Walking 1004.9 miles from John O'Groats to Lands end in aid of Accommodation Concern! (starts august 3rd 2014)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Sheperds Patch to Wainlode hill ( a magical place!)

A great day! We raised 42 pounds from complete strangers without asking once! the rollcall of honour
Sandra & heinz,the crew of the barge Flossie,Richard Bond,Dave & Jenny,Lynn,and the landlord of the red lion at wainlode who returned our camping fee of 10 pounds upon hearing what we are doing! Thank you all!.
The walk itself was along the gloucester and sharpness canal passing many odd what I assume to be canal bridge houses with Corinthian columns and a general Greek look about them,
                                                         (one of the prettier ones!)
entered gloucester and resupplied the dog food , promptly leaving town again ( I'm sure gloucester is nice just didn't get a feel for the place )
Bit confusing finding the way out as my maps are a little out of date I'm sure I didn't plan to walk along the bypass!
Finally  finding the path I met three lads with full packs about to head north along the Severn too , but left them to finish discussing the route, we opted for an inland route about 2 kilometres shorter than the Severn way, taking us over a hill with great views to the malverns and more importantly to the pub and campsite at wainlode.
setting up tent we had our second pole disaster as the main pole snapped again! Now making do with my walking pole holding the tent up, works quite well and as s new tent is being bought out by my missus at the weekend its no great problem (see pic above) .
Having repaired our shelter we sat at the front if the pub eating lamb shank (alfie got the bone) and watching an amazing sky not too sure what made the sky so great (beer maybe ?) But it kept me fascinated !

The three lads I'd met in gloucester arrived we sat supping the local ale and chatted away, as the sun finally set some cars pulled up with huge nets on they're rooves after much speculation the landlord clarified that the men where fishing for elver (young eel) which will be exported to Hong Kong!

Severn bridge to shepherds patch

As I write this blog o have a small ball of ginger fur named Alfie hogging my sleeping bag! Not sure what's wrong with his ! Cute tho .
Today we woke to a thick mist obscuring everything this made both the Severn bridges very moody (will add pics soon)

 just north of the second bridge the mist started to lift revealing to heavily laden figures walking towards us, these turned out to be mike and Jenny from an army barracks in York walking from barracks to landsend each of them were carrying about 4 stone of gear! God knows what tho!

With the mists clearing the nice FLAT landscape was revealed with views of pastural bliss ! At west end sluice we dodged the extra mile to oldbury on Severn by hopping over a 15 foot long bridge owned by the water authorities and banned for use by us normal mortals, daresay most take this route, following this was the delightfull magnox neuclear power station ,

 topped up with water at what used to be a pub bit is now an autistic kids home (forget its name tho) here we also met Maggie, Annie and Dave cooper who kindly donated ten pounds to the charity and half of Annie's tea, yep alfies charm works again!

Wandered on to the old powerstation at hamfield farm and headed inland to Berkeley for supplies ,cut a corner here and walked cross country......

 to shepperds patch where our campsite is right at the back of the Tudor pub, plaice and chips for dinner mmmn.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Chew Stoke to The banks of the Severn

Started today feeling rough ! Don't think I've been taking on enough sugars felt better after a good English breakfast at the B & B tho, glad I did get my energies up too as today has been really hilly again, simple road route to Upper littleton then over Dundry hill to pick up the Monarch way to Long Ashton picked up pastries at a bakery and sat on flowery bank in the sun to eat my grub.
Went east out of town and into the Ashton court estate , pretty place with deer mowing the lawns for them!

Climbed out of the estate and entered Bristol via the Clifton suspension bridge cracking piece of engineering!

Then followed the bristol community forest path through town not much in the way of forest to my eyes! Went through some charming and no doubt incredibly rich suburbs and then through the council estates where I was able to restock food and get some more cash, from the council estates we decended to my chosen route over the M5 only to find the bridge had been demolished oh sugar I said..........
Did find an alternative route through Hallen which just happened to have an open pub , so that worked out nicely! Following this continued through the Crooks marsh petrochemical plants.........

 and finally to the severn way and our pitch on the banks of the estuary with great views to Wales and both the severn bridges as the sun sets over the water.

