Friday, 30 April 2010

Day 13 Norton to Worcester

The first 2 km's of the days total of 36.2km was delightful walking, the rain that I was expecting was not around instead it was glorious sunshine, but then, AGONY, from nowhere, it felt like someone had come and kicked me full belt in my rh shin, footballers among you will appreciate the pain, and no I didn't have any shin pads on. I thought a few km's and I'll walk this off, but no, so action was necessary. Down went 2 painkiller's, (Ibo' - not related to ASBO's) something I never normally do. I'd only previously taken 2 on this walk, outside Wellington which I lost most my vision, (onslaught of the migraine), there they had helped, but not for aches. Out came my water bottle as a cold compress, on went a support sock and out came the walking sticks.

Could I continue?, I must have must looked a sorry sight walking into Tewskbury. Stopping there to get waterproofs on, yes the rain had come, (it never rains but pours) I decide to change footwear to the Gel healed Asics, a good move I think. More km's were painfully covered upto the M50, still 14 miles to go, when disaster two happened. Limping along I had developed a nasty thigh/groin strain in my other leg. They were competing amongst themselves for being the most painful. Out came the para's (no not the army - paracetamol), 2 of those, I was flying but the strain was not going away, only the shin had reacted to the painkillers this time. Suffering with any gradient continued with plenty of stops, I has a further dose of ibo's at 14.00, these did help the strain. I have since taken numerous rests and am taking the opportunity at my 15.45 rest to type this. This post is not to get sympathy, more donations or anything like that, its a reminder to me in years to come, the pain that was suffered on day "13". The day I crossed the Worcester border, when I was meant to be skipping not limping. This has been the hardest and most painful walk I have ever done and it even beats coming off Sca Fell with a hurt knee, from a fall. Right now my body (legs) need to get in synchrony with my heart and head and their desire to walk, and tomorrow, there must be less moaning and resistance from my legs trying to stop my advancements up the country.

(still in 2 minds whether to post this or just save it)

Am now arrived having typed this earlier, I am going to post it but please no comments from anyone. I have tomorrow to get through before a rest day on Sunday, hopefully this and Eddie Izzards advise on 15 min cold baths or in this case showers, on my legs, as the B&B does not a bath will work. It was itself an experience just, my legs are frozen, tell you if it works when their thawed.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Day 12 Berkeley to Norton

Well, I thought by now most of you have forgotten what I looked like, and were wondering how the miles and beating sun had affected me, well that's what today's photo is all about. I had actually taken 5 and this was the best, so any distasteful comments tomorrow, then the worst one appears. You have been warned! You could have had a nice picture of Gloucester Cathedral instead, but I know your all missing me. Today's 36.5km was on the alternative off road route, which had me swing away from the A38 to Slimbridge, the site of the bird place and pick up the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, which delivered me into the centre of Gloucester. The area was rich in wildlife, and not for the first time, as I passed some creature in the neighbouring hedgerow, did it decide to take flight and in doing so, make me jump out of my skin. After only a short distance on the canal, I was stop by a woman in a barge, would seeing my rucksack and the immense effort I was putting into carrying it, asked me about my destination. What was I to say, Norton, tonight's accommodation or JOHN O'GROATS, proudly I said the later, you don't really have to many opportunities to do so. To this the woman said 'another one'. Deflated, I enquired what she meant. She informed two days ago Steve has passed, followed yesterday by Andy and his dog, collecting for kids in Gambia. Both walkers who have blogs that I myself have been following. When she heard i was collecting for diabetes, she donated a pound, as her husband is diabetic. Off I went on my way following in the footsteps and paw steps of three fellow adventurers. Up until yesterday, no en route donations had been forthcoming, even thought I have talk to a number of people. But the donation from the barge woman, followed on from the owner of last nights B&B, who donated 10 pounds. Whilst on the subject of last nights accommodation, an extra 2 miles was walked yesterday, to the pub for the evening meal and back. This was the longest walk for food yet and I hope will not be repeated too often. Tonight's is 100 metres, hurrah!!! Back to the canal, and it maybe just a consequence but the last time it rained was when I was on the canal walking to Taunton, and there it was again, rain. Can't grumble, ain't done bad with the weather. So out came the umbrella again. As the rain was coming straight down and not blown from the side, the umbrella prevent me from getting wet all day, as well as not having to put on waterproofs, which despite being Gore Tex and breathable, still would have been unbearable given the temperature. Also, would have looked a knob walking around Gloucester in waterproofs, the bright hi viz yellow rucksack rain cover was bad enough!!! So, as I am walking the canal through Kidderminster, upto Market Drayton, through Lancastershire and down the Great Glen, you have been warned when its going to rain next. The umbrella did have an additional advantage, today was my first big meeting with midges, our little biting friends. They all seem to accumulate at head height, so I pushed through them with brolly in front like a big midge dispersing sail, seem to work. As you are aware, my MP3 player became detached earlier this week, this at a time when the opportunity for listening to music has increased. The back lanes of Cornwall and Devon never lent themselves to having earphones in. But, the pathed A38 and today's canal begs for music to be played, with infinite opportunities for a 'karaoke',(well how do you spell it, its not in the spell check). To achieve this with the lose of the MP3, I have called on the services of my phone, with its 100 or so song, not the 1600 on the mp3. This did give a problem last night where the battery on my phone was exhausted 1 mile short of the walks completion. I suddenly realised that if the B&B was not easy to find, then a quick call from the phone was not possible. Panic was calmed by a large "Pickwick Farm" sign coming into view, right where it meant to be. Today's music was managed with strict battery discipline. Not that it was necessary. The accommodation was extremely difficult to find tonight, the "crystal maze" was easier to complete. The telephone went un answered, my heart rate quickened with thoughts of wild camping without the camp, suppose that's just called wild... or find the nearest bus shelter, its gonna be a cold, wet, lonely, isolated, you get the gist. But this did not phase this explorer, that this trek had turned this normally mild mannered person into. (This explorer now coming with the developing apprentice 'explorer's beard' - a must)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Day 11 Bristol to Berkeley

