Friday, 30 December 2011

2011, A Good Year

Walks since last entry, have now arrived on the edge of Cannock Chase following two walks on the Staffordshire Way from Uttoxeter, split at Abbots Bromley. Additionally, in order to complete some walking without too much travelling over the Christmas Holiday we have started the Arden Way, probably the closest LDW to home, which shares some off it distance with the Heart of England Way. We are 2/3's the way through with the final leg planned for Monday 2nd, the first walk of 2012.
To begin to regain the mountain legs I have completed walks along the Clywdian Hills (memories of Offa's Dyke), the Roaches, with a visit to Lud's Church (Photos) and a walk over Win Hill (Ladybowers Res.) following cancelling a walk up ton the Yorkshire 3 peaks due to wind. Both the Clywdian's walk and the Win Hill walk where completed with a good dosing of the wet stuff.
I now find myself at Abington on the treadmill JOGLE simulated walk.
Adding up the mileage for this year both in the real world (majority) and the treadmill (minority) I have totalled a sum of 932miles, not back considering the ankle injury mid year.
Looking forward to next year, I have added additional days to the Pennine Way plan, now to include the St Oswald Way from Hadrain's Way to the North Sea Coast. As I am in the neighbourhood, and need to complete this walk as part of walking from the Lizard to Berwick, I have decided to extend the walk 3 days, now to 21 days. Don't know whether I'll think its a good idea as I approach Kirk Yetholm (God Willing).

I am adding two UK maps with the LDW completed to day (not including any previous mountain adventures) and the planned walks for the next two years. (Click on maps to expand) These focusing on E2 (including the Thames Way), Lizard to Berwick (SW 2 NE) and finally finishing of the B'ham to Aber (a must for next year)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Focus back on E2

Have now with a further 2 walks got the B'ham to Aber Walk upto 90% complete, not without a few encounters with cows. The final walk to complete, the walk into Aber. itself, I have postponed until next year. The reasons being it being a lenghty walk and the light available getting less by the day and also my means of getting to the start of the walk, the Vale of Rheidol Railway, has stopped for the winter. So the plan is I make a weekend of it next year including an assault on Plynlimon, a summit which has been missed on a few occasions.
Focus has now switched back to the E2 European Walk.

Along with my wife I am now 40% the way down the Staffordshire Way, having yesterday walked into Uttoxeter with muddy boots, Must admit quite enjoying it so far, with Cannock Chase not too far of.

Additional I have started across the Oxfordshire Way, having left Bourton on the Water.Tomorrow I plan to meet up with the Oxford Canal before turning South to Oxford itself. (Another day off from work walking)From there I'll be joining the Thames Way, I have planned seven walks to end up south of Weybridge and the meeting with the North Downs Way. These seven are the next walks planned on my own, before then concentrating attention to getting from the Staffs Way to the Pennine Way. May chose to continue and complete the Thames Way - be ashame not to.

So all being well by next year I'll have covered Melrose to South London. With the North Downs and Southern Upland Way left. That's as long as there are no twisted ankles.... en route.
Latest on the virtual JOGLE I'm doing on the treadmill, I have just walked into Glasgow, having covered the distance from John O Groats, via the A9, Great Glen and West Highlands Way on the treadmill in the last year and a quarter. Next target the border.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Harder than Snowdon!

First off, things back to normal with the weather, another rain free walk.
A planned walk up Snowdon, ended up being another leg of the B'ham to Aber Walk completed. After finding out no-one else wanted to climb mountains I changed the plan to walk from Knighton and take the walk tally upto 80% complete. Funny fact was I walk over 1000m's of ascent on the rolling hills in mid Wales, greater than I would have if I'd climbed to the tallest mountain in Wales, added to which the distance was greater with the walk totalling 28km.
All the way down, just to go back up
I've noticed reading other blogs the fashionable walk this year is cross the country, I have been reading with interest numerous accounts of east the west and west to east walks. Upon entering yesterday's walk onto the mapping software I suddenly realised, that I to was in pursuit of this walk. On finishing the B'ham to Aber, starting at the coast of Wales and ending in Gas Street Basin (Birmingham), and adding to it a walk that I am I am also partially complete in,  walking the lenght of the Grand Union Canal ending in London. Put together that counts as a wonky east to west (or East to South West!!)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A weekend up the Lakes

