier

Wish you a fine day and happy walking….thanks for dropping by to read my lengthy jottings (definitely not on an envelope!) LOL

If you’d like to join me on instagram, you can find me @overthehillstilltravelling

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LOL I couldn’t resist the title. Inspired by my walk the night before, last night (Monday) I decided to make the most of the glorious summer evening weather we’re having at the moment and walk to Dumpton Gap and back.

The harbour looked absolutely stunning, the water like a mill pond with the boats reflected in the still water.

sunset in thanet
Ramsgate Royal Harbour
sunset in thanet
like a mill pond

There were few people on the beach which was surprising considering the weather, but hey…I’m not complaining. I love it when the sea is so still. When it’s like this I’m almost tempted to go out swimming…but looks are deceiving.

sunset in thanet
the endless sea

We are located on what is known as the Isle of Thanet. Harking back to a time approximately 500 years ago when we were in fact still an island, separated from the mainland by the River Wantsum.

The Isle is formed almost wholly of chalk, a soft pure white limestone of Cretaceous age, specifically the Margate Chalk Member (Santonian to Campanian) traditionally referred to simply as the ‘Margate Chalk’, and sometimes as the โ€˜Margate Memberโ€™.  The Isle of Thanet first came into being when sea levels rose after the last glacial period, around 5000 BC. The North Sea encroached on the land which is now the estuary of the River Thames, and southwards to reach the higher land of the North Downs, leaving behind an island composed of chalk in its wake. Eventually the sea broke through river valleys in the North Downs to the south (Middle Chalk) and finally today’s English Channel was opened up. Archaeological evidence shows that the area now known as the Isle of Thanet was one of the major areas of Stone Age settlement. A large hoard of Bronze Age implements has been found at Minster-in-Thanet; and several Iron Age settlements have also come to light.

Right along our coastline, whole swathes of the island face the North Sea, and like Dover we have our own white cliffs. Every time I walk past these cliffs between here and Margate, I marvel at how they were made…..millions and millions of marine life over aeons of time have built up into what we can see today. Most of the fossil debris in chalk consists of the microscopic plates, which are called coccoliths, of microscopic green algae known as coccolithophores. In addition to the coccoliths, the fossil debris includes a variable, but minor, percentage of the fragments of foraminifera, ostracods and mollusks. The coccolithophores lived in the upper part of the water column. When they died, the microscopic calcium carbonate plates, which formed their shells settled downward through the ocean water and accumulated on the ocean bottom to form a thick layer of calcareous ooze, which eventually became the Chalk Group. I mean seriously…isn’t that just awesome!!! For more about this marvellous stuff we call chalk…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalk_Group

sunset in thanet
chalk cliffs on the Isle of Thanet

The tide was on the way in as I left, but still a fair way out. It wasn’t on the way back LOL I was trying to walk as far along the beach as possible before the waves came right up the beach, but the tide caught me out. I thought I would be clever (?) and walk along the edge of the promenade…not bright, it was a slippery as all hell, and when I got to the end, it was the end…and besides that the water was already well in, the ‘path’ didn’t continue, ssssssso I had to turn around and navigate my way back across the slippery seaweed. I eventually made it back onto the beach.

sunset in thanet
deciding to be brave or stupid?
sunset in thanet
caught out by the tide

By the time I got back at 9pm the sun had set and the sky was ablaze.

sunset in thanet
Harbour entrance
sunset in thanet
Ramsgate Harbour
sunset in thanet
Ramsgate Harbour

Sadly I often see these lovely fish along the shore when I’m walking. It saddens me to think about how they met their fate and wonder if they’re not discarded by the many fishermen we see along these shores…

sunset in thanet
a dead dog fish

I managed a good 7.4 kms and thoroughly enjoyed being out walking again. I may just have found the ‘m’ in my mojo ๐Ÿ˜‰ On the back of this I have decided to get my feet facing in the right direction and take up on the Saxon Shore Way where I left off in May. If I continue to dither and dilly dally, I will never get it finished and I still have a long way to go.

I’m also toying with the idea of picking up another 2 stages along the Thames Path this weekend.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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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I have lots of crazy ideas, and this is definitely one of them..

I don’t always put my crazy ideas into action, but after consulting with myself while walking from Sandwich to Deal, we – me, myself and I ๐Ÿ˜‰ decided it would be a fun (crazy) idea to walk the full England Coast Path.

Since I had already started, and had walked from Ramsgate to Sandwich, and was now walking from Sandwich to what turned out to be Walmer and not Dover, we figured it would be a fun goal to have….

And so the decision was made to walk the full English coast…or should I say “attempt to walk” ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

The map is from wikipedia

When I look at the map above, I know for sure it’s a crazy idea, but other people have walked the entire UK coast, so why not….