I think we managed to see most aspects of Bristol today, nice city too hilly tho !  

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Glastonbury to Chew Stoke

Probably our earliest start at a fresh 7.20 am with a brisk march across the last of the Somerset levels a Sharp ascent up Ebbor gorge and just the clouds darkening Glastonbury as we looked back south and west......

 before we concentrate on the big push north, its been good to get off the roads for a bit, Alfie has so much more fun on paths and trails!
Exceptional timing today as we left the planned route to go to a pub named The castle of comfort for Sunday lunch. as we settled into roast chicken the skys opened and drenched the mendips where we would have been walking ! To be on the safe side we donned waterproof coats and created many smiles as passersby admired Alfie!, down from the mendips we passed my planned wild camp spot as it turned out to be private property ,oops! So on into chew stoke where we managed to sweet talk our way into a non dog B&B(cheers alfie) 

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Glastonbury rest day 2

What can I say about Glastonbury? The hippy capital of GB I can only hope those who come here looking for spiritual peace find it , all I found was that I felt overdressed in my travel stained walking gear and unsure of Alfie's security when left outside a shop, sad really thought I'd like the place. My Nirvana remains in a quiet high place surrounded by open views with a gentle wind to take away the heat of a walk.
Other than Glastonbury the mechanics of the walk must continue washing(see pic) repairs and ration restocking. Fully rested now so all systems are go for another week up to Bewdley.

Bowdens to Glastonbury

Once again a 12 mile day to complete our first two hundred miles ,both tired and looking forward to the Saturday restday ,our path went through the pretty village of High Ham then once more to the Somerset levels,to the quite boggling amount of people in the town of street, probably normal levels of population but after two weeks of walking quite dizzying to see so many faces! Another pub meal and we finished our day by 3 pm at the overpriced Isle of Avalon campsite (12 pounds per night!) .
Enjoyed a great visit from friends Saz Rab and another Andy......

 and had pleasant meal in town where Alfie won over the bar maid to gain entry! Will insert a picture of her and Alfie when I can, sooooo funny to see her melt into "ooo cute puppy mode"

Taunton to Bowdens campsite

An easy day today with just 12 miles to walk ,so after a slovenly10.30 start we once more followed the canal,

 this time to a place called Charlton then via road we went through Knapp and Lower Knapp where we were passed on the North Curry road by a beautiful horse drawn carriage 
(pic to follow) another pub for lunch and met some great people who between them raided they're loose change to the sum of ten pounds ,thanks to Gail,Nina and Taff (pic of Nina and Gail).

A good straight road through Stoke St Gregory had us finally to the Somerset levels and through them up the hill to our campsite Bowdens (near Aller) superb site this has its own restaurant and pub with unbelievable views to the south west over the levels.

Tiverton to taunton

An early start from our dodgy railway campsite and pig go along the canal again to Halberton where a ghostly sight appeared!.
Can you see it?

Further along to Sampford Peveral where we met a lovely lady named Lou and her dog mojo

( see pic), who kindly took us in for tea and biscuits ! alfie had great fun playing with mojo think he needed some dog time as his spirits were certainly lifted as were mine too!
With a spring in out steps we motored on to a lunch pub stop where as alfie got lots of fuss and attention.A push into Wellington saw us disappointed for our early finish as neither campsite allowed tents  ........ So much could be said here! ... .. So a further six miles of walking had us rush through taunton with just a blur of the cathedral until we reached Bathpool and the lovely Tan pits cider farm campsite where the routine of tent up,dog fed, me fed, sleep. ended the day.