Two county lines crossed today, first into South Gloucestershire, next Gloucestershire itself. Next to come, my home county Worcestershire, and a meeting with my wife in Worcester on Friday evening. The previous mornings herd of elephants above was repeated last night, but hundreds of foreign students in the YHA, albeit on the same floor, all coming half an hour after I had put the lights out and creaking around, its a creaky building, knocking doors and lots of noise. I think i was just jealous I was not partying with them. Then all of a sudden it went quite, or I went to sleep, who knows, but I got my own back this morning. I suspect they were German, so was kicking myself that I hadn't done any of the course yet, could have been very interesting. Walkwise, I navigated out of Bristol very successfully, no errors or lost equipment and proceeded on an alternative to the A38, being between the Cotswolds on the right hand side and the M5 on the left in country lanes. Today I crossed the M32, M4 and later the M5 before the final stretch of the walk along the A38. A very uneventful day, warm and fast, completing today's 33.6km by 16.10. Weather looks like it taking at turn for the worse tomorrow, you can tell there's a bank holiday due, just get back to work everyone else so I can have my brilliant weather back. You know its your holiday which has resulted in it changing!!!!!!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Day 10 Sedgemoor to Bristol

Woken today at 6.00, in my Sedgemoor Service Station Motel room, by who or whatever was in the room above me, herding around. After deciding to rise I left the service having no breakfast, the six pound continental option did not excite me, so I brought a number of snack items from the main service station. Wanting to stay off the A38 to start, I noticed a path across a field on the map, but this was not evident on the ground, I might have "gone for it" but for the cows in the field. So the slower option of the roads was chosen. Within half an hour I had a herd of these lovely beasts running towards me. As I made my way up the lanes, a local farmer asked me to wait as he was moving a herd of young beasts for the first time from the farm into their new field home. So wait I did, confident Mr Farmer knew what he was doing. Then came the herd, at me, help I screamed - not really, but just at the moment the herd was meant to via left away from me into the field, then decide to join me and my walk to Scotland. All was sorted with no injuries to man or beast. No more cow events followed but two brave snappy dogs behind the safety of their gate decided to let me know they were there and also wanted to joint me. So from the safety of the other side of the gate I decide to film them until the owner appeared, and even at a great distance, gave me such a look for "winding up" her darlings. Following notification from work about a new structure, I was heading for Bristol Airport, when guess what I saw, a plane, yes there was that, but more amazing out of the distance appeared Justin. So who's Justin I hear u ask, well don't be so impatient, otherwise I won't tell you. Justin appeared walking along the A38 with a mega rucksack. This was not a rambler but a serious walker, could it be? I wondered a JOGLE'r (John O Groat-Land's End), get with the acronyms. Yes it was. We both stood and introduced ourselves, for both it was their first meeting with a first fellow adventurer. A long chat followed, following with lashings of mutual respect. He has however, completed 80% verse my 20% but we had lots to discuss, including his start at JOG in the blizzards. I gave Justin the website name and hope when he reads this it is a true account of events outside Bristol, on Tuesday afternoon. One other theme running throughout today was the police, they were never that far away.They must of heard a dog hater was entering the area. It started with a phone call to the Somerset Constabulary regarding a camera, no luck there. Followed by numerous sighting including the first car of the day, a police car with sirens through a sleepy village, a passing on a country lane, at speed, walking alongside some beat coppers and finally in Bristol some dealing with a traffic incident. Another confusing event today was me crossing into and out of Somerset, a few times. This being the North Somerset/Somerset border, I think that's over now, Gloucestershire should be my next county, sometime tomorrow. Final, talk about small single bedrooms, the one in the YHA tonight is small, however it is on the top 5th floor so no being woken by herds of elephants above, unless their on the roof. 36.4km done today, i make that over 200 miles now. This is now the second attempt at sending this, the first was with a video clip, which for some reason hasn't worked.

