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Posts Tagged ‘walking the English coast’

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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

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 60ยฐF (15ยฐC) 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 ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ However, I’m not sure about the meat pie I ate ๐Ÿฅง ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ since I’m vegetarian, but ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿคซ 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. ๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿฅด

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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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. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ 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 ….๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ 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 ๐Ÿ”ฎ another walk in the future ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ except it will not be in winter!! And I’m not walking across any mudflats….more of that later ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

Can you see my folly?

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

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

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

I felt how my feet scrunched on the beach, I observed how my poles felt as they supported me over the rocks or sank in the sand, I really listened to the seagulls, felt how the wind ruffled my hair and sneaked down my collar (I forgot my scarf at the b&b๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ), and in particular I listened to the songs of the sea…it changed my whole mindset. I felt uplifted,  invigorated and tingled from the cold icy air, and barely noticed that I was soaked from the softly falling rain. What a difference.

My issues are still unresolved, but I can breathe…and I got in 10.26 kms by the time of the real downpour, which spoilt my plan to sit on the bench in Broadstairs to eat my croissants… instead I ran for the bus (the driver kindly waited for me ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ) and took the quick way back.

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

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

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

Oh…its raining ๐Ÿ˜„

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

A blue sky
My view from under the pavilion

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

Sea glass and pottery pieces

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

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

Pretty wee boats in the harbour

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

A good place as any to turn around

How far I’ve come….

Looking back across Stone Bay

One last photo of Viking Bay

Viking Bay, Broadstairs

Having phoned ahead earlier, The Old Bakehouse kept 2 almond croissants aside for me ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿฅ. As I left, the rain I’d seen crossing the channel reached our shores and the heavens opened…๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง

There comes the rain…

I drank my coffee, then made my way quickly up the High Street towards the bus stop. Suddenly down the road…the bus approached. I ran – fast!! The driver (bless his heart) waited for me. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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

Brilliant walk: 10.26kms. And thus ends my holiday/Christmas/New Year break. Back to work tomorrow and limited time to walk for the next 2 weeks. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” I’m hoping the area I’ll be working in has some interesting walks. Meanwhile, I’ve reached 20% of the Alps to Ocean NZ virtual challenge and got my 3rd postcard of the route.

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

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Got in a very respectable 15.9kms this morning. Starting off with a fantastic sunrise….red sky in the morning and all that

I headed up the coast to Stone Bay via Broadstairs where I stopped off at my favourite tearoom The Old Bakehouse for almond croissants (best ever) with a cup of coffee, which I enjoyed on the promenade, and fed the sparrows some toasted almond crumbs.

Almond croissant from The Old Bake House, Broadstairs
Ever so cute…

Enroute I strolled past the Dickens Museum – although he didn’t actually live here, it was the home of one of his characters in David Copperfield; Betsy Trotwood.

By the time I reached the end of Stone Bay the wind had come up and that promised storm blew in…with a vengeance.

Blowing up a storm
I wondered why….

Before heading back to Ramsgate, I bought some bird seed and scattered it amongst the bushes for the wee sparrows.

The wind was so strong along the foreshore that my walking poles were blown backwards and I had to plow into the wind.

Despite the wind and cold and rain, I had a fantastic walk. The harbour looked very different when I got back from when I left just after 7am

7:20am
11:14am

And tomorrow I’m back to work. I don’t feel as if I’ve had a proper break.

But I did have a most wonderful afternoon with my lovely family…Christmas tree decorating. I’ll write about that tomorrow..

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I’ve had some amazing walks the last few years since moving to the east coast. The scenery along the Thanet coastline is really beautiful, especially at sunrise on a clear day, and then sunset. You can catch a gorgeous sunrise from Broadstairs or Ramsgate, and if it’s a good day, an equally gorgeous sunset from Pegwell Bay or Margate. I’ve been known to rush over to Margate to catch the sunset or a quick walk to the cliffs above Pegwell Bay.

Sunrise in Broadstairs
Sunset over Pegwell Bay

I’ve always loved walking. As a young girl, in my 20s’ when I lived in Hillbrow Johannesburg, I used to spend the whole of Sundays just walking around the suburbs for hours on end. I used to walk to work every day, up the hill and down the other side….right up until I was 8 months pregnant, and then my boss wouldn’t allow me to walk anymore and insisted one of the staff take me home by car and collect me the next day.

I lost my walking after my daughter was born and my husband bought me a car. By then it wasn’t that safe to walk alone anyway and I got lazy.

When I arrived in the UK, my love of walking was reignited. I lived in Dublin, Rep. Of Ireland for 6 months and my sister, brother-in-law and I used to walk everywhere, especially on weekends when we’d head out to Dรบn Laoghaire or Glendalough and the Wicklow mountains. In fact we travelled to so many places, I’ve quite forgotten all but the most memorable. I do remember though being able to walk home from Dublin to Monkstown late at night and never feel unsafe….and my love walking,  freedom really, was reborn.