Uton to tiverton

More road walking today! first of we had the bizarre experience of walking in a traffic jam on the road to crediton, a new layer of stone chips was being laid on fresh tarmac with on a tiny single lane road with only enough room for the works vehicles so we stood in line with the other traffic!
We restocked supplies then headed out of crediton to thorverton via shobrooke pleasant drink at the Exeter arms with the locals, pubs most interesting feature was the well in front of the bar!.
Off we go again uphill following the Exe valley way and I mean really uphill! to about 600 feet in height! worth the sweat and the effort for the panoramic views back the way we had walked,

then down into the valley past bickleigh castle and on into tiverton for a resupply stop and fish and chips supper quickly scoffed down and odd to find a wild camp for the night near the Grand western canal at a delightful(!) abandoned railway line.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Sourton down to Uton

Left the campsite nice and early and headed east on an abandoned railway line nicely converted for foot and cycle travel, more good views as we passed over the meldon viaduct looking up to the moors above,

 following the railway tracks we came to okehampton where we took to the moors via the beautiful east okement river cleft
up to Belstone stocks where Alfie had a rest...

only for a short while as our route was again east to sticklepath where yet more roads carried us to our camp site Beare farm campsite, at Uton near crediton. Lovely chap running the site who upon hearing our plans and charitable intent (pun intended) allowed us to stay free!

Launceston to sourton down

Today was a day of easy navigation almost one continuous straight line, this could have been really dull as the straight line in question turned out to be the old A30 now a b road the views were pleasant as the road crested then followed a ridgeway keeping us occupied when not dodging traffic! lunch time saw us taking a break at the blue lion in Lewdon where all the locals made us welcome till we headed off again with liquid pain killer for the feet nestling nicely in my belly!
The straight section continued to Bridestow where we joined the two castles trail through pleasant farm land to sourton down, enroute we encountered the most odd looking pub I've ever seen( see pic) half old mother Hubbard and half Dick turpin theme with black Bess rearing on top of the porch! Sadly it was yet to open will have to inspect more closely at a later date!.

The campsite was nice and as I set up for the night the neighbouring caravan owner walked over and gave me an ice cold beer to say hello!

A technical hitch!

Or it's OK we're not dead honest!
I've tried three times this week to restart the blogging but after every try the phone has reset itself! aargh!
Hope this will get through and I can play catch up for the last week!
Pressing send button now fingers crossed!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Fridays late blog and today

Friday started of with the now usual routine of shaking ice off of the tent and walking a few miles before breakfast, this time was a bit unusual as breakfast was eaten at the highest point on bodmin moor at the summit of the unfortunately named Brown Willy,
 superb views all around with the moors to our selves we headed east blazing our own trail to the roads that linked us to launceston.
 this road section was again through tiny country lanes in beautiful sunshine and that gentle breeze keeping us cool, dinner was had at a pub (The Rising Sun Inn) enroute consisting of a nice bangers and mash followed by sticky toffee pudding.mmmmmm the last few miles saw us to our destination the thornbank guesthouse where we are now( Saturday) chilling out for our rest day.
 Pleasant town with a nice castle ruin in the middle, just had lunch here and am looking forward to doing nothing for the rest of the day ;)

Gallery member 3

And here's another! a nice lady named Shirley

Gallery of fellow nutters 1&2

The first two lejog walkers I've met.

Namely Peter and Chris.

Location : Launceston, Cornwall,

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The dog is officially knackered!

Wednesday (d4)
We woke up nice and early and were enroute from our woodland wild camp by 7.30 a relatively warm night so both of our energies were high, a good thing too as 20 miles of mediocre road walking under grey skys was to follow, the highlights of the day consisted of a huge Bacon butty at a roadside cafe,followed by an ok meal at a pub in a town called Indian Queens, out of town we head over Castle an Dinas an old hill fort
you can just make out the earthworks in the pic (i hope)
as the walk ended at Ruthurn bridge we met an eccentric old chap with a garden full of ex millitary vehicals and two huge remote controlled boats each at least 5foot long which he had made himself one of which was a functioning submarine !.

Shortly we made it to the splendid ruthurn valley campsite, where we very quickly fell asleep!.
Day 5
Sadly our nights sleep was less than comfortable as temperatures dropped sharply below zero, this in combination with leg cramps from overworked legs has left us both tired today (thursday).
The scenery and landscape have been a balm for our tattererd energies as we plodded the 12 miles to St Brewards along the delightfully flat camel trail (top pic Alfie on the camel trail!)to the push up hill to the pub we now sit(me)/sleep(alfie) in,
Our planned days end is only 2 miles away wildcamping on bodmin moor at king Athurs Hall

so we taking advantage of every modcon a pub can give "hic!".
As the planned stop was a bit exposed we pushed on a further kilometer east to a sliver of woodland below Garrow tor.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

God an early blog!