Day 10 Sedgemoor to Bristol

videoWoken today at 6.00, in my Sedgemoor Service Station Motel room, by who or whatever was in the room above me, herding around. After deciding to rise I left the service having no breakfast, the six pound continental option did not excite me, so i brought a number of snacks from the main service station.
Staying off the a38 to start i noticed a path across a field on the map, but this was not evident on the ground, i might have "gone for it" but for the cows in the field, so a slower option of the roads was chosen. Within half an hour i had a herd of these lovely beasts running towards me. As i made my way up the lanes, a local farmer as me to wait as he was moving a herd of young beasts for the first time from the farm into their new field home. So wait i did, confident Mr farmer new what he was doing. Then came the herd, at me, help i screamed - not really, but just at the moment the herd was meant to via left away from me, then decide to join me and my walk to Scotland. All was sorted with no injuries to man or beast.
No more cow events followed but two brave snappy dogs behind the safety of their gate decided to let me know they were their and also wanted to joint me. So from the safety of the other side of the gate i decide to fim them until the owner appeared, and even at distance, gave me such a look for "winding up" her darlings.
Following notification from work bout a new structure, i was heading for Bristol Airport, when guess what i saw, a plane, yes there was that, but more amazing out of the distance appeared Justin. So who's Justin i hear u ask, well don't be so impatient, otherwise i won't tell you.
Justin appeared walking along the a38 with a mega rucksack. This was not a rambler but a serious walker, could it be? I wondered a JOGLE'r (john o groat-lands end), get with the acronyms. Yes it was. We both stood and introduced ourselves, for both it was the first fellow adventurer.
A long chat followed, following with lashings of mutual respect. He has however, completed 80% verse my 20% but we had lots to discuss, including his start at JOG in the blizzards. I gave Justin the website name and hope when he reads this it is a true account of events outside Bristol, on Tuesday afternoon.
One other theme running throughout today was the police, they were never that far away.They must of heard a dog hater was entering the area. It started with a phone call to the Somerset Constabulary regarding a camera, no luck there. Followed by numerous sighting including the first car of the day, a police car with sirens through a sleepy village, a passing on a country lane, at speed, walking alongside some beat coppers and finally in Bristol some dealing with a traffic incident.
Another confusing event today was me reop-entering Somerset, a few times. The morning had me cross the North Somerset/Somerset border numerous times, i think that's over now, Gloucestershire should be my next, sometime tomorrow. Final, talk about small single bedrooms, the one in the YHA tonight is small, however it is on the top 5th floor so no being woken by herds of elephants above, unless their on the roof.
36.4km done today, i make that over 200 miles now.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Day 9 Taunton to Sedgemoor Services

