Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Day 17 & 18

Day 17 34.8km day 18 12.3km

Several options were available for the 27 miles crossing of the cheviot hills, one not initially being considered was a crossing in one, althought later in the day this was discussed.
I am now walking on the same schedule as 3 others, bernard who is walking on his lejog, and heading off in a different direction today, joseph who is walking the pennine way but making it up and adding detours continously and john and charlie the dog. Our days are often spent apart, occasionally bumping into one another, but we generall meet at the campsite and the pub.
Only the accommodation the last two nights have been a bench seat in a static caravan (old) and a bench in a mountain bothy/refuse hut. Which brings me back to the cheviot crossing.
Option one was a wild camp in some woods off the sides of the hills in shelter, but arriving here at 14:30 was too early, so option two an a walk to the second refuse hut was chosen, with a detour upto the summit of the cheviot mountain (815m) en route.
At the summit i was even treted to a fly past by the raf.
Arriving a the bothy at 17:30, fully completely the walk was an option, but had i taken it i would not have witnessed the wonderful sunset and blue sky the following morning at 500m's.
So on day 18, we had a shorter day in distance, but the mountain still presented us with a few more stiff climbs.
At 10:15 i connected up with the st cuthberts way to now link melrose in scotland with oxford. Fifteen minutes later i was standing at the finishing line, well sign at the border hotel, with the pennine way completed.

Views on the walk:-
Probally the hardest 18 days of walking given the quantity of ascent an underlating walking.
The weather was harse making the walking conditions constantly hard and the bogs (of which the walk has numerous, stretching for miles) bogier.
Company was great, no-one feeling compelled to walk with each other, but sharing company and reviewing bog notes nightly. Any one listening in to the conversation over the beers must have wondered what the hell we were on.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Day 15 & 16

Day 15 26.4km day 16 27.4km

Day 15 started off with another stroll along hadrains way, only this time i stumbled across 3 roman centurians in full battle dress from italy?, no america. I had to pinch myself to make sure i wasn't dreaming. I was even given a roman coin. Following on from this encounter on the wall seeing what the romans where guarding themselves against. Soon afther leaving the wall northwards, i was to see how the wall appeared to the scots.
The remainder of the day was bog hopping and farmward muck jumping, before one final drenching entering bellingham.
Here i was to meet up with all the walkers who i previously met an a new one as well. So the evening ended with a nice drink.
Day 16 turned out to be dry above, but definely soggy under foot with the best bog to date

Friday, 13 July 2012

Day 14

Day 14 13.5km
Friday the 13th, what could possibly go wrong? And if anything did would it involve gettin wet? After all the forcast predicted a dry day, just like yesterday and i ended up wet.
Well it happened like this.....
Packed bag this morning for a quick off after breakfast, went down had the works, fill english, with a pot of tea, which i didn't spill. Came back upstairs, picked up bag and thought, if i known this was wet from yesterday, i would have dried it on the radiator (like socks, t-shirt.....)then it dawned on my, this was soaking and the bed, thd bag was on was soaked to.
At this point i realised the wole 2litres had emptied onto the bed through the drinking pope bit vakve. (not the firdt time this has happened- note lesson learnt, learnt lesson).
So down stairs to check out, and let them know i'd wet the bed, no bladder control......
Made worst by demonstrating that went the bit valve is compressed water comes out, which it did by spraying her with water. Left there in a hurray.
So to the walk, a short rest day today, plodding along harians wall at 2.5mph, in the dry, visualising the romans patrolling some 1800 years ago.
I'd walked this part of the walk before, when walkin hadrains wall in 05, and remember a drowned rat approach, who himself was walking the pennine way and had walked in permant rain an whoses boots had perished. Lessons learnt here, to learnt by others lessons, are sod that!!! (location of photo)
One lesson that had been leant was not to stay at the b&b which charged 25pounds for the evening meal at greenhead last time, remembered the pain off receiving thst bill last time.
So a nice early finish got into the once brewed yha at 2:00 so feet up and rest and blog

