Saturday, 23 August 2014

Knowstone to Exford

Still in shock after the price of last nights meal, £19 for a bit of pork belly, not much choice as it was the only pub in the village. 
The b&b hospitality certainly made up for the cost of the food.
After a few miles, I arrived at the start of Exmoor, marked by the second commemorative stone to to the founder of the walk. Looking back Dartmoor was still prominent in the distance.
The walk continued to be undulating, until I meet up with the River Barle, at the Tarr Steps, a crossing of the river and picnic area which was full of visitors and an ice cream van.
Supporting local industry, I participated in a chocolate cone.
The walk up the river to Whitypool was reasonably flat, but the terrain reminded me of the walk along side Loch Lomond, on the West Highland Way, full concentration needed.
Staying some two miles off the path at the Exford YHA, so some extra miles needed to get back on path tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Morchard Road to Knowstone

After leaving Morchard Road with a hefty bar/food bill from the night before, I walk to the next village called Morchard Bishop. Here memories came flooding back, as I passed thro the village on my LEJOG four years ago. 
Entering the village from a different direction I was above the memorial and seat were I sat to rest. The next few miles I criss crossed the route I previously took. Leaving it just short of Black Dog.
On my LEJOG, I'd walk west to east across the centre of Cornwall and Devon, on undulating hills. I had alway thought the hills ran north to South as it always felt like I was up and down all the time. Given that logic I would the have an easier walk, when walking south to north. Since leaving the heights of Dartmoor, I have crossed countless hills, always seeming like I was either  ascending or descending, so much for an easier Mid-Devon section!!
At times today I have had views in front to Exmoor and views to the rear of the mightier Dartmoor.

Sandy Park to Morchard Road

The first uphill after leaving on Tuesday was onto the hill which houses castle drogo. Although I'd been seeing the castle  for half the previous day, the views when I was closest were masked by the hill and trees. It wasn't till I was past it than the big scaffold tent came into view. The £1.5m tent covering it puts my £200 tent to shame. 
It was not too much longer before I arrived at the A30 and the end of Dartmoor. 
The walk is made up of a day from the sea to the edge of Dartmoor, two days over Dartmoor, two days crossing central devon and two days over exmoor.
So now started the walk across mainly pastoral land, finishing the day at nor card road and the Devon Dumpling pub, we're I was joined overnight by my wife.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Holne to Sandy Lane

The walk from Holne to Sandy Park is both the longest and has the most ascent, peaking at 530m, so upon finishing at the Sandy Park Inn, I couldn't believe it when they declared they was no food and no bar on a Monday. Added to which the room is television-less . The stand in hosts were good enough to pay for a taxi back to the village of Chagford, a place I'd past an hour earlier. So the following walk back was a repeat of the earlier walk.
I'd seen on the walk from quite a distance from the end a large white building perched high on the hillside, it seemed to be in view for most the afternoon, but it wasn't until getting close to Chagford I realised it was Castle Drogo, which I'll be passing tomorrow. I've since found out it isn"t white, but the castle is surrounded by scaffolding costing £1.5m whilst the repair the roof for £25m. They being the National Trust. Would have thought it'll be cheaper to build one from scratch.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Devon Coast to Coast

Since the last blog entry I have been busy walking, continuing the glyndwr way, so that only two legs remain. Starting and progressing well on the Staffordshire way and completing the north downs way over two long weekend (video posted).
Now I find myself having complete two of the seven legs of Devon,s Coast to Coast walk. The walk is made up of the 2 moors way and an extending walk from ivybridge down to the south coast at wembury. Couldn't see the stadium though.
Now crossing Dartmoor and loving the emptiness of the moor. Leaving ivybridge this morning climbing up onto the moor the wat weather added to the bleakness, this was later replaced by clear views across the vast expanse. 
The walk draws me nearer to the target of crossing the country from the south west at the lizard to the north east at Berwick. After this just the final walk on the south west coast path remains. Next years 3 week walk. This is going to replace my alps adventure. My knee and a pending operation has seen to that.
The E2 UK walk was completed when I walked into Dover on the moth downs way, so I am seeing that as the opposite diagonal ( north west to the south east) to the one in progress at present.
Hope to do a daily account for the remaining five days

Sunday, 26 January 2014

All Change

Last blog account had me looking forward to finishing the Glyndwr Way and then heading for the Welsh Coast to Coast. Well two trips to the physio for my “niggily knee” have changed that plan.