The saga of the headphone, the camera and getting lost in towns continues, only this time with disastrous consequences. Leaving the B&B, I had been on the phone for 45 mins, the significance of this will be explained. I was also using the phones sat nav function to direct me across town, so I wouldn't get lost. Happy was I as I took a photo at the point were suddenly in Taunton, you start heading north, not east liked the whole of the last week. Without realising it, because I was so focused on the roads, the pouch holding my camera, MP3 and headphones came detached from the rucksack. It was too late when i realised, I tried back tracking, but someone is probably the owner of some new electrical equipment. Hope they give them as much hassle as they did me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In anger I swung my foot and as it was being directed towards a wall, I STOPPED, just in time.I didn't want broken toes as well, that would have halted things. So I stomped out of Taunton, waying up the options. One being no more photo's as I am destine not to have any or buy another new camera from Argos in Bridgwater. Buy a new one was agreed, (by myself). So off on the indirect route to Bridgwater it was. On arriving at BW, I was given directions to Argos which took me all around the town, only to find the new store just off the A38, (which is the new A30). So needlessly walking about 2km extra and in the process losing my map. This is not as bad as it sounds as firstly the route out is pretty much up the A38 and secondly, I have the whole of the country maps on my phone. The phone which, had rapidly been drained of power in the morning! But with turning it off/on I was ok. Now the previous week has not been good for listening to MP3's, the afternoon was ideal as there was a path the entire distance on the A38, but I had neither a MP3 or headphones. Plan B, to use my telephone was no good as had to conserve batteries. No music again! But there was one dog today, another small one, but quiet aggressive, help came from my walking pole, spearing the dog and minutes later from the owner who having a chat with someone. So to sum up the day, 40km completed, and all my photos lost. Music can be replaced.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Day 8 Tiverton to Taunton

Crossed into Somerset today in a downpour, the first day of rain on the walk, in fact the first day of anything but all day sunshine. The umbrella, a small walking one, did a grand job of keeping the majority off me, as it was too warm for any waterproofs. Following an incorrect route out of Tiverton, I was rescued by big brown signs which lead me to the beginning of the canal I was following for the morning. Navigation became easier, as i just had to keep water on my side. The side did change half way along which I managed to cope with just. Canals have the majority benefit of being able to walk down with little concern for getting lost, just need to keep an eye when to get off, however, their major disadvantage is they attract the "dog walker", the ones which let their dogs wander miles ahead up the towpath. So when 3 yappie dogs started jumping up my legs at Sampford Perville, the temptation of scooping them with my foot into the canal was almost too great to resist. Resist is what I did, only now to have the owner look at me as if I was in the wrong. Today's total of 35.6km was made easier by some great company I had walking from Wellington into Taunton. The last miles on the walk are usually the hardest, but today's final miles along the West Deane Way, flew by. Helen had found my website, prior to me walking, being interested in walking and looking at possible doing a greater range of long distance walks herself, had arrange to meet, possibly with other family members and walk into Taunton. So following meeting at Wellington we walked to her house close to my B&B, where her mother had invite me to join the family for their Sunday roast. Their hospitality was brilliant and having company was great, and would like to thank Helen and family once again. Am now looking forward to the Midland's and seeing my family again.

Rest day 1 Tiverton

No real walking blog today as its a rest day. Basically, have spent an hour of the day in the laundrette, some time in the pub watching Man Utd verses Spurs, rested, listening to new Dan Brown audio book. More pub with evening meal and Doc Who. No canal trip, as it was fully booked. Was going to show laundrette pic, but i guess you've seen enough washing.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Day 7 North Tawton to Tiverton

Today started with a mega breakfast at the Copper Keys pub, with a whole pig's worth of bacon, 2 fried eggs, 3 sausage, fries bread, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and a whole loaf worth of toast, wonder how much that would cost in the canteen at work? Once again there had been a hard frost over night. Upon leaving the pub, the first priority was to send the previous days blog, as the town did not have reception, whilst concentrating on that I managed to take a wrong turn, (once again in a town) and added probably, 0.5km to the days walk which totalled 36km. Even when I did get reception it took ages for google to send the e-mail, must speak to Jeremy.