I remember one weekend when we walked across country from Waterford city to PassageEast in the County of Waterford, took the ferry across the River Barrow to Ballyhack Lower in County Wexford, then walked to Arthurstown and onto Duncannon…and in reverse the next day. One of the many fun excursions from my 6 months there.

A walk across country in Rep. Of Ireland

On most of my overseas trips since, I’ve invariably planned a 10 day stayย  and walked….everywhere, and included a day trip to another destination. When I visited Venice I literally walked around all the accessible islands and usually started at 8am and walked till late at night exploring every nook and cranny. Actually, after Ireland, Venice was my very first trip to Europe and albeit terrified, I loved every minute.

I’ve since walked 80%+ of the streets in the City of London….much of my free time was spent exploring every court, lane and street, and I walked a fair amount of the City of Westminster too. When we still lived in Richmond, I often walked along the Thames riverbank, either downstream to Kew Gardens or upstream to Kingston and even Hampton Court. Even in the snow ๐Ÿ˜‰

When we moved to Broadstairs we used to walk along the beach to Ramsgate. I always thought it was quite far, but its actually only just over 3kms. Now that I frequently walk in excess of 20kms and occasionally as much as 35kms, it seems absurd that I thought 3kms was far ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

During my last stay, I walked along the beach from Ramsgate to Stone Bay and back, and one morning I enjoyed a sunrise walk to Viking Bay…of course I stopped off at The Old Bake House and bought a take-away coffee and my favourite pastry; an almond croissant then sat on a bench on the promenade to enjoy my treat.

Its such a stunning section of the coast and offers much of interest to see. Stretch your legs and walk to Margate… fantastic route, especially along the beach.

No hardship walking in this environment

A few weeks ago I decided to walk to Sandwich (for the 3rd time) in order to increase my mileage for the Conqueror 2020 Challenge.ย  Somewhere along the way I hatched the insane idea of walking the whole of the English coastline….I know…bring on the strait jacket. I blame it on the moon ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ I’ve walked as far as Dover so far. Of course Covid-19 has held back my horizons, but I’m hoping to get out more frequently in 2021.

Crossing the White Cliffs of Dover

I love walking and one of the benefits of my job is that I get to travel all over England, often times to places I’d never heard of…and then I walk…

Old disused railway line in Lewes

But my walking got a real sense of seriousness when I started training for the Portuguese Camino in 2017, and started following the #walk1000miles challenge in 2016. That really got me going. I struggled at first to get into walking daily, bought my first pair of walking poles (still have them ๐Ÿ˜„), a decent pair of walking shoes (asics) and I’ve never looked back, now I find it difficult to not get out for a walk on a daily basis and get quite tetchy if my walking is interrupted ….๐Ÿ˜‰

Stunning coastline between Deal and Walmer.

Show me a path and I’ll walk it….

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So thankfully I start a new assignment today. I was beginning to panic just a bit.

But the agency finally came through and I’m on my way to Somerset to a town called Shepton-Malett, which to my delight is a Domesday Book town.

I’m looking forward to exploring ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Unfortunately it means that I can’t get out for sunrise walks for the next 2 weeks, so I made sure I got out this morning….and it was stunning. A gorgeous day for walking with clear skies and mild temperatures.

Spectacular lightshow at 06.45am
Stunning colours reflecting on the waves
Good morning sun ๐ŸŒž

I walked as far as Dumpton Gap and back to the harbour chasing the incoming tide.

The tide was well in at Dumpton Gap

As with yesterday’s walk I collected 6 big pieces of trash that would otherwise have ended up in the ocean.

Besides these, I picked up a big plastic container and 2 other water bottles

I’m going to have to get back to carrying bags and gloves with me again…there was so much more I could have picked up but no means of carrying the stuff ๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜”

From yesterday

I was also attacked by a bloody dog again that despite the owner trying to grab the damn thing, jumped up and tried to get to my face. It took the owner a good few minutes to get the dog on a leash. My verbal commentary was not very polite. I truly wish people who own dogs would just train the damn animals. Thankfully it was a spaniel so not very big or my face would have been slashed. As it is I could smell its breath it came that close ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜  I did manage to wallop the animal with my stick which gave it pause, but as soon as I moved it went for me again.

Ultimately I managed to move off without much more than my trousers muddied. But seriously….

The tide really does encroach pretty quickly, which cut off part of my route along the beach.

On my way out I walked over this concrete slab.. a bit cut off on the way back…๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช thanks be for the promenade

A lucky morning; I found a real bounty of coloured and white glass pieces on the beach. Yesterday yielded only 2 pieces, today I found loads, especially of the dark green glass that is so beautiful.