A few more Wainwrights to tick off following the weekend’s trip to the lakes. My good fortune with the weather finally came to an end, both of this years LDP's have been completed in the glorious sun, likewise all my other walks, but I have seen some weather in the last 3 days. Three days of rain and gale force winds, with Monday experiencing the effect of Hurricane Katia. Never walked in a hurricane before! According to the spreadsheet, 154 now completed, with 60 remaining, most of these being the lower fells, so I expect a few more to be completed in my pursuit to regain my mountain legs.
The weekend's most challenging fell, (ignoring the weather) was Little Mell Fell, the first fell of the second day. Ascent of this fell from The Hause (south), where I’d parked was probably the most direct fell that I’ve walked to date. Straight up, with rain free views as well. Trouble started on the descent, rather than return the same direction I’d decided to descend to the north, following a path (ha ha) in Wainwrights pictorial guide. There was no path in the initial descent, but worse was to come. After squeezing between barbed wire and a fence to access the path, the path then became a challenge of water logged ground, trees, undergrowth and severe overgrowth, stiles which did not work (rotten), and lots of obstacles. Reaching the road at the end was most welcome.
Monday, the third day saw me finally meeting up with Graham, who was now on the remaining week of his challenge, climbing all 214 fells in a year. Since hearing about his challenge, we'd planned to met and summit some together. However, holidays, injuries and other obstacles had conspired to stop us. With time running out, Monday was the last opportunity. On arranging the walk, little was we to know that there would be the remains of a hurricane to once again conspire against us.
Meeting at Hartsop, in the blustery driving rain, we set off to attempt a climb onto Gray Crag. At only 200m the wind was sufficient to blow us off our feet. Not a good omen. Continually battling against the wind, with often stops to brace ourselves against the blusts, it soon became apparent that no summit would be reached that day. The summit walk was aborted after reaching the crest of the hill. With no shelter from the constant high wind which was able to blow us over if we raised ourselves from a crouched position we decided it was not safe to go any future.
At this point, the wind removed my pro shell cap, clear from my head and sent it flying over the hill. Lost into the beck and onto Brotherswater, I thought. To make something of the day we decided to take the relative shelter of the mountain and head up the path for Hayeswater Reservoir. After ten of so minutes on the path, out of no-where sitting in a dip on the path lay my cap. How it did not make its way further down the hillside I’ll never know.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Bank Holiday Weekend Wanders

The Staffordshire Way has now been started with an interesting walk away from the start at Mow Cop, with great views, looking over the Cheshire Plain intoWales, North West and the Jodrell Bank radio telescope. Views were bettered following the climb onto "The Cloud". Leg1 finished at Rushton Spencer, Leg 2 looks as interesting, with a walk alongside Rudyard Water on towards Leek, this is now planned for the end of September.
Whilst up on “The Cloud”, we were exposed to views of the Berwyn’s, sitting elevated behind the Peckforton Hills on the Sandstone Trail . The Berwyn’s being my destination on the following day (bank holiday Monday). Having climbed onto the Berwyn’s and Moel Sync back in 07, I reserved most of the route, but missed the stone circles (sheep) with an alternative walk to Craig Berwyn. Views on top were as good as I’d remembered.

This walk with almost 1000m ascent was the first of many more mountainous walks I’m planning to regain my mountain legs, which I’ve lost in the last year. A trip to the lakes to join Graham is now planned, replacing the aborted trip from earlier this year with my sprained ankle. So, 13 summits in 3 days, in the Far Eastern Fells, with my tent making reappearance.

Looking forward, routes across Dartmoor, the Roaches, Arenig Fach, and returns to the Arans and Cadair Idris are being planned to re-build those legs and heart muscles.

Next years LDW, the Pennine Way, has now been planned, to be an 18 day venture with a mixture of camping and hostels. (Those mountain legs will be seriously welcome for that walk) Daily schedules are now set with accommodation identified. Just when? July now looking favourable.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

c2m concluding part

A somewhat late second and concluding entry to my recent c2c and Thirlmere way 165 mile walk. I'd hoped to make daily entries en route as the previous years walk, but found this difficult due to time and technology issues (over 2 hours to send the previous blog). Instead, I’d kept notes, which I later used to expand upon.