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Day 13

Day 13 29.2km
Packed up the tent and left today in the dry with blue sky. The remsining of the day has been dry above but crossing the last moorland i was upto my knees in bog twice, the second after having removed my boots and squeezed out my socks. This however was more fortunate than a walker i spoke to today who coming off tan hill last week went in upto his chest, his shirt still had the tied mark despite walking.
Todays planned campsite closed 2 years ago, the hostel was full, so being una le to step one step further in squechy boots i have booked into the greenhead hotel. Now bathed and scrubbed i feel like a new man. The hairdrier in the room is being overused, drying boots, well it wouldn't be my hair would it!!
One lesson learnt following on from last night is take a washing line for boot laces, but not a rotary one as this will be too big for the rucksack. (saw one on route in farmyard)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Day 11 & 12

Day 11 21.3km day 12 33.8km
Two days where the scenery hsd much to live up to. Hi cup on the firdt day an impressive glacial valley and cross fell on the second, the sixth or seventh highest mountain in england. But both where wrapped in a veil of mist, with some but not 100% views.
Boots, water and laces are fast becoming this years sarger (is it lager but with an s?)
First both boots leak but the lefy hand one is soden, so i try gaiters.
The gaitor clips on the front cut thro wet laces. (have no spares)
Buy 2 pair of "boot laces" from hardware shop in middleton as outdoor shop cant be bothered opening most days.
First pair laces fail on hills, after 2 wet hours, ending up patching up
Second pair fail in similar manner on next day, on top of cross fell
Lessons learnt, if first pair fail, dont expect second to do anything but the same.
Get off summit (cold and wet) expecting boot to be lost on a bog. But instead find greg's hut, a bothy, where i cut up a lite weight washing line to make boot laces. Works a treat.
Lessons learnt don't leave home on sn expedition without a washing line!!
Note on this i have used laces previously between 2 poles as a wsshing line but noth the other way.
Finally brought some new laces off a land lady of pub visited this afternoon in cargrave.
Now in tent behind yha in alston in guess what, yes the rain, just what yo go to the pub in the dry!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Day 10

Day 10 15.3km
First of two easier days had a gentle climb past the delightful low and high force waterfalls, the later being the highest in england? Both being sights i'd been lookin forward to.
Had more sucess navigating out of middleton in teeside this morning, than i did a few days ago leaving hawes, once again towns being harder to navigate around than hills.
A designed late start to the day was made later by being forgotten about in a cafe, after ordering breakfast. When the scrambled egg on toast did finally come (30 mins later) is was good and expensive, could have taken some off for the delay!!!
Boots are needing some attention, have applied more dubbin to try and seal them but laces have perished and need to glue the side joints, dry feet then hopefully, although following another dry today that might be possible.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Day 9 28.3km
A cold wet night at tan hill inn camp site (field) with no shower block and not much of anything else apart from double glazing!
Walk started downhill for a change into a sheep eating bog (quote from guide book, read after the event).
For 5km i walked over the sodden bog, often loosing my walking stick in it, a good guide where not to walk! This green and black sponge was energy sapping, moreso than yesterdays 1000m+ ascent.
Glad to be of it, i continued the now common up/down undulating walk in the "dry"; but with wet feet from the entire walk on wet ground.
The pennines are often quoted as the backbone or spine of england, given the continued up/down in the last 9 days, it feels i have been disection hills running from east to west. So it feels more like crossing a rib cage than going up a backbone.
One other thing of note was being dive bombed contiually by a bird when crossing a field.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Day 7 & 8