I started doing some research and discovered that England has 12,429 km or 7,723 miles of coastline excluding islands.

Which means that if I walk an average of 20 kms a day it will take me 621.45 days to walk the entire coast. But if I walk 3 days per month it’ll take 207 days….or something like that. I’m pretty sure my calculations are skewed ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช and it will actually take me 5 years or so to complete. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

But so far I’ve walked from Ramsgate to Dover over 3 days, so let’s see.

The challenge has begun!! Which brings me to the virtual challenges I’ve signed up for…

I’m currently walking the Inca trail and since its only 42kms I’m sure I’ll be done within the next 10 days. From there I’m going to do the Ring of Kerry, although to be honest, I’d much rather be walking that route in real time….its eminently possible that once we’re free to travel again, I may just walk the route in Ireland…why not.

So for now, here’s a link to the England Coast Path for you to peruse.

And if you’d like to join me on these virtual challenges, you can sign up here via my link.

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 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 ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Here’s to walking…..my favourite hobby despite the pain ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

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At the beginning of the year, just after lockdown, I decided to join the Conqueror Virtual Challenge and signed up to walk Hadrian’s Wall – 145km (England). As you progress they send you postcards with interesting information about the walk.

the medal

Mostly so I could keep up my enthusiasm for walking, having a goal during lockdown was so helpful. In the meantime I’ve decided to walk the real Hadrian’s Wall – now scheduled that for 2021.

I’ve subsequently done the Camino de Santiago challenge – 772km (Spain). I did this while working; using my kms walked while on duty and various other walks at the various places I worked in. My medal is in the post.

The English Channel challenge – 34km (I finished that with short walks over 4 days) much as I would have loved to swim the distance for this challenge, I have NO plans to actually swim the English Channel….end of! LOL

the medal is in the post ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s stunning

All of the above counts towards my goal of #walk1000miles2020 and despite deciding to not sign up for any other challenges, guess what….LOL I’m signing up for the pack of 5 which includes a choice of some awesome virtual walks: Great Ocean Road – 240km (Australia), Inca Trail – 42km (Peru), Ring of Kerry – 200km (Ireland), The Cabot Trail – 298km (Canada), and The Ring Road – 1332km (Iceland). I’m also going to buy the 2020 challenge coz the medal is awesome. I’m sure I can finish the 4 shorter distances this year and I’ll do the Icelandic Ring Road in 2021. The medals are so beautiful and I love the motivation the app gives me as I watch my progress.

I’m also keen to do the John O’Groats to Lands End virtual challenge and will save that for 2021 as well.

If you’d like to join me on the Conqueror Virtual Challenges click here for the link There’s a terrific little app that you can update as you go and it shows your progress on a map, you can join as part of a team or just go it alone. For every 20% of the challenge you complete the organisers plant a tree (I love that idea) and at the end of the challenge you get a fantastic, quality medal. It’s good fun and you learn about the different places as you reach each milestone.

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VE DAY 75

What an emotional day. Naturally as soon as I got downstairs this morning I switched over to BBC1. They really do the whole patriotic big commemorative event thing so well, and they didn’t disappoint today.

By 10am I was already in tears. Seriously, I’m almost certain that I’m a reincarnation of someone who lived during the 2nd WW. It never fails to move me – listening to and watching footage from that period.

Whenever I hear Winston Churchill’s voice I literally get goosebumps from head to toe and tears well up in my eyes. I remember my visit to the War Rooms in Whitehall many years ago. I was meandering around the rooms looking at everything when suddenly his voice boomed out over the tannoy with his famous “We shall fight them….” speech. OMG I was rooted to the spot, tears pouring down my face…felt a bit of a twit, but fortunately it’s quite dark down there and no-one noticed.

The Spitfire flypast over the White Cliffs of Dover had me in tears once again, and how magnificent the Rex Arrows over London….oh how much I would have loved to see them for real.

Damn you Covid-19…

During my break I walked around the village capturing images of the decorations and bunting, and one street really got into the whole thing with flags, and bunting, tables and chairs out on the front of houses, tea sets and scones, champagne and the National Anthem…I chanced upon that just as it rang out from a huge speaker on someone’s lawn ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ God Save the Queen ๐Ÿ‘ธ๐Ÿป โคโค

I got in a decent 3.49km and managed to walk along as many cut through as I could find…..added to my Hadrian’s Wall challenge ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜€

This evening’s programmes were equally as moving with snippets of interviews from around the country…its really impressive to realise just how many 100+ year olds there are in this country.

The Queen’s speech at 9pm was equally as moving and as always she was perfect; her look, her words, her delivery. How lucky we are to have her.