Out go long walks up hills, replaced by shorter walk on the level, for the short term anyway. Apparently, by upper thigh muscles are in balanced and pulling my knee cap incorrect and the cap is grating on the bone….. Therefore exercise program and “taping” of the knee cap to get it corrected.

So, what alternative have Ito the Glyndwr Way, well, having started the Grand Union Canal some years ago and only getting to Daventry, I have the opportunity to progress all the way to Central London.

Yesterday I undertook the first of the remaining legs (those without doggy knees!) and had a very flat (1 lock) walk of 16km, skirting around Milton Keynes (more pictures – for the most, than it sounds). I have decided not to restrict myself to following the flow of the canal (that’s if they do in fact flow) or complete it sequentially. I’ll just do which bit takes my fancy that day (how liberating!!)

So with the final mention of the Glyndwr Way for a few months, with the fact that I had completed the very pleasant stage from Lake Vyrnwy to Llangadfan, two weeks ago.

Inbetween, that walk and the walk along the canal, there has been a weekend up in the Lakes pursuing my next favourite hobby, buying from Outdoor Shops. The occasion being my 50th. (More niggily pains to come, lets hope not.) Bagging anymore Wainwright’s was put on hold in favour of visits to the hot tub at the hotel Spa!!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Into 2014

In 2010 it took me 7 weeks to complete the LEJOG walk, upon its completion, to make exercising on my tread mill more interesting and to have a goal, I started a simulated return walk (JOGLE). Plotting the distance walked on the treadmill on my mapping software. Well three and half years later I final arrived at Land’s End on the last day of 2013. Saying I arrived at Land’s End, the last walk needed to be 6.9km to arrive at the coast. Having actually walked 7.0km, I suppose I walked over the cliff at the end and now have to decide whether to swim to the Lundy Island!!
So now I need to replace the challenge with another, or give up the treadmill.
Looking back to the end of 2013, I walked every weekend with the exception of 2 and I am now well into the Glyndwr Way, having started from Knighton, helped with a three day away, walking 20+mile days around Llanidloes, I am fast approaching Machynlleth, the halfway point, but as the nights were drawing in I decided to change my approach and re-start the walk from Welshpool, as it was closer to travel to, aiming to Machynlleth from there. Thus the walk will eventually end in the middle having approached from the two ends. If that makes sense? I have now completed seven walks in the original direction and three walks in the new direction, covering 60% of the walk and all contributing to the 1204miles walked last year. In December, I was distracted and walked four legs of the Trent & Mersey Canal, two at each end, thus completing this walk. Ending just outside Runcorn and at the Trent River by East Midlands Airport. Another LDP ticked off.
Whilst both the Wye Valley and Glyndwr Ways have been undulating and regularly seen days of 800m+ ascent. I need to refocus on building up my mountain legs. I have a niggling injury to my knee which hopefully some physio should sort out, then I upon completion of the Glyndwr Way I will start the Welsh Coast to Coast. Starting by Anglesey, crossing the Carnedds, the Glyders, Snowdonian, The Moelwyns, the Rhinoggs, Cadris Idris, onto Pumlumon and the Elan Valley Hills, the Black Mountains and onto the south coast at the Gower, should provide some ascent. Due to travel limitations, I plan to complete the walk in the same manner as the Glyndwr Way, by walking out and returning on the same path. Once again complete the entire distance twice upon its completion.
With my 50th Birthday and 25th Wedding Anniversary this year, there will not be a multi week walk, such as the Pennine Way or Southern Upland Way like completed in the last two years, however I plan to squeeze in the North Downs Way over two 4 day walks. (This will complete the British section of the E2 European Path) Additionally, I plan a weeks trek over Exmoor and Dartmoor on the Two Moors Way, in the summer, camping en route.
Planning is still proceeding for the Alps walk, helped by the account of a Finnish walker who completed the walk this year.

A link to an excellent video of the walk
GR5 Video 1

And one more, from two brothers who also did the walk this year
GR5Video 2