Day 7 22.5km & day 8 28.5km
Having real difficulty finding places where to send updates so now going to send two at once.
I've have two completely different days with day seven starting off in a thunder storm and raining hard all day, so definately a saturated soggy day. Did finish in hawes at two, so took the opportunity to visit the laundrette to wash one weeks worth of wet washing. Did they need that!!!
Rest of the day was replenidhing supplys and taking it easy, and having cream scones and tea and fish and chips. (too many ands)
Day 8 has been all dry and sun as well. It was the third hardest day once again climbing over 1000m but its been a sheer delight, over great shunner fell with a smile on my face, a pint of orange juice and lemonade in twaite and a reminder of the coast to coast, passing thro keld. Then to finish the effect a 5km climb to the tan hill inn, the highest pub in england, the side of tonights camp(525m). What a day!!!!
Now hitting a natural pace and a camping routine, but have forwarded ahead of those i have walked with this last week.
Did i mention the rabbits, or rather the amount of dead rabbits, 7 in total along the path today, non before today, wots going on, all that road kill with not road, guest thats called track kill?

Days 5 & 6

Day 5 29.3km and day 6 25.2km

Bit lazy yesterday no writing a blog, but have s good excuse, as i was out in malham with bernard, who is also walking along the pw, but on route to john o groats. As you can expect we've not stopped chatting.
To bring you upto date,i am in horton having stopped in malham last nite, sorry am i reoesting myself. Weather the last two days has been good ignoring the occasional down pour where the brolley has come into play. That was until an hour ago, now in tent in the middle of an electrial storm, not something i have experienced before or want to again (photo).
Have now introduced a whitmore scale of water penetration, where one is dry, such as i arrived at edale, two is moldly moist or damp a state which has constantly been reached. Three is wet, not more to be said for thst state and four is super saturated or soggy. A stated already achieved on a number of occasions and had i been outside just would have achieved once again.
Off the negatives, the landscapes have been outstanding now i have arrived in the dales, gone are the desolate moors, replaced by limstone and mountains, two done today, with the well known welsh yorkshire mountain, pen y ghent.
Another milestone achieved today is finishing the first of three pennine way harveys map, now moving from the south to the central one, so one third done.
Anyway storms over and don't need a distraction from the lightening anymore

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Day 4

Day 4 33.4km
Today was a day of one whole. That is no rain! With the exception of aslight mist on the final moor. Today was walking for ten hours, following a 7:30 start and the highlight was crossing withins height, the scene of emily bronte's, wuthrring heights. (photo) Just a pity i could not stop singing kate bush's song of the same title, totally out of key all day.
For the second day, i have "bumped" into a pub in the middle of the day, only today i had a beefy broth soup, that was so thick it must have had an entire bull in it. Must say it was the tonic which carried me thro the remaining half of the day.
Although its been dry, the ground is sodden and wet boots in and out are now a part of the walk, whats it like to have dry feet?
Lookin forward to the scenic malham tomorrow, its been a place i've wanted to visit for a long time.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Day 3 21.4km
Unfortunately, the pub i stayed st didn't have a tv so i missed the euro final, which i have since found out so did everyone in redditch, due to a electrical black out. Good job england didn't make it to the final.
Woke this morning, although it didn't feel like i'd slept, to a slug mating with my black slip on shoes. I soon ended his romantic encounter by flickin him into orbit.
Todays walk was a story of four quarters, with the second and forth being wet.
Yesterday/today have encountered more pw'ers, after thinking i was on my own. Meeting a female, by the m62 crossing, she informed me she was heading for crowden, walking my last two 12.5 mile walks ,inc black hill in one. Lesson learnt here (4), do not attempt to repeat. Mind you tomorrow is my toughest day being 31km and some 1150m ascent, more than to upcoming cross fell.

Pw day 2

Day 2 21.2km
Another day of two halves, only this time the wet half was the first half. Watching the weather forecast upto the walk this was meant to be a dry day, the only one in the first 5 days. So there i was at 8:00 applying the sun tan lotion, only for it to start raining and not stop for 5 hours.
Lesson learnt-1 don't bother applying sun tan lotion when its going to rain. 2 when applying sun tan lotion expect it to rain immediately after. Soggy boots and wet feet was the order of the day. But the flagstone pavement upto black hill was most appreciated (wombourne could learnt some lessons from thes).
early pw'ers often had to find there way thro the peat upto soldiers lump at the summit, often ending up knee or waist deep in a black peat bath.
Ringing my socks out three times reduced the squetching. The last of these occasions resulting from a shin deep wade across a "stream" (photo) completed with boots of danging around my neck. Lessons learnt 3 bring a boat next time.
Camp now set up at the back of a pub. Good to be under canvas, or a least nylon ripcord again. Beside the wind and the sideways motion of my bedroom, corrected by closing eyes and inserting ear plugs.