Casualties of walk were a lost bandanna, on the last but one day and my foam bed roll. This ended the week having been assaulted by the plentiful quantity of tight kissing gates on the walk, which appeared go get smaller as the walk continued (or maybe I was getting bigger). Comfort wise, the foam mat was not too good, next year I will consider a low weight inflatable mat, an additional 200g to be offset

Throughout the whole walk there were a couple of common themes which kept returning, one of which was on all days of the walk helicopters were heard/seen. From them flying just overhead as we entered Patterdale, having them hover overhead during the entire walk down Haweswater, to having a late appearance, later in the walk, just as I was considering a day clear of them.

The quality of paths certainly changed from the C2C to the TW. The TW, uses local paths on the OS maps, which on the ground aren't as clear as the map.

One such occasion which will scar me for life was a diagonal crossing of a number of fields. Had I followed the roads it would have taken around 15 minutes to cover what it took the best part of an hour to actually complete. First saw me belly crawl under an electrical fence, then leap a ditch, into a bank of stingers into a field with no clear exit. (this took a number of aborted attempts as I pluck up the bottle to undertake). The choice I was presented with was to either return via the ditch and fence to the road, or climb into someone's back garden and exit along the side of the house. Option 2 was taken, being the shortest, however, during my hasty walk across the graveled surface (hard to be stealthy on that stuff) I found myself confronted by the home owner. Some fast talking and excuses saw my safe exit, as I stated, scarred for life!!!

Whilst the C2C followed a reasonable easterly route, after the initial diversion around the coast, the same could not be said for the directness of the Thirlmere Way. For the 6 days I followed the walk, I found myself zig zagging down the countryside. The walk resembled a sawtooth walk, numerous times heading east followed by a route south west. Adding numerous miles over a more direct southerly route. As the path is meant to follow the water supply line to Manchester, I can't imagine that zig zags as much. Only once on the whole route did I know I was directly over the pipes that were where the pipes cross the river Lune. Here they are carried on a bridge, so I have no idea, how many times I crossed the pipes.

Stopping at numerous campsites, there was a significant difference between those in the lakes, where the campers where based in smaller tents and generally set for quicker pitches, to those holiday type sites out of the lakes, with larger family tents and all the kit, generally delivered by vehicle. The Saturday pitch at Dolpinholme had me on such a site with my single burner stove. Having a Pot noodle breakfast, whilst all the group campers around pigged out on their full English, no jealousy there!!!

Took week to establish how to best live in a single man tent, but this ended up being comfortable and normal, so much so that the B&B I’d tested my self to on the last night at end, seemed extravagance and total indulgence and I almost missed my tent.

As a training run for next years Pennine way, it was a good exercise, but I’m now looking to remove upto 1kg from load. With the exception of the last 15 minutes of the walk, I walk was dry and mostly sunny with high temperatures, so I never tested the tent in colder or a wet environment. So any weight savings from sleeping bag size/waterproofs etc are difficult to assess and maybe offset from the need for additional fluids, given the quantity of fluid drunk this year, particularly with going up the ascent. (Plenty of that on the PW).

Thursday, 28 July 2011

c2m update

Apologies for no earlier blog, but for various reasons its been
difficult. The first and main reason has been time. Walking with
others for the first four days has restricted the time at the end of
the day for blogging. Usually during my meal i would type it
in,however being with others i have had to be social.
Other time factors included the camping tasks, such as pitching and
other jobs, all excuses but i don't know where the times gone, to be
trueful, i dont know what day it is, lost track of those a while ago.
The other excuse is the keyboard on my new phone is run from touch
screen and not a pullout one like last year. As it only works with
fingers and not a probe, i am constant entering the wrong letter due
to my fat fingers, about 15 mistypes in the last sentance, bloody
fustrating all those z's instrad of a's.
I am currently on the outskirts of kendal, having just finishef a
short rest day. I am now striking south for lancastershire, in a zig
zag fashion, following the thirlmere way, when the path allows me. I
left the c2c yesterday at shap, walking over the sodden mountains to
kendal. At one stage i actually became part ot the mountain as the
peat bog consumed me upto thigh level.
The 4 c2c days have been challenging with all the ascent in such hot,
baking weather. Thats right, hot dry and lakes, three words which dont
often go together. At the end of day two, we found ourselves in
borrowdale, wettest place in england in the glorious sunshine.
Another highlight of the first four dzys has been the comardary built
up between the walkers all engaged in completing the same legs of the
walk. The constant bumping into, having flitting chats and moving on,
not knowing names, but giving them nicknames, one group named all by
the rucksack colour..... I'll miss that now i'm away from a main
trial, jealous of ade and simon whp will probally have it to their end
of the c2c.
The downside to the warm weather has been the bugs and tje number of
times i've been bit,currentlt right wrist, calf and earlobe are
swollen from bits. Gladly though no dog events yet.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Countdown to next LDW