This has been the longest day to date, and hilly, (sorry to bore you, but it will be the last time for a while). 3km's out of Tiverton, there was a 150m drop and a 90m climb, separated of course the usually stream in the dip, of course this resulted in the customary paddle. Hills are now a thing of the past, until the Lake District and Scotland, Sunday's walk starts on a canal and finishes along the river, then I progress through the lowlands of Somerset, through Bristol (not across the Clifton Bridge) up through the A38 in the Midlands with canals etc...... In a word, hilless!!!!!! Very few people out en route today, so I made up for not being able to use the MP3, on the lanes, by singing, anything from "I your happy and you know it" to "Onward Christian Soldiers". I now know why there weren't many people around, ummmm????? Saw this sign today warning me of a black dog ahead, so I proceeded with caution, only to have two white snappy dogs have a bark at me. Cunning dogs fooling me into a false sense off security (making me look for the black one!!!). By the way, I your wondering why so many mistake in the typing, its a bit difficult, typing on a qwerty keyboard 20 x 70mm, with fat fingers. That my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Rest day tomorrow in Tiverton, don't know what to do yet, either canal trip, watch footy in a bar or go for a walk on the River Exe. Well I've been walking for a week, around 130+ miles done, but it doesn't seem like any weight lost. My trousers are just as tight!!! Am now developing a theory, (have lots of time to do those) I've seen myself as a carthorse when its comes to walking, steady pace, carrying weight.... But now I'm seeing myself as a camel, only a camel has its hump on his back, mines on me front, he's a ship of the desert, I'm a ship of ???????, I'll let you make your own minds up.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Day 6 Stowford to North Tawton

Great walk today, totalling 33km. It's amazing how a walk of similar distance and ascent can be so different. Compared to yesterday I seemed to fly along today. Had I kept walking I would have reached the accommodation at 16.00, instead I had a 45 minute break, basking myself in the sun, beside the river on the Tarka Trial. Not a pretty side, thank god no one else was around! Weather remains a bonus with good weather forecast to Tuesday, tomorrow looks the hottest at 20C. Shorts again, those lily white legs are being exposed again, Devon doesn't know what's hit it. Last night washing was not dried this morning, so when I hit the bike trial into Oakhampton, I took the opportunity to raise my walking poles either side of my rucksack and suspend my washing one item at a time to them. This had two consequences, first, any person I passed, and there where numerous, did their best to ignore me, I took great pleasure in looking straight at them and saying "Good morning" forcing them to respond. Secondary, when I did this I was walking along a exposed area, where I had a wind in my face, so far from getting any wind assisted advantage, I was force to work harder, even having to lash my Berghaus top to the rucksack to stop it taking off. The top took 15 minutes, trousers 15 mins, boxers 10 mins and the socks, never completely dried, although I did walk through Oakhampton with them sticking up on the end of the poles. Took advantage in Oakhampton to replenish supplies, new headphones, German's back on the curriculum, especially as I haven't a TV tonight. Also, brought some thinner sock to relieve the pressure on my toes with my Asics trainers on. This morning also saw me walk through the first 100 mile barrier, on the approach to the edge of Dartmoor. Like Bodmin the scenery looks spectacular. During the course of today, I approached it from the west and then ended up walking away from it. Once again somewhere to return to and investigate later. Can I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has commented to the blogs, text me, mailed me etc..... This really does help me keep going. Its great also to receive comments from new readers to the blog, who personally I don't know, but encourage to know my words aren't going to waste. Pete, grub is an insect often bitten into when eating fruit or food, not a greeting!!!!!! Just sorry I can not reply to all the comments, please keep them coming. 2 barking dogs at distance today and no uphill at the end. I've got that to look forward to tomorrow morning. No reception in pub where staying so had to walk uphill to sent blog.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Day 5 Jamaica Inn to Stowford

After talking ghosts with the manager of the Jamaica Inn, I left forgetting my map. After returning to retrieve it from my room I left a second time for real. I had a choice for the first 6km of A30 or a longer trek on not clearly defined paths, previously confirmed on goggle maps. My experience thus far, of off road tracks on day 2, was ending up shin deep in mud twice. Guess which I took, so kitted in hi vis yellow, I marched on up my 1m wide corridor of the A30, the bit between the stony, un-levelled ground and the solid white line at which things that side go very fast. Trucks at 60mph being the slowest. Now entered choice 2, to get off the A30 and head up through Launcester or a shorter, more boring walk. I head for the town. En route I contacted the night's accommodation, a farm where I am writing this from, who confirmed there was no pub near, disaster! No beer, or food. I decided to change the routine and eat at lunch, stopping in Launcester. A nice sweet and sour pork followed, this however had a effect on slowing down my walking pace to a crawl. Getting out of Launcester, became an issue. I can navigate across mountains, but towns are 10x worse. GPS is useless in these circumstances, so what do you do? easy, get yourself a local. He quickly pointed out the Two Castle Trial, which I then followed.