Pw day 1

Day 1 29.6km
A day of 2 halves, morning and afternoon.
Arriving to a dry overcast edale, this weather stayed until early afternoon, eventhough i was looking out to black rain clouds over manchester on my left.
These clouds made their way over my head when i crossed the "snake" road. What followed was a couple hour downpour. However the kit all worked well, keeping me dry. Lots more of that forecast. Navigation and the walking surface in the morning where good, that changed in the afternoon with the walk over bleaklow needing some bog hopping, made worse by the downpour.
Mileage was increased with a walk to the start from the station, the walk the the yha, yes comfort for the first night before the camping starts, and a wrong turn added 0.8km. Hopefully won't make to many of those.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Ready for the off

Just 2 days now till I head off on this years LDW, over recent months I've looked on jealously whilst others have hit the track. Thats not to say I've been totally stationary myself.
A wonderful 3 days up the Lakes and 10 new Wainwright summits, now take me to 80% complete. The "long" Sunday walk along the south side of Ennerdale Lake extended itself with a repeat walk of the C2C route back to the YHA, that following the 5 summits, the first in a snowstorm. A further mountain walk over the Breacons in thick mist reminded me of the challenges of walking without clear vision across open landscapes. Will have to bear that in mind if the weather turns (or stays) foul across the Pennine moors.

Staffordshire Way is complete, having walked the final leg with my wife, however the pub was closed for our celebration meal. Made up later with a Chinese buffet.
Recently I have stretched my legs on a 18mile canal walk from Stone to Rudeley and last week a walk along the Malverns and back, with over 1000m ascent, its amazing how those underlations add up.
The Malvern was completed with the my complete pack "Pennine" pack. Fully weighted down. The only soreness of the day was the top on me head, slightly burnt from the little sun we had. Could say now I'm a red head. Completed with friend I encounted a new experience of a full pinic with champagne at the mid point
Looking ahead the PW itinerary is complete, with occasional YHA visits breaking up the camping and once up to Kirk Yetholm a bus  trip over to the North Sea Coast will follow with a walk down the St Oswald Way back to Hadrians Way. 21 days of walking fun, fresh air and meeting new people. Blog enteries to follow as often as I can, battery and signal permitting.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