Ankle now on the mend, enabling me last week to completed another leg of the Birmingham to Aberwysth walk. This walk went from Ludlow to Leintwardine, totaling 21km, over ground which was defiantly not level, a real test for my ankle's stability and strength. Looking forward to upping this to 29km this weekend, once again on the BTA walk. Once done, I'll be circa 70% completed, with finishing the whole walk likely in 2011.
Time is now getting close for my next long distance walk, this being the C2C, only this being the coast to Chorley walk, a hybrid of the usual C2C and the Thirlmere Way.
Initial plan was to walk to Kirkby Stephens and catch a bus to Kendal, but in the last week I have changed this to walk to Shap and leave the C2C a day earlier. Instead of a bus to Kendal, I plan now to walk via the Mosedale valley and the hills to Kendal, staying at Kendal YHA, which remains open.
Walk starts 23/7 some seven weeks following my ankle injury, just hoping its upto 11 days walking, no way of testing beforehand.
Rehabilitation has also included exercising on the x trainer instead of the treadmill. I have added distance covered to the ongoing simulated walk down the country, now finding myself at the bridge of Orchy.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Ambleside Trip

Just back from a week in the lakes where based in Ambleside, I summited 6 more Wainwright's thus bringing the total ascended to 140, with 74 more to do. The six were completed in 2 days walk, the first in the Troutbeck Valley. Shallow, Sour Howes and Troutbeck Tongue where walked with my wife with a walk of 19.8 km and some 824m ascent.The second three, started with a delightful walk along the Scandale Pass out of Ambleside in the glories sun on the last day of the holiday (Friday). Little Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd and Middle Dodd the targets. In completing the summits I manage to fall over on my ankle, such that it twisted outwards in my boot, falling over I knew things weren't too good, but gathered I was better off keeping it all stuffed in my boot. Coming of the hills hurt, so at the base prior to the 5 mile walk back to Ambleside I took off my boot and witnessed a tennis ball size lump out the lh side of my lh ankle. A 30 minute soak in a cold stream and 2 painkillers helped suppress the pain enough for the walk back.The ankle and foot have since gone into super swell mode, where my foot is about twice its normal size. A hospital visit has now confirmed no break but rest, elevation, ice, painkillers and also crutches specified. With a 3 day walk planned in 3 weeks I am now just hoping for a fast recovery, at the moment I couldn't even get the boot on.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

So Mr Whitmore we meet?