I really do love that houseโ€ฆthe views of the sunrise must be amazing
I cannot resist taking a photo every few minutes, it just is so beautiful. I love how the colours reflect off the waves on the beach
I saw another dead shark/dog fish on the beach, a tiny baby this time ๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜” I do wonder what is killing themโ€ฆprobably the pollution

A magical walk and I’m so glad I made the effort. My kms are adding up, and the deficit going down ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

After such a beautiful morning at the coast, clear skies and mild weather, imagine my surprise as we approached Canterbury on the train….the countryside is heavy with mist…looks amazing and I was wishing I had the time to jump off the train and take photos

A complete contrast to Ramsgate…not that far away.
Totally spooky ๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ‘ป

My next post will be from Somerset. I’m looking forward to exploring a new town.

Have a good day folks.

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Lockdown and the government tiers certainly doesn’t allow for much by way of exploring, except in your local vicinity. If you’re lucky enough to live in a countryside area, close to the sea, or near a river, even if its familiar its usually different and can still be enjoyed every day.

Hands and Molecules – a familiar and favourite sculpture on the clifftop – makes a good frame for the moon
I adore this house. Located near the King George VI Memorial Park on the Dumpton Gap side, I used to have house envy till I realised how close to the cliff edge it is ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

I live (sort of*) near the sea and even though it’s the same, every day along the coast is different. I’ve found myself with time on my hands due to losing a 6 week assignment so made the most of the opportunity to spend time with my grandson and to catch up on my walking targets for 2020.

Sunrise 23.11.20 @ 7.15am
Sunrise 23.11.20 @ 7.26am
Ramsgate Harbour
Into the light….
Sunrise 25.11.20 @ 9.26am
Sunset 24.11.20
Sunset 23.11.20
My favourite sunset to date…23.11.20 across Pegwell Bay
Sunset from the cliffs above Pegwell Bay near Cliffsend
One of my favourite village signboards – Cliffsend has seen Viking raiders, St Augustine’s arrival and WW2 action

I’ve seen some amazing sunrises and sunsets and had much fun with the kid. He’s developing into a very determined little boy and like most kids his age, he has a strong will. He’s also growing rapidly and requires his Granny to carry him when he gets tired….but Granny is not a bodybuilder and has her limits ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

My favourite swing…he loves it too
Finding a fairy’s front door ๐Ÿงšโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿงšโ€โ™€๏ธ
He’s going to be a displacement officer when he grows up ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜ loves to move stuff
Empathy for a dead shark
Just a hop, skip and jump on the beach at Margate

I’ve mostly walked locally and managed a walk to Broadstairs and to the Sandwich side of the Pegwell Bay nature reserve.

Looking across the saltmarsh mudflats to Ramsgate
The saltmarsh mudflats, a fascinating environment

The mudflats are home to an incredible number of birdlife that visit here during the changing seasons

The reserve has an amazing history and played an important role in WW2.

On my way back from the nature reserve I walked along the beach beneath the cliffs; devastated to see the volume of plastic trash lining the high tide level and he number of dogshit bags piled up. It’ll take a team of 20-30 people to clear that up…it stretched from where I’m standing right along the cliffs; heartbreaking.

We’ve had a couple of family outings and made a special trip for the boobee to see the Christmas lights in Margate

Snowman!! Penguin!! Santa!! His vocabulary is expanding daily ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

Ramsgate Harbour offers so many photographic opportunities, you could spend all day there

I’ve managed to increase my kms by 74 this week and passed my original target of 1600kms. I do however still have 375km to walk to reach my 2020 target of 2020kms. Looking forward to seeing if I’ve exceeded my October total ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

I’m determined to reach my target

So yeah, I may be walking familiar routes, but every day it looks different.

* I sort of live in Ramsgate but because work all over the country I don’t actually have a home and liveineither a guest house or b&b between assignments. One day…I hope to have a home of my own.

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Look what I bought for myself this afternoon. โ˜บโ˜บ I felt I deserved a treat (besides the sunrise and sunsets) after all the stress this week. I’d been planning on buying it 2nd hand online, but suddenly felt impatient. Just a day ago I read the write up in The Guardian (February 2019) via @pilgrimtrust  and felt so inspired by their journey; the bravery of facing down the odds and taking the challenge head on. It helped lift me out of my slump, and reminded me that I have much to be grateful for – even though I’m still very grumpy about the dishonesty of that carer (and that she’s just going to get away with her manipulative behaviour) ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก that’s how grumpy I am ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Anyway, whatever, I had a lovely long walk to Broadstairs and back and now I’m reclining on my bed and just about to dive in…. p.s. if you Google ‘the salt path’ the article is a few entries down.

The Salt Path

I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve finished it…although I’m pretty certain I’m going to love it. ๐Ÿ“˜

14.11.2020 Saturday 21:38

I’ve just finished reading The Salt Path. What an extraordinary story. Of pain, of loss and hunger and an enduring love that triumphed over the worst kind of adversity.

Its left me wanting to fetch my backpack and just go….

Fantastic read, definitely recommended.

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