I compiled a short video of all the decorations and hope you enjoy it.

Stay safe, and long live the Queen

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Don’t miss this!! https://www.meteorwatch.org/iss-international-space-station-times-uk-may-2020/

So enjoyed watching Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs today. Wonderful to listen to calm, reasoned questions with no bluster or sulky undertones. I did enjoy his question on the statistics….he prempted Johnson’s reply and had his rebuttal ready ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ in the form of a hard copy of the government’s own figures. Hah!!

I watched the BBC1 Michael Ball tribute to Capt. Tom Moore and cried all the way through. I think that, above all else, has defined the true spirit of people, and how one person can become the hope of a nation…he will go down in history as the little light in the darkness of this time ๐Ÿ•ฏ

It was a fantastic day in Somerset, so I took myself out for a walk, followed my favourite route and along the way I stopped off at the corner of quiet contemplation…..at that point we had a grandparents facetime with the boo. He was meant to be eating his lunch…but that went by the wayside with all the attention ๐Ÿฅฐ . I am so grateful to my daughter for these calls, they have kept me sane.

My corner of quiet contemplation

afterwards I walked around the mound, first the ramparts, then the moat, then I climbed to the top of the mound for a stunning view of the countryside. I will miss this very much.

Another 3.5km to add to my Hadrian’s Wall challenge ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜„

The best news today was that Richard Branson’s begging bowl was not filled with money from the public purse – money that is needed for the public. However, my sympathies go to the 3,000 staff he is now effectively kicking out of his company. Let’s bear in mind that these same people have enabled him to continue to live on his private island, in the luxury to which he is ‘entitled’, but of course it’s not convenient for him to now support those same people, despite him falling into the category of ‘billionaire’. He has argued that the billions aren’t lying around in a slush fund, but rather tied up in paper shares….and of course there’s no opportunity in these difficult and trying times to convert some of those into cash in order to support his staff. He offered to put his island up as as collateral for the required loan from the government, so why not do that in order to support his ‘valued’ staff. I used to admire RB, but when a billionaire puts his hands out for a loan from the public purse, is when my respect goes down that stinky drain. I have 2 of his books in storage….when its suitable, I shall have a bonfire…they’ll make good kindling.

And so to bed perchance to dream….

Before locking up tonight I stepped out into the courtyard and saw the moon ๐ŸŒ• so beautiful

Nearly a full moon

Take care folks….

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Okay so perhaps the term should be changed from lockdown to lockup…

Okayyyyyy. Time to call the men in white coats. 1 slice toastโ€ฆ.half marmite, half marmalade. So eating the first halfโ€ฆexpecting marmalade, but kept thinking hmmm it tastes so much like marmite? Had a closer lookโ€ฆseems I smothered the marmite half with marmalade ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช we had a place in South Africa called Taraโ€ฆ.if you’re looking for me, that’s where I am ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

Happy 100th Birthday Captain Tom ๐ŸŽˆ

It’s so cool the the Post Office has recognised Capt. Tom with his own blue post box. Reminds me of the Olympic 2012 gold post boxes…I hope he gets out to see it.

“We are celebrating Captain Thomas Mooreโ€™s 100th birthday with a special postbox in honour of his incredible efforts to raise money for the NHS. The postbox is painted โ€˜NHS blueโ€™ and includes a golden balloon and birthday greetings in honour of Captain Tomโ€™s 100th birthday. The special postbox is located on Bedford Road, MK43 0LA in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire close to where Captain Tom lives.”

Although it was quite overcast and misty today, I pushed myself out the door and went for a lovely walk around the village…I decided that since all the country paths would likely be a muddy quagmire after the rain…I’d walk around the village and along every street, road and close on the east side…I can say for sure, some people are definitely not in the same boat…crikey some of the houses ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ and they have the audacity to include the word ‘cottage’ in the name….๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช I didn’t photograph the houses, but I did capture some colourful flowers….can you imagine such colours and just how tiny some petals are. I loved the caterpillar face. I got in just over 3ย  kms and that makes me a ‘trail blazer’ on the Hadrian’s Wall challenge๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

The tone of the Covid-19 stories are starting to become more accusatory. Started off with the general tone of confusion and dismay, then informative and riven with horror as the number of deaths and infections escalated, and now…slowly they’re becoming increasingly questioning and accusatory…. Covid-19 has laid bare the longterm failure of our collective governments to build a secure economy and future that is fair for everyone.

Two sides of the same coin…different headlines, different stories….same difference….look at who our countries are run by!!

When Covid hit, the United States was also among the vulnerable, and the virus has exposed so many of its long-term ailments – its income disparities, racial inequality, democratic sickliness, inoperative government, toxic polarisation, decline of reason, the downgrading of science, the lessening of its global influence, the absence of global leadership.