One year ago today, there I was on a rest day in Fort William, you may remember the blog, its the one about Star Trek. Boy was I off with the fairies that day!! Anyway, yep a year ago I was in Fort William, which is exactly where I am in my walk down the country on the treadmill. So hence the title of meeting myself, albeit a year later.
Last year I remember this being a particular good period in the walk, having just completed the West Highland Way, with the company of Blair and just before heading off up the Great Glen. Yes, Ms Bradbury's programme a few weeks ago on the Caledonian Canal brought back memories of a great days walk, how I felt in the home straight (only had about 180 miles left!!)Back to the present. I'm going to undertake a challenge on the treadmill walk which I missed last year, that's a diversion up Ben Nevis, simulated on the treadmill. Unfortunately the mill on goes upto 10 degrees, so short of propping on end up against the wall or sticking books under one end then I think its going to be the fastest ascent/descent in history. (No screaming knees coming down the steps this time). Given the 2D distance is on a couple of km, then all should be complete in about 40 minutes. I can then set of out of Fort William southbound.
Just had a thought, when I walk through Larkhall, on the simulated walk, I'm going "flick the "V's"" all the way, you can tell I'm still not impressed with that place.
Recent walking adventures have included strides over two of the local hill ranges and the completion of the Severn Way.
Having previously discussed the hike/camp option and purchase of a single man tent, the time was right to put it to the test, or me to the test. So, parking up in Mid Wales, I spent 2 night under canvas, whilst taking the opportunity to complete the first 30 odd miles of the River Severn. From its source up on the side of "Plynlimon" down to Newtown, thus completing all of the LDP. The walk upto and from the source was cracking, a great day weatherwise and also great to see the longest river develop from a muddy puddle to a flowing wide river. To think of the outlet into the Bristol Channel and the 2 massive bridges, compare to the trickle and the small wooden bridge, all in 210 miles.
The walk had me ascending some 2000m over the two days (mostly undulating the second day). This and the recent walks up the hills is the start of my warm up to the next LDP (or paths). In less than 10 weeks I'm off to start the C2C (coast to coast), but this time I do not intend to complete it, just reach Kirkby Stephens, (just short of 1/2 way). Having covered the best bit (my view) I will swing south and head toward Manchester, leaving two companions to continue eastwards. (just hope they realise and don't follow me - there a bit daft that way!)
The southerly route will follow a little known LDP called the Thirlmere Way. This path goes from the dam on Thirlmere Lake (Lakes) following the route of the tunnel which delivers water to Manchester. I have complete bits at either end but now wish to join these up by walking to Abbey Village. Completion will mean another part competed path being finished, this years objective. Prior to starting this I will also used further legs of the Birmingham to Aberwysth Walk to regain my mountain legs, likewise I have some scheduled meetings with Lakeland mountains, both next week during my family week holiday in Ambleside. And also the end of June where I will meet up with an old friend, I met walking once (he was walking JOGLE). He is currently climbing all the Wainwright's in this his 60th year for charity, so I look forward to the walking and meeting up again.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

And what of Mr B?

In my recent summing up of the final days of the St Cuthberts Way, I failed to mention whether Mr B made it all the way to Holy Island. for those who have read the daily enters of this walk, you will know we were constantly accompanied by Mr B. Wherever we went a bee, (Mr B) would be buzzing around.
Well, sad news, I can say we never came across him whilst on Holy Island, there was a lack of any airborne insects there, maybe consumed by the bountiful numbers of birds or maybe to scared to cross the causeway, in case of the tide coming in and not being able to land and rest. After all they can not read the tide timetable.
As we all know insects can't read.
My theory on his disappearance is somewhat different.
If you don't like sad stories, leave now - you've been warned........
Anyway for those who are left. My theory is down to the path of the St Cuthberts Way. I'm sure I heard him happily buzzing shortly before arriving at the causeway, about the same time we crossed the main East Coast Train Line, and the arrival of that fast inter city train.... get where I'm coming from? Well I reckon he arrived in Edinburgh on the from of the Inter City train, some 65 miles away before we reached Holy Island. Following the Northumberland Coast up to Berwick, which surprising brings me onto the subject of the Northumberland Coast Path.
Not knowing of these walk before, we stumbled on a book (as well as the St Oswald Way) whilst on Holy Island. As we fell in love (arhhh) with this area during the SCW (why didn't I use that 3 letter acronym earilier, I ask myself) our next LDP together will be the NCP (started use of that acoryn nice and early - lessons learnt and all that). That following my solo Pennine Way (no friends me, or non who are up for longer LDP's). So subject to the Mayan calendar not being correct and the world ending 21/12/2012, we'll be doing it in 2013...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

days 5 & 6 wooler to fenwick to Holy Island

Just to catch up on the fin. 2 dats of the St Cuthberts Way for those
worried we hadn't actually made it to the end. Well we did, and what
an end it was, onto that later.
Firstly day 5, following our great curry in Wooler (that had to be the
meal of the trip) we had an undulating days walk over the hills of
Northumberland, we thought we'd finished the hills with the Cheviot,
but no. Towards the end of the day, everything happened together, with
a detour to St Cuthberts cave and almost immediately after our first
detailed sighting of the coast, we'd seen it on the horizon the day
before but we could make out the end of the walk on Holy Island.
So onto the final days walk over the causeway onto Holy Island and the
end. I was for following the Pilgrims Trail across the sands, marked
by wooden posts and a refuse elevated platform, by Jo was for
following some Germans walking along the road (we'd sat behind them at
the previous nights meal -that's how we know)
Along with all the us making a crossing whilst the tide was low was
aload of tourists. When we arrived the place was heaving with people,
so after the photo at the end we chose a quite bay to sit in, here we
stayed until the tide came in. When we returned to the village it was
empty and all shut, what a difference to before.
The journey home was uneventful apart from a shopping trip to Gretna
Village, remember passing there on my LEJOG.

Monday, 18 April 2011

day 4 hethpool to wooler

The "S's", sun, scenery, song and snakes.
The walk over to Woller had them all, firstly sun, it was a glorious
blue sky day all day.
Next, scenery, lots of that to, walking through the Northumberland
National Park, upp at 300m+ for most of the day, with outstanding
views over th Cheviot Hills, and of course the view over to the
Cheviot itself, standing at 800m+. (do that next year on the Pennine
Next song, bird song all day. Like all the walk we have been
surrounded by nature, never for from a bird, bee or a snake.
Yes lastly a snake, I've been on the lookout for snakes most the time
I've been walking and the in the middle of the path, right up on the
moors, an adder.
Unfortunately no pictures, low battery on the phone, so will have to
wait for the main camera to be downloaded.
Finally had a bostin curry last nite, best for a long time, highly
recommend the Spice Village Curry House in Wooler, if anyones up this

Sunday, 17 April 2011

day 3morebattle to hethpool

Today's was a longer walk then yesterdays and had us walking up/down,
up/down. In-between we found ourselves in the delightful town of Kirk
Yetholm, those walkers reading the blog will immediately know the
name, realising it is infact the northern end of the Pennine Way. Next
years walk and blog....
Entering the town occurred exactly one year to the second, to me
starting my LEJOG. This time last year I was writing the first blog of
that adventure.
As the evenings accommodation did not have a local pub we decided to
eat in KY, a filling baguette was consumed at the pub which marks the
end of the Pennine Way. Leaving the pub we then shared the Pennine Way
for a few miles, mainly uphill. For the second time in the day (first
straight after breakfast)an ascent was made on a full stomach. After
leaving the Pennine Way, a variety of things quickly occurred, firstly
we crossed the border, entry we difficult as we did not have our
passports. Secondly, the path changed. The grass changed colour, the
ground boggy'r and the features which assisted the walker all the way
thro the Scottish part, i.e.steps, bridges etc. ceased. Every man for
himself thro the bog and stream crossings. Waymarking which has been
excellent until the border, now seems to be gradually worsening.
Mr B's been back, not as often as yesterday, doesn't like the hills,
prefers the road walk, I mean flying.
On top of the first hill we met a welcome plaque, declaring both the
highest point and half way, this after two and a half days of six
days, second half looks to be easier (hope I haven't spoken too soon)

Friday, 15 April 2011

day 2 ancrum to morebattle

During the night was woken by alarm at the next door golf diving
range, didn't look out the window to see what was happening, as last
time I when at home, there was some idiot up a ladder trying to turn
off his alarm, failing and keeping all awake. Didn't want to
experience that sight again. (Ade)
Quickly establishing a routine, most carry over from last year,
breakfast/walk/pub meal/beer/sleep........
Yesterday's jet fighter's, sorry didn't include them in last nights
blog, despite them being around all day, never materised today, must
have run out of spares.
Mr Bee continued following today, there was barely a minute which was
shared without the buzz of a bee, Jo says its the sign of a good
summer. I'm sure it still the same one going all the way to the coast.
Both yesterday afternoon and this morning we follow the route of an
old roman road, called Dere Street. Whilst being recognised for their
civil engineering abilities in building roads, (they must have had
degrees, to make them that capable), they must have also invented the
walker's curse of the "stile". As before Dere Street we had not come
across a stile, yet Dere Street was littered with them. I'm sure one
of them had "Caesar waz ere" scribe into it.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Day 1, Melrose to Jedburgh

Great first day with no moans from Jo. We've had a return of the dogs,
only not me this time, I was behind Jo cringing, when she was showing
me how, to approach dogs confidently and stroke them, only this time
the dog barked at her and bolted off. The next dog passed had us both
cringing and pushing the other forward.
After a big breakfast and a stroll to the Abbey to start the walk, the
first obstacle to clear was a pair of hills, which we passed in the
col between them, still a sharp climb, first thing in the morning.
The day then settle day to lots of walking alongside water, along
different rivers, finishing with crossing on a suspension bridge with
swayed and rocked much to Jo's horror and my amusement. Shame on me,
bridges are easy, its dogs I find difficult.
The weather has been a real surprise with the sun showing itself,
didn't expect that in Scotland, after all it is on the Artic Circle
isn't it?
With the warmer weather we suddenly noticed a number of bees which
were around. After never seeing more than one at any one location, we
quickly establish it was in fact the same bee. Initial we thought it
was following us, but eventually settled on him, like us was walking,
sorry flighing the st cuthbert's way. Don't know where his staying
tonight, but I'm sure we'll see him later on route.
Just finishing off my mars bar balti in a curry house in Jedburgh, my
reward for the 27km today and tomorrows energy (Jo's had veggie again
- she's doing the whole week on vegatables and no chocolate) Just
having her after 8 mint, nice

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Day 0 - Melrose ready for the off

Back on the road and remembering how to send mobile blogs, guess if
your reading this I've remember, if your not reading it, then can't
explain that one.
Here in Melrose ready for the off and the longest leg tomorrow, things
looking up as Jo has just committed to not moan for the whole week,
may get away without having to listen to my ipod after all.
Journey went well up here today, did bore Jo, whilst driving up here
about where I walked, stayed and also "Pee'd" as I walked parallel to
the motorway last year. Had one stop at Lancaster Services (Forton),
which I remember seeing on last years LEJOG.
Only had a quick break, including a skinny latte at Costa's,
shouldn't really be surprised at seeing "Costa Cheung" in there.
Just lookin forward to setting off tomorrow with an immediate ascent
up to 300+ meters, followed by a 27 km walk.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Countdown to St Cuthberts Way

Now officially on our countdown to starting St Cuthberts Way. Next week starting Thursday, my wife and I are off walking St Cuthberts Way from Melrose on the Borders to Holy Island (see map) I plan to make blog entries as I complete each day of the walk, so I better polish up on my mobile blogging skills, (if that's what you can call the efforts of last year). We are planning to complete the 100km walk in a leisurely 6 days, plenty of time for blogging and stops en route. To make this even more comfortable, we're having our baggage moved on, all part of keeping it civilised for my wife's benefit, "Daysacks are us", using my recently acquired Berghaus Freeflow 25 litre bag, brought for such occasions (smaller and lighter than the 35l version, but more flexible than my 20L version). As keen eyed observer would have seen, I used the 50L Freelow last year on my JOGLE, Anyone reckon I like the Berghaus Freeflow bags. Whilst on the subject of bags, yet to use my new Osprey Eros 62L bag, for use with camping/hiking, at just over 1kg it just whats needed for the long hikes, with the camping kit, its likely to get use later on in the year, with the hikes planned for then. Beginning to get interested in the weather, so hopefully it will replicate this time last year when something else started, if I can remember, are that's right the volcano when off and the ash cloud went up, and of I started the LEJOG in brilliant weather. Still can't believe it was a year ago, how that's flown past, unlike the planes back then which definitely weren't flying. Suppoe it too early to start getting my kit ready, so just have to down load routes, get maps ready.........

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Last Month

New fresher look for the blog, just played with the options of different dispays and settled for this one?
Its now only 4 weeks to the first anniversary of me starting my LEJOG, where has that last year gone? The first seven weeks of it I remember very well, with the aid of the Blog entries, added to which I have been recording the events of each day to aid my memory in years to come. Don't worry there's no risk of it turning into a book.
This time last year, I was totally naive to what it actually takes to do a walk of its length, part of me wishes I had it to look forward to, the other just enjoys the memories.
Recent weeks I have continued with ongoing projects, finishing the Worcester Way with a final day over the Malvern Hills, through the Pear Orchards, with their grotesquely form trees, looking like something out of a horror film and sliding on hills of mud (great for toning I've heard)
Two additional legs of the Birmingham to Aberystwth walk between the River Severn and Ludlow, over Clee Hill (530m) done, now taking me upto 56% complete and a leg of the Severn Way. This Severn Way leg was focused around the river just after Welshpool.
I had previously covered a large percentage of this walk as it shares the route alongside the Breidden Hills with Offa's Dyke. I'd walked this back in 2006, remembering this leg well as it the the same day that my Aunty died of Diabetes. This, and others I know who have diabetes was a significant motivator for me raising money when I did the LEJOG for JDRF, a Diabetes charity.
Returning on the circular walk I chose to climb upto Rodney's Pillar, standing on top of Breidden Hills. Here, there are superb views across Wales and back across Shropshire, as well as viewing at the base of the hill the mornings route along the Severn.
Looking ahead, one more leg of the Severn Way before, driving North of the Border in 3 1/2 weeks time to cover St Cuthberts Way, finishing on Holy Island, really looking forward to it now, across Northumberland with my wife, with the baggage being transferred, (benefit of walking with my wife who refuses to carry everything and the transferred companies refusing to take single bags)
Now I've chosen camping and hiking for the future accommodation plans, I've been working on getting to the same weight of rucksack that I carried on the LEJOG, this has now nearly been achieved, by ditching unused items, buying lite weight items to replace heavier ones, such as my rucksack (-700grams). The predicted weight is only going to be about 400 grams heavier, I could lose another 200 if I was to not take my umbrella, but after its success last year, I can't leave it. So now looking for a trial run, maybe the week after Easter as I have it as a break from work, (subject to weather - temp....)
Almost forgot, the dogs are still out there harassing me, as two of the last week walks I've been confronted by and barked by a dog. Suppose I'd miss them if they weren't there (NOT)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Woken from hibernation

Didn't realise it was so long since the last entry. I'd like to have a good excuse like I'd be in hibernation and just woke up after such a nice day yesterday, and what's all the fuse about some snow before Christmas. But no, like everyone else had to suffer the white stuff and the mayhem it caused.
Onto walking, whilst blog entries haven't happened, walking certainly has, with me continuing on with the Severn Way, now only got 4 legs to complete, most of England is doe with some of Wales completed. Overall in excess of 70% now done.
Missing transport links has been a theme over recent months. Missing a bus at Shrewsbury, which left early, missing one at Upper Framilode (South Gloucester) due to road works with a diversion. Both contingency plans had to be developed as I walked away from the bus stop, both walking to the place I should have been walking from. If that makes sense.
With my wife were walking the Worcester Way, a pleasant, undulating walk, which were due to finish next week. And January saw me return to the hills at Edale, were realisation that I'd not done a proper mountain for over a year hit me, or more localised hit my knees. Need to get back my mountain legs over the next few months.
The end of January saw an awards night for one of the charities that I'd collected for. Here I received a great memento for the walk, and was also award the "Volunteer of the Year" award. The trophy was presented by the local MP and I swear the size of the cup and weight being heavier than the pack I'd carried last year.
Onto this years targets, I'd mentioned E2 previously, well I'm planning on starting some of the track this year. April sees me and my wife off to continuously walk the St Cuthberts Way, this being a replacement for the North Downs Way, due to the logistics of having packs moved forward (Wife does not do big packs). Were both also doing the Staffordshire Way, bit by bit, once the Worcestershire Way is done. On my own I'm planning to complete the Severn Way, finishing up on Plynlymon, do a bit more of the Birmingham to Aberystwyth and do a few more Mountains.
A few years ago, when doing Offa's Dyke South I'd met Graham, who was part the way thought his JOGLE, since we've kept in contact and this year his planning the ascent of all 214 Wainwrights. I'm planning on joining him for a few, just working out the details of which and when, but looking forward to joining up with him again and bagging a few more. Been stuck on 60 old percent complete too long.
Back to E2, a significant part of this walk is the Pennine Way, which has to be tackled next year. Estimating about 2.5 weeks to complete, I've taken the decision that its time to save money and camp instead of B&B's. Since Christmas I've invested in a lite weight tent, sleeping bag, mat, strive and a sample of Wayfarers dehydrated Chilli (bet they all taste the same). To start my camping/hiking adventures off, in July, I'm walking parallel with a group of friends who are doing the Wainwright C2C, only camping. Initial thoughts were to complete the whole lot, but become separated at Richmond due to camping facilities, but I'm now developing a separate plan which does the C2C upto Kirkby Stephen, at that point with the best done, I'll let them continue and I'll stride off on my own down through Lancaster, following the incomplete Thirlmere Way, which is currently sitting 50% completed. Thus completing another of my walks. Sounds like a plan