How time flies

Since the last entry have been concentrating on completing the E2 northern link between the Pennine Way and the Stafford Way, which I am glad to state, is now completed. It has taken a further three walks to arrive at the Staffs Way, with the first walk from Mossley down to Marple being remember by the quantity of planes on their final approaches to Manchester Airport. Not that I heard too many with my headphones on. On this walk I saw the last of the moors but had a clear view across to Kinder Scout and was only 7kms away from the Pennine Way. Travelling out by train to Marple, I passed the train that in less then 10 weeks time I'll be travelling on to the start .
The second and third walks, with the exception of 5 miles on the High Peak Canal, were travelling along the  Gritstone Trail. This has been a great walk, following the ups and downs of the hills which make up the trail. Following the rain in the last weeks, the last few miles walk to Rushton Spencer, could have done with some of the grit on it deteriorated into mud. To say that I'd walked the entire length of the trail, last week I ventured to Kidsgrove, the start of the walk and walked to Mow Cop, to complete the entire lenght. To make this into a decent walk having travelled up, I continued it along the South Cheshire Way, another walk in need of grit to soak up the mud. I passed Little Morton Hall, a Tudor hall which I remembered visiting on a school trip some 36 years early.
Would have thought they would have sorted out the warped floors by now!
At the other end of the E2, I completed the 4th leg by walking from Kingston Bagpuize into Oxford. Returning by bus (not using Swindon this time) I asked for a single to Kingstone Bagpuss (remember the kids programme?) Having walked the last 2 miles at speed and run for the bus at the end of the walk, looking flustered and asking for Bagpuss, lead to strange look from the bus driver. I can now say I've reached my target on the Thames Way before I concentrate on some more altitude walking. Those mountain legs are taking there time returning and the Thames Way is just too flat.
The E2 north walks, with there hills have helped with typical daily climbs of around 750meters, but I'm now looking for more mountainous stuff.
One already bagged a couple of weeks ago was Snowdon, up the Rhyd Du path and down the Snowdon Ranger path with a detour onto another summit. This walk proved to be outstanding, walking through fresh falls of snow the scenery and snow covered rockscape was dramatic, added to which was the clear views from the summit. Found on the ascent was a wallet which has since been return to its owner, lucky name and address helped.
Next weeks sees a Wainright bonanza up in the lakes, centred on Ennerdale. Over the bank holiday I plan to bag a future 10 Wainwrights, getting nearer to the 214 total and building up the leg muscle at the same time. Also its time to increase the pack weight in preparation for the 15kg pack. I was hoping to reduce this weight but currently it seems to be going up, the wrong way. One such increase is changing from a foam mattress to an air . I think the extra comfort the weight gives will be worth it.
The Stafford Way is almost complete, with just one more leg, the finale into Kinver, followed by a celabratory meal at the Vine Pub,  the location of meeting my wife two years ago to the day on the LEJOG. Fond memories.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Walks in the far north, north, middle and south of England

Back on the Thames Path, with the third leg being completed. The 26.1km walk along the path is the longest single leg I have planned and was further increased by an additional 3.5km which was necessary to get to the nearest village to get public transport. Swindon was once again used as the exchange point for transport. travelling from Kingston Bagpuize to Swindon , then out to the start point at Lechlade.

I had planned on two previous occasions to complete the walk as the last leg was over 5 weeks ago, however the snow stopped one attempt, as I didn't want to get stranded down in Oxford and on the second occasion lack of public transport on a Sunday hampered plans. One eye opener was the string of WW2 Pill Boxes on the North Bank. Just to think this and the Thames itself was a line of defense had the Germen ever invaded

As an alternative on the Sunday I chose to head north to start the E2 walk linking Standedge on the Pennine Way to the Stafforshire Way at Rushton Spencer. Starting at Marsden the first of four legs heading south was walked. This 26km walk had me joining up and sharing a 1 mile of the Pennine Way. This will be walked again at the end of the second day of the Pennine Way walk in July. Using the Standedge, Pennine and Oldham Ways, I arrive at Mossley after venturing onto the misty Wensleydale and Saddleworth Moors. Nothing like a misty, murky moor for an atmospheric walk. After really enjoying the walk I look forward to returning to continue the walk, something I'll do once the Thames Path delivers me into Oxford, as there is a greater opportunity for getting some ascent in prior to the Pennine Way start in july

Half term week was spent up in the Lakes, with six more Wainwrights bagged, taking the total upto 75% completed. High winds above 450m restricted some of the planned walks so I chose to divert to the Northern Fells and pick some of the lower fells off. Now looking to spend a weekend up in the Lakes, probably the May Bank holiday weekend to bag a few more and continue with some more ascents.

A walk over Cannock chase and onto Penkridge finishes the walks completed list. This was Leg 6 Staffordshire Way, with 3 more remaining, the next is this weekends venue.