Britain has not been exceptional in much, except in its refusal to inform and debate with the public over lockdown. It has behaved like an old-fashioned centralist bureaucracy, with ministers and officials mouthing slogans and giving orders. What is the matter with the government? Why canโ€™t we sit on a bench?”

And on the subject of PPE – I do hope that there will one day be a time of reckoning – I will sign every single petition that calls for a public enquiry .

Ending on a more positive note – how cute is this : helping hedgehogs.

Again today we caught up on facetime and it was a party…I finally figured out how to capture a screenshot…so here’s the blur kissing Mummy

Now to sort out my expression ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

Take care folks. There’s talk of UK schools opening on 1st June. Way too soon in my humble opinion, and from the comments on Facebook, many parents feel exactly the same. The 2020 school year should just be written off…let the schools open on 1st September and start over. All that’s going to happen is an increase in stress, fear and unhappiness….and children who are already emotionally affected by the whole situation are now going to be pushed to catch up, causing even more stress. Its mad.

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So this is what Lent feels like…I haven’t had physical contact with a single person for 40 nights and 40 days. May as well live in the desert…

I suddenly realized today that I haven’t had any physical contact with anyone since 22nd March when I said goodbye to my daughter….its bizarre. I’m quite a tactile person and even when I was walking the Camino on my own in 2017, I still had loads of hugs from fellow pilgrims, albergue owners and sometimes just a fist bump with a random stranger.

Much as I’m really glad the earth is getting a chance to heal, I’ll be glad when lockdown is over, although I suspect that hugging and fist bumps will no longer be on the agenda. How awful its going to be, to be afraid of hugs. ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

I just hope that we won’t lose much enjoyed hugs between family. Talking of family I had a delightful facetime with my daughter and grandson today. Gosh he’s adorable. I was talking to him and blowing him kisses, so he took the phone away from his Mummy and walked around kissing my face ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป oh my gosh it was so cute. All I could see was his forehead and the adorable curl on his head…my daughter was beside herself with laughter…he’s a real charm.

My days in Nether Stowey are numbered now, only 9 to go and I’m off….although of course, all being well I’ll be back in July. Weirdly I’ve been quite happy here and although I’m desperate to see my family, and I’m really quite tired now (and sick of meal planning ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช), I’m quite sad to go. It’s a lovely area and once we got past the initial issues, I’ve gotten on quite well with my client. I am not looking forward to the journey though. Its going to be long…I just hope there will be trains ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

I’ve started a new book; The Pure in Heart – Susan Hill….one of my favourite authors. So this will be the 9th book I’ve read since being in lockdown.

Had a lovely long walk today; 5.4 kms. I just felt like I really needed to stretch my legs, and the area is so beautiful its hard to resist…although of course I have done quite a lot of that ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

My sister mentioned that the SA government has now started on phase 4 ; a lifting of the lockdown is in progress…means they can now actually go out for a very short walk. It all seems very organized and puts our shambolic government to shame

To see how the number of deaths is mounting is quite terrifying, and seeing how the government is putting a spin on everything is disgusting. I’m so sick of their dishonesty. Even one of the most fundamental issues of getting a grip on this virus; testing, has had their warped spin applied

https://www.hsj.co.uk/quality-and-performance/revealed-how-government-changed-the-rules-to-hit-100000-tests-target/7027544.article#.Xqw3EoFpNi4.facebook

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/01/ministers-accused-of-changing-covid-19-test-tally-to-hit-100000-goal

I truly hope there will be a public enquiry and that certain members of the party will….I’d like to say hang, but I guess that’s a bit harsh…however if you consider the number of people who have died due to their incompetence…well…perhaps drawn and quartered might suffice.

Piers Morgan wrote a very accurate piece on the Covid-19 timeline and how the Tory government seriously missed so many red flags….while our emperor was cavorting with his latest piece of fluff, Rome, so to speak was burning….or in this case the UK. And now we have the 2nd highest number of deaths in the world, the most shambolic distribution of PPE and a bunch of bald-faced liars who pump up the numbers to make it look as if they’re being ‘successful’. The day of reckoning will come. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8275365/PIERS-MORGAN-Boris-boast-wants-death-toll-tells-real-story.html?ito=facebook_share_article-bottom

I’m not (usually) a Daily Mail reader and I’m not actually a fan of Piers Morgan, but by golly he’s hit the nail on the head.

And do another day goes by…who knows what the future might hold. With all the saber-rattling going on in the White House, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw nuclear warheads flying overhead between Beijing and Washington one of these days.

Stay safe folks…

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