Before I knew it, without being prepared for it I reached Devon, hurray, one county down, and a bloody long one too. Gone are all the names beginning with Tre, thinking of changing mine to Treruss! And got are those black with a white cross Cornwall flags. Devon started with guess what. A hill. Had another paddle late in the afternoon to revive my burning soles, before eventually getting to the farm at 5.35. The last 4 days, all the walks have had a stings in their tails, with a uphill climbs to the accommodation. Todays, however was the steepest. Was going to listen to an audio book tonight and learn a bit of German, but I've busted my headphones so i can't, have to watch Waterloo Road instead. Today's distance was 33.6km, thought it was only going to be 29km, but must be all those "small" diversions. Lovely peacocks here.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Day 4 Indian Queens to Jamaica Inn

Today's ascent was reckoned as 660m and boy, did feel everyone of them, along with every metre of the 34.6km's. It has been a real interesting walk today. Walking through the town of Bodmin, before walking up onto the famous Bodmin Moor. In the town I passed the jail, before the long uphill walk out. The views across the moors have been spectacular, must come back and walk across it someday. Unfortunately more A30 walking today, but on the dual carriageway most the way, where you only have to concentrate on a single flow of traffic. During an excursion off it, I crossed a small stream, where I couldn't resist a paddle. What a relief!!!!!! Will certainly try that again. Have ended up a the Jamaica Inn where I am staying. It has lots of smuggling history and is haunted, just hope I get a decent sleep, a few more pints of Stella will assist with that, if not all my drying clothes around the room certainly will. Have just finished a lasagna which certainly makes up for the disappointing meal last night. Generally food has been good, but tonight's tops it so far, its a nice feeling to be stuffed on good food. I think I've just put back on the weight I'd lost. I remembered today crossing the moor the stories of the " beast of Bodmin Moor", rumour has it, there have been sightings today of him, in hi vis close to the A30. I'd kept my eyes opened but didn't see anything, apart from a strange 17stone creature, barefooted in a stream trying to capture his favourite fish. No dog events today.

Day 3 Redruth to Indian Queens

Missed title from last post and did I mention saw my first plane today,where a jet at 15.30, thought the southern skies were still closed.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Today's walk went with the trend by being longer than the previous days, the grand total being 32.6km. Total to date being around 50 miles. Observe the way I switch easily between metric and imperial. The walk for the most part was through Cornish lanes, with hedges teeming with wildlife. Another feature that appeared today was wind farms, anyone who has travelled the A30 in Cornwall must have noticed these. Speaking of the A30, I had my first encounter with it today, where I crossed it numerous times before walking along it for a mile on probably the most dangerous part of it. This being the single carriages, looking over Newquay, here the verge disappears, to be replaced by a bank with a foot wide flat. Tight rope walking with juggernauts passing with major turbulence. Was glad to get off there, only after I had taken pics of Newquay, the wind turbines and me in my hi vis matching gear, coat, (in the hot sun), rucksack cover and flag. More on the flag on another night. Two dogs today from behind gates, so no confrontational encounters, lots of being stared out by cows, luckily behind fences, because there as evil as dogs. Beginning now to get into my walking routine, walking 2 hours, having my toast and fruit juice that I nick from breakfast. Walk 2 more hours and have a cereal bar and hot drink, by which time its around 13.30 and I've normally covered 20km, then I just slow right down taking a break every 30 mins, no rushed, just enjoy the views. Tonight I spoke over the phone, through the loudspeaker to the training session of Special Olympics Redditch, one of the charities, just to let everyone know how I am getting along.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Day 2 Penzance to Redruth

Usual stuff first, walked from Penzance to Redruth today which was just short of 30km, so it was the first day of the regular distance, and boy do I know about it. As well as the first day of the full distance, it was the first day carrying the full weight rucksack. Now during my training walks I had carried the majority of my planned kit, but somehow the weight has increased, such, that at the end of today, its not my legs which have suffered by my shoulders. (arrh poor him I hear you say - not, earn your sponsor money more like it) Good news, no barking dogs today, lots of dog walkers along the coast at Penzance, gladly well behaved. Beginning to develop a routine now, including washing, which I did for the first time tonight. If it fails to dry it will be posted on my polls tomorrow sticking up from my rucksack, a portable washing line. Photo is of St Michael Mount ,which was first seen yesterday, but passed at 10.00 this morning. (Graham as you said it was certainly a worthy sight)