What a day! Blazing sunshine lovely people and my first pint of the walk, the picture if it uploads is the view from bench at the pub ,honestly its scenic ok! The blur behind the trees to the right is truro cathedral , and we have just been watching two lads fishing in the river that should be at the bottom of the pic,just gonna grab some fish and chips and some supplies then off for our first wild camp, see ya

Day3 (added after completion)
We leave Porkellis by road to Carnkie where we head out across farm footpaths to Stithians, the weather is great again and upon arrival at Stithians refreshments were bought at the Spar there, before more road walking to Truro via the delightfully named Frog pool!.
After our stop mentioned in the original blog above we headed north out of Truro to St Clements wood and our first wild camp.
Alfie braving the wild wood.

Early day three

Ok I'll admit it cornwall is tough walking , very glad to have finished the coastal path, it was of course very beautiful but the first day following the coast from landsend to marazion was harder than most of the mountain walking I've done! Tho having said that the cornish ice cream kept me going ;).

The weather for the first two days has been amazing and today looks to be another day of sunshine and clear blue skyscapes !

Yesterday went a bit wrong at both ends of the day,packing my tent away in the morning I managed to snap the main pole! Glad I bought a repair kit with me ! And at the end of the day the pub I was aiming to have dinner at closes on a Monday night! And just to finish off the day my chosen camp site doesnt open till may, kindly they let me stay ! Today should be better.

Day 2 (added after completion)
we headed out through Marazion with a quick walk along the beach to see St Michaels Mount,
then along the coastal path once more, a quick snack at Perran sands (very kind as they weren't actually open!) walking round Prussia cove we met lots of french girls (ooo la la!) the reason became clear when we passed The Enys where a musical (college?) was based, very pleasing to walk past and nice to see some of there handy craft on the beach below!
Passing Pra sands the surf dudes did there best too....
a walk of extremes!
A bit of field walking to Porthleven and its harbour
and we head inland not to see the sea properly again untill Queensferry!.
More of those tiny Cornish lanes bypassing Helston and we get to Porkellis for our rather unusual campsite!

Location : Wendron, Cornwall,

Sunday, 11 April 2010

One of two achieved

Well after a nice easy drive to lands end (thanks mum and peter for the lift!) We are finally here, we arrived early enough to get the picture taken at the first sign post, time will tell if we get the second but it will prove harder to get I think !. The transit verification form for the end to end club has its first stamp and now everything is in place for our 8.30 am start. while at lands end we met up with the mayor of penzance who was seeing a group of cyclists of for the start of their trip to great yarmouth so we stole the oportunity for a  photo  (will add this to the blog upon the return home) nice chap.
We are now at our hotel the commercial in st just, an excellent fish pie dinner has stoked the engines for tomorrows start and an early night is in store for us.
The walk still feels unreal even after all the planning and training a few days walking and this will resolve itself. the weather is excellent and looks set to stay good for tomorrow so we can count our blessings and await the morrow.

Day 1(added after completion!)
stunning sunshine for the start what more could you need?
oh yes beautiful scenery.....
All the training walks at home can't prepare you for coastal walking, i knew there was a good reason I hadn't walked a coastal path before, bloomin hard work!
I quickly headed in land and followed the quaint local roads to Treen where after a refreshing ice cream we headed back onto the coastal path at Penberth

(looking inland to a wheel used to land boats I presume)
(looking in the other direction!)
following the coast past St Loy the path blurs somewhat requiring a scramble over a barbed wire fence to get downhill thru woodland to the real path!
Another stop for refreshments at Lamorna bay (its very hot and the goings hard!) and round to Mousehole and the long drag around penzance bay to Marazion

 and our campsite Dove meadows.