Weather is still remaining good for the walks with the exception of the snow (and wind). This last weekend a band of rain crossed the country during the morning, however although the clouds looked dark not a drop of rain was felt. In the afternoon, I was surrounded by blue sky which caused me to catch the sun on my head by the end of the day

Monday, 23 January 2012

Thames Path Day 2 Criclade to Lechlade 14-01-12

Real path behind!
Jack Frost also doin the Thames Path
Comparatively late start walking (10:45) on the second leg, largely due to the transport opportunities available. Swindon bus station once again being the mid point of travelling.
Upon arriving at Cricklade, I had to back track to where I'd previously left the path early on the previous walk (mistake not helped by a misaligned sign post)
The morning was completed in frosted conditions with the ground hard. Gradually over the day, a thawing resulted in the ground softening and becoming muddier.
Warning noted

First boats

The walk to Lechlade includes a lengthy 2km walk along the busy A361 road. Upon approaching the road walkers of the path are advised to use either buses or taxi to progress. Wanting to complete the entire walk, I choose to walk this length which certainly was no worse that certain road sections of my LEJOG.
Although only 2km later, when I rejoined the river, its character completely changed. The river suddenly became the host of various boating, starting with canoes and shortly followed by canal cruisers and barges. No doubt a theme which will now continue all the way to the end, where the canoes get replaced by battleships!

Thames Path Day 1 Source to Cricklade 07-01-12

Now I've decided to walk the Thames Path, to be shortened to "TP" from now, I've also decided to keep a blog log of the walk. Just a bit late uploading legs one and two as these are now complete.

So back to leg one, the second walk of 2012, this started at a bus stop in Cricklade, the target destination of the days 24km walk. Here, a bus to Swindon and a quick hop to the rail station and train to Kemble delivered me 2 miles short of the source of the Thames. Having left the station on the wrong side, not a good start, I corrected the error, crossed the tracks, via bridge and set off, only to be confused 100m later by the car park access road.

First sight of water
The Source
First sight of the Thames was quite a well established flow, just a km away from the source. The walk back to the source crossing the Fosse Way, saw the water dry up, with the source identified by the finger post and commemorative stone with illegible script, with no water in sight.

The days walk saw the river gain size rapidly with it routing thro the various lakes of the Cotswold Water Park. Alarmingly, walking of the path was identified as risky due to quick sand (fenced and wet)

Lake Thames

Get the message

Two miles from the destination at Cricklade, following a sharp bend, I appreciated what a flood plain looked like, as the field ahead was immersed in water, spilt over from the banks. Rounding Lake Thames, was not an option. As the end was in sight with a pair of shoes stowed in the car boot, I opted for ploughing straight thro the water, knee deep with boots on. This scene was repeated in the next field, only this time I had the option to walk around. In doing so, I completely missed the path exiting the field and soon found myself off course. The necessary correction was needed, however this delivered me into Cricklade the incorrect way. This would have to be corrected on Day 2.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Thames Path Start

After a small delay over December I am now looking to start my assault on the Thames Path, starting this Saturday. The path has now been divided into 13 individual walks, may come down to 12 if I choose to combine the last 3 into 2, but the biggest choice now is whether to cover the E2 portion from Oxford down to Weybridge first or start at the beginning.
After much uming and arhing, I have decided to do the later, starting at the source this Saturday. When I completed the Severn Way, I tended to jump around completing different areas at different time and also sometime walking with the flow and sometime against, depending on which was the best for transport. I've decided this one is in order, with the flow. Just hope with all the rain and winds the path is going to be walkable, otherwise it might turn into an aquathon (run/swim minus the run bit)
Aim is to complete it this year with a visit/stay? at my uncles in London at the end, covering the last 2 legs on a weekend trip down London. Other than that, its commuting down south and back, that's where having a 60 mpg car will help.
So Saturday its a drive to Cricklade, a bus to Swindon, a train to Kemble and a 2 mile walk to the source, the start for real, with a 20km walk back to Cricklade.(6.7% of the Path)

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Arden Way

A 29 mile walk through the local Warwickshire Countryside

Thirlmere Way

A 130 mile, not very well known or waymarked walk.
Following the route that Manchester's water supply flows from Thirlmere Lake, in the Lake District to Manchester (Heaton Park)
Photo's flow against the tide