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Day 1 Lands End to Penzance

Day started well with a great journey down here, arrived at 11.30, ahead of schedule. After something to eat, the photo by the signpost (£12.50) and collecting a stone to deliver to Scotland, I left at 12.30. Within 1 minute of leaving the first problem happened, my new camera, brought especially for the walk started eating batteries. A new set of batteries then only lasting 2 photo's. This has been rectified by lots of abuse and a new camera purchased at Penzance. Walk went well 19.5km in only 4 hours, with the exception of having 3 dogs bark at me. For those who don't know I am not confident around dogs and they always target me. During the course of this blog I will count the amount of time that satan's animal bark at me. No road kill observed today so little for dinner tonight. So, you could say I'm really off now, so would you be after a days walk in the sun!!!! Talking about the weather the blue sky's with no vapour trails were brill, however the Scilly Isle helicopter was a regular visitor overhead.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Ready for the off - will it all fit in???????

All final preparations are now complete. Bag is packed, how come 13kg suddenly fells so heavy? A few additional items have found their way into the bag, but just wondering should i include any specialised equipment to cope with the ash cloud. Mask etc... Leaving home at 7.00 tomorrow morning and hope to reach LE by 12.00. Will then hang around signing the book,taking photos,sarnies etc to about 13.00 and then head off. The planned walk is 18.5 km to Penzance,approach Penzance from the south along the coast. Weather looks promising so, as long as thet don't close the motorway tomorrow due to the cloud then all will be well.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Final preparations underway

Just completing final preparations, checking maps and downloads etc and replacing a stuff sac which has already riped, without use?
Need to get walking now, as the treadmill has just given up on me. the belt just stays still when trod upon. regardless of being tensioned. Suppose the cost of replacement when I get back is another hidden cost of the walk, arhh well its been a good servant this last year of abuse.
One final prep walk planned on Sunday, walking over to Shirley and back, with a pub meal with parents in between. That will be just short of 20 miles. and a pint or two.
Still can't decide whether to notify the local paper or not, just can't make my mind up. It'll be too late soon anyway so that maybe the deciding factor, suppose could always contact them en route, who knows??
Been sorting out communication from my phone and just about perfected sending blog updates, some may have seen entries come in and out of the blog, this is the reason.
Have been receiving daily updates of Steve who set off on his LEJOG last Saturday, sounds like his really enjoying himself and heard from Richard in Australia today, who's starts later on. Nice to now there's other mad enough to undertake the walk.
Was reminded about Ian Botham's initial walk (John O'Groats to Land's End - 25 years ago) a few days ago, as Jaguar Cars, who I work for are support his walk adventure this year walking in a number of cities with support vehicle's, Jaguar XF's I believe. (see http://www.beefy25.com/). He starts Saturday (10th) at Heaton Park, a lovely place where I started off from on the Thirlmere Way (a walk from Mancester to the Lakes)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

With just to weeks to go, training has been reduced, however, I still fancy a long walk over the Easter break, will decide on a location and day tomorrow. This week saw me reach my weight target set 15 months ago, not a major lose but just a steady drop. They reckon your lose on average 14-20 lbs during the walk, we'll see, I probably end up back were I was 15 months ago with all the English breakfasts and pub dinners.
The picture shown is the Vine Pub (Kinver), which I recently passed on a walk and is pick up point for my rest day at home at the end of the second week. The next time I set off from there my end destination won't be Stourbridge, like last time, but John O'Groats.
Yesterday saw panic stations as I happened to phone on the B&B's up to ask a question, only to find out there didn't have me booked in, this was simply corrected as they had space. I then proceeded to phone all up, which I had not sent deposits or paid in full, only to find another didn't have any record of me and was full up. I have since found alternative accommodation (not the bus shelter as I feared) but further back on the trial. So the two days which were evenly split are now 18 and 23 mile long. The final insult was the B&B owner saw it as my fault for booking to early (last September), not hers for losing my booking.
Over the last week I have transfer my entire walk onto google maps, split into daily sections. There are a lot of road sections which are on google, however, I have alternatives for most days (such as the Severn Way in lieu of the A38 up to Worcester) to get me off the roads, subject to tiredness and weather. Google Maps is great as it lets you drag the "yellow man " down to street level and see whether paths exist etc. My route has been modified in a couple of locations with this info. The majority of the country has recently been updated to this street level view, just in time for me. Google Maps gets a definite thumbs up.
The maps have now been loaded by Ade onto the website (www.russwalk.co.uk), so my Mum and